Sunday, December 13, 2009

Green jobs growth buck the trend


'Green economy' growing in California despite recession - San Jose Mercury News:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free admission to Ecotarium and Higgins tomorrow

AuburnSchools Smithsonian Magazine presents Museum Day. Enjoy free admission to many local museums on Saturday, 10/26.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healthier school lunches

Good article here on the bill in Congress now called the Child Nutrition Act

DrAyalaWash. Post: School Lunch Punch: The wisdom of spending more money to provide healthier meals.

Whole foods has a program to assist with making lunches healthier called school lunch revolution.


The lunch box is an online tool to help plan healthier choices from Chef Ann Cooper (the self-named renegade lunch lady who teamed with Whole Foods).

5 tips here:

Some local programs along these lines

BEDFORD Kids Cooking Green Lori Deliso 781-863-6375
BOSTON Countdown to Kindergarten Sonia N.Gómez-Banrey 617-635-6816 26 Court Street 6th FL
Boston, MA 02108
CAMBRIDGE City Sprouts Jane Hirschi 617-876-2436 25 River Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
FRAMINGHAM McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School Ben Zimmerman 847-477-4616 25 Clinton Street
Framingham, MA 02155
NEWTONVILLE John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club David Sellers
NEWTONVILLE Waltham Fields Community Farms Claire Kozower 781-899-2403

Benefit of climate legislation and other environmental acts

Business often speaks of the cost side of environmental law, what about the benefits?

This is something often ignored on the local level as well - what is the benefit of spending money on open space or clean water for our town. They tend to be longer term strategic interests.


So, given that the Waxman-Markey bill would curb emissions over the next 40 years, it’s a pretty simple job to tally up the potential benefits: about $1.5 trillion on the middle-of-the-road estimate. The benefits could be as low as $382 billion or as high as $5.2 trillion, depending on how you fiddle with the numbers.

Since Waxman-Markey is meant to cost about $660 billion, that means the bill provides $2.27 in benefits for every dollar spent, the brief concludes. That doesn’t include extra benefits—cleaner air from a cleaned-up power sector, for instance. And it suggests that even tougher greenhouse-gas targets in the Senate version of the bill would make an even more compelling economic argument.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some goals for a school in the new age

Got this through the FCC's blog on broadband via a whitehouse tweet

whitehouseFCC Chairman Julius Genachowski blogs an update on the National Broadband Plan

Later that afternoon, I participated in a panel about education and broadband. I could not stop thinking that every high school student in the U.S. should be able to watch the Feynman lectures on physics online (requires Silverlight 3.0) from their home as many times as needed until they truly understand why physics and math are both important and cool. Every parent should be able to look up their child’s homework assignments for next week on the web. Every teacher should be able to access the best pedagogic content in the world to meet their student’s needs. And ours kids must be able to go to school without carrying bags weighing 20lbs. How to get there is a great challenge, as broadband is actually just a small piece of this puzzle. We will be looking at a different facet of broadband and education Wednesday afternoon in a workshop on broadband’s impact on job training programs

Access to Feynman is a moving and a great example. That application needs low delay/latecy characteristics, something say 6Mb Mobile Broadband service will fail to support because of the delay characteristics.

Here I listed a set of applications to be support a minimum service.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good tweet on what local government can do to combat obesity

from CR ...

Ways your local government can help prevent childhood obesity

* Zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants near schools
* Taxes on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks
* Increasing access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods through supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores
* Eliminating outdoor ads for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks near schools
* Requiring calorie and other nutritional information on restaurant menus
* Rerouting buses or developing other transportation strategies that ensure people can get to grocery stores
* Collaborating with schools to develop and implement a "Safe Routes to School program" to increase the number of children safely walking and bicycling to schools.
* Building and maintaining parks and playgrounds that are safe and in close proximity to residential areas.
* Regulating play space, physical equipment, and duration of play in preschool, after-school, and child-care programs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Everything passes ...

Sometimes you have a town meeting and it's almost a formality.

Such was the case last night.

