Progressive Cities Go To Work On The Problem of "Homelessness"

A persistent theme of this blog is that progressive social programs supposedly intended to solve  societal problems inevitably make the problems worse.  Of course, few pay close attention while this happens; and the performance of the journalism profession in reporting on the phenomenon is nothing short of disgraceful.  But if you look into this subject enough, you will realize that it is not actually possible for a bureaucracy to solve a major societal problem.  To solve the problem would be to undermine the very basis for the existence of the bureaucracy, and to put it at risk of cutbacks or even elimination.  Bureaucracies have as their fundamental imperative the need to continue and to grow.  Therefore, no problem entrusted to a bureaucracy will ever be solved, nor even substantially ameliorated.  In fact, the problem will certainly worsen over time, the better to justify a bigger budget and more staff for the bureaucracy. . . .

Recently, the progressive movement has turned some of its focus to the problem of "homelessness."  Now here we have a problem that is clearly different -- obviously much less complex and intractable than "poverty," and therefore subject to being immediately solved by well-intentioned and well-funded progressive minions.  As super-progressive New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in 2014, shortly after getting elected, "We are simply not going to allow this kind of reality to continue.”  After all, homelessness is just an issue of lack of housing.  So it's easy:  just hire some people, spend some money, build some housing, and presto! you're done.  Or at least, that was the fantasy. . . .

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A Deep Dive Into The Psychology Of Progressivism

Back in my youth, we had a few people around that we referred to as "guilty liberals."  Somehow they had come to believe that they were personally to blame for all of society's failings, and they then had the brilliant idea that the proper atonement for their sins was to impose more taxes on somebody else so that the money could be handed out by government bureaucrats as a penance.  Or something like that.  It never made any sense to me, but in my youthful foolishness I assumed that these were such dumb ideas that over time they would just fade away and be forgotten.

Boy was I wrong!  In the intervening 50 years or so the level of guilt, and the number of people experiencing it, have grown and multiplied and mushroomed and exploded, until we end up with the so-called "identity politics" that have taken over today's progressive movement and Democratic Party.  

For today's lesson, we will use as our text an August 14 post from a New York Times blog called "The Sweet Spot."    . . .

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Manhattan Contrarian Weekend Quiz: How To Identify Racist And Sexist Remarks And Slurs

You are a decent and fair-minded person.  You strive always to treat all people fairly and with dignity.  In your heart of hearts, you know that you are not a racist, nor a sexist.  But you also know that these are highly charged times.  In spite of your pure heart and your very best efforts, you still fear that someone might unfairly accuse you of making a racist or sexist remark or slur.  You want to avoid even the slightest appearance of engaging in racism or sexism.  

And yet, it has become so complicated these days.  Accusations fly everywhere, sometimes over words that to you seemed completely innocent.  What to do?  You need some guidance!  

To help you, the Manhattan Contrarian has put together this weekend's Manhattan Contrarian Quiz.  Take the Quiz.  Study the answers.  You will then know all there is to know about what is and is not racist and sexist in today's world.

The Quiz consists of ten questions, each of which is either an actual quotation or a hypothetical fact situation.  For each question, you are to answer whether the posited fact situation or quotation does or does not demonstrate racism and/or sexism.  Answers, and explanations, below the fold.  One point for each correct answer!

Question 1:  You say, "I believe the most qualified person should get the job."  

Question 2:  Teacher "polices the language" of students in class, and insists that they do not curse.

Question 3:  "Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.  #CancelWhitePeople."  

Question 4:  You ask a new acquaintance, “Where are you from?” or “Where were you born?”

Question 5:  Teacher disciplines student for sleeping in class.

Question 6:  "I don't give a, I don't give a, I don't give a fuck.  I'm willin' to die for this shit.  I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit.  Put the Bible down and go eye to eye for this shit . . .  If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I'ma make it look sexy."

Question 7:  "Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin'.  Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin'.  I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga."

Question 8:  "Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin'.  Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin'.  I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga."

 Question 9:  "Son, when I appoint a n***er to the court, I want everyone to know he's a n***er."

Question 10:  "Look at my African-American over there!"

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How Do You Tell If The Earth's Climate System "Is Warming"?

