Weekend Reading 8/29/14

"Extreme" walking; it's time for a four-day workweek; and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of ghosttide.com.

Pam Walking on the ferry to Bainbridge the other night, I was reminded of how much more I see when I’m on my feet instead of on my bike or in a motor vehicle. It’s easier to stop to pick blackberries, to admire some public art, to watch the rush of water under the dock as the ferry lands. Walking’s also a great digestive aid for that huge plate of sweet potato fries from the pub. If you missed it in Sightline Daily on Thursday, check out this profile of an “extreme” walker who travels on foot more than 50 … Read more »

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Is a Land-Value Tax Illegal in Seattle?

Analyzing the Washington State constitution.

As we’ve discussed before, land-value taxation is a smart tool for revitalizing cities. By raising the cost of land speculation, a land-value tax (LVT) would create clear financial incentives to develop underutilized properties near the urban core—helping to create new homes and businesses in the very places where demand is greatest. The basic idea of LVT is to tax land at a higher rate than buildings. But there’s a significant obstacle to implementing LVT in Washington. Article VII of the Washington State constitution, which covers revenue and taxation, states: The power of taxation shall never be suspended, surrendered or contracted away. … Read more »


Measures of Money

The corruption of citizen initiatives.

Six hundred dollars. That’s how much money residents of Washington State donated to the “No” campaign in the 2013 initiative concerning genetic engineering. The vote was not about banning the use of gene splicing techniques, nor about regulating them. It was not about warning consumers away from genetically modified products. It wasn’t even about studying the practice. All it proposed to do was require food products to indicate on their packaging whether they contained genetically altered ingredients. Not, you would think, the stuff of all-out war. In fact, it’s a rather milquetoast policy change. Yet Big Ag treated the measure … Read more »


2014 Update: Grading Economics Textbooks on Climate Change

Solid progress in economics textbooks' climate discussions.
Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

With a new school year approaching, this is a good time to update our review of the treatment of climate change in economics textbooks. As in our 2010 and 2012 reviews, some books hit the mark while others are wildly misleading. But we’re happy to say that there’s plenty of good news, especially at the top and the bottom of the grade distribution: the good books have gotten better (including the first-ever A+ grade!) and even the worst ones have made improvements (the lowest grade is now a D-, not a F!). Some books, of course, suffered some backsliding. Out … Read more »

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Weekend Reading 8/22/14

Style coup, top coal reads, donuts for bears, and more.

Ambre Energy’s Troubled History: Greatest Hits Edition!

The "thin green line" of the PNW puts Ambre in its place.

EVENTS: Coal & Oil Trains in Bellingham, Everett

Two public panel discussions on Northwest fossil fuel exports.

(Pay To) Park and Ride?

How user fees will produce parking sanity.

Weekend Reading 8/15/14

Photos: Living off the grid; #IfTheyGunnedMeDown; and more.

The Holy Grail of Parenting

A photoessay on urban spaces that work equally for parents AND kids. (Please send us yours!)