Everything the town leaders wanted they got including the meal tax, which to my dismay will raise the price of a Bud Light and a mai tai by ... oh a several tenths of a percent. But the point is it's the principle of a tax on restaurants and bars which will hurt the servers (in theory) more than anyone. The amount is a pittance, but then again it opens the door.

The hotel tax I voted for and believe in. To put it nicely additional "services" are required for the many transient residents of town recently. Umm ... ya. Get a police scanner or ask around at the barbershop and you'll understand what's going on there - it's the seedy underbelly of town really at this point and of some concern for residents. I wouldn't let your kids have parties at the motel if you care about them IMO. Not to mention additional emergency services needed.

I suppose the argument can be made given the disproportionate number of DUIs the town gives out that serving in restaurants needs to be offset for the dangers that are presented by those under the influence on our roadways. But to me there's less of a case there because those costs are borne in large part by those who get caught.

The other motions all passed too.

Nick made some good points that we have the money. Of course this is a bit duplicitous when the alarm cry comes (every year it seems) that we need spending freezes and the like that we're in dire fiscal emergency. Then again that seems to be the MO for keeping costs in line in the local government. Otherwise as mentioned all this money gets set aside for months or even years without positions being filled. This whole business needs to be streamlined and I think my hope is the eventual town manager will reorchestrate some of it.

I mean we have $1.2M in the reserve account. And open positions etc. The budgets have ballooned in the past 5 or so years and we need to appreciate the facts there that the cost of doing government here locally is growing way faster than income required to pay for it.

Then again on the other side, given the hurt in the real estate market I'd imagine collections may suffer for it. Although according to the TA collections are actually ahead by $25K locally. Here we go again - the little town that could is overacheiving expectations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some more stuff - Google's foreclosure maps

Check this out - Google has foreclosure maps now. Why buy from a Realtor ...

auburn ma - Google Maps

Prices look like the late 90s - ranging from $75K to $250K.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We're hurtin

Mass is a high state when it comes to foreclosures, particularly Worcester county

See this map for state and this one for Worcester County, which has a total of almost 1600 bank-owned properties featured.

Auburn is on page 153 or so if you sort by name reverse alphabetically (if that makes sense). See if this link works. Many properties under $100K in town, one on school st for $1 (must have some liens on it or something).

On the upside if you have some money, given low interest rates you could pick up some properties for depressed prices!

btw there's probably a way to get this list or if you know what you're doing just investigate on your own to get around the commission they likely charge. Although I'm not sure of the details ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Charter change with no ch 43B or elected charter commission

Yes we did it. It's not illegal. We petitioned the legislature for a special act and they did it.

go here:

City and Town Charters - Adoption, Revision and Amendments "Under the Home Rule Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution (Amendment Article 89) and the Home Rule Procedures Act (MGL Ch. 43B), cities and towns can form a charter commission to adopt a new charter; entirely revise an existing charter, or amend selected charter provisions. As an option to the Home Rule Charter process under Ch. 43B, communities can also adopt, revise or amend a charter by a special act of the State Legislature with approval by the Governor (See Special Acts ). "

Tesla gets funding for an awesome Li-ion car

This is a company that produces an electric supercar. It's a plug-in, not a hybrid and can go 0-60 in about 3.9 seconds. This is a $100K car we're talking about here.

It uses a large Lithium ion battery, the same technology that Boston Power wants to manufacture here in town.

Anyway yesterday they got a nice loan under the stimulus package to continue and expand their work, for a more modest car called the S. Programs like this can use federal funding as many times the technology isn't going to provide a return quick enough or is considered too risky for private money.
"We have a historic opportunity to help ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America," the president said in a statement. "These loans -- and the additional support we will provide through the Section 136 programs -- will create good jobs and help the auto industry to meet and even exceed the tough fuel-economy standards we've set while helping retain our competitive edge in the world market."

on the road by the end of 2011.

"We are honored to receive one of the first loan awards in this program," company CEO Elon Musk said. "I'm confident we'll put the money to very productive use. We look forward to producing the Model S."

Tesla has long been counting on the loan to help it build the sedan it unveiled in March and had been in discussions with the agency for about nine months. It had sought $350 million to retool a factory to build the car and $100 million to manufacture battery packs and drivetrain components. Those packs and components will be used in vehicles built by Tesla and other automakers  most notably Daimler, which recently bought nearly 10 percent of Tesla to jump-start development of the Smart EV.

