Interesting & Important News & Analysis, September 17, 2019

IRS Makes Settlement Offer to Taxpayers Involved in ‘Dirty’ Micro-Captive Insurance

The vehicles are popular because under tax law the owners of a small insurance company can pay up to $1.2 million in tax-deductible premiums. Then, under Section 831(b) of the tax code, any small property/casualty insurer with annual premiums under $1.2 million may choose to be taxed on its net investment income as opposed to its premium income. The alternative tax provision used by micro-captives is also used by small, mutual and rural insurance companies.

In 2017, the U.S. Tax Court disallowed the “wholly unreasonable” premium deductions the taxpayer had claimed under a section 831(b) micro-captive arrangement, concluding that the arrangement was not “insurance” under long established law (Avrahami v. Commissioner, 149 T.C. No. 7 (2017). In 2018, the Tax Court concluded that the transactions in a second micro-captive arrangement were not “insurance.” (Reserve Mechanical Corp. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2018-86).

Bill Would Allow Service Members to Sue Military for Medical Malpractice

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated it would cost the government an average of $135 million every year in claims. If the law were made retroactive, the estimated price tag was $2.7 billion over the next 10 years.

Money isn’t the point. If government employees screw up, we, the government, must take care of each other.

California Braces for Wildfire Danger as Santa Ana Winds Arrive

Once they hit California, their low humidity and high heat can quickly turn the bushy chaparral into an explosive fuel source. It’s part of the reason that California accounted for 92% of all insured wildfire losses in the U.S. from 2008 to 2018, according to insurer Munich Re. Colorado was second with 3%.

Disclosure: We broker Munich Re products.

Hurricane Humberto expected to become ‘major’ storm within 48 hours, forecasters say

Meteorologists expect the center of Humberto to approach Bermuda Wednesday night with heavy rains to begin late Tuesday.

How to Enable Ransomware Protection in Windows 10

Windows Defender includes a security feature called “Ransomware Protection” that allows you to enable various protections against ransomware infections. This feature is disabled by default in Windows 10 ….

Microsoft OneDrive could take quite some time to backup all of your files depending upon your upload speed. You might also want to use a local-backup system and not leave your backup device plugged in when not performing a backup and especially not while your modem is connected to the Internet. It’s far from foolproof, but every little bit helps.

Personal Data Of Entire 16.6 Million Population Of Ecuador Leaked Online

… in an area of the world where kidnappings, ransom and human trafficking are by no means uncommon, Thornton-Trump says, “criminals of all types will exploit this information for malicious ends in the physical or cyber world.”

“Companies and governments, in particular, should always secure their databases to ensure they are not publicly available,” Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4 said, “in addition, when dealing with third parties which may access, process, or store the data, they should undertake rigorous due diligence to verify the third party also adheres to good security controls.”

Google fixes Chromebook 2FA flaw in ‘built-in security key’

Old key pairs generated before the update are still vulnerable, so you have to de-register the built-in security key from every website on which it’s being used for authentication, and then re-register it with a fresh key pair.

… carefully check the lifespan of any Chrome OS device before buying it.

7 Times You Shouldn’t Select “Keep Me Signed in”

It’s tempting to remain logged in to your favorite websites on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. But if you’re using a public computer or WiFi connection, that’s bad idea.

I don’t allow the “remember me” feature on this site. In addition, it’s best not to save browser sessions. It’s best to close your browser at least once a day and also to do a cold reboot of your device as well. There are exceptions, of course. Some processes take longer than others, and one simply can’t shutdown in the middle of them.

Cell Phone Scam Alert: Be Wary of Strangers Wanting to Borrow Your Phone

Every generation gets the scammers they deserve, and while we don’t need to miss out on convenient apps, we are definitely able to get over that extra second it takes to enter a PIN. It’s easy to change a security setting and activate the authentication feature all apps offer. Information security experts also advise avoiding automatic login for any apps using sensitive information.

No need to mistrust every poor soul dancing on the edge of a one percent battery. But better to be extra helpful by dialing for them and making sure your phone stays on their ear.

To Avoid a Security Bug, Make Sure You’re Running the Latest Version of the LastPass Extension

The company notes that “no user action is required and your LastPass browser extension will update automatically,” ….

… LastPass also offered a few security tips of its own. Specifically, to not click on links from people that you don’t know, never reuse your LastPass master password, and use unique, different passwords for every online account. You know, basic computer security.

