Casualties Of “Woke”. Or…

A few weeks ago, I joked – well, “joked” – that you could that most of the destructive rioters were upper middle class white kids, closely linked to the Twin Cities’ political class.

How could I tell this?

Because Allianz Field, home of “Minnesota United” soccer club, and a mere block from stores that were burned or looted wall to wall, didn’t have so much as a single graffito on it.

We’ll come back to Allianz Field in a moment.

The strip mall that adjoins Allianz, the “Midway Center”, essentially the Midway’s “main street”, was damaged extensively in the riots – but not comprehensively.

That hasn’t stopped the mall’s owner from terminating all the leases in the complex.

Jenny Hui got choked up earlier this week when talking about the family business being shut down.

She’s 28-years old and essentially grew up inside Golden Gate Cafe.

Her parents opened the restaurant in St. Paul’s Midway Shopping Center shortly after they emigrated from China decades ago.

“They worked super hard all these years to build everything we have now,” Hui said. “It’s devastating to see it go out like this.”

But the aftermath of civil unrest last month left parts of the Midway Shopping Center significantly damaged, and the landlord has informed tenants that he intends to terminate their leases.

The Pioneer Press obtained a copy of a letter dated June 25 in which the landlord cited a clause in the lease agreement that allows him to terminate in the case of extensive damage. He noted that all personal property must be removed from the premises by July 1

Now, stop me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t “MN United” looking to clear that shopping center out of the way to make way for its own development plans – plans that cater only dubiously to the neighborhood?

Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United principal owner Bill McGuire is involved in the property, though owner Rick Birdoff with RK Midway wrote the letter to tenants. Neither responded to requests for comment.

The Midway Shopping Center sits in the shadows of the newly constructed Allianz Field soccer stadium, home to Minnesota United.

Convenient, huh?

A Look Ahead To Government Healthcare…

…with a side helping of “Blue Minnesota always tries to emulate New York”.

City-run nursing homes in NYC became wretched hellscapes during the worst of the pandemic:

“It was just heartbreaking,” said one of the RNs, a mom of four from Wisconsin who spent about 17 days at the Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center.

“Patients were in deplorable conditions — very, very dirty, bed sores, terrible odors,’’ the FEMA-contracted nurse, 38, told The Post.

“During my shift, I was placing my initials on the adult diapers. When I would return the next day, the patients would have an additional adult diaper on over the one with my initials on it, saturated urine through both and through the sheets.’’

She and several other nurses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they tended to coronavirus patients in the facility’s long-term-care section.

The virus-sickened patients were already living at the site when the nurses arrived and not among the COVID-19 sufferers who were ordered sent to the facility by Mayor Bill de Blasio because of a shortage of hospital beds amid the pandemic. The patients brought in from the outside were put in a separate wing of the site that had been closed.

The conditions were a direct result of Governor “Fredo” Cuomo and Mayor “Ratso” DiBlasio’s bureaucratic d**k-measuring contest back in March – further proof that politics is not just (as Kevin Williamson says) the worst possible way of allocating scarce resources, but in times of crisis, the deadliest as well.

Killing The Patient To Save It

I spent a little time watching some of the local TV news and weather drones chattering about Earth Day yesterday.

I know – I forgot to celebrate it, too, right?

And the line among the various weather drones, in noting that pollution is at record lows around the planet, was simultaneously predictable and a crushing face palm;

“it just shows what people can do to Fight climate change when they set their mind to it”

Yes. When the economy slows to a record halt, vaporizing trillions of dollars in personal and institutional wealth, throwing millions/tens of millions, really, into at least short term poverty and possibly much worse, with industries shut down and hundreds of thousands of small businesses vanquished over a little more than six weeks, the air will get a little clean.

What Do They Want? A Cookie?

So among all the bad news about the pandemic, it seems there is a silver lining: the administrations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul are being forced to stop playing Sim City with real money and people, and actually do he things city governments are supposeed to do.

Or, well, try. Emphasis added by me:

In Minneapolis, meetings to discuss the hotly debated Upper Harbor Terminal redevelopment have been postponed. Discussions about millions in funding for neighborhood organizations and reimagining the city’s transportation networks have been pushed to the summer.

In St. Paul, the pandemic prompted the city to postpone public hearings on a tenant protection ordinance and a ban on conversion therapy. A community meeting on the future of Ayd Mill Road was canceled and replaced with an online video.

