Linky Friday #194: Crime & Turkey

Economics:

black friday photo

Image by Powhusku

[Ec1] People willing to dispose of conveniences will be allowed to fly more cheaply than people who indulge themselves with them. Cool. (Well, up to a point. Bathrooms need to stay free.)

[Ec2] The Atlantic would like to wish you a happy holiday, you gluttonous cretin.

[Ec3] Via James K, our latest export to New Zealand is Black Friday.

[Ec4] Spain wants you to stop using cash.

[Ec5] Finally! Someone explains the NES Classic Edition to me in words I can understand. The TV thing is lost on me since I keep a laptop hooked up to our televisions.

[Ec6] Ed West explains how you can be against the elite, even if you’re pretty rich and pampered yourself. Just as the non-wealthy need the wealthy to advocate for them, so it goes in other arenas.

[Ec7] Good news! We no longer need concern ourselves with Paul Krugman’s alien invasion.

Education:

[Ed1] Some school rezoning has been delayed because this sort of thing is complicated even when there are no Republicans involved.

[Ed2] The New York Times has a good look at which states are experiencing the brain drain and the brain gain. It’s not entirely what you think. Less red vs blue and more reddening vs blueming.

[Ed3] In part because the educational divide and its effect on our politics and our nation.

[Ed4] Donald Trump to the rescue!

[Ed5] Jason Bedrick takes issue with the New York Times’ characterization of charter school research.

[Ed6] Look, if my kid has a teacher with the nickname “Paedo” I’m going to have questions. That said, there were two coaches in my school system that got in trouble for inappropriate sexual behavior, and both were pretty well known to students.

Europe:

Marine Le Pen photo

Image by dielinkebw

[Eu1] Chart: Multigenerational living in Europe.

[Eu2] Rishi Sunak makes the case for free ports in the post-Brexit economy, which may not be as rosy as its advocates states.

[Eu3] Exciting! (Ack.) But no matter who is elected, PEG says France won’t be fixed.

[Eu4] Alison Smale and Steven Erlanger declare Merkel the Liberal West’s Last Defender.

[Eu5] Well this is gorgeous as hell.

Creatures:

Image by JHTaylor

Image by JHTaylor

[C1] We need to figure out how to get people to be able to do this, so that we can send more people to inhabit the western deserts.

[C2] Don’t fish with squirrels.

[C3] Sorry, but you just can’t trust crows. Even – perhaps especially – ones that become social media stars.

[C4] Yeah, I don’t like snakes, either.

[C5] While turkeys are apparently not so into the wild.

Law:

parrot photo

Image by Martin Pettitt

[L1] Two lawyers, two parrots, two tweets, one joke, much acrimony.

[L2] The headline is a bit deceptive, but I think the plaintiff actually has a point here.

[L3] This is disappointing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s Butch Otter.

[L4] This is one of those “don’t know where to begin” stories.

[L5] This could have been a supervillain origin story.

[L6] This seems… unpleasant.

[L7] Maybe the burglar just wanted the television.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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101 thoughts on “Linky Friday #194: Crime & Turkey

  1. Ec1: I wonder how popular cattle car airplane travel will be. When given the choice, most people seem to prefer low prices over comfort when it comes to travel but there are limits to the misery that humans can endure. You can’t really have a situation where kids aren’t sitting next to their parent or guardian without things going badly but this cheap ticket will be very popular with families.’

    Ec2: The Atlantic and similar publications can be kill joys at times. The down side of political ideologies that are focused on the wretched of the earth is that they can become very puritanical because there is always somebody suffering somewhere.

    Ec6: The great thing about this definition of elite to many people is that you get to rope in minorities and the urban poor with the liberal professional type that you hate. It makes it very convenient for them and allows them to see themselves as the salt of the earth.

    Ed5: As we would expect them to. Reason seeks to privatize the world.

    L2: Nobody should go to fast food or fast casual joint and expect healthy eating.

    L3: I think the key lesson from this is that there are millions of people who still passionately believe in the War on Drugs and do not want legalization at any cost.

    L4: These tragic situations are depressingly common. People travel to a foreign country and think that the legal regime and cultural values would be just as it is at home. This is especially true if the foreign country likes to present itself as an up to date and modern place like the Dubai does with its shiny glass skyscrapers and decadent malls. Than they find that things aren’t as they seem. UAE is still a very conservative Muslim country and their law reflects this.

