Monday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Final tally for snow here on the seacoast, about a foot.

  2. Kathy says:

    How about that. the Vulcan rocket actually launched, and the lunar lander probe Peregrine appears to be on its planned trajectory.

    More later, when I have a propper keyboard.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Where on the sea coast? Nothing here in B’more

  4. Sleeping Dog says:


    Last time I looked at a map, B-more was on a bay 🙂 But maybe with global warming the eastern shore flooded over.

    About 450 mi to the NNE of you.

  5. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Storm is coming at me starting sometime today. Predicted to be not harsh and intense, but slow gradual accumulation to about a foot, foot and a half over the course of two days. I can easily handle that. 19 to 25 mph in winds. Teens to single digits for temp. I grew up in Minnesota: not a problem. In fact, a bit nostalgic and comforting.

    One downside is that I own a corner lot that fronts onto a side street, but the long edge is on a major thoroughfare that gets plowed aggressively. Plowed snow from the street lands on my sidewalk. That I am civically obligated to shovel down to bare concrete and throw down some salt to keep it clear and a bit grippy for walkers by. Plowed snow from the street easily doubles the amount I have to shovel. Plus, plowed snow is way denser and heavier than fallen snow

    I never factored that into the home buying decision making process. After a major snow event it will take me roughly two hours to clear my sidewalk because city snowplows flump all the snow on the street onto my sidewalk I am obligated to clear.

    Eh. I’m retired and ethically impelled towards being a good citizen and neighbor. It’s a way to spend time. I can shovel snow off my sidewalk. A minor hassle.

  6. Bill Jempty says:

    One of our former residents here, Shirley M., has passed away. She was in her 80’s.

    A couple of things I remember about Shirley. She was very frail looking. I have an 89-year-0ld neighbor who looked ten times better than she did. Shirley used to spend every summer in England but couldn’t in 2020 due to the covid pandemic.

    Shirley lived here till 2021. I forget when it happened in 2021, except it was before my wife and I bought our condo. Shirley, who lived alone, fell inside her unit and a day passed before it was discovered.

    I’m the person who discovered it. See Shirley’s unit was straight across from where I park my car and her car’s space was next to the space for my car. Shirley got a copy of the newspaper every day and one day it was not picked up. When a second newspaper appeared outside the door, I alerted the HOA President. The HOA has a key* to most if not all the units here. A board member went to Shirley’s unit and opened it up to discover she had fallen. Shortly after this incident, Shirley went to live in assisted living.

    My regret- I saw the newspaper outside at 6 pm in the evening the day before Shirley’s accident was discovered. I should have notified the board then and not wait another day.

    RIP Shirley.

    *- The HOA having a key is so they can open a unit in a case like Shirley’s. It does come with problems though. Like when the HOA President, a few months before Shirley’s incident, started letting himself into my unit and when I was home. We were still renters then, so I couldn’t do much about what was done but give the President an earful. Dear Wife and I now have wireless surveillance.

  7. de stijl says:

    I grew up with three foot piles of dense, compacted snow on the street side of the sidewalk. Like a rampart.

    Nobody jaywalks in Minneapolis in the winter. It’s way easier to cross the street at the cleared intersection.

  8. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @MarkedMan: @de stijl: Since weather seems to be the top of the conversation this morning. Here in San Antonio, it is 61 degrees and raining. Front doesn’t arrive until tomorrow. In the Panhandle, they are having a blizzard (one that meets the NWS definition of a blizzard).

    Since we are still in official drought conditions, I won’t complain.

  9. Jen says:

    About ~10-11″ here–I’m a bit inland from where Sleeping Dog is. Sort of hard to tell exactly how much we got, as the earlier snow was light and dry and blew around quite a bit, leaving some spots very deep and others not so much.

  10. Tony W says:

    Here in San Diego, we had a bit of wind yesterday and it only got up to about 65F. Today looks like the wind has settled down, but we’re in the low 40s this morning so the furnace is running.

    Looks like a day of hanging around inside at least until 10 AM when the sun comes out.

    Pray for us.

