Archive for December 7th, 2012

Welcome to my neighborhood: A highly selective guided tour of the place where I live

December 7, 2012

By Matthew E. Milliken
Dec. 7, 2012

Author’s note: I edited this entry slightly on Dec. 11, 2012, to correct the spelling of kabab (not kabob, as I originally had it) in a restaurant name. I’ll link to follow-up posts to this item once they’re online. Thanks for reading! MEM 


In the fall of 2011, I moved out of a very nice but bug-ridden old two-bedroom house in a lovely neighborhood. My new home, which was a much smaller and somewhat more affordable two-bedroom house, was just a mile away. Naturally, the neighborhood was…not quite as nice.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my neighbors, I hasten to add. The only ones I have spoken to live to one side of my house and across the street, and they’re fine. There are some other folks nearby whom I’ll wave at, but to whom I’ve really not spoken. Everyone seems pleasant. It’s basically a lower-middle class or working-class area.

A few families seem to be on their way up. Many are basically holding in place, including some older folks and people whom I see often enough that they may be on disability or else unemployed. A few might be on their way down. Some of the houses look lovely; rather more of them have a certain air of neglect and subtly advancing chaos that are at the least less elegant. There is a house near mine that appears to be vacant but has not been boarded up or vandalized.

The foot traffic that passes my house is much more diverse than the folks I used to see in my old home. There are definitely some sketchy people about. But I’ve never felt particularly nervous in my neighborhood.  Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: Fossil fuel subsidies

December 7, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, relaying information from a recent International Energy Agency report, shows just how much various governments subsidize fossil fuels — and consequently hints at how difficult it could be to stop using them.

In 2011, such subsidies amounted to $523 billion globally, says the IEA, up almost 30% from 2010 and six times greater than subsidies for renewable energy.

Source: Michael Klare, “World Energy Report 2012: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Truly Ugly,”, Nov. 27, 2012.

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