Monday, February 12, 2018
Our president gives insincerity a bad name.
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Here is some very interesting rent data.
Rents have increased 19.6% nationally since 2012. Among the biggest increases in 2017 were a hodge podge of locations -- Tacoma, WA, Milwaukee, WI, Gary, IN. However, 7 of the 10 highest rental markets are in California. New York City doesn't even climb that high, although Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) sits fourth, between Orange County and Oakland.
The only good news, if you wish to call it that, is that the rate of increase for rents in 2017 was half of the estimated median home price rise in the same twelve months. What it all amounts to is a compelling argument to not move a damn inch.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Occasionally, I "discover" an eating joint before the New York Times does. Today, I was hours behind, going to lunch at Kebab Empire, 934 8th Avenue, reviewed this morning. It features "the food of the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking and mostly Muslim minority in China and Central Asia." While this/they are new to me, the prominence of lamb in the write-up was the major attraction.
The menu offers lamb kebab ($2.53), cumin lamb ($6.89), lamb shank ($6.89) and lamb chop ($6.89). As a platter, including rice cooked with carrots and raisins, a small salad, and yoghurt, served on a 12" tortilla (substituting for an authentic flat bread), all these selections cost $9.87. There are also chicken, salmon and shrimp kebabs with similarly erratic pricing. Several vegetable kebabs appear only in print, but apparently not in fact. I had a lamb chop platter and an extra chicken kebab ($1.84). The food was very good. The lamb was a rib chop, small but thick. Fortunately, Diet Coke has reached western China.
The Empire isn't very large, just 8 two tops fashioned out of rough lumber in a room painted matte black. One person takes orders behind the counter and four others scurry around cooking and assembling them. There was some mild confusion sorting the many take-out orders from the eat-ins, but a good time was had by me.
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The New York Times reports that the Berlin Wall has now been down a few days longer than it stood, but the legacy of the East/West division is quite strong. This experience has valuable lessons for us. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/
East Germans grew up lacking freedom and prosperity and, in their eagerness to catch up with West Germans, are somewhat impatient with democratic governance. Authoritarian, nationalist sentiments are strong among those left behind by the unified, globalized system now in place. Immigrants are a convenient target of antagonism, even when scarce. "[T]he regions that produced the most votes for the AfD [the far-right wing Alliance for Germany] in the former East have the fewest immigrants." However, Germany, on the whole, has accepted immigrants in numbers unthinkable to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. It is also currently led by politicians who are trying to remain faithful to democratic values under stressful circumstances.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
I got home late from a meeting last night, so I had to wait until this morning to gather thoughts and prayers in response to the 17 deaths in a high school shooting in Florida. It's not always easy to corral all those thoughts and prayers at a distance of more than a thousand miles. Maybe we should organize these efforts along the lines of our college athletic conferences. A shooting in Florida would belong to the Southeastern Conference, extending into Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and other contiguous states. This would allow us to focus our thoughts and prayers into a more efficient delivery system and connect to America's secular religion. It would free folks in the Midwest to concentrate their thoughts and prayers on their own Big 10 mass shootings, for instance. Another example of American ingenuity.
Friday, February 16, 2018
If you are agonizing over what to give me for my birthday tomorrow, I have a suggestion. Give yourself a gift, specifically a copy of Professor David Webber's important new book, The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon. It is about to be published by the Harvard University Press and has already earned praise as "a common sense argument that will appeal to anyone with an interest in the current labor movement" and "a rare good-news story for American workers." It may be ordered on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Rise-W
orking-Class-Shareholder-Labor s-Weapon/dp/0674972139) or you may attend one of the many talks and book signings that David will have beginning next month.
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Unlike Donald Trump, the typical American Jewish husband might pay women to announce that they did have sex with him.
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Gong hei fat choy and Shabbat shalom.