Saturday, October 22, 2016

Amazingly creative street musician in London

Rigging the Election part 1 & 2

Marinwood CSD manager explains why the solar project is stalled.

Marinwood CSD manager, Eric Dreikosen explains to the board why the SolEd Solar project is sitting idle after months of delays.  In Spring  2016, the county building department was blamed for not issuing permits.  It was a bit unusual since the department usually has a one week turnaround.  Construction did not begin in earnest until August 2016.  

Now that Danlin Solar, has completed 90% of the work, we seem to be waiting on buying additional equipment and PGE. Many citizens warned the Marinwood CSD that SolEd was fired for failure to deliver on promises to St Helena, CA and sought more information on the 29 year old entrepreneur from NYC that was "funding" the project. The entire CSD board believes that they are getting the solar project for "free" ,referring to our 20 year commitment to buy electricity at high PGE tariffs.  

We believe that the Marinwood CSD board overlooked the experience and institutional stability that is vital for a financial partner for the life of the contract. We hope the project turns out well but we will reserve judgement until all terms are met.  

On a positive note,  Danlin solar has done an outstanding job of installation so far.  Also, the solar shade project was moved back on the deck and is much more visually appealing than initial designs.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Frank Zappa's Response to CNN on Free Speech "Kiss my @ss"

Frank Zappa knew his Constitution and didn't let himself be pushed around by phony Conservatives.

My video of the April 2016 Marinwood CSD meeting is getting big play on youtube.  It is four minutes of me standing my ground while four Marin Sheriff's attempted to remove me from the meeting and deprive me of my right to film the meeting.  I too used colorful language in defense of free speech earlier in the meeting which was used for "grounds for removal".   You can see it HERE

The Election Isn't Rigged, But The Political System Is.

The Election Isn't Rigged, But The Political System Is.

A great new online documentary featuring Glenn Beck, Matt Kibbe, Gary Johnson, and Nick Gillespie is well worth watching.

Nick Gillespie|Oct. 18, 2016 3:32 pm

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sounds like a spoiled, entitled, fading-fast brat when he moans about the election being rigged. Sure, it's funny when he bitches about Crooked Hillary, Lying Ted, Little Marco, and all the rest, but he's full of beans when he complains in a narrow sense about voter or election fraud. Not that he's alone in doing so. As Reason's Jesse Walker points out, various Republicans such as John McCain and the conservatives at Town Hall have fretted in recent years over just such things. So did Democrats and Democratic-leaning media orgs, especially in 2000 and 2004. The once-influential magazine Harper's, the always-overwrought Vanity Fair, and that living emodiment of regression-to-the-mean, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., all swore up and down that BushHitler out-and-out stole the 2004 election.

And yet, Trump is clearly expressing a widely felt sentiment when he complains about the larger political process being "rigged." And he's not alone in talking that way. The Blessed Elizabeth Warren, the patron saint of self-aggrandizing public moralists, says so, as did Bernie Sanders, at least right up to the moment when Wikileaks provided actual documentary evidence that the Democratic National Committee was actively working against the Vermont socialist's presidential campaign. (It's weird, isn't it, that Sanders shut his trap about all this at the very moment his fears were borne out.) Many progressives say it's because of the CORPORATIONS while the right-wingers tend to blame the MEDIA (and yes, they talk about such entities in ALL CAPS).

For those of us who are outside the Republican and Demcoratic parties, there's a different cast to the rigging when it comes to politics. As Nicholas Sarwark, the national chair of the Libertarian Party, told me in a recent interview, crazy and ever-changing ballot-access requirements are explicit hurdles to full participation in elections by diverse political groups. The one thing Dems and Reps can always agree on is that there's no goddamn reason to let more voices on the stage. And as HBO's John Oliver demonstrates, third-party candidates don't get taken seriously by the media even when they have more experience and credibility than major-party candidates. In The Declaration of Independents, Matt Welch and I talked about all the ways in which the political duopoly works to delegitimate and silence new and different perspectives.

With all that as a background, I'd like to point you to a great new hour-long documentary that explores the ways in which ordinary Americans and their concerns are systematically shut out from political discourse. Not right there at the polling place, of course, but much, much further upstream. Focusing on voter fraud and intimidation, both of which are blessedly rare-to-nonexistent, is a diversion from the bigger picture.

Underwritten by's CEO Patrick Byrne and featuring a calvacade of libertarian-leaning commentators such as Matt Kibbe, Glenn Beck, and yours truly (in a brief appearance), Rigged 2016 analyzes why politics and elections never seem to engage the concerns and views of voters and citizens who refuse to identify as either Republican or Democrat. It also gets at why the two major parties are losing members like nobody's business.

Below is the trailer and here's the website for the full, hour-long film, which you can watch for free online. "Do Not Vote For President Until You See This Film," reads the tag line. It's sage advice and you're way better off watching Rigged 2016 rather than any Punch-and-Judy cable news program.
Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of and Reason TV and the co-author, with Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America (2011/2012). He is also a columnist for The Daily Beast.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Urban Agenda

Hillary Clinton’s Urban Agenda

Her ambitious plan for cities would build on her husband’s legacy. How much of it could she get done?

STORY BYErick TrickeyTwitter

PUBLISHED ONOct 19, 2016

When Hillary Clinton spoke in Harlem in February, she barely used the words “urban” or “cities,” but she laid out one of the most ambitious urban agendas of any modern presidential nominee.