The coronavirus is causing a major slowdown for the two cities, which have in recent years raised the minimum wage, overhauled zoning and made other changes consistent with a progressive policy agenda for workers and the environment. Now, they’re scrambling to find ways to meet the immediate needs of struggling residents while protecting their own workers.

In bold, you almost literally see a shopping list of “progressive” virtue-signals – gone (until the spigot turns back on).  

I’ve said it for years – especially since the Walking Dead was the most popular show on TV:  catastrophe makes everyone a conservative, one way or the other.   

“It’s nice to want to change the way things happen, but we don’t have the luxury of promoting change at this point,” said Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman. “We have the responsibility to make sure we provide the basic services of the city.”

And, when conversations on those more ambitious goals resume, they won’t look the same.

And one can hope that the people of MInneapolis and Saint Paul, when they see how badly the Cities take care of the basics after a decade of no practice, react to that change in the “conversation” by changing the way they’re governed.

Likely? Absolutely not. But if we don’t have hope, why bother?

Social Distance Update

Joe Doakes from Como Park tries his hand at one of my patented dramatizations (c):

Mitch Berg is walking through Menards, looking in vain for dust masks so he can sand the Sheetrock repairs where he was banging his head against the wall after reading Penigma’s email, when he sees Avery Liberelle wearing a giant hula hoop hung from strings over her shoulders.  He tries to slip into the nuts and bolts aisle, but she sees him.
Avery:  Merg!
Berg: Uh, hi Avery.  What’s with the hoop?
Avery: It’s my social distancing perimeter. Why aren’t you wearing yours? 
Berg: Uh . . .
Avery (darkly): Everyone should wear one. My aunt died of Covid-19: so they said.

Berg: (clicks his tongue sympathetically)!!!

Avery: (in the same tragic tone) But it’s my belief they done the old woman in.

Berg: (puzzled) Done her in?

Avery: Y-e-e-e-es, Lord love you! Why should she die of Covid-19? She come through diphtheria right enough the month before. I saw her with my own eyes. Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead; but my father he kept ladling gin down her throat til she came to so sudden that she bit the bowl off the spoon.

Berg: (startled) Dear me!

Avery: (piling up the indictment) What call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of the bat flu? And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it; and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in.

Berg: (to Avery, horrified) You surely don’t believe that your aunt was killed?

Avery: Do I not! Them in that nursing home would have killed her for a hat-pin, let alone a hat.

Berg: But it can’t have been right for your father to pour spirits down her throat like that. It might have killed her.

Avery: Not her. Gin was mother’s milk to her. Besides, he’d poured so much down his own throat that he knew the good of it. (To Berg, who is in convulsions of suppressed laughter) Here! what are you sniggering at?  Science denier!  (Avery stomps off, knocking things off the shelves with her hoop).
End Scene
Joe Doakes

It’s barely fiction, to be honest.

Urbocentric Problems

A reader emails:

Several months ago, when white, urbanist homeowners were busy advocating for rental housing for everyone else, I would ask why. Why would we advocate for renting over ownership? I never got a good answer- it was determined to be mostly racist to ask the question, which to me seems to be more of a racist answer than the question is.

Anyway, now with COVID-19 shutdowns, I started to see this hashtag pop up- #cancelrent

I searched the hashtag on Twitter. More than 80 within the last hour.

The biggest complaint seems to be that it is now suddenly wrong for someone else to earn money by “doing no more than allowing you to have a place to live.

Great, then it’s settled. Can we stop building luxury $2000 per month apartments and go back to building single family homes or at least make the apartments that are being built condos or both?

I’m a little concerned that the generation that thought milk came from cartons, now thinks housing, healthcare, and benefits descend from the skies in velveteen treasure chests on the backs of unicorns.  

Tone Deaf

Moments after the president signed the biggest bailout bill in American history – which included tens of millions of dollars for the Kennedy Center – The Center laid off the entire National Symphony Orchestra:

Hours after President Trump signed a stimulus bill that includes $25 million for the Kennedy Center, its president Deborah Rutter told the National Symphony Orchestra that their paychecks would end this week..

In a conference call Friday night, Rutter told orchestra leaders that the 96 musicians would receive their last paycheck on April 3 and that they will not be paid until the arts center reopens. In addition, she said their health care benefits would stop at the end of May if the arts center is still closed at that time. The announcement was characterized by several NSO members as a shock.

