The Racket Strikes Back

A friend of the blog writes:

It used to be people would go out for a night of fun and one person would have to be the designated driver. A majority didn’t even think to use cabs and public transit would often not run regularly enough at bar close.

Now that we have Uber and Lyft, I have heard many, many stories of people using those services when going out. I know some people who no longer drive under the influence because of the affordability of Uber.

So, of course, when people get real options that are reliable and affordable, those in the government who think their jobs are as social engineers have a problem.

Of interest locally, I found this link through a Tweet that declared Minneapolis/St Paul should consider this next. Why?

They can try to limit all they want, but there will still be people in cars and ride sharing will still happen. For example, the other day, I was approached by a man on the street who was trying to start his own ride share business, offering lower rates than Uber by about $2. I also have the number of a taxi driver who moonlights as a personal driver for those of us with his business card. He pretty much places himself on call for us.

So, yes, there will be options, which makes it even more aggravating that city governments get involved in private business that actually works for the people.

In a system built on rent-seeking, people will seek rent.

And for the government permission racket to survive, it’s gotta deliver the rent.

Dear Democrats

Remember when Donald Trump was Literally Hitler for his treatment of the media?

No, I didn’t think you would:

Democratic socialist House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez banned reporters from attending several of her public town hall events this week.

Ocasio-Cortez, who shocked the political world by defeating Rep. Joe Crowley (D–N.Y.) in June’s Democratic primary, held sessions with constituents of New York’s 14th Congressional District on Sunday and Wednesday. But while she tweeted out some details about the town halls, she didn’t let members of the media attend in person, according to the Queens Chronicle.

The candidate’s campaign manager, Vigie Ramos Rio, tells the Chronicle the ban was implemented after reporters “mobbed” her last week following a community meeting. The campaign had apparently made it clear there would be “no Q&A and no one-on-one [interviews].”

If it weren’t for double standards…

…well, you know how it goes.

Orwell Was A Pollyanna

Ben Shapiro challenged prog flavor of the month Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to a debate – something she’s never had in her “political career”.

Now, there’s no requirement that a pol debate anyone, ever – even their opponents for office, much less pundits.   Of course, it can be used against you – not that it matters in a one-party town like Ocasio-Cortez’ district.

And there are so many ways to decline a debate request like this:

  • “Sorry – I’m getting ready for a general election (coronation?), and I’m too busy”.
  • “Debating you will be of no consequence to serving (koff koff) my constituents and my district.  Why would either of us waste our time?”
  • “I’ve got drapes to measure that evening”
  • “I gotta wash my hair”.
  • Or the old reliable “<silence>”.

That’s not what Ocasio-Cortez did, though:

Asking for a debate is “like catcalling” – sexist, intrusive, unwanted, arrogant.

A response that is, itself, sexist and arrogant, and a sign of a mind that can think on no other plane than the politics of identity and outrage.

Congratuations, New York.  You got another winner here.  (Not that Minnesota has anything to brag about, since the equally risible Alondra Cano  Alondra Cano, Ray Dehn and Keith Ellison remain in office).

SIDE NOTE:   Remember when the same people who are raving about Ocasio-Cortez today were calling Sarah Palin  an ignorant dumbass?

This is the sound of “the bar” in freefall.

Of Pikers And Pimps

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

St. Paul and Minneapolis are considering raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  There are no studies on the effect of a $15 per hour minimum wage because it’s never been that high.  The studies of effects of prior minimum wage increases go both ways, depending on who you believe.  What to do?

This is where it helps to be conservative, because we have principles to guide our actions, not just feelings.  One principle is:  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Another is:  “Don’t tear down a fence until you know why it was built.”  The core thought underlying these principles is to make changes cautiously, only when you’re certain they won’t cause more harm than good.  Since the evidence is equivocal, adherence to conservative principles would dictate that we not raise the minimum wage to $15.

But Democrats are not conservatives so they have no such principles to restrain them.  They’re going to raise it because it will please the mob and that’s the most important thing to them.  So if you’re going to raise it despite the evidence, why stop at $15?  Why not raise it to $100 per hour and we’ll all be rich?  Pikers.

Power is the principle.

If You Think Movies Are Expensive Now, Wait Until They’re Free

MoviePass is a particularly dimwitted startup – it sells, basically, transit cards to movies, in theaters, allowing people admittance to movies per month, which in the age of Netflix and Hulu seems a bit like selling season tickets to Jesse Ventura’s old Indoor Football league.

