Since Tony-Soprano-Style Trash Collection Was Such A Success…

Around November 1 of every year, ever since I’ve lived in my house in the early ’90s, the guy who somehow inherited the job of “block captain” on our block drops an envelope in everyone’s door with a flyer asking for $20 to cover snow plowing.

It’s the biggest bargain – one of the few bargains left – in Saint Paul; he gives it to a plow driver. The driver lives on the block – so he literally needs to plow our driveway to get to work anyway.

So anytime there’s more than a dusting of snow, our alley is plowed to a fine sheen. And since side streets in my neighborhood are only plowed by the sun in April, the fact that our guy blasts out the street on the east side of the block to get to Minnehaha (a city snow emergency route) is almost literally a lifesaver.

Of course, it’s something that works – which, in a one-party kleptocracy like Saint Paul, means someone’s gotta try to appropriate it.

The same Merriam Park harpies that jammed down the smoking ban (years before the rest of the state) and, most recently, Tony-Soprano-style trash hauling, have been nattering away about socializing alley plowing for the past fifteen years.

It’s flying about as well as…well, the trash system:

Consultants from the University of Minnesota found little public appetite for the level of services the city likely would be able to offer.
Most residents who contract private alley plowers said they were unwilling to pay more than $15 per season for the city to complete the same service, and they expressed concern that the city might actually provide less snow removal and only plow after snow emergencies.
“Respondents will expect the city to plow the alleys after each snowfall or after a 2-inch snowfall, alleys to be plowed at the same time as main streets or at the same time as residential streets,” states a study summary. “Residents will be willing to pay an amount that would not be more than the amount they are currently paying, or less than $15 per season.”

Of course, the fact that real people who live in Saint Paul don’t want it is no defense; the little pack of “woke” Merriam Park biddies who burned countless hours of their worthless labor banning smoking in bars they never went to, and jamming down a trash collection system nobody wants – have sent their little hive minds on it.

For St. Paul to remove alley snow, consultants estimated $3.1 million in one-time start-up costs, such as new plow trucks, and $4.8 million in ongoing annual costs for labor, maintenance, training and recruitment.
That’s a total cost of $7.9 million in year one alone — or more than $100 for each of the city’s 74,000 households. Adding in business storefronts would reduce the cost.

Except to the businesses. Those few that are left, anyway. And that cost will be passed on to consumers – again, the few that are left.

But it’ll happen. Mark my words.

In Which Captain Obvious Gets Promoted To Major

I’ve got a fair number of friends and acquaintances who say they never, ever come to the Twin Cities because of the crime.

Now, I’ve lived here for 34 years – and like most people who live here, I know that the whole place is not a cesspool of criminality. My neighborhood is generally pretty good. To the north, even better. South of Thomas? Not so much.

So most of the hysteria about crime in the Metro is the sort of game of “telephone” you get among people who don’t know the subject all that well – a phenomenon that social media has only accelerated.

But there are places I just don’t go, or at least times when I just don’t go there. Places and times when the risk/reward ratio just isn’t favorable. North Minneapolis after dinner. Dayton’s Bluff or the North End after dark. The less well-lit parts of downtown Minneapolis at night. The Green Line after 10PM.

Statistically, you are much more likely to be a victim of crime and violence when you hang out where violent criminals are.

It’s not hysteria. It’s prudence.

The idea that a third of Americans modify their behavior because of fear of mass shootings?

I was about to say “that’s not prudence – that’s hysteria”; for the most part they are going from one place where mass shootings are vanishingly rare (but correlated via the media’s obsession and Big Gun Control’s focus on mass shootings, rather than by some actual indicator, like “gun free zone” or a state’s regulations on the law-abiding citizen) to another place where, statistically, mass shootings aren’t a whole lot less likely in the same sense that one is “less” likely to get struck by lightning in Saint Paul than Minneapolis.

There are really only two behaviors that affect ones coincidence with and vulnerability to mass shootings:

  • Being in a gun free zone
  • Being, yourself, gun-free.

Hope we’ve solved this.