Some of the other front runners - got this tweet from CR

consumerreports Green carmakers may emerge as next U.S. car industry

The program is not the same as the grant that Boston Power wants to get, I believe that one is here

But it's just a reminder that good things are happening in this technological area, that will extend to things like the power plant (the batteries) and hopefully we'll in this geographic area be one of the beneficiaries of it, so long as the town handles things properly.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hospital medical costs

More good data from Consumer Reports on medical costs analysis. McAllen Texas, a border town, has the most expensive average care (that they have data for, they need more for instance Med city isn't on there - we've got so many hospitals in the area... probably a good thing)

Overtreatment: The lesson of McAllen, Texas : Consumer Reports Health Blog

some parts of the country spend a lot more on health care than other parts—but don’t get better results. John E. Wennberg, M.D., M.P.H., Elliott Fisher, M.D., M.P.H., and their colleagues at the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, who have spent several decades documenting and researching this issue, have estimated that if every place in the U.S. practiced the same kind of medicine as the most frugal places, we could cut costs by as much as 30 percent and still end up just as healthy.

Hospital cost comparison tool here - somewhat useful but they need more data/hospitals (we've got so many around here)

Your Hospital Stay - Compare Hospitals for Chronic Care

Umass medical comes in right about the middle, others in the area are way high like Mass General, Clinton; Harrington in Southbridge a bit too conservative probably. Don't get sick on the Cape either- way low.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fast food convenience costs a lot

Got this interesting tweet (which I'm addicted to btw it's awesome ;)

Fast-food nearby: Convenience, but at what cost?: Consumer Reports Health Blog

The study looked at how fast-food influences the overall quality of people's diets, particularly when these restaurants are plentiful nearby. Researchers pulled data from a survey of more than 5,600 adults ages 45 to 84 who lived in six urban areas. They used two scales to rate the quality of people's diets, looking at both positive factors (e.g., eating fruits and vegetables, fiber, and good fats) and negative (e.g., eating fatty and processed meats, fried potatoes, salty snacks, and desserts). People were also asked how often they ate fast-food in a week, and whether they had many fast-food restaurants within a mile of where they lived. For an objective measure of fast-food availability, the researchers also mapped the locations of fast-food chains nearby.

People who consumed fast-food at least once a week were two to three times more likely to have a poorer-quality diet than those who didn't eat any fast-food. And having more fast-food options close by decreased the odds of having a healthy diet by up to 17 percent. When working out these results, the researchers took into account factors known to influence what we eat, such as age, sex, race, education, and income. Doing this makes the link between fast-food and diet all the stronger.

Apparently the proximity of fast food has a health cost on the surrounding population. I can't help but wonder over the years the overweight, diabetes and high blood pressure caused as a side effect in our little town from all we have around ...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More about the eco-battery maker

Already a maker of 3 year eco-friendly Lithium Ion batteries for HP laptops, Boston Power is looking to get into transportation batteries with its new product called Swing.

There have been stories all over the place about the potential plant in our town and the stimulus money request. Here's one.

If Boston-Power receives the DOE funding, it plans to have the Massachusetts factory up and running in full-scale production in about three years after it begins work on the project, she said, adding that the company expects to hear back from the DOE in July and to begin work immediately, if it gets the thumbs-up.

Sounds like it could be a few years before they come online ... although you never know with these things.

It makes some sense that making the batteries for cars must be big (and heavy) therefore manufacturing them here saves the transport cost like the ones from China.

Kind of exciting about the potential for additional jobs here in addition to the 600 figure.

new so called "green jobs" and 2,000 indirect jobs are expected to be created through the facility according to the firm.

This probably doesn't count restaurants and hotels that might benefit, nor the increased property values from the higher paid workers who might be employed there and attracted to living here. A better market for home builders I would think ....

