Morning Ed: United States {2017.06.28.Th}

[PR1] Becket Adams takes issue with the media’s desire to quickly label Maria as “Trump’s Katrina.”

[PR2] Contrary to early reports, aid managed to move in relatively quickly after the storm. Given his fixation with NFL issues, one suspects this might have been despite President Trump rather than because of him.

[PR3] Getting aid to the general vicinity of the island doesn’t appear to be a problem, but getting it on the island and moved throughout the island is really tough.

[PR4] Photos of the ruins. And accounts.

[PR5] Tyler Cowen proclaims Puerto Rico’s American Dream as dead. I decided pretty early on that the end result of this will probably be statehood, and probably not optimally. It seems likely to the point that I think rebuilding should occur with it in mind. That said, I think Cowen’s argument that statehood would have economically saved it may take for granted a degree of integration that might not have occurred due to language issues.

[VI1] If we do bring Puerto Rico in as a state, I hope we can affix the Virgin Islands to it.

[VI2] Cruiselines are lending a hand.

[US1] Conor Sen argues that Amazon portends a broadening of the tech sector to more places. Lyman Stone says that all the candidates are bad, though.

[US2] There was a reason Los Angeles had no football teams. More than one person told me that the one former LA team that didn’t move back to LA is the only LA team that could have prospered. I am back to thinking they should have put a team in the Inland Empire.

[US3] My wife saw this on the Indian reservation. The local KFC would staff accordingly.

[US4] Well, this isn’t good. And neither is this.

[US5] Rob Walker writes how the recent debate over the Confederate Flag might impact the Gadsden Flag.

[US6] Bank of America is pulling out of ruralia. (This is not a good thought, but the fact that they couldn’t find three more to close makes me twitch.

[US7] Something rotten in Kansas, and it’s not the Iraqi-American family.


Editor-in-Chief
Home Page Twitter Google+ Pinterest 

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 →

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

114 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2017.06.28.Th}

  1. US3: I live in a smallish, economically-depressed city. The one large grocery outlet (a wal-mart) in the entire county is here. I see that exact same thing. (To the point where I will not shop on the first of the month, ESPECIALLY if it is a Friday, because I know how busy the place will be and I don’t fancy standing in line for 20 minutes to pay for my food. And I expect not to be able to find certain items for a day or two after – Wal-mart here is absolutely the worst about restocking its shelves).

    though in my city’s case it may be more a Payday Effect; I don’t know if we’re one of the states that has the staggered benefit rollout times.

      Quote  Link

    Report

     
    • This USDA page provides access to the SNAP benefits distribution schedule for each of the states.

      On the few occasions when I’ve had a chance to talk with people from a “we want to form our own low-tax state away from the cities” group, one of the questions I always ask is if they’ve priced the ongoing cost of their SNAP program. SNAP participation by states is mandatory. The feds cover the costs — benefits and administrative costs up to specified limits — but states bear any excess administrative costs beyond that. Software systems that are SNAP-compliant are pricey; the number of case workers to be compliant with speed of intake and updates are pricey; the USDA runs continuous audits on state programs; states that don’t take performance seriously and work at it routinely find themselves paying millions (or tens of millions) of dollars in non-compliance fines.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
      • Huh. I learned something today.

        So the people crowding the stores on the first of the month are probably mostly paycheck people….(We have staggered, 1st, 5th, 10th….)

        Also the second Saturday of the month is bad but I know that is because paychecks.

        I just wish we had another large grocery store, or something like an Aldi, to bleed off some of the crowds. (Shoot, I’d like to have an Aldi, I understand their stuff is pretty good…)

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
  2. US2: The transfer of the Chargers to LA was handled in pretty much the worst possible way. That being said, I would be astonished to see them move back to San Diego any time soon (spitballing “soon” to mean within ten years).

    It produces an interesting experiment. The NFL financial model minimizes the importance of actual butts in seats, and especially in the less outrageously priced seats. The whole trend to new stadiums is about catering to the wealthy. And seriously: watching football in person largely sucks. It only makes sense if you are going for the communal experience. If you actually want to see the damn game, who will find yourself looking at the jumbotron the whole time. You can see it both cheaper and more comfortably at home. Put these together and the trend is that average fans watch on TV, while attending in person is more and more a display of conspicuous consumption for the rich. It strikes me as plausible that ownership would be just fine with this. Sure, shots of empty seats are embarrassing, but if the bottom line works out, who cares about the visuals?