The company also suggests always enabling multi-factor authentication for LastPass as well as your other online accounts. If you don’t have that set up yet, now’s a good time to go through all your accounts and make sure you do.

Millions of Americans’ Medical Images and Data Are Available on the Internet. Anyone Can Take a Peek.

We identified 187 servers — computers that are used to store and retrieve medical data — in the U.S. that were unprotected by passwords or basic security precautions. …

If you are a patient:

If you have had a medical imaging scan (e.g., x-ray, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, etc.) ask the health care provider that did the scan — or your doctor — if access to your images requires a login and password. Ask your doctor if their office or the medical imaging provider to which they refer patients conducts a regular security assessment as required by HIPAA.

If you are a medical imaging provider or doctor’s office:

Researchers have found that picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) servers implementing the DICOM standard may be at risk if they are connected directly to the internet without a VPN or firewall, or if access to them does not require a secure password. You or your IT staff should make sure that your PACS server cannot be accessed via the internet without a VPN connection and password. If you know the IP address of your PACS server but are not sure whether it is (or has been) accessible via the internet, please reach out to us at

This looks like poor governing in action.

Foxconn’s Wisconsin plant

Walker exempted the firm from Wisconsin’s environmental rules regarding wetlands and streams.[15][4] Walker and the Trump administration rolled back air pollution limits in the area of the plant, overruling objections of Environmental Protection Agency staff.[5][2][16] The plant was estimated to contribute significantly to air pollution in the region.[17] Environmentalists criticized the decision to allow Foxconn to draw 7 million US gallons (26,000 m3) of water per day from Lake Michigan.[4] The roughly 4 square miles (10 km2) of land necessary for the Foxconn campus was in part made possible by forcing homeowners to sell at a fixed price under the threat of seizing the land under eminent domain.[5]

In 2018, the Walker administration shifted up to $90 million in local road funding to road work related to the Foxconn factory.[18] The Wisconsin state legislature granted Foxconn special legal privileges within the Wisconsin judicial system.[5] In June 2018, President Trump praised the plant, describing it as “the Eighth Wonder of the World.”[7] At the end of 2018, Foxconn did not qualify for $10 million in subsidies, as it created only 156 of the 260 jobs required under the agreement.[19]

In January 2019, Foxconn said it was reconsidering its initial plans to manufacture LCD screens at the Wisconsin plant, citing high labor costs in the United States.[20] In February 2019, Bloomberg News reported that the plant was “unlikely to ever employ 13,000 workers.”[7]

The statistics he cites are jaw-dropping.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Response to “The Message of Measles” —What The New Yorker Wouldn’t Publish

I have always been positively impressed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

When I think about this issue, I think about all the negative news concerning pharmaceutical companies that’s not about their vaccines. Why are people so ready to publish all the negatives that aren’t about vaccines but totally afraid to address vaccines made by the very same corporations? How has the pharmaceutical industry managed to draw that line like it’s the Iron Curtain?

I’m not opposed to vaccines. I’m opposed to not testing vaccines in a totally transparent and honest way.

The following were posted September 16, 2019 on Pew Research Center:

Facts on Hispanics of Guatemalan origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Honduran origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Mexican origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Nicaraguan origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Panamanian origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Peruvian origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Salvadoran origin in the United States, 2017

Facts on Hispanics of Venezuelan origin in the United States, 2017

Israel approves new settlement 2 days before polls

All settlements are viewed as illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.

$1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world – report

The report rejects the idea that subsidies are needed to supply cheap food. It found that the cost of the damage currently caused by agriculture is greater than the value of the food produced. New assessments in the report found producing healthy, sustainable food would actually cut food prices, as the condition of the land improves.

How Military Build-up and War Contribute to Climate Emergency

Ironically, given its own role in helping create this emergency, the Pentagon happens to be one of the few redoubts from the climate denialism now gripping the American government. “The only department in Washington that is clearly and completely seized with the idea that climate change is real is the Department of Defense,” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, has said. The U.S. military is preparing for a grim future of climate-caused political instability, food shortages, resource wars, and massive refugee flows. Recognizing the strategic threat posed by its own dependence on fossil fuel, it has even taken steps to diversify its energy sources.

Yet even these limited efforts have met pushback from the Trump administration. The Navy recently killed a task force created to study the effects of climate change, undermining a bare-minimum effort to forecast the impact of rising seas and melting ice caps. In the words of the former rear admiral who led the Navy’s climate change efforts until 2015, “The task force ended, in my opinion, without full incorporation of climate change considerations.”

