Morning Ed: Europe {2016.05.12.Th}

I’d have gone with Chechland or Czechlands.

I once had a(n IT!) job that was so miserably boring that we would draw straws to see who got to sweep the floors, so while I don’t approve of this lawsuit I can sort of understand the trauma.

So this is the stuff of a pretty silly sitcom plot: Ten years ago, a taxi driver drove to a TV network for an IT job and ended up on the air as someone else entirely.

You’d think that the Russians would be a bit more excited about the prospect of Trump. A kindred spirit! (Or is that unfair to Putin?)

Dave Cameron wants Britain to achieve an ownership society, but what if no one can afford it?

Respect the elves.

Tom Rogan looks at the Tory political implications of the British class system.


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112 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Europe {2016.05.12.Th}

  1. Frankly, I prefer my right wing parties to be lead by elitest snobs and my left wing parties to be led by populist rabble rousers, and not the reverse like we have now in the USA.

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    • Elitism and snobbery is a wonderful thing, provided it is the correct sort of elitism.

      “The central question that emerges . . . is whether the Liberal Elite community in the Coastal Cities is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes-the Liberal Elite community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced culture. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of Liberal Elites over working class whites: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

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  2. France: Euroland is only a few years/decades ahead of us. Welcome these lawsuits in the US in say 15 years.

    Elves: Don’t F with them! Belief is a powerful weapon.

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    • I’m astonished he has the cash in hand to afford the down payment or the income to afford the mortgage. The Atlantic is now part of the philanthropic sector. I cannot imagine they’re paying their contributors an amount that would suffice to meet those mortgage payments.

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        • The only thing which makes sense to me is that he got a windfall of a book advance and he’s sinking it into real estate. Mortgage rates are supposedly quite low now in New York (3.5%), so if he had a 30 year 20% down mortgage he’d have to have north of $400,000 in hand and meet mortgage payments just south of $8000 a month. Attempting to do that is only prudent if you’ve a post-tax income of $370,000 a year or more. So, is The Atlantic paying their writers as if they were surgeons or upper management?

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          • In about 10 seconds, I found the following line from the MacArthur Fellowship website: “There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

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                  • Your style here is largely Punch a Liberal in the Mouth. Fair enough, but the world is often a little more nuanced. Had you spent the few seconds necessary to check the MacArthur Fellowship website, you could have seen that your particular doubt regarding TNC’s use of funds was incorrect.

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                • He’s biased toward the view that foundations who pass out cash expect you to use it to finance your research. He was wrong. Coates is a mascot for the sort of haut bourgeois twit who ends up on the board of the MacArthur Foundation, a gig which pays well for the favored few.

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                  • According to the FAQs, the Selection Committee serves confidentially. The bios of the Board members are posted here.

                    The articles of incorporation of the Foundation are here. AD raises a fair point that the Foundation appears to have drifted a long ways from the original purposes. Of course, litigating the issue would require the participation of the particularly worthless class of persons — attorneys. And, as is the case in California, the only person who has the standing to raise the issue is the State Attorney General. That’s Lisa Madigan and per her bio she looks like a liberal to me.

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          • The idea is that you advance your research program with the funds, or so I thought. Given that he’s a drop out from a common-and-garden institution, I’d be fascinated to know what they fancied his was.

            Does his wife really want to contend with tenants over the rent and evict people? Supposedly, making a living in rental real estate does not tax one’s ingenuity too much, but you have to be pretty brutal with deadbeat tenants. If they’re just looking for a place to live, 1,300 sq feet goes for about $800,000 in Hoboken. It’s close in, the crime rates there are reasonable, and there’s a great deal of handsome and antique housing stock, closely packed.

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            • I know what the funds are for. I read about it when I got the fellowship amount. That being said I still doubt hey were thinking that you’d use it for a down payment even with no strings attached. It’s not like TNC is living in the street right now.

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              • Awarding it to Coates in the first place is so perverse I would not put any wagers on what they were thinking.

