From The Corner this morning.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
That the following is considered news is just sad:
UW study: Rules add $200,000 to Seattle house price
By Elizabeth Rhodes
Backed by studies showing that middle-class Seattle residents can no longer afford the city's middle-class homes, consensus is growing that prices are too darned high. But why are they so high?
An intriguing new analysis by a University of Washington economics professor argues that home prices have, perhaps inadvertently, been driven up $200,000 by good intentions.
Between 1989 and 2006, the median inflation-adjusted price of a Seattle house rose from $221,000 to $447,800. Fully $200,000 of that increase was the result of land-use regulations, says Theo Eicher — twice the financial impact that regulation has had on other major U.S. cities.
"In a nationwide study, it can be shown that Seattle is one of the most regulated cities and a city whose housing prices are profoundly influenced by regulations," he says.
A key regulation is the state's Growth Management Act, enacted in 1990 in response to widespread public concern that sprawl could destroy the area's unique character. To preserve it, the act promoted restrictions on where housing can be built. The result is artificial density that has driven up home prices by limiting supply, Eicher says.
Long building-permit approval times and municipal land-use restrictions upheld by courts also have played significant roles in increasing Seattle's housing costs, he adds.
(While his data reflect owner-occupied homes within the city of Seattle only, Eicher thinks the same basic findings may apply to surrounding cities.)
Eicher's $200,000 conclusion doesn't surprise Kriss Sjoblom, staff economist for the Washington Research Council, a nonpartisan organization that examines public-policy issues.
"It's actually pleasing," Sjoblom says, "that we finally have data that allows us to show things we thought were there all the time."
That the report is surprised thta the heavy hand of local government's land-use regulations have actually increased the cost of homes is amazing.
Whenever I hear about a community wanted to freeze additional development (no growth, slow growth, smart growth - whatever they want to market it as), I always assume that the intent is to increase the price of housing and to drive out the poor who won't be able to afford it.
ARC: St Wendeler
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
OK, I have had enough. I have never heard absolutely nothing said as well as Obama says it. I can not take it any more S-T-O-P! Please, just stop.
At first Obama comes over as inspirational. I thought Goldberg et al were just jealous when they jumped on Obama from the gitgo. But after a month or so of the Senator from Iliinois, I just can not listen to another word. Talk about wearing thin.
So while the MSM has their Obama-gasms, I hope the American public is coming to feel as I do.
KEITH OLBERMANN: John McCain speaking after his three victories in the Potomac primaries tonight, from Alexandria, Virginia, to the tunes of Johnny B. Goode, instrumental only. And in a statement which I hope transcends political orientation and party affiliation and all that, I would think, Chris, as we start to analyze what we have heard here, the rule has to be, if you can, always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.
Chris, that tingling feeling in your leg is just a sign that you going to need Obama kneepads.
No doubt Chris will assure us that his coverage of Obama in The General will be completely and totally objective. In fact, after describing the tingly feeling that Obama gives him, Chris made the case that the feelings that Obama's rhetoric causes is an "objective assessment:"
MATTHEWS: No, seriously. It's a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment. John McCain is a hero. I thought it was very appropriate that Barack Obama extended that fact-We are soooo screwed. The MSM is going to push and shove the entire Obama fantasy down our throats.
OLBERMANN: And very savvy.
ARC: St Wendeler
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Excellent article over at the American Spectator by Jeffrey Lord regarding John McCain and conservatives' distrust of his positions. Here's a snippet:
[...]There is no rating for McCain in 2007 because of the number of times he didn't cast a vote during the year.
A case in point appeared the very next day at CPAC itself. Floating around the hotel the day after Levin's latest scorching was the new issue of the National Journal, a decidedly mainstream media publication that is most assuredly not a journal of conservatism. The cover article featured a story about McCain by Kirk Victor, the Journal's longtime Senate reporter. Victor's story was titled "The Right Stuff?" Notice the question mark. In the quiet language of traditional Capitol Hill print journalism, Victor was saying almost exactly what Levin was saying in his more flamboyant, talk radio fashion. It pointedly referred to McCain's "put-up-your-dukes" demeanor, and even more troubling for McCain's relationship with conservatives, produced a chart tracking the Arizonan's conservative ranking in the Senate since his arrival in 1987.
According to Victor's story, McCain's best year as a conservative came in 1994, when he was ranked the 8th most conservative among all Senators. By 2004, he had fallen to 49th, with rankings of 45 and 46 respectively for 2005 and 2006. No ranking was available for 2007.
The 2004 ranking, Victor says, tied McCain with the GOP's famously liberal Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, with only two liberal Republicans further to the left, Maine's Olympia Snowe and Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee. Chafee, of course, faced a primary challenge from a conservative in 2006 and then lost to a Democrat in the fall. He has now announced that he is leaving the Republican Party.
As I asked here, if Linc Chafee were a septuagenarian POW with a great biography, would we still nominate him as our party leader? It seems that I was closer to the mark than I had realized.
Conservatives across America clearly have some sort of sense of McCain that corresponds with the essence of Victor's story, even if they have not seen it -- and with the Internet being what it is doubtless it is already everywhere. In other words, the problem for McCain is not talk radio hosts anymore than it is mainstream reporters covering the Senate. The problem is McCain's record.
HOW DOES HE MOVE FORWARD at this point? Putting a halt to surrogates attacking conservatives would surely be a start. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, no shrinking conservative violet, spoke to the CPAC audience the day after McCain. He outlined his past differences with McCain, then simply said the country was at war, related McCain's support of his UN nomination, and endorsed McCain as the best candidate to be commander-in-chief. He said not a negative word criticizing his fellow conservatives. Zero.
Asked to comment on anything she wanted to discuss, at first [the CPAC attendee] shyly demurred. After watching a friend make a comment, she changed her mind. She did indeed have something she wanted to say on camera. Looking the lens square in the eye she said this:
"Who would I trust? Rush Limbaugh or John McCain? I would say John McCain is endorsed by the New York Times. Think about that one."
The entire conservative movement is not only doing just that, they are, as I saw firsthand, thinking about the conservative future. Many of them would like to move into that future with Senator McCain. His reception, as I observed it first hand, was surely evidence of that. They respect him as a genuine American hero, and they are very, very concerned about the war. But whether they were McCain supporters or not, they made something else very plain.
One and all, they are working, working passionately, to lift the conservative movement forward to its next stage. To transform and energize it yet again, creating a 21st-century future based on conservative principles just as Ronald Reagan re-created the late 20th century based on those same principles. They will do it with John McCain -- or without him. But one way or another, they understand that all of this isn't about McCain or about talk radio.
It's about the principles, stupid.
Frankly, I think conservatives have recognized the fact that McCain is the guy who'll go up against Obama (or Hillary!TM) in the Fall. However, it's useless for his supporters to continue to jump on conservatives when they rightly point out McCain's problems with the conservative base. I've compared McCain to Terrell Owens - a media-loving hotshot who criticizes his own team; you all walk out together on to the field, but if you're an offensive lineman (ie, the base) you may not block as effectively for the guy.
McCain's CPAC speech certainly helped him with the base. However, his supporters should not take conservative support for granted just because the opponents in November are so terrible. The old phrase is that there is no "I" in "team." Unfortunately, most of McCain's recent years - since his Straight Talk Express in 2000 - have been more about his position with the media than about the GOP or conservative principles.
ARC: St Wendeler