We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, September 23. 2015
Photo: Yesterday's pickings from a friend's garden. That's some heritage tomato
Taking down the topmast
Yankees legend Yogi Berra dead at 90
Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum reopens to great acclaim
How Long Should Sex Actually Last?
Commercialization Of Legal Pot Has Led To ‘Epidemic’ For Colorado Kids
VW Scandal Will Speed Up Diesel's Demise
How Ideology Has Hindered Sociological Insight
Alexis de Tocqueville summarized the ideology of progressives by writing the following...
In praise of public housing
Some people just can't or won't make it on their own. Some people are not functional and lack family supports. Even England had poor-houses, as did colonial US.
Angry Muslims Taunt NJ School Officials: “We’re Going to Be the Majority Soon”
The Dream Is Gone: Leonard Cassuto's The Graduate School Mess
Kimball: The race post-Walker
Scott Walker wasn’t unlucky. He was clueless.
Pope Francis appeases the Castros in repressive Cuba
Wrong. Let Putin do the dirty work there. He's good at it. The US has no useful role in the ME messes other than being friendly to Egypt and Turkey.
Obama's Islamic State War Czar Stepping Down
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RE Public Housing: Problem #1 turns up in the second sentence of the piece. Lifelong, multi-generational dependence: "She’s lived on the same few blocks on Austin’s east side for 50 years" “It’s comfortable; it’s safe; I haven’t had any problems,” 50 years. No apparent attempt to move up or out. And in my experience, the old folks projects are usually pretty civilized, but the disincentive over generations is devastating. How are Maddie's kids and grandkids doing? Anybody ask?
1930's: “'Can you afford to pay someone else’s rent?' billboards paid for by the real-estate lobby asked" 80 years later, the answer is still "no", yet it continues.
1950's: “'You saw a change in the racial composition, which simply added to the stigma and the pattern of administrative neglect that characterized many housing authorities,' Goetz told me" Yes, exacerbating existing problems. Government excels at that.
"By the late 1960s, some of the worst-performing buildings had high vacancy rates and high rents. The 1964 Civil Rights Act accelerated the exodus—as public housing was integrated, white residents left"
"Congress passed the Brooke Amendment, which limited the rents that public-housing authorities could charge to a certain percentage of a residents’ income. Though it was well-intended..." LOL. Price controls made it worse? No way!
“It is impossible to overstate the dysfunctional state of some public housing complexes in the late 1980s and 1990s,” Goetz writes. Good summation. Still waiting for the "but".
"...in 1992, when public-housing authorities began receiving billions through the HOPE VI to tear down some of the nation’s worst housing complexes"
Big government project makes problems worse, fails completely, and is followed by a new spending program to try to undo the mistake.
"Recent efforts to tear down public housing have made many observers look back on the policy and remember it as an abject failure." LOL. Still waiting for that "but".
Finally, the big "but": "In some small cities, though, public housing has worked and continues to work." - Bullshit. Scaling down a bad idea doesn't fix it. I live within 4 block of three small scale public housing projects - the row-home type now favored - and they come with all the same problems the big ones had but just scaled down a bit. Crime is concentrated in and around them. Local property values are depressed by them, causing blight to slowly radiate outward. And the multi-generational culture of dependency creates more subtle problems than crime. Folks wjo don't earn their keep ust don't give a rip and don't know how to behave in polite society. They double park unnecessarily, block sidewalks, litter, wander into traffic without looking, leave very young kids unattended to play in the street etc etc.
Complete disaster. Public housing is still the worst of all Democrat dependency programs.
This article entirely fails to make the case the editor laid out in the headline. It should read "Massive failure of big public housing projects replaced with more modest failure of small public housing projects"
yes, it is complicated. nonetheless, there are dysfunctional and nonfuctional people out there.
Ye there are dysfunctional people but most on the dole are not (except for drugs, alcohol and lack of incentive). But understand that the reason that most of those on the dole use drugs, alcohol and lack incentive is because the system allows it. Without any welfare system these people would have been productive members of society. There would still be some dysfunctional people but they are a small minority of the entire population on welfare. What welfare has done is created the problem. It doesn't "fix" anything because if you are able to get onto welfare you would have to be incredibly stupid to then decide to work for a living. Welfare is good, a taxpayer subsidized hammock with all the drugs and alcohol a person could every want. In my humble opinion is welfare was ended tomorrow, totally and complete ended, within a month 90% of the illegal drug sales in the U.S. would end. This country is going to hell in a handbasket and our two biggest problems, drugs and welfare bums, are caused by the same stupid liberal belief that you can save someone by doing for them that which they should do for themselves. End it. Let them sink or swim. Let them live like humans not kept animals.
this post seriously needs a 'Like' button.
"Wrong. Let Putin do the dirty work there. He's good at it. The US has no useful role in the ME messes other than being friendly to Egypt and Turkey."
You don't think we should be friendly to Israel?