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  2. C4,
    Oh, noes! Snakes!
    Seriously, I’ve been closer to getting bit by these snakes than any of these fools are likely to ever be. Timber rattlers are shy things.

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      • I’ve been near one hunting, on a trail that I was going to be walking on. It could perhaps have mistaken my foot for a leaping rat.

        I could have gotten bit.

        More likely it would have just slithered away. Handsome black timber rattlesnake, though, what a beautiful thing.

        (I’ve seen a few sunning on rocks too. Copperheads are a HELL of a lot scarier, and I had one slither out of a rock that I was sitting on).

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          • And weasels. Because some animals are freaking psychotic.

            In rattlesnake country, you carry a stick and bang it hard across any fallen logs before you cross them. That way, if the snake decides to bite, it’s hitting the stick instead of your foot (and, often, it’ll just slither away).

            Yes, you’re big. No, it doesn’t matter if the snake thinks your foot is a leaping rat.

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        • It’s a rare year that I don’t see at least one sunning itself in the morning on a paved bike path around where I live. I’ve very occasionally come close enough to one that I didn’t know was there to trigger the rattling — you freeze, locate it, and step away. Once you retreat a couple of steps, the snake will promptly vacate the area. The closest I’ve ever come to being bitten was as part of a group cleaning up roadside trash. Two of us lifted an upholstered chair someone had dumped down the embankment and there was a big prairie rattler under it. To be honest, we were breaking one of the basic rules for snake country — don’t put your hands in places you can’t see.

          Adult rattlers have some degree of control over whether or not to inject venom. They often don’t inject when striking something that’s obviously too big to eat. “Dry” bites are one of the reasons there’s so many more old folk tales about how to treat a rattlesnake bite than other poisonous snakes — everything from turpentine to horse piss. All of them are equally effective for treating a dry bite :^)

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  3. Eu1 – It looks like it’s driven by culture rather than, say, economics or population. The graph runs almost perfectly south-to-north.

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    • EU1

      It is indeed driven by culture. In the Mediterranean countries (and LatAm, which inherited Iberian mores) , it is standard and the expected for children (male and female) to stay at their parents house until marriage.

      The idea of going away for college is also quite foreign. Unless reasons, most people go to college at local or regional universities, so that, at least, they’d be home on the weekends, if not every day.

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  4. EU5

    I’ve been to some fantastic landscapes, but Northern Scotland is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen

    Second most beautiful, and more difficult to go gaze, the Tepuis in the Guiana plateau (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tepui) which, apparently, might be the oldest part of the Earth current landmass

    The fact that I find Northern Scotland more beautiful than the exotic tepuis can give you a sense of how fishing awesome Northern Scotland is.

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      • Tepui does sound cool. You are right

        Auyantepui (*)

        Autanatepui (**)

        Kukenantepui

        Roraimatepui

        There’s music there

        (*) The Angel falls, the world’s tallest (3,300 ft or one neat kilometer for us normal people) drop from the Auyantepui’s top.(***)

        (**) There’s a cavern that crosses the Autanatepui from side to side. It’s been compared to the eye of a needle.

        (***) As mystic as the Angel Falls name sounds, a waterfall coming straight from Heaven itself, beyond the clouds, where angels dwell, it is named After its discoverer, a dude with the serendipitous name of Jimmy Angel, air pilot by trade.

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  5. Interesting essay at Aeon where the author asks if jobs are not the solution but the problem.

    He talks a lot about things we have discussed here, the post-work economy and its ramifications.

    We’ve also believed that the market in labour, where we go to find work, has been relatively efficient in allocating opportunities and incomes. And we’ve believed that, even if it sucks, a job gives meaning, purpose and structure to our everyday lives – at any rate, we’re pretty sure that it gets us out of bed, pays the bills, makes us feel responsible, and keeps us away from daytime TV.

    These beliefs are no longer plausible. In fact, they’ve become ridiculous, because there’s not enough work to go around, and what there is of it won’t pay the bills

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    • UBI is often discussed on LGM. I think the most illuminating point on UBI came from DJW when he said that students of his, no matter their political orientation, said that UBI is just silly and that the average UBI supporter seems to be a left-wing or libertarian graduate student.

      I’m guessing that graduate students does not include people in professional school.