      Quote  Link

    Report

     
    • The NFL’s plan for LA was that two can live as cheaply as one, at least in terms of stadiums. No single LA team is likely to have a profitable fan base, at least in the next several years. There’ll be revenue from tickets, merchandise, commercials, etc., but not in a way that will benefit from the second-largest US market. But without two teams in LA, the whole thing will become a big money suck.

      Also, San Diego voters have been unwilling to spend money on a stadium upgrade, and this whole experience has alienated them more than they already were (and they had plenty of reasons to be alienated already).

      I could see the Tijuana Buccaneers happening, though.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
  3. [PR5] Help PR back on it’s feet, then kick them loose.

    [US5] You can have my “virtual” Gadsden flag when you pry it from my cold dead hands. The guy who was upset at the flag in the NY article was an idiot. He also probably believes “niggardly” is an ethnic slur.

    [US7] I’m still trying to figure out why the guy had a check. The last house I sold was all done with wire transfers or ACH transfers.

      Quote  Link

    Report

     
    • I’m still trying to figure out why the guy had a check.

      The thing is, by even asking this question the implication is that maybe the police did the right thing after all. If that isn’t your intent, there are better approaches to the discussion.

      As for why he was paid with a check, your personal lived experience is that there is more than one way this is done. It should not be surprising that there might also be more than two. How real estate transactions are handled can vary a lot from state to state. I have written a check in the six figures. It wasn’t on my account. I was the executor of an estate. But it was a regular personal-style check with all the information written in by hand, not a business check that came out of a computer printer. So I find the idea of a check in this amount unremarkable. And the transaction somehow occurred without police intervention.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
      • It was a number of years ago, but when we moved from VA to MI, the money from the sale of the house in VA was in a cashier’s check. Why? Because we did not yet have a bank chosen or therefore an account set up in the town we were moving to in MI. The check was the initial deposit when we opened one.

        Strangely, no one called the police or detained us for hours…

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
    • [PR5] PR has a per/capita income 45% of Mississippi, the poorest state, and its economy has shrunk as the result of a reduction of exemptions from U.S. law. IOW, PR benefits from both being in the U.S. and being exempt from federal taxes and regulations, with the exception of the federal minimum wage, which puts PR at a disadvantage to neighboring island communities (and encourages off-the books labor).

      I don’t see how PR can survive statehood without continuing its special status as exempt from national laws. Cowen wants to give PR an exemption from the Jones Act, which would divert some transit from ports like Houston and New Orleans, but I doubt it would do much. Pressed on the matter, Cowen might argue that PR should have at least a partial exemption from the federal minimum wage.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
  4. [US1] I think Lyman Stone has not considered that it will take some time for Amazon to build new buildings to move into in whatever city is chosen, and during that time, developers will be quite busy with building new housing for the new employees.

    Also, he does not understand the basic sailing metaphor behind “take a different tack“.

      Quote  Link

    Report

     
    • Hugh Hefner’s death seems to have inspired a firestorm of hot takes. There’s a lot of back and forth over whether he was a champion of progressive causes or a gross, rapey misogynist, and the answer seems to be, “Basically both,” which is exactly the kind of answer that starts metaphorical knife fights.

      If you’d rather just gawk at the stupid instead of untangle yet another intra-left fight, The Federalist has you covered.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
      • I prefer:

        He most certainly did some good things (first amendment fights, serious journalism and writing, sexual revolution, etc.). Perhaps not in exactly the way some folks would have preferred, but then, rarely are the important fights fought in the manner all would prefer.

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
      • Basically right pretty much sums it up. I’m not really sure what to make of the accusations that Hugh Hefner was a “gross, rapey misogynist.” He was but sex, especially when decoupled from any romantic feeling, is going to involve a good chunk of objectification. Very few people are going to want to have consensual sex with somebody they are not attracted to and if the attraction is more physical than emotional, your kind of reducing a person to the status of an object because you are only into them for their physical qualities. I don’t see any way you can avoid this.

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
          • The 1970s were a very strange time where nearly every adult seems to have gone into a crazy series of indulgences. There must have been some very confused elementary school aged kids during the general moral break down.

              Quote  Link

            Report

             
            • I was in elementary school then. With 100% accurate introspection, I don’t notice anything strange in me.