                There’s nothing better for him to do with the money other than invest it in securities. It’s not as if he has a laboratory to run, or a staff of graduate students and post-docs, or a big dig somewhere, or travel and lodging bills from traveling to England to study Pipe Rolls.

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              • The foundational purpose of the MacArthur Foundation was nothing like what it morphed into. The whole sequence of events was such an act of piracy a surrogate’s court would be justified in dissolving the foundation and distributing its assets to John D. MacArthur’s collateral relatives.

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                • Talking to you is twisting at windmills. This is now the second time today where you have insisted that a verifiable fact is something other than such because it is inconsistent with your understanding of the historical origins of a group in question.

                  It matters not how the MacArthur foundation was begun. What matters in this case is the group’s current intent when doling out the funds. And their intent is stated plain and clear.

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                    • Talking to you is twisting at windmills.

                      I have a vision of Kazzy working on lesson plans in a little cottage in Holland and taking time out by doing Chubby Checker impressions in open fields.

                      Now it’s my turn to put the bong down.

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                  • This is now the second time today where you have insisted that a verifiable fact is something other than such because it is inconsistent with your understanding of the historical origins of a group in question.

                    ‘Verifiable fact’? Kazzy, saying ‘Jesuits have a particular committment to justice’ is a nonsense statement. It does not matter what sort of boilerplate the remains of the Society of Jesus put on their website. Religious orders are not sorted into those which have a ‘commitment to justice’ and those which have a ‘commitment to injustice’ as part of their charism.

                    It matters not how the MacArthur foundation was begun.

                    Well, it might matter to the deceased founder and the founding board, but they’re just losers, right? What the man said, “Three great things: dogs, doughnuts, and money. Especially…Other people’s money“.

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      • It’s my principle to be mildly amused when a man has has six and seven figure sums to drop on a home purchase given that he’s a man whose talent is turning in copy on time and whose shtick concerns how ill-treated by the larger society’s he’s been (or affiliates of him have been).

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            • The man had a surprise run-away best seller. It’s reasonable to assume not that he had a huge advance on his next book, or that all his MacArthur money went to downpayments, but simply that his best-seller many times more than earned out his advance.

              Which took me about 30 seconds to confirm the likelihood of online (NY best seller, continuing high sales rank on Amazon.) Finding exact numbers would take longer but it’s not exactly the kind of thing that requires the skills of an investigative reporter to suss out.

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                • That’s entirely beside the point, Damon. The point is that this whole thing started with asking where TNC got the money, followed by speculation on McArthur money and how much The Atlantic is paying him and assuming generosity on the part of social elites…

                  Instead of looking at that very successful book that he wrote.

                  This conversation has been kind of weird in that respect. When I saw comments on TNC’s apparent wealth, I thought of that book he wrote, assumed it did very well and maybe helped him get some speaking engagements and the like, and moved on.

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                  • :

                    The point is that this whole thing started with asking where TNC got the money, followed by speculation on McArthur money and how much The Atlantic is paying him and assuming generosity on the part of social elites…

                    Instead of looking at that very successful book that he wrote.

                    Or, for that matter, looking at the very article that and are claiming is so indicting to Coates to begin with, where it says exactly that’s where he got the money. Which makes me think that neither notion nor Art Deco ever bothered to actually read the thing they were pointing at that we should all read.

                    This whole thread is pretty much alt-right Intellectualism in a nutshell:

                    Take a proposition that a successful non-white is but a trained monkey(Coates can’t afford a house on what he makes, he must have been given it!), ignore any facts before you that don’t take up this narrative (in this case, that Coates has written two bestsellers and actually noted that the royalties from the second was what he used to buy the house is question). turn it into a argument that isn’t based on the facts so much as schools of thought (in this case, making it into a condemnation about MA grant’s today, because that’s an argument of opinion so facts don’t matter) and hammer away with what is left in the kind arch tone that one equates to academia (“It’s my principle to be mildly amused”), and consider the argument won.

                    Textbook, really.

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                    • You miss the point. The primary reason of me bringing the topic up in the first place was the juxtaposition of him being able to buy a $2.1 mil house given his oppressed negro shtick. Like Jesse Jackson and others, he has been able to live well off the liberal race victim industrial complex.

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                    • This whole thread is pretty much alt-right Intellectualism in a nutshell:

                      I spent more hours than I ever should have contending with Steve Sailer’s acolytes (one of whom could not reply to me without including the phrase ‘you idiot”) and managed willy nilly to get myself banned from The American Conservative. I’m fascinated to know which of you have got the wrong idea.

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                    • Take a proposition that a successful non-white is but a trained monkey(Coates can’t afford a house on what he makes, he must have been given it!),

                      When your reading comprehension issues clear up, you might try digesting this set of sentences. They’re fairly commonplace:

                      “The only thing which makes sense to me is that he got a windfall of a book advance and he’s sinking it into real estate. Mortgage rates are supposedly quite low now in New York (3.5%), so if he had a 30 year 20% down mortgage he’d have to have north of $400,000 in hand and meet mortgage payments just south of $8000 a month. Attempting to do that is only prudent if you’ve a post-tax income of $370,000 a year or more. So, is The Atlantic paying their writers as if they were surgeons or upper management?”

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                          • Here… I’ll quote you… quoting yourself!

                            ““The only thing which makes sense to me is that he got a windfall of a book advance and he’s sinking it into real estate. Mortgage rates are supposedly quite low now in New York (3.5%), so if he had a 30 year 20% down mortgage he’d have to have north of $400,000 in hand and meet mortgage payments just south of $8000 a month. Attempting to do that is only prudent if you’ve a post-tax income of $370,000 a year or more. So, is The Atlantic paying their writers as if they were surgeons or upper management?””

                            You said the only thing that made sense was a windfall of a book advance. So, I’ll repeat, him making money on the SALES of his book (which are different than the advance) makes no sense to you?

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                    • It does not seem to occur to you, Tod, just what anyone’s complaint about the set of transactions between Coates and his employers might be (or Coates and his readers). It has nothing whatsoever to do with him being a ‘trained monkey’. It does have to do with issues which have been around for a while and seen in other contexts (see V.S. Naipaul’s Guerrillas). It has to do with Coates and people of the sort who run the MacArthur Foundation being in a role playing game. The MacArthur award was transparent humbug. As for why people bought the book, I do not know. I assume a certain amount of it is latter day gosizdat: it got picked up by a great many libraries and was purchased for college victimology classes, but I could not say.

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                        • Are you going to ask me what I like about my mother?

                          I was born here. My family is here. It’s a comfortable place to live, all things considered. I’ve never had an ambition to live anywhere else nor any particular affinity for any place else except Canada (I grew up across the pond), the rest of the Anglosphere in small measure, France in very small measure, and Israel. America is my mob.

                          I don’t like foreigners slamming my country or my countrymen, because it’s usually a stew of fiction and ignorance and suffused with malice or conceit; the perspicacity of a fresh pair of eyes is agreeable, but you don’t encounter it often (the late Henry Fairlie was an exception). But, what Chesterton said is true: a whole lot of ruin in a nation.

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                • True, but I think that trying to argue that TNC isn’t a talented writer is a non-starter. You might disagree pretty strongly with him (and Between the World and Me left me cold, so I might at least partially agree with you), but it’s not like he just lucked into his current prominence.

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              • I knew he made the Times best seller list. We were discussing his MacArthur award, the sum of which is public information.

                If some acquisitions editor wants to give him a six-figure advance for his next set of musings, fine. I doubt he has more than one book in him, but that’s not my trade.

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        • given that he’s a man whose talent is turning in copy on time

          Yeah, in the same way Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and Stephen King’s talent is “turning copy in on time.” And Mick Jagger’s talent is “showing up to a recording studio.” And Tom Cruise’s talent is “being able to find the lot where they shoot movies.” And Sam Walton’s was “knowing that the shirts you’re selling go on hangers.”