“If I’m elected president, we will direct hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments to places like Harlem and rural South Carolina,” Clinton declared at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. As she’d done four days earlier in small-town Denmark, South Carolina, Clinton talked up her $125 billion “Breaking Every Barrier” agenda to help poor communities with jobs, housing and access to capital. But as she addressed communities of all kinds, including African-Americans and the rural poor, she also mentioned Flint, Michigan, where she’d spoken the week before.

“There are many Flints across our country,” Clinton said, “places where people of color and the poor have been left out and left behind.”

Clinton’s website doesn’t include a page for “cities” or an “urban” agenda, and nothing in “Breaking Every Barrier” would be earmarked for cities. It focuses on areas of concentrated poverty, wherever they are. “It is not an urban problem,” Clinton said in Harlem. “It’s an American problem.” Her argument, meant to build a broad coalition for an anti-poverty agenda, contrasts sharply with the rhetoric of Donald Trump, who’s since grown fond of declaring that African-Americans in inner cities “are living in hell.”

Still, nearly all of Clinton’s 30 pledges in “Breaking Every Barrier” have major implications for America’s cities. Clinton wants affordable housing in neighborhoods that haven’t seen much of it, money to tear down blight in the most troubled cities, and incentives to ease regulations that create scarcity in the hottest housing markets. Many of her proposals build on successes from the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, including the use of public-private partnerships to stimulate urban economies.

But even if Clinton wins the White House, her sweeping, expensive proposals will face strong political and fiscal challenges — especially if Republicans keep control of Congress. If Clinton becomes president, she could quickly face a stark, pragmatic question: What’s her plan B for cities if she can’t do it all?


Before Barry Bluestone read Clinton’s “Breaking Every Barrier” agenda, he and his colleagues at Northeastern University asked each other what they would include if they were drawing up a national agenda for cities.

“Almost everything I talked about that I thought was needed, from all the work I’ve done in Boston and around the country — there is a piece of that somewhere in this agenda,” Bluestone says. For nearly 30 years, Bluestone, a political economy and urban affairs professor and author of 11 books on related issues, has worked on ways to address America’s growing inequality and a decline in social mobility. So Clinton’s proposals to help more people own homes excite him, as does her hope of spending $25 billion on jobs programs for youth and people with criminal records.

“I was pleased to see how broad this was,” Bluestone says. “It seemed to be touching on the kinds of investments we need to make a significant difference.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, right, speaks at a rally at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Other urban policy scholars also praise the Clinton plan for its ambition and its embrace of evidence-based ideas from across the country.

“One of the nice things here is that it suggests that somebody associated with her campaign is actually looking and seeing what some of the states and localities are doing,” says Alan Mallach, a senior fellow in metropolitan policy at the Brookings Institution. For instance, Clinton wants to fund more reentry programs that teach people returning home from prison how to network and interview for jobs. Her idea is modeled on well-regarded programs such as the Center for Employment Opportunities, which has offices in four states, and New York City’s Fortune Society.

“Breaking Every Barrier” includes 13 proposals on housing alone, including $25 billion in new spending. “Each proposal in the plan is rooted in the best available evidence,” says Solomon Greene, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. “These are not pies in the sky.”

To increase the country’s homeownership rate, which is near a 48-year low, Clinton proposes government matching funds of up to $10,000 to help low-income, first-time homebuyers with down payments. Greene thinks that could be a key tool to help people build wealth and move into the middle class. In the urban context, the funds could play an important role in helping families stay in gentrifying areas. “If low-income people and people of color are not going to be able to access homeownership, they’re not going to be able to benefit from the asset-building or tax benefits,” Greene says.

Clinton also wants to make home mortgage loans accessible to more people. She wants to nudge federal agencies to clarify their mortgage lending standards and encourage them to use new credit testing tools. “We must not do this by lowering the standards of the market to reach families not prepared to become sustainable homeowners,” her plan reads. In other words, she’s already bracing herself for the argument that any federal effort to increase homeownership rates could risk encouraging a new wave of bad loans, like the subprime lending that triggered the Great Recession. But Greene says Urban Institute research shows that credit standards can be expanded responsibly. “The current credit scoring system does unfairly shut out mostly low-income families, people of color and immigrants,” he says.

Clinton’s agenda also seeks to “connect housing to opportunity” — that is, make sure affordable and subsidized housing isn’t isolated in poor communities. By prioritizing economic integration, she is building on one of the Obama administration’s signature housing reforms — the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule requiring municipalities that receive HUD funding to use agency-provided tools to show that their housing policies don’t discriminate. Greene says these steps toward reducing income segregation are key to lifting more families toward prosperity.

“It’s not enough just to make a home affordable,” Greene says. “You’re not going to be able to break the cycle of poverty or promote intergenerational mobility if affordable housing is only located in areas that lack quality municipal services and decent schools or are far away from jobs.”

Clinton’s ideas about affordable housing are among the most cutting-edge tools in her plan, Greene says. She wants people who get housing vouchers (once known as Section 8 vouchers) to be free to rent in some higher-income neighborhoods. Right now, the vouchers’ value is capped at 110 percent of a region’s fair-market value. Greene says that’s another factor contributing to declining social mobility in many parts of the country.

“For most part, housing voucher holders [can] only afford to live in low-income neighborhoods,” Greene says. The Obama administration has proposed a rule change that would alter the cap. Clinton’s intentions seem similar, though her position paper doesn’t specifically address the 110 percent cap. “Clinton will work to expand the choices that recipients of housing vouchers have in deciding where to live,” her website says, adding, “their range of options [should] include neighborhoods with more jobs and better schools.” Greene thinks she’s moving in the right direction, because research shows that poor kids who move to “high-opportunity” neighborhoods show a “drastically improved future life outcome.”