As one might expect, the company – which seems a throwback to the sort of startups that glutted the market and popular culture during the DotBomb era, before 9/11 – is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Which has led to one of the most brilliant – dare I say, Onion-like – bits of satire I’ve ever read:

We should let the privately owned MoviePass die, so a nationalized, public MoviePass can live.

Read the whole hilarious thing.

I’m already picturing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Amy Klobuchar or Maxine Waters or Ilhan Omar solemnly testifying before Congress about the moral imperative for the Federal Government…

…to transfer tax dollars to Hollywood.

Brilliant, brilliant satire.

UPDATE:   It just occured to me – what if the writer wasn’t being satirical?

 

 

A Preponderance Of Evidence

New York’s new $15 minimum wage and mandatory leave benefits – dutifully parroted by Minneapolis and Saint Paul – are already having…

…well, exactly the effect conservatives predicted:

In explaining his decision to close following 28 years of high-volume business, owner Charles Milite told the New York Post, “The times have changed in our industry. The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees.”

Milite employs about 150 people at his breakfast, lunch, and dinner operation, which also puts him over the Affordable Care Act’s costly mandate that establishments with 50 or more employees provide health insurance.

The Coffee Shop is part of The Gotham City Restaurant Group, which also owns Flats Fix, the former employer of socialist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old Democratic congressional candidate recently told The New York Times that many of her fellow restaurant workers were uninsured, inspiring her to run for office.

And the inevitable end result?

Eventually, minimum wage laws and other prohibitive regulations will cause the world-renowned restaurant life in cities like New York, DC, and San Francisco to cease to exist. The staff skill levels will drop, the number of servers and bartenders will never be enough, and the only survivors will be fast-casual chains with low overhead and deep pockets.

New York’s new look will be vacant storefronts between an occasional Pret-a-Manger or the public restroom formerly known as Starbucks. But don’t worry. That charming, downtown studio apartment will still run about $5,000 per month for the privilege of proximity to all that culture.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s efforts to be little New Yorks will no doubt pay off – in all the wrong ways.

 

A Cold Caracas

Where San Francisco has gone – a hideously expensive city with plummeting quality of life – New York will soon follow:

Beautiful, hilly San Francisco has become known as the city where 20 pounds of poop were dumped on a sidewalk last week in a clear bag and remained there for hours. As The Post noted, “human waste-related complaints in San Francisco have skyrocketed 400 percent from 2008 to 2018,” and “In 2017 alone, more than 21,000 reports were received.”

What happened in San Francisco is obvious. It stopped prosecuting quality-of-life offenses and, unsurprisingly, the quality of life for the city’s residents and visitors decreased sharply.

In 2015, San Francisco courts stopped enforcing bench warrants for such offenses. Police continued writing up tickets for public drunkenness or sleeping in parks, but when the accused failed to show up to their court appearance a judge simply dismissed the outstanding warrant.

New York started following San Francisco’s lead in 2016 when Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. announced his office would no longer be prosecuting offenses such as public urination. Both cities have accepted that they’ll continue to have a large number of people living on their streets and inevitably using their sidewalks as a toilet.

Progressivism is all about leveling the world out (outside the parts where the kommissars life, anyway); logically, eventually, “leveled out” has to include “…to the level of public rest room”.

Although as Ed Driscoll notes, at least some people are getting their wish:

But as Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal warned in 2005, hipsters lamented the loss of the gritty Death Wish/Panic in Needle Park-era Manhattan of the 1970s — and thanks to Mayor de Blasio, they’re getting that city back once again. Good and hard, as Mencken would say.

And since Minneapolis is following the same route – obsessing over virtue-signaling while ignoring quality of life issues – how long until Minneapolis follows suit?

Demographics

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Residents are fleeing these cities.  USA Today says it’s people retiring and moving South, a trend that began decades ago, was interrupted by the Crash and now is resuming.

Really? Why are Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama on the list?  Why are Jacksonville and Fayetteville, North Carolina on the list?  Why is Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona on the list – that’s a stone’s throw from the border with Mexico, state income tax is 5%, ought to be a retiree paradise.  Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas?  Brownsville is farther south than Arizona and therefore warmer and Texas has no income tax.  Why would sun-seekers be leaving those areas?  They should be flocking there.