      Most people don’t want to think about a future with ideas because we seem to think of it as disturbing instead of liberating. People who think about such things can’t get posted in places like Aeon.

      The implications that half of jobs can disappear in 20 years are deeply disturbing. No one wants to think that their children (or themselves) could be part of this future. We are probably more likely to imagine it as a sci-fi dystopia with the masses starving below over a utopia of abundance.

      I don’t think we will think of what to do until we are at least 30 percent unemployment.

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        • I don’t know. The electoral college might prove otherwise. The Great Depression had just as many countries go far right as went left, maybe more went far right. There were still plenty of people who opposed the New Deal tooth and nail during the Great Depression.

          Even if you are right, I think things will need to get really bad before they get better and this includes riots, etc.

          Enough rust belt voters were willing to go for Trump’s lies and false hopes over HRC’s wonkish truths because Trump said what they wanted to hear. They want the factories to hum again for manly work. They don’t want to be retrained for pink jobs. Only costal elite liberals claim that this attitude is sexist and quite possibly with hypocrisy because they date and marry white-collar dudes anyway. I know quite a few guys with grad degrees of questionable Econ value, they always seem to end up as real estate agents in wealthy areas and doing okay. Not really a rust belt possibility.

          So pardon me if I don’t share your optimism because I see very little of it being true.

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          • Unemployment got up to around 25% in the Great Depression Saul, and out of that disaster came the new deal.
            Unemployment got up to almost half that in the Great Recession and out of that disaster the GOP’s entire faux libertarian ideology got heaved into the trash in their presidential contest and an orange demagogue got elected over all the other traditional politicians left and right.

            In a post work GBI scenario we’re talking about unemployment enormously above anything we’ve seen before (certainly above 25%) paired with commensurate available resources. History says when unemployment surges things get changed, pretty fast too. Hollywood’s “the masses meekly starve or obediently tromp into a Elysium film style dystopia” is enormously less common historically. I’m struggling to think of an example, frankly.

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      • Another irony is that quite a few of the very same students – regardless of orientation – are on board with Star Trek, which quite explicitly has not just a UBI, but more extreme socialist programs.
        People see where we are now, and what a post-scarcity, post-workforce world would look like and realize that we aren’t there yet, so they don’t look at all alike. But they don’t see what the first step along the road from here to there might look like.
        To me, it looks like now.

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    • Just a reminder that the unemployment rate is 4.9%, and the long-term unemployment rate (> 15 weeks) is 2.0%.

      “But what about the real unemployment rate? What about people who gave up looking for work because there are no jobs?”

      Glad you asked! Discouraged workers are currently 0.3% of the labor force.

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    • I’m going to call BS on this claim:

      Without this income supplement, half of the adults with full-time jobs would live below the poverty line, and most working Americans would be eligible for food stamps.

      The poverty line for a family of four is about $23,000, or a bit under $500 per week. The median income for full-time workers is over $800 per week.

      This is without getting into the more fundamental problems, but it should give you an idea of the extent to which this guy knows what he’s talking about.

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    • Also, currently about 5/6 of wage income is taxed by Social Security, so heroically assuming no Laffer effects whatsoever from raising top marginal tax rates to as high as 65% in some states, eliminating the cap entirely would raise about $150 billion per year.

      Then he bullshits his way through a “proof” that raising corporate income taxes won’t reduce wages, stopping halfway through to rant about Citizens United because of course he does.

      I don’t know where he’s coming up with this stuff about net private investment atrophying since the 20s. I can’t find data going back that far. As a percentage of GDP, I suppose it’s possible, since there was a huge investment bubble then, but that’s not actually relevant to the point he thinks he’s making. It’s also worth noting that consumption of fixed capital has increased as a percentage of GDP, so it takes more gross investment to produce a certain amount of net investment nowadays.

      His claim that most jobs aren’t created by private corporate investment is vague enough that I’m not sure it’s strictly falsifiable. As evidence, he links to his book called Against Thrift, so I assume he’s referring to the vulgar-Keynesian idea that economic growth is driven by consumption. There’s some sense in which that’s not entirely wrong, but it’s totally beside the point, because you definitely need investment, too. Investment is what funds the equipment you use to do your job and the buildings you do your job in. It also pays salary and other operating expenses until a business starts breaking even.