              Now, the rest of the people? Have you noticed how fishing crazy every one of you is? You should look for professional help. Just saying :-)

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
            • Not really. Lots of our parents were stable, non drug using, mellow people disconnected from the cultural changes. My parents were older, in their 50’s, so most of the cultural changes were not relevant to them. Watching it all on TV was something, but it was just the way things were. It was normal because that was what we were used to. The 80’s were more of a noticeable change with all the moral majority guff.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
            • My parents were Silent Gen, and I presume they stood by and looked on in dismay. I was reasonably happy at home as a child because they didn’t participate in the craziness. But as an adult I’ve heard about “key parties” and similar and…..damn I’m glad I wasn’t a young-married then.

              I mean, being an adult in 2017 sucks, but being an adult in, say, 1975, sounds like it also sucked pretty hard, if in a different sort of way.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
              • My parents were also middle class squares, so I was shielded form most of the 70s insanity.

                But that makes it all the more mind blowing when I hear about it first hand. I live in a nice suburban neighborhood with a mix of retired folks who have lived here since the first homes went up in the mid-60s to new families with little kids. Last summer the sweet little old 80+ lady down the block told me about how things were back when she was a 30-something housewife. Apparently key parties were a thing. And she and her husband were very much into them.

                I can no longer look at my more senior neighbors in quite the same way…

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                 
            • There must have been some very confused elementary school aged kids during the general moral break down.

              Why think that? Those kids had the experiences they had and viewed them as normal. The confusion was from adults trying to make sense of a post-Vietnam Era America. The kids didn’t have any problem with it, I don’t think.

              Add: now, if you’re talking about the 60s, I think you’d have a more valid point. Those kids were pulled in a bunch of different and irreconcilable directions.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
            • Well, there was that awful polyester leisure suit my Dad inexplicably was moved to purchase, and then even less explicably occasionally to wear. Even at the time I knew that was fucked up. But yeah, otherwise my family was pretty normal, in a nerdy sort of way.

              But seriously, I have a theory that a lot of modern helicopter parenting, where it is considered horrifyingly irresponsible to let your kid out of your sight, is an unconscious reaction to the 70s. That was a really bad decade. If you take that as your baseline, and add to this a default assumption that things only get worse over time, then it makes sense to dig a bunker in the back yard and not let your kids out. In reality violent crime numbers are way down and our streets objectively far safer than back when I would take city buses to go to the main downtown (which was decidedly seedy) library all by myself.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
        • A couple days ago Lauren Duca said that she’s tired of women humble-bragging about themselves and asked people to just plain ole brag. I read some of the comments women wrote, and very very many of their real brags were about how pretty they are and what fine bodies they have, etc. Were they objectifying themselves? Does that question even make sense?

            Quote  Link

          Report

           
          • I don’t really care if a woman wants to brag on her looks or not.

            I have never been comfortable with my looks though in recent years I have had people whose opinion I respect tell me I am not bad-looking. I suspect few women are comfortable with how they look – I could easily point out about fifteen things wrong with just my face, if you asked.

            So I’m happy if a woman feels secure enough about herself to brag on her looks.

              Quote  Link

            Report

             
            • I’m happy for folks who like how they look and if they want to brag about it, more power to em. I was just noting that at least some women objectify themselves in the same way some men objectify them (being hot, being pretty, etc). So the criticism of Hefner needs to go a bit deeper than that he merely objectified women.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
              • Did you look at pillsy’s blacked-out statement? The criticism goes deeper.

                Also, it’s different to brag on your looks or to see yourself as only your looks. The former is being pleased about something, the latter is objectification. They aren’t the same. Of course, I also think it’s perfectly possible to sexually enjoy visual stimulation without depersonalizing aka objectifying anyone, so I don’t buy the premise that porn requires objectification in the first place.

                And I think it’s also a bit different for someone to objectify, aka depersonalize, other people, or to depersonalize themselves. One is cold/indifferent and the other is kinda heartbreaking.

                Finally, I’d suggest that objectifying someone in your own private space when you’re alone (or inside your own head), is different from objectifying someone to other people and/or to their face; and that objectifying someone consensually is different than objectifying them non-consensually.

                I mean, you and/or Lee may already agree with much of the above or think it’s obvious, but I find that much of it gets ignored or forgotten when people start to talk about objectification.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                 
                • I’d like to give you a longer answer, but really the answer is short: I knew all that. I’m aware of all that. I was making a narrow point. That you felt it doesn’t present all the complexity surrounding objectification is why you wrote what you did.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                   
          • I too am against the Humblebrag because it often seems like false modesty but it is not an on-line creation. People have been saying “I went to school in Connecticut” when they mean “I went to Yale” since the dawn of Yale. Or other versions.