Mission Accomplished

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Okay, technically it’s Minneapolis, but still, national prominence.
No wonder Congresswoman Omar has time to go jetting off to Israel.  Her work here is done.
 Joe Doakes

We have a generation or two of voters in MInneapolis – mostly white “progressives” and the younger minorities they miseducated – who think that’s a Congressperson’s job.

This Time Without Daddy Warbucks’ Money

Let’s not be coy about it – Jason Lewis lost the 2nd District congressional election because Angie Craig floated to a close win on a tsunami of out-of-district money during a first-term midterm that was bound to bring out the knee-jerks and the soccer moms. The Bloomberg fortune alone pumped seven figures of filthy anti-gun lucre into the district – testimony to how much Big Left hated the most articulate conservative in the House.

But it’s a whole ‘nother election, and Angie Craig has exactly as much to show for her time in office as you’d expect an “HR Executive” to have accomplished – the same as they accomplish in the real business world. Bupkes.

Or – rematch? Nah. Maybe a swing at the Butcher of Vandalia, Tina Smith.

I’d go for that.

Negotiation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If women’s soccer players don’t get equal pay, they’ll quit playing.  Then people who don’t watch womens soccer won’t be able to watch womens soccer.  That will show them!!

Joe Doakes

It’s fascinating, to me, watching people who clearly have no idea how the free market works, trying to engage in the free market.

This is a battle the women should be winning – or, perhaps, already are.

I’m starting to think it’s not about money,

Every Argument About “Economics” With “Progressives”

MITCH: “Trump’s tariffs…”

AVERY LIBRELLE: “Will be passed on to American consumers. It’s economics 101”.

Pete: “Very good. That is actually correct, one way or the other; all changes in price driving by anything other than market demand will be either paid by consumers, or not purchased at all. You’re coming along, Avery! So – artificially raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour…”

AVERY LIBRELLE: “…will never get passed on to consumers!”

Pete: “OK. Why?”

AVERY LIBRELLE: “Because shut up”.

And SCENE

One Place That Ain’t Looking Through Me

About a decade back, I heard an interview on All Things Considered with Sarfraz Manzoor, who’d just come out with his book Greetings from Bury Park – his memoir about growing up as a British-Pakistani in Luton, in the Midlands, and getting immersed in Bruce Springsteen’s music. And I think I sat in the garage for a solid half hour, catching the whole fascinating story; someone who couldn’t have come from a more different culture than me, getting pulled on the same musical and personal odyssey by the same bunch of records.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you can see the grab. Right? I don’t think I need to restate the obvious.

I caught the show the other night.

First things first: This isn’t Mama Mia with Springsteen music. While there is the requisite act of the movie where Manzoor’s fictionalized version of himself, “Javed”, gets the same burst of recogniton while listening to “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, the musical epiphany only opens the door to all sorts of conflict in real life – which, in turn, illuminates all sorts of the musical themes.

Any description of “musical epiphanies” from ones’ teenage years is bound to swerve into the cloying and mawkish at times. Teenagers are cloying and mawkish, and it doesn’t matter what culture they’re from. And so the movie’s occasional short-cuts through plot points, via lyric drops or the occasional borderline production number that might – hell, probably will – come across as cringingly sentimental to the non-belever comes across as cringingly autobiographical to those who’ve (raises hand) been there.

So – did I enjoy the movie? Yes, but that wasn’t my main takeaway. It’s more accurate to say I felt a lot of it in the pit of my stomach. The movie took me back to a lot of things from my teens and twenties, in pretty much the same way Manzoor remembers them. That’s a good thing.

Mostly.

And – no spoilers, here – the music isn’t necessarily the most important point of the movie. There’ll be another post about that before too long.

Cons? Yep, there were a few.