While the orchestra is out on the streets, does anyone want to place any bets on how many key Democrat party figures and donors will get a boost from the taxpayer bonanza?

“Julia” 2030: Good Morning, Brave New World

The dream was always the same. Set in a gray miasma straight out of Ingmar Bergman, there was not so much sight as sound; an endless clanking, like the way the radiators in her parents house used to clank and bang on the first cold day of fall, when she was a child. A shrill whining, like the badly-worn brakes on the bus she used to take to work. And behind it all, a dim chorus that sounded like hundreds of people chanting in the distance; “Si, se puede! Si, se puede! Si, se puede…”

Her eyes blinked open, alighting on the first rays of dim winter morning sun filtering through the windowshades onto the wall, reflecting wanly off the indifferently-white paint on the wall, welcoming Julia to another day.

Her foot stuck out from under the quilt – but just for the moment for Julia to register that Christ, it’s cold out here. She could barely remember feeling warm, at least not in this apartment – she shuddered at the thought of the electrical bills she was paying, had always paid, ever since 2021 when she got her first job out of college in time for the “Green New Deal” to pass. Bundle up for the planet, she thought, laconically remembering the slogans that first winter, four years ago.

She shook it out of her head and pulled her foot back under the quilt.

She heard a brief “snork” of a cough from the other half of the bed. Her boyfriend of six months, Ian Joshua Kohlman, was still sleeping. Julia thought about curling up closer to him for a little warmth, before ruefully remembering that he – who graduated the previous spring from the U of M School of Social Justice and Victimology Studies, the first class to go all the way through their master’s degree completely free of tuition, and had just been laid off from his job as an associate barrista, just wasn’t very warm. She looked at his scraggly mop of hair, gathered into a greasy man-bun at the back of his scalp, and thought “I have no idea where we’re going to make up the $15 an hour we’re losing now“, before sadly wanly hoping he’s have better luck looking for a job in his field, and life’s passion, of social justice activism through performance art, and silently doubting it, noting how little use she’d gotten from her free birth control in the past two months – partly from Ian’s depression, which his friends told Julia had always been a facet of his personality, but had gotten worse as his job search dragged on and on.

Slowly, the sounds started filtering in from the units above and below the third-floor appartment in southwest MInneapolis that Julia and Ian shared. The neighbors downstairs were chasing their three (she guessed) children around trying to get them ready for school The neighbors on the other side of the bedroom wall were apparently having a spirited argument about their toothbrushes. And the neighbors above, apparently, were Ukraining clog dancers doing their morning warmups. A couple of teenagers were bellowing at each other in the hallway outside. Through the frosty bedroom window looking out over Queen Street, an MTC bus stopped for a passenger in a wheelchair – the steady beep beep beep beep beep beep of the alarm shaking the last of her 6:30 AM cobwebs away.

Julia lay for a moment, before realizing the day wasn’t going to live itself. She mentally counted down “Three – Two – One“, and slid out from under the covers, her slim figure draped in long underwear and a sweatshirt against the cold that the quilt could never quite smother. She grabbed a top, some underwear and a pair of jeans from her closet, and two-stepped to the bathroom, shivering, turning on the water, putting her hands underneath the unsatisfying stream, waiting for just enough warmth to justify jumping out of her bed-clothes quickly, in time to warm up a bit before the stream of luke-hot hot water from the unit’s “eco-friendly” water heater turned luke-cool, then cold. She felt her opporunity, and showered and washed her hair quickly.

But not quick enough, the stream turning uncomfortably frigid as she rinsed. She gritted her teeth and finished before jumping out, drying off as fast as she could, shivering, and getting dressed.

She stepped back into the bedroom and grabbed her coat, seeing the “Che Guevara” t-shirt that, she wistfully remembered, Ian had been wearing when they met.

No time for regrets“, she thought, pulling on her stocking cap and walking through the kitchenette. “The sink is dripping, the fridge is fridging even less well than usual, and the window insulation is leaky“, she thought, grabbing a cricket and quinoa bar, wondering what they were getting for their $1,800 a month for the one-bedroom apartment.

She fished the keys out of her purse and walked out into the hallway, the teenagers still bellowing nonsense at each other from opposite ends of the hall, and walked to the elevator, stabbing the button with her finger as the teenagers obscene chatter got faster and louder. Finally, the door opened, and she got into the car going down.

