Prank – Bus Shelter Offered as Rental with “Easy Access for Transit”

Pretty funny! (h/t Mike Barrett)

Vehicle Miles Down September, 5 Year No Growth Pattern Continues

Calculated Risk has the details.  While gas prices and the economy are big players, changing demographics (older people driving less) and changing habits (younger people driving less and not just for economic reasons) are also part of the story.

Wisconsin Governor Walker Fundraising Expenses Show Post-Governor View

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spent $4.2 million this year on “fundraising” with SCM Associates, a New Hampshire GOP fundraising firm that does direct mail/email and telemarketing.  Given that Walker raised more than $25 million over the period – the $4.2 million is part of 20% or so spent “raising” the money.  That cost isn’t cheap.  While Walker has used SCM Associates before (they recreated his “brown bag” campaign when he ran for governor) , on the surface the ROI (return on investment) on this latest SCM effort wasn’t great as a money raiser – especially when we know of high profile donations in the hundreds of thousands (and totaling millions) that likely didn’t come from “mass mailings” or “direct response” robo calls – but from billionaires, visits to Texas, a single $500,000 donation and almost $370,000 from the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

As the Huffington Post points out “[o]f the total $5 million Walker received in contributions from [under $200] small-dollar donors, 70 percent – or $3.46 million – came from out-of-state donors”

Looked at this way, SCM  direct response “fundraising” efforts for Scott Walker likely didn’t net a lot of money.  Particularly the out-of-state efforts were more likely aimed at increasing Walker’s national profile for vice presidential consideration or other political or pundit posts.  Certainly the out-of-state efforts weren’t trying to get Walker more votes in the recall – and (relatively) they didn’t produce much money.  Focusing on Scott Walker mass fundraising as if he’s just got the recall in mind is missing a good piece of the action.

Wisconsin Last in Jobs – Walker Could Provide at Least One Job Opening

I know Governor Walker has the ability to create at least one job opening in Madison. Just sayin’

Here’s Laura Dresser of COWS on NBC Nightly News, talking about Wisconsin’s “off the rails” job losses.

Unexceptionalism – A Primer

h/t Atrios – E. L. Doctorow provides the Primer. Read it. Grieve. Work, in small ways and big and in whatever way you can, for something much, much better. We all deserve something much, much better – recognizing that democratic ideal was in part what made us exceptional.

What if Housing is Done for a Generation?

From twitter @mark_neely “What if Housing is Done for a Generation?” by Tyler Durden points to some pretty scary economics (I take exception to his federal deficit talk – it isn’t the issue – but in the main my sense is he’s on to something).  A key quote:

“Without going into too much detail, we can stipulate that the Baby Boom (65 million people) will be downsizing their housing, i.e. selling for the next two decades. We can also stipulate that most of the Baby Boom no longer has the wherewithal to buy second homes; rather, they will be dumping second homes to pay for living expenses as earnings, interest income and housing equity have all cratered since 2007.

Not only are there not enough younger workers to buy all these millions of homes that will be put on the market, few of those younger workers have either the creditworthiness or income to buy a house unless the Federal government gives them essentially free money and a no-down payment entry.

….

Labor’s share of the national income has plummeted to historic lows. How can households be expected to buy a house when their real (inflation-adjusted) income declines year after year?”

Further, as Durden points out, “Part-time jobs and temp jobs do not generate enough stable income to support a mortgage.”

Along those lines it’s worth taking a look at income and housing.  The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s “Out of Reach 2012” report (h/t @Oryx2046) shows how unaffordable rental housing is – showing for example that in no state can a minimum wage worker afford a fair market value two-bedroom unit at 40 hours a week (assuming the standard no more than 30% of income going to housing).  In Wisconsin, a relatively mid-level affordable state, it takes an average of 79 work hours a week to afford the rent – while in three of the most expensive states (NY, NJ and CA) it takes 130 hours or more.

But who is living on minimum wage in the U.S.? Actually, more people than you might think – the U.S. is a leader among nations in “low wage jobs” (less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage) all of which are close to minimum wage – within about $3 at the high end in constant dollars – and many of which are actually minimum wage.  About one in four American workers make “low wages” – wages that clearly cannot support a mortgage at current pricing.  Many of them include younger Americans – the type of people who in a prior economy had wage income that permitted buying homes.

Romneycare 6th Anniversary

ThinkProgress has it.  On the 6th anniversary you traditionally give a gift of something iron and in modern times it’s a wooden gift – make of it what you will (Teaparty types might combine the ‘old’ and ‘new’ for pitchforks to celebrate).

Romneycare was a bad second best – but far better than what it replaced.  Obama modeled his health care law after Romney’s in many respects – and it didn’t get him very far.

This country could and should do so much better.

Not Much to Lose and Still Got No Gain

Since Obama took office, how many times have you read something like this by moderate or liberal commentators:

“It’s not as if the conservatives aren’t already peddling rhetoric about [negative positioning on issue that faults Obama], anyway. There’s not much to lose.”

You read it with the understanding that Obama “doing the right thing” won’t cost him anything, and might improve things.  And yet, it seems, Obama and his administration seem to find a way pretty consistently to “lose” on the issue by

1. Selling out their base and/or allies (and sometimes even the Administration’s stated position on the issue) by “compromising” on or abandoning their position;

2. Getting blamed by the GOP and media for it anyway; and

3. Sometimes even getting beaten more.

It comes in different forms, but it keeps coming.

Here’s an example of recent relevance.  It seems quaint to think of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) ‘lost’ health insurance public option in view of the Supreme Court possibly eliminating the whole Act, but remember when Obama supporters thought the public option was the compromise position?

Misunderstanding and Misjudging

People thought that the Supreme Court majority in Bush v. Gore, which handed the 2004 election to George W. Bush against democratic norms, said that the case didn’t establish a precedent.  It was a misunderstanding.  What the Supreme Court majority actually said was that the case did establish their prescience.

We Were Promised Jetpacks

I really don’t know the band We Were Promised Jetpacks (just listened to a bit now) – but I’ve seen the name popping up a couple years now in emails for concerts and it’s an incredibly evocative name for me.  Just enough of a kid’s petulant condemnation mixed with dashed hopes and the hazy promise of a well visited (and better) dream world.

Kind of like “Change We Can Believe In” (transformed to “Spare Some Change?”) with a 50s feel to it.

[Editor Note: I should add my sympathy is with the kids - the "adults" lied to them (and continue to lie to them)]