New York City Housing Authority Update

New York City Housing Authority Update

I keep returning to the case of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) because it is such a perfect illustration of the socialist economic model in practice. There about 170,000 NYCHA apartments, housing around 400,000 people. Most of the apartments were built from about the late 1940s to the 1970s, to be technically “owned” by the City of New York, although nobody expects any return on the investment. Maintenance and upkeep are in the hands of a unionized bureaucracy, headed by a Commissioner reporting to the Mayor. The unionized staff gets paid for going through the motions, rather than for assuring that the residents are receiving a good-quality housing product. Nobody ever gets an extra dollar of pay for getting the buildings ready to go for the next ten years, or for the next generation.

Actually, it’s far worse than that. The commissioners turn over every few years, and their only interest is in not having the buildings fall apart on their watch. The employees have union contracts that perversely reward inefficiency. For example, NYCHA’s plumbers have negotiated themselves a deal where all shifts are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM, and any work outside those hours gets paid at “overtime” rates. Clearly, the plumbers maximize their income when the plumbing is old and prone to regular breaks, requiring emergency calls during the nights and weekends when the pay is time-and-a-half or even double. Fortunately for them, the genius economic planners who put this NYCHA thing together some 40 to 70 years ago never considered the possibility that after such a period of time the buildings would need major capital upgrades. No plan was ever put in place to provide for such upgrades. As the buildings get older, the breakdowns become more frequent and worse. The living conditions get worse and worse, while the employees make more and more money.

Mostly, NYCHA has been out of the news lately. But thank the Lord for the New York Post, which will not let go. . . .

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The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time -- Part XXIV

The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time -- Part XXIV

The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time is the fraud committed by the keepers of official world temperature records, by which they intentionally adjust early year temperature records downward in order to support assertions that dangerous human-caused global warming is occurring and that the most recent year or month is the “hottest ever.” The assertions of dangerous human-caused global warming then form the necessary predicate for tens of billions of dollars of annual spending going to academic institutions; to the “climate science” industry; to wind, solar and other alternative energy projects; to electric cars; and on and on. In terms of real resources diverted from productive to unproductive activities based on falsehoods, this fraud dwarfs any other scientific fraud ever conceived in human history.

This is Part XXIV of my series on this topic. To read Parts I through XXIII, go to this link.

The previous posts in this series have mostly focused on particular weather stations, comparing the currently-reported temperature history for each station with previously-reported data. For example, the very first post in this series, from July 2013, looked at one of my favorite stations, the one located in Central Park in New York City. Somehow, the early-year temperatures reported for the month of July for that very prominent station had been substantially adjusted downward, thus notably enhancing a previously-slight warming trend: . . .

Go through the various posts in this series to find dozens more of such examples.

But how exactly are these downward adjustments accomplished? Just what are the games that they are playing? . . .

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Jeffrey Epstein: Let The Conspiracy Theories Begin!

Jeffrey Epstein:  Let The Conspiracy Theories Begin!

I’m old enough to have been around when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, on November 22, 1963. The suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was caught by Dallas police within about an hour after the shooting. They initially put him in a lock-up at Dallas police headquarters, where Oswald instantly became the highest-profile prisoner in the country. Just two days later, on November 24, the police undertook to transfer Oswald from the police headquarters to the county jail. They allowed a group of reporters into the basement of the police headquarters to observe as they escorted Oswald out to a waiting armored car to take him to the jail. Suddenly, with TV cameras rolling, a guy named Jack Ruby emerged from the group of reporters and shot Oswald dead at point blank range. By the end of the day, pretty much everybody in the country (myself included) had seen the clip of the shooting.

Who was this Ruby? He owned a couple of nightclubs in Dallas, but had a highly sketchy background that included alleged mob ties and involvement in drug dealing. No direct links between him and Oswald were ever revealed. His motive for killing Oswald? Excellent question. . . .

You can easily understand why there has been an endless profusion of alternatives to the official “lone gunman” theory of the Kennedy assassination. If Oswald had been working with or backed by some powerful interests, they would clearly want him disposed of as soon as possible once he was arrested. Now Oswald had been silenced before ever saying a word. Ruby had no obvious personal motive for the shooting, and was just the kind of guy who might be carrying out a “hit.” And the Ruby hit doesn’t gibe very well with the “lone gunman” hypothesis of the Kennedy assassination. Thus we have had half a century of theories — officially going by the name “conspiracy theories” — as to who might have been working with Oswald to kill Kennedy, and why. Multiple official inquiries, most notably the Warren Commission, have tried to put these speculations to rest, but have never fully succeeded.

And now once again, in the person of Jeffrey Epstein, the highest profile prisoner in the country has died while in official custody, this time of the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the Manhattan Correctional Center.

