Superficial Energy Efficiency: The Palazzo Edition

There is a ridiculous house on the market in D.C., which has been given the name “Palazzo della Felicita (Palace of Happiness)”, and it’s a 16,000 sq. foot pile of…something. But what cracked me up the most was the eight car (that’s not a typo) garage:


No, it’s not that the garage floor is made of marble, which soaks up oils and can therefore stain. You see those beige things on the wall? Those are Siemens charging stations for electric cars. Yes, you have enough space–which needs to be heated and cooled–to easily house a few dozen people for a single family, eight cars, but thank goodness you’re helping save the environment with your electric car.

But a seventy percent tax bracket on high incomes would be a bad thing. Or something.

Posted in Automobiles, Fucking Morons | 1 Comment

Links 1/12/19

Links for you. Science:

New York is fighting its worst outbreak of measles in decades
The National Weather Service is ‘open,’ but your forecast is worse because of the shutdown
Reconciling the potentially irreconcilable? Genotypic and phenotypic amoxicillin-clavulanate resistance in Escherichia coli
Into the deep: Deep sea mining is upon us, whether you would risk it or not
Plants that grow 40% faster: they’re real, and they’re spectacular


Progressive Ideas Matter to Voters. So Why Do Democrats Fixate on the Identity of the Messenger? (excellent)
When Alan Greenspan Worried about Overly Large Budget Surpluses
Could a Chinese-made Metro car spy on us? Many experts say yes.
A Fond Farewell To Black Cat’s Backstage, Red Room, and Food For Thought
Trump Is Grinding the System to a Halt: Thousands of air-traffic controllers and TSA employees continue to work without pay. It’s unfair—and it’s potentially dangerous.
Elizabeth Warren and Her Party of Ideas
Rashida Tlaib Said Nothing Wrong (no, she didn’t)
On Being a Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted
I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman
Who placed a classified ad in The Washington Post looking for a flux capacitor?
Why are the networks giving Donald Trump airtime to sell his racist lies?
Now If Pay-Go Isn’t Repealed It Will Be All Yertle’s Fault
Oh my god have I got a story for you. It involves rats.
Congressional Staffing for Dummies: The Pay Go Dispute
Not So Fast: Trump Called The Chinese ‘Motherf**kers’ In Vegas Speech
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Making All the Right People Crazy
Pricey campus housing triggers a debate in Boston
A cautious hope emerges among Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist posts:

But He Is A Motherf-cker

We Need A More Progressive Income Tax

By Reader Request, An Update On Yesterday’s Post About Progressive Taxes

Wage Garnishment And Not Knowing What Things Cost

Ocasio-Cortez Shouldn’t Be Getting So Much Attention…

One Way Federal Policy Can Influence Local Housing Zoning For The Better

Posted in Weekly Roundup | Leave a comment

Links 1/11/19

Links for you. Science:

IQ is largely a pseudoscientific swindle
Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions
The Democratic Republic of Congo Just Shut Down the Internet Amid an Ebola Outbreak
U.S. Officials Warn Health Researchers: China May Be Trying to Steal Your Data (this seems explosive, and not because of ‘data theft’, but because of potential misuse of NIH resources)
Galápagos island gets its first iguanas since Darwin after mass-release


Ground Rules for Politics Nerds (excellent; must-read)
Could Expanding Employee Ownership Be the Next Big Economic Policy?
Why the West Coast Is Suddenly Beating the East Coast on Transportation
If Democrats Want To Win, They Need To Embrace The Power Of Rage (anger is the appropriate emotion)
Why Trump’s Generals Have Abandoned Ship
PAYGO skirmish is the beginning of the fight Democrats need to have to get over deficit obsession
Joe Biden might be your favorite wisecracking uncle, but he’s not your Democratic savior for 2020
85% of Republicans Reject That Climate Change Is a Serious Problem That Requires Action
The region with by far the highest homicide tally is Latin America.
Bernie Sanders Isn’t Just Another White Male Candidate. His Nomination Would Be Historic.
Is Trump Fit to Serve as President? (no)
In 2019, Let’s Finally Retire ‘Electability’
‘Come On Down to the Rio Grande Valley. I’ll Show You Around.’ Would patrolling with the Border Patrol change your mind about the border?
Donald Trump Was Never Vetted
A $20,243 bike crash: Zuckerberg hospital’s aggressive tactics leave patients with big bills
What Trump Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency
I-66 tolls turn 1-year-old. Are they working?
Apple’s Biggest Problem? My Mom (or anyone who doesn’t like lighting their own money on fire…)
THE TRUTH ABOUT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: The inside story of how, in just one year, Sandy the bartender became a lawmaker who triggers both parties
Lots Of Us Think Trump Is A Motherf**ker Who Should Be Impeached. Rashida Tlaib Just Said It Out Loud.