      The reason the corporate income tax matters is that as an investor, I can invest my money anywhere in the world. Even if I live in the US, I don’t have to invest in US companies. And if the US government jacks up the corporate tax rate, investing in the US suddenly looks much less attractive. I can get a much better return in countries whose tax policy isn’t designed by a history professor who knows much less about economics than he thinks. Consequently labor productivity stops growing, and wages fall, and then the relatively small increase in corporate tax revenues is more than offset by the decline in individual income tax revenues.

      By the way, is that BlaiseP in the comments? He used to live in Guatemala, right?

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      • so I assume he’s referring to the vulgar-Keynesian idea that economic growth is driven by consumption.

        As a matter of what GDP simply IS, GDP is indeed driven by consumption, is not just an “idea”.

        In the case of the USA, 70% is private consumption, of which about half is services. Government consumption (including consumption of services) and private investment in capital goods make about 17% each, and negative net exports make the balance.

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        • Yes, if you have more consumption, all else being equal, GDP will be higher, but to say that this means that consumption drives growth is reasoning from an accounting identity. Long-run growth comes from increases in productivity, and investment is what drives productivity growth.

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          • “Long-run growth comes from increases in productivity,”

            Not necessarily. You can increase productivity, replace workers with machines, fire the workers, decrease consumption and GDP and yet, as an individual investor, increase your own personal wellbeing.

            Catherine the Great or Marie Antoinette had a life style that dwarves anything you or Trump can imagine. They had more silk stockings than they could reasonably use. So there’s no doubt their personal wellbeing was excellent. But the number of those that could own one single pair of stockings was minuscule. There is no economic law or historical forces that forced the distribution of productivity gains made in the Industrial Revolution.

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      • The reason the corporate income tax matters is that as an investor, I can invest my money anywhere in the world. Even if I live in the US, I don’t have to invest in US companies. And if the US government jacks up the corporate tax rate, investing in the US suddenly looks much less attractive.

        Insofar as you plan to pay your personal income taxes in the USA as a USA resident, it doesn’t really matter much.

        In general, you can offset income taxes paid abroad to your US income taxes. If you pay high income taxes you get a high deduction.

        The real nonsensical USA tax policy -almost unheard of anywhere else- is the taxing of dividend income. Dividends have already been taxed at the corporate level. They should not be taxed again.

        As an aside, this forces USA companies investing abroad to try to engage in partnership structures that are obsolete in many countries, which puts them at a disadvantage when competing with foreign entities that can treat dividends as tax free income.

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        • If you live in a foreign country, the IRS gives you a deduction for taxes paid to that country on your personal income, but there’s no deduction for the bite that foreign corporate income taxes take out of your dividends, because that money is never officially your income.

          Let’s say that I live in the US and that the US and Canada both have a 20% effective corporate tax rate. I’m considering investing either in a US company or a Canadian company, and each company’s stock is selling at 10x expected pre-tax earnings. So if I invest $10,000, I can expect $1,000 in pre-tax earnings on that investment and $800 after tax. If the company pays out all its profits in dividends, I get an $800 dividend and pay a 15% dividend tax on that. My return after corporate and personal income taxes is $680 or 6.8%, regardless of whether I invest in the US company or the Canadian company.

          Suppose the US increases the corporate income tax rate to 40%. Now my dividend is only $600, or $510 after the 15% dividend tax. I get an expected 6.8% return if I invest in the Canadian company, or a 5.1% return if I invest in the US company.

          Of course, that difference in returns will get arbitraged away. Stock prices for US companies will fall to the point where returns are competitive, so it’s not like nobody ever invests in the US again, but lower stock prices means it’s harder for US companies to raise funds, which ultimately means less real investment and lower wages.

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          • means it’s harder for US companies to raise funds, which ultimately means less real investment and lower wages

            I don’t disagree with most of what you said in your last comment, until you get to the fragment quoted, which is a restatement of the “job creators” myth

            First, it winks away the role of consumption demand as the main driver for new investment. You are not going to invest if there is no consumption, no matter how “attractive” the tax deal is. On the margins -the far margins- what you say is true. All things being equal, lower taxes would be a competitive advantage that would be counted when siting a new investment.