            The humblebrags I see mainly are about economic advantage. “I know I am incredibly privileged=My family made boatloads of money in the Gilded Age and now I can work as a painter while living in an apartment normally occupied by professionals at the top of their game.”

              Quote  Link

            Report

             
        • I found out about Hefner’s death last night reading a blog post from a political writer I follow that happens to be gay.

          He focused his obituary on Hefner’s contribution to journalism, first amendment, and furthering the culture that were associated with the publication of Playboy

          Which the post writer assured us, he only read because of the Rticles.

          In this case, I believe him

            Quote  Link

          Report

           
          • As a kid, if I was lucky enough to score a Playboy, of course I looked at the pictures. After I had the mag for a bit I would start reading the rest,and came across wonderful authors such as Walter Tevis and Tim O’Brien.

              Quote  Link

            Report

             
        • One of the major reasons Skinemax softcore porn was a thing is that the population of actresses who will sign up for “willing to get naked on camera” is much larger than the group “willing to have (unprotected) sex with a random dude on camera” so it’s much easier to find a really attractive star. Playboy benefitted from the same dynamic.

            Quote  Link

          Report

           
          • Yes and no.

            I think Hugh during his revolutionary phrase did invent the yuppie guy lifestyle more or less where it was about jazz on the high fi, a cool pad with Herman Miller furniture, good cocktails and food, and sex of course. Possibly with different partners each night.

            Hugh was one of the first people to turn themselves into a Brand.

              Quote  Link

            Report

             
        • Anytime!

          Things have been a touch warm hereabouts as of late. Some levity was called for.

          (I actually had 2 things I found very amusing in the Tech Tuesday, and one that was just fascinating… not sure who saw those)

            Quote  Link

          Report

           
            • You are very welcome!

              The first time I set sail, I was taken aback by just how massive our oceans are. It’s pretty easy to get to a point where you can not see land in any direction. It’s a bit unsettling at first, but you get used to it.

              I imagine, when we start sending people out past the orbit of the moon, they will experience a similar feeling.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
              • Plus the punchline to the old joke, “…and that’s just the top of it!” I know people who can’t deal with tunnels and such because they are stuck with the visual image of being under tens or hundreds of feet of rock and dirt. I have the same problem with the ocean — the huge surface expanse doesn’t bother me, but the thought that the bottom of the water is 5,000 ft down for farther than I can see terrifies me.

                  Quote  Link

                Report

                 
                • When I deployed, NAV would post a sounding chart on the wall outside the galley showing our position and track for the day (they’d update our position every morning at 0400 until it was time to hang a new chart). We’d have fun discussion after breakfast at muster about how deep the water was and how long it would take to hit bottom if God decided it would be funny to make all the water vanish.

                    Quote  Link

                  Report

                   
    • These days, Morning Eds for the whole week are usually done on Sunday. Sometimes Wednesday and Thursday are done on Tuesday. Today was something of an odd exception because I literally did it this morning. I was going back and forth on whether to have a Puerto Rico section or going forward with the planned United States section. I opted for both.

      In any event, ME and LF will rarely include same-day news.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
  5. US6: Ruralia is in the process of discovering — having forced on them might be a better description — that it is expensive to provide modern services in low population density areas. So expensive, in fact, that the private sector has been steadily losing interest in providing such services. Another example is the ACA insurance exchanges: counties where there is only one exchange provider show a very strong rural bias. Nor is it a new problem: most states have had a board/commission charged with finding policies to reverse the decline in health providers in rural areas for decades.

    Anyone who looks at the details of their state’s cash flow sees which way the subsidies flow. I have long been puzzled by how rural politicians can maintain the myth that cities are a financial weight dragging down the rural areas.

      Quote  Link

    Report

     
    • Dense city populations pay scant attention so dense city pols don’t focus on the myth. Rural voters and their pols desperately want it to be true and so triple down on it. Suburban voters romanticize ruralia and generally scorn the urban so lean towards the latter. Thus it survives and marches on.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
      • To be fair, at least here in the People’s Republic of Seattle, The Stranger and Seattle Weekly regularly point out the greater Sea-Tac area basically subsidizes the state. Unfortunately, the Seattle Times is owned by an out of touch rich family, so there’s never any editorials about this small fact.

