Blue And Gold

Maybe this flag, on 13th Street NW between R and Riggs, Logan Circle, D.C., belongs to a University of Michigan fan?

Flag

Posted in DC | 1 Comment

I Hate Inaugurations

I had forgotten why D.C. residents typically flee D.C. for inaugurations, but the Trumpists are going to be even worse, as there appear to be three or four biker groups coming to town, one of which is going to drive around Dupont Circle really loudly. For freedom. Or something.

All this is going to do is be loud and annoying, in a city where no one voted for Trump. It doesn’t help that they all seem to be childish assholes. Of course, pissing off liberals seems to be the guiding impulse for the mass communicable psychotic break known as conservatism, so that’s par for the course.

I just hope they don’t do anything violent, because they’re going to be in a neighborhood with a lot of people who are different from them–and aren’t afraid to show it.

Posted in Conservatives, Fucking Morons | Leave a comment

Links 1/14/16

Links for you. Science:

How I learned to stop worrying and love the coming archivability crisis in scientific software
Trump, Kennedy, and the real science of vaccines
On eve of Trump, Obama’s Energy Department announces new policy to protect scientists
Predictors of Grad School Publications
Why Killer Whales (and Humans) Go Through Menopause

Other:

I’m a doctor and I chose my job based on health insurance
New feds could be fired for ‘no cause at all’ by Trump under planned legislation
Don’t Feel Sorry for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Why Donald Trump And Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Make A Perfect Pair
L.L. Bean Really Wants You to Know It Doesn’t Support Trump: The company’s chairman posted an open letter asking people not to boycott
“Many Areas of Appalachia and Mississippi Delta Have Lower Life Expectancy Than Bangladesh”
DC’s push for a stronger voice in Congress continues
Maybe Somebody Will Listen To Atrios
There Is Not One Right Way of Opposing Trump (indeed, there is no One True Thing™)
Inside The Alt-Right’s Campaign To Smear Trump Protesters As Anarchists: Sources tell BuzzFeed News that viral photos of a sign urging violence against Melania Trump at an anti-Trump protest were planned by one of the organizers of the DeploraBall, Jack Posobiec
The Democratic Party ought to start campaigning on single payer health care today and talk about nothing else for four years.
Causing Pain
The Specter of Democracy
The Good Old Days Are Back
Democrats Should Run a Celebrity for President, Too (dunno)
This Is Why You Don’t Kiss The Ring

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

Either Incompetent Or Authoritarian: The D.C. National Guard Edition

And I’m not referring to the members of the D.C. National Guard.

This is disturbing (boldface mine):

The U.S. Army general who heads the D.C. National Guard and is an integral part of overseeing the inauguration said Friday he has been ordered removed from command effective Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the midst of the presidential ceremony, classified as a national special security event — and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan.

“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post. During the inauguration, Schwartz would command not only the members of the D.C. guard but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops sent in from across the country to help. He also would oversee military air support protecting the nation’s capital during the inauguration.

“My troops will be on the street,” Schwartz, who turned 65 in October, said, “I’ll see them off but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said that he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”

Schwartz, who was appointed to head the guard by President George W. Bush in 2008, maintained the position through President Obama’s two terms. He said his orders came from the Pentagon but that he doesn’t know who made the decision. It is unclear whether he is part of a larger class of federal workers who have been asked to leave their jobs as a new president takes office….

“It doesn’t make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment,” [D.C. Council Member] Mendelson said. He added that Schwartz’s sudden departure would be a long-term loss for the District. “He’s been really very good at working with the community and my impression was that he was good for the Guard.”

Unlike in states, where the governor appoints the National Guard commander, in the District that duty falls to the president.

Schwartz said that he has not been told why he was asked to step down.

The best case, and likely, scenario is incompetence: the Trump administration is willing to put visitors, servicemen, and residents of D.C. at risk because they feel they need to clean house immediately. This is what is done after a business merger, and is one more reason why government should not ‘be run like a business.’

The worst case scenario is that a Trump will use a bullshit excuse, such as some chucklehead ‘anarchist’ breaking a store window, to declare a state of emergency and shut down the march planned for the 21st (of course, they could just make something up completely out of whole cloth too).

There is now a slight, non-negligible chance of the latter happening.

This is not normal.

Posted in DC, Resistance Rebellion And Death, The Rule of Law | 8 Comments

Links 1/13/17

Links for you. Science:

This bumblebee is the first to become endangered—but it won’t be the last
Troubling examples of ‘pseudoscience’ at the Cleveland Clinic
How Millard Fillmore reshaped the oceans in a quest for guano.
Trump Needs Vaccine Experts, Not Conspiracy Theorists
Obama’s Energy Department Moves To Stop Political Attacks On Scientists

Other:

Craven Reporters Scold BuzzFeed For Reporting News
Black Lives Matter
There Are Still Democrats Who Focus On Blue Collar Workers In The Midwest– Let’s Meet Chris Larson Again
Please Forget Trump’s Pee Hookers And Focus On The Treason, You Know Allegedly
Obama’s Other Legacy: “The Greatest Disintegration of Black Wealth in Recent Memory”
The Politics Trump Makes
Russia to Our Right
The basic political problem Democrats face can be summed up in one sentence. Under their watch, the mortality rate went up. (people have to like this crap)
Liberals are drunk on a political poison called intersectionality (as a political mobilization/organizing principle it does have flaws)
Coretta Scott King’s letter that helped sink Sessions in 1986 is finally public
A Chat With the Mayor of Roundabout City, USA
Don’t Watch Donald Trump’s Inauguration
Lessons from Cory Booker and John Lewis
At the National Museum of the American Indian, an Expansive Retropective of Horace Poolaw’s Photography (saw it. It’s excellent)
The Crimes of SEAL Team 6
Woman prosecuted by Jeff Sessions can’t forgive
We’re not opposing Donald Trump with the unified fierceness he deserves

Posted in Lotsa Links | 2 Comments

The Looming Insolvency Of Local Governments

Regardless of who won the presidential election, they stand a reasonable chance of being confronted by the fiscal instability of many municipalities. Here’s another example, this time from Lafayette, Louisiana (boldface mine):

When we added up the replacement cost of all of the city’s infrastructure — an expense we would anticipate them cumulatively experiencing roughly once a generation — it came to $32 billion. When we added up the entire tax base of the city, all of the private wealth sustained by that infrastructure, it came to just $16 billion. This is fatal.

It’s obvious to me why this is fatal, but for those of you for whom it is less clear, let me elaborate.

The median house in Lafayette costs roughly $150,000. A family living in this house would currently pay about $1,500 per year in taxes to the local government of which 10%, approximately $150, goes to maintenance of infrastructure (more is paid to the schools and regional government). A fraction of that $150 – it varies by year – is spent on actual pavement.

To maintain just the roads and drainage systems that have already been built, the family in that median house would need to have their taxes increase by $3,300 per year. That assumes no new roads are built and existing roadways are not widened or substantively improved. That is $3,300 in additional local taxes just to tread water.

That does not include underground utilities – sewer and water – or major facilities such as treatment plants, water towers and public buildings. Using ratios we’ve experienced from other communities, it is likely that the total infrastructure revenue gap for that median home is closer to $8,000 per year.

The median household income in Lafayette is $41,000. With the wealth that has been created by all this infrastructure investment, a median family living in the median house would need to have their city taxes go from $1,500 per year to $9,200 per year. To just take care of what they now have, one out of every five dollars this family makes would need to go to fixing roads, ditches and pipes. That will never happen.

Thus, Lafayette has a predicament. Infrastructure was supposed to serve them. Now they serve it.

This makes high housing prices in urban cores look trivially easy to solve. There are two issues here. First, could we solve this? With federal deficit spending, we could, though if Lafayette is any indication, we are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars per year. But there’s a much thornier question–should we?

After all, if they don’t become more dense (thereby generating more tax revenue), this is simply kicking the can down the road for a few decades, when we’ll have to do it all again.

A low-density suburb is not even close to environmentally-friendly. Unlike urban and ‘urban-ish’ areas where you have the economic, cultural, and societal benefits of cities or rural areas which have vital resource extraction and food production roles, the suburb is essentially a massively subsidized housing system. As long as they were growing in size (number of taxable houses) and those houses were increasing in value, the music hadn’t stopped, so they were ‘fiscally sound.’ But now even wealthy suburbs, which aren’t really expanding very much, are coming under a fiscal crunch, and it’s only going to be worse in middle-class and lower-middle class suburbs.

We’re going to have to confront some very difficult choices. Given that half of our political system doesn’t even recognize the existence of man-made global warming, I’m not optimistic.

I don’t know if this will affect the fortunes of Il Trumpe, but this is something we are going to have to face–and it will be ugly when we do.

Posted in Economics, Urban Planning | 2 Comments

Links 1/12/17

Links for you. Science:

An Ancient Toy Could Improve Health Care in the Developing World
A supplement maker tried to silence this Harvard doctor — and put academic freedom on trial
Illumina Unveils HiSeq Successor NovaSeq
Human-Driven Global Warming Is Biggest Threat to Polar Bears, Report Says
Photos: When a Pro Catches a Cooper’s Hawk in Action

Other:

Eagle Scout, Loving Husband, Outsider, Racist Vote Suppressor
Decolonizing Obama
The Correspondent Who Scooped the World
The Trump team’s embarrassing defense of fraudulence
DEUTSCHE BANK KISSES THE RING
Insomnia, Marriage, Writing, Returns on Investment, and Gratitude
Trump Pick Monica Crowley Plagiarized Parts of Her Ph.D. Dissertation
Congressman plans to block D.C. law to let terminally ill patients end their lives
Warning: Abortion’s Deadly DIY Past Could Soon Become Its Future
Gizmodo union slams executives for off-record meeting with Trump
What Jeff Sessions’s Role in Prosecuting the Klan Reveals About His Civil-Rights Record
I’m from Texas, and Your “Liberal Bubble” Argument is Ridiculous
Charming Portraits of Hong Kong’s Shop Cats
4 pieces of evidence showing FBI Director James Comey cost Clinton the election
Many condo buildings east of the Anacostia are in trouble. Here’s why, and what can be done. (this is becoming a problem everywhere)
D.C. to pay $1 million to settle families’ claims for homes taken by tax-lien program
The Number of Librarians in Philly Continues to Dwindle (not just a problem for Philly’s school)

Posted in Lotsa Links | 3 Comments