A man from a higher floor was standing in the corner of the elevator car. A vague feeling of unease tugged at the corner of her consciousness – the man, in his fifties, always smelled a little of booze and decay, and always left her feeling uneasy – a feeling that, unbeknownst to her, was utterly justified, as he leered at his young neighbor, not really worrying in his somewhere-between-drunk-and-hung-over haze if she noticed or not, as the elevator – which, although ten years old, was already showing its age – lurched to a stop on the first floor. Julia stepped out quickly, turning to walk to the lobby.

She paused for a moment, pulling her wool cap, scarf and gloves, the smells of the lobby – cooking, cigarettes and a faint waft of urine tickling the edges of her senses as they did every morning. “This was supposed to be a nice building”, Julia though – and then remembered, “It is“.

She looked out the glass door, feeling the chill radiating into the lobby from the murky dawn-ish outdoors as the stiff February breezed pushed against the building’s facade, trying to exert mother nature’s control over the high-density urban landscape. Julia thought about taking a sick day, briefly – but the reflection of the guy from the higher floor gave her the motivation to push through.

There’d been a snowstorm three days before. Julia trudged through the snow, on the sidewalk that hadn’t been shoveled since the snowstorm two days earlier. The sky was still twi-dawn dark, but promised to be clear and mercilessly post-blizzard cold, Julia though, walking down Queen to get to the bus station, walking through the single-file groove the other people on the street had left yesterday, packed and a little treacherous, walking to the Yellow Line station.

She crossed the street without thinking too hard about it – there were few cars in this inner-city neighborhood, and the little glorified lawn mowers that a few people did have, jammed into the limited parking on the “new urbanist” street, didn’t fare well on streets that hadn’t seen a snowplow yet, and likely wouldn’t – and walked up the long ramp to the train platform, which was still slick and icy from the storm, “and most likely will be until the sun melts it in a few months“, Julia thought. A couple of drunk men were loudly arguing down at the other end of the platform, as about a half dozen other people huddled against the cold, hoping to be left alone.

“Yellow Line – next train six minutes” said the LED sign, the one of three on the platform that still worked. “Great“, Julia thought, as she wedged into the plexiglas shelter and hit the “heat” button, her face briefly tilting upward, hoping for a ray or two of warmth from the french-fry-warmer style light that blinked on above, discretely trying to keep the two loud drunks just inside the corner of her vision. “Every f****ng morning“, she thought, letting the thought tail off, silently trying to scrape a piece of cricket bar off her teeth with her tongue. The platform had been getting worse and worse, even in this “good” neighborhood of southwest Minneapolis – but a wave of muggings, assaults, rapes and general bad behavior had followed the completion of the Yellow Line a few years earlier.

Still, better than trying to drive ,or waiting on a bus“, she thought, shuddering at what some of her former co-workers had paid for parking downtown, back when there was still parking downtown.

She startled from her reverie as a Yellow Line train rounded the bend and pulled up to the platform. She pressed the door button, and the door slid open. Julia stepped inside…

…and looked, in vain, for a seat. They were all full – about half with commuters, huddled up, grateful to finally be out of the cold for the next 20 minutes; the rest with the same crowd of homeless men, sleeping, sometimes across a couple of seats. One, half-awake, smoked a cigarette, the smoke causing Julia’s throat to itch and stifle a cough. She grabbed a hold bar and held on, waiting for the train to lurch forward.

But the lurch didn’t come. The drunks stood in the doorway at the other end of the car, carrying on their argument as the wave of cold washed back over the packed commuters, the shapeless slurry of words lost in the muted wave of groaning before the drunk stepped back to the platform.

The train finally lurched forward. A mostly-empty vodka bottle rolled down the aisle – from the smell of the car, much of it had already spilled.

But for the next 90 seconds, until the train got to its next stop, there’d be a little warmth – broken eight times by the doors sliding open at each stop as the Yellow Line wended its way downtown. As the train crossed a freeway bridge, it ground to a halt. “Not again“, Julia groaned, as commuter heads shook with resigned frustration.

Finally, the train pulled into the Warehouse District station. A short, sharp eddy of wind greeted Julia as she stepped onto the platform, stripping away the little coccoon of smoky, vodka-tinged warmth of the train, as she walked toward her office, the chilly staccato of her gait mirrored by the other commuters, and contrasting with the tentative amble of the homeless and the hung over.

