Links 7/19/19

Links for you. Science:

D.C. Averages A Week Of 100-Degree Days. Climate Change Could Make That Two Months.
D.C. Urges Parents To Get Their Kids Vaccinated Against Measles
Cats are like tiny, judgmental camels
An extraordinary Twitter Exchange with Richard Tol
Off the hook: Manta ray asks divers for helping hand


Dear America: Stop dissing D.C. We deserve the same rights as you.
Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete (this is by a conservative Fed chair. In 1946. Long, but worth the read)
Plans for Georgetown’s C&O Canal meet misanthropic planning attitudes
The Ex Men
‘People Over Profit:’ Kamala Harris’ Plan to Set Fair Prescription Drug Prices and Act if Congress Won’t (Sanders has a similar proposal too)
Bus lanes and free transfers are Washington area residents’ top bus priorities
When Does America Reckon with the Gravity of Donald Trump’s Alleged Rapes?
Racism Comes Out of the Closet: The dog whistle days are apparently over.
Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad. The House speaker is demoralizing people the Democratic Party needs. (NYT op-ed writers aren’t supposed to write things like “But it is simply a fact that leftists, as well as the generally disaffected, need to be courted just as moderates do.”)
They’re Not Just Mad at AOC — They’re Scared of Her
All The Problems With This Anonymous Poll About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
“This Country Is Worse Than Cuba”: The Trump Era’s Cruel Reality for Cuban Asylum Seekers
Most Veterans Say America’s Wars Are a Waste. No One’s Listening to Them.
Trump and His Deplorables
Nancy Pelosi Has Power—She Just Doesn’t Want to Use It
Road-tripping with the Amazon nomads
One Fifth Of Ward 7 And 8 Residents Believe Housing Costs Will Force Them To Move In The Next Three Years
Why Republicans can’t break free from white nationalism
Trump’s America Is a ‘White Man’s Country’

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gormless and Hapless on D.C. Statehood

Paul Waldman makes an excellent point about the Democratic Party’s non-emphasis of statehood for D.C. (boldface mine):

But if there’s one thing preventing D.C. statehood from getting more support, it’s almost certainly that Democrats just haven’t made it a priority…

…when it comes to D.C. statehood, I promise you that if Democrats actually advocated for it loudly and often, you’d see public opinion shift in their direction as everyone in their party lined up.

And this issue shows just how different the two parties are. In addition to statehood being the right thing to do, it would also inevitably mean an extra Democratic seat in the House and two seats in the Senate. Yet, incredibly, Democrats are in no particular hurry to make that happen.

If the voters who live in the District were mostly Republicans and not Democrats, the GOP would be fighting like hell for statehood. You know they would. They take every opportunity available to exploit every structural advantage they can find and create new ones where they don’t exist, whether it’s through gerrymandering or voter suppression. You think they’d leave two Senate seats on the table? Please.

I’m sure there are Democrats who are afraid that there will be some kind of backlash against statehood. While one should never underestimate Republicans’ ability to demagogue about anything, it strains credulity that someone would have voted for Congressman X except for his support for extending representative democracy to the citizens of D.C. Whether it be laziness or stupidity, Democrats really need to start pushing statehood.

Besides, if we’re going to have two fucking Dakotas, we can eliminate (extreme) taxation without representation in the District of Columbia.

Posted in DC, Democrats, Fucking Morons | Leave a comment

Links 7/18/19

Links for you. Science:

Can a Snail Too Tiny to See Save a Kentucky Forest From a Gas Pipeline?
Archaic tooth gives some teeth to theory of interbreeding among different kinds of humans
Sharks on Cape Cod: Just how scared should we be?
A Massive Hunk Of Ice Will Reshape The World’s Coastlines Sooner Than We Thought
Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.