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Some "Climate" Humor For The Week

Some "Climate" Humor For The Week

As you undoubtedly know, saving the planet from the scourge of climate change is the official religious cult of the progressive left. The planet (and all of our souls) shall be saved by eliminating the use of the evil fossil fuels, and replacing those with perfectly clean and free renewable energy from the sun and wind. The problem here is that we keep running into what I like to call the “Big Disconnect.” The Big Disconnect comes about because the sun and wind don’t work very much at all, aren’t available when you need them, cost way too much, and don’t provide the wealthy and powerful with sufficient opportunities to puff up their egos by showing off their wealth and power. Result: lots of good hilarity. Here’s a roundup from the past week or so. You get to vote on which is the funniest.

The Google Climate Summit

This one comes courtesy of Rex Murphy of Canada’s National Post on August 2. It seems that last week Google held a “climate summit,” or something like that, outside Palermo in Sicily. There were about 300 attendees. This being a top-level Google conference, the attendees were not nobody. It was a who’s who of the wealthiest and most powerful people who have sought to make themselves high priests and priestesses of the climate cult; people like Woody Harrelson, Diane von Furstenberg, David Geffen, Chris Martin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen, Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry, Prince Harry, etc., etc., etc. And how did they get to this exotic location? From Murphy:

How did this coven of illuminati get to Sicily? . . . Official count of the private jets wafting into Palermo air for the “great consult” stands at 114. This for a maximum 300 people attending — three persons per jet. . . .

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Has Any Democrat-Controlled City Come Up With A Good Solution For African-American Poverty?

Last week — after President Trump via Twitter had accused Representative Elijah Cummings of Baltimore of “incompetent leadership” and making a “mess” of his very-high-crime, high-poverty district, and after numerous media critics had responded by hurling the charge of “racism” at Trump — I weighed in with a post titled “It’s About Time That Someone Pushed Back About The Disaster Of Democrat-Controlled Cities.” The post made what I think is the obvious point that when a group of people have for decades promoted certain government spending programs as the appropriate solution to low incomes and poverty in African American communities, and when after decades of time and trillions of dollars of spending the problems of low income and poverty persist and indeed worsen, it is entirely appropriate to hold the promoters of these spending programs accountable for their failure.

On July 30, the often-creative Kevin Williamson of National Review offered his own even more contrarian view on the subject, in a piece titled “Which Party Can We Blame For Poverty And Crime?” (More contrarian than the Manhattan Contrarian? How is that even possible?) Williamson points out that Census data from around the U.S. give no clear correlation between poverty and crime on the one hand, and Republican versus Democratic governance on the other. He notes that the very poorest county in the whole country is Owsley County, Kentucky — a place with almost entire white demographics (98+%) and very strongly Republican politics. Meanwhile, there are numerous examples of Democrat-run cities that Williamson says are “very good places to live,” with relatively low-ish rates of crime and poverty. He cites Austin and Denver as prime examples.

Fair enough. But with all due respect, I think that Williamson is asking the wrong question here. The important question is, what (if anything) can be done by a governmental entity to facilitate bringing African Americans to higher levels of income and wealth, and to reduced levels of crime commission and victimization? Unfortunately, the examples cited by Williamson, including Owsley County, Austin and Denver, teach almost nothing to answer this question. The examples (not discussed by Williamson) of heavily black and Democrat-controlled cities like Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, and many others have enormous amounts to teach on this important question. And what those places have to teach is that the suites of massive in-kind handout programs — promoted by Democrat politicians for my entire lifetime, and still promoted today by Democrats all the way from local jurisdictions up to presidential candidates — don’t work. Indeed, for these programs it’s far worse than that they merely don’t work. They promote dependency, idleness and resentment, and trap the supposed beneficiaries in unproductive lives from which it is extremely difficult to escape. . . .

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Are Any Of The Democratic Candidates For President Not Completely Crazy?

Perhaps President Trump is not particularly your cup of tea, and you are thinking that you might consider as an alternative supporting one or another of the Democratic contenders for the presidency. If so, here is an important question to consider: Is any one of these people not completely crazy?

To start with, I’m willing to grant that the bar for selecting a candidate to support for President is of necessity a low one. A person matching your idea of the perfect candidate simply does not exist in the real world; and even if such a person did exist, he or she would not make it past the first week of the campaign. Working strongly against the potential for even any half-way decent candidate is the fact that everybody who throws a hat into this ring is almost by definition a self-centered ego-maniac. Plus, every one of them deeply believes that each word they utter, no matter how ridiculous, is a pearl of God’s wisdom. And then, by the time you get to the general election, you will only have two options left to choose from. It goes without saying that both will be very deeply flawed.

But “deeply flawed” is not nearly the same as “completely crazy.” Surely, we can find some among the Democratic candidates who can pass the “not completely crazy” test.

Well, good luck trying. To evaluate the question of whether any of these people are not completely crazy, I’m going to look today at what they have said recently — mostly in the debates — about the federal government’s appropriate role with respect to “climate.” . . .

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