B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment

Romney Ryan Rolls Royce Hood

From the Department of Headlines I Agree With

Vox:

Paul Ryan’s long con. He betrayed his promises and left a legacy of debt and disappointment.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in just one number: $343 billion.

That’s the increase between the deficit for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018 — that is, the difference between the fiscal year before Ryan became speaker of the House and the fiscal year in which he retired.

If the economy had fallen into recession between 2015 and 2018, Ryan’s record would be understandable. But it didn’t. In fact, growth quickened and the labor market tightened — which means deficits should’ve fallen. Indeed, that’s exactly what happened in each of the five years preceding Ryan’s speakership; from 2011 to 2015, annual deficits fell each year.

As he prepares to leave office, Ryan says that debt reduction is one of those things “I wish we could have gotten done.” Ryan, the man with the single most power over the federal budget in recent years, sounds like a bystander, as if he watched laws happen rather than made them happen.

(click here to continue reading Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment – Vox.)

Bedtime Story - drawing by Barry Blitt

Ryan was always a fake wonk, and a full-on Koch Brother acolyte. For some reason, many in political media gave Ryan a pass, even when his economic policies never, ever had the outcome of stabilizing the government’s finances, and always always increased income inequality.

History will not be kind to Paul Ryan’s legacy, but that is of little comfort right now.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 10th, 2018 at 10:47 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Sidewalks Sleek With Regrets and Recriminations was uploaded to Flickr

 

River North,Chicago, light rain

 

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2c5Bt4t

I took Sidewalks Sleek With Regrets and Recriminations on November 04, 2018 at 06:30AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 09, 2018 at 10:02PM

Written by eggplant

December 9th, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Photonic Installation

Since I’m testing out the brand new Gutenberg editor for WordPress, I’m also playing around with better Flickr integration.

There are several WordPress/Flickr plugins, I’m starting with one called Photonic which seems pretty robust.

Anyway, here is an album, on Flickr, dedicated to Our Crumbling Infrastructure.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 9th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Photography

Tagged with ,

Privacy Policy

Privacy God is pleased with our work

I used the built in template to create a privacy policy for this humble blog, even though I don’t really need it, I don’t think. If you are curious about what it says, the link is over to the upper right hand side of B12’s home page, or click here.

If you have any comments, I’d love to hear them. 

Written by Seth Anderson

December 9th, 2018 at 11:34 am

Posted in blog

Tagged with , ,

WordPress 5

It’s the Future

It’s the Future

Installed WordPress 5. Seems ok. What’s new? I guess I’ll have to explore.

I was sort of interested in how the block editor works, but I don’t see it here.

 

Update

Hmmm, looks like something went awry. Cannot access certain plugins (Jetpack, WordFence, possibly others). Wonder why?

Written by Seth Anderson

December 8th, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Posted in blog

Tagged with

City nears takeover of North Side rail line, in move to create new public transit route

Cherry Avenue historical bridge

Chicago Tribune:

City nears takeover of North Side rail line, in move to create new public transit route.

Chicago is close to assuming control of abandoned railroad tracks that run through Goose Island, a key step toward creating a public transit route along the Chicago River on the city’s North Side.

On Wednesday, the City Council is expected to vote to take over rights to the Chicago Terminal Railroad line. The former freight train route could eventually become part of a transit way for buses or trains that the city wants to create from the edge of Lincoln Park and Bucktown to commuter trains at Ogilvie Transportation Center.

The route would boost public transportation options between downtown and an area of the North Side expected to see a dramatic influx of residents and office workers. The plan has the potential to reduce traffic and relieve crowding on the CTA’s Red, Blue and Brown Line trains.

A trip from Lincoln Yards — on land along the river between Webster and North avenues — to Ogilvie could take as little as 12 minutes under the preliminary plan, said Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, whose ward includes much of the proposed transit route.

(click here to continue reading City nears takeover of North Side rail line, in move to create new public transit route – Chicago Tribune.)

Hmmm. More public transit options is more better, right? 