The US-corporate-mainstream media isn’t really covering this (yet).

Over 500 Climate Strikes Planned in U.S. on September 20th; Global Climate Strikes to Take Place in 117 countries

This is a big deal.

Russia, Iran, Turkey say Syrian constitution committee ready

Assad won’t like it, as he feels only Syrians should really have any say over Syria; but, he’ll go along with it one way or the other. Erdogan was the last holdout, but his hatred of the Kurds is what moved him to side with Russia and Iran concerning Assad remaining in power if he, Assad, wins the next election, which he will. By the way, that election won’t be rigged.

US factory production rose at healthy pace in August

However, the article goes on to complain about the tariff war. Trump is missing the boat by not moving for fiscal stimulus without governmental borrowing. Let’s see if he gets the word.


It was the hottest summer on record for the Northern Hemisphere

Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said the “near-record global warmth in 2019 is all the more remarkable since it is occurring during the minimum of the weakest solar cycle in 100+ years, and during a year when a strong El Niño has not been present.”

Interesting & Important News & Analysis, September 15, 2019

I didn’t agonize over the following but did find it required careful writing, as so many have thoughtless, knee-jerk reactions because they’ve been literally brainwashed to have such reactions.

It should be painfully obvious to all reasonably intelligent and knowledgeable people that one can’t do proper, full risk-management while ignoring politics. Political decisions taken and not taken have a direct bearing on the risks we face now and will face in the future. With that in mind, why did Trump say that Bolton was holding Trump back concerning Venezuela?

John Bolton’s goal is furthering the neocon agenda. In a nutshell, neoconservatism is the capitalist-leaning version of Trotskyism. Trotskyism is permanent, worldwide, militant revolution but for Bolshevik (Marxist-Leninist; not fully democratic) socialism. Therefore, John Bolton’s agenda is permanent, worldwide, militant revolution for center-right-capitalist (mixed) economics.

Bolton opposes Maduro of Venezuela, as do all neocons and also all non-neocon but ardent capitalists, for the simple reason that Maduro promotes a mixed economy leaning the other direction: more democratic, more socialistic. It doesn’t matter to Bolton whether Venezuela is or isn’t democratic. No matter how democratic, Bolton and his ilk would stand opposed to any economy leaning too far to the left in neocon eyes. A left economy obviously precludes neocon domination. However, it goes much deeper than that.

The philosophical and psychological underpinnings of neoconservatism, something I’ve studied in detail, would take pages to explain. Basically, neoconservatism was founded by converted (one might say caved) Trotskyists and is based upon what they deem knowledge imparted of necessity too esoterically for the unintelligent to grasp. What it boils down to is that the crafty selfish must rule over the masses deliberately kept in the dark, including by outright lying to them, to keep the masses from rising up and spoiling rule by the imperial-Zionist rich.

Geopolitically, Zionism (a term that has now been deemed politically incorrect by neocons but can’t be avoided if history and current risks are to be understood and dealt with properly) is the centerpiece in the neocon strategy for world domination. The “geo” in geopolitics literally means, among other things, location. Israel, which is the direct outgrowth of the historical Zionist Movement, is strategically physically located for the neocons to take the war to the opposition with the greatest ease.

Bolton, while he does, as I said, oppose Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela, knows that the US can spread itself too thin and can delay urgent moves required elsewhere if the US tries to “take” Venezuela head on. Bolton knows the conflict could spill all over Latin America, which is on the USA’s doorstep. Iran and other neocon immediate targets, on the other hand, are not on “our” doorstep but are closer to the ultimate targets of Russia and, more so, China.

(The next 3 paragraphs constitute an update of 9/19/2019 to this section of this blog post.)

Does that mean Bolton wanted to hit Venezuela extremely hard to get it over with rapidly, or does it mean he wanted to hit elsewhere, such as Iran rather than trying to do both Venezuela and Iran at the same time?

Was Trump referring to that Trump wanted to continue trying to ratchet things up against Venezuela rather than hitting Venezuela hard because Trump wants Maduro to simply quit so Trump doesn’t have to invade or starve the Venezuelan people?