Notice which cities people are not fleeing but instead are the fastest-growing?  Boise, Idaho is #1 and Seattle, Washington is #2, ahead of Texas and Florida.  Portland, Oregon is #17, Colorado Springs is 18, Salt Lake City is 24.  These are not snowbird destinations.  Why are they growing?

The climate explanation doesn’t make sense.  Try this one instead:  the cities people flee are decaying because leftists in charge have destroyed them by pandering to residents who lack the old-fashioned values that were required to take care of a community.  Refugees.  Illegals.  Homeless.  Welfare mindset regardless of welfare status – people who expect everything provided for free without lifting a finger.

When your city intentionally sets out to replace the 1950’s nuclear family post-war community with an Obama-era refugee/illegal/welfare community, don’t act all surprised when the 1950’s people move out.  Nobody wants to move from safe, clean Roseville to narco-terrorist infested Brownsville or poop-on-the-streets San Francisco, regardless of the year-round climate.

Joe Doakes

If we just give sclerotic big-city liberal adminstrations enough time, it’ll all work out…

It’s Almost, But Not Quite, A Berg’s Law

It probably doesn’t qualify as a “Berg’s Law” because it may not be absolute and universal – but for the most part, if you scratch the surface of an American “Democratic Socialist”, you’ll find a rich kid with daddy issues.

So, it seems, with current socialist wunderkind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Last week’s big primary winner in a Congressional district that includes parts of the Bronx and Queens highlighted the 29 year old “community organizer”, who will likely be going to Congress, and her “Jenny from the Block” story.  Listening to her before the election, I caught myself humming “It’s A Hard Knock Life” more than a few times.

So was it baked wind?

What do you think?  Remember – it’s almost a Berg’s Law:

Around the age of five, Alexandria’s architect father Sergio Ocasio moved the family from the “planned community” of Parkchester in the Bronx to a home in Yorktown Heights, a wealthy suburb in Westchester County. The New York Times describes her childhood home as “a modest two-bedroom house on a quiet street.” In a 1999 profile of the area, when Ocasio-Cortez would have been ten years old, the Times lauded Yorktown Heights’ “diversity of housing in a scenic setting” – complete with two golf courses.

Westchester County – which the Washington Post, in a glowing profile on Ocasio-Cortez, describes as only “middle class” – ranks #8 in the nation for the counties with the “highest average incomes among the wealthiest one percent of residents.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, the county’s average annual income of the top one percent is a staggering $4,326,049.

Yorktown Heights, specifically, offers a sharp contrast from Bronx living. According to USA.com, the town’s population is 81 percent white, and median household income is $96,413 – nearly double the average for both New York state and the nation, according to data from 2010-2014.

I interviewed for a job in Westchester County thirty years ago; the program director basically told me there was no way I could live in the area on what they could payme (here was the story).

Not that there’s anything wrong with doing well; but not only didn’t Ocasio-Cortez earn it, she wants to make it harder for others to do it.

(Even as she, beyond a doubt, gets ready to make a couple million in honoraria from liberals with deep pockets over the next few years, much like the Bern she no doubt felt).

Open Letter To Tim Walz

To:  Represenative Tim Walz
From:  Mitch Berg, Ornery Peasant
Re:  Sell Sell Sell

Rep. Walz,

You’re running in a primary this fall against a dog’s breakfast of people who, notwithstanding your attempt to re-paint yourself as a “progressive”, are far, far to your left.

To your credit, you’ve taken that “re-painting” pretty seriously:

Rep. Walz, burning whatever cred he may have had with gun owners by french-kissing “Moms Want Action” in 2016.

But your fellow DFLers prefer their “Democratic Socialism” neat.  No ice.

And apparently, with a little communist chaser.

For years, I’ve heard my Democrat friends chanting “Ronald Reagan wouldn’t get endorsed by today’s GOP” – with the premise being Reagan was “too centrist” for today’s GOP . It’s a perfectly plausible claim, if you have no idea about the history of the GOP; go and google “A Time For Choosing”, the full hour-long speech, if you need proof; it’d fit in at any Tea Party meeting in the past decade. If anything, Reagan would still scare the DC establishment; George Will was deeply unhappy with Reagan’s performance, and we know what George has been up to lately.

