Pluto, car-free prizes…

– Leon Wieseltier at TNR offers today’s neologism: pluto-porn. No, not a Disney ripoff, but obsequious coverage of the fantastically wealthy.

– Here’s a new approach to TDM: free beer, a free bicycle, and public adulation, just for handing over your car keys. Too bad this touring festival’s only out West this year. [New Belgium Brewing – Follow Your Folly]

– Oh, a man can dream. Paul Nussbaum’s report on Pennsylvania’s transit bailout, from the 19 July Inky:

Promising an end to the annual brinkmanship over SEPTA funding, Gov. Rendell yesterday signed a landmark transportation law to provide an average of almost $1 billion more a year for transit and highways over the next 10 years.

Surrounded by smiling legislators who a week earlier were at each others’ throats, Rendell signed the transportation bill in the warm confines of 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby as evening commuters rushed past…

The law will provide $300 million in new funding for mass transit and $450 million in new money for highways and bridges this fiscal year, with the total rising to $1.07 billion by 2016.

The money will come from future toll increases on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, anticipated new tolls on Interstate 80, and 4.4 percent of the revenue from the state sales tax…

State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.), the House Appropriations Committee chairman who vowed to block the state budget until mass transit was provided for, said yesterday: “I don’t know why this had to be so hard.”

“I’ve been fighting for this for decades,” said Evans, who said the measure would provide many new jobs, both directly and indirectly.

Not sure if SEPTA’s elimination of transfers (now in litigation) is an attempt to sell more passes or what.

– Carbon trading in Illinois could raise $2B a year for state government. [Redefining Progress: Climate Action Plan for Illinois]

– Flooded subways and tornadoes shut down NYC: a taste of headlines to come? [Environmental Defense] Not quite as dire as the forecast for the West, though: less snow, less water, more flooding, more drought and fires: boats stranded at dry marinas, ski towns engulfed by flame, cracked and dusty lettuce fields, cities browned out during heat waves. [Clear the Air] Fake headlines from the future describing localized effects of global warming could be a useful way to teach people about the issue — even here in the country’s sea-proof yet water-rich inland metropolis. [Prairie Home Companion]

– Last week’s Crain’s included an interesting package on four retail-starved new neighborhoods downtown: West Loop, South Loop, Streeterville, and (interestingly) University Village. [ChicagoBusiness]

Gregg Easterbrook in an LA Times op-ed about his horsepower argument:

Please don’t counter that “no one can tell me what I can drive.” The Constitution says you’ve got a right to own a gun and to read a newspaper. Firearms and [speech] are the only categories of possessions given protected status by the Constitution; courts consistently rule that vehicles on public roads can be regulated for public purposes such as safety.

And, two related legal cites that will doubtless come in handy in the future:

“All property is acquired and held under the tacit condition that it shall not be used so as to injure the equal rights of others, or to destroy or greatly impair the public rights and interests of the community; under the maxim of the common law, Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas.” (‘One must so use their property as not to injure that of another.’) – Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw, Commonwealth vs. Tewksbury, 1846

And one on regulation; I like the reference to population density.

“Upon [the police power] depends the security of the social order, the life and health of the citizen, the comfort of an existence in a thickly populated community, the enjoyment of private and social life, and the beneficial use of property. As says another eminent judge, ‘Persons and property are subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the State.’ (Thorpe vs. Rutland & Burlington R.R. Co., 27 Vt. 139, 1854).” (Slaughter House Cases, 1872)

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