How Do You Tell If The Earth's Climate System "Is Warming"?

The earth's climate system "is warming."  True or false?  The answer is that there is no definitive answer.  And if someone tells you there is, then that person doesn't know what he or she is talking about.

A more precise answer to the question is that whether the earth's climate system "is warming" or "is cooling" entirely depends on who gets to pick the start date for the analysis.  If you are the one who gets to pick the start date, then you can make it so that the system is either warming or cooling, whichever you would like for your purpose of the moment.  

But of course, there are many people out there today with a lot invested in the proposition that the climate system "is warming."  That proposition is a key tenet of global warming alarmism.  To "prove" the point that the system "is warming," advocates use the simple trick of picking a start point to their liking, making for a presentation that appears to support their position.  Have you been fooled by this simple trick?  The advocates leave it up to you to figure out that if you picked a different start point, you could just as easily make an equally convincing presentation showing that the climate system "is cooling."  A lot of people can't figure that out, and get taken in by the scam.

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What Is The Cost Of Getting To A 100% "Renewable" Electric Grid?

What Is The Cost Of Getting To A 100% "Renewable" Electric Grid?

If you are a politician in a blue area, the big thing these days is to make the pledge that you will put your state or city on the fast track to getting 100% of its electricity from the "renewables."    Here in New York, trendy progressive Cynthia Nixon (challenging Governor Cuomo in a primary for Governor) has issued the call for getting 100% of electricity from renewables by 2050.  Even trendier Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants the same 100% from renewables without specifying a date.  Out in California, a bill advancing through the legislature calls for 100% of electricity from "renewables" by 2045.

But has anyone stopped for a moment to ask how this would work or how much it would cost?  Of course there is the Manhattan Contrarian -- for example in "How Much Do Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Price Of Electricity?" in August 2016; or "How Self-Delusional Can We Be On The Cost Of Electricity From 'Renewables'?" in February 2018.  Yes, mine are basically back-of-the-envelope calculations.  Not that there's anything inherently wrong with a back-of-the-envelope calculation on this subject.  The truth is that you can get pretty good rough estimates from easily available sources of how much back-up you need to fill in for the intermittent "renewables," and you can multiply that by cost-per-kWh figures for batteries, and thus, using no more than pencil and paper, get useful estimates of impact on electricity costs.  Those impacts, by the way, are not small.  

But how about looking for a study that's a little fancier and more sophisticated, maybe from some certified academic source?

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Good Riddance To Obama's CAFE Standards

On Thursday the U.S. EPA and DOT announced a new proposed rule on automobile fuel efficiency standards.  The proposed rule would halt after 2020 the ongoing increases in required "Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency," or "CAFE" standards applicable to new vehicles sold.  Previously, under a rule promulgated by the Obama administration in 2012, automobile companies were supposedly going to achieve a "corporate average" fuel efficiency of their new vehicles of 54.5 mpg by 2025.  Does anything bigger than a moped actually get 54.5 mpg?

Call me crazy, but I struggle to understand why the American people are not capable of figuring out on their own how fuel-efficient of a vehicle they should buy.  This is called "freedom."  Obviously, a less-fuel-efficient vehicle costs more per mile to operate.  People are always looking to save a buck, so then obviously wouldn't they buy the most fuel-efficient vehicles available?  It turns out that sometimes they do, but mostly they don't.  Undoubtedly, although they value fuel efficiency, they also value other things in a vehicle.  In recent years the most popular vehicles for consumers have been pickup trucks -- the Ford F series and Chevy Silverado -- which are relatively large and fuel-inefficient compared to sedans and compacts.  Car and Driver rates the Ford F-150 at 16 mpg city, and 22 mpg highway, which is nowhere near the 54.5 mpg average that the Obama administration was trying to impose on Americans.  Maybe the people value the ability to carry large amounts of "stuff" around from place to place.  Maybe they also think that larger and heavier vehicles are safer in a crash.  Are these advantages worth the extra fuel cost?  I'd say that's up to the people to determine on their own.  

Let's calculate the difference in fuel cost between a vehicle that gets an average of 20 mpg and one that gets an average of 30 mpg. . . .

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