The Clinton plan offers different tools to weak and strong housing markets. For distressed cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, she proposes a new round of federal funding to tear down vacant and abandoned homes, similar to the Obama administration’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program and Hardest Hit Fund. Building on what these cities learned through their experience with those programs, Clinton wants the new funding to be more flexible, so that it can also go to rehabilitation and rebuilding and to commercial districts. “What these communities are asking for is not an either-or between demolition and rehabilitation,” says Dekonti Mends-Cole, policy director for the Flint-based Center for Community Progress. “They want a toolkit to provide a block-by-block, tailored solution, based on the market circumstances of each community.”

Abandoned homes sit in the impoverished Mantua section of Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

For booming cities such as Boston or Washington, D.C., where rents and home prices are skyrocketing beyond the means of the working class, Clinton proposes to fund more federal Low-Income Tax Credits. The program, which dates back to the Reagan era, helps local governments pay for tax breaks to developers of low-income apartments. Clinton would also take on the NIMBY policies that choke off new housing construction in many cities. It’s a sort of follow-up to the Obama administration’s recent white paper, which advises cities on how to spark new housing by rewriting their zoning laws. Clinton’s all-carrot, no-stick approach would give cities a leg up in federal grant competitions if they reform their laws to allow more affordable housing. “That’s never happened at the federal level,” says Greene. “I think it is quite provocative. It could be more a race to top than a regulatory approach.”

Clinton wants to build on her husband’s urban legacy. As president, Bill Clinton led cities toward a public-private partnership model of urban development. It’s helped drive a lot of new investment in cities over the last 20 years.

“You can’t do it with just municipal debt and municipal resources,” says Henry Cisneros, who served as Bill Clinton’s housing secretary. “You have to create circumstances in which private capital can be encouraged and incentivized.”

The “Breaking Every Barrier” agenda promises to expand two federal programs Bill Clinton introduced: the New Markets Tax Credit program and theCommunity Development Financial Institutions Fund. Both have made new developments in cities possible by filling gaps in their financing.

The New Markets Tax Credit has helped finance projects ranging from factories to small businesses to charter school buildings. “It’s a pretty good balance,” says Mallach, “enough money to fill the gap, but not so much that people are just profiteering off it.” Clinton wants to make the program permanent and double the number of credits available in low-income areas.

Community development financial institutions, or CDFIs for short, are lenders with a social mission: They offer credit to small businesses and development projects that are too small or high risk to attract conventional lenders. They’re funded by a mix of private and government funding. They can make a huge difference in their home cities. But even large CDFIs, such as New Jersey Community Capital and Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia, are small compared to their region’s for-profit banks. “They’re tiny compared to the credit needs of the communities they serve,” says Mallach. Clinton wants to double the size of the Treasury Department fund that aids CDFIs.

Mallach says an expanded tax credit and bigger CDFI Fund would both be effective policy tools. But he can envision a potential risk of an influx of funding: Not all states and cities may have the capacity to ramp up the flow of projects. “Some states have very high capacity and very responsive political environments,” he says. “Others are the absolute opposite.” In cities, too, “the potential to spend thoughtfully varies enormously.” So a new Clinton administration could face difficult choices as it tries to spark new development in struggling urban markets. “Either concentrate the money in the cities with the highest capacity, so lots of places with great needs don’t get it,” Mallach says, “or risk giving money to people who can’t actually use it that wisely, or figure out some way to build capacity.”

Clinton also pledges to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act, the 1977 law that requires banks to make loans in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. “There’s a sense that the enforcement of the CRA has become watered down,” says Mallach. “It clearly could use a fresh look.”

Advocates demonstrated for fair housing and better protections for renters at a Sacramento rally. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Not everyone in the urban policy world is excited about expanding tools from previous administrations. Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, says the federal government needs new urban policy ideas. “We’ve seen the number of high-poverty neighborhoods increase in both cities and suburbs,” she says. “This is in a period of not only economic expansion, but more tools: more CDFI, more New Market Tax Credits, more vouchers, more public housing developments. So why have we not made more progress on neighborhood revitalization? Do we want to do more of the same?” She’d like to see new public-private partnerships that connect neighborhood entrepreneurs with their region’s largest employers.

But Cisneros, who now works as a developer in urban markets, says the timing is right to renew the Clinton administration’s successful approaches to cities. “Now we have the luxury of being able to work on them again, after the Great Recession,” Cisneros says. “It wasn’t just the Great Recession, but the Great Interruption.”


The biggest obstacle Hillary Clinton’s “Breaking Every Barrier” agenda faces is its $125 billion price tag.

“This is an awful lot more money than previous administrations have put into these kinds of activities,” Mallach says. “Where’s it going to come from?”

Clinton proposes to pay for it with a “tax on Wall Street.” She wants to charge the nation’s largest banks a “risk fee” on their liabilities, with higher fees for large and short-term debt. Her position paper doesn’t detail the fee rates or break down how much money they would raise. Mallach predicts the idea will start a political fight. “To tax something based on risk is a complicated proposition,” he says. “I think anything people came up with is likely to be significantly contested.”

The $125 billion breaks down this way: $25 billion for jobs, $25 billion for public-private partnerships, $25 billion for housing, and $50 billion for infrastructure in underserved communities. That last $50 billion, which includes more funding for public transit and transportation grants, is really a part of Clinton’s $275 billion infrastructure proposal, which includes affordable broadband, airports, and water and sewer systems. She’s promising “the largest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II.” Even The New York Times editorial page, which endorsed Clinton with enthusiasm, is skeptical that she can pay for all her proposals, from the “Breaking Every Barrier” agenda to debt-free college to fighting climate change. “Most of these proposals would benefit from further elaboration on how to pay for them, beyond taxing the wealthiest Americans,” its endorsement editorial said.