Something to consider during this process is that no “major” Democratic Party candidate for President has discussed in any acceptable level of detail the actual facts about what has been unfolding in Venezuela for decades and why. On the contrary, even Bernie Sanders rails against Maduro as if Bernie is reading right out of Bolton’s neocon narrative on Venezuela and Maduro. Therefore, Trump doesn’t see any significant political opposition in the US to Trump doing whatever he wants vis-a-vis Venezuela, even though Bernie and others would complain about the unconstitutionality of any unilateral attacks by Trump.

If Trump gathers enough of the “international community” around Trump’s cause, even Sanders will go along with it by giving Trump authorization to use force because Sanders would be afraid to defend Maduro remaining in power. It’s either that or Bernie and the others will have to come up with a plan such as Russia, Iran, and Turkey have done concerning Syria: a new constitution, etc.

The alternative to all of this is participatory democracy and peace, which the neocons claim is simply naïve. Again, keeping the masses in the dark is neoconservatism.

If you think Israel and the US are always in lockstep concerning the above, think again.

US Pressures Israel To Drop China ‘Belt And Road’ Investments

Then there’s this: Trump, Netanyahu Discuss Possible U.S.-Israel Defense Pact

It doesn’t seem to matter to Trump what Netanyahu does.

PG&E Reaches $11B Settlement Relating to California Wildfire Claims

… PG&E Corp. said on Friday it has reached an $11 billion settlement agreement with entities representing about 85% of insurance subrogation claims relating to 2017 and 2018 wildfires.

Here we go! This is a huge deal. This will end up changing banking nationally as we’ve known it (except in North Dakota, which has had public banking for a hundred years).

California’s Public Banking Act approved by State Assembly! Next up: Gov. Newsom’s desk

Great Expectations: the economic power of news about the future

Repeated periods of poverty accelerate the ageing process

An annual income of 60% below the median income is considered relative poverty.

In this way, the researchers found that there is a significant correlation between financial challenges and early ageing. And this is important in order to be able to instigate preventative measures, says co-author and Professor at the Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Public Health, Rikke Lund.

‘Early ageing also means more treatment at an earlier age, and it is a burden both to the individual and the society [emphasis added].

Dark Web Forensics

… there is a great deal of criminal activity on the dark web:

• Drug trafficking is a serious problem on the dark web.
• Buying and selling stolen credit cards, account numbers, and other financial crimes.
• Terrorist recruiting and propaganda.
• Child pornography.

Let’s not leave out malware, and the like, for sale and rent.

Giant Entercom Radio Network Deals with Ransomware-Like Incident

The company has not released an official statement about the current status of its network or the cyber incident that apparently disrupted telephone and email communication, music scheduling, production, billing, and other internal digital systems, according to online reports.

Fin7 sysadmin pleads guilty to running IT for billion-dollar crime syndicate

The Feds arrested three high-ranking members of Fin7 in August 2018. All were Ukrainian nationals. And on Wednesday, one of those three – Fedir Oleksiyovich Hladyr – pled guilty to being the sysadmin who ran the group’s IT operations.

Blame it on Bitcoin and the governments that haven’t banned it.

The Week in Ransomware – September 13th 2019 – Exploit Kits

InnfiRAT Malware Steals Litecoin And Bitcoin Wallet Information

RIBA responds to the Worcester Park fire

This fire demonstrates the need for sprinklers in residential buildings, and fire warning systems in individual flats, not just in communal parts.

This story out of England has created quite a stir.

Billionaire Duke to kick families out of council homes to build luxury flats

They can apply for new homes up to 12 miles away but some fear a life on the streets after being told of decades-long waits on housing lists.

Today’s Special: Grilled Salmon Laced With Plastic: We used to think microplastics stayed in a fish’s guts. Chilling new research suggests the tiny particles migrate into its flesh.

Nearly 50 years ago, scientists studying the North Atlantic Ocean started noticing that tiny fragments of plastic were turning up in their plankton and seaweed samples. The microparticles, they found, absorbed toxic chemicals and were then eaten by flounder, perch, and other fish. Until recently, though, researchers thought these ingested plastics stayed in a creature’s guts and possibly its liver. Removing a fish’s entrails before serving it up appeared to eliminate the risk of eating plastic.

But recent research suggests that these tiny bits of plastic move into fish flesh. And now seafood, a recent study found, is the third-largest source of chemical-laden “microplastics” of sources analyzed so far for the average American consumer, behind bottled water and air.

Earlier this year, an international team of researchers identified more than 900 chemicals associated with plastic packaging, including 16 linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and other health hazards. …
… corporations bear the responsibility for this scourge. “Plastic producers have no right to distribute their products across the globe and into our foodstuffs,” she says—“especially if the consequences are unknown.”

Latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception

Seldom has a news story been more transparently fraudulent.

Smolenkov was so afraid for his safety, he put his family in a house the FSB could see by clicking on! That’s “tradecraft” for you.

You’ll notice that the “documents” on Putin’s desk haven’t been shown to the American public as proof Putin ordered what is termed “Russiagate.” It’s totally obvious why that’s the case. It’s not to hide that the US has the documents (images). It’s obviously not to cover for the person, Smolenkov, who bought his house in the US under his own name. It’s because there are no such images even though US “intelligence” has claimed to have them. The entire exercise has been simply to plant thoughts in the minds of Americans who will not delve into the narrative the way Matt Taibbi has for you. Will Matt’s report be in the US, corporate mainstream-media? You know it won’t.

‘They wanted me gone’: Edward Snowden tells of whistleblowing, his AI fears and six years in Russia | US news | The Guardian

In an exclusive two-hour interview in Moscow to mark the publication of his memoirs, Permanent Record, Snowden said dire warnings that his disclosures would cause harm had not come to pass, and even former critics now conceded “we live in a better, freer and safer world” because of his revelations.

“One of the things that is lost in all the problematic politics of the Russian government is the fact this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The people are friendly. The people are warm,” he said. “And when I came here I did not understand any of this. I was terrified of this place because, of course, they were the great fortress of the enemy, which is the way a CIA agent looks at Russia.”

I’m glad he’s married. I’m glad his wife loves him. I’m glad he’s actually happy in Russia. Though, I know he’d love to come home.

‘If I Happen to Fall out of a Window, You Can Be Sure I Was Pushed’

Snowden: Four years ago, Barack Obama was president. Four years ago, Boris Johnson wasn’t around and the AfD (Germany’s right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany) was still kind of a joke. But now in 2019, no one is laughing. When you look around the world, when you look at the rising factionalization of society, when you see this new wave of authoritarianism sweeping over many countries: Everywhere political classes and commercial classes are realizing they can use technology to influence the world on a new scale that was not previously available. We are seeing our systems [democracy] coming under attack.

… It seems more and more likely that someday I will be able to go back. You don’t see the same allegations against me in 2019 that you did in 2013. All the claims about this tremendous harm to national security have fallen away. At the same time, the public benefits of what happened in 2013 have become more and more clear.

… I’m meeting friends in town and I’m going out to eat for dinner. I’m walking around in the park with Lindsay. I ride the metro. I ride cabs. And I’m regularly condemning the Russian government’s human rights record and their refusal of free and fair elections. But I am not taking selfies in front of the Kremlin, because the U.S. government would use that to attack me and discredit all of the work that I do.

… I think one of the biggest problems in the world of intelligence is the refusal to separate covert action, propaganda and influence from intelligence. We need intelligence. Intelligence reduces the likelihood of war. The problem is when these services become an institution of their own that is not responsive to the desires of lawmakers, policymakers and the public, but in fact is shaping it and directing it. They will always say: Look, if you know this or that, people will die. But it’s almost never true.

The U.S. construction industry is facing ‘a uniquely post-Great Recession experience’

They think there’s no way to handle this. However, government subsidies would go a very long way. The industry should pay what it can to workers, and the government (the rest of us) should pay the balance of the wages to get people to take the jobs. We should simply create the money to match the increased productivity. It wouldn’t cause inflation.

Bernie Sanders bashes Joe Biden, embraces Trump supporter during Nevada campaign stop

“Apparently the Vice President thinks its just wonderful for people to be paying thousands of dollars per month in premiums and paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” Sanders said in front of a crowd of around 300 supporters gathered for a town hall at the Carson City Community Center. “Well, I think those are problems.”

“I love Bernie, he’s going to be the next president of the United States,” Jenkins said. “Look at the way he had that Trump supporter come up. He put his arm around him and talked to him, with kindness and love.”

He later won loud applause for his pledges to cancel student debt, make college tuition free and end the war on drugs. His plan to create a universal pre-kindergarten program received a similarly warm welcome, as did each mention of Sanders’ activist-endorsed, $16 trillion climate change prevention plan.

Sanders really hasn’t gotten enough credit for how he reaches Trump supporters.

California bans private prisons – including Ice detention centers

The legislation is being hailed as a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration.

‘It was more of a fact-finding mission,’ says FlyawayHomes CEO of White House visit

I see nothing inherently wrong with the White House looking at the project. Frankly, Trump promised infrastructure spending. Housing the homeless would be a great place to put all the money that would require. Shipping containers can be used without providing substandard housing. Some architects have proved it. It might not be my first choice, but it’s better than sleeping in a cardboard box in an alley.

Apartment construction is slowing down, even as occupancy reaches an all-time high

Although multifamily occupancy rates keep climbing, with apartment occupancy rates in July reaching the highest level since 2000, multifamily construction is slowing.

Many major markets have seen a slow down in multifamily construction growth – slowing to the lowest level it’s been in almost four years ….

Rent Growth Is Waning—But Not Everywhere (And Maybe Not For Long)

U.S. Census data shows that new renter households outweighed owner households last quarter, rising for the second time this year.

As Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, explains, “This could indicate the start of another upward trend in renting, as this is the second consecutive quarter with increasing renter households and the first with more new renters than owners since the end of 2016.”

Throw in that apartment construction is waning, and it could mean higher rents are in the future.

Trade Groups Express Disappointment on California Rent Control Bill

We must have enough housing so that absolutely nobody has to be homeless. People need to make decent livings creating and providing that housing. The market can’t handle it. Libertarianism would never accomplish it. There’s no greed-incentive in it. Government must step up and provide what it takes.

Case against 27-story Chinatown tower has ‘no merit,’ commissioners say

Shortage in new-home construction to continue until 2022

Zillow’s research pointed out that the rate of US home construction has been underperforming over the past decade. Builders are having a hard time constructing large numbers of affordable homes due to issues like land scarcity, labor shortage, and high costs for permits and materials.

Demand for homeownership wanes in 19 metros

The index showed that people in 19 out of 23 metros preferred renting and reinvesting in stocks and bonds over owning a home.

6 Questions to Ask Your Agent About Flood Insurance

Majority in US Back Free College Tuition and Student Debt Cancellation, New Poll Finds

According to the Hill-HarrisX poll, 72 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independent voters support free college tuition and student debt cancellation, while 40 percent of Republicans back the plans.

Unemployment Uptick May Signal State Recessions

… there is a 50% chance that Minnesota and North Carolina are currently in a recession. It’s not yet possible to confirm that, however, because state GDP numbers are only available through the first quarter of 2019.

The disconnect between unemployment and GDP in another state, Colorado, illustrates the uncertainty: Colorado’s unemployment rate has risen several times in the last year, but GDP figures show its economy did not contract at those times.

The most recent state recessions, in late 2017 and early 2018, occurred in Alaska, Delaware, New Mexico and West Virginia.

It also depends upon people moving in or out, as the article mentions.

Renters ‘Don’t Care About Amenities’ As Much In Cost-Driven Apartment Market

Multifamily Renter Base Increasingly Made Up of High-Skilled Millennials

… small apartment properties, which often offer more affordable rents, do well in attracting younger workers in entry-level, high-skill jobs. They also serve a comparatively more diverse workforce across age cohorts.

Trump administration rolls back landmark water protections

Environmental groups and state attorneys general vowed to challenge the rollback, arguing that it jeopardizes drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans.

“California won’t stand for this latest environmental attack by the Trump Administration, which could threaten federal protections for the majority of our waters,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, defended the Obama administration rule in a statement, saying it “represented solid science and smart public policy.”

“The Trump administration’s wild-eyed attempts to reward polluters, however, knows no bounds, so it is repealing these important protections without regard for the law or sound science,” he said. “This unsubstantiated action is illegal and will certainly be challenged in court.”

Putting making more money above protecting the environment is, at best, backwards.

Skinny home in Toronto as prototype for parking-space homes?

When Cyril Borovsky bought a 16-foot-wide strip of land in Toronto sandwiched between two bungalows, he knew the only way to fit more than one bedroom on the tiny footprint was to think cubically. Using a steel frame and performing much of the work himself- with just a boom lift and makeshift pulley-, he went up four floors.

The final 1,300 square foot home fits 3 bedrooms and 3 baths on a 16-foot-wide lot. Borovsky recognizes that his lot is unusually thin (“not quite the skinniest in Toronto, but almost”), but he thinks his home could be a prototype for turning laneway parking into homes.