It’d be impossible to do a movie about eighties Britain, especially as a Pakistani, without throwing in some of the politics of the era. And Manzoor’s memories of the era include a lot of the prattle of the anti-Thatcher left – which sounded at the time every bit as intolerent and libelous as Big Left’s cant against conservatives (to say nothing of Trumpkins) today. The infantlism of today’s campus “progressive” seems modeled on the prate and gabble of European lefties of the era. That, and the occasional bout of Thatcher-bashing were to be expected. That wasn’t unexpected, or especially dishonest. On the other hand, the rest of the movie – which imparted a lot of humanity on Manzoor’s very traditional Pakistani family and most of the movie’s other, very disparate characters – had me expecting much better of one of the side-conflicts; when “Javed” met his (inevitably left-wing) love interest’s (inevitably) Tory parents, they were portrayed with all the nuanced humanity of a Joe Piscopo sketch on SNL. It was a throwaway – and the movie would have been better had it been thrown away.

So do I recommend it? If you’re not a Springsteen fan, you may not “get” it. Or then maybe you will. Who knows?

If you are? It’d be interesting to see what you think.

ASIDE: By the way – the movie reminded me that my theory – Springsteen is America’s best conservative songwriter – has been completely vindicated this past year. I suspect this would be to the chagrin of a former regular commenter – but alas we’ll never know.

More coming in the next week.

As The World’s Smallest Violin Plays The World’s Saddest Song

According to a writer for the ever-simpering Brit Independent, no politician has ever been treated as scabrously as…

…Mitt Romney?

Brett Kavanaugh?

No, no no no!

It’s Ilhan Omar!

She’s got a sinecure seat in a district no less one-party than East Berlin in 1974. She’s politically bulletproof; she could shoot down an Israeli airliner and get 75% of the vote. Chicago ward heelers wish they were as set up as she is.

She’s got a local media that paints her toenails for her. 

She’s looking forward to a lifetime of wealth, on the public, media and non-profit dime at the very least, for her and her family. 

Someone treat me that “badly”, stat.

Sovereign

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Joe Biden, reacting to Israel’s decision to deny entry to people who advocate its destruction, said:
I have always been a stalwart supporter of Israel—a vital partner that shares our democratic values. No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas—even ideas they strongly object to. And no leader of the free world should encourage them to do so.”
But Joe, if you support Israel’s right to exist as an independent nation, then you concede it has the right to manage its own internal affairs, including deciding who to admit and who to deny.  Otherwise, if Israel lacks that power, then it’s not an independent nation, it’s a colony and you’re playing the role of emperor, telling the locals what they can and cannot do.  Which is precisely what you accuse President Trump of doing. 
So why should I vote for you, and not for him?
Joe Doakes

The extent to which the Democrats need their supporters to be uninformed morons is frightening.

The Decline And Fall Of Max Boot

They say the most arrogant and obnoxious residents of New York City are the ones born in Buffalo.

Likewise, the most annoying, provincial, arrogant hangers-on to any ideology are the ones that came to it with the  most personal sturm und drang.

There’ a former conservative blogger who, along with some other personal changes, flipped their politics a while ago.  They’ve written a few angst soaked social media posts theatrically apologizing for and renouncing having ever been a conservative, much less an outspoken one.

Which I found a little insulting and a lot depressing.  I mean, I grew up liberal, to the extent that I didn’t tell anyone that I’d voted for Reagan (in the middle of one of the most Republican states in the Union, mind you) – but consider the things I learned as a larval prorgressive key to my development.  I’ve never apologized for having once written a party platform at a mock government that’d send a tingle up Bernie Sanders’ leg – although some have thought I should (and have been told to go pound sand, albeit in a good-natured kind of way).

So be what you want to be.  Go with God.  It’s a free country.  So far.

Which is why the ever-more-constipated-sounding virtue signaling of Max Boot, once one of the best foreign policy writers out there, has been such a buzzkill.  He’s changed his alignment…

…well, no.  He’s let his never-Trumpism define his politics, which were always “Eisenhower Republican”;  think New Dealers who opposed communism.

His departure from the GOP (OK, its departure from him) is kind of cloying and annoying.

His swerve into virtue-blasting, on the other hand, is a sign he’s over as a significant public thinker.

And When I Say “The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence Has Never Said Anything About The Gun Issue That Is Simultaneously Original, Substantial And True…

…that statement would seem to have spread to statements about her own “group”.