The reason I’m so pessimistic about Democrats in 2020 is because everything happening with impeachment is how they folded on healthcare a decade ago.
AOC and “the Squad” Are Actually the Sensible, Mainstream Centrists in Their Fight With Nancy Pelosi
Election Systems Across Country Use Software Vulnerable To Hackers
We’ve just lived through the greatest period of restaurant growth in U.S. history. Here’s why it’s ending.
Puerto Rico’s Former Education Secretary Arrested on Fraud Charges
Cars significantly more dangerous than guns in New York, new data shows
Can We Just Get Rid of the Filibuster Already?
Trump Is Poised to Sign a Radical Agreement to Send Future Asylum Seekers to Guatemala
Beach town urbanism: There’s big density in small spaces in Cape May
Few things worry China’s elite more than getting their kids into Harvard
He’s Gay. His Main Opponent Makes Homophobic Remarks.
When Big Tobacco Invoked Eric Garner to Fight a Menthol Cigarette Ban: Corporate lobbyists are increasingly highlighting the concerns of black New Yorkers to support their clients’ causes. (concerns might belong in scare quotes)
Why A “Public Option” Isn’t Enough
Alan Roth: For Mendelson and others, ‘winning ugly’ will reverberate harshly
Trump, the press, and the politics of pain
Twitter says Trump’s tweet didn’t violate its rules against racism but won’t say why
Joe Biden proposes radical leftist health-care plan
Is Banning Private Insurance the New Individual Mandate?
Ex-Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris leaves country amid fraud allegations (love it or leave it!)
Julián Castro: ‘Instead of breaking up families, we should break up ICE’
A female historian wrote a book. Two male historians went on NPR to talk about it. They never mentioned her name. It’s Sarah Milov. They have tenure. She does not.

Posted in Lotsa Links | 2 Comments

Monetary Policy and 80,000 Votes

A couple of weeks ago, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez made a very important point in a congressional hearing involving the Federal Reserve (boldface mine):

When Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell testifed before the House Wednesday, Team Blue’s freshmen lawmakers posed some of the hearings most incisive questions.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted that over the past five years, the central bank had repeatedly suggested that unemployment could not fall much lower without triggering high inflation — only to see unemployment fall much lower without triggering high inflation.

Ocasio-Cortez: In early 2014, the Federal Reserve believed that the long run unemployment rate was around 5.4 percent. In early 2018, it as estimated that this was now lower, around 4.5 percent. Now, the estimate is around 4.2 percent. What is the current unemployment rate today?

Powell: 3.7 percent.

Ocasio 3.7 percent…Unemployment has fallen about three full points since 2014 but inflation is no higher today than it was five years ago. Given these facts, do you think it’s possible that the Fed’s estimates of the lowest sustainable unemployment rate may have been too high?

Powell: Absolutely.

This exchange may sound dull and technical. But the congresswoman’s point has real human stakes. America’s central bank has a dual mandate: to promote full employment and price stability. How the Fed chooses to balance those two objectives has redistributive implications. The wealthy have far more to lose from inflation than they do from modest levels of unemployment. In fact, many business owners may actually prefer for the U.S. economy not to achieve full employment, since workers tend to be less demanding when jobs are scarce. By contrast, the most vulnerable workers in the U.S. — such as those with criminal records or little experience — will struggle to get a foothold in the labor market unless policy makers err on the side of letting unemployment fall “too low.”

And this is what AOC’s questions are implicitly about. If the Federal Reserve believes that the U.S. economy cannot sustain unemployment below 5 percent without suffering high inflation, then it will raise interest rates to cool off investment, thereby preventing too many workers from getting jobs. Ocasio-Cortez’s implication is that, by raising interest rates out of a fear of illusory inflation, the Fed may have needlessly hurt American workers.

As some asshole with a blog once noted:

NAIRU is the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment. NAIRU is also referred to as the “natural rate of unemployment.” Essentially, once unemployment drops below a certain rate-and there is little theory to indicate just exactly what this rate is-inflation will rise. I’ve never really liked NAIRU because, during the Clinton era, it kept being revised downward as unemployment fell and inflation didn’t soar. Nonetheless, it was essentially a cornerstone of Fed policy under Greenspan. As a result of this concept, the Fed would often attempt to ‘slow’ the economy through monetary policy (i.e., slow or even stall job creation).

(Once is doing a lot of work: I wrote that post in 2005).

I can’t help but think that a slighly looser Fed policy gets you 80,000 more Democrats to bother to show up and vote in 2016 in swing states. Yes, Trump did a racism, but it’s an extraordinarily strong statement to suggest that a small amount of voters wouldn’t have been more motivated to vote had they and their communities been doing better.

Like war and generals, economics is too important to be left to the (Fed) economists.