So no – Reagan would *not* have trouble in today’s GOP, or at least the part of the party that swept the elections in 2010 and 2014.

But Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey would get laughed out of today’s Democratic Party. Of that, there can be no doubt.

That is all.

Yes, In Your Back Yard

A friend of the blog writes:

Saw this on Twitter. Tweeted from someone living in San Francisco. But, retweeted by someone living in St Paul.


Funny thing- I think both cities have most of those things.
I doubt either the original poster or the retweeter choose to live near those places.  Just like public transit, this list seems like a Yes in somebody else’s backyard.

That’s the thing about creeping socialilsm; it’s always inflicted on someone else.

The $15 Minimum Wage Fights Poverty…

…in exactly the same was as gun control addresses crime.

Not at all, but for the sinecure-mongering and virtue-trumpeting:

The study, led by the University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark and published by the business-backed Employment Policies Institute, finds that, over the course of decades, higher minimum wages don’t reduce poverty in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Rather, the analysis finds that a $1 increase in the minimum wage raises poverty rates and government dependency by about 3 percent.

The report also finds evidence that cash welfare fails to lower poverty.

To be fair, none of them were intended to do any such thing.

If you look at the effects of minimum wage hikes on communities of color and low income, you’d almost think they were intended to be racist.

And it’d be hard to prove you wrong:

Take, for instance, the minimum wage. The founding fathers of progressivism at the University of Wisconsin, but also such figures as Sidney Webb, saw the discriminatory aspects of the minimum wage as among its chief selling points. “Of all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,” Webb said of the “unemployables,” “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them unrestrainedly to compete as wage earners.” E. A. Ross, the extremely influential progressive intellectual and author of the “race suicide” thesis (who was particularly bigoted against Chinese labor), explained the benefits of a minimum wage pithily: “The Coolie cannot outdo the American, but he can underlive him.” In other words, if you force employers to only pay a white man’s wages, he will only employ white men. Royal Meeker, a Princeton economist and adviser to Woodrow Wilson, explained: “Better that the state should support the inefficient wholly and prevent the multiplication of the breed than subsidize incompetence and unthrift, enabling them to bring forth more of their kind.”

Coates doesn’t mention the words “liberal” or “progressive” or “conservative. His indictment is aimed squarely at “America.” And as a collective matter, America surely deserves blame for the mistreatment of African Americans in the past. But it’s also worth noting that the more immediate authors of the “half-assed social contract” Coates rightly denounces are today counted as champions of the progressive movement.

As in all other things progressive – it’s better to appear to be doing good than to actually do good.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Not enough houses. We need to build more. And people can’t afford them because they have too much student loan debt from worthless college degrees. We need to subsidize mortgages again, just like before the last real estate crash.
The answer to social engineering failures is never to stop social engineering. The failures only prove that the agenda was not implemented sufficiently. This time, it will be different.
Wondering if the Narrative may be flawed doesn’t make you intelligent, it makes you a hater. Why is that?
Joe doakes

The problem with Narratives is, eventually you have to prop ’em up with bread and circuses.

Danger, Wisconsin

Democrats are fleeing the hellholes they and their policy created

…but bringing the politics that caused the problem with them:

According to the latest United Van Lines year-end list, the top five states people are leaving is made up mostly of liberal, Democrat infested states. Of the top five worst states, only the last, Kansas, has a GOP dominated government. The other four Illinois (a state that usually tops nearly every metric that marks a failed state), New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are all hopelessly Democrat.

Another liberal state that is losing citizens faster than it is gaining replacements is the failed state of California. A recent Mises Institute report showed that California, New York, and Illinois were losing more citizens to other U.S. states far faster than the rest of the country.

Indeed, a recent report by San Francisco’s CBS affiliate noted that people are leaving the Bay area in droves because no one who isn’t a billionaire can afford to live there due to high taxes and exorbitant property costs.

On the other hand, another study showed that the top five states Americans are moving into were nearly all Republican states. with Idaho, Washington State, Nevada, Tennessee, and Alaska topping the list — Washington being the only Democrat-dominated state on that list.

It’s nothing new; it’s how Vermont, Colorado, and Edina Minnesota all went from solid conservative holdouts to Democrat cesspools.

