On My Radar 5/5/09: I'm Not Dead Yet

* Uncle Sam Biggest Supporter Of Cities
* Globe Not Dead Yet
* Kindle For Textbooks?



Tent city u district by flickr user jragon
"Tent city u district" by flickr user jragon

Here are the stories that interest me this morning, along with my take on why I think they may be of interest to nonprofit and philanthropy leaders.


  • In a first, funds from the U.S. government is the largest revenue source for cities. “Uncle Sam has supplanted sales, property and income taxes as the biggest source of revenue for state and local governments,” says USA Today. With stimulus money beginning to flow and tax collections down, this state of affairs is set to increase to the tune of $300 billion over the next two years. State and local governments spend about $2 trillion per year all told. The G makes up about 23% of that total.
    • My take: Wow. A stark indicator of the depth of this recession (along with the new tent cities). Experts don’t expect a turnaround in this until 2012.
  •  Boston Globe gets a reprieve. Six of the seven unions in question have agreed to concessions with the New York Times Company, prompting the Grey Lady to give the Boston Globe a new lease on life for now. NYT purchased the family-owned Globe in 1993 and recently filed papers allowing it to close in 60 days.
    • My take: If a paper newspaper can’t survive in hifalutin Boston, where can it survive? Still, this really just buys time — the whole business is changing.
  • Amazon’s new large-screen Kindle good for textbooks. Details are emerging about Amazon’s planned announcement tomorrow about a new, large-screen Kindle. The device is said to be pitched at the university market. However, NYT’s Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. will be at the event.
    • My take: Now that’s what I’m talking about. A perfect use for digital delivery. Course textbooks are huge, expensive, and sometimes hard to come by. This can change that whole ecosystem irrevocably. No more “used” books, more just-in-time delivery, no inventory. What will student unions sell?

Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

2 thoughts on “On My Radar 5/5/09: I'm Not Dead Yet”

  1. Even back in the 80’s, student unions made most of their money on apparel and spirit items. Re the Kindle textbooks: But how would you highlight them?

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