Unless the collapse of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign leads voters to sweep away Republicans’ congressional majorities, Clinton’s spending plans could be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill. Resistance to new taxes and spending could put Clinton in the same position she faced in 2001, her first year as a U.S. Senator from New York. That year, Clinton introduced seven bills meant to stimulate the economy in upstate New York, as what she called “part of a larger partnership to spur job creation across our country.” None passed, leaving Clinton to pursue small federal grants and assistance for her state. “There is little evidence that her economic development programs had a substantial impact on upstate employment,” a Washington Post report declared this year.

“Assuming she’s elected, the big problem will be, can she get any of this through the House?” says Bluestone. “I think she’s going to have to take this on the road to every community, white and black, and say, ‘This is what I promised — let me lay it out in detail.’”

If that doesn’t work, Clinton could have to scale back her agenda quickly. Like Barack Obama, she’d have to look for small victories in Congress and executive rule changes to drive urban innovation. Reallocating funds in existing federal programs could also benefit cities. Clinton proposes to follow the “10-20-30” formula championed by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.): At least 10 percent of funds for all federal programs should go to counties that have had a poverty rate of 20 percent or more for the last 30 years. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has his own anti-poverty agenda, has quietly endorsed including Clyburn’s formula in appropriations bills.

As president, Clinton could also take executive action to enact some more subtle parts of her urban agenda, such as the changes in federal mortgage lending practices and the incentives for cities to reduce housing restrictions. She could be a smart tinkerer, encouraging new ideas as Obama did with challenge grants and competitive funding programs such as the Race to the Top education initiative.

“What would help Hillary a lot would be to prioritize,” says Liu, “and not be a president of a lot of little small programs, but to be a president that governs on two or three big moves.” Liu adds, “More digital skills, apprenticeships and more employer partnerships in inner cities and public schools will make a big difference in the lives of people in low-income communities.”

Clinton’s agenda is really an opening bid, an attempt to convince a tax-averse public and Congress that there are dozens of effective ways to bring cities back.

“I hope she gets elected,” says Mallach, “so she can try even 15 or 20 percent of this stuff.”

Editor's Notes:  If you like high density housing and and urbanized Marin,  you will love Hillary Clintonn's presidency.  Tim Kaine, her VP mate is just as much of a "true believer".  Although I have been against Trump the entire campaign season, he remains the last viable option to Hillary presidency.

The Final Presidential Debate Covered Much We'd Already Heard & One Thing We Hadn't

Today, everyone will be talking about about rigged elections, leaked emails, and puppets in the wake of the final presidential debate of the 2016 election. But one much-overlooked aspect of last night's debate was that moderator Chris Wallace finally brought up, in the final ten minutes, a topic no previous moderator bothered to touch: a little thing called "the national debt."

Reason TV caught up with Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson soon after his Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance to get his reaction to the final presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Johnson responded to Trump's assertion that the election is rigged and would hold out accepting the result of the election, saying "I will look at it at the time."

No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting

"Every rule that gets written has a cost," explains Abby Schachter, author of the new book No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting. "I don't know if parents [understand] that under the headline 'we're going to keep your children safe' [or] 'we're going to protect the kids' that that is really code for 'we're taking your rights away.'"


Consider the downside of government institutionalized daycare.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Brave Hong Kong Politicians dare to challenge Chinese authority

Hong Kong's Newly Elected Lawmakers Protested China's Rule In Swearing In Ceremony - A historic voter turn-out put many pro-democracy politicians in office.

These Hong Kong lawmakers are standing up to China's rule at a swearing-in ceremony. Another lawmaker wore in with a flag saying 'Hong Kong is not China'.


Why won't local politicians stand up to Plan Bay Area?

Two cheers for NIMBYism: Joel Kotkin

Two cheers for NIMBYism: Joel Kotkin

By Joel Kotkin

Politicians, housing advocates, planners and developers often blame the NIMBY — “not in my backyard” — lobby for the state’s housing crisis. And it’s true that some locals overreact with unrealistic growth limits that cut off any new housing supply and have blocked reasonable ways to boost supply.

But the biggest impediment to solving our housing crisis lies not principally with neighbors protecting their local neighborhoods, but rather with central governments determined to limit, and make ever more expensive, single-family housing. Economist Issi Romem notes that, based on the past, “failing to expand cities [to allow sprawl] will come at a cost” to the housing market.

A density-only policy tends to raise prices, turning California into the burial ground for the aspirations of the young and minorities. This reflects an utter disregard for most people’s preferences for a single-family home — including millennials, particularly as they enter their 30s.

In California, these policies are pushed as penance for climate change, although analyses from McKinsey & Company and others suggest that the connection between “sprawl” and global warming is dubious at best, and could be could be mitigated much more cost-effectively through increased work at home, tough fuel standards and the dispersion of employment.

Of course, cities and regions should be able to produce high-density housing which appeals to many younger people, particularly before they get married or have children. The small minority who prefer to live that way later in life should be accommodated on a market basis.

But density is not an effective way to reduce housing costs in a metropolitan area. Multifamily urban housing, notes Portland State University economist Gerard Mildner, costs far more to build than single-family homes. For example, the median cost for a room in major metropolitan areas is more than $100 more expensive near the urban core than it is on the periphery.