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          • Messrs. Clancy, Grisham, and King are commercial writers. They get their money from book sales. It’s doubtful they’ve ever gotten a dime from any putatively philanthropic venture or any mash notes from the National Book Critics Circle.

            ” These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all. ”

            I suspect the trustees really don’t know what to do with the money, so they amuse themselves. As for Coates, he’s a friggin opinion journalist, not someone whoever studied anything esoteric and not someone who ever built something of much interest or importance. He’s an opinion journalist with one subject: American blackness. Somehow I think his production of verbiage will be pretty insensitive to the largesse.

            There was a whole mess of humbug incorporated into this award. You can find that amusing or maddening or embarrassing. Unless you’re on the Foundation payroll, defending it is really not the best use of your efforts.

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          • I saw someone call this the “Robert Urich” principle.

            Urich was no one’s idea of a charismatic leading man, and was Hollywood Average Looking (which might be an even greater sin). But if you gave him a part, you’d know that he’d show up, and be on time and not drunk, know his lines, hit his marks, not flip a hissy fit about retakes, and not grope the ingenue (or the director).

            So he never lacked for work when legions of “better” actors starved.

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    • They are capable of accomplish nothing of note, but this they can do: pass a bill to cleanse the entire U.S. Code of an unremarkable descriptive term. This got to the floor courtesy A.M. McConnell. One of the more unfortunate set of electoral losses in recent years would be the failure of both that Republican businessman and that hack Democratic lawyer to take out this waste of space.

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    • This might seem like a foolish waste of time to you but getting rid of the shambles of the past is an important part of legislation and administration that is necessary but often thankless. Oriental might be a nice sounding word but It carried with it connotations of otherness and foreignness. If we want Asian-Americans to be considered part of the body politic than the terminology used to describe them should be one of inclusion or at least relatively value neutral description rather than something that states you are separate no matter what you do.

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      • If we want Asian-Americans to be considered part of the body politic than the terminology used to describe them should be one of inclusion or at least relatively value neutral description rather than something that states you are separate no matter what you do.

        Then why even use the term “Asian-Americans” versus just Americans? Could it be that liberals like some terms that state you are separate no matter what you do better than other terms?

        I guess this also means we can’t use terms like the “Orient?” After all if you are from the Orient then you are Oriental, right?.

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      • Oriental might be a nice sounding word but It carried with it connotations of otherness and foreignness. If we want Asian-Americans to be considered part of the body politic than the terminology used to describe them should be one of inclusion or at least relatively value neutral description rather than something that states you are separate no matter what you do.

        Of course, this is utter nonsense. It was never an issue until people like you elected to make it an issue in a rancid exercise in self-aggrandizement.

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        • This ties in nicely with the “bad faith assumption” we were talking about in another thread. There is a type of rightist thought that believes that all movements for minority rights or labor rights are really organized by middle class professionals and that but for people like me these things would never happen. They can’t imagine working class people or minorities working on their own to achieve justice.

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          • There is a type of rightist thought that believes that all movements for minority rights or labor rights are really organized by middle class professionals and that but for people like me these things would never happen.

            You mean people like community organizer Obama?

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          • Lee, I don’t think you’re going to find many wage-earners who engage in the sort of status games manifested in substituting ‘Asian’ for ‘Oriental’ (and I’ve been chased around comment threads by people who make great displays of high dudgeon about the use of the latter). The only people I’ve ever met in the flesh who do that sort of thing work in the education sector.

            The union rep where I used to work was a building custodian during the day. She seemed to have adequate organizational skills. The white collar union members had one rep on an advisory council and that was it. She was interested in job site issues and municipal politics and family life. The one principle she articulated in my presence was club loyalty, which is not a bad one but can turn rancid like anything good.

