Feb 22 Ross commented on CHS: Developers Are Going to Tear Down the QFC on 15th!.
@5 You're not the kind of resident who will be adversely affected by the loss of run-down apartments-- you're rich. It's the people who cook your food and bus your table who are going to get screwed;

Bullshit. Here, let me explain it in a way that you might understand:

There is a group of individuals that control a particular resource. They then limit the production of that resource. What do think will happen to the cost of that resource?

Holy shit, if this were, say, smart phones, people would be screaming bloody murder. Suddenly all those old phones would be worth a fortune, because the government limits how many new ones you can build.

The only reason this is complicated is because it is land, but the situation is exactly the same. If 10,000 people want to live in Capitol Hill, but there are only 8,000 units, then of course the apartments are going to be very expensive. But if you build a few thousand more, they will be cheaper.

There is a reason why Tokyo is one of the few cities on the planet that has seen prices for housing level off (while other cities pass it) despite the same move to the city movement that exists just about everywhere. In Tokyo they let you build anything. Sure, it might be ugly, but at least it is cheap. Tear down that house and put up a four story building? Go ahead. Convert that big house to an apartment? Sure, pretty cheap to do that. Maybe add a little building out back? No problem. Most of that is illegal in this city, and the results are predictable -- higher prices.

I'm not saying we want to go "Full Tokyo", because things could get ugly. But the key is to balance the ugliness with the construction of tens of thousands of new units. In this case it is obvious we aren't losing much, which is why Dan is right in supporting this.

What, exactly, is the alternative? Do you really think the government is going to step in and build tens of thousands of new places -- and if so, where? If it isn't legal for private companies to build Apodments, or even townhouses in most of the city, then how the fuck is the city going to do it? Or do you think we should just continue to have a lottery system where huge numbers of people fight over a handful of places in town?

I'm not saying that easing regulations will make everything better for everyone, but without it, things are bound to get much worse. More and more people won't be able to afford market rate places, and government subsidies will buy less.
More...
Feb 20 Ross commented on The Morning News:Trump and Fox Falsely Claim Crime Rate in Sweden Is Rising Because of Immigrants| Zimbabwe's Dictator Actually Loves Our President.
@4 -- Good point. This does not look like a place where that sort of crossing makes sense. In contrast, look at this, on Lake City Way. Same type of crosswalk, with roughly the same number of lanes, but a world of difference on the ground. While those approaching the intersection might be going too fast (especially if heading south) it is obvious that this is a pedestrian area. There are traffic lights everywhere, and drivers know it. This sort of crossing actually makes sense.

In contrast, that Burien spot is full of cars going very fast. Of course it is. You have a freeway nearby, and a lot of the people are headed to the freeway (possibly include the idiot who drove into the victim). In contrast with the Lake City example, my guess is there aren't that many pedestrians there, either. A sidewalk like that is just asking for trouble. There should be a walk signal there (press a button and wait).
More...
Feb 20 Ross commented on Milo Yiannopoulos: Girls Are In Danger When Adult Trans Women Use Public Toilets But 13-Year-Old Boys Can Benefit From Giving Head To Adult Males.
Based on what little I've seen of this guy, he is nothing more than a provocateur, a troll, a comedian. Protesting such a mental lightweight is like protesting Andrew Dice Clay back in the day. Yeah, sure, what he is saying is horribly offensive and idiotic, but that's his shtick. The only (possible) difference is that Clay was clearly playing a character, and said as much. With Milo it isn't clear and it may not be clear to him. Not to stereotype homosexuals, but like all marginalized groups, they often are forced into playing multiple roles. Acting effeminate around friends is fine, but a no-no at the office (or at least it used to be). Milo is simply jumping into a character -- even if he believes it -- because for so long in his life he has been forced to.

Even if he actually believes this bullshit, I would start from there. Treat him as a comedian, and assume that what he is saying is completely ridiculous -- but funny. If there was a (political) mistake made by the folks last night, that was it. Maher is a comedian, Wilmore is a comedian, the show is basically a comedy, and those guys didn't even go there. I would have peppered Milo with exactly that question -- are you real? Are you just playing a character, like Clay, or Andy Kaufman? I mean you seem smart (even though you dropped out of college) so I can't imagine you believe the bullshit you are spewing. Why the hell should we hold a "mock debate" with a character that is so ridiculous, and whose arguments are simply meant to provoke anger, not thought?
More...
Feb 16 Ross commented on Bands I Pretended to Like for Boys. Part Eight: Rush.
three of the world’s best musicians in constant competition

Ha, well put. I really like these series. I was a huge Rush fan back in the day, and probably owe a fair amount of my hearing loss to the band. I never thought of them as "progressive rock" (never heard of the term back then) -- I just thought of them as heavy metal. I certainly didn't think that women didn't like heavy medal because they didn't "get it" -- more that it simply didn't appeal to them. Probably because smashing, abrasive, nasty in your face music simply has more appeal to a young, can't-get-laid, angst ridden teenage boy. Unlike AC/DC or Black Sabbath though, the music isn't easily dismissed. It isn't crap. It is just so ... fucking .. abrasive. Good lyrics, great musicianship, but unless you are trying to stay awake on a long drive, or pissed off at the world, I wouldn't bother with it.
Feb 15 Ross commented on Obamacare and Why Socialism Is Good For Business.
We have a mixed economy, and have had one for a very long time. The more socialist we've been, the more successful the economy has been. As far as the debt is concerned, we are nowhere near levels where it is a concern, and the answer to is obvious -- raise taxes. The big reason we have a big debt is because Reagan (and then Bush) thought we could lower taxes and it would magically spur enough growth to pay for everything (including a major military buildup). It didn't work that way (obviously) in both cases. But again, we are nowhere near the level in which you need to worry about the deficit, the big problem is that we've spent it all on things that have done little to improve the quality of life here. Rather than a war against poverty, we've had a war against crime (the prison industrial complex) and several countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. ).
Feb 14 Ross commented on Obamacare and Why Socialism Is Good For Business.
Agreed. Not to oversimplify a very interesting article, but I think lots of people get this. Socialized medicine is very good for all businesses, but especially small businesses. What is true of medicine is true of every other form of socialized service. It might behoove a small business to provide free daycare (and it might be more convenient) but if the government provides that, than suddenly it isn't a perk that only a big company can afford. Likewise with pensions. Social Security and the arrival of the Great American Middle Class happened at the same time, and I think that wasn't a coincidence.

From a political standpoint, I think if Democrats focused on small businesses, they could win a huge number of votes. Republicans talk a big game, but for the most part, deliver very little. If you talk to most small businesses, they rarely complain about "regulations" or federal taxes. They talk about the little nickle and dime crap that is the result of " the power of institutionalized giant firms". Take a small bar, for example. If they want to compete with the Buffalo Wild Wings of the world, they have to provide live television, which means paying a cable or satellite company a huge amount of money. If they want to take Visa they are forced to pay a very high fee. They don't have the bargaining power of a giant company, so they are pushed around by other giant companies. This is a huge issue that is simply ignored, and I'm sure plays out in just about every industry.
More...
Feb 14 Ross commented on The Morning News: Two Mercer Island Lawsuits—One's Suing SPD, the Other's...Trying to Block Light Rail!?.
The story about Perryman has me thinking. First of all, what is the response from the Rhino Room? While we are at it, why isn't The Stranger covering this in more detail? Holy shit, it is their fucking neighborhood.

I'm not saying what the police did was right, but it is obvious that the real criminals were the fucking security guards at the Rhino Room. Some (white) guy gets pissed because his black friend isn't let back into the bar, so he tries to take a picture of the security guard. The guard -- outside his property, from what I can tell -- then steals his phone and "brutally" punches him in the head 12 times. That is assault, and should land that fucker in jail. Security guards have no jurisdiction outside their property (as a former security guard, that is the first thing they teach you). They sure as fuck can't beat the shit out of people in the street. Or steal their phone.

By all means the cops fucked up. It is likely race played a part, but class did as well. Cops understand that security guards are similar to cops, and figure they are doing the same job, albeit in a smaller area (only a designated property). In situations like this, they are likely the only thoughtful, sober people (literally), so they tend to listen to them. In short, if the security guard was black, it probably would have turned out exactly the same.

Which doesn't make what the cops did is right, but it does beg the question -- why isn't the guard in jail? Does the other guy simply not want to press charges? What about Perryman -- shouldn't he be pressing charges against the security guard, and suing the bar? I realize there is more money to be made by suing the SPD (and bigger headlines) but holy shit, let's not forget what the real crime here was. Some asshole beat the shit out of one guy and knocked a different guy -- a good Samaritan -- to the ground and chipped his tooth.

I would like to know more -- if only there was a newspaper in the area that could cover this sort of thing. Hmmmm....
More...
Feb 13 Ross commented on The Morning News: Seattle Cannot Be a Sanctuary City Without Affordable Housing, Migrants Heading to Canada.
Oops, that was supposed to be @26, although the comment can be applied more generally -- the law is stifling supply, which is why (given the high demand) costs keep going up. Change the law and allow a lot more units to be built and they will be built, and rents won't go up as quickly (or will actually drop).
Feb 13 Ross commented on The Morning News: Seattle Cannot Be a Sanctuary City Without Affordable Housing, Migrants Heading to Canada.
@28 -- It doesn't have to be that way. People could build tens of thousands of new units without destroying an old one, if you allowed them to. These, by their very nature, are very cheap to build, since they don't require getting rid of old units and construction costs are relatively cheap. As a result, it makes sense to build them even if rents are low. We could see a lot of them. All it would take is a change of the law.

It is only a bizarre set of laws that result in getting rid of old apartments. Even the oldest, cheapest apartment out there is worth something (as anyone who rents can tell you). Why would you throw away that money, just to build a new set of apartments? Why not start by building on empty lots, or next to houses. For that matter, why tear down a small house and replace it with a huge house, when you would make way more money building townhouses, or a dozen apartments? The answer is because you aren't allowed to! The city puts restrictions on density in most of the city, and the result is only a handful of places where you can build. Thus people tear down small apartment buildings because it is the old available land.

The market is demanding more units, not the conversion of small units to luxury units. That is why Apodments are illegal. Otherwise, why outlaw them? If it really was the case that wealth -- not overall demand -- was the biggest problem, then developers wouldn't built out to maximum density. You would see new buildings with one unit per floor, or old apartment buildings being replaced by houses. None of that is happening -- despite laws that encourage it -- because what is driving the market more than anything is simply large spread demand.

I don't know why Charles won't call this what it is: an anti-competitive trust. A monopoly, if you will, of home owners. I own my own house, but I can't build apartments next to it, even if those apartments are smaller than my neighbor's house. The result is pretty much what you would expect from any monopoly: High prices, attempts made to skirt the law, frustration, a lottery system (for the poor) and people either putting up with it, or avoiding the market entirely.
More...
Feb 8 Ross commented on Life Lessons and Lego Batman.
Thanks for the review. I'll still watch it, but lower my expectations. I agree completely with your assessment of the Lego Movie, but I guess this one isn't as good. It is rare that sequels are as good as the original, and I guess this isn't the exception.