“Haaaaaay, you got a dollar? My sister’s car broke down, and her daughter is with her out on the freeway”, a panhandler slurred as Julia walked down the ramp.

“Sorry, no cash”, she murmured through er scarf as she moved, just a little faster.

It was a Monday. Julia, a web designer, had a big project presentation at 2PM. It was going to be a long morning.

My Own Private Caracas

I heard this – or a piece just like it, and which may well have been a rerun – on NPR on Sunday afternoon – explaining Bernie Sanders’ putative popularity among young latinos. 

And I found it pretty much chilling, to be honest.  

The Sanders campaign is pitching its candidate  as Tio Bernie – “Uncle Bernie” – to young Latin-Americans:

Shawn Navarro, a 33-year-old Sanders volunteer in Las Vegas, refers to his favorite presidential candidate as “Tío Bernie.”

“He reminds us a lot in the Latinx community of your grandpa, or your tío,” explained Navarro after a recent Spanish-language campaign event in Nevada. “He’s kind of stern, a little grumpy at times. But, at the same time, you really know he’s looking out for you.”

Latinos, Navarro says, are tired of listening to talking points from Democrats who come to their neighborhoods, “speak a little bit of Spanish” and “eat tacos,” but then don’t deliver any real results. It’s why, he says, exit polls found that Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, “who was far less offensive,” performed roughly equally with Latinos in the 2016 and 2012 elections.

Latinos come from a part of the world that’s been fairly ravaged by socialists painting themselves as “family” for right around two centuries.

There’s a real educational opportunity, here.

I don’t entirely mean for “progressives”.

As We Wait, And Wait, And Wait, For The “Inevitable Tsunami Or Right-Wing Violence”, Part MCMLXI

Modern Democrats, told “dial back some of the Gulag-y, Stalin-y, Black Maria-y talk”, respond…

like leftists always have:

After the New Hampshire Democratic debate on Friday night, MSNBC host Chris Matthews uttered high heresy against the Bernie Sanders movement by remembering the Cold War and the threat of socialist and communist executions. He warned that if Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, “there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed.” As if to demonstrate the truth of this statement, Bernie Bros got #FireChrisMatthews trending on Twitter…”A lot of this will be sorting this out if the Democratic Party runs a socialist candidate. That’s a change to the Democratic Party,” Matthews continued. He did not condemn the expansion of social programs, which he firmly distinguished from socialism. “The Democratic Party’s been to the left of the Republican Party on the issue of mixed capitalism, more social programs. They push Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, enormously popular programs. I think ACA/Obamacare, I wish they’d follow through with it, make it work. I think most Americans would be happy with … a public option” in health care.

Watch for burnings of The Gulag Archipelago and 1984 before too terribly long.

If You Signal Virtue In The Woods, But Nobody Is Listening, Did It Exist?

Baltimore admits it hasn’t actually recycled glass in seven years…

…but tells everyone to keep separating their trash:

Steve Lafferty, county sustainability officer, said it’s true the county has not recycled the material since 2013, the year it also opened a $23 million single-stream recycling facility in Cockeysville. Lafferty was hired to the newly created sustainability position in September 2019…Over the years, the county’s Department of Public Works encountered technical and financial limitations that meant it could no longer recycle glass at county municipal facilities.

But while separating glass from garbage won’t result in any recycling at all, it will keep a bunch of public employees working, and donating dues to their public employee union, thus keeping money coming to the Maryland Democrat Party.

Ilhan Omar – Libertarian Heroine

Rep. Omar on Twitter yesterday:

There’s hope here!

If your healthcare, tuition and housing are “Free” (ergo, paid by me, the taxpayer who gets none of those benefits), I am your slave, and being a slaveholder is a moral burden on you as well.

I’m pretty sure Rep. Omar didn’t intend it that way, of course – as her droogs make pretty clear in the thread (and if there’s a 2020’s analogue to “never read the comment section”, it’s gotta be “never read the thread of someone with a blue checkmark).

But you never know.

Maybe Omar will finally get into trouble with Squad leadership for this gaffe…

“Best Interests”

California’s new “gig worker” “protection” law, “AB5” – essentially requiring companies to treat anyone working for them above a certain, fairly low, threshold as a full-time employee, complete with benefits – is shredding jobs in a plethora of sectors; free-lance technical and design talent, writers

…and the original, literal “gig workers”, musicians.