Bear with me.

“Protect” Minnesota was at Game Fair over the last two weekends. Game Fair is pretty much the biggest outdoor sports fair in the state; hunting, fishing, dogs, the whole nine yards. It takes place in deep-red Ramsay.

And “Protect” MN, for some reason, had a booth there.

Or so the Reverend Nord Bence reminds us:

So let’s get this straight – you gave away free stuff (of some marginal utility – cheap trigger locks), and people took them?

And 130 people out of tens of thousands of attendees, many of whom don’t understand what gun control will mean to them in the long term, lined up and talked and signed your meaningless petition?

Shazam.

So you know what would really convince me? If thousands of these rando hunters grabbed “Protect” Minnesota t-shirts, and wore them proudly around and about the game fair, showing the world that the tide was turning!

And did that happen?

Take a gander for yourself:

This is one of two loads being packed out to their Prius (OK, I made the car up) at the end of six days of exhibiting. The other load was equally as full.

If they gave away a dozen t-shirts, I’d be amazed – and I’ll bet dimes to dollars all are being used as bore patches today.

The Reverend Nord Bence:

If her lips are moving, don’t believe her.

That Moment When…

…you see a headline on social media that you just swear has to be from Babylon Bee, but it’s not:

St. Paul school board members aren’t paid enough, St. Paul school board members say

But sure enough, it’s a real story. Or as real as the mainstream media gets, anyway.

Of course, they preside over a crumbling district with one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, on a board that serves mostly as a DFL farm team.

But it’s all about keeping up with the Joneses:

Board members get $10,800 per year, which is less than what comparably sized metro districts pay. However, members are eligible for district health insurance; those who sign up get a premium subsidy that’s worth $9,643 this year.
Jon Schumacher and Mary Vanderwert, who are leaving the board next year after serving one four-year term, gave the strongest endorsements for a raise at a meeting Wednesday evening.
“I feel very strongly that there really does need to be an increase so we can make sure that we have people who have passion, who have expertise and who aren’t going to feel that serving on this board is going to make it impossible for them to meet their financial needs,” Schumacher said.
Vanderwert suggested a salary increase of $5,000 or more.
“I definitely think it’s time for us to do this,” she said. “It’s the most important work a community does, and the board positions need to be attractive to high-quality people.”

Full (but unneeded) disclosure – I worked with Mary Vanderwert a loooong time ago. Perfectly fine human being, although there’s that whole “SPPS School Board member” thing.

Did I mention the Joneses?

…Anoka-Hennepin, pays between $14,400 and $15,600, depending on the board member’s role, human resources director Laurin Cathey said.
Minneapolis, the third-largest district, pays $22,000.
Most board members make $9,000 in Osseo, $7,236 in St. Cloud, $7,200 in Bloomington and $5,000 in Brooklyn Center, Cathey said.
Cathey also looked at St. Paul’s national peers and found school board members receive no pay in either Des Moines, Iowa, or Portland, Ore.

I wondered if they bothered comparing school board pay to graduation rates, minority achievement or percent of students who need remedial classes in college?

And maybe correlate that with ideological distribution of the school board’s members?

Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Entitlement

A friend of the blog writes:

This thread!
I read it and think back to my own woes 20 years ago after I graduated from college. People were being laid off in my chosen field, so there were no jobs for new grads. Some of my cohorts refused to take jobs that they were also qualified for, but with way less pay. Not me. I took a low paying job, worked a bit, went to my manager’s boss, showed him my resume, talked about my skills. He looked up my recent review and gave me a raise. I then added two other part time jobs that were actually in the field for which I had a degree. Eventually, one of those became full time. And eventually, I became a manager.
I am so struck by how many of my cohorts, and most of today’s millennials, think promotion, good pay, etc, all happen immediately. It is something you work to, you demonstrate your worth, demonstrate your willingness to work, then pay happens. Then promotions happen. The cohorts that I know who wouldn’t work for less pay, lesser jobs are still mostly not working full time, still complaining that life is unaffordable.
My parents are the Silent Generation, so I think they instilled this in me. I am generally thought of as not an optimist, but I have to believe that the children of millennials will rebel against their parents and actually get back to work, show much better work ethics.

