Friday, August 26, 2016

New Jersey Dreaming

I suppose one day everyone might happily be traveling in their self-driving cars to get a dose of the American Dream, and then everyone can mock stupid Atrios for being so stupid, but this ongoing disaster is providing me with much entertainment. Not "ha ha" entertainment, but, well...

Triple Five will repay the bondholders in revenue from the completed mall. The state is allowing American Dream to forgo up to $350 million in money that would otherwise go toward paying sales tax to instead repay the bonds.

The mall will repay the other $800 million to bondholders through a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with East Rutherford.

The same agreement will see American Dream pay East Rutherford more than $150 million over the first 20 years of the project, including $23 million up front.

Of course, there's that pesky infrastructure that someone needs to pay for...

The bonds are non-recourse, meaning New Jersey taxpayers won't be on the hook if American Dream fails, Robert Tudor, bond counsel for the sports authority, said. However, critics of the deal said the state would be responsible for additional traffic, emergency and infrastructure costs and no extra revenue to cover those costs.

Public infrastructure and services that need to be paid for? That's pre-Uber thinking, my friends.

Happy Fun Puppy Blog Time

Because it's Friday!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Late Night

Rock on.

Happy Hour Thread



We all do stupid things sometimes - sometimes really stupid - but I've seen long justifications for why it was a God given right to text and otherwise mess with their phones while driving. Sure I read these things by anonymous internet dwellers who might just be trolling, but it's a bit scary nonetheless. So, you know, don't text and drive. The first time I drove with a smartphone I had to put the phone in a bag on the floor because I realized the temptation was there. I don't know what to do about GPS navigation. Sure one can use a phone for that safely, but it's pretty easy for that evolve into using it in an unsafe fashion pretty quickly. Put your damn phones down when you drive.

Afternoon Thread


On The Left, We Have Bill Kristol

And on the Right, we have actual explicit white supremacists.

I used to joke that the range of acceptable opinion went from The New Republic to The Free Republic in our media. Might have to update that joke.


I'm not surprised that Uber is losing a lot of money. It costs an immense amount to expand as fast as they have.

What I don't know is how they expect to maintain market share. It isn't clear how they obtain/maintain a near monopoly, which is what they need to make money with what they're doing. Otherwise...

Uber is one of those things that piss me off from a liberal perspective. Yes some local taxi monopolies suck, and especially if you're a person of color they aren't always exactly a functional service. But unlike with some businesses, there's a pretty direct correspondence with how much you paid and how much the person you paid gets to pocket. People who "fight for $15" one day, then brag about their cheap Uber experience the next really confuse me. A cheap ride means you just paid your driver shit.

Good Morning

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday Night

Tomorrow is...

Post-Apocalyptic Hellscape

It's a view that many Americans have of urban black America, where leaving your house is an invitation to be killed and most young black males are superpredators, ready to rob, rape, and kill. Especially whitey. Cross the border and if you're whitey you're dead instantly. A lot of those people also think that if only Republicans were in charge, and they enacted more tax free empowerment zones and locked up all the "bad guys" (but not the 2 or 3 good guys), then the stain of failed democratic policies would finally be lifted and conservative interracial nirvana would be reached, with everyone knowing their place, of course.

I sorta understand this from people for whom a "big city" is some alien land depicted on scary cop movies and the 6 o'clock news, but Trump lives in New York. Okay, I get that he doesn't really live in New York. He lives in Trump York, a world which contains his absurd condo, his limo, and the various elite places that limo takes him, most of which have Trump in the name somewhere. I doubt he even looks out the window very often. Still, if the New York outside of Trump York really is a post-apocalyptic hellscape, why live there at all?

Afternoon Thread


Taking It Back

Bit by bit much of the "privatized" aspects of London's public transportation system have been clawed back, with the process likely to continue. One could ask why that's good for the place where all the powerful people in the country live, and not for most of the rest of the country, where, for example, privatized bus fares are ridiculous and service often horrible, but that would be very rude indeed.