            But away from the far distant margins, lower corporate taxes is just a redistribution of the tax load from capital to labor (*) , and thus reduces money available for consumption (this side of the Laffer curve), and decreases GDP. It’s been shown over and over that the economic impact of a marginal post tax dollar is larger for low income families -who put the additional dollar back into the economy as consumption- compared to well-off families, who will save or invest the additional dollar, taking it out of the economy. Remember, neither Savings nor Equity Investments are elements of GDP.

            And of course, if there is no additional demand, there are no new machines, so I will instead invest my dollar in the equity markets and likely create an asset bubble of some sort.

            (*) we can discuss if our total tax load is too high, too low, or just correct. But that’s a completely separate discussion to the distribution of taxes between investment and labor (**)

            (**). Me, i would raise our tax load (by a bit, not too much), would equalize corporate and personal tax rates (which is the norm in many countries), and would make dividends a tax free source of revenue.

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  6. Ec1: I am perplexed that so many people are willing to be treated with discomfort and like shit for a less expensive seat. Mainly because I often find myself paying a little bit more for comfort. Not business or first class but I will pay 35-40 more for an aisle seat, possibly more if needed. Yet I would not be surprised if people are willing to be jammed into the overhead bins for a cheap seat. Cheap flying enthusiasts, why are you willing to put up with this much discomfort.

    Ec5: The amount of power nostalgia has on people born in Generation X and beyond is amazing. We are locked in kinder-culture.

    Ec6: I don’t fully agree. Yes there is the concept of not being part of the old gang and being nouveau riche but the way elite is currently used, it is still beaten out of whack too much. Romney and the Koch Brothers should be considered elite and more so than the Obamas. They are more elite than an upper-middle class NPR listener. Farange is a different beast but I suspect that the Tories are still allowed to be posh in the UK unlike Republicans in the US. Farange is certainly not posh.

    Ed2: I wonder how many students go to college in NY and Mass and then move elsewhere like back home or another state. IIRC many graduates from Harvard Law and Harvard Business move to NYC and so would Harvard undergrads especially if they move into finance. MIT grads might move to Silicon Valley rather than stay in Mass. Very few people are going to stay upstate or in Western Mass after graduating. Also people might be likely to flee West Virginia after graduating from Marshall but they might not move to NY. They might stay in the region.

    Ed4: Well paid.

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    • I am perplexed that so many people are willing to be treated with discomfort and like shit for a less expensive seat. Mainly because I often find myself paying a little bit more for comfort. Not business or first class but I will pay 35-40 more for an aisle seat…

      Consider the not-infrequent case of a family headed out on a vacation that’s already stretching the budget. For a group of three it’s not 35-40 dollars, it’s 105-120 dollars. That’s food for a day (or two) on that sort of trip. The people who will grab on to the cattle-car fares are those for whom flying is a luxury that’s just barely within reach.

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    • The market responds positively to low fares more than it responds negatively to poor service quality.

      Consider also people traveling on an expense account, where there are rules about getting the lowest airfare available. Many companies and governments actually prohibit the traveler from contributing their own money to upgrade the seat or the connection. I suppose there’s a good reason for that although the truth is I’ve never really grasped the harm.

      Consider also the way a lot of people buy airfare today: by shopping online on a travel aggregator like Expedia or Kayak, and sorting by price. The absolute lowest airfares appear on top and for many people, getting on a flight from Home to Destination and back for the least possible amount of money makes it possible to have a better time while in Destination or not strain the budget too much once back at Home.

      Something of a pity, but that’s the way it seems to work.

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      • It is true that Kayak does help. I was able to find a flight to Singapore for under 1000 dollars and still manage to get an aisle seat through early booking. I could have gone cheaper if I was willing to do two layovers and have the flight take 40 hours. That was a bridge too far.

        The aisle seat is still mandatory for me.

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    • Flying is a miracle. Getting to go far away places easily is a frickin dream. That’s why people will fly cheaply. Also there is the common refrain about how small the seats are but for plenty of people they are big enough and comfy enough especially if the cheapness enables having the trip in the first place.

      I don’t know about service on the cheap airlines. I fly Alaska Air mostly which has very good service but is not a budget airline. But it’s not like the big carriers like Delta or American have great customer service. I almost got completely sporked by Delta in hong kong and had a multi e-mail/letter runaround with American over $25 they owed me. I imagine the cheap airlines are any worse. But for flights under 3-4 hours (ie most flights) who really needs that much service and can’t get all the snacks they want in the terminal.