An organizer of a California Jazz festival – while allowing (as one suspects someone in California arts administration might) he supports the basic idea – testifies to the damage the new law is causing to his organization:

Under AB 5, we will be required to inform all U.S.-based musicians that they must now become employees of San Jose Jazz, or incorporate themselves before they will be allowed to perform for us. 
If band leaders choose to pursue incorporation, they will then need to take on the responsibility of payroll and HR administration for the rest of their band.
In many performing arts disciplines, such as jazz, musicians are constantly reconfiguring line ups, performing as sidemen in various bands, and as one-time special guests for specific performances. 
We will now be obliged to devote tremendous time and resources to constantly hiring, managing and tracking of musicians through this cumbersome process. 
AB 5 unnecessarily complicates other work arrangements found in community cultural programming such as small festivals, neighborhood street fairs, parades and summer music series in our local parks. 
San Jose Jazz is best known for producing our large Summer Fest which brings tens of thousands of visitors and requires hundreds of temporary roles to execute. 
The vast majority of previously contract work roles will now be required to be employees. 
For instance, we are required by the City of San Jose to hire off-duty police officers through their Secondary Employment Unit program to insure a safe and well-run festival. Under AB 5 we will be required to classify these moonlighting officers as San Jose Jazz employees with the attendant oversight and administrative requirements. 

But of course, as in all “progressive” societies, some animals – and gig workers – are more equal than others:

Typical of such legislation, AB 5 comes with a hefty list of exempted categories that are a Who’s Who of the politically connected and well-funded: lawyers, doctors, accountants, brokers, builders, and others. 

Validated

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The New York Times reports that hermit crabs have wealth inequity.  It’s settled science. 
Which proves that wealth inequity is part of the natural order of things, and not the result of capitalism or white supremacy.  Therefore, I no longer need to feel bad about it.  
Good to know. 
Joe Doakes

Watch for hermit crabs to get “canceled. 

Premonition

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Oh, so NOW they’re starting to talk about it?  I’ve been pointing out this looming problem for years.
Look, people can afford about $1,500 per month for housing.  If interest rates are 7%, then most of the payment goes to interest so principal must be lower – home prices fall. But if home prices fall, Baby Boomer home owners lose equity.   
The Fed has kept interest rates low to preserve the equity in Baby Boomers’ homes; but that also meant low interest rates on savings.  Boomers have money tied up in their houses because there’s nowhere else to invest. 
Most Boomers are sheep, they follow the herd.  When they decide to sell their existing homes and move to retirement homes, the competition for buyers will lead to reduced home prices.  The race to the bottom, coupled with low interest rates on savings, will wipe out the wealth of an entire generation.
Since they have no savings, and no equity, Boomers will be dependent Social Security and Medicare.  But those programs already are incapable of self-support and young people carrying college debt and new homes can’t afford to pay higher taxes.  The entire thing is an actuarial nightmare.  Or more accurately, a house of cards awaiting the slightest puff of breeze to bring it down.
When the US economy collapses in a mountain of unsustainable debt, the world economy goes with it.  
Our military preparedness is low, our economy is suspect, our enemies are gaining strength, our borders are undefended.  It’s beginning to feel as if I’m sitting in Rome in 450 AD.  What lies ahead is a thousand years of darkness.
Luckily, Democrats are focused like a laser on what’s important – making sure Americans cannot defend themselves after the crash
Joe Doakes

Best case, that collapse leads to forced privatization of…well, most everything. It’s not implausible.

But given the sheep-like nature and entitlement of the “elites” of the Millennial generation, I’m not too bullish on best-case solutions.

More on that, probably, later this week or next.

Ilhan Omar: Back To The Sixties

Back in the sixties, when “affordable housing”  – i.e. having places more or less fit for human habitation to put the poor in – became a thing, America (like the UK) went on a binge of building it.  It was awful – Soviet-style high-rises, or endless blocks of cheap townhouses and low-rise buildings, with brutalist architecture and inhuman landscapes…

…and that was when they were brand new. 

Which wasn’t for long. 

The results are a roll call of failure: Cabrini Green; Marcy Homes; Riverside Plaza; “Council Flats”.   Places where generations of inmates, bereft of any free-market desire to improve things, didn’t; buildings that fell apart around their inmates, because they were “affordable” housing in markets that were growing more expensive by the year; places that became synonymous with crime, addiction, mental illness, bottomless despair.  

