Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Grenfell Tower fire: Jeremy Corbyn demands emergency funding for sprinklers in all UK tower blocks | The Independent
"Will the Government make available emergency funds for councils, to both check cladding and to install sprinklers?"
I'd certainly be in favor of that.
⇧ Pit Bull Breaks Out Of Yard, Mauls Two Young Children Buckled In Minivan In Pennsylvania
My last post included a link to an insurance article concerning why many insurance companies will not cover owners for liability concerning those owners' statistically more-dangerous dog breeds. The linked article shows a clear case in point.
I did mention last time that children (and the aged) are usually most at risk too.
I don't understand the mentality of defending owning such dogs that even remotely suggests they are not inherently more dangerous and unpredictable. As we know, most of them were bred to be relentless fighters.
Just holding owners to account after the fact, after injuries and deaths, doesn't seem to be enough.
Where's the governmental, democratic risk-management?
Is there some civil or human right to own such dogs? I'm completely unaware of any reasonable arguments for such. Doesn't the safety of little children come first?
I find the foot-dragging on this issue to be one of the worst examples of such foot-dragging.
⇧ House unveils latest bill to privatize air-traffic control
... non-profit corporation governed by industry stakeholders ....
The non-profit part doesn't sound so bad, but salaries and favors, etc., can always become in issue. "... governed by industry stakeholders," on the other hand, raises huge issues.
Perhaps if there were a trial somewhere with a provision for meeting certain sustainable savings and enhancement targets over and above the current system or be undone, it might be better. Rolling it out gradually with the same requirement everywhere else might also help.
Somehow, I doubt the privatizers would be willing though.
⇧ Low Interest Rates and Bank Profits Liberty Street Economics
This is exactly why I've been saying (since before Paul Krugman ever mentioned it) that the Fed wants to raise rates so the banks will make more profits.
⇧ Latest study: Seattle's wage law lifted restaurant pay without shrinking jobs | The Seattle Times
If you were reading the news in the lead-up to the wage increased, you may recall the libertarian-capitalist nightmare scenarios that were offered up. Well, on balance, most of what they foretold hasn't happened.
Frankly, I believe a high minimum wage simply forces those at the top to share more of the profits. That's why many of them fight it as hard as they do.
⇧ Grenfell Tower fire: Flats in £2bn luxury Kensington block to be given to families | London Evening Standard
... the flats were part of its affordable housing allocation, construction of which was being "fast-tracked" to help house the residents.
⇧ Study Reveals Earth's Killer Heat Waves Are Getting Worse
⇧ Texas Study Links Pollution, Earthquakes to Oil and Gas Drilling
... drilling for oil and gas in shale rock pollutes the air, erodes soil and contaminates water, while the disposal of millions of gallons of wastewater causes earthquakes ....
⇧ Why So Many Top Hackers Hail from Russia — Krebs on Security
I'm not putting this here as a political statement of any kind either for or against Russia concerning what are ongoing investigations in the US concerning the Russians. I'm simply trying to encourage the US to provide vastly better public-educational training in computing starting at the earliest reasonable age but without sacrificing a well-rounded education for all.
⇧ Biggest Banks Clear Their First Hurdle in Fed's Stress Tests - Bloomberg
We have a crash. Regulations are then increased (closing the door after the horse has bolted). Then, through constant hammering, the needed regulations are dialed back and back and back until the resulting laxness results in another crash.
⇧ Dean Baker: Interest Rate Hike Will Hurt Jobs Growth - YouTube
Dean Baker echoes my sentiments stated on this blog over years.
It's important to landlords and managers because lower-income people pay rent at a much higher percentage than do high-income people. Slowing the economy and keeping people from getting jobs at higher wages increases evictions and other often costly turnovers and many other things landlords would rather avoid happening: tenants drinking more, turning to drugs and crime, becoming depressed and even violent, damaging the premises, causing other tenants stress, etc.
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
⇧ Combustible Cladding Found on 600 Blocks Across England
Fixing this situation should be done by printing money at no interest. Forget using tax money. Forget the government borrowing. Show the world how it can be done.
⇧ Governor Declares State of Emergency for Nebraska Storm-Damaged Areas
⇧ NYC Fire Officials Say Three Workers Injured at Construction Site
So, it was the roof and not a floor. We still don't know how much weight was placed up there and whether that exceeded what the roof was rated to carry. How the materials were distributed matters too.
⇧ Grenfell and the tragedy of deregulation | New Economics Foundation
... deep and systemic injustice, layered many storeys high. Of poor people stacked in unsafe homes, their demands unheeded, living a stone's throw from mansions of insulting opulence. Of costs cut, cut and cut again. Of profit put ahead of people and of rules snipped away at, in the name of making money.
It doesn't have to be that way. We can all make plenty of money without sacrificing health or safety. In fact, we can all make more money by increasing requirements for health and safety.
⇧ How pay and benefits change as job level rises: data from the National Compensation Survey : Beyond the Numbers: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Where do your tenants fall in these stats?
⇧ Support for single-payer health insurance grows in U.S. | Pew Research Center
We could get beyond this if the public were educated on where money comes from and what really causes price inflation. Most people do not understand either and falsely believe that we cannot afford single-payer via taxes, as taxes would have to be too high and unfair to high earners having to shoulder too much of the burden.
It may seem strange for someone in insurance wanting single-payer, but putting the whole economy and the welfare of each and all first is more important than the private health-insurance sector. Certainly, I would not advocate for a second simply abandoning those workers now in that sector.
⇧ Anti-fraud investigations to be enhanced with realignment of 2 state agencies
Insurance fraudsters are costing society money, lots of it.
⇧ Citizens blames fraud for recommended rate hikes | WPEC
Make sure you don't help fraudulent contractors drive up insurance premiums.
⇧ Canary In The Coal Mine: Unfunded Liabilities Have Turned Illinois Into A "Banana Republic" On The Brink Of Bankruptcy
Look, libertarian-capitalists wringing their hands over Illinois's pension mess (underfunding) isn't going to solve a thing. Slashing pensions and doing nothing else isn't going to help either. Austerity is death. The Kansas/Brownback approach is death. So, what's the answer? Money-financing fiscal spending is the answer, but the bankers don't seem to want it discussed. Creating the right amount of money (which means matching main street productivity) without borrowing a dime of it is the solution. However, who'd need the bankers then? Nobody. Thats the whole point.
⇧ Arizona's heat is getting worse — and it's killing people
Planes don't fly. Cars break down. Refrigeration units crash. Power use radically spikes. People and animals suffer and die, especially amongst the poor.
"Drill baby, drill," is a very bad idea right now. If we don't reverse global warming caused by burning carbon, if we just keep putting the profits of the few far above the welfare of the many, hundreds of millions will prematurely die.
Yes, there may be technological breakthroughs that will help. I certainly hope so. Yes, we even have things we could do right now to sequester CO2. However, we shouldn't gamble on tech and we aren't moving nearly quickly enough to sequester.
⇧ Estimates of Sea Level Rise by 2100 Have Tripled in the Past Few Years - YouTube
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
⇧ Arconic knowingly supplied flammable panels for use in tower: emails | Reuters
The UK uses a 'principles-based' approach to regulation which puts an onus on companies to operate safely, based on common understanding of risks and the technology available.
This differs to the highly specific 'rules-based' approach to regulation taken in the United States.
Supporters of the principles-based approach say it avoids the emergence of loopholes and means companies have to take account of new information on risks immediately, rather than wait for a new regulation to be drafted.
The fatal fire was started by a faulty Hotpoint fridge-freezer in one of the apartments, London police said on Friday. Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said insulation on the building, and the cladding panels, had failed safety tests carried out after the disaster.
The police investigation was considering the possibility of manslaughter and criminal offences in respect of the fire.
I definitely favor the hard rules of the US over leaving it up to the builders and holding them to account later (after people are burned alive) for their chosen laxness, for putting money over lives, profits over humanity.
⇧ Contagion from the 2 Friday-Night Bank Collapses in Italy? | Wolf Street
There are dozens of small or mid-size institutions in similar shape as Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, while the problem of what to do with MPS is still not resolved. Taxpayers are already on the hook for a banking crisis that was caused by years of reckless and, in some cases, criminal mismanagement. Now the ECB's decision to wind down two banks in an orderly manner may end up triggering the disorderly failure of others. And if that picks up momentum, all bets would be off.
⇧ Bankers Are Hiring Cyber-Security Experts to Help Get Deals Done - Bloomberg
What's your business worth? How good is it at cyber security? If your business has top-flight cyber insurance, it probably had to jump through some hoops and will continue having to do that, which might mean it's more valuable than otherwise. I'd certainly factor it into any valuation.
⇧ Good or bad? Hot takes on the latest Seattle wage study - seattlepi.com
There are many points hardly ever discussed, if ever, concerning higher minimum wages.
If minimum wages were set at a truly living wage for the given area and if adults were required to be given a full workweek (with few exceptions), then those left out because businesses were not able to employ them while remaining competitive would be more clearly demarcated for assistance. However, if all companies face the same competitive pressures, then how could an entire industry not be able to raise prices to cover the additionally employed at the higher minimum wage, all other things being equal?
What the libertarian/neoliberal or neoclassical economists, as they are termed, are trying to do is drive wages as low as possible so that the rich can simply take more of the overall pie, even if that pie is actually smaller than it would otherwise be.
It is completely wrong to focus on unemployment and youth unemployment and reduced hours as arguments for avoiding the living-income issue.
The libertarians are fine with systemically unemployed and underemployed people living at or below the poverty line. I'm not.
⇧ Government not testing tower blocks for the same deadly insulation as Grenfell, amid accusations of a 'quick fix'
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that while both the cladding and the insulation on Grenfell failed safety tests, it was "the insulation that burnt so quickly". This is not being tested by the Government.
Experts said that to properly mitigate the risk landlords need to do a full assessment and should consider measures such as internal or external sprinklers to stop the spread of fire if combustible elements remain. Such measures are already used in Dubai and Australia after cladding was blamed for fires there.
⇧ 'Hundreds of fire doors' were missing from tower blocks evacuated in Camden | London Evening Standard
"When the commissioners went into those tower blocks in Camden, in their own words, they found multiple fire safety inspection failures, failures which frankly should not have happened in tower blocks of any type, certainly those tower blocks in Camden.
"For example there were problems with gas pipe insulation, there were stairways that were not accessible, there were breaches of internal walls and most astonishingly there were hundreds, literally hundreds, of fire doors missing.
"The estimate by Camden Council itself is they need at least 1,000 fire doors because they were missing from those five blocks."
You see, it wasn't regulations that were bad, it was weak regulations and a lack of enforcement. So, do you want to deregulate everything for the sake of the rich getting richer even if it means the poor are burned to death? That is what we're talking about here.
⇧ Cladding on London's Grenfell Tower pulled from sale after fire - NY Daily News
So, Arconic is saying that just because it may be legal somewhere, they won't sell the cladding for high-rise use regardless. That's establishing an ethical standard higher than the law and based on morality rather than short-term financial profits. Of course, the negative publicity is a direct cost.
⇧ University of Washington analysis of Seattle minimum wage increase is fundamentally flawed | Economic Policy Institute
The UW study does not construct a valid control group for Seattle and thereby conflates the growing Seattle labor market with the effects of the minimum wage—attributing its shift away from lower-wage jobs to employment losses due to the policy. The study appears to show substantial growth in jobs paying above $19 an hour as a result of the minimum wage increase—a finding that is out of line with existing research on the minimum wage as well as common sense. At the same time, the study does not find a spike in employment at the level of the new minimum wage. Both of these findings are consistent with Seattle shifting from lower-wage to higher-wage jobs, regardless of the minimum wage increase.
The UW study also omits all businesses with multiple locations in Washington State, thereby excluding roughly 40 percent of the workforce from their data and making it difficult to draw any accurate conclusions about employment changes following the minimum wage increase. Even if employment in fact grew in multi-site firms, as is likely, any shift in employment from single- to multi-site firms would be inaccurately counted as job loss as a result of this omission.
⇧ Conservatives, liberals, techies, and social activists all love universal basic income: Has its time come? - LA Times
Libertarians are ruining universal living income with their universal basic income substitute. $12,000 a year is poverty in the US. It's not a living income. They just want to shrink government, not increase the benefits to the People.
Look at all the money the Fed and US Treasury created to bail out the bankrupt bankers. Why was that money creation just fine but giving a living income to poor people not? There's no real moral justification for the difference in treatment at all.
The rich are deserving because the system is rigged by them in their favor? Honestly!
⇧ The Problem With How We Measure Affordable Housing - CityLab
Consider this example: two otherwise identical households. One lives in a suburb, owns two cars, and drives most places. They spend 30 percent of their income on housing and 20 percent of their income on transportation. The second household lives in a city and owns one car. Their house is more expensive than the suburban one, so they spend 40 percent of their income on housing, and just 10 percent on transportation. Is it really accurate to describe the second (city) household as any more "cost-burdened" than its suburban peer?
⇧ Studies of Oklahoma's Largest Earthquake Included in Seismology Journal
They are all so hesitant to say it's definitely been fracking. Well, it's been the fracking. The stats show a strong, clear causal relationship.
⇧ Many Coastal Homeowners Remain Unfamiliar With Hurricane Deductibles
"... ample room exists for educating homeowners about a key feature of every homeowners insurance policy—deductibles," said Elizabeth Sprinkel ....
⇧ $300K Settlement in 2012 Utah Fire to be Paid by Insurer
Typically, policies expressly state that they don't cover illegal activities except for accidents. So, the report leaves me with questions.
⇧ The gaping contradictions in EU bank bail-out law and policy — Prime Economics
The message has been, and still is, that if you're rich, you're bailed out. If you're not, you're broke and may be caught by the "safety net" is all you'll be able to expect, if that.
The EU's hugely complex banking resolution framework is generally supposed to have one key goal — to ensure that failing banks are 'resolved' without recourse to public bail-outs, thereby breaking the link between private banks and sovereigns... The reality, we have seen today, is quite different — and, it seems, legal! The EU can just about argue that technically, the rules have not been broken - but overall, the appearance is of a policy in logical disarray once again.
After all, the whole purpose of EU banking resolution policy has been to prevent large tax-payer injections into stressed and failing private banking institutions - and instead, to ensure that the private sector investors take the financial pain.
But the European Commission has, in conjunction with the European Central Bank and the Single Resolution Board, accepted the Italian government's case, that that once again, the taxpayer should keep the private banking system going.
⇧ The Real Estate Investor's Guide to Putting Together a Scope of Work
This is a good start.
There are software programs available. Often, they can easily pay for themselves with the first project. Some are FOSS: Free and open source ...
⇧ The Positive Side of More Jobs Regulation - Bloomberg
... Redbird described what happened to employment and wages in occupations after states imposed licensing requirements on them: Employment increased, especially of women and minorities, and wages didn't budge. Far from keeping people out of occupations, licensure requirements seemed to draw them in.
Why is that? Redbird figures it's because licensure replaces the informal, often hard-to-penetrate networks that previously steered people into work as hairstylists or bakers and replaces them with a straightforward set of training and certification requirements. "Suddenly the occupation is actually easier to get into than before," she said. "It's not necessarily cheaper, but easier."
⇧ CBO: Senate Bill Would Raise Premiums, Deductibles, or Both for Most Marketplace Consumers | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
⇧ Monsanto Weed-Killer Roundup Causes Cancer, California Says
What products does your company use or does your landscape contractor or landscape-maintenance-service provider use?
There will be more studies on this. We'll keep an eye out for them.
⇧ Real Estate is Still the Ultimate Small Business | HuffPost
This is rah-rah. There are risks. He does hint at them at the very end.
You need to do due diligence. You need to pencil everything out. Those are only the highlights. Mostly, you need to be cut out for it. If you are, then it truly can be highly rewarding.
What it is, is work. It is not rolling off a log, at least not for the vast majority. If you like working, if you like a challenge, then ... you could do worse.
⇧ Get Hacked and Your Cybersecurity Company May Pay - MIT Technology Review
In evaluating these risks, cybersecurity firms have an advantage over traditional insurance companies, because they have crucial data that can only come from analyzing real events like the data breaches they themselves have experienced. Traditional insurers, by contrast, are just beginning to assess the full risks of doing business in cyberspace.
Wow, that's a sweeping statement. Insurance involves lots of aspects, and a company simply warranting its cyber-security products isn't necessarily going to know how to cover them all. Product warranties and product-liability coverage have coincided for many decades for a reason.
Having studied both insurance and cyber-security and the combination of the two, I could write a lengthy article concerning where a cyber-security firm should not try standing alone and why a firm with cyber-security exposure should not simply necessarily rely upon the cyber-security firm's warranty.