Wednesday, March 4, 2009

books, St. Patrick's Day and taxes

I've been out of the world, so the speak, for the past three weeks proofreading one book and finishing the manuscript of another. I don't normally do this, nor do I recommend this to anyone. The first book was delayed, so it's final deadline fell smack in the middle of the newer book.

Writers are like sharks. If we don't keep moving words on the page, we die. The most recent book is entitled "The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome," in which I deconstruct the housing crisis from a cultural, economic and ecological perspective. I invented a word in this book (or at least I think I did) -- the "spurb" -- a repugnant term for a sprawling urban area unconnected to a central city. This unsustainable kind of place was overleveraged, short on resources and public transportation and now hosts the lion's share of foreclosures.

In Cul-de-Sac, I don't specifically point the finger at greedy investment bankers, brokers or real estate agents (although they are certainly at fault to some degree), I blame the culture that set us up to believe that homeownership was a rite of the American Dream. It will be published by Bloomberg Press in June.

The latest work is about the Obama economic plan entitled "The Audacity of HELP." I wanted to analyze the stimulus plan and what it will mean for you and the future of the country. Since this is an evolving story, it's like trying to catch a bird in mid-flight. It's hitting the bookstores in August and will offer some unique insights into Obama's special brand of social capitalism, which is adept at addressing short-term problems but may come up short on the monster issues of Social Security, Medicare and health care reform.

After I finished these two projects, I was as tired as a hunting dog who finally caught up with the fox.

I'm looking forward to a spring break with my family to Washington the end of the month. We're going to try to get into a White House tour and we've already booked a Capitol tour.

In the interim, we have St. Patrick's Day -- a big holiday in my house. I'll be playing with my local lads "The Prairie Fogg" some jigs, reels, slip jigs, hornpipes and a polka.

The following day my non-profit group the Citizens Action Project will release our second white paper on appealing property taxes ( Let me know what you think. We will present it and hold a forum of local assessors at the Byron Colby Barn (route 45 and Jones Point Road in Grayslake, IL) on March 16 at 7pm. See you there!

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