On another topic of concern to many (me included), as far as safety, they have earned the coveted "Nordic" label (the Scandinavians are sticklers about environment ;) for their technology ... from this website link:

Boston-Power is the first and only provider of rechargeable lithium-ion battery cells to earn the prestigious Nordic Ecolabel accreditation for its cell technology - all our cells carry the Nordic Ecolabel symbol. Created in 1989 and part of the Global Ecolabel Network, Nordic Ecolabel is the most stringent environmental product certification, and acknowledges companies like Boston-Power that are conscientious regarding the environmental impact of the production, usage and disposal of its products.

How does this help the environment? Boston-Power’s Nordic Ecolabel accreditation verifies that the company fulfills the criteria for long life, high capacity, and the smallest amounts of detrimental heavy metals (practically zero levels allowed). In fact, an independent study commissioned by the British government in 2008 named Nordic Ecolabel a "world leader" in environmental standards, indentifying its best practices in the area of certification of sustainability. To see the complete study, click here.

"It is an achievement that is well-deserved and also a testimony to their commitment to combine technical knowledge with environmental quality standards. It also proves that collaboration between the US and Europe can result in world-class products." says Ragnar Unge, CEO of Nordic Ecolabel in Sweden. "Boston-Power is the first US-based company ever to receive the Nordic Ecolabel. Boston-Power cares about today's consumers but also future generations. The Nordic Ecolabel vision is a sustainable consumerism to reach a sustainable world. Boston-Power is helping us achieve this goal."

Please click here to view our Sonata 4400 certification

Please click here to view our Swing 4400 certification.

Pretty impressive! Saving the world starting with the local economy - it's a win win win all around ....

Monday, June 1, 2009

More good news for Auburn!

Maybe Beth Prouty was right - we don't need to promote business in town, we can deal with a dual tax rate just fine thanks.

This very encouraging story about a high tech battery company planning to locate in town, to create up to 600 new quality jobs! Some of this is pending stimulus money from the fedgov to start this, but it's a glimmer of major hope for our local economy.

A great development if it pans out. I would strongly encourage the town government to fast track this one. I do have some concerns about toxics with battery manufacture, although given they are planning use of state of the art technology that should be addressable.

All in all I have to think this is REALLY good news for Auburn! And I think it points out the fact that things really aren't all that bad around here as far as prospects, economic outlook and comparative position of our businesses vs other areas. We have low unemployment, a stable growth story, good resources and infrastructure and great location. Dual tax rate or not ....

Friday, May 22, 2009

The revolution in Auburn continues

Well, turnout was a little light at around 18%, but we got a bunch of new developments in town yesterday!

Two new BOS members - Mr Hicks and Ms Goodrich, one new on School Committee and Wayne was re-elected (Page and Hammond) AND we have a new charter! The charter vote was really close but since this passed there are really sweeping changes coming for the whole structure of town government.

One change I spoke with the clerk about that I may propose for town meeting is to actually change the hours of the annual town election. Two things she asked for and didn't get that would really help turnout, which to be honest is well below where it should be. Both involve the timing of the election itself.

Moving from Thursday to Tuesday makes a lot of sense. I think most towns hold election like the Presidential election on Tuesday. Having it on Thursday leads to a lot of confusion and frankly even this time of year folks are getting away for an extended weekend (I know of at least two who did this yesterday).

Also most folks who work, and we have a low unemployment STILL in our town something to be proud of, would appreciate opening the polls at 7 vs 8 AM as it is now. So changing from 7AM-8PM would be my other suggestion.

But, overall we had quite a change yesterday and it'll be interesting to see how things progress as time goes on - congratulations to all who ran and let's make this new charter work for the town!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vote today!

There's an election for school committee, Board of selectmen and on the new charter.

Polls are open 8-8 - get out of the house it's a nice day!

ps - Wave as you go by I'll be holding a sign for Eleena around midday :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Waste treatment funds

Looks like we got $$ for the waste water treatment plant we use from the federal stimulus package.


Wonder if the sewer bill will go down now (roll eyes ;).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Updates from the Fox TV ziptrip

Here's the site

There's a bunch of video and photos etc as well as a nice backgrounder I learned a lot from.

