Some interesting stories from the last couple of weeks:
- Penny Dreadful (New Yorker) — Please, please let’s kill the penny already. It’s one of the nuisances of everyday life. Aside from Lincolnphiles and the companies that make money selling zinc to the government, who really wants these things? “Breaking stride to pick up a penny, if it takes more than 6.15 seconds, pays less than the federal minimum wage.” Anti-penny crusader Jeff Gore was on The Colbert Report last week. Obama, from the Land of Lincoln, would “seriously consider” getting rid of the penny. At least in Illinois you can use the penny in toll booths.
- GPS brings business to small town (Pekin Times) — A while back, I wrote about the potential of GPS to change the way we find businesses on road trips. This story from a small town newspaper talks about a small business that is seeing increased business from GPS users. Some of the key facts in the story are wrong, but the story is cute nonetheless. via GPS Tracklog
- Senate bill has plenty for home builders (Marketplace) – The big scandal in American politics isn’t that money can buy influence; it’s how little money it takes to buy that influence. In an unusually blunt display of force, the National Association of Home Builders announced in February that they would stop making campaign contributions, saying that Congress and the Bush administration “have not adequately addressed the underlying economic issues that would help to stabilize the housing sector and keep the economy moving forward.”
The Senate, feeling the threat to their campaign piggy banks in a critical election year, responded with $6 billion in retroactive tax breaks for the builders. Yes, that’s $6 billion of our money going to the same people who helped exacerbate the housing bubble and subsequent pop through endless hype, captive finance arms which steered people into unsuitable loans and overbuilding. Since January 2007, the homebuilders have given $961,650 to campaigns with 46% going to Democrats and 54% going to Republicans. Let’s see, that’s a 624,000% ROI.
- Nats home opener – Jon has a great collection of pictures and a review from the opening of Nationals Park. One of my favorites is below.