I'm happy to let Putin mess with the Arabs, so long as it doesn't threaten Israel. I do think we should know better now than to think that we can "build democracy" in the ME. We do not need their oil. What other strategic interests do we have there? I do think we should be prepared to stop Iran from getting the bomb, but let's depend on Israel to properly assess that threat, and then give them whatever help they need to respond to it. World opinion be damned.
Of course Israel is a friendly, civilized ally. I assume that.
However, they are big boys - and are not the 51st state.
putting Israel under the US nuclear shield adds a dimension to the Iranian equation of whether to risk a nuclear strike on Israel. the Iranians know they can't mount an effective first strike on Israeli nuclear forces so they would have to accept a countervalue retaliatory strike on their cities, which would take a horrendous toll. add to that the risk of US retaliation (and the US is untouchable) and the losses go well into the unacceptable range.
this is how the game is played.
Actually, Putin is trying to clean up a mess that is largely our doing. I wouldn't be surprised if the US intervened to prevent Russian attacks on ISIL.
"Even England had poor-houses, as did colonial US."
Where the paupers were forced to work, sometimes rough work such as pulling copra.
Also, for able-bodied men, work was required and providing charity to them was outlawed. And if a vagrant given work idled he could have his ears split and after a third offense put to death.
As late as 1562, when the last of the Statute of Laborers was enacted under Elizabeth I:
Unmarried persons under thirty, not having any trade and not belonging to a nobleman's household, may be compelled to labor at the request of any person using an art or mystery, and all persons between twelve and sixty not otherwise employed may be compelled to serve by the year in husbandry.
But then force labor is no longer permitted even for those who live off the backs of the taxpayer. But we should also note those paupers of today are also enslaved by the system. Permitted their sustenance, even able to spend any excess of candy -- immediate consumption, but not able to save for capital, nor to spend capital to improve themselves without losing their sustenance. Or as it is known, socialism
In the '30s midwest we had county poor farms, owned and operated by the county. Big farm houses converted to SRO. No families with kids as I recall. They were working farms, and everybody living there worked. Visited childless kin who had lost their farm and were living on one. As a pre-teen, I recall the people living there were upbeat and sociable, just like people living anywhere else in our locale.
Socialism by an astute observer in 1903. Interesting how after 1920 or so, the so-called intellectuals lost all comprehension of socialism and started obfuscating it, even those proclaiming to be against it. Of course, the typical college professor desires to have a body of villeins who dare not question their questionable assertions.
First, what is the best the socialists, in their writings, can offer us? What do the most optimistic of them say? That our subsistence will be guaranteed, while we work; that some of us, the best of us, may earn a surplus above what is actually necessary for our subsistence; and that surplus, like a good child, we may "keep to spend." We may not use it to better our condition, we may not, if a fisherman, buy another boat with it, if a farmer, another field ; we may not invest it, or use it productively ; but we can spend it like the good child, on candy — on something we consume, or waste it, or throw it away.
Could not the African slave do as much? In fact, is not this whole position exactly that of the .... slave? He, too, was guaranteed his sustenance; he, too, was allowed to keep and spend the extra money he made by working overtime; but he was not allowed to better his condition, to engage in trade, to invest it, to change his lot in life. Precisely what makes a slave is that he is allowed no use of productive capital to make wealth on his own account. The only difference is that under socialism, I may not be compelled to labor (I don't even know as to that — socialists differ on the point), actually compelled, by the lash, or any other force than hunger. And the only other difference is that the ... slave was under the orders of one man, while the subject of socialism will be under the orders of a committee of ward heelers. You will say, the slave could not choose his master, but we shall elect the ward politician. So we do now. Will that help much? Suppose the man with a grievance didn't vote for him?
--“Socialism; a speech delivered in Faneuil hall, February 7th, 1903, by Frederic J. Stimson , as you told those of us who read Don Surber.
Yeah, I've found Stimson to be a very prescient writer. It's odd, as prolific a writer he was, he has barely a mention on Wikipedia. Just that he was ambassador to Argentina.
I've found that you have to go back to the pre-1920 writers to get a real understanding of socialism. And in the Socialism speech, Stimson doesn't say it directly but he relates a decent definition of capitalism.
BTW, why is there no good definition for capitalism.
Capitalism is a system in which the individual is permitted to retain their personal earnings over that required for sustenance and use this "old labor" to purchase additional productive capacity, such as training, machines, real estate, etc., to better themselves.
The article by Jussim hyperlinked in the sociology post was excellent.
RE How Long Should Sex Actually Last?
if you're reading it, it's for you.
Diesel may be down, but it's not out. I drive a lot of miles annually, and diesels are perfect for me. Had two Volkswagen TDIs, now a BMW diesel. Lots of torque, quiet cruising, 45mpg and 600 miles on a tank of fuel.
Oh yeah, even if VW was understating the NOX emissions, their worst emissions were still less than the standard only ten years ago, after an enormous amount of progress had been made in diesel and gasoline engine emissions.
That's hardly trashing the planet, especially given the low CO2 emissions and the excellent miles per gallon.