When people move to a neighborhood, they essentially make assumptions about its future shape. This can be achieved by zoning, albeit sometimes too strictly, but also in Houston’s more market-oriented system, which allows for neighborhood covenants and has spawned migration to a plethora of planned communities.

This is not a petty concern. For most people, their house remains their most critical asset. Yet, our clerical government pays little attention to the concerns of the middle class, and is all too happy to undermine long-standing local democratic processes on these issues.

Some density advocates suggest that their assault on zoning reflects market-oriented principles but rarely extend this laissez-faire approach to peripheral development, the most effective path to lower land and house prices. Under current circumstances, such limited libertarianism leaves middle-income people no protection against either Gov. Jerry Brown’s “coercive state” or their speculator allies.

In my old neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, few locals looked upon the creation of ever larger apartments in the area a boon, but rather as a source of increased congestion that strained sewers, water mains, roads and other infrastructure. Yet, in Los Angeles, where “infill” developers tend to also fill the coffers of politicians, our neighborhood did not stand a chance of opposing densification schemes.

NIMBYs are generally stronger in wealthy (and often bluish) places such as Beverly Hills, Palo Alto, Davis, Napa and San Rafael. The anti-forced-density campaign is also getting stronger in already dense places like San Francisco and has engendered an anti-density initiative on the ballot next spring in Los Angeles.


Ultimately, the question remains over what urban form we wish to bequeath to future generations. Ours is increasingly dominated by renters shoved into smaller spaces and paying ever more for less. California now has the lowest homeownership rate among the top 10 states for people between the ages of 25 and 34. Not surprisingly, the group leaving the state most is those between 35 and 44, a period that coincides with both family formation and home buying.

Forced densification, and the ban on peripheral building, is particularly harmful to the prospects for minorities. Metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have rates of homeownership among Latinos and African Americans well below the national average, even further below such liberally oriented places as Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta.

So why only two cheers for NIMBYs? Anti-density activists still need to come up with an alternative housing agenda. You just can’t say no to everything. Communities should embrace some new alternatives, both on the periphery and by building appropriately dense housing in redundant office parks, warehouses and, most particularly, the growing number of semi-abandoned, older malls. These areas can provide housing without overstressing the roads and other infrastructure.

NIMBYs are not the biggest threat to the California dream. That honor goes to planners and speculators seeking to reshape our state and limit the opportunities for single-family and other family-friendly housing. Until the state Legislature recovers some respect for people’s preferences, NIMBYs remain among the last, if imperfect, bulwarks against a system determined to weaken our future middle class, leaving ample housing the province only of those with similarly ample means.

Joel Kotkin is the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism (

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jim Gaffigan: Disagree with Someone? Calling Them a Moron Won't Help

"Talk to people who are different from you. Widen your friendship circle, watch a wide range of news media; vary the sources through which you interpret the world."

One side calls the other ‘crooked elitists’, and the other fires back with ‘uneducated racists’, only this exchange rarely happens in the same room. Democrats and Republicans vent their frustrations in separate homes, separates states, and symbolically in separate worlds. Comedian (and all-round great guy) Jim Gaffigan takes issue with this. He lives in New York City, where the berating and shaming falls most heavily on Trump supporters, but he grew up in a small town in Indiana, a red state, so he has a valuable dual perspective.
He laments the absence of dialogue between Trump and Clinton supporters and – from his viewpoint within a blue state – there’s a blanket dismissiveness of the ideas from the so-called fly-over states. Many democrats, when they hear ‘Trump’ or ‘red state’ immediately think ‘moron’, and shut down any potential dialogue.
Dismissing people, or insulting their beliefs, isn’t how you convince someone that your argument is the valid one, says Gaffigan. Science journalist Michael Shermer seconds this motion, and has spoken to Big Think about how to talk to people whose beliefs oppose yours. Specifically when your position is based in science, reason, and critical thinking, and the other person’s is based in emotion.

And it’s no secret that I’m no Trump lackey. (see Donald Trump Condemns North Carolina: ‘Let transgenders use whatever bathroom they want…’ and NRA-Endorsed Donald Trump Now Wants to Ban Americans from Buying Guns…). If you need more proof of that, take a look at my mentions. But I don’t certainly hate him by any means and I think he’s a better choice than Hillary Clinton. Most importantly, I don’t begrudge or demean his supporters simply for holding an opinion. I know many very, very smart people who are the biggest Trump fanboys around. They can often be seen on my show.
There’s a reason why his supporters are as passionate and angry as they are. Jim Gaffigan understands that.

A Millenial on Hillary Clinton.

The Big Government Conspiracy (attn Marin county)

He could be talking about Marin

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Why some Independents who don't like Trump will Vote for him Anyway.

Trump and the Emasculated Voter

There’s only one way to protect the nation from Hillary Clinton, and that is to vote for Donald Trump.

The Republican nominee on Wednesday at a rally in Lakeland, Fla. PHOTO: REUTERS
DAVID GELERNTEROct. 14, 2016 6:41 p.m. ET

Some conservatives have watched their evaluations of Donald Trump’s character drop so low in recent days that on this vital question they no longer see a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Accordingly, they are forced back onto politics and policy; and naturally Mr. Trump wins in a walk. If conservatives who argue that Mr. Trump is worse than Mrs. Clinton had a case, it would be a relief to vote for Mrs. Clinton or for no one. But they don’t, and one is therefore forced for the good of the nation to vote for Mr. Trump.

