What we’re reading: The joys of government data, man’s best friend, and a pipeline in paradise

This week, our staff takes an interest in data on Cook County expenditures and federal housing programs, how man and dog became intertwined, and the prospect of pumping oil through one of North America’s largest rainforests.

The Help (Kathryn Stockett)—I'm reading this before I see the movie, about black maids raising privileged white babies in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, and a young white woman who writes about their lives amidst the changing social and political climate.—Dory Rand, President

 

HAMP Mods Steady as Servicers Toy with Principal Reductions (American Banker)—According to a report from the Treasury Department, June’s Home Affordable Modification Program report found that 115,500 borrowers are in payment trials, with 18,200 receiving a trial principal reduction. So far, only 7,000 struggling homeowners have received a permanent principal reduction under HAMP.—Beverly Berryhill, Office Manager

 

Dog Story: How did the dog become our master? (New Yorker)—Prevailing wisdom says that the domesticated dog was bred from the friendliest wolves, but new research suggests that wolves may have bred themselves into man’s best friend. Adam Gopnik takes a personal and scientific look at the connection between man and dog.—Katie Buitrago, Policy and Communications Associate

 

Look at Cook (Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey)—Ever wonder what happens to the more than $3 billion that the Cook County government spends every year? You can download and play around with the budget data on this interactive website from John Fritchey.—Tom Feltner, Vice President

 

Pipeline Through Paradise (National Geographic)—Second only to Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, the Alberta Oil sands are the greatest oil reserves on the planet and a proposed pipeline cutting through one of North America’s largest temperate rainforests is the most efficient route. This article explores the possibility of sending very large crude carriers through the heart of Great Bear Rainforest to tap a politically and chemically volatile resource.—Michael Aumiller, Research Assistant