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      • Flying is a miracle. Getting to go far away places easily is a frickin dream.

        This

        Every time I feel frustrated by something travel related, I remember that it used to take eight weeks (in dangerous and appalling conditions, even in “first class”) to do what it takes eight hours of mild inconvenience now.

        It makes almost anything easy to bear.

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        • I try to remember that when I travel. I’m pretty easy going, but I make a distinction between inconveniences that are unavoidable and the ones we do to ourselves. Small seats? That’s just physics. More more people in a smaller space is easier to push through the sky and increases efficiency. Fine. A large fraction of what TSA does? It’s like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because it feels good when you stop. The rudeness of my fellow human beings? I feel a combination of irritation at their behavior and embarrassment on their behalf. These are things we could avoid if we were smarter as a species.

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        • Yeah, ol’ Master Sikorsky said it best: “Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle.” On some deep genetic level people know this.

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    • Unless I’m flying a fairly long distance, a slight difference in seat comfort is a pretty minor thing for me. Flying comes with a huge pile of pain-in-the-ass indignities and discomfort starting from the loading zone, so by the time I’m in my seat I usually feel like I’ve almost arrived. Going from an uncomfortable seat to a slightly less uncomfortable seat is barely noticeable in the scheme of things. A free Dixie cup full of Cap’n Crunch or something like that also doesn’t really do much for me.

      The “no carry on” thing is interesting though. I don’t really understand whether airlines like carry on bags or hate them. They charge you to check bags, so it seems like the carry on option is preferable to them. But if you’re going to get a deal by losing the carry on, do you then have to pay to check a bag? Or do you just fly without luggage? What’s going on here? I often travel with just a laptop bag for a quick overnight business trip, but I’m not sure how well that works for any other type of travel.

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      • I always assumed the airlines simply want you to have less luggage period, as the make any instance of it more and more onerous. Saving money on the back end, due to fuel would be my guess, as they really don’t make anything on the front unless they charge specifically to it.

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        • That’s what I figured, so I don’t really get the pricing push to push you toward carry ons. It’s a weird love-hate thing they seem to have. I’m sure there’s a good logistical reason for it (like if they pay by the minute for baggage carousel use), but their signaling is never particularly clear. At a glance, it would seem like dealing with passengers loading their own baggage slows down operations enough that having all bags checked would be a money saver (assuming total weight is held equal).

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        • Space not occupied by checked bags is available for freight. In the last few years, particularly for high-value international freight, there has been a pronounced shift from dedicated cargo planes to cargo carried on passenger flights. As someone pointed out to me once, when Intel is shipping a million top-end processors from the fab in Dublin to North America, they (and their insurers) want to spread that $100M cargo across many planes.

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      • Most of the flying I do tends to be long distance. Largely to the East Coast or International.

        My last flights have been to Boston, North Carolina, New York, and Singapore. My upcoming flights are to New York and Singapore.

        I think the issue with carry on is that the space seems to be lacking and is getting smaller. I’ve often had a carry on checked in at the gate because of a crowded flight and lack of room and this is for a small bag.

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        • If you’re flying a long distance, any extra space is almost always worth it. Hell, I’d pay an extra few bucks for a seat with a headrest design that doesn’t push my chin forward onto my chest. Just having my spine straight would be pretty awesome after 5+ hours.

          The decline in carry on space is a real thing, but it doesn’t explain the apparent preference for checked bags. If a carry on bag is free and a checked bag costs $25, you can expect a lot of carry on bags. If you want to alter that balance, just change the price balance.

          I usually don’t mind checking bags (again, the inconvenience of baggage claim on the back end is nothing compared to the nightmare at the front end), but I always end up with a carry on because of this policy. But I also know that more than half the time, the airline will freak out about the plane being to full and offer to check bags for free at the gate, so I’ll typically volunteer for that if I already have another checked bag.

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    • “Cheap flying enthusiasts, why are you willing to put up with this much discomfort.”

      Sometimes it’s the only way to afford a ticket.

      Flight time might make up less than 10% of a trip’s total time; money saved there for a worse but short experience can improve the rest of the trip.

      I put my head down and sleep, read, or watch TV; this experience is more or less the same regardless of seat.