We Don't Want To Be Like Manhattan

One of the weird cultural things in the US is the equation of "urban" with "downtown" and "downtown" with "Manhattan-like." Basically, the city is where the skyscrapers are. NIMBYism related to density in urban areas that experience it (San Francisco especially these days) always raises the specter of 2-3 story residential neighborhoods being turned into "Manhattan" (And by Manhattan they mean Midtown or Downtown. You know, where the skyscrapers are).

Not everybody wants to live in Manhattan! Fair enough. But not even Manhattan is the "Manhattan" of the imagination. More importantly, the choice isn't between 2-3 floor detached single family homes and Manhattan. There's a big range inbetween. Aside from taking the pressure off of rents (no, realistic supply increases aren't going to crater SF rents, but they will at least temper increases a bit), a bit more density can maximize the value of those expensive transit links, provide more local demand for local businesses, and decrease per capita car use. The latter is important because those cars take up a lot of space!

City-as-skyscraperville was a pretty modern American development. Really only recently have tall buildings gone up in central London, and many European cities have them only on the outskirts if at all. But those cities are cities.

Is That You, Alamo Girl?

Ah the 90s are back. So exciting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Late Night

Tomorrow is...

This Blog Contains Multitudes

Unfortunately I've forgotten most of it. Fortunately I have readers with better memory than I have. The CEO of Mylan, the EpiPen Price Gouging Corporation, is Heather Bresch, the daughter of Senator Manchin. There was a bit of a controversy about her academics awhile back, though shockingly she's managed to do quite well in spite of it. Maybe that ethics class was one of the ones she missed.

(thanks to reader jh for the reminder)

The Only Way To Get A Good Resolution

The company that makes EpiPens has decided to gouge the hell out of people. There's nothing magical about the drugs. They're cheap and off patent. It's the delivery device. No one's having any luck getting a quality competitor past the FDA.

Will this crisis be solved? It probably depends on how many members of Congress have family members who need them.

Because that's how things work. Oh, and the CEO of the company that makes them just happens to be the daughter of another US senator. Because that's how things work, too.

Silly Paul

In New York City, all of the food is locally sourced and fresh local produce is available 11.5 months per year, much of it obtained through urban foraging, producing the finest possible native New York cuisine. How they do it just north of the New Jersey border is a bit of a mystery, I admit.

Afternoon Thread



I also generally have a dim view of the organized Good Government organizations/institutions. The general "money and politics" issue is one of whack-a-mole, and the long focus on federal campaign contributions (largely rendered moot by Citizens United and its legal and cultural consequences) never seemed to do much other than raise compliance costs, and therefore the entry bar, significantly. Admittedly my views were somewhat colored by the attempt to make talking about politics on the internet illegal.

Other reforms, such as top 2 primaries, seem to be an agenda without a purpose. This will be better. Why? Because it will. Why? Because it will reduce the role of political parties. Why would that be good? Because Mr. Smith can go to Washington then, or something. This process will lead to better outcomes. What would those better outcomes be? Well they'd just be better. Why? Because something. How do you define a better outcome? An outcome that is a consequence of this better process.

I Just Thought They Were Too Busy Buying Skinny Jeans

Such a mystery why those kids today behave in this weird incomprehensible fashion.
One, they’re putting off getting married, which many still see as a prerequisite to homeownership. (Though a large chunk of millennials, I should note, instead view homeownership as a prerequisite to marriage.)

Two — and this is part of the reason they’re delaying marriage, too — is that they’re poor.

Relative to earlier generations, today’s cohort of young people is making less money, given their levels of education; more indebted with student loans; more likely to be underemployed; struggling harder to sock away savings; and facing shallower income-growth trajectories.

In short: Millennials want to buy houses, but they simply can’t afford to.

Nah. Must be because they just aren't mature like We Were when we were The Kids Today. Built our homes ourselves, we did, after putting our way through college on summer jobs while taking care of 3 children.