In his Mr. Nauseating video of last weekend, Mr. Trump showed us that he had all the class and cool of a misbegotten 12-year-old boy. Yet the video taught us nothing; no one had ever mistaken him for anything but an infantile vulgarian. This week’s allegations of actual abuse are different. If these stories are true (and I don’t know why they shouldn’t be), there is nothing to be said for Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be said for Mrs. Clinton either. If we don’t take both facts into account, we are not morally serious.

Mrs. Clinton has nothing on Mr. Trump when it comes to character. She lies (“Wipe? Like with a cloth?”—cute and charming Mrs. C.) the way basketball stars shoot baskets—constantly, nonstop, because it’s the one thing she is best at and (naturally) it gives her pleasure to hear herself lie—swish!—right onto the evening news. And her specialist talent of all is the verbal kick in the groin of a Secret Service man or state trooper who has the nerve to talk to her as if she were merely human. She is no mere rock star; she is Hillary the Queen. She is so big, and you are so small, she can barely even see you from up there. What are you? A macromolecule?

I’ll vote for Mr. Trump—grimly. But there is no alternative, no shadow of a responsible alternative.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a message from the voters. He is the empty gin bottle they have chosen to toss through the window. The message begins with the fact that voters hear what the leaders and pundits don’t: the profound contempt for America and Americans that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama share and their frightening lack of emotional connection to this nation and its people.

Mr. Obama is arch, patronizing, so magnificently weary of having to explain it all, again and again, to the dummies surrounding him. Mrs. Clinton has told us proudly how thoroughly she prepared for the first debate and has prepared to be president. For her, it is all a matter of learning your lines. Her whole life has been memorized in advance. Mr. Obama is at least sincere. Mrs. Clinton is as phony as a three-dollar bill, as a Clinton Global Initiative.


Micah Morrison: Lessons for Trump From the Clinton Scandals
Eric Metaxas: Should Christians Vote for Trump?
William McGurn: And the Winner Is . . . Bill Clinton
Bret Stephens: Donald and the Enablers

Mr. Obama has governed like a third-rate tyrant. He’s been a stern baby sitter to an American public that is increasingly getting on his nerves. ObamaCare and the Iran treaty are his big achievements. That the public has always disliked them, and hates them worse as it knows them better, strikes him as so unspeakably irrelevant; he doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Do you ask 6-year-olds if they like going to school? Luckily, a few grown-ups have been set over the public to keep it in line.

Mrs. Clinton couldn’t agree more. Policy is for smart people, who are people of the left by definition—leftists having scored all those big successes over the years in foreign policy, race relations, policing, restarting wounded economies, making unsecured loans, running school systems and so on. On topics from Keystone to Guantanamo, Mr. Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t give a damn what people think—he no longer even tries to explain to the citizenry. Do your homework! Understand?

Yes, leadership sometimes requires that you take an unpopular position and make it popular. We are told that Mr. Obama is working on his “legacy” instead, as if that makes him farsighted instead of irresponsible and insanely vain. Presidents are supposed to run the country, not worry about their reputation in coming centuries.

Trump voters have noticed that, not just over Mr. Obama’s term but in recent decades, their own opinions have grown increasingly irrelevant. It’s something you feel, like encroaching numbness. Since when has the American public endorsed affirmative action? Yet it’s a major factor in the lives of every student and many workers. Since when did we decide that men and women are interchangeable in hand-to-hand combat on the front lines? Why do we insist on women in combat but not in the NFL? Because we take football seriously. That’s no joke; it’s the sad truth.

Did we invite the federal bureaucracy to take charge of school bathrooms? I guess I missed that meeting. The schools are corrupt and the universities rotten to the core, and everyone has known it since the 1980s. But the Democrats are owned by the teachers unions, and Republicans have made only small-scale corrections to a system that needs to be ripped out and carefully disposed of, like poison ivy.

The Emasculated Voter to whom no one pays any attention is the story of modern democracy. Instead of putting voters in charge, we tell them they’re in charge, and it’s just as good. That’s the Establishment’s great discovery in the Lois Lerner Age.

Enter Mr. Trump. People say he became a star because he just happened to mention an issue that just happened to catch on. But immigration is the central issue of our time. Trump voters zeroed in because they saw what most intellectuals didn’t. What is our nation and what will it be? Will America go on being America or turn into something else? That depends on who lives here—especially given our schools, which no longer condescend to teach Americanism.

The liberal theory is that, other things being equal, all human beings have an equal right to settle in America. For liberals this is too obvious to spell out. But it is also too ludicrous to defend. Does all mankind have a right to camp in your backyard, eat in your kitchen, work at your office and borrow your best jogging outfit? We fail in our duty if we don’t think carefully whom we want in this country, who would be best for America.

Furthermore, we know that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But that’s got nothing to do with immigration; freedom of religion means freedom for American citizens—what else could it possibly mean? We must not tamper with Americans’ religious life. We must not admit, as possible future citizens, anyone we don’t choose to; anyone we don’t think will be good for America. Not to admit Muslims is bad policy but it does not violate freedom of religion and the American people have a perfect right to discuss and debate it.

Hold on, some of my fellow conservatives say. Never mind Hillary. Trump would be dangerous. He would further endanger our national security and world position. He might start unnecessary wars. He might even push the nuclear button. These are important objections, but after thinking them through I’m unable to take them seriously, either in political terms or psychological ones.

Mrs. Clinton is right at home in the Oval Office and thinks she owns it. She holds herself entitled to supreme power, as her friends are entitled to fancy positions with enormous salaries and her followers to secure government jobs or ample government funds, as the case may be.