Ilhan Omar wants to bring all of that back:

The “Homes for All Act” will invest $800 billion over 10 years and invest an additional $200 billion in a Housing Trust Fund, according to a release from the congresswoman.

In all, the bill aims to create 8.5 million new units of public housing with the $800 billion and 3.5 million private, permanent affordable housing projects for low-income families with the trust fund money.

The act repeals the Faircloth Amendment, which will allow the federal government to invest in new public housing for the first time since the 1990s.

Omar’s office noted the bill will make public housing expenses mandatory in order to “prevent future investment bias.”

“Making this spending mandatory ensures that the funding needs of all current and future public housing are fully met and cannot be cut in the event of a budget crisis or a change in Administration,” reads the release. Omar compared the mandatory spending to that of Social Security and Medicare.

On the one hand, what was that definition of “insanity” again?

On the other hand?  The Twin Cities media won’t cover this, either. 

And They Say Progs Are Illiterate About Economics…

Portland voters impose a 1% “clean energy” tax on large and big-box businesses.

And are then outraged that those businesses pass the costs on to customers.

Emphasis added:

Terry Wiesner stared down at his Safeway grocery store receipt in confusion in mid-September after he noticed being charged an extra 3 cents for buying a package of $2.99 napkins. The 3 cent charge was listed as a tax.
He called over a store attendant while still in the self-checkout line at the Southeast Woodstock Boulevard branch and asked about the charge. The worker pointed to a laminated sign nearby.
Portland instituted a voter-approved clean energy surcharge in January, imposing a 1 percent tax on paper products, wine, beer, household items and other products, the sign said. The surcharge began appearing on Safeway customers’ receipts on Sept. 9 and people should contact the City of Portland if they had any concerns, according to the notice.
“I didn’t remember voting for any kind of tax,” said Wiesner, 74. “I later learned that this was meant to be a tax on businesses, not the people. Frankly, it just made me angry. It wasn’t about the 3 cents, it’s about the spirit of this charge and how it’d been passed off to me.”

To be fair, it’s entirely possible this has been passed off as something that’d “just affect business”; Portland, like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and now Rochester, is run by people who’ve never worked outside public employment, non-profits or academia.

NIMBY = “Not In My Borough, Yo”

New York assemblywoman argues that housing is a right:

“Unexpectedly”, she also is a plaintiff suing against affordable housing…in her district:

In a Wednesday piece for the New York Daily News, [Assemblymember Yuh-Line] Niou and activist Feliz Guzman argue that the Saturday murder of four homeless people in New York City could have been prevented by more government spending on housing and social services.
“If they had been housed, four of our neighbors would very likely still be with us today,” they write. “We must choose to guarantee every New Yorker the right to a safe and affordable home to prevent a tragedy like this one from ever happening again.” Niou and Guzman call out both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for falling short of their own promises to build affordable housing:

Awkwardly, Niou is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against an affordable housing project being built by a coalition of developers, including Habitat for Humanity, in Little Italy. The project, named Haven Green, would add 123 units of affordable senior housing to Niou’s district, including 37 units for the formerly homeless…So why is she suing to stop it? It’s all about the open space.
The Haven Green project will replace the privately managed Elizabeth Street Garden that currently occupies the city-owned site. In March, the garden, and a separate non-profit that advocates for its preservation, filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that it erred in approving the project without conducting an adequate environmental study.
“While Lower Manhattan is desperately in need of affordable housing, we cannot pit the need for housing against the need for green space, especially when so many good alternatives are available,” Niou said in a statement.

So her constituents’ desire for open space trumps the “right” to housing…

…in Niou’s district?

Nosotros Todos Somos Venezueleaños!

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking through the Roseville Best Buy, looking for a USB-C to HDMI cable, when, engrossed in thought, he fails to notice Avery LIBRELLE walking up behind him.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Er, hi, Avery. Just kinda busy…nñ

LIBRELLE: Voters need to stop voting against their best interests, and vote Progressive!

BERG: Because “progressivism”…

LIBRELLE: Why are you making scare quotes?

BERG: …is everyone’s best interests?

LIBRELLE: Of course!

BERG: So the places where “progressives have control are the places where all our “best interests” are being seen to?

LIBRELLE: Yes! Yes! Yes! We may be making progress here!

BERG: So places like Detroit, Cleveland, Newark, Camden, Baltimore, Chicago, Saint Louis, North Minneapolis, Oakland and New Orleans represent our “best interests”? Or California, the entire state, which is looking more and more like Venezuela?

