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Saturday, June 21, 2014

That is not Politic?

On this week's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Sarah Jessica Parker uses the phrase "that's not politic." I guess I don't get out enough in wealthy leftoid circles to know that "politically correct" has been reduced to one word, and that is the context that she used it.

It was on the tail of her gem that there used to be signs in NYC that said "No Irish, No Entertainers, No Jews, No ..." Which is another new one on me. Her rendition of the "No Irish, No Negroes, Need Apply/Served Here/etc." now includes "entertainers."

While looking for a reference to, well anything that could be called research, related to this "No" sign, I found this interesting paper by Richard J. Jensen from 12/12/2004:
"No Irish Need Apply":
A Myth of Victimization
Abstract
(the whole article at the link)

Irish Catholics in America have a vibrant memory of humiliating job discrimination, which featured omnipresent signs proclaiming "Help Wanted--No Irish Need Apply!" No one has ever seen one of these NINA signs because they were extremely rare or nonexistent. The market for female household workers occasionally specified religion or nationality. Newspaper ads for women sometimes did include NINA, but Irish women nevertheless dominated the market for domestics because they provided a reliable supply of an essential service. Newspaper ads for men with NINA were exceedingly rare. The slogan was commonplace in upper class London by 1820; in 1862 in London there was a song, "No Irish Need Apply," purportedly by a maid looking for work. The song reached America and was modified to depict a man recently arrived in America who sees a NINA ad and confronts and beats up the culprit. The song was an immediate hit, and is the source of the myth. Evidence from the job market shows no significant discrimination against the Irish--on the contrary, employers eagerly sought them out. Some Americans feared the Irish because of their religion, their use of violence, and their threat to democratic elections. By the Civil War these fears had subsided and there were no efforts to exclude Irish immigrants. The Irish worked in gangs in job sites they could control by force. The NINA slogan told them they had to stick together against the Protestant Enemy, in terms of jobs and politics. The NINA myth justified physical assaults, and persisted because it aided ethnic solidarity. After 1940 the solidarity faded away, yet NINA remained as a powerful memory.
And now, an actress wishes to add entertainers to the myth.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Barney Miller "The Radical" S5E11 Full Episode


Includes a scene missing from the TV Land version
Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Shades of the Massachusetts' State Fire Marshall

Back in the early part of the last century, Massachusetts' State Fire Marshall forced rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard to move his test facility to a military base, because he did not like Goddard's experiments conducted on private property.

Now we have the Brownsville, TX SpaceX Spaceport getting a much heavier hand of bureaucratic nonsense: (via Slashdot)
"It turns out that the recent FAA environmental impact statement that seemed to give a stamp of approval for the proposed SpaceX space port in south Texas is not the end of the regulatory process, but the end of the beginning. A story in the Brownsville Herald reminds us that the report has kicked off a 30 day review period after which the FAA can allow SpaceX to apply for a launch license to start work on the Brownsville area launch facility. And that in turn kicks off a 180 day process during which the FAA makes the decision whether or not to grant the required licensing and permits. 
But even that is not the end of the regulatory hurdles that SpaceX must face before the first Falcon rocket roars into the skies over the Gulf of Mexico. The Longview News-Journal reports that a number of state and federal agencies must give their approval for various aspects of the space port before it becomes operational. For instance, the Texas Department of Transportation must give approval for the movement of utility lines. Environment Texas still opposes the space port since it is close to a wild life reserve and a state park. SpaceX has already agreed to enact measures to minimize the impact the space port would have on the environment, 'such as containing waste materials from the construction and enforcing a speed limit in the control center area.' Environment Texas is not impressed, however. Whether it is disposed to make trouble in the courts is an open question."
And a hat tip to Glenn Reynolds:
JUNE 8, 2014

SPACE: Senate’s NASA budget bill may hamper commercial spacecraft makers. Which is not an accident.
So to revisit, here’s our current space strategy: Step one: Rely on Russian rockets. Step two: Put in place sanctions that get Russian rockets cut off, forcing reliance on American commercial launchers. Step three: Put the squeeze on American commercial launchers.
Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Food Deserts: Market Square Suffers as Western Heights Recovers

Video link
Examining the changes between the 2011 and 2013 Knoxville, TN Food Desert maps. The neighborhoods with public housing projects and no supermarkets have "recovered" faster than the yuppieville downtown and market square areas.

In the video, the viewer is taken on a driving tour of Beaumont, Western Heights, Mechanicsville, and other areas that were on the 2011 food desert map, but disappeared when the Knoxville Knox-County Food Policy Council published the 2013 map in September of that year.

However, downtown areas like Market Square, the Old City, and Gay Street are shown on the 2013 map as food deserts.  Note: Both the 2011 and 2013 maps are presented as "the 20 food deserts."  Apparently neither of the researchers used the map function to show more levels of "food deserts."  When one does that, almost all of the city and county are painted as food deserts of some level.

If food deserts actually exist, why can't both the USDA and the local bureaucrats make an accurate map of them? They get paid serious money to put out garbage like this!  The White House and Congress are throwing serious money at this "problem" too, but how do they decide to throw it if expensive condo nesters are displayed as being in more distress than people in housing projects?

Oddly, the green marked food deserts are exactly where Kroger or Aldi would love to locate. The areas that were wiped away from the map might not be as attractive to them, even with $400 million in incentives.  Maybe that is not odd at all.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Knoxville MPC Brings Walmart and Publix to Sorority Village Food Desert!

Thanks to the good concerned citizens at KnoxFood.Org, the people of Knoxville have been alerted to the food desert problem in Knoxville.  Not only is KnoxFood.Org incredibly modest about their past successes, like eliminating the food deserts near Lonsdale and other locations, but they are modest about their current success of bringing Walmart and Publix stores to the University Commons Sorority Village food desert.

Here, see for yourself:
KnoxFood.Org map of Knox County's 20 Food Deserts
See the informative video:

 This is what the developer says it will look like later this year (use this link if embedded version below is not visible). Do they deserve a medal for bringing food to a food desert where nobody used to live before the sorority houses were built?  Actually, this tract encompases the long standing fraternity houses too, as well as university dorms, and apartments rented mostly by students.
video
You might not know who KnoxFood.Org (Knoxville Food Policy Council) is, since their web site has the flavor of an independent community action group.  In reality, they are the local Metropolitan Planning Commission with members appointed by both the county mayor and the city mayor.  They are so modest, they do not even appear on the MPC About page!  All of the WhoIs contacts for their website have KnoxMPC.Org email addresses.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Did Greenways Perform a Minor Food Desert Victory in Knoxville?

Did the Knoxville Greenways Project perform a miracle in Lonsdale?

Intro: The First Lady educates us on the need for government to support big business, for the children.  Her plan is to give $400 million per year to supermarket chains, to open more supermarkets.

Now this is hard to find, the definition of a supermarket as used by the federal government.  The term is used all the time without informing the reader just how big a supermarket must be to be a supermarket:
Stores met the definition of a supermarket or large grocery store if  they reported at least $2 million in annual sales and contained all the major food departments  found in a traditional supermarket, including fresh produce, fresh meat and poultry, dairy, dry and packaged foods, and frozen foods.
Back in 2011, Metro Pulse wrote about Knoxville's food deserts.  They included this map, which is not linked back to the source, but they are honest folk so we can trust them:
Not a Drop to Eat: Twenty census tracts in the heart of Knoxville are considered food deserts by the federal government, meaning that the majority of the residents have limited income and limited access to grocery stores.
That map contains all 20 of the neighborhoods one would expect, plus a number of surprises.  The ones you would expect are Lonsdale, Beaumont, Mechanicsville, and other spots that have lower income households, government housing projects, and very few grocers.

Just over two years later, the Knoxville Food Policy Council published this map of 20 Knoxville Food Deserts.  Odd thing, they title it  Do You Live in One of Knox County’s 20 Food Deserts? but almost all of the food deserts are inside the city limits.  All of the city is inside of the county, but one would think the city should be mentioned too.
:

Part of the not-shaded-anymore area is Lonsdale (south portion), Beaumont, and Mechanicsville.  Of course, I was skeptical too so I checked the source, the USDA, and sure enough the maps match.  Knoxville still has 20 food deserts, but some of them moved out of areas served by supermarkets like Kings in Lonsdale:

Kings Market

1300 W Baxter Ave
Knoxville, TN 37921
I checked google maps for supermarkets in the area and Kings Market came up, along with a few others at the fringes of the area.  If there are others the people who do the licensing around here will know long before Google Maps reflects it and this could explain how Lonsdale and other long suffering communities are off the list.

However, other food deserts sprang up, like the one farthest west I examined in detail.  Here, let's count them together!

 Still 20 food deserts, just like in 2011.

Back to the miracle in Lonsdale, did Mayor Rogero's greenway projects solve the problem?  We won't know until the city government takes its collective victory lap.

If you are unfamiliar with who KnoxFood.Org (the Knoxville Food Policy Council) is, even after exploring their website, it is understandable.  They are the Knoxville-Knox County Metro Planning Commission.  They have all of the local information at hand to verify if the USDA food desert atlas is correct.  They get paid a lot of money, especially for this area, to put out information like this.  They appear to be the most modest government agency out there too, since "MPC" does not appear anyplace on their website.  They get a few comments on how awesome their website is, but you have to hunt around for where to comment too.  I still have not found where to leave a comment that will be posted, but "Steve S." and "Tim" did:
I wonder where they work?

The MPC is also the people in charge of zoning, and know at their fingertips if a licensed business is operating anywhere within the borders of Knox County and Knoxville City.  If a new crop of supermarkets has bloomed, they know it first.  If a supermarket tries to open in a food desert neighborhood, they know that first too.

So, now the food deserts have shifted from the poor neighborhoods to places where any grocer would love to operate.  I wonder what resources the MPC is going to throw at them for that?

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