  11. Scott says:

    Troops do not have an extremism problem, but veterans do, study finds

    Service members don’t participate in violent extremism at higher rates than the rest of the U.S. population, but former troops do — and their involvement is growing, according to research published at the end of December.

    According to the report, which was commissioned by the Defense Department, anecdotal accounts of service members being involved in violent extremism create a false impression that it’s an outsized problem. Those accounts often fail to differentiate between current service members and former troops, a demographic found to participate in violent extremism at higher rates, the research states.

    “[The] review found no evidence that the number of violent extremists in the military is disproportionate to the number of violent extremists in the United States as a whole,” the research says. “Extremism in the veterans’ community has peaks and valleys over recent decades, and currently appears to be on the increase.”

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    B-more was on a bay

    Fair enough, but I’ve never noticed the Delmarva peninsula acting as much of a storm barrier (waves, yes, rain and snow, no). And looking at the snow accumulation for Rehoboth Beach, Dover, and Ocean City, yep, a lot of nothing. I know Allentown got about 5″, about 100 miles north as the crow flies.

  13. Scott says:

    Good news. Will Biden and the Democrats be smart enough to use this politically? Hmm.. I have my doubts.

    Veterans jobless rate drops to lowest average in more than 20 years

    For all of 2023, the monthly veterans unemployment rate averaged just under 2.8%, the lowest since at least 2000.

  14. Kathy says:

    Well, I miscalculated with the slow cooker, and got disappointing results. I didn’t quite realize what “low” means in the low setting. The food got cooked, but it’s not as tender as it should be and the sauce is not as thick, it feels more like stew.

    Now I know better. Next time it’s the high setting and a longer time. That will have to wait, as next week I’m testing the air fryer function with marinated chicken thighs. I also want to experiment dehydrating and roasting something.

    On the other hand, as I sauteed the onions and browned the beef before slow cooking them, I learned the pot is well suited for this, works well, and it’s easy enough to use in this fashion.

    On other news, as noted above the Vulcan Centaur rocket launched successfully. This is more than a major update to the ULA’s lineup. It also marks the long delayed of Blue Origin to the space launch business. The first stage uses two BE-4 engines produced by Lex Bezos’ company. Maybe next they can develop a rocket that launches something worthwhile into an actual orbit.

    I am aware of Lex’s New Shepherd rocket. That has as much to do with the space launch business as a small sailboat for joyrides along the shore has to do with the transoceanic shipping business.

    That’s an unfair analogy. after all, the sailboat could make it to the other end of an ocean, while New Shepherd can’t do more than climb to the top layer of the atmosphere, and then fall and then drift down safely. But it’s the closest I can get.

  15. Scott says:

    A rather long but inspiring piece on a homeless village and community:

    Has a big village of tiny homes eased homelessness in Austin?

    On the outskirts of Austin, what began as a fringe experiment has quickly become central to the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness. To Justin Tyler Jr., it is home.

    Tyler, 41, lives in Community First! Village, which aims to be a model of permanent affordable housing for people who are chronically homeless. In the fall of 2022, he joined nearly 400 residents of the village, moving into one of its typical digs: a 200-square-foot, one-room tiny house furnished with a kitchenette, a bed and a recliner.

    The village is a self-contained, 51-acre community in a sparsely populated area just outside Austin. Stepping onto its grounds feels like entering another realm. Eclectic tiny homes are clustered around shared outdoor kitchens, and neat rows of recreational vehicles and manufactured homes line looping cul-de-sacs. There are chicken coops, two vegetable gardens, a convenience store, art and jewelry studios, a medical clinic and a chapel. Roads run throughout, but residents mainly get around on foot or on an eight-passenger golf cart that makes regular stops around the property.

  16. ptfe says:

    Was thinking about messaging yesterday. Why have Democrats not wrapped climate policy into their immigration platform? Climate refugees are emphatically A Thing, and Republicans are so hell-bent against reducing global warming that we’re certainly going to have millions more climate immigrants in the US over the next decade as a result.

    IANASW, but something like: “Republicans want you to fear immigrants, many of whom are moving because of climate change. The Right refuses to take on long-term environmental policy because their corporate donors would have to give up a huge amount of corporate welfare and bear direct financial responsibility for for their actions instead. In refusing to legislate, they’ve pushed even more cost onto all of us as we now have to manage both climate change itself and the burdens of an overwhelmed immigration system.”

  17. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    There is a damn good reason that you want a streetside three foot mound of dense snow. If you are obligated to shovel your sidewalk, putting up a rampart against the next city snowplow run saves time and effort. It just adheres to the outside of your wall, and then you’re only on the hook for what falls from the sky, rather than sky + city snowplows flumpage.

    It’s crazy. I live just 250 miles south now and it’s like a third of the snowfall (no Alberta clippers here once or twice a week) and 15F degrees warmer on average. It’s as if latitude makes sense.

    I remember that the coldest average day of the year in Minneapolis was January 23 and the average was 23F as the high and 4F as the low.

    We’ll be a bit below that here for the next week it looks like. It happens. My furnace will work hard.

    Streetside densely compacted snow ramparts melt the slowest slowly slow when spring comes around. So slowly. Gray/black mounds. They are the last snow unmelted. A third of it is detritus. Trash and dirt.

  18. Kathy says:

    Oh, this is rich: Open AI claims it is imosible to develop large language models and other generative tools without the use of copyrighted material.

    You know what? I find it impossible to cook without ingredients. I should take a page from Open AI and just take whet I want from the store and not pay for it. I also find it impossible to run my car without gasoline. It would be tricky to take it from the gas station and not pay, but it can be done.

    It’s Napster all over again, in a larger scale.

  19. Bill Jempty says:

    @de stijl:

    Nobody jaywalks in Minneapolis in the winter. It’s way easier to cross the street at the cleared intersection.

    After all jaywalking can get you in big trouble.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    Yesterday, there was some discussion about recreational drug use and some comments about my presumed naivete of such matters. I was going to let it alone, but in order to assuage my conscience I will offer the following (I don’t think it will make much of a difference).

    First, my personal involvement with recreational drug use goes back almost a half century now, so definitely not current in any way. It was more than casual but not too deep. I was never arrested.

    Second, I am definitely ignorant about one thing: what percentage of people recreationally use addictive drugs ‘successfully’, i.e. it doesn’t result in their lives spiraling out of control.

    Most of my current experience with drug users comes from a) volunteering at a men’s shelter, b) my wife’s full time work at a women’s recovery center, and c) the fact that I live in downtown Baltimore and on any given day can probably find 30 addicts within a ten minute walk of my home. I don’t talk with the street users, other than to look them in the eye and say hello. I talk to the men at the shelter but never about their addiction. I’m there to give them a chance to talk about something other than that, and so they can tell their stories to someone who hasn’t heard them a dozen times before. But my wife knows the stories of a lot of the women that come through the shelter, even though she is involved in the management side and not the counseling side.

    Here are some things I know:
    – All of them started as recreational drug users who considered themselves sophisticated and confident they could stop before being addicted
    – In both the men’s shelter and the women’s, these are the “elite” of the people at the end of their rope. I believe they truly want to be sober and they have convinced a lot of people (judges, agency officials and the staff at the shelters) that they have a shot at getting and remaining so. The shelter where my wife works is a very unique one as it can also provide some of the women a chance to live with their young children. Those spaces are very rare.
    – I know more about the background and the outcomes of the women than the men, although not by name of course. Despite all the positive signs for these women when they started, it seems every month my wife comes home to tell me that one of their successful graduates turned up in a morgue somewhere. And of course, they didn’t hear about every such case.
    – If you have convinced yourself that drug dealers don’t deliberately addict and re-addict their customers/employees (prostitution, theft, begging, cons, etc) then you are fooling yourself. Sure, your suburbanite dealers almost certainly don’t fall into that category, but those aren’t the dealers you go to when you have finally been kicked out of your home and are hustling to get what you need. Those dealers are a different animal.
    – If you think your middle class and professional life protects you, well you are right, to a point. You can afford treatment either voluntarily or as a condition of release upon arrest. Judges are more likely to help you keep a criminal conviction off your record, knowing what a downward spiral that leads too And, middle class or not, if you are lucky your family will try to help you, to a point. I don’t know how often such interventions are enough. But there are plenty of people in those shelters who originally had “normal” middle class existences with people who cared about them and tried to help them, for years and years. The men’s shelter is for veterans only, and so they have had structure in their lives and have access to support services prior to the spiral, for what it is worth.
    – Once you exhaust the limits of the system and your family and your friends, the downward spiral can be very, very ugly. As I said, the women’s shelter is for people who, yes, have burned down everything in their lives, but who still have some amount of hope for putting together a sober future. But their lives before they get to that shelter are truly horrible. In my mind I would have jumped off a bridge before I had gone through a tenth of what they did, but of course, they would probably have said the same thing at the start.

    Every time I volunteer or hear one of my wife’s stories I think “There but for the grace of god go I.” People just like me end up in those places and I don’t know what combination of genetics, body chemistry and chance kept me from ending up there myself. I know it is more luck than moral turpitude, and I’m 100% certain that it isn’t because I’m too sophisticated to let it go too far.

    Addicts will tell you that the drugs control them, not the other way around. I believe them. I don’t see any upside to playing around with addictive drugs.

  21. Bill Jempty says:

    Yesterday I emailed my editor my latest book. So my going the traditional route of book publishing has began. How many non-gray hairs my editor will have left when she is done with my latest book is yet to be determined.

    I’m sure this will work out better than my first traditional effort way back in 2007. The editor for that outfit totally re-wrote my ending* and instead of a book being published a legal settlement turned up occurring. Can’t say anything about the details there. All I will say is I’m surprised that outfit is still recruiting writers when somebody can self-publish at Amazon in my odd little genre and make more money that way.

    My muse is taking a short vacation before going to work on my next book. They should be returning in a week or two or by the end of the month worst**.

    I’m trying to talk my wife into us making a trip to both Australia and Japan this spring. Partly for the purpose of my researching one of my next books, partly for tourism, and partly so my wife can visit family she has in those places. Any trip would be health permitting.

    *- I killed off my main characters.

    *- I’m always a little burned out after finishing a book.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:


    Every time I volunteer or hear one of my wife’s stories I think “There but for the grace of god go I.” People just like me end up in those places and I don’t know what combination of genetics, body chemistry and chance kept me from ending up there myself. I know it is more luck than moral turpitude, and I’m 100% certain that it isn’t because I’m too sophisticated to let it go too far.

    It’s difficult if not impossible to find the line between lucky genetics and self-discipline. I think genetics set the table for self-discipline. Maybe it’s as simple as a genetic predisposition to caution, reinforced by lived experience. Any time I’ve tried a new drug I’ve always started with a quarter of a typical dose, to gauge the effect.

    I currently smoke a joint a day and drink three cocktails, a bit more if I’m dining out and have wine. I weigh in at 210, but that’s still a lot of alcohol. But when I fly overseas I can’t smoke weed and don’t really miss it any more than I miss a cigar. And with alcohol it seems there’s a natural limit set by the fact that I enjoy being tipsy but don’t at all enjoy being drunk. Basically I refuse to be out of control, not because I’m virtuous or (hah!) disciplined, but because I’m a control freak which feels so innate it may well be genetic.

  23. de stijl says:


    I’ve tried nearly everything. Most didn’t work or exacerbated the issue.

    You name it, I’ve tried it. None of it really worked. Alcohol helped me cope for many years, but it’s usefulness faded after I started actively working on improving and maintaining mental health so my intake dropped off dramatically.

    I use alcohol in moderation now a few times a month. I haven’t been inebriated in 15 years.

    The one thing that I do semi-regularly is magic mushrooms. About 3 or 4 times a year. Always under a fairly stringent rule-set: Away from home, under the stars, not around anyone else. It’s not rules really, but desired conditions. I dose pretty hard. I enjoy it intensely.

    It clears gunk out of my head. Reduces general anxiety, helps me to be not fully agoraphobic. Chills out my brain. (And it is super fun and stress-free during, too. To me, anyway.)

    NGL, were I diagnosed with an incurable something that gave me several months to live, I would indulge in morphine a lot in my time left.

  24. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I understand this and your take intensely.

    I no longer want to be drunk, ever. I haven’t used cannabis since I was 21 (except once) and never will again. Same for all other drugs except for psilocybin.

    Being retired took a lot of stress off me. I did it as early as I could. A small house in a decent neighborhood and an old Jeep does me fine. I have zero desire to be famous or glorious or stupid rich. I mostly really enjoy being left alone and wallow in my own geekitude. I’m playing Kenshi as a benign socialist manager of the commune to amuse myself.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..I don’t see any upside to playing around with addictive drugs.

    I experimented with all kinds of substances in the ’60s including cocaine and something we called crystal meth. I would’t touch heroin. Of all the crap I ingested over the years the two worst were nicotine and the swill. Gave up both cold turkey at least 25 years ago after 30+ year habits including 3 packs of butts a day when I quit. Don’t miss any of it. Stopped smoking the noble weed about 4 years ago as I was concerned about my health.
    I miss a good reefer high but don’t crave it like I did tobacco. Maybe someday I’ll hit the bong again.


  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: Gotta love the Harry Nillsson versionfrom “Midnight Cowboy” too. The guy had pipes too!

  27. Kathy says:

    It seems some Boeing shareholder value got sucked out along with the air on the Alaska 737 MAX 9.

    Delays, design issues, and other problems are common in all commercial aircraft. Earlier iterations of the 737 had rudder issues (and lethal crashes arising from same). The DC-10 had major issues in its cargo door design, along with the worst single plane air disaster in Europe. The A380 was delayed several years. Engines on the A320 neo family have shown issues that required grounding several aircraft.

    It’s an old story, and it’s just not Boeing. What sets Boeing apart was what I call outright negligence with the MCAS matter. Not that they foresaw planes would crash and did nothing about it, but that they overlooked safety issues in order to keep the costs of pilot training to the new variant low.

    I’ve mentioned before all the issues resulting from the MCAS mess, from payments to the crash victims’ families to the extended grounding-related penalties, cost Boeing far more money than a new design would have.

    This also seems to be partly so for another new redesign of an existing plane, namely the 777X.

    Now, this plane isn’t as old as the 737, having debuted in the 1990s and seen a few variants later on. So a redesign and updating is not out of line. But the extent of the redesign is partly what0s been driving the delay for entry into service and certification.

    On the other hand, the cost overruns and delays, and issues like battery fires and engine problems, in Boeing’s one new clean sheet design this century, the 787, were also a major problem.

    They should get back to basing their products on solid engineering, rather on what will deliver the most shareholder value.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    I seem unusually resistant to getting high. A recovered alcoholic friend of mine was always annoyed that no matter what I smoked or drank I never became a wild and crazy version of myself. I remain me, with somewhat less clarity in pronunciation. There is no amount of booze or any other drug that would have me dancing on the table. Or dancing, period. I am not a fun person. I’m the guy who, if dragged to a party, can be relied on to be talking about death inside of ten minutes.

    Being content with what you’ve got is a superpower. I’m most of the way there, but have gotten it into my head that when I die I need to leave behind enough to support my kids in perpetuity. If my kids were self-supporting, or moved to Mexico, I’d probably quit working, but the entitled shits insist on living in the Bay Area. My youngest daughter’s starter home cost 1.3 million. She could have whole farm in Kentucky for half that.

  29. Mimai says:


    Who are you attempting to target with this messaging? I ask, in part, because backfire effects are common in climate change messaging. And also in messaging involving attitudes about different social groups.

    Your comment inspired me to do a quick search of the empirical literature. Here’s a paper published last year that is relevant (I read the abstract but not entire thing).

    Climate change–induced immigration to the United States has mixed influences on public support for climate change and migrants

    And here’s an article about the research published by the university.

  30. CSK says:

    I haven’t seen the video in question.

  31. Kathy says:

    Peregrine, the lunar lander launched earlier today on the ULA Vulcan, looks like it won’t complete its mission.

    I don’t see how there can be “loss of propellant” unless there’s a leak of some sort. The info is patchy, but as of now the space blogs don’t have much additional details (they do phrase things differently, as though they know the subject).