I do love Glenn Reynold’s idea:

GOP donors need to set up a sort of “weclome wagon” to target blue state emigrants and epxlain why the Red States they’re moving to are better than the places they left”

I’d worry that the MNGOP has some trouble with new arrivals – but I don’t think we’re one of the states that’s gaining.

Maybe all you folks in CD3?

Let’s Keep This Quiet…

…because if the Met Council hears about this, it’ll be part of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul building codes ASAP.

A Hong Kong architect has invented what he believed to be the solution of overcrowded cities by turning concrete water pipes into tiny homes.

The OPod Tube Housing system aims to re-purpose concrete tubes measuring just over eight feet in diameter, and turn them into ‘micro-homes’ with 100 square feet of living space.

Artists conception. But you know it’s coming soon to a former warehouse block along the Blue Line, don’t you?

It is the brainchild of architect James Law of James Law Cybertecture who designed the build as a possible solution to the lack of both space and affordable housing in Hong Kong.

it’ll give urban hipsters a way to virtue-signal against those wasteful slobs in their tiny houses.

Charity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A colleague predicts charitable giving will plummet next year.  Charitable contributions will not be deductible under the new tax law, but your personal exemption will increase to $10,000 per person.  No net effect on most people’s income taxes; but if you are effectively getting the charitable deduction without actually making a charitable contribution, why contribute?  Who’d be foolish enough to throw money away like that?

This is how Liberals view the world.  Liberals make charitable contributions to get tax breaks.  No tax break – no charitable contribution.

That is not how Conservatives view the world.  We make charitable contributions to help others and we consistently give more than our Liberal brethren.  The tax break is nice but even if we don’t get it, we’re still going to make our same contributions.

Charitable giving is not for the tax break, it’s for the soul.  Liberals failing to understand that, explains much of what’s gone wrong in America since they rammed through The Great Society.

Joe Doakes

Joe’s outlook is sunnier than mine.  The left at its core detests charity.  They want it socialized.

Cell Neutrality

SCENE:  Walll Street, – 1983.  A group of protesters – young activists from Slough Fnakes, Vermont – chant slogans in front of the Motorola headquasrters building, wielding protest signs; “Keep Cell Phones Democratic!”, “What do we want?  Cell Neutrality.  When do we want it?  Now!” and “Car Phones are a Public Utility”.   After a few moments, Ashton LIBRELLE climbs up on the soapbox.  

LIBRELLE:  What we seek is car phone neutrality.   We demand that the government treat car phones and suitcase phones as the public utility they truly are.   That way, in thirty years, your children will be able to buy a mobile phone like this (LIBRELLE holds up a 1984 Motoirola cell phone – the size of at World War II walkie talkie, that cost $10,000 in 2017 dollars plus $1,000 a month and $4 a minute for talk times) – and their children, and their children’s children, as long as Motorola remains unchallenged atop the car phone industry.  Nobody will be able, using just more money, to buy a better phone!

(Hank MERG chimes in):  But if you treat the budding cellular communiations industry like a utility, there’ll be no impetus for someone like, say, Steve Jobs or Victor Droid, to respond to the market demand and build device that, before long, will not only do everything the phone your holding does thousands of times better, but do it for about one percent of the inllation adjusted cost.  Indeed, in 24 years, I predict that non-profits will be giving away phones that are millions of times more powerful per dollar, and criminals will buy them to use once and throw away!.

LIBRELLE:  (Scoffing as the young people fromSlough Fnakes laugh uproariously)  Oh, it is to laugh!  The idea that phones will be a commodity, like Pet Rocks, or that technology will ever surpass what we see in front of us!   No, indeed; let us regulate car and suitcase phones like utilities, that they may ever be as successful as the public education system!

(The crowd erupts)_.

A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep

A report from the Cult of Personality front: Millennials love President Trump’s tax cut plan…

when they think it’s Bernie Sanders’ plan:

That’s the bad news.

There’s good news? Well, maybe; it seems that as people grow up and learn more, they do, in fact, get more conservative; at the  moment, both red and blue states are getting redder in terms of voter registrations (although urban areas are still solidly blue)

 

The State Full Of Sun-Baked “Progressive” Bobbleheads That Doesn’t Learn From History…

Half of Californians say housing prices are making them think about leaving the state, and an awful lot of them think rent control is the answer:

About half of the state’s voters – 48 percent – said they consider the problem of housing affordability “extremely serious.” Concerns are more prevalent in areas seen as ground zero for the crisis, including the Bay Area, where 65 percent of voters described the problem that way.