After college, it took me seven years and a career change to earn over $20K a year (after inflation, probably 35ish today). It was because of choices I made – going into an industry that was awful for entry-level wages even before it died – and I knew it at the time. Figured it was worth it for a shot a the big time.

I think kids today figure the big time will come to them…

Conspiracy Theories

SCENE: Mitch BERG is riding a Lime scooter through downtown Minneapolis. He pulls up in front of a store and parks the device – and doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE walking out of the store.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: (Distracted, logging off the scooter) Oh, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE: People are stupid.

BERG: You got that right.

LIBRELLE: Bill Clinton hasn’t been president for almost 20 years. His wife couldn’t get elected president. How do people figure either of them had the kind of clout that it’d take to kill someone in federal custody?

BERG: Because it’s fun to mock people like the Clintons?

LIBRELLE: Conspiracy theories are destroying communications in this country!

BERG: The Clintons, who are worth hundreds of millions, and command billions and billions in influence, but who left elected office two decades ago…

LIBRELLE: …have no power to affect anything.

BERG: Whereas Vladimir Putin, don of a country in a demographic death spiral and an economy that’d be completely terminal without natural gas and weapons, with an economy on par with Belgium’s, and is reduced to playing secret agent disinformation tricks to give the illusion of non-military relevance…

LIBRELLE: …pulls all the strings in the Trump regime!

BERG: Of course. Hey – wanna borrow a scooter?

LIBRELLE: Sure. What do I do?

BERG: Pray to Hillary, and power will be dispatched from on high.

LIBRELLE: Excellent!

(And SCENE)

An Inconvenient Bit Of Genius

2/3 of all gun deaths are suicides – overwhelmingly men. In Minnesota, it’s closer to 80%.

Of all those men who shoot themselves, nearly all have been using guns without incident their whole lives – so background checks are useless. Magazine size restrictions are irrelevant – you need a magazine of one to check out. “Red Flag” laws, along with their many other faults, just make depressed guys keep their symptoms to themselves.

So what to do?

Read this. It’s not all that long, although it takes some thoughtful engagement.

Here’s the conclusion – but you should read the whole thing, and see the reasoning that led to the conclusions.

“We don’t need to remove all guns from America to start to see this sort of [reduction in suicide]. We just need to remove as many as we can from the suicidal people, while not disincentivizing suicidal people from seeking treatment. 64% of the people who attempt suicide visit a doctor the month beforehand.
So let’s pretend instead that doctors explained these things to the 64%, and asked them all to voluntarily sequester their firearms, either by selling them off or entrusting them with a loved one for safe keeping while the depression was treated. Let’s pretend half of that 64% do so of their own free will. We’d see the same efficacy as if overall firearm ownership rate dropped by a third in the Siegal and Rothman model. Ownership rates among suicidal males drop from 41% to 27% for the period during which they’re contemplating suicide. Male suicide rates would drop from 14.2 to 11.6, and you save 6,000 lives per year.
Slightly less than 1,000 women die from domestic violence per year in this country, and that’s a big, real problem. You can save six times this many men, simply by talking to them, and asking them nicely to sequester their firearms temporarily. The number of people you could save by doing this is double the number of people who die in gang and drug crime combined. It’s *sixty times more* than die in mass shootings.
This is easy.
It requires no new laws, no culture war battles, no erosion of rights.
Why aren’t we doing this?”

Because gun control isn’t, and has never been, about saving lives. It’s about imposing a vision of what society should be.

But I’m digressing. Read the article. It’s great.

What’s Good For The Strunz Is Good For The Gander

Chris Cuomo, CNN host and scion of yet another “prog” political dynasty gone to seed, needed a snickers bar when someone referred to him as “Fredo”.

He later referred to “Fredo” as the Italian equivalent of the N-Bomb.