Posted in Economics | Leave a comment

Links 7/17/19

Links for you. Science:

In real life, Simba’s mom would be running the pride
Mineral fight goes Mesozoic: Who owns dinosaur bones?
Most Americans See Antibiotic Resistance as a Public Health Problem, But Nearly Half Have Not Taken Antibiotics As Prescribed
The Moon Is a Hazardous Place to Live
Viking bones and DNA will decay quickly as Greenland thaws


An entire block of moderate House Dems ran explicitly on replacing Pelosi last year. But Public Enemy #1 is the chief of staff for a progressive that defended and voted for her. (excellent)
This Is Our Emergency (1. excellent; 2. Atrios is a Metric fan)
Democrats Continue Search For The Smoking Gun They Already Have (Democratic voters did our job. Now fucking do yours.)
Washington Floods Expose a Double Threat: Old Drains and Climate Change
Social Security Is A Good Litmus Test For Candidates (yes, it is)
Can Elizabeth Warren help break the political consulting cartel? (perhaps!)
Life in a City Without Water: Anxious, Exhausting and Sweaty
Odds Are, Your Doctorate Will Not Prepare You for a Profession Outside Academe
Nancy Pelosi’s renewed attacks on AOC aren’t just disrespectful, they’re dangerous (this underestimates the role of ideological differences as well as fundraising; I’m sure when Pelosi fundraises, she catches shit from wealthy donors about the Squad)
The Truth About the Queens DA Recount
Bill Keating is ‘not OK’: In search of a progressive challenger for my business-as-usual representative
Confessions of a Red Line defector
Is There a Global Future for Unions?
How Jeffrey Epstein made himself into a ‘Harvard man’
The Turn of the Pelosi Screw
The David Ortiz shooting and the corruption of the Dominican dream
Judge Dread
In Detroit, ‘tiny houses’ are a solution to homelessness. They could solve a lot more as well.
Work begins to fix Union Station Metro’s broken chiller system (maybe it will happen faster than Dupont Circle/Farragut North, which, after four years, still isn’t fixed)
‘We Have a President Who Lost the Popular Vote by Three Million’: Sanders Backs Abolishing the Electoral College

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

Urban Businesses and Parking

Too often, when people propose removing parking spaces in cities, often to add infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, businesses will argue that losing that parking costs them customers. Well, thanks to a months long shutdown of multiple stations along D.C.’s Blue and Yellow lines, we actually have a test of that hypothesis. You’ll never guess what happened next! (boldface mine):

As the Metro summer shutdown continues, riders aren’t the only ones feeling the heat.

Some businesses are reportedly feeling the burn in their pockets.

During the week, we were down some days by 40 percent. Huge hit,” said Danielle Romanetti.

She is the owner of Alexandria’s Fibre Space, which is a place for materials like yarns and crochet supplies.

“My customers are not going to ride a bike here, spend a lot of money shopping and then ride their bike home,” Romanetti said…

Of the 149 businesses that responded, 46% of retailers and 43% of restaurants reported that their revenue is also down more than 5%.

“There’s no question that when there’s smoke there’s fire,” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said.

Many urban customers will be ‘local’, in that they walk to the store. When mass transit doesn’t work, the ‘effective walking distance’ drops dramatically, as Alexandria’s merchants are learning (Is our merchants learning?). Whether cities would be smart to increase density overall and increase the number of businesses accessible by mass transit is left as an exercise for you, dear readers.

Posted in Transportation | 1 Comment

Links 7/16/19

Links for you. Science:

The Snakes That Ate Florida
USDA Scientists Are Quitting In Droves. That’s Really Bad News For Climate Research.
Revisiting Fosfomycin, a “Forgotten” Antibiotic (unfortunately, fosfomycin resistance genes are increasing in frequency)
The climate change policy with the most potential is the most neglected
Everyone agrees this superbug is a threat. Few are willing to fund research to stop it


It Was Never About Busing (excellent)
Finding the Future in Radical Rural America (very good)
Stop Being a Tool for Asshole Anonymous Sources (excellent)
Condo where Bob Woodward left messages for Deep Throat during Watergate lists for $349,000
Hashtag Resistance
Metro Reasons: Don’t go chasing waterfalls (at the Virginia Square stop)–always overengineer. Always.
Border Patrol Agents Are Passing Around A Commemorative Coin Mocking Care for Migrant Kids
Voting Machine Makers Claim The Names Of The Entities That Own Them Are Trade Secrets
The Causes and Consequences of Berlin’s Rapid Gentrification
Actor Danny Glover: My parents proudly worked for the US Postal Service. Don’t destroy it.
Sanders and Warren voters have astonishingly little in common
Five Basic Facts About Boeing Missing From Coverage Of the 737 MAX Story
Democrats’ opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians
The Trump administration has been a personnel disaster
The big, ugly lie at the core of Trump’s latest surrender
Bernie Sanders Faces Pressure from Allies to Sharpen Message
This is yet another prime example of Bay Area wealth disparities coming to a head in a truly flabbergasting, dehumanizing fashion.
Facebook As Your Debt Collector, and the Prospects for Libra
Arizona Gov. Ducey has change of heart for Nike following Betsy Ross flag controversy

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment