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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 67,528

Journal Archives

Micro-Apartments Are Coming to the Midwest

(Bloomberg) .......(snip).......

Micro apartments are still a new trend in the U.S.—Seattle, with about 3,000, probably has the largest market—so you can't read too much into what data do exist. But a study published last year by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) backs Grgurich’s assertion. Researchers found that units smaller than 600 square feet rented for $2.65 per square foot—54 percent more than apartments between 600 and 1,000 square feet and 81 percent more than apartments larger than 1,000 square feet.

Jon Durham, a partner at NoMi Developers in Kalamazoo, Mich., says he was motivated to work on a complex of 300-sq.-ft. apartments to fill what he sees as a void of housing that new college grads can afford. "We need it for the stay factor for our city," he says, adding that demand has been high. About half the apartments in the 47-unit complex, which includes some larger units, have been leased, even though construction won't be complete until next year.

“I’m reveling in it,” says Dylan Gorman, 22, who lives in one of Hubbell’s micro-apartments. He says that having a smaller space makes it easier to clean and that the building's community amenities, such as a fitness center and pool table, make up for having a smaller living area.

Not everyone loves it. The ULI study collected completed surveys from 110 micro-apartment renters, finding that they were less likely than traditional renters to be satisfied with the value they got for their money. That may be because of sacrifices made to accommodate smaller spaces. In Kalamazoo, Durham expects his micro-apartments to come with refrigerators and microwaves but no stoves. In Omaha, developer Dave Paladino is building about 80 micro units in a gentrifying neighborhood on the edge of the city’s core and trying to decide whether he can cram a washer-dryer into apartments as small as 230 square feet. "It feels like living in a closet," The Strangler reported on Seattle's burgeoning micro-apartment scene. ..................(more)


Billionaire Paul Singer: China Crash Is 'Way Bigger Than Subprime'

(Bloomberg) Hedge fund manager Paul Singer said that China’s debt-fueled stock market crash may have larger implications than the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, echoing warnings from fellow billionaire money managers Bill Ackman and Jeffrey Gundlach.

“This is way bigger than subprime,” Singer, founder of hedge fund Elliott Management, said at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York in response to a question about China’s crash potentially affecting other markets. Singer said it may not be big enough to cause a global financial market conflagration.

China’s stock market has dropped from a June 12 peak wiping out almost $4 trillion in value in less than a month after investors who borrowed to buy shares had to unwind trades. Markets tumbled even as President Xi Jinping’s government ramped up efforts to stem the rout, including preventing share sales of companies.

The threat to markets from the country is a bigger concern to Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management, than Greece. .....................(more)


Charlotte Streetcar Begins Service on 1.5-Mile Run

NC: Charlotte Streetcar Begins Service on 1.5-Mile Run


July 14--Charlotte opened its first streetcar line in 77 years Tuesday morning with a ceremony highlighted with a spirited speech by former mayor and current U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The city held the event, which was moved because of rain, outside of the city's bus terminal. The streetcar opened to the public at 1 p.m.

"I never dreamed it would be anything like this. I'm overwhelmed," said Charlotte resident Cathy Mullins, who was on the streetcar's first public ride. "It doesn't seem like I'm in Charlotte."

She joined about 50 people, including media and city officials, on the first ride from Time Warner Cable Arena to Elizabeth. .......(more)


Odds Favor a Greece Deal Failure and Defacto Grexit

from Naked Capitalism:

Odds Favor a Greece Deal Failure and Defacto Grexit
Posted on July 15, 2015 by Yves Smith

The odds now favor the tentative deal struck over the weekend to “rescue” Greece, which many have correctly depicted as a brutal economic colonization of Greece by its lenders, coming unraveled. It’s hard to see how Greece could muddle through, given that a sketchy plan attribute to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schuble over the weekend, that of a five-year temporary Grexit, was so obviously a napkin doodle rather than a plan as to be a negotiating chip and a taunt rather than a serious idea. But the lack of any alternative to the punitive plan that is starting to go pear shaped means that Greece would stumble into a Grexit utterly unprepared, with its banks unable to open at any foreseeable time in the future. That’s a game plan for utter catastrophe. If you think the unplanned Lehman bankruptcy was an unmitigated disaster, a Grexit would make that look like a walk in the park.*

Why does the deal now look to be in such dire shape? Unlike the earlier extended Greece v. everyone else impasse that went on for months, the underlying problem was that the two sides had no bargaining overlap between their positions and were conducting the negotiations in a media fishbowl. That made it impossible to find areas of mutual interest (having the new government improve Greece’s broken tax system, which only taxes the incomes of about 30% of the public, cracking down on oligarchs) and figuring out ways to come up with optical solutions on the issues where they were odds so each side could declare a victory.

The impediments now are what are informally called “too many moving parts”. It’s also one of the reasons that many people make bad calls about the likelihood of something succeeding, like a new venture.

If you ask someone who is starting a business and you ask them, “What are the odds this will work out?” you’ll almost certainly get answers well over 50%. Otherwise, why would they bother? But even if they tell you that it’s a slam dunk and they give you some very persuasive patter as to why the probability of winning is 90%, if you pick apart what has to happen, you can usually quickly ascertain why they’ve made a big overestimation. ................(more)


Seattle Man Accused of Spitting on Gay Couple, Black Woman on Metro Bus

July 15--A Seattle man is accused of spitting on a gay couple and a black woman, and using gay and racial slurs, aboard a Metro bus last week, according to court records.

Jeffrey Brooks Knothe, 57, was jailed following his arrest on July 7 and released with conditions the following day, jail and court records show. Charged Friday with malicious harassment, the state's hate crime statute, Knothe was taken back into custody on Monday night, but was then released from the King County Jail on Tuesday morning after posting $10,000 bail, according to the records.

Knothe was charged with two counts of malicious harassment for his alleged treatment of the married gay couple, but charging documents explain the woman he is accused of racially harassing and spitting on left the scene before transit police officers arrived.

It was a little after 7:30 p.m. when the couple boarded a No. 120 bus at Southwest Kenyon Street and Delridge Way Southwest, say the charges. One man wore a "Seattle Pride" T-shirt, while his husband sported a shirt with the rainbow flag logo, according to the charges. As they made their way to the back of the bus, Knothe made anti-gay comments, told them "Pride is over," and raised his hand as if he intended to strike them, charging papers say. ................(more)


Progressive Democrats of America Bring Movement Pressure to Dems Through Bernie Sanders Campaign

from In These Times:

Progressive Democrats of America Bring Movement Pressure to Dems Through Bernie Sanders Campaign
Thanks to social media campaigns and behind-the-scenes work from the Progressive Democrats of America, Sanders’ chances at president have become a reality.


In late April, when he announced that he would enter the presidential race, Bernie Sanders was the relatively unknown junior U.S. Senator from Vermont. Now he’s everywhere.

Though the “Sanders surge” seemed to come from nowhere, it was long in the making. Sanders’ rapid rise in the polls, and his increasing visibility over the past few weeks, are in part the result of behind-the-scenes work by organizations like Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).

PDA was founded in 2004 by progressives at the Democratic National Convention who were disappointed with the party’s presidential nominee, John Kerry, but were unwilling to give up on electoral politics. One evening, at the convention’s conclusion, about 200 people met to chart a path forward.

“PDA was founded that night with an inside-outside strategy—to bring outside energy inside the party,” said Conor Boylan, who began working for PDA in 2009 and has been its co-director since 2014. “It was almost an insurgency: We’ll be members of the party, but we’ll also form our own chapters and hold the party accountable.”


What happens if Bernie is not the candidate? What does PDA’s role become?

We’re not going to endorse Hillary—that’s the reality. We took a poll of our membership, and there just isn’t the energy there to endorse her. So we’ll switch gears, and the issues that Bernie has pushed, we want to continue to move those issues and build a movement, continue to build a movement. ......................(more)


Court asked to kill off NSA's 'zombie dragnet' of Americans' bulk phone data

(Guardian UK) The leading civil liberties group in the United States has requested a federal court to stop the National Security Agency from collecting Americans’ phone data in bulk through the end of the year.

While the surveillance dragnet was phased out by Congress and Barack Obama last month, an American Civil Liberties Union suit seeks to end a twilight, zombie period of the same US phone records collection, slated under the new law to last six months.

“Today the government is continuing – after a brief suspension – to collect Americans’ call records in bulk on the purported authority of precisely the same statutory language this court has already concluded does not permit it,” the ACLU writes in a motion filed on Tuesday before the second circuit court of appeals.

The venue is significant. On 7 May, as Congress debated ending the domestic phone-records collection, the second circuit ruled the collection was illegal. Yet it did not order Obama’s administration to cease the bulk collection, writing that a preferable option would be to stay out of the unfolding legislative battle over the future scope of US surveillance. ..............(more)


The Problem of Greece Is Not Only a Tragedy - It Is a Lie

The Problem of Greece Is Not Only a Tragedy - It Is a Lie

Tuesday, 14 July 2015 10:41
By John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed

An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide "No" vote and secretly agreed on a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a "bailout" that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse - 4 billion euros more than the "austerity" figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on July 5.

These reportedly include a 50 percent increase in the cost of health care for pensioners, almost 40 percent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value-added tax to 23 percent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living.

There is more to come.

"Anti-austerity party sweeps to stunning victory," declared a Guardian headline on January 25. "Radical leftists" the paper called Tsipras and his impressively educated comrades. They wore open-neck shirts, and the finance minister rode a motorbike and was described as a "rock star of economics." It was a façade. They were not radical in any sense of that cliched label; neither were they "anti-austerity."


Greece’s debt, reports an audit by the Greek parliament, "is illegal, illegitimate and odious." Proportionally, it is less than 30 percent that of the debt of Germany, its major creditor. It is less than the debt of European banks, whose "bailout" in 2007-2008 was barely controversial and unpunished. .............(more)


Did a little web searching to see if the likes of Cheney and John Bolton have commented on Iran....

..... seems that they've offered their reactions in "exclusives" to the Daily Caller and WND, where they knew there'd be no reality-based questions asked.

The Ultimate Tool

Just a few weeks before his re-election bid, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was asked whether minimum-wage laws should even exist. The Republican governor replied, “Well, I’m not going to repeal it but I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it serves a purpose.”

Seven months later, shortly after kicking off his GOP presidential campaign, Walker went just a little further. The Washington Post reported:

Scott Walker appeared to take aim at the national minimum wage on Monday evening, referring to it as one of many “lame ideas” pushed by Democrats.

Walker’s comment came in a lengthy interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity immediately following a speech formally announcing his entrance into the 2016 presidential race. Walker said the next president needs to speak the language of the industrial Midwest and connect with the working class.

According to the video, eagerly disseminated by Democratic officials, Walker told the Fox News host, “The left claims that they’re for American workers and they’ve just got just really lame ideas – things like the minimum wage.”

In context, there was nothing to suggest the governor was talking about his opposition to a minimum-wage increase, so much as the existence of the minimum wage itself. To hear Walker tell it, the law is a “lame” benefit for American workers. ...........(more)


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