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Showing posts from February, 2015

Great Depression-Era Planning

The Great Depression era contributed significantly to planning and community-building as we know it today. Due in large part to the urgency to stimulate the economy and work efficiently with limited resources, the 1930's introduced macro-level planning and development that we still hold valuable today. Here are three planning projects and programs birthed out of depression-era innovation.

Federal government provision of low-cost housing. Established first of all for improving the housing of the poor. The second purpose was to expand construction as a way to stimulate the economy. The government is still involved in low-cost housing, although most of the financial support, for capital and operations, is now facilitated by public housing authorities.Planning the interstate highway system. The idea picked up momentum then stalled due to World War II. It eventually reappeared as the National Defense Highway Act of 1956. This authorized the building of the interstate highway system- the…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Willie "PDub" Moore Jr. & Bizzle- Best of Both Worlds

Best of Both Worlds is a collaborative album between singer Willie "PDub" Moore Jr. and rapper Bizzle. Although they have collaborated on each other's songs before, Best of Both Worlds is twelve top-quality tracks showcasing their unique blend and unshakable passion for Christ.

Originally released on Feb. 7, 2012, the project's title describes exactly what the album is- the best of both r&b and hip-hop.

"Loves Comes" is soulful. Keyboards, 808's, percussion, and a compressor effect provide an intimate background to PDub's and Bizzle's descriptions of their personal love affairs with God. It details God's grace, protection, peace, strength, His Word, and, yes, His love.

Turn the volume up on "Get Low." That is a total oxymoron, but "Get Low" is a hype joint, with a potent message- walking in humility before God. The duo rhythmically explain our inferiority in light of God's supremacy, excellency, and greatness. God…

Sermon Recap: Grace

Brief recap of the sermon from Bishop Thomas today at Community Fellowship Church.

Coming from Ephesians 2:8-10, the message was about grace. There were three points that I would like to share.

God chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). It had nothing to do with how good we are, were, or ever will be.God loves no one more than His Only Son, Jesus. Yet, He put us in the same place as His Son when He accepted us "in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).Grace is a gift. We did not earn it. God provided grace and brought us to Himself for His own "good pleasure" (Ephesians 1:5). We were chosen by Him. Bishop tells us that GRACE is an acronym for God's Riches At Christ's Expense. It is God's unmerited favor. All we can do is accept it and walk it in!
God loves us so much that He sent His Only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. By Jesus' sacrifice, we are saved. Salvation by grace through faith- that is a gift! 

Antonio Neal: Always Encouraging

Antonio Neal is a multiple Dove-award recipient and GRAMMY and Stellar award-nominated artist.

My cousin, Kim, first introduced us at a creative writing workshop he was facilitating in Nashville, Tennessee. His story of going from a college basketball player to a full-time artist is simply incredible. God has given him wisdom far beyond his years, compassion to help artists realize their dreams, and a love for life.

Antonio gives, gives, and gives more. I have lots of pages of notes taken from that workshop on February 6, 2012. It was a life-changer.

Antonio encourages and uplifts others almost involuntarily, like it is second nature. That is one of the many gifts God has given him. I have compiled a few of his wise, inspiring, and encouraging Facebook statuses that I would like to share with you. God encourages him, he encourages me, and I hope these words encourage you.

You have a beautiful life. You're full of much potential that could help so many people. You are an original. G…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Randy Rothwell- Army of God

Recorded in 1988, Army of God by Randy Rothwell is one of many gems from the Hosanna! Music Praise and Worship series, which recorded two decades of praise and worship songs that are revolutionized praise and worship, as we know it.

Army of God is comprised of thirteen triumphant and declarative songs straight to the Lord. No circumstantial lyrics, no hidden meaning- all the music is purely about boasting in God and jubilation for sending Christ to be our Redeemer and Savior.

There are fast ones like the opening track "Glory, Glory to the King," "Not by Might nor Power," and "Jesus, Jesus, Glorious One." The song titles, alone, give you a hint of the lyrical structure. This album is all about hailing Jesus as King.

There are also slower, intimate songs like "Heal Our Land," "All We Like Sheep," and "Yahweh is Holy." These songs are powerful and invite God's Presence to join you, right where you are.

Each song is richly orc…

Presidents and Economic Development

Happy President's Day!!!