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            • My experience is that a lot of Asian-Americans do actually care about this stuff. My sample set disproportionately includes the well-educated of them, but not people that are generally preoccupied with political correctness terminology. Some were Republicans at the time it came up.

              Which is kind of unfortunate, because Oriental conveys a more specific meaning than Asian-American does, but I prefer not refer to people as they prefer not to be referred by, when it’s easily avoided.

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                • I meant specific in terms of understood meaning, not in origins or strict meaning. When “oriental” was in use, it may not have mapped to the real definition of the reason (which is my understand of caucasian, though my understanding could be wrong) but it was more understood to mean East Asian as opposed to South Asian or other-Asian. When referring to someone as Asian-American, you’re more likely to need to specify for someone to understand the meaning.

                  We sort of compensate by, if we’re talking about South Asian (for example) saying “Indian-American” even if we’re talking about a Pakistani-American. All of which sidesteps or leaves ambiguous the question of whether or not they are, in fact, American.

                  Right now I mostly say “South Asian Descent” or “East Asian Descent” which is clunky, and not itself entirely accurate, but works. And like Amerindian, which I use if I’m trying to sidestep the whole “Indian vs Native American” question they’re not popularly used terms.

                  It’s not a big thing, and certainly not worth offending people over or giving cause for upset. I defer to their judgment on the appropriateness of the term. We just haven’t quite replaced it yet.

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                  • I appreciate the clarification.

                    FWIW, where I grew up, “Oriental” was used to mean everything from Persian to East Asian and points in between (eg the Lebanese-Canadian people who had grown up on the Island were sometimes referred to as “Orientals”).

                    All the people I knew who used the term were old (at least 50, in the 1980s, some much older), and non-cosmopolitan (pretty easy to be when you live on a small island surrounded by other small provinces), and most of them lived in the more rural parts of the province – but that’s how they used it. In the narrow, “East Asian” sense of the term, I’d only ever heard it used (in Eastern Canada, including Montreal in both French and English), as something approaching a slur, before I came here. Not sure I’ve honestly heard it used in offline conversation since I came here (that was at the turn of the century) so I didn’t have a preformed notion of how people use it here to relate your comment to. (I don’t hang out with enough old rural people these days… sigh… so I couldn’t compare like groups.)

                    So maybe it’s one of those weird cultural gaps between Eastern Canada and the US. There are a lot of linguistic gaps and this could surely be one of them. (The only part of the US that has rarely thrown me off linguistically is northern Appalachia. Which I suppose makes sense given that the Appalachians extend into New Brunswick…)

                    The folks I know of the descents we are discussing tend to prefer either a non-English term (eg desi or nisei), the name of their ethnic group w/ the American implied (eg Hmong), or country-American (eg Chinese-American), with Asian American applying if they’re talking about common experiences or hurdles.

                    Much like pronoun usage (and just as you’ve said), I see it as far less work for me to use the terms other people use for themselves than for them to put up with terms they don’t like being used about themselves.

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  3. So the UK wants an ownership society, but prices are being driven up by foreign real estate investment (among other things). Sounds strangely familiar…

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    • The United States has one big advantage over the United Kingdom, we don’t have a primary city. New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, DC, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, and many other cities form centers of population but none of them really dominates American life the way London does the UK. In the United Kingdom, London really is the capital and if you want to be anyone important than you need to be near it. London is New York, DC, and Los Angeles rolled into one.

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        • New York isn’t even strictly speaking a primary city even though it is very important. A primary city had to dominate the nation in every way, culturally, economically, and politically and must be the center of population.

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          • The term ‘national metropolis’ as conventionally used by urban geographers (e.g. Truman Hartshorn) did once apply to New York. They use the term ‘primate city’ to describe abnormal (and implicitly pathological) degrees of centrality, something you do not see in developed countries of any size. (IIRC, the conventional definition of primacy had the majority of the urban population in one settlement). Not up on the literature at all anymore, but I suspect greater Los Angeles is now so large (about 80% the size of greater New York) that the U.S. has a bipolar set at the top of the urban hierarchy.