But forget psychology. Ordinary politics says that Mr. Trump will not do crazy things or go off half-cocked, because Republicans in Congress will be eager to impeach him and putMike Pence in charge. That was the subtext of the vice-presidential debate, though Mr. Pence himself (probably) didn’t intend it. When it’s my turn, you can all relax. Democrats, obviously, will be eager to help when the task is removing a Republican.

Impeachment is Trump-voters’ ace in the hole. It’s an abnormal measure, but this is an abnormal year. Impeachment has temporarily dropped out of sight because of special circumstances. Republicans impeached Bill Clinton but got burned in the process; Mr. Obama, as the first black president, was impeachment-proof. Any other president would have encountered serious impeachment talk on several occasions, especially when he ignored Congress and the Constitution and made his own personal treaty-in-all-but-name with Iran.

But Mr. Trump will not have Mr. Obama’s advantages—to say the least. Mr. Trump will be impeachment bait. So will Mrs. Clinton. Even some Democrats have had enough.

Nothing can stop Mr. Trump from shooting off his mouth, but that’s all right. I want America’s enemies off-balance and guessing. For eight years it’s been Humiliate America season—buzz our ships, capture and embarrass our men, murder an American ambassador—a resoundingly successful attempt to spit in our faces and tell each one of us to drop dead. Thanks, Mr. President. Enough is enough. You know that Hillary is Obama Part III. We can’t let that happen. Parts I and II have brought us close enough to catastrophe.

That is the problem for those whose integrity or nobility won’t allow them to vote for Mr. Trump despite their dislike of Mrs. Clinton. There is only one way to take part in protecting this nation from Hillary Clinton, and that is to vote for Donald Trump. A vote for anyone else or for no one might be an honest, admirable gesture in principle, but we don’t need conscientious objectors in this war for the country’s international standing and hence for the safety of the world and the American way of life. It’s too bad one has to vote for Mr. Trump. It will be an unhappy moment at best. Some people will feel dirty, or pained, or outright disgraced.

But when all is said and done, it’s no big deal of a sacrifice for your country. I can think of bigger ones.

—Mr. Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale.

The Most Explosive WikiLeaks Clinton Revelations (So Far)

The Most Explosive WikiLeaks Clinton Revelations (So Far)

Here is a rundown of some of the biggest bombshells dropped by WikiLeaks’ disclosure of Hillary Clinton’s speeches and emails, and why each is so important.