We're #1 for the book drive btw - thanks in large part to Bryn Mawr library and book fair - have to thank Eleena again for running that one and putting a big effort ... she volunteers a lot of time (actually to the detriment of our laundry pile many weeks, gonna kill me for saying that but, the people need to know the sacrifices being made for our town and kids haha ;)

Also we have a wiki:,_Massachusetts

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's a beautiful day for Auburn

What a great morning we had on the Fox ziptrip - I gotta hand it to the local affiliate . There was quite a crowd there early for the broadcast from Goddard park down at the fire station.

Obviously kudos again to Kristin, my wife Eleena and everyone who helped make this happen and come together. I think the more that show our town in a good light like this the better people will feel about it and the more we'll attract good people to our town and serving our community.

Which by the way, I think the town meeting last night was really something to feel good about as well.

Two major things - the budget proposal obviously the unions, departments, finance, BOS, schools really everyone came together and put together a very workable sensible plan for finances this year. It was nice that we are ahead of many other towns in this respect - we've got the "extra" $800K or so into stabilization for the seemingly inevitable budget cuts to come, as well as new growth in levy, some room in the levy limit before any prop 2 1/2 issues. And to have the schools propose a budget that was in line with what finance and BOS came up with - that really helps smooth out the process which frankly was very uncomfortable last year. Think of where we would be also if we had gone with a larger budget in 09. This is not to say there isn't hardship in this budget because it's clear everyone is feeling some of it.

Also on the articles - pretty much all of them passed with flying colors with the exception of the weed control which was split. I was torn but voted for it given the relatively small size of the amount. I see the issue with cuts and that everyone was trying to cut back. But as they mentioned nature doesn't care about budgets those weeds are going to try and grow their hardest despite any financial issues we might have. Hopefully town meeting members in the precincts affected will remember this when Stoneville comes with proposals in the future like this because we definitely need it in our watershed soon.

The other proposal I was really glad we voted for was something I blogged about a while back - impact fees legislation. It's not going to be easy, but this really enables us to not have to punish the whole for the burdens thrust on us from a few. We have to be careful and try and learn how Cape Cod did this because in general the SJC in Mass doesn't like them. So legislation has to be crafted in such a way as to be fair. It does hold the promise of providing a buffer for the town in terms of revenues or fees for large developments that can offset the costs such as police fire and largely schools.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zero hour PE

Cross-posted here.

Zero Hour PE - a before school (or early) fitness class and the effects on student acheivement.

The emphasis is NOT on expensive team sports here but rather on individual fitness, which serves the most students and brings the best results.

Long story short: Fitter body, smarter brain.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Evidence of bigfoot found in Auburn

I've always had a suspicion that the legendary Sasquatch that the Nipmuc Indian tribes referred to in their unwritten oral history exists here in Auburn. As shown here in archive footage in a local stream fishing next to a bear, 150 years ago, before the Industrial Revolution, it wasn't uncommon to see them every day. In fact there are many accounts in areas like Auburn Pond, Drury Square and even mentions in Artemis Wards diaries of encounters with the affable but dangerous when riled animals here in Worcester County.

Well, as luck would have it, as I was out scouting around I saw evidence in my own yard of the beast! This spring certain nights, I have been hearing something outside rummaging around my trash can, but I put it down to local politicians looking for scraps. Well, after this there is no doubt - it's a Sasquathus giganticus Auburnus, the giant Auburn Sasquatch. You can see his spore next to the trash can here.

Apparently, he likes Miller Lite.

and as shown here, he tried to consume ... a stalk of broccoli, but it wasn't to his liking because he didn't finish it.

Although he did relieve himself in the sand. As you can see in this exclusive photographic proof, the hominid was standing apparently unable to contain himself. Or maybe he just had too many Lites.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Formula big box stores impact mitigation

Cross-posted from Dennis

I realize we're pretty far down that road here in town (there's a pun there somewhere with all the roads ;) but given the issues with Lowes and the like, some ideas ...




The other thing you realize is - the impact of empty boxes. Take a look around on Rt 12. There are risks for building these ugly monstrosities if/when they go out of business. We need to be in it for the long haul and respect the branding/look of the town in planning.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gateway Partners success story

Nice story in the Worcester Business Journal about Gateway park. My alma mater WPI is a major tenant in the complex and now - they need to expand! Jim McGovern was integral in obtaining federal money to help with the development of the place - think it was a brownfield also - toxic site that they helped rehab into a state of the art biotech area.

