Morning Ed: United States {2016.03.07.M}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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56 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    The sentiment against Californians moving into Oregon goes back at least to the 1980s.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      And for Washington state as well.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

        I’d take it back to the 70’s, which is when I lived in Seattle. We used to say the good thing about the rain is that it kept Californians away.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          It’s why we don’t tell anyone the summer’s are gorgeous. Just hype up those 3 months of winter…Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Pittsburgh’s darker than Seattle come February…
            so dark they change the tolerances on the streetlights, so’s they don’t come on at noon and discourage everyone.

            When Pittsburgh gets cloudy, it gets cloudy like nobody else. And we get snow too. Snow practically every day, and it doesn’t melt.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Florida: the left lane if for passing. If you’re not passing the guy in the lane one over, you shouldn’t be in that lane. Bout time. Damn clovers.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      I’m not sure what “clovers” means in this context, but as to the rest of it:


      • Avatar Chris says:

        Your traffic moves fast enough that who’s in what lane matters? That must be nice.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        See this line, item number 2, as it pertains to drivers.

        It’s spot on.Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          I have never heard this term before (that’s also an unusually lengthy and well-written Urban Dictionary entry). Any idea of the etymology/derivation/reference, or geographical area (or age range) of usage?Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          Clovers need two lanes to pass a bicycle.

          Everyone needs two lanes to pass a bicycle. Most motorists are just clueless to that fact.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            I thought the rule was four feet?Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog says:

              I suppose if the lanes are really wide and/or your car really narrow, you might be able give that much space without entering the next lane. Where I live that’s only possible if the cyclist is riding well into the door zone, with only a few exceptions.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              Three feet minimum by law in Colorado. That’s not a problem in newer areas in the metro area, where there’s often a bike lane anyway. Some of the older streets, where there’s no reasonably-priced way to widen them even enough for bike lanes, are dangerous. With one exception, I’ve figured out ways around those. On that one, I put my head down, go as fast as I can, and do my best to ride right down the white painted line at the edge of the pavement for the 300 yards before I get to the improved section with a bike lane.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I don’t drive often, but I’d prefer the bicyclist to stay in the middle of the road, until he hears the car coming, and then pull off… (Helps to signal “hey, I know you’re behind me and impatient. Please don’t run me over”).

                It’s four feet around here, and they ticket often and with prejudice.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Richard Hershberger gets the age of the sentiment right. Here is my theory about the newest cropping.

    Portlandia has more reality in it for many people than meets the eye. Portland was or is a city where you could be a bohemian with a coffeehouse job and a decent standard of living.

    “Hale, who is 35, told me he is actively looking for work in the field of graphic design. In the meantime, he is getting by, he said, through various freelance gigs and his wife’s income as a barista. This is typical of many Portlanders. (I, too, am originally from there.) David Albouy, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, has created a metric, the sacrifice measure, which essentially charts how poor a person is willing to be in order to live in a particular city. Portland, he discovered, is near the top of the list. Even when college-educated residents get jobs there, they earn 84 cents for the average dollar earned in other cities, according to Greg Schrock and Jason Jurjevich, professors of urban studies at Portland State University. In 41 of the country’s 50 largest cities, young, educated people earn more than they do in Portland. “It’s a buyer’s market for labor,” Schrock says.”

    If this article is correct, the reasons people move to Portland are for a relaxing but decent and urban way of life and they are willing to make economic sacrifices for it. There is a guy in my building who moved from Portland to SF. His reasoning was that he was working New York and San Francisco hours for 60,000 a year. My anecdotal evidence of people I know who moved to Portland also shows the NY Times article to be true.

    My guess is that Portlanders worry that an influx of Californians will take away the Portland comfort. The city will become more expensive and the benefits will be gone.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Pittsburgh is a place where you can be a barista and have a nice living.
      Portland is a place where you can be homeless and a barista, and probably not get beat up more than once a month. (contra Philly).Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      The problem with Portland is the urban growth boundary, so it can’t absorb too much too fast.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Lots of room around Kansas City. Just saying.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          Maybe we can convince Portlanders to move there ironically, before it gets cool.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          I think that the anti-sprawl is a feature, not a bug for people who move to Portland.

          I also think that Portland has a more casual and laid back culture already. People want to move to Portland for a lifestyle that is already there. I think Kansas City is too culturally conservative to support a Portland lifestyle. Portland is among the most secular cities in the United States. Kansas City not as much.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

            I think that the anti-sprawl is a feature, not a bug for people who move to Portland.

            This is equally true of Flagstaff, FWIW. Or at least it was back in the mid-90s when I lived there. Looking at satellite shots on Google, it appears like it has not sprawled since then. This likely is a combination of being surrounded by national forests and having a water supply only marginally capable of sustaining the existing population. The satellite shot shows water in Lake Mary, the main reservoir. This is not completely a given.

