If you've been paying attention during the last month or so you know about the tent cities. But the truth is they aren't new. The truth is, they go back to the era of Reagan and "entitlement cutbacks." They're not limited to the USA; the causes are worldwide the same, though -- governments not meeting their responsibilities to ensure affordable shelter for the populace:
Tent cities have much in common with the squatter camps of the Great Depression, but to simply call them Hoover-villes is to ignore their complexity. To truly understand them, one must look at current trends in the developing world, where informal urbanism -- a form of "slum" development that takes place outside the conventions of city planning -- is now the predominant mode of city-making.
Informal urbanism, characterized by unauthorized land occupation, makeshift construction and a lack of public utilities, is how many burgeoning nations meet their housing needs. It thrives in places like Fresno, where poverty is endemic and there is a wide gap between rich and poor.
Rahul Mehrotra, a professor at the MIT Institute of Urban Studies and Planning, said there's a real kinship between Taco Flat and the squatter settlements of Mumbai, India, where he runs an architectural firm.
"It's really a reflection of the government's inability to provide housing affordably across society," Mehrotra said. Informal urbanism also thrives wherever people face exclusion from the mainstream markets for work and shelter, he added, whether for ethnic, economic or political reasons.
So, President Obama. Change has come to Washington. Will it be change that brings back jobs? Call center jobs, construction jobs, seasonal work in harvesting or planting -- like jobs generations of Americans used to pull themselves into the middle class in such industries as the telephone company, the power company, the automakers or support industry for the automakers, GE's washer-and-dryer division, Boeing, Raytheon, Convair, General Dynamics, US Steel, Maytag, AT&T, SBC -- these jobs just like the better stronger jobs they replaced in our "service economy" at the behest of the "global free market" -- are gone. The doubt that they'll return grows stronger every day. Corporations have been turning away from US labor since at least the middle of the 1980s, and consumers, lulled by the promise of "lower prices every day" and its poisonous cousin, "easy credit," have been missing the point of saving a little longer to pay for a better quality or US made or both item instead: the job you save might be your own. I'm so old I remember when in some neighborhoods in the US, buying a Toyota or a Datsun bought you a car-egging, if not Read below the fold...
Edit - It does not look like she would be a credible candidate.
Last month, the unhappy unions tried to oust Dan Parker as state chairman of the Indiana Dems, a move seen by many as a shot across the bow against Evan Bayh (the figurehead who keeps giving his blessing to Parker). Those same unhappy unions were some of JLT’s biggest supporters last year, when the Parker-led state party couldn’t care less about her. We think this has legs, but we’ll remain skeptical (and hopeful) until something more concrete materializes.
Tyler Dunden on Charles Bowsher, who resigned rather than sign off on the Federal Home Loan Bank System’s Office of Finance financial statements because
he wanted to call shit shit he had "become aware of the standards and processes for valuing the mortgage-backed securities":
So: to paraphrase - [Bowsher,] who knows the ins and outs of the financials of banks involved in the mortgage crisis more intimately than even Bernanke and Geithner, let alone Obama, is saying that the newly implemented changes by the FASB will throw the whole system into tailspin and he want none of it.Read below the fold...
At Pandagon, Jesse Taylor recently had an appendectomy and has been undergoing a Kafkaesque (I keep using this word, truly we are in the era of fatal paradoxes...) billing nightmare:
So, in the latest update in my appendectomy idiocy: I’m in collections for $16,040.
Every time I call my insurance company, they tell me they’ve contacted the hospital “for information”. Every time I contact the hospital, they say they’re “waiting for information” from the insurance company. When I ask for supervisors, they tell me they can’t do anything until they “get information”.Read below the fold...
I'm mentally gearing up to install some new moduiles, and maybe take a look at how to make the site a little bit less of a resource hog (why the periodic outages) -- so I thought I'd ask if there's anything about your experience with the site that I should change. Technical issues only, please. Thanks! Read below the fold...
Is the West Michigan Dutch Mafia finally seeing the damage they've caused themselves by politicizing everything? I sure hope so:
HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of Holland's Tulip Time Festival have told Right to Life officials the anti-abortion group can't have a float in this year's parade.
The May 2-9 flower festival marks its 80th year this year in the western Michigan community.
Festival Director Tamra Bouman says Tulip Time long has had a policy against issue-oriented parade entries but didn't enforce it.
The Grand Rapids Press says the festival board decided to enforce the rule because it received a nonprofit tax status in December.Read below the fold...
Tuesday, April 7, 1:30pm - 3:30pm ET
The President and members of Congress are saying they want to bring about health reform this year. Want to learn more about AARP's role in the health reform debate what we're working for and how we're representing YOU? Sign up to be a part of AARP's first nationwide town hall event and enter your own question for the AARP leaders and expert panelists to answer during the call!Read below the fold...
Tell me again why the AIG contracts are so legitimate we're paying 100 cents on the dollar for them?
For some time now, we have been trying to reconcile the apparent paradox of American International Group (NYSE:AIG) walking away from the highly profitable, double-digit RAROC business of underwriting property and casualty (P&C) risk and diving into the rancid cesspool of credit default swaps (”CDS”) contracts and other types of “high beta” risks, business lines that are highly correlated with the financial markets.Read below the fold...