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          • New York comes reasonably close. Still the biggest and most populous city, still the most powerful cultural locus, still the center of our economy. The national government isn’t seated there (although it was earlier in our history!) but politicians from there exercise powerful influence. Both major parties’ presidential candidates are declared New Yorkers; one has been in New York a bit longer than the other (who, admittedly, keeps her principal residence in the outer ‘burbs).

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            • I’m going to get up on my “two Americas” soapbox here. Split the country down the center of the Great Plains. The NE urban corridor is the “urban core” for the country east of that line; California is the core for the country west of that line. Yes, the federal government in DC and the finance industry in NYC exert influence on the western states — and every single bit of it is resented, at least among the political class. West of the GP, there’s a whole set of critical local things — fire, water, direct democracy, the electric grid, “those d*ckheads at BLM”, and on, where the West is all closer to California in spirit than they are to the NE urban corridor (or Chicago, or Atlanta, or Dallas, or Houston).

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            • one has been in New York a bit longer than the other (who, admittedly, keeps her principal residence in the outer ‘burbs).

              One’s a native who’s spent all but perhaps a half-dozen of his 70 years there and the other hardly set foot in the place before she was in her early 50s and has never lived there more than about 30% time.

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        • It’s worked nicely in Canada. I can’t even imagine how much more people would hate Toronto if it was also the centre of government. (Also, I wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment in Toronto. If you locate your capital somewhere expensive, you’re eventually going to have to pay your civil servants more so that they can live there.)

          But Lee’s right that it wouldn’t work in older countries where one city has been dominant for a long time, is far larger than all the others, and has a massive amount of history associated with it. You can’t move the capital of France out of Paris into some podunk little town.

          And sometimes locating the capital away from major cities does seem to go to the point of ridiculous. I was thrown for a loop the first time I realized that the capital of New York wasn’t New York.

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          • It’s not ridiculous, Katherine. Albany is an old town and the capital was there before New York City was so hypertrophied. When the current state constitution was adopted, New York City’s population was 11x that of Albany and amounted to 17% of the state’s population. The dense settlement in and around NYC is now nearly 40x that around Albany and about equals the state’s population. The share which is within the state’s administrative boundary amounts to about 65% of the state’s population.

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          • You can’t move the capital of France out of Paris into some podunk little town.

            You could move it to Lyon. The Lyonnais likely do not want it, though, and it would be hugely expensive. France would benefit from decentralizing function, but that means fewer civil servants in the capital, not shuttling the central government’s headquarters employees around.

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          • I think the Albany model is pretty great! And that New York is not a particularly good site, just because there is so much else going on there. I think the UN should be somewhere else, too. (Though not Albany.)

            The three that sort of go overboard, to me, are Frankfort, Pierre, and Juneau. Those capitals could probably be somewhere else. But it’s not a big thing, except maybe Juneau.

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  4. Desnard was paid 3,500 euros per month ($4,000), for doing — he said — nothing…He said that eventually there was so little for him to do that his bosses simply told him to go home and come back when they call him. The phone call never came, he claimed.

    …I’m having real trouble seeing the downside to being paid $48k a year without having to go to work. If you like it, go out and have fun. If you don’t like it, then use your extensive free time to find a different job. Either way, hey, free money.

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    • My impression from the article was that he was actually engaged in doing things, just things that he considered demeaning and totally related to the job he thought he had been hired to do or that he considered important for his employer’s business. Fetching the boss’ dry cleaning, cleaning up baby vomit, things like that.

      Then there’s the argument, “Hey, you agreed to work for me for this wage, and I’m paying you this wage, so I get to tell you what to do while you’re on the clock. As long as I pay you what we agreed you’d accept, you’ll scrub toilets if I tell you to scrub toilets. Never mind that I hired you to be an accountant, go get the scrubby brush.”

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