The issue has led to an intensifying debate over rent control in California. In Los Angeles County, 68 percent of voters said they support stronger limits on rent increases, while 63 percent in the Bay Area said so.

The majority of support for rent control is among renters, who have seen prices grow nearly 4 percent since last year, according to data compiled by the real estate listing service Apartment List. California’s median rent for a one-bedroom is now at $1,750, while a two-bedroom is $2,110, Apartment List found. Among the most expensive cities are San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento.

Of course, being progressives, they don’t bother with history – and I doubt the history of rent-control in places like New York City is covered in the textbooks progressives are allowed to read.

But in New York, it worked a little like this:

  1. Rent controls were established
  2. Their incomes constricted by rent control, landlords fell behind on the little things, like routine repairs.
  3. City officials leaned on the landlords to make the repairs, prices and income be damned, and threw on fines to make the whole mess even less affordable.
  4. Sick to death of being stuck between a regulatory rock and a cost hard place, the landlords tried to sell out.
  5. Local regulations – like the ones Ray Dehn proposes in Minneapolis – make selling a rental property a daunting prospect.   Landlords unloaded properties at firesale prices or, if the neighborhood was bad enough and the debt intractable enough, walked away – creating either gentrification-ready areas of cheap buildings or, for less desirable locations, acres of vacant buildings ready to be turned into crack dens.
  6. Alarmed by the decline in “affordable housing” caused by their own policies, the city’s government ratcheted up the regulations even more; as the saying goes, the beatings will continue until morale improves…

Given the mindless “progressivism” of California government, this will hasten the state’s decline.  The bad news?  It’ll also increase the number of Californians bringing their bobble-headed politics to sane states.

Foreman Said “These Jobs Are Going, Boys, And They Ain’t Coming Back…”

Coopers Super Valu, the longtime West Seventh / Highland Park anchor, is closing.

And while the city’s establishment will do its darnedest to suppress any mention of it, city “social justice” policy is at least in part the culprit:

“Sales here have been shrinking,” said Cooper, who noted that difficult union negotiations, record-keeping related to the city’s new sick-leave mandate, the decline in strip mall tenancies and the store’s pension liabilities were of no help.

Strip malls come and go – and Sibley Plaza seems to be on the “..and go” side of the equation – but as the city pours money into Lowertown and upper West Seventh, it’s orgy of regulations is  causing problems in parts of town where prosperity is a little more strained.

The Slip That Reveals

After a 14 hour convention that descended at one point into fisticuffs, the Minneapolis City DFL Convention reached no endorsement – but  Ray “The Kommissar” Dehn had a lead in the delegate count for mayor.

Further proof that the Minneapolis DFL is pushing too far left even for Betsy Hodges?  Sure.

But it’s the ephemera that tell us how far to the left.  This was one of Dehn’s congrats on Twitter:

“Comrade”.

This is Minneapolis today.

 

Todays’ Business Model, Fifteen Years Ago

Media companies switching to unpaid student labor.

As head editor for the local chapter of an online food-culture publication, Brogan Dearinger spent most mornings last fall coming up with story ideas, editing submissions and checking the performance of articles.

But there was no money in it—at least not for her.

Ms. Dearinger, then a senior at Indiana University Bloomington, was among about 8,000 unpaid college students working for local chapters of Spoon University Inc., a for-profit media company.

“They are always pushing us to publish more,” Ms. Dearinger said. “Since writers don’t get paid for their articles, sometimes it’s hard to motivate them to write more articles.”

That’s one way around those $15/hour minimum wage laws!

This is, of course, the model that Shot In The Dark and the NARN have used from Day 1.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Illinois may very well go bankrupt.

What do to?

It’s time to break up Illinois:

…let’s finally admit that after decade upon decade of taxing and spending and borrowing, Illinois has finally run out of other people’s money.

Not a bad plan – although I’m not sure what Wisconsin did to deserve Chicago. Give Chicago to Massachusetts.

Those “other people” include taxpayers who’ve abandoned the state. And now Illinois faces doomsday.

So as the politicians meet in Springfield this week for another round of posturing and gesturing and blaming, we need a plan.

We just disappear. With no pain. That’s right. You heard me.

The whole satirical (?) thing is worth a read.