1. Clinton dreams of a world with “open trade and open borders”: Every American should understand that Democrats, and plenty of Republicans, are fighting an all-out war against national sovereignty. Sure, Democrats want new voters, and Republican interests want cheap labor, but they also share a mutual desire to increase the distance between the Ruling Class and voters. In the globalist future, political and business titans will stand atop the world, without having to worry about fulfilling annoying duties to grubby little voters with nostalgic memories of the days when American politicians served America’s interests. Globalism means you’ll never be able to vote against anything.
2. Clinton courted business elites to support liberal agenda to beat back populismClinton’s speeches include numerous examples of something that’s hardly new, or unique to her, but a very important harbinger of things to come if she gets into the White House. Democrats serve their voters a steady stream of anti-business, anti-wealth rhetoric, but they’re keenly interested in using Big Business to promote the agenda of Big Government. Some of the examples in the leaked speeches, such as Clinton urging business interests to beat back the Tea Party and support open-borders immigration, are points of common interest with the GOP Establishment.
3. Clinton campaign coordinated with Super PACNo one familiar with the WikiLeaks disclosures should be able to restrain their laughter when Hillary Clinton talks about getting “big money” and “dark money” out of politics. Then again, she should have been laughed off the stage for such tirades long before WikiLeaks started releasing her campaign’s emails.
4. Clinton admitted she has different “public and private positions” on Wall Street reformAgain, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it’s always useful to catch a politician actually admitting she isn’t honest with the public on issues – especially an issue of keen interest to the Democrats who opposed her in the primary. In the same issue, she admitted she’s out of touch with ordinary Americans and “far removed” from middle-class life, which is a refreshing bit of (unintended) candor from such a sanctimonious candidate and Party. Lastly, she said it was an “oversimplification” to blame banks for the 2008 financial meltdown, which is true – and greatly understating the truth of Democrat politicians’ culpability, at that – but not at all what Democrat hyper-partisans want to hear from their leaders.
5. Clinton campaign asked about using White House executive privilege to hide emails from Congress: “Think we should hold emails to and from POTUS? That’s the heart of his exec privilege. We could get them to ask for that,” John Podesta – current Clinton campaign chair, and former White House counsel – wrote to Hillary’s aide Cheryl Mills, even as the House Benghazi Committee was writing a subpoena for Clinton’s long-hidden correspondence. It’s absolutely shocking that Team Clinton would think Barack Obama was willing to abuse executive privilege to hide vital information from Congress.Wherever did they get that outrageous idea?
6. Clinton campaign looked for political support from “needy Latinos”: This is the perfect example of an email chain that would set the media on fire, if it came from a Republican political campaign. They seem to have been talking about Latino politicians who were needy, rather than herds of Latino voters, but they were colorfully insulting to some of those politicians.
7. Collusion with State Department on managing Clinton’s email scandal: It’s pretty clear from these emails that Clinton’s team knew she broke the law, but they were (justifiably) confident they could trump the rule of law with politics… and plenty of help from their good friends in the Obama Administration. Other emails illustrate the Clinton team’s conviction that all Democrat scandals can be overcome with distractions and delaying tactics, counting on that 90% Democrat media to be easily distracted, and to stay quiet while stonewalls are constructed. You will see more collusion and stonewalling in future Democrat Administrations, building on the precedents Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton established. The next Republican Administration that tries it will get a swift and brutal lesson in why scandal management only works when the administrative state and media support the party in power.
8. “Journalists” secretly working as enthusiastic volunteers for Clinton/Kaine 2016Another one to file under “no big surprise, but still nice to see it on paper.” The American public needs to understand there is no real division between the government and media when a Democrat is in the White House, especially with this particular Democrat. The press loved Barack Obama and was childishly easy for him to spin at will, even during the queasy Fifty Shades of Grey stages of their romantic relationship, but the press is Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They’re her donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and often her former (and future!) employees. If you didn’t think the media could be less interested in holding a president accountable than Obama, you’re in for a shock if Clinton wins.
9. Planting the “seeds of revolution” in the “Middle Ages dictatorship” of the Catholic Church: Democrats view Christians in almost exactly the terms they adamantly refuse to apply to Islamic supremacists. They’re also very determined to infiltrate institutions that resist liberalism, subverting them from within, and destroying them if they refuse to be subverted. Check out the latest news about the National Football League for another example.
10. Clinton Cash panicked the campaignThey knew how bad this stuff was, and they wasted no time devising strategies to spin it away. They didn’t have much trouble convincing the press to stop bugging Clinton about the galaxy of Clinton Foundation scandals, did they? With Republicans, the media works hard to set up denials that look uncomfortable, or which they think can be demolished by later revelations. With Democrats, not so much.
11. Flip-flopping on TPP: It’s amazing than a single Sanders voter ever believed Clinton was honest about opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but evidently most of them did, or else they never really cared about the issue as much as they claimed to. Leaked emails reveal how Clinton was not “comfortable” with attacking the trade deal she once gushed over as the “gold standard” for such agreements, but she knew she had to pretend to oppose it to placate union bosses and woo the Sanderistas. Clinton campaign staff talked about her “integrity” as though it were a stack of poker chips, deeming it reasonable to sacrifice a little integrity to keep the Sanders insurrection under control.
12. Gun control: cherry-picked data and executive orders: Democrats are going to lose patience with voter opposition to their gun control agenda and begin imposing it, as soon as they no longer have to worry about losing a tough election in the near future. They often worry about the potential backlash from Democrat voters in key states who support gun rights, but they’ll stop worrying about that soon, especially if Clinton does extremely well in those states. A packed Supreme Court will make her even bolder about chipping away at the Second Amendment. No one should be surprised that Democrats like to pick and choose which crimes the public should focus upon, in order to sell the gun control agenda.
13. Special favors for “Friends of Bill” in HaitiThe Clintons’ use of Haiti as a cash machine was disgusting. The hypocrisy of liberals willing to ignore this carnival of corruption, at the expense of an impoverished black nation, to slip the Clintons back into the White House is unbearable. The corruption of the State Department into a wholly owned subsidiary of Clinton, Inc. should be completely unacceptable.
14. Iran nuclear deal was “greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler”This email chain quotes Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois saying Obama’s nuclear deal “condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf,” and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta responding, “Yup.” While the Democrats figure out how to spin that away, the rest of us can reflect that Clinton, Podesta, and other old hands in her inner circle probably have significant differences of opinion with Barack Obama and his teenage-punk approach to foreign policy. Obama and his weird little gang of young advisers thought it would be a great idea to do the opposite of everything his predecessors did, Republican and Democrat alike. The Clinton group worked in one of those preceding Administrations. However, Mrs. Clinton and all of her loyal retainers were willing to stifle their objections to Obama’s foreign policy in the name of party loyalty… even when those objections hinted at a future nuclear war.
15. Clinton wanted to run against Donald Trump in 2016: The three Republican candidates Clinton’s campaign thought they had the best chance of beating were Trump, Ben Carson, and Senator Ted Cruz. “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously,” said a memo sent to the Democratic National Committee. They were quite confident of their ability to tell the press which Republican candidates it should take seriously.
16. Clinton knew Libya was a disasterHer hindsight about the bloody, world-destabilizing fallout from the overthrow of Qaddafi, and the inability of the new Libyan government to provide security for Americans, was 20/20… but what good does that do anyone, especially the Americans who died in Benghazi? It’s laughable to hear Clinton and her supporters brag about her great resume. Her resume is the world outside your window, and what she says about it to her big donors is very different from what she says to the general public.
17. “Foreign govt donors: all the money is in”The Clinton team is much more relaxed about discussing big bucks from overseas among themselves. They don’t want the public thinking about how much support Clinton gets from foreign interests, or dwelling on how unsavory some of those interests are. They were reluctant to disclose all of those foreign donors to the Obama Administration as they promised. But the leaked emails show they’re very well aware of how important that imported cash is. This particular email seems to concern locking down foreign financial support for the Clinton Foundation, in case Mrs. and Mr. Clinton find themselves back in the White House next year.
18. Clinton Foundation audit reveals it may have misled the IRSOne of the perks of Clintonhood is that you can file taxes incorrectly, suffer no penalties whatsoever, and refile the paperwork years later. A 2011 audit of the Clinton Foundation requested by Chelsea Clinton discovered that, despite sworn statements to the IRS, the Foundation didn’t write or enforce the required conflict-of-interest policy… and, wouldn’t you know it, some conflicts of interest do seem to have cropped up! Two years later, long after Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State, gift acceptance policies were still a work in progress.