One of my very favorite books is Joseph Ellis' "Founding Brothers," a delightful look at the extraordinary group of leaders who shepherded our nation through its early years.  An entire chapter is devoted to the dilemma of slavery: almost everyone understood it to be morally wrong, and yet entire economies were based on its existence, and even a gradual cessation of the practice would almost certainly throw the new nation into chaos.  In this sense, the reason why the issue was effectively postponed until the Civil War was practical and not philosophical: no one argued in favor of slavery as a good thing, they simply said our nation and our economy would suffer irreparably if it was outlawed. 

I cannot help but think of, and encourage you to contemplate as well, the practices in our modern day that are unsustainable, whether environmentally, economically, or morally, but that are allowed to continue because we do cannot envision a world without them.  If we want to scold the forefathers of our nations for allowing the reprehensible practice of owning another human being, we ought to take a good hard look in the mirror - and at our newspapers - and do what we can to end any of our own reprehensible and otherwise unsustainable practices.



It was a long week, between work deadlines, parenting, and administrivia, that I hardly noticed the calendar flip to August. These are truly the dog days of summer: temps above 90, baseball heating up, football still weeks away, every other person out of town on vacation. So while I'm feverishly cranking out reports at work and trying to stay on top of responsibilities at home, I'm also trying to make a minute or three to chill. Here is some of the background soundtrack to get me there. (Yes, I stopped listening to pop music in the mid-90's.)

Paris - Mellow Madness [warning: explicit lyrics]

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime

Bruce Springsteen - Streets of Philadelphia (as performed by the Tufts Beelzebubs)

Boyz II Men - End of the Road

Rich Mullins - Calling Out Your Name

Francis Scott Key - Star Spangled Banner (as performed by the Dixie Chicks)

Too Short - Life is . . . Too Short

LL Cool J - Goin' Back to Cali

Alphaville - Forever Young

Don Henley - Boyz of Summer

Bryan Adams - Summer of '69

TLC - Waterfalls

Update on "Dear Zachary" in New York and Los Angeles

Subject: "Dear Zachary" New York & Los Angeles DocuWeek tickets on sale online

Hi Everyone,

Sorry to send another email so soon, but a lot of folks have asked me to let them know as soon as Docuweek tickets for "Dear Zachary" went on sale, and they just went on sale in Los Angeles (Arclight Hollywood) today;  rather than cherry-pick the L.A./N.Y. residents from my email list and risk missing someone, I'm sending it out to everyone.  Thanks to all you  non-L.A. & N.Y. folks for understanding. :)

For Los Angeles:

You can go to the Arclight Cinemas website (www.arclightcinemas.com), look down the left column to "Special Programming" and click on "DocuWeek".  When the Docuweek page comes up, scroll down to the list of films.  "Dear Zachary" is the second one on the list.  Click on "Dear Zachary" and a page opens up with all the showtimes listed.  Click on the showtime you desire, follow the instructions and voila, you will have tickets.  Or if you want to go directly to "Dear Zachary"'s ticket page without doing all of that, you can do so by copying & pasting the following link into your browser:


I'm scheduled to do Q&A at the Saturday 8/23 7:20 PM show, the Sunday 8/24 2:30 PM show and also likely at the Thursday night 8/28 7:20 PM show.

For New York:

You can go to www.ifccenter.com, click on "Buy Tickets" at the top.  A movietickets.com page opens.  Choose a date (during August 8-14) from the "Showing on..." dropdown menu at right, and a new screen will come up with a list of available films for that day.  On any of the days August 8-14, "Dear Zachary" should be the first or second name on the list of options.  Click on the showtime you desire and purchase away.

Look forward to seeing many of you at the shows.  Thanks again so much for helping us get to this point!




At last count, I intersect with transit-oriented development activities at 46th and Market in at least six ways:

* I'm a pro-transit Philadelphia resident that wants to see more of this in our City.

* I live in this neighborhood.

* I used to work for the organization that is leading the development effort.

* I am now on the board of that organization.

* I co-authored a report last year on TOD in Philadelphia, which recommended this site as an attractive first site to move ahead on.

* I am currently co-authoring a report on how the City and SEPTA can come together to help move this project forward.

This is exciting to follow. Keep your eye out.

Greg Mankiw's blog links to an op-ed from a Duke behavioral economist who opines on why our blood boils over rising gas prices, something I also chimed in on in my blog. Of course, in addition to these unique ways in which we follow gas prices, I would also argue we've become addicted to cheap oil, and the thought of paying a more appropriate price gives us the shakes.

PS Let me append to this post a nice summary of the extent to which current gas tax levels do or do not cover the cost of building and maintaining roads, to say nothing of environmental externalities or the opportunity cost of dedicating land for roads.