Here are a few major economic development projects initiated by some of our Presidents:

George Washington (1st)- Created the Bank of the United States

Thomas Jefferson (3rd)- Doubled the size of America with the Louisiana Purchase

Abraham Lincoln (16th)- Championed the Transcontinental Railroad and Morrill Act

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (26th)- Opened global trade with the creation of the Panama Canal

Dwight Eisenhower (34th)- Signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 creating our Interstate Highway System

Our Presidents continue to be catalysts for social and economic change. Just last month, President Barack Obama (44th) stated in his annual State of the Union Address:

"Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?"
- President Barack Obama
State of the Union, January 20, 2015

Being President is n…

The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership

Economic Development and Urban Planning are public professions. Practitioners are mainly employed by governments, chambers of commerce, development authorities, and planning agencies that are either totally and/or partially funded by tax dollars.

Working as a public official, means among many things, being a community leader.

While interning at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, I was given a library of economic development books by my supervisor. Those books framed, and continue to shape, my thinking and perspective as an Economic Developer and Planner.

I found the e-version of one of those books and would like to share it with you, The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership.

Regardless of the profession, if you are aspiring to pursue a career in the public sector, this quick and easy read is highly recommended.


The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership

Government Does...

Here are three critical reasons for government's participation and intervention in the free market system. 
Technology- As long as technology increases its power to affect our social and natural environment, it is highly likely that public supervision will also increase. Urbanization- Urbanization creates the necessity for centralized administration. City life has its ups and downs. Humans cannot live in crowded areas with out police, public health, traffic, sanitation, and more complex educational facilities than those needed in rural settings. Government is, and always has been, concentrated in cities. As a nation urbanizes, it requires more government. Economic Malfunction- The existence and causes of market malfunction make government intervention inescapable. This is not a plea for more government, but we can seek to use government power and resources to repair market failures to strengthen the free market's operation as a whole.  This is no criticism to the market system…

Job Creation and the Gold Standard

Some revelations, research, and realities for your information and intrigue...

Small and medium-sized businesses are typically locally owned and operated. Characteristic of most locally-controlled businesses, they have a regional sales base. They usually do not move because they do not want to leave their customers behind. Fortunately, that means the jobs and tax base remain in the region. Because most jobs are created through expansion, a business retention strategy that focuses on local small businesses is fundamentally a sound economic development strategy.One way jobs are created: New machines improve productivity through technological breakthrough and makes the investor's price competitive. Jobs are created when a business invests in plant and equipment (assets). So here is the process: A plant expansion requires new machines and new machine operatorsNew machines increase output, which necessitates more inventory handlers, shippers, sales people, accountants, managers, etc.The…

Music Spotlight Tuesday: Take 6- Feels Good

Never before has the world heard jazz and gospel blend so beautifully before Take 6 stepped on the music scene in 1988.

Feels Good is their thirteenth album. It features the rich harmonies, incredible jazz voicings and powerful message of faith that made them the 8-time GRAMMY award winning group they are.
Released in 2005, Feels Good consists of 12 tracks mostly composed and arranged by Take 6 members.
There are songs like "Come On," "This is Another Day," "Feels Good," and "You Can Make It-Go On" that will have you dancing. "Wait for the Sunshine," "More than Ever," and "Lamb of God" will have you in retrospect and gratitude. Songs like "Vinterlude," and "Just in Time" are 100% jazz. 
It takes less than 30 seconds for the ear to realize Take 6 is not an ordinary singing group. Their melodies, progressions, and movements are far from tertian harmonies (thirds) that are typical of most Western mus…

President Obama's FY16 Budget: Infrastructure Spending and Taxing

Today President Barack Obama released his Fiscal Year 2016 budget for Congressional approval. The budget totals $4 trillion. Debates and amendments are certain.

There are number of tax hikes proposed to fund new spending on education and infrastructure.

One I find of great interest is the tax on multinational companies. This has been a growing policy issue for quite some time now.

The President's proposed budget would impose a 19% minimum tax on global profits. Beginning with a 14% tax on current offshore profits.

The one-time 14% tax on profits earned overseas will pay for $478 billion in transportation improvements and other infrastructure. The ultimate goal of the multinational company tax is to encourage companies to bring more investment back to the US. US companies have an estimated $2 trillion in profits stored overseas where income is not taxed by the US.

Like any tax, someone must bear the burden. In this case it is multinational companies. Georgia-based companies like Co…