LIBRELLE: Um…

BERG: Yes?

LIBRELLE: You see, the problem with “best interests” is that they’ve never been tried in their truest form.

BERG: Huh. Where have I heard that before?

LIBRELLE: You haven’t.

BERG: Of course not.

(And SCENE)

Potemkin Mall

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

CM Warsame [of Minneapolis] is trying to push through an African mall on a city owned parking lot. Neighbors and businesses in the area don’t want it.
But, there is a quote from a hopeful woman- “Marian Hersi, a longtime Cedar-Riverside resident, said the idea of a new mall in her neighborhood is reviving her dream of becoming a business owner. Hersi, who grew up selling bread and tomatoes on the streets of Somalia, has been working as a janitor for Macy’s in Edina for the last 17 years. But once the mall opens, she said she wants to own a convenience store.”
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s dreams, especially someone who left horrible conditions to come to our great USA with ideas of living free and making a decent living. But, I have to here.
1- CM Warsame’s African Market isn’t about helping anyone achieve their dreams. It is politically motivated to make it difficult to drive to the community, gut out the community that is there and eventually build unaffordable housing.

“The only way to save the neighborhood is to destroy it”

2- Ms Hersi would be better off starting with a business with low overheard and working her way up if she wants her own business. There are many organizations that help people learn about small businesses. None of them are politicians.

True.

And none of them will be allowed anywhere near the “mall”, because…

3- The American dream allows janitors to move up and start businesses if one chooses, by working hard, making sacrifices, and taking risks. I have my doubts, though, that this African Market and the people involved have any intention of allowing someone like Ms Hersi a spot. 

Minneapolis is a little like Chicago in the sense that this sort of project will be filtered through some assortment of “community organizers” or another. These are people who’ve built their careers running long grifts at the expense of…

…well, everyone who’s not in the political class.

Ms. Hersi, if you get into that mall as anything but a janitor, it’ll be as temporary window-dressing.

“I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To Hinder The Wrong People”

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

Yes, thank you, CM Mitra Jalai Nelson. The city has not yet done enough to my neighborhood to prevent growth and development here.

We need to continue to run out those evil box stores and gas stations through minimum wage increases, zoning, and destroying streets to reduce people coming here to spend money. Then, we need to turn our back on the crime increases to ensure that people who possibly would invest here decide against it. Any other thoughts as to what the city could do to continue to prevent growth and development opportunities, er I mean gentrification, in our poorest neighborhoods?

Oh, make sure that it’s impossible to drive in or out, or park when you get here! And make sure transit is malevolent, expensive and keeps the peasants in their place!

Any more?

Listening to the celebration over the demise of the Midway Walmart, combined with the awkward lack of comment or facile rationaliation, about the 330 jobs, mostly for lower-income, often immigrant, workers, kinda told you everything you need to know about Ms. Jalali Nelson and the rest of the City Council.

Making Housing Affordable By Making It Unattainable

Minneapolis passed a “renter protection” ordinance last week that’ll hamstring landlords trying to do even the most basic due diligence about potential tenants:

The renter’s protection ordinance prevents landlords from using old criminal or housing records to deny applicants. Specifically, an applicant cannot be denied if they have a misdemeanor conviction older than three years, a felony record dating back seven years, and more serious offenses that occurred 10-plus years ago. Landlords also lose the use of a credit score during the screening process and there is a new cap on security deposits at one month’s rent.

I can see giving people a break on criminal records after a long-enough time keeping one’s nose clean.

On the other hand, I don’t think the City of Minneapolis is the one to plop an arbitrary figure on how long it takes a criminal to be a safe risk…

…for someone else’s investment.

Previously, property owners could look at someone’s criminal and credit history before renting to them, sometimes going back a decade. Renters said mistakes of the past should not affect their future, especially something from 10 or 20 years ago. 

In the 1960s, New York City instituted “Renter Protections” – rent control, making evictions for cause nearly impossible, onerous regulations on landlords – that caused the stock of “affordable housing” to become unsustainable; as landlords abandoned or sold out cheaper properties, housing either became unlivably awful and abandone, or sustainable but only affordable by the wealthy.

San Francisco followed suit; there is little between great wealth and grinding poverty.

Sounds like a fine plan, Minneapolis. You’re in good hands.