Well, today, anyway:

“Fredo” comes from The Godfather. The movie came out in 1972. While Italian-Americans experienced all kinds of discrimination in their day, “their day” was between the 1840s and 1940s, when Italian immigration was driving all sorts of transformations in American life.

By 1972, Italians were pretty well established.

Anyway, Chris Cuomo isn’t “Fredo” – incompetent, probably mentally defective. That’s not very accurate.

I’m thinking more like Carlo Rizzi.

But If The Background Check Were Only More Mandatory…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

After the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, Democrats repeated demands for universal background checks.
The Dayton shooter didn’t buy his gun, he had a friend buy it for him.  It was a straw purchase, which has long been illegal under state and federal law. 
Joe Doakes

And I’m going to guess the straw purchase happened in a jurisdiction where neither the federal nor state prosecutors have shown there to be any consequences for straw purchases in a long, long time.

Minnesota’s Intellectual Titan Strikes Again

Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan lights up Rep. Ilhan Omar – and Muslim extremism:

“Omar does not represent me as a Muslim, (she) does not represent millions of Muslims in the Middle East. You know like in Arab countries we call her the Muslim Brotherhood,” Idan, 29, said on the podcast The Sara Carter Show on Aug. 4.

Now, do you remember when Omar was sworn in? The way she got lionized for representing the future for Muslim women in America?

Apparently Rep. Omar does not (I’m adding emphasis):

Shortly after the interview aired, Omar, 37, fired back at Idan on Twitter, saying, “Hey, I might be wrong but I don’t think you are a #MN05 resident and like that makes be [sic] not your representative.”

#IntellectualHeftAtWork

The former Miss Iraq replied, “Seriously @IlhanMN this is your intellectual come back?” She then went on to lambaste Omar as anti-American and antisemitic. In a series of follow-up tweets she accused Omar of pursuing a “Muslim Brotherhood agenda using this democracy to further YOUR & YOUR FRIENDS Islamic socialism goals of dividing & weakening our country.”

I don’t know who I want to see reading this piece more; DFLers, or the rump Xenophobe coalition in the GOP, who keep asking “where are the Muslims pushing back against the extremists?”, and ignoring when…well, Muslims push back against extremists:

On Friday, Idan also blasted Omar for using her platform as congresswoman to advocate for the freedom of Hoda Abdelmonem, a senior member of the Muslim brotherhood, but not to help women “enslaved by mandatory sharia/in jail awaiting an imminent death for speaking out against dictatorial regimes.”
Idan, who now lives in the US, called out antisemitism taught in Muslim countries and voiced support for Israel at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, last month. She was forced to flee Iraq with her family after receiving death threats in November 2017 for taking a selfie with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman at the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

Maybe Idan can be persuaded to come to Minnesota and run against Omar?

I doubt the DFL will have her, of course.

A Smart, Patient, Cool-Headed Good Guy With A Gun

North Carolina man kept his head during a gas station robbery.

Literally:

 A concealed carrier at a gas station during a robbery, waited his turn to make a move. While inside the store, two armed robbers came in and put a gun inches away from the armed citizen’s face.
He complied and gave the robbers his belongings. Well, everything except his gun.

And had they left at that point, they both might be alive today.

But they just had to keep going.

As the suspects, identified as 16-year-old Qwanterrius Stafford and 17-year-old Brenna Harris, turned to rob the store clerk, the customer pulled out his concealed weapon and shot the suspects, according to investigators.
Stafford later died at the hospital from his injuries. Harris took off after the incident, injured, but was later caught by police after he sought treatment at a hospital.

It being Charlotte, I suppose there’s a decent chance some reporter will write a scathing report about the shooter, since Mr. Stafford was just about to get his life all turned around…

Economic Pauline Kael Syndrome

News Report:   BMW dealers in Hollywood report that import car tariffs aren’t affecting sales to their multimillionaire clients at all.  

Not a big shock, right?  The more money people have, the less price points matter to them.  

It’s Economics 101.  

Which is why “journalists” and progressives (ptr) never, ever get it. 