    This doesn’t mean anything for the Vulcan or ULA. the launch was successful and placed Peregrine in the right trajectory. The failure is in the probe itself.

    Unless further findings reveal otherwise. say if the fairing separation damaged the probe.

  32. Beth says:


    Second, I am definitely ignorant about one thing: what percentage of people recreationally use addictive drugs ‘successfully’, i.e. it doesn’t result in their lives spiraling out of control.

    I think this is a question we don’t have an answer to because, I suspect, it would absolutely nuke the “War on Drugs”. I would guess the majority of users don’t end up addicts in the sense that you are seeing. Even typing this comment I’m having trouble coming up with relevant terms to use to describe this. Like, exactly what do we mean by “recreational drugs”. Are we lumping, alcohol, nicotine, stimulants (cocaine), opioids, classic psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin), non-classical psychedelics (MDMA, 2CB, “research chemicals”), together? That’s both under and over-inclusive and should almost certainly include caffeine and probably sugar.

    I don’t think that I have some superpower that would keep me from being a problem drug user other than I don’t want to spend every waking moment high. As way of background, other than alcohol and caffeine I didn’t take any substances until I was in my 40s. I come from a long line of substance abusers and I don’t want to end up like them. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t much care for alcohol. It’s tough to get a gauge on the intoxication and the hangover is worse than fucking anything. I’ve mostly replaced it with cannabis edibles cause I can dial in pretty much exactly what I want and know pretty much how I’m going to feel. Lol, Sunday Night Football is amazing when you bomb a 50Mg. Then I wake up the next day, maybe with a light headache at worse and I get on with my day.

    With LSD (and eventually psilocybin), I’m similar to @de stijl: in that I have some pretty strict rules I follow. Those are mostly around what I consider to be the mystical exploration of my mind. I also got there by trial and error. Psychedelics will absolutely wreck your shit if you don’t respect them. Also, throwing up on LSD was one of the absolute worst experiences of my life.

    For me, my current drug use has absolutely, 100% made my life better. But I definitely have hard limits. Absolutely no coke for me. That high sounds like it would be wonderful. I love being overstimulated. I know there is absolutely no way I could use cocaine responsibly. I’m fairly confident that I’d never get hooked on opioids though. I hate how they make me feel and I hate that they shut off my colon.

  33. ptfe says:

    @Mimai: Wow, that is extremely interesting and rather disheartening. It seems like a good way to call out the hypocrisy of the anti-immigration fervor of the Right, but the net result is further inflamed overall anti-immigrant sentiment – yikes!

    Thanks for the links, though. Gives me something to think about.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:


    and probably sugar.

    You could hand me a kilo of cocaine to hold and when you came back for it, it’d all be there. Hand me a pie? Count yourself lucky if you salvage a slice. It’s never alcohol or weed whispering seductively to me, it’s sugar, night and day. Plenty of people around to tell me not to smoke cigars or pot or drink whiskey, and no one telling me to put down the fucking Ben and Jerry’s. Thank the Big Pharma God for Mounjaro.

  35. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s addictive and mood altering, it’s almost certainly a drug. Could you imagine the Right-Wing scream about if it was described that way? My guess is that alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and sugar are the biggest drugs we use, but most people don’t think of them as drugs. Certainly not “DRUGS”.

  36. Mister Bluster says:
  37. Mimai says:


    First and most importantly, respect and gratitude to you and MarkedWoman for the work you do.

    Carl Hart is an interesting (and atypical) case study and mesearcher. Here’s a NYT article about him. One of many such articles.

    This Heroin-Using Professor Wants to Change How We Think About Drugs

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: @ptfe: I think the mistake may be in believing that one can show people that they are hypocritical and their reaction will be “Oh my God! What have I done?” rather than “So what? I’m still not any worse than you are.” Most people I’ve met are neither as self-reflective nor as committed to self-improvement as would be socially desirable–Cracker included.

  39. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Coastal real estate prices are fucking insane. I just don’t understand it. The market is skewed.

