16 June 2024

Link Sausages Out of Hiding

And not just because they're past their sell-by dates.

  • Two recent items about "property disputes" places other than the US lead toward the man behind the curtain. In England, tenants (renters, mostly) can ordinarily be evicted at the end of their lease without explanation (and we're not going to get into how lease durations get manipulated Over There). Conversely, in Mexico a town is having to maintain a militia against avocado growers (and we'll leave aside for the moment the corollary US problem with almond farming for "almond milk").

    What links these stories is never stated: Absentee landlords. Not just "any landlord," like the family that moved across town to a bigger house and instead of selling the old one rents it out; those landlords remain part of the community. Instead, it's strictly the rents — Ricardian, non-Ricardian, Schumpeterian, or indeterminate (an "apartment" is about the location and improvement to land… and is ordinarily an end use, not a generator of other economic activity) (and forgetting for the moment the exceedingly large logical hole in the concepts). More to the point, it's the rents that generate above-market/above-expectations returns… and who, precisely, demands those returns.

  • From the might-as-well-be-daily-since-it's-election-season list of hypocrisies coming out of a certain convicted felon's mouth and handlers, we'll set aside the now obvious problem with claiming it was purely persecution for a moment and consider how to manage draft deferments this time around — because that is indeed the logical problem. We'll leave aside for the moment that neither That Individual nor damned near any of his advisors, or MAGAts in general, have themselves participated in "military service" (that's for the hoi polloi). But not for too long, because there's going to be a set of special snowflakes who demand some kind of deferment or alternative just because they're special… and let's just say that the Black kid from Harlem, the Hispanic kid from Hialeah, the Palestinian kid from Dearborn, and the white kid from Fishtown aren't going to be treated even-handedly (regardless of gender issues).

    The fundamental problem is the equation of "national service" with "military service." It isn't, and shouldn't, be that way; nurses, teachers, and firefighters are obvious counterexamples. Not, however, entrepreneurs, preachers, sales/marketing associates, or investment analysts — and that's where things will become Interesting (however dumb).

  • At least that's not quite so archly hypocritical as letters of support for Ed Burke's sentencing phase. <SARCASM> He's obviously a very kindly neighbor to his supporters. </SARCASM> I practiced in Chicago, so I know the "neighbors," too, and they're not exactly the people from whom I think one should be seeking approval. That's not to say Burke is an unremitting font of evil (although he is a Chicago politician, so the possibility is certainly there…); it is only to say that whatever positive character he might have is contradicted by the crime(s) of which he was convicted — and that this kind of reliance on "character" is another, one-level-removed failure to take responsibility and/or recognize, and learn from, failures of judgment. It's not that character is irrelevant to individualized sentencing — it's that this kind of attestation of character is close to irrelevant to individualized sentencing for this kind of offense, amounting to at best a post hoc rationalization and invocation of "there but for grace go I" (a sentencing pathway really not available to an impoverished "habitual shoplifter").
  • The business in and around culture and the arts is always good for a laugh. If, that is, you've got a cynical and grim sense of humor. One might by pondering commercial-cultural icons becoming subject of horror films as the copyrights expire (and that lack of expiration explains a lot about Peter Pan…). Then, perhaps, consider banning books about book banning and purported bestseller lists and their biases (of which "second-string conservative screeds particularly common to manipulation" is far from the most striking). Or, for that matter, consider above-market executive salaries at arts agencies during "reductions in force" applying only to those most likely to, well, actually say something controversial… <SARCASM> or to have actually done "national service"… </SARCASM>