The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

December 29, 2013 at 9:30 am | In links | Comments Off
  • Theda Skocpol on the Tea Party’s awful hold on US politics.
    QUOTE
    Here is the key point: Even though there is no one center of Tea Party authority—indeed, in some ways because there is no one organized center—the entire gaggle of grassroots and elite organizations amounts to a pincer operation that wields money and primary votes to exert powerful pressure on Republican officeholders and candidates. Tea Party influence does not depend on general popularity at all. Even as most Americans have figured out that they do not like the Tea Party or its methods, Tea Party clout has grown in Washington and state capitals. Most legislators and candidates are Nervous Nellies, so all Tea Party activists, sympathizers, and funders have had to do is recurrently demonstrate their ability to knock off seemingly unchallengeable Republicans (ranging from Charlie Crist in Florida to Bob Bennett of Utah to Indiana’s Richard Lugar). That grabs legislators’ attention and results in either enthusiastic support for, or acquiescence to, obstructive tactics. The entire pincer operation is further enabled by various right-wing tracking organizations that keep close count of where each legislator stands on “key votes”—including even votes on amendments and the tiniest details of parliamentary procedure, the kind of votes that legislative leaders used to orchestrate in the dark.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: theda_skocpol usa politics tea_party

  • Agree.
    QUOTE
    “You recognize that you’re going in blind, that there’s no model,” Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views.

    “But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act,” he said, “you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, it’s clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: edward_snowden nsa democracy

  • Urban noise/ traffic noise *is* horrible.
    QUOTE
    The long-term health effects of noise in modern cities are only beginning to be understood, although anyone who has ever lived in a city knows intuitively how stressful the constant din of motorized traffic can be. The new wall at Brooklyn Bridge Park provides a bit of respite from the assault. But it’s only a few hundred feet long. Its greater value may be in the way it makes us aware of the destructive and unpleasant sonic reality we take for granted every day.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities bqe highways parks noise_barriers liveability

  • Slideshow documenting the transformation of a surface parking lot into an urban infill development complete with bioswale for cleaning run-off to a creek that has seasonal salmon runs. The architects, Mithun, are among the good guys.

    tags: slideshow seattle malls parking surface_parking_lots urban_development

  • Eye-opening…
    QUOTE
    Google, for one, would love to build housing near its campus in Mountain View. They have tried to get it permitted and it has been rejected, while at the same time the city has approved additional office space. In fact, the city of Mountain View expressly forbade housing in its citywide general plan for the area around the Bayshore Campus. This would have put large numbers of Google employees walking distance from work, while also providing a walkable neighborhood near a light rail station. Google has also started investing in affordable housing, including one project in Mountain View, but unfortunately it’s only 51 units. The truth is that suburban communities don’t want to build more housing, and Prop 13 gives existing owners little reason to care about increasing housing prices.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: san_francisco google buses public_infrastructure suburbs planning zoning

  • Cool, but double-edged forces here, too…
    QUOTE
    There’s a strain of thinking afoot, embodied in the Tea Party, that pushes for restricting government to the barest of services. This has played out most recently in the idea that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is doomed because government cannot pull off something that complex. At the same time, there’s a clamor for the private sector to get involved in the sort of activities we once limited to government.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: airbnb third_places spaces san_francisco libraries

  • On the benefits of walking.
    QUOTE
    Garrison emphasized that walking should be a natural part of our daily lives, rather than something we add on specifically for exercise, health or recreation. “I have the pleasure of walking every day to the store, the dry cleaners, the post office, to the park with my husband. That’s no accident,” she said. It’s the result of deliberate urban planning that locates important destinations within walking distance —a traditional common-sense idea called walkability, which is at the heart of making our communities more safe, comfortable and convenient for walking.

    “Walkable communities are the key to a strong American Third Century,” observed Tyler Norris. “They help protect us from spiraling health care costs in great part driven by preventable chronic disease, while creating vibrant communities that are fonts of equitable prosperity.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: project_for_public_spaces jay_walljasper walkability walking health happiness

  • Good point(s)…
    QUOTE
    By the same token, if micro-apartments are indeed the wave of the future, Saegert argues, they increase the “ground rent,” or dollar per square foot that a developer earns and comes to expect from his investment. So over time, New Yorkers may actually face more expensive housing, paying the same amount to rent a studio in the neighborhood where they used to be able to afford a one-bedroom. With the gradual erosion of zoning rules, the micro-apartment could very well become the unit of the future, the only viable choice for a large number of renters.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: microhomes crowding apartments nyc atlantic_cities

  • QUOTE
    But even John Mackey, the Whole Foods C.E.O., has acknowledged his company’s knack for identifying neighborhoods on the cusp of gentrification. In an interview with CNNMoney in 2007, Mackey said, “The joke is that we could have made a lot more money just buying up real estate around our stores and developing it than we could make selling groceries.” What’s more, Mackey is a staunch libertarian and free-market devotee, as Nick Paumgarten wrote in a 2010 New Yorker Profile, and his attacks on unions and government-supported health care have alienated some of his liberal customers.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: gentrification newyorker elizabeth_greenspan brooklyn whole_foods

  • Agree.
    QUOTE
    Coal plants have put far more radioactive emissions into the air than the world’s 430-plus nuclear plants ever have.

    If a nuke so much as burps, the authorities in many countries close it. But coal plants as well as coal and gas producers have for years been free to radiate in plumes (modern scrubbers may be minimizing the amount). Their emissions include things like uranium, thorium, potassium 40, radon, radium and others. Mutter those words in a nuclear context, and you’ve got a posse of angry mothers on your doorstep. From the fossil fuel industry, those same radioactive elements fall on deaf ears as they land silently in public lungs.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: coal japan nuclear_power pollution smartplanet

  • QUOTE
    A safer city street will trade long, indirect crosswalks for shorter crossings and pedestrian islands.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: street_usage safety pedestrians atlantic_cities eric_jaffe

  • QUOTE
    New-old architecture is like a magnet for the Tea Party. Its leaders invariably live in suburban McMansions of various sizes, built recently but gussied up to look old and distinguished. A recent news reports showed a pro-immigration reform group staging a rally at one politician’s house. It looked like a flock of zombies descending on a generic American homestead in a Walking Dead episode.

    New-new architecture is a no-no, however. Anything innovative or vaguely European-looking is abhorrent.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: nimbyism tea_party architecture smartplanet modernism

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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The The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly) by Yule Heibel, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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