            The upshot is that Flagstaff is another “great place to retire young” towns. I would have happily stayed there, were there any work there.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Nobody likes a city that sprawls.
          Nobody likes Detroit.

          People like the contained cities, the ones that didn’t build build build like Pittsburgh. Feels kinda european here (so does San Francisco, surely).Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            Nobody likes a city that sprawls.

            This would seem to be contradicted by pretty much any of the rapidly-growing metro areas in the South or the West. I have trouble saying, “Since I moved to the Colorado Front Range in 1988, almost two million more sprawl-hating people moved here.” Relatively few of those two million moved into Denver, which has been — with the exception of adding the land for the new airport — geographically constrained since 1974.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Atlanta has issues with workplace mobility due to sprawl (public transport is a bitch there).
              The people that sprawl hurts most tend to be the poor (what else is new?).Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              Constrained in that it would have to annex the surrounding cities/communities to the N, S, & E?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                And have been forbidden from such annexations (without permission of the county from which they’re annexing territory) by the state constitution since 1974. DIA required cutting a deal with Adams County, and getting voter approval there to transfer the territory.

                Don’t forget west; the foothills actually start some miles west of Denver, and roughly a half-million people live in the suburbs between the two.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I didn’t forget west, but it’s been a while since I’ve been to Denver and while I couldn’t recall how much flat space there was to the west, I do remember it being not much.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Nobody likes a city that sprawls

            Nobody goes there anymore, its too crowded.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I imagine that is a feature and not a bug. I have seen great apartments and homes for a fraction of Bay Area prices. Problem is that they are probably well above the average Portland salary though.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          I imagine it is, but as we say so often during the gentrification discussions, that feature has other effects that are problematic for the current residents.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Portland is still not a particularly dense city. It has a population of about 600,000 and an area of over 100 square miles. There is plenty of space for more people within Portland’s area if they up zone.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          But that is not what Portland is about. Increasing density like that outside of the urban core will ruin the laid back feel of the city.

          In order to make room for the people who want to move to Portland, you have to risk destroying the ambiance that makes Portland attractive.

          And let’s not even got started on how many of those cool old houses would have to be razed to make room for higher density…

          Wait, that sounds like San Francisco…

          PS What is the comparison between price/sq foot for a house versus a residential high rise?Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            San Francisco is much smaller and more dense than Portland by visible magnitudes.

            Portland has a lot of suburbia connected to the MAX Light Rail system. I’m really not sure if the urban growth boundaries are. You can build in lots of places around the light rail stations without causing too much alteration to the Portland lifestyle.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              What the difference between MAX and Bart & Caltrain?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                The MAX stops tend to have less parking around them and they also seem to be less of distance between the stops. BART is a weird combination of a rapid transit and commuter rail system. Caltrain is a straight up commuter rail system. They mainly exist to get people to and from work. MAX is more of a mass transit system designed to get people around for work and non-work purposes. More attention seems to be being paid to transit oriented development with MAX.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              Sorry, my facetiousness did not come through very well.

              Obviously Portland has the ability to grow up, it’s the complaints, especially regarding the older houses, that sound the same whenever a city has to start finding a way to make room.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      “f this article is correct, the reasons people move to Portland are for a relaxing but decent and urban way of life and they are willing to make economic sacrifices for it. ”

      I suspect that many people would insist that this is not, in fact, a validation of the efficient markets hypothesis.Report

  4. Avatar Francis says:

    California only 45th? I would have thought that BI would fine a way to make us dead last.

    The nice thing about a country with multiple urban hubs and freedom of travel is that people can sort themselves. If California remains such an awful place to do business, then we can expect outflows to such great places as Michigan (pop. 10 million), Utah (pop 3 million) and Wyoming (pop. 500 K). Once millions of Americans leave California, housing prices will drop and water supply will rise — thus bringing a new crop of people in.

    and so it goes.Report

  5. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Martin Edwin Andersen of The Nation calls on Obama to apologize for some of our dirty history in Argentina.

    Why are you linking to this? The Nation‘s editors can honestly say they’ve hardly ever approved for publication a commentary on Latin American affairs that could not have been written, like this one, using a standard template. That Latin American politics have their own dynamic not an artifact of an American diplomatic and intelligence corps pre-occupied with many other things hardly occurs to them. It’s all a self-aggrandizing exercise by otherwise silly and inconsequential opinion journalists (who would never offer a moment’s reflection on their ceaseless propagandizing on a parade of foreign reds).Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Idaho is getting a new nuclear power plant.

    That statement seems a bit optimistic, given the hurdles that remain. The company now has permission to examine portions of the Idaho National Lab facility to see if there are suitable sites. The NRC will have to approve the site and the reactor design. The DoE is far behind in meeting the goals it agreed to for cleaning up its existing mess at the INL, something that environmentalists will almost certainly sue over. The company says they’ll only build the reactor if they can find customers who will buy the electricity. Assuming the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is approved, Idaho (with no coal-fired plants and some of the easiest-to-meet CO2/MW reduction targets in the country) seems an odd place for a nuke designer to start.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      I assumed Idaho was more about the fact that Washington and California wouldn’t let them build a reactor under any circumstances. Can’t they sell this power across state lines to states that are having a harder time meeting their clean energy goals? Or does it not work like that?