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  7. Ed5

    I noticed that for Houston the result is about 1/3 each worse, same, better (which seems more or less a distribution where any random school might be worse, same or better than any other) whereas for Boston is 80% better, 20% same. It makes me think that the issue is not that Charter Schools do things specially better, or significantly different -or significantly difference is a better way- but that most of the differences are related to the School District with which they are compared.

    Which comes as a surprise to someone used to hear how bad the Houston schools are, to think that all Boston needs to do to close the gap with charter schools is copy Houston.

    Less flippantly, I would use charter schools results as a control group on what might work or not to solve some of our school districts issues.

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  8. C5: I am always perplexed by people who are surprised that creating a forage-rich predator-poor environment results in being overrun by wildlife. Getting permission to control the populations can be extraordinarily difficult. There’s a 1400-acre timber stand along the Missouri River near Omaha that is completely surrounded by city/suburbs. The deer population got completely out of control, and began rampaging through the developed areas. But there were huge outcries about killing deer until — IIRC — a child was seriously injured in their back yard by a buck during rutting season. There’s now an annual hunt that takes 30-40 deer to keep the population stable at a level the timbered area will support. Several years taking 140 per year were required to get the herd down to the present size.

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  9. How’s ’bout that Jill Stein recount thingy?

    First she said that she needed $2.5 mil to fight for a recount, hit that in record time, then upped that to $4.5 mil. Now she’s raised it to $7 mil.

    Now, there are a bunch of websites reporting that Jill Stein has said that she can’t “guarantee” that the money will go to the recount effort but when you read the fine print, she’s more saying that she can’t guarantee a recount.

    Now maybe she’s using weasel wording here but, even so, there are a lot of people out there with unmet closure needs and the Democrats aren’t doing their part to help them.

    But I say that because I’m guessing that these are more like college students donating $20 than Koch Brother types donating $200,000.

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  10. It is disturbing to consider such a far reaching and seismic shift in how our economy operates, so I don’t begrudge the students or anyone else for not being able to envision a UBI.

    But then I think about how much of political acceptance is predicated on framing.

    Despite the most persistent efforts by liberals to frame agricultural subsidies and corporate giveaways as “welfare” most Americans don’t get overly exercised at it.

    Writing out Treasury checks to businesses, for most Americans, just seems acceptable and correct.
    Same thing for Medicare and Social Security and disability; in fact, of all the millions of checks that are written by the Treasury, only the tiny few that are grouped under TANF and SNAP come with any moral taint.

    What if we made a New New Deal, aimed at the temp worker and gig economy, taking into account the new nature of small maker spaces?
    Suppose we wrote out grants to independent contractors, where they could use the money to start up new businesses, write software, make things with 3D printing and so on?

    The grants could be actual check like agricultural subsidies, or written as a tax credit like corporations get, whereby people could get refunded more tax than they pay. And these grants could be renewed year after year like ag subsidies?

    Suppose everyone participating in this program could enroll in a group health insurance plan, taking advantage of the lower group rates? And get a tax credit for that as well?

    What if all federal and state government agencies were ordered to give preferential contracting treatment to these small independent operators?
    And so on and so forth.

    No one likes a handout even liberals.

    But everyone, yes every damn one of us, Trump supporters especially, believes that we are each hard working, and deserving of some sort of acknowledgement of our hard earned wealth.

    When socialism comes to America, it will be called entrepreneurship.

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    • IIRC the gig economy has fewer participants than previously thought. It just gets overplayed in the media because the gig economy seems to be much higher in major urban areas because they have the kind of infrastructure and density that allows for gigging. Most Americans have still not taken an Uber or a Lyft or possibly booked a space on Air BnB or Liquidspace. A majority of San Franciscans have not taken Uber or Lyft yet.

      But the Atlantic published an interesting article on how Trump is bringing back the concept of “honest graft.”

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/donald-trumps-case-for-honest-graft/508706/

      But to the extent that Plunkitt provides an illuminating precedent, it’s precisely because his own conflicts were so much more blatant—and voters, instead of shunning him, reelected him again and again. Plunkitt convinced a majority of voters that it was better to put in power a man whose private interests and public policies were aligned, than to vote for reform-minded candidates serving abstract ideals; that it was preferable to trust a man who shares their resentment of elites, than to trust elites to share their values; that a politician who sticks by his friends will stick by them, while those politicians who take their cues from bookworms and professors will not.

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