Cherry Ave Bridge

140 ton Counterweight, Cherry Ave Bridge

Maybe You Decided You Didn't Want To Carry That Weight

Written by Seth Anderson

December 6th, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Posted in Chicago-esque

Tagged with ,

I’d Ask What The Matter Is But I Know You Don’t Talk Much was uploaded to Flickr

Interstate Highway, Chicago

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2bUjEFF

I took I’d Ask What The Matter Is But I Know You Don’t Talk Much on March 16, 2015 at 07:54AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 01, 2018 at 04:36PM

Written by eggplant

December 1st, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Sick Of All This Repetition was uploaded to Flickr

Hubbard’s Cave, Interstate Highway underpass, Chicago

For reference for those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it during rush hour traffic:
www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2009/09/23/what-is-hubbards-c…

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2ddoMRL

I took Sick Of All This Repetition on March 16, 2015 at 07:53AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 01, 2018 at 03:49PM

Written by eggplant

December 1st, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Stop Being Influenced By Fools was uploaded to Flickr

Fulton Market

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2caNda7

I took Stop Being Influenced By Fools on March 16, 2015 at 07:52AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on November 30, 2018 at 07:58PM

Written by eggplant

November 30th, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be.

Albert Einstein with a group of Hopi Indians 1922
Albert-Einstein-with-a-group-of-Hopi-Indians-1922

The Washington Post:

Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be. A Supreme Court case about jurisdiction in an obscure murder has huge implications for tribes.

On the morning of June 22, 1839, the Cherokee leader John Ridge was pulled from his bed, dragged into his front yard and stabbed 84 times while his family watched. He was assassinated for signing the Cherokee Nation’s removal treaty, a document that — in exchange for the tribe’s homelands — promised uninterrupted sovereignty over a third of the land in present-day Oklahoma. That promise was not kept.

Sixty-seven years later, federal agents questioned John’s grandson, William D. Polson. They needed to add him to a list of every Cherokee living in Indian Territory to start the process of land allotments. Through allotment, all land belonging to the Cherokee Nation — the land John had signed his life for — would be split up between individual citizens and then opened up for white settlement. And by this grand act of bureaucratic theft, Oklahoma became a state.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the land that John Ridge not only died on, but for, could be acknowledged as Cherokee land for the first time in more than 100 years. John signed the treaty of New Echota knowing he would be killed for it but believing that the rights of the Cherokee Nation enshrined in that blood-soaked document were worth it.

One hundred and seventy-nine years later, the grass is still growing, the water is still running and, in eastern Oklahoma, our tribes are still here. And despite the grave injustice of history, the legal right to our land has never ended.

(click here to continue reading Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be. – The Washington Post.)

Fascinating. I hope the Muscogee (Creek) Nation wins, though I’d be surprised if there weren’t further tricks in store…

The Bowman

Written by Seth Anderson

November 28th, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Posted in crime,government

Tagged with , ,

Chicago Archdiocese pays $1.65 million for Lincoln Park home to be used as private residence

A Mansion in Lincoln Park 

Chicago Tribune reports:

Chicago Archdiocese pays $1.65 million for Lincoln Park home to be used as parish priest residence. The Archdiocese of Chicago recently paid $1.65 million for a four-bedroom, 3,044-square-foot house on an upscale Lincoln Park street and is using the home as a residence for parish priests at the nearby St. Clement Catholic Church.

(click here to continue reading Chicago Archdiocese pays $1.65 million for Lincoln Park home to be used as parish priest residence – Chicago Tribune.)

As Jesus would have insisted: nothing but the most luxurious of accommodations. Mary and Joseph would have insisted on upgrading the countertops to marble and receiving an allowance to re-do the kitchen cabinets, but whatcha gonna do…

It isn’t as if there are cheaper places to be had in other areas of the city, right? Four priests, and their entourage, staying in a 3,000 square foot house is an efficient use of parish funds, right? Maybe they will devote a couple of the floors to house orphans and Honduran refugees or something.

Written by Seth Anderson

November 20th, 2018 at 10:37 pm

Posted in religion

Tagged with , ,

Why Amazon’s HQ2 Search Backfired

 More Spare Change

WIRED posits:

The search was largely a success for CEO Jeff Bezos, who can use valuable data from the losing cities to inform Amazon’s business and future expansion. But in at least one respect, Amazon’s Hunger Games-style civic competition backfired: It’s shined a spotlight on how Amazon and companies like it have benefitted enormously from taxpayer funds.

Each year, local politicians spend up to an estimated $90 billion to lure corporations like Amazon to their states, which The Atlantic points out is “more than the federal government spends on housing, education, or infrastructure.” Most companies broker these deals in private.

In the end, Amazon says it will collectively receive $2.2 billion from the three cities where it plans to open offices. In an unusual move, the company disclosed that figure in its own press release. Information about incentives typically comes from government, not the corporations awarded the funds. Others have noted that Amazon might also benefit from existing tax credits, like a New York City program worth up to an additional $900 million, which were not part of the deal.

Over the course of Amazon’s year-long pursuit of new offices, researchers and journalists intensified their examination of not just the money Amazon might receive, but also what it has collected already. The company regularly receives public incentives to open facilities like warehouses and data centers, which Good Jobs First estimates have totaled $1.6 billion. An investigation from the nonprofit New Food Economy found that some Amazon warehouse workers are paid so little that they often qualify for another type of public benefit: food stamps. In some cases, taxpayers may even be subsidizing Amazon’s electricity costs, according to a Bloomberg report from August.

(click here to continue reading Why Amazon’s HQ2 Search Backfired | WIRED.)

Corporate welfare is certainly a drag on the US economy, but I’m not so sanguine as to think it will end anytime soon. Sad. I would guess that the $90 billion number cited above is a bit low.

Not to mention that $3,100,000,000 is a lot of money for a government to shower on to a rich, successful corporation like Amazon. Money that won’t be spent to improve roads, infrastructure, help with college debt, pay salary of teachers, police, EMT, etc. A lot of taxpayer money thrown at Jeff Bezos so he can have a helipad…

I’m so glad Amazon didn’t choose my city. 

Written by Seth Anderson

November 14th, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Trump Fires National Security Aide Mira Ricardel

Tarzan Poster

WSJ:

The president has also decided to remove Mira Ricardel, the top deputy for national security adviser John Bolton, officials said. A National Security Council spokeswoman declined to comment.

The president became involved in that decision at the urging of Mrs. Trump, whose staff battled with Ms. Ricardel during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources, according to people familiar with the matter.

The first lady’s team told the president that they suspect Ms. Ricardel is behind some negative stories about Mrs. Trump and her staff.

The first lady’s office issued a statement on Tuesday calling for Ms. Ricardel to be dismissed. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump.

(click here to continue reading Trump Weighs Replacing Chief of Staff John Kelly, Fires National Security Aide – WSJ.)

Ouch. Don’t crimp Melania’s style if she wants to go on safari in Africa…

Written by Seth Anderson

November 13th, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with

Trump’s Nafta Plan Could Be Upended by Democrats’ House Takeover

The Trade Union Vow 

The New York Times reports:

Democrats, emboldened by their midterm win and eager to outshine Mr. Trump as defenders of the American worker, are unlikely to sign off on any deal that does not include significant changes that labor leaders and newly elected progressives are demanding. That could involve reopening negotiations with Mexico, although American and Mexican negotiators have both publicly ruled out that possibility.

“Trump made it seem like this was a done deal, but there is a long, long way to go,” said Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat who is likely to be named chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.

The House will consider the agreement first under the Constitution’s provision mandating that revenue bills originate in the lower chamber. A vote could take up to nine months or longer, according to senior administration officials.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Nafta Plan Could Be Upended by Democrats’ House Takeover – The New York Times.)

Bears paying attention to – can Trump ram this through in a lame duck Congress? Or will he be able to manipulate Democrats somehow?

Written by Seth Anderson

November 12th, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Midterm Election Results: Trump Constrained, Democrats Take House

 Forgive Yourself Trump Tower

Bloomberg reports:

Donald Trump, who spent the past two years wielding the powers of the presidency unbound by party or political convention, is now constrained.

The Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives cripples his conservative agenda and opens the way for unfettered investigations into his scandal-plagued administration, his presidential campaign and his family’s business empire.

His personal tax returns may fall into the hands of his opponents. His re-election — always far from certain — may be even more dependent on the economy remaining at full steam.

(click here to continue reading Midterm Election Results: Trump Constrained, Democrats Take House – Bloomberg.)

Weird, like there are different branches of government or something…

Written by Seth Anderson

November 7th, 2018 at 10:24 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with