      Regardless, I’m happy about the development, however minor it is. The West coast needs more nuclear plants.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        I’m fine with nuclear power, but the Japanese earthquake has convinced me that nuclear power plants shouldn’t be built in places vulnerable to severe earthquakes. Such as the west coast.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          My concerns with nuclear power have to do with safety margins, and what — in my experience — gets frequently cut when profits start to narrow.

          There are reactor designs that, when everything goes FUBAR, shut down the reaction (it requires active intervention to keep the reaction going) and I’m much, much happier with those. Unfortunately, they’re not as common (nuclear plants basically cribbed off naval designs, which needed compact power and thus failure modes aren’t ‘we stop producing power’ but more ‘things melt’. And they cribbed off naval designs because that’s where all the work had been done, and that was a good source of trained and experienced technicians).

          But again, switching to reactor designs that are meltdown proof (worst case, the damage is much more contained and far easier cleaned), requires switching to “unproven” or “experimental” design (yes, there are long running PBR and such. And I think China has gone in onto them for actual use, but ‘ain’t invented here’ is a thing and there are no commercial, all-up PBR or similar here so it’s gonna be viewed as unproven or experimental).

          If we’d done it 30 years ago, that could have happened. Now, I’m not so sure. It makes ideal base load power, but even with the heavy subsidies nukes get — it may not be worth the investment by the time it’s built. There’s been too much growth in renewables, for one. It’s harder to predict long-term needs and that’s gonna turn off investors on an already iffy project.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            Renewables for the Western Interconnect are feasible. In the Texas Interconnect, probably, although storage is more important to offset the lack of geographic diversity. In the Eastern Interconnect, not a chance (IMNSHO). 20-25 years out, I see the East facing the incredibly daunting combination of the wheels falling off of their existing 60-year-old reactor fleet, the Red Queen problem for tight natural gas really beginning to bite, and the ongoing political problems for coal (independent of CO2).Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              It seems the world at large is handling storage (molten salt is pretty awesome). If we had room temperature superconductors life would be nicer I admit — we could get power from one end of the country to the other. (Although I did read a rather fun breakthrough on superconductors in general — mostly just some really solid evidence of what’s going on in the guts of the things, down on the electron level, which might lead to being able to make better predictions on the materials side).

              The only up-side to waiting another two decades on the wheels falling off for the East Coast is China’s PBR stuff should be 15 or 20 years old by then, meaning most of the issues are identified. That ain’t nothing, when it comes to rapidly replacing nukes.

              I suspect roof-top solar will lengthen the solution time frame, though. You still have base-load issues, but reducing peak-load demand is not a small thing. You can limp by a lot longer that way.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Never to be sufficiently damned Greenpeace…Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Can’t they sell this power across state lines to states that are having a harder time meeting their clean energy goals? Or does it not work like that?

        Indirectly, yeah. If the nominal operator — Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems — does things the right way, using the nuclear plant in Idaho to replace a coal-fired plant in Utah (for example), Utah could claim some of the benefit. How much may turn out to be something that gets settled in court down the road. It would work better if Idaho and Utah put themselves under a joint reduction plan, which would undoubtedly involve statutory changes in both states. Personally, I think the state-by-state thing is the wrong way to go in the Western Interconnect — way too many of the ownership deals on the generating stations cross state lines. Examples: LADWP owns most of the Intermountain plant in Utah; the Palo Verde nuke plant in Arizona has owners in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas; the Jim Bridger plant in Wyoming has owners with operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming; relatively huge amounts of wind power are going to come on line in Wyoming over the next several years that will be delivered to consumers in Southern California and Nevada.Report

  7. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    As an Outsider (and one of those dreaded Californians), the narrative of Portland gentrification confuses me a little bit. If you’re a White dude shopping at Trader Joe’s and a beloved used book store, you’re not the victim of gentrification–You’re the agent of it. The victims are the ethnic minority whose neighborhoods you moved into because they were cheap and had good nightlife. Did Portland ever actually have any of those in recent memory? Or do you have to go all the way back to the Chinook?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      Portland (and Oregon) is a lot whiter than Californian cities.,_Oregon#DemographicsReport

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      The Portland thing is actually an Oregon thing, and it goes back decades. Over the years, all of the states woes have generally been blamed on outsides moving in and either making everything crowded or changing regulations in a way True Natives would never have considered. And because the vast majority of newbies come from the Sunshine State, there’s historically been a special level of antipathy reserved for them.

      Our most iconic Governor, Tom McCall, was pretty universally beloved. And the thing he’s most remembered for was publicly asking Californians to visit as tourists, but to please not stay.Report