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
        • Sure, but do they harp on it? Do they say Sea-Tac voters should care about it? Do they say voters should make Sea-Tac state politicians care about it? To cut the ingrate WA Raralian moochers off? I’m guessing not. Partially because urban regions tend to being liberal and that kind of policy jibe doesn’t fit with current liberals well. Also because it doesn’t really threaten their self image. If ruralian voters faced up to the fact that they’re parasitic financial moochers on their regional urban/suburban clusters it’d destroy their entire self constructed image.

            Quote  Link

          Report

           
          • It’s not actually quite that straightforward if you think about how much certain foods would cost to urban dwellers without those subsidies to rural areas… SeaTac is not a great example for this b/c port, but in general milk, fruit, veg etc etc are as affordable as they are (not all that affordable, but *as much* as they are) because of subsidies to rural areas.

              Quote  Link

            Report

             
            • Yeah I wouldn’t say urbania gets nothing for its subsidies, agreed. That stipulated the economic reality is ruralia is overdeveloped from a strictly economic PoV. If urbania cut off the transfers the price of agricultural and primary industry inputs would increase as those parts of ruralia that actually produce those goods had to take up the cost of that infrastructure and necessarily added the cost to the goods they sell just as you said.

              The savings, of course, from ending urban to rural transfers would be significantly greater than the costs of increased prices. Also it’d be horrible from a humanitarian perspective and deeply counter to general urban sensitivities. The ruralian hypocrisy in this area, though, is pretty galling.

                Quote  Link

              Report

               
    • Honestly, I think a big part of the reason is people (and note I said people, not conservatives or even rural residents) don’t understand big numbers.

      What I mean is, they see a story about some tunnel or transit project in Big City X costing eleventy jillion dollars. Now, not only do they not know that Big City X actually sent out twentaby jillion dollars in taxes out, but the eleventy jillion dollars is over twenty years or whatever.

      So, all they think is “wow, imagine if my little town got even a smidgen of that,” not realizing that in reality, they already get a ton of money, but there’s not big news stories about it or it isn’t mentioned that the reason why the police department has shiny new cars is tax money from the big city.

      Also, the fact that transit project can mean people can get to their job in Big City X was Small Town Z in a shorter time because cars off the road isn’t mentioned, either.

      That was one positive about pork barrel – it was in the Congressperson’s best interest to know let everybody that American tax money that he or she managed to finagle was being spent right here.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
    • That’s okay. You can just do things like reclassify bandwidth — decide 10mb/s is “high speed internet” instead of the former 25, and boom! Instant better utilities out in the hicks.

      (And yes, that’s a real idea floated by the current idiot in charge of the FCC).

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
      • That works to a point. Over the last 10-12 years, the Colorado General Assembly, increasingly dominated by Front Range urban/suburban voters, has imposed emission standards on rural electricity. Because under the right weather conditions, the goop from rural cooperatives’ power plants piles up against the foothills and f*cks up the Front Range air quality. Declaring it to be “clean” when it’s not doesn’t work.

        The standard complaint from the rural interests to those regulations boils down to “We’re poor and can’t afford clean electricity.” If you want to really piss them off, the response is to bring up the REA/RUS and remark, “Let’s be clear; you’re so poor you can’t afford electricity without help.”

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
    • Early on he irritated some people by giving his thoughts (as a top level QB) in real time during the pre-snap read phase rather than letting it unfold and give it as analysis afterward.

      I see the point, as it’s a fun game to try to recognize the patterns and predict for yourself what’s going to happen. Kind of spoils it when someone better at it than you is already there.

      But even with max style points off for that, he’s so far above replacement level it hurts.

      Although replacement level is pretty low – the 4th string 4pm EST crew regularly get rules wrong, lose track of timeouts, and aggressively misunderstand the replay process.

        Quote  Link

      Report

       
      • He did some at-the-line real time analysis last night and I actually enjoyed it. But I especially liked his youthful fan-like enthusiasm and that he didn’t fill the airspace with long overwrought analyses of the blatantly and painfully obvious, like pretty much every other color commentator gets bogged down in.

          Quote  Link

        Report

         
        • Oh, I like the at-the-line stuff too. I do think he got some advice to the effect of “let the play go unless you see something decisive or something changing dramatically” e.g. if the call is obvious from counting dudes in the box and no one moves, let us hear the snap count.

          Also, unlike the other crews, don’t remind the audience “he sent a guy in motion to see if coverage was man or zone” more than once per quarter. They can remember it for 45 minutes.

            Quote  Link

          Report

           

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *