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17 April 2012

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice” – Anton Chekhov, 19th century Russian playwright.

* It’s high season for complaining about taxes. But have you ever wondered exactly how Michigan’s tax system operates. The inestimable Citizens Research Council of Michigan does an annual overview of the state tax system. The latest version is a must-bookmark for citizens so they can check the claims made by various political types:

* A photo of Gov. Rick Snyder was on the home page of Reason Magazine last week ( illustrating this piece about Detroit’s ongoing fiscal crisis. The author argues that nothing short of legal bankruptcy can turn around the Motor City:

* Richard Florida makes note of a survey that finds the activity of driving — and the desire to do so — dropping among American young people. The cynic in me thinks that this might be tied more to economics than anything, since the jobless rate for under-35s is much worse than for those of us who are tad more mature:

* “Free parking.” From benign Monopoly board space to central tenet of suburban retail development, free parking is one of those concepts so deeply embedded that few even consider its origins or implications. Why should parking be free, as opposed to other uses of private — or even public — property? And since property and its maintenance carry costs, how can parking be “free” anyway? Someone, somehow, is paying for this:

* A website with the motto of “drive less … live more” can’t be considered objective about the question of how we ferry ourselves around our communities. Still, this company has come up with a fascinating tool to test the “walk score” of your locale:

* The National Centerfor Health Statistics reported last week that the teen pregnancy rate has fallen to a historic low. In 2010, Michigan’s birth rate for those ages 15 to 19 was 30.1 per 1,000. That’s below the U.S. average of 34.3. By my count, Michigan’s is the 19th lowest rate among the states. Click the link below to see a color-coded national map of 2010 rates:

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