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

One Way Federal Policy Can Influence Local Housing Zoning For The Better

A couple of weeks ago, Minneapolis passed legislation banning single-family zoning. Here’s what that means (boldface mine):

Opening up Minneapolis’ wealthiest, most exclusive districts to triplexes, the theory goes, will create new opportunities for people to move for schools or a job, provide a way for aging residents to downsize without leaving their neighborhoods, help ease the affordability crunch citywide, and stem the displacement of lower-income residents in gentrifying areas. Homeownership in Minneapolis diverges along racial lines, with minority groups’ rates lagging between 20 and 35 percentage points behind that of whites. More rental supply citywide, in addition to a new $40 million slice of the budget for affordable housing, is expected to help tenants find a foothold. The mayor, for what it’s worth, is a renter himself—maybe the first tenant-mayor in the history of a city where (like in most American cities) the majority of people live in rental housing.

In my own home city of D.C., significant swathes of the city have mandatory single-family zoning, including areas near Metro stations:

Yellow areas are single-family only zones, brown is all other; green is parkland.

Despite this success, there is a great deal of concern about how to make this national. Will every battle have to be city by city? It seems to me that the mortgage interest deduction offers an opportunity here. Simply, any single-family in a census tract not defined as rural (< 1,000 people/sq. mile) would not receive the mortgage interest tax deduction. This isn’t telling people what to do with their property, and no one is showing up to knock your house down. But there’s no reason why it should be illegal–and why that policy should be subsidized with federal dollars–to build a duplex or a triplex. Do what you what with the property–and buy what you want too–but if you’re contributing to the housing shortage, renters don’t need to subsidize that.

Posted in Housing, Taxes, Urban Planning | 2 Comments

Links 1/10/19

Links for you. Science:

The periodic tables we almost had
Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048
Ghost Fishing Off Long Island’s Coast
China lands spacecraft on the far side of the moon, a historic first
Hundreds of scientists to miss world’s largest weather conference because of federal shutdown


What a French Doctor’s Office Taught Me About Health Care
Democrats Are Fighting About Whether Deficits Matter. That’s Good.
Should the Left Unite Behind Elizabeth Warren?
Why Aren’t Democrats Standing Up for Low-Wage Government Workers?
A Database Showed Far-Right Terror on the Rise. Then Trump Defunded It. (soft-on-crime conservatives)
DC pledged to end homelessness by 2020, yet 54 people died without a home this year
Exclusive Poll: Anti-Pelosi Democrats Could Be Vulnerable to Primary Challenges in 2020
Trump Has Officially Made ‘Conservative Ethics’ an Oxymoron
Nobody Even Asks What The Goal Is Anymore
A Green New Deal for cars would be easier than you think (but it doesn’t doing anything about buildings and housing)
In a bold inaugural, Muriel Bowser says we need more housing, in every neighborhood
Trump finds yet another way to insult federal workers
If we’re going to waste billions on a wall, let those billions be Trump’s
Norton introduces D.C. statehood bill on first day of 116th Congress
Wrong Votes and System Failures Mar South Carolina Elections, Report Finds
Among the pressing issues in the nation’s capital: Where to go to the bathroom?
Nancy Pelosi and Jim McGovern: House Democrats will restore transparency, ethics, unity
Tim Cook to Investors: People Bought Fewer New iPhones Because They Repaired Their Old Ones
Who’s Afraid of the Budget Deficit?

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

Ocasio-Cortez Shouldn’t Be Getting So Much Attention…

…if the Democratic Party had a functional liberal wing. During the last couple of weeks, many olds ranging from ex-Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to Whoopi Goldberg, not to mention a whole slew of conservatives and radical centrists, have been complaining that newly-elected Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has been getting too much attention (full disclosure: I supported her early on, including during her primary campaign, and contributed financially). They’re partially right, but for the wrong reason. The reason is related to an observation about Sanders’ 2016 campaign (boldface added):

For those who are still angry at Senator Sanders for running against Clinton: you’re right, he shouldn’t have run. More accurately, he shouldn’t have had to run, because there should have been Democratic politicians who called for the positions he supported. But the only liberal Democratic option was a self-described 74 year-old socialist who really isn’t a Democratic Party member. After 25 years, give or take, of purging (even if it’s the polite purge of not hiring) liberal Democrats from positions of power, including entities like mainline think tanks, the only option left is the self-described socialists (who really don’t seem that socialist).

Ocasio-Cortez is telegenic, ‘Twittergenic’ (if that’s a thing), and a quick study. But there really haven’t been any high-profile lefty types–who yoostabee called ‘liberal Democrats‘–who are good at working the media for years; Sen. Paul Wellstone is the last who comes to mind. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has, historically, been inept at getting its message out–and frankly, many of them just aren’t that liberal on the whole. It shouldn’t have taken a wet-behind-the-ears congresswoman to make the points she has publicly, proudly, effectively, and without hesitation: there should have been other Democrats doing this. It really is a symptom of just how much liberal Democrats (circa 1990s)–of which the 2016 primary support for Sanders indicated there are quite a few–have been relegated to the margins of the Democratic Party.

But here we are. So I guess the olds will have to put up with the young whippersnapper…

Posted in Democrats, Fucking Morons | 3 Comments