Death-Defying Houses, Egregious Mortgage Schemes, Obama’s Lackluster Record, more!

A House Not for Mere Mortals
-The New York Times

THE house is off-limits to children, and adults are asked to sign a waiver when they enter. The main concern is the concrete floor, which rises and falls like the surface of a vast, bumpy chocolate chip cookie … But, for Arakawa, 71, an artist who designed the house with his wife, Madeline Gins, the floor is a delight, as well as a proving ground.”

Sweeping Bills Passed To Help Homeowners
-The Washington Post

“Maryland lawmakers passed some of the nation’s most ambitious legislation to control the housing crisis yesterday by toughening oversight of the mortgage-lending industry and establishing preemptive measures to help people at risk of foreclosure … Taken together, Maryland’s bills are among the most sweeping in the country as legislatures from California to Florida consider proposals to stem the escalating rate of foreclosures.”

Chicago School Days: Obama’s Lackluster Record on Education
-Slate

“Still. For several months, Obama didn’t indicate clearly where his sympathies lay. He didn’t join with protesters and other legislators who swarmed public events denouncing the Vallas proposal. He didn’t talk to the press about the importance of community engagement for schools or the unfairness of diminishing the influence of the 5,500 elected LSC members. Obama kept tabs on the negotiations through his staff, met occasionally with local-control advocates, and, according to those who were involved, sometimes provided ideas and advice in private. But that was about it. Some local advocates weren’t even sure whether he would ultimately be on their side or not. And many worried that without someone like Obama to stop it, the Vallas juggernaut would overrun any opposition.”

Seattle officials propose 20-cent grocery-bag fee
-Seattle Times

“Next time the cashier says “paper or plastic,” think outside the bags. Think about ocean pollution, giant landfills and global warming, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says … Then think to next year, when you might have to either pull out a reusable tote or pay 20 cents a bag.”

Puerto Rican governor’s indictment splits political scene
-Miami Herald

“Puerto Rico Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá tried to make his stroll down Old San Juan for an afternoon cup of coffee the other day look casual, but the gaggle of reporters and photographers following him gave it away: The U.S. commonwealth is in a political tailspin … A recent 27-count indictment of Acevedo and 12 allies capped three years of political turmoil, further dividing an already fractious political scene.”

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