Remember Obama’s 2014 State of the Union?  When he praised Saint Paul’s “Punch Pizza” for paying its employees well above the minimum wage?    Of course, as I pointed out at the time, Punch is a high-end pizzeria in a posh neighborhood that aims toward a high-value clientele on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul; I wouldn’t doubt that in a neighborhood full of “living wage” activists, starting people at $10 an hour at above the minimum wage is good marketing.  But Punch Pizza is no Taco Bell; its dozen or so outlets are located in upscale areas, where people think nothing for dropping $20 for lunch  and a lot more for dinner and drinks.  It’s a tony niche retailer that gives a robust markup for an uptown dining experience.   And I’m gonna guess they an pick and choose their hires, even now, unlike the McDonalds and White Castles they’re not actually in competition with. 

I thought about that in reading this piece, claiming NYC’s $15 minimum wage is a net gain…

in the Manhattan restaurant scene:

As New York raised the minimum wage to $15 this year from $7.25 in 2013, its restaurant industry outperformed the rest of the US in job growth and expansion, a new study found.

The study, by researchers from the New School and the New York think tank National Employment Law Project, found no negative employment effects of the city increasing its minimum wage to $15.

Restaurant workers in the city saw a pay increase of 20% to 28%, representing the largest hike “for a big group of low-wage workers since the 1960s,” James Parrott, a director of economic and fiscal policies at the New School and an author of the study, told Gothamist.

While the city’s restaurant growth is likely a result of the city’s overall strong economy, the report’s findings might suggest that paying workers more won’t immediately lead to job loss or other negative business consequences as previously thought.

And when the current boom in people with disposable income tails off, the artisanal chicken will come home to their $5K a month walkups to roost.

Deja Vu All Over Again

One of my life’s great face-to-desk moments was in the fall of 2004.

Back in 2003, I’d participated in “National Novel Writing Month”, usually known as NaNoWriMo. “Nano” takes place every November; the goal is to write a novel – 50,000 words worth – in those thirty days. It doesn’t have to be much of anything – it’s just gotta be done.

Now, I went into NaNoWriMo 2003 with an outline for a book that I’d been tweaking in my mind, and then on paper, for 5-6 years. I’d fleshed out characters, come up with a pretty cool plot, and had things pretty well laid out. And I hit Nano running; I think I got through 100,000 words – and 40% of my outline.

I put it away for a bit – but figured I’d finish it between then and the next Nano, in the fall of 2004.

That fall, the opening of the TV season included a series that smacked into me like a Proust compilation hitting a cement floor; my novel about a bunch of people stranded by a crash under bizarre, perhaps supernatural circumstances suddenly went from “original” to “just like Lost“.

And so it was back to dreaming about writing a novel.

That opportunity came to me finally six years ago, as I started writing a series of satirical observations about local Libertarians, which morphed – at the suggestion of commenters, truth be told – into a “Dickensian serial” about a highly tongue-in-cheek collapse of civilization and “reboot” of the political order. Trulbert was a hoot to write, and even more fun to see people reading. I sold probably 500 online copies – profiting enough to take a halfways decent vacation.

And it whetted my appetite for more.

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of the US finally taking some critics’ suggestions (including, occasionally, mine) and breaking up into some smaller, more politically contiguous countries, and what that’d mean. There was on the one hand an urge not to go full-blown satirical, a la Trulbert; I still go back and forth on that, as “desire to try something different” runs up against “go with what you know, and also unknown people can’t get typecast”.

So the urge to do another Dickensian serial about a divorce – maybe amicable, maybe not, a la my 2005 serial, Secession Diaries – between the several states has been bubbling around since, well, Trulbert came out.

That urge has been mightily tempered by the fact that Kurt Schlicter seems to have taken over that market.

Dog Bites Dog

Socialist men tend to be pathetic little losers.

And the reason? Evolution:

A study has found that weaker men are more likely to be in favour of redistributive taxation. The strong on the other hand, who in their cavemen past had no problems controlling both women and resources they had no intention of sharing, are far less likely to see the virtue of egalitarian social policies.

They make “being able to provide and defend” sound like a bad thing.