Category : economy


May 18th, 2010 by Jeff | 0

Fresno’s been hit hard by the bursting of the housing bubble, where 12% of the homes there had some type of foreclosure filing in 2009. Few have benefited from this abundance of vacant homes like skaters. Cannonball, from the great new short film blog California is a place, shows how the backyards of Fresno have become one, big skater amusement park.

Mary Jane in L.A.

November 30th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

It’s a interesting time in the Golden State. There are more medical-marijuana dispensaries in L.A. than Starbucks.

Reimagining the Mall

November 13th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

You think times are tough for you? At least you don’t own a mall. Once a bulwark of American economy, culture and probably its soul, the shopping mall has fallen on hard times. And to see the decline close up you should check out the site So what should we do with this new surfeit of empty big boxes surrounded by oceans of asphalt? There are a few good ideas submitted to Reburbia, a design competition to re-imagine suburbia. One suggestion from the Alabama-based architecture firm Forest Fulton suggests that perhaps the mall should see a reversal of a function and go from being:

a retailer of food – food detached from processes from which it came to be – to producer of food. The parking lot becomes a park-farm. The inside of the big box becomes a greenhouse and restaurant. Asphalt farming techniques allow for layering of soil, compost in containers on top of asphalt. The big box store’s roof is partially replaced with a greenhouse roof. Other details, such as the reversal of parking lot light poles into solar trees that hold photovoltaics can be implemented. One can imagine pushing a shopping cart through this suburban farm and picking your produce right from the vine, with the option to bring your harvest to the restaurant chef for preparation and eating your harvest on the spot.

See more finalists in the Reburbia design competition.

AT&T’s Bumpy Business

October 22nd, 2009 by Jeff | 0

AT&T is making good money thanks to the iPhone. It gained nearly $1 billion in new wireless net income in this past year. But the company’s wireline business is declining so rapidly all the profits are eaten up and third-quarter profit fell 1.2%, year-over-year.


September 14th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

There’s growing evidence that going to a 4-day, 40-hour workweek has great benefits for workers and the environment. For the past year, more than 17,000 state employees in Utah have shifted to a Monday to Thursday schedule.

For those workplaces, there’s no longer a need to turn on the lights, elevators or computers on Fridays—nor do janitors need to clean vacant buildings. Electric bills have dropped even further during the summer, thanks to less air-conditioning: Friday’s midday hours have been replaced by cooler mornings and evenings on Monday through Thursday. As of May, the state had saved $1.8 million.

With less people commuting on Friday, the state estimates the new hours have reduced air pollution by an estimated 12,000 metric tons of CO2. And after surveying workers over the past year, there were other surprising findings: 30 percent surveyed said they exercised more, took fewer sickdays, and increased volunteerism.

California Stimulus Map

September 10th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Check how federal stimulus money is being spent in California in this great interactive map.

Layoffs From a Shortage of Dutch Criminals

May 25th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

The Netherlands doesn’t have enough criminals. The Dutch justice ministry announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in their prison system because of the declining crime rate in the country.

The Two Happiest Days in a Boat Owner’s Life

April 2nd, 2009 by Jeff | 0

If you’ve still got a job, it would also be a good time to buy a boat. Or just pick one up that’s beached in some slough.

How the Mess Started

March 26th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

If you’re looking for more clues as to how Depression 2.0 started, a good place to start is when the Republican-lead 106th Congress voted on November 5, 1999 to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

One Republican Senator, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, voted against the legislation. He was joined by seven Democrats: Barbara Boxer of California, Richard H. Bryan of Nevada, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, Mr. Dorgan and Mr. Wellstone.

In the House, 155 Democrats and 207 Republicans voted for the measure, while 51 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 1 independent opposed it. Fifteen members did not vote.

…”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota.

The Burgeoning Hoovervilles of the California

March 25th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

The New York Times has a slideshow of the new tent cities of California. Homeless enclaves have grown in places such as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla., but the situation in Sacramento has received extra attention following a visit from Oprah Winfrey. In Fresno, where the city estimates more than 2,000 of the cities 500,000 residents are homeless, the city planned to begin “triage” on the encampments soon, We’re treating it like any other disaster area, says Gregory Barfield, the city’s homeless prevention and policy manager. Read more about these new shanty towns in our midst.

Tough Times in the Inland Empire

March 8th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

It’s spooky, at night, to see so much darkness, to hear skittering, to keep an eye out for homeless people trying to break in and sleep, to listen for the sounds of desperate humans and animals. This is not a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie, it’s novelist Susan Straight’s description of her neighborhood in Riverside, California where the unemployment rate is 12.2%.

Nine Figure Sendoff

February 25th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Take a look at the huge golden parachutes top financial execs have taken during the current industry melt down. For example, Angelo Mozilo, the guy who founded Countrywide Financial, retired with a $188 million parachute.

How to Get the Job

February 18th, 2009 by Jeff | 2 comments

Tough times like these call for a real kick-ass resume.


January 28th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

The Atlantic has a nice graphic displaying the changes in American society and government since 2000. Read the sources for the map.


Squatting in the ‘Burbs

January 28th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

In Miami, a group called Take Back the Land is moving homeless families into previously empty, foreclosed homes. And a lot of people are happy about the situation: the neighbors prefer it to an empty sometimes-looted shell next door, the police don’t mind, the banks don’t mind –and even prefer that someone’s doing a little upkeep on their property.

Toyota Hybrid-Hybrid

June 5th, 2007 by Jeff | 0

That 60mpg you’re getting from your Prius just not good enough? Then slap some solar panels on it. SEV, a Southern California solar company has developed a system that improves the fuel economy of Toyota hybrids by up to 29% by putting high efficiency mono-crystalline photovoltaic cells on the roof of the car. The SEV system also qualifies for Federal renewable energy tax credits of up to $2,000.

The Other 90%

May 29th, 2007 by Jeff | 0

Here’s a business plan for you: A billion customers in the world, entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Paul Polakis was quoted in this New York Times article as saying, are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house. Take a look at the great, cheap ideas at the Cooper Hewitt show, Design for the other 90%.