And - check out the additional tax money they generate for the city each year! Auburn would be well-served by a project like this, I'm thinking particularly in the area of the new "gateway highway district" or whatever down on Rt 12.

The results include an MBI business incubator facility and the tenancy of both RXI Pharmaceuticals and Blue Sky Biotech in the WPI building. Today, 226 people work in its various companies and academic units. The building is bursting at the seams, and additional facilities are needed for expansion of the growing life science companies—facilities that pay property taxes. This year, Gateway Park will pay Worcester nearly $300,000 in property taxes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vernal pool certification in Massachusetts

Here in town, we have very few certified vernal pools. This I believe is because no one has documented them - we've got water everywhere here in town! Neighboring towns have many more that are documented that don't have our water resources.

These pools are an important part of the ecosystem as they hold water for a short period of time in the spring (coming up in the next month or so) but are not connected to other water normally, so large fish and such can't predate on species that breed there. They are protected also by special laws from encroachment by developers. But you have to get out and document them. I'd encourage people who are interested to take the time in the next month to document areas of vernal pools they suspect.

Photo of dry pool

Here's some links to how to do that from

Overview of documentation process

Certification form for Massachusetts

Maps to show the location

USGS topographic map. All certification packets must contain a copy of a section of the appropriate USGS topographic map with the location of the pool marked. Locate your pool on the map while in the field so that you can reference your actual location with the various features shown on the map. Take the time to check the immediate area to see if there are other potential vernal pools which might be confused with the one you are maping. Label your copy of the map with the map name as shown on the cover page. If you are using a GPS unit, make note of the longitude/latitude readings. There is a space for this optional information on the certification form.

In addition to the USGS topographic map, you need one or more additional maps.

Links to additional map examples

Additional information needed





Provide the following evidence:
dry vernal poolPhotograph of the pool basin without water.The photograph of the dry basin indicates that the vernal pool does not have a permanent fish population. If the pool is almost dry, you should provide a photograph of the pool in that condition and an affidavit indicating that repeated sampling of the remaining water yielded no fish.

Photograph of facultative species which are persistent after pool drying. Some of the facultative species persist or leave remains when the pool dries. Look among the dried leaves on the pool bottom for the shells of air-breathing snails and fingernail clams. Dig in the damp soil for fingernail clam adults and juveniles. Check the plants in and around the pool for the shed skins (exuvia) of dragonflies and damselflies which have emerged from the pool.
Any one of the following photographs would be suitable evidence for vernal pool certification of a dry pool.
caddisfly case in dry pool fingernail clam shells shells of fingernail clams and amphibious snails

Evidence from a dry pool via shells etc of mollusks

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stimulus without local aid?

Well all those wish lists might be gone from the stimulus package.

It makes the least sense in a way as this AP story puts it

Among the most difficult cuts for the White House and its liberal allies to accept was the elimination of $40 billion in aid to states, money that economists say is an efficient way to pump up the economy by preventing layoffs, cuts in services or tax increases.

Tough times for libertarians like Ron Paul. But Mr Paul should realize that the giveaways in terms of tax cuts and bank bailouts have passed over the majority of the middle class, who have been seen more as a source of exploiting fees from over the past 20 years than building a breadth of strength in the economy.

Personally, I like to think as a pragmatist I'm not encumbered by ideology. And lately I'm buying into the idea of a changing nature of government involvement in the economy. Republicans and conservatives are fond of mentioning (and it sounds good) that "government never created a job". But really that's nonsense. Research, construction, defense ... in fact the government is one of the ways to most quickly create jobs and in times like these, when banks have frozen things up and consumers are tapped out, one of the best ways to do that across the broad economy.

So additional school buildings, or infrastructure improvements are on the chopping block in the Senate version of the bill. This is kind of the opposite of what's needed in my opinion. Energy, education and construction even broadband improvements are exactly what's needed. Our rich Chinese overlords realize this by the way and have slated about a trillion in infrastructure spending. Of course they are spending the money from savings and we are borrowing. But in bad times that's what we need to do. Unfortunately thanks to Bush we ran up huge deficits in good times.