    If my lot were magically transported to Thousand Oaks my small bungalow would sufdenly be worth 10x the Des Moines worth.

    Well, not Thousand Oaks, more like Silver Lake. Urban Residential.

    I don’t understand the premium pricing for, in this case, Southern California real estate prices/assessments. It’s so out of whack! Prices compared to average salary is insane. I don’t get it. It isn’t desirability; SoCal is net negative on migration inflow/outflow.

    I worked at a gig in Burbank for like 7, 8 months. It was perfectly fine. Nothing particularly special about it all. One downside to pre-furnished corporate-leased apartment is you get no say in furnishings and accoutrements. Hey, it wasn’t bad or objectionable, it’s just very bland and soulless.

    Were I to buy the exact same house I own now but there it would be about 9x more. Why?

    My current neighborhood is substantially better in walkable stores I actually want buy stuff in, tea/coffee shops, bakery, bars, restaurants, a mall and a movie theater. I have a way better neighborhood now by any objective criteria.

    I worked mostly in finance and mortgages most of my career. Didn’t entirely understand all of it, my job was create databases and user friendly access portals into the information contained within. Why, exactly, is Burbank real estate worth 8-12x more than Beaverdale real estate? I’m not naive. I’m not ignorant. I’m not unschooled on the topic.

    My dinky house (seriously, it’s the smallest house on the block by far) would be worth close to a million bucks if it were in Burbank. I don’t get the market price differential.

  40. de stijl says:


    I think I’m a lot like you. Trust me, never, ever try cocaine. Just don’t. It feels too good.

    The high is really seductive. You feel powerful and really dialed in and squared away and confident. It only lasts about 30-40 minutes. A gram will get you high about 2 or 3 times. Way, way too expensive for me. Thank Odin for frugality kicking in!

    Alcohol is by far the most abused drug, and by far the cheapest by effective dosage. It quells an overactive brain that’s a bit overwhelmed and wants a bit of quieter solace/space. For me, anyway.

    I absolutely dodged the bullett on booze! I could have very easily been a hard-core alcoholic. I was a step away.

    Thankfully, I was born with the frugal gene. $125 a gram in 1983 money? No fucking way! Are you god damn serious? Nope!

    Besides, I could never have gotten to the point of addiction since 3 grams would have wiped out my entire life savings at the time.

  41. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: Is it possible that the Diné objections to landing human remains on the moon were answered by the Holy People?

  42. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Trust me, never, ever try cocaine. Just don’t. It feels too good.”

    I was lucky that way. I’ve always been prone to nosebleeds, so the thought of snorting something up my nostrils has no appeal at all…

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: It’s actually pretty easy to understand. West Coast property owners have consistently fought very hard to limit density while working equally hard at keeping growth going. We invented urban sprawl, and it has served us well by permitting population growth while keeping housing supplies in individual neighborhoods tight and keeping out all those nasty apartment dwellers and renters.

    The economy in the West also has helped to keep demand strong and the mild weather makes even long commutes workable (I lived 25 miles away from my job in Seattle, for example, and that was 40 years ago; some of my coworkers lived 50 miles away and further). The ability to do long commutes has aided the sprawl by making the urban corridor huge such that the fact of my living in an economically depressed area doesn’t affect property prices and rents given that the commute to Portland for work is only an hour, two tops. No need for rent to be low simply because I can’t afford it, plenty of people from farther out will take my apartment as soon as I vacate it. (And the same is true for the purchase market, too.) Best of all worlds!

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    My first time doing coke it was a cook who hooked me up when I was managing a restaurant. I did a couple lines and thought, “I’m gonna clean that grill.” All it does is make me feel like I should work. Mostly. There was that one night with Cookie and Cookie’s Sister, who probably had a name. But mostly it made me work.

  45. just nutha says:

    Looks like Eddie and I were both wrong. Michigan and under. This is why I don’t bet sports. Do play cards sometimes though.

  46. Mikey says:

    Michigan defeats Washington 34-13 to claim the national championship!

    GO BLUE!

  47. Franklin says:

    @Mikey: Hell yeah! I hope you got to watch it with fellow fans, friends, and family!