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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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23 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Fo4: As the WSJ operates one of the few real firewalls that can’t be trivially bypassed, here’s a link to the same story at Morningstar.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Fo2: There is this continual belief that started during the French Revolution that you can push people to be more virtuous. You just need the right inputs. It hasn’t worked yet.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Maybe we should stop offering carrots to people who start acting good and start using the stick against people who keep acting bad!Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Certain forms of leftistsn have whstvamounts to a Parliaments of Saints problem. For the system to work people must be perpetually virtuous, only take what they need, and only want good things varyingly defines. A certain amount of greed or enough desire for luxury goods and experiences will break the system. It’s why austere atheists tended to be attracted to Marxism. The anti-materialism of many religions without the God part.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          I think that it’s also the problem of positional goods being inherently unequal.

          It might be possible to redistribute positional goods but the amount of inequality in the system remains exactly as it was before the redistribution.

          (Well, unless you start killing people. Which brings us to one of the later stages of Applied Marxism.)Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Fo1: When I was a kid during the 1980s, I think food allergies were very rare. Maybe I just don’t remember that well. There certainly wasn’t anything like a peanut butter ban because the presence of peanut butter at the other end of a cafeteria would cause a kid to go into shock.

    Now peanut allergies seem dime a dozen and like nearly every elementary school has one because nearly every elementary school has a kid that will go into shock if a peanut is 500 feet from them.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      The theory seems to be that kids aren’t exposed to enough germs. They are raised in a too antiseptic environment. It turns out kids need some exposure to germs or they get extreme food allergies. I also read somewhere that if you don’t expose kids to peanuts when they are toddlers, they will develop an extreme food allergy.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m going to channel my ultra-bourgeoisie parenting situation here and report that the prevailing recommendation is indeed exposure. We’ve found ways to expose my son to nuts, shellfish, and a bunch of other crap as early as possible. The thought of having a kid who can’t eat crabs terrifies me.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Last I checked, it was kids weren’t exposed to enough parasites. Specifically, certain food markers and certain common parasites have enough in common that a human immune system, evolved to deal with near constant parasites floating around your digestive tract and in your bloodstream, is left with a loaded gun looking for something to shoot.

        It’s not germs — bacteria, viruses — they don’t have the same bits to trigger that sort of immune response. They trigger other bits.

        At the moment, though, the only real treatment is the same as it’s been for decades — increasing doses of what you’re allergic to, to train that part of your immune system to not get all excited until it’s faced with a dose far larger than nature can give you.

        As for peanuts — that’s the only food allergy studied like that, and you have to do it carefully. Your kid can be born allergic to peanuts and thus this won’t help. It’s closer to immunotherapy — you’re exposing those that aren’t (or are no more than mildly allergic) to increasing doses to develop tolerance, before their allergic reaction can worsen. (It is, in fact, the same basic idea as allergy shots.). Although in this case you’re often preventing a possible future reaction, rather than retraining a reaction out.

        Although it’s worth noting that “training the reaction out” doesn’t apply to all things. Drug reactions, for instance — although I don’t think those are properly “allergies” even though that’s a commons short-hand. Codeine makes some people break out in hives, and you can’t just keep giving minimal doses of codeine to get them used to it. Every dose has the possibility of worsening the reaction, not lessening it.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          This.

          I’ve done a lot of looking into this subject due to having a child with a severe food allergy and if anything, modern children are exposed to many more bacterial and viral illnesses than previous generations, with day care, public schooling, and quick and easy travel. It just can’t be the case that it’s a lack of germ exposure per se because there are so many more germs coming at us from all corners of the world. Parasites and frequent/chronic exposure to food and water borne microbes make more sense than communicable bacteria/viruses where the hygiene hypothesis is concerned.

          II’m sure everyone reading here understands this already but just in case – the small exposures to allergens for those who are already allergic MUST be done by a doctor in a medical setting (allergy shots) and not by parents at home even if you have an epipen. The exposure idea only works on children that have not already had a reaction. Once your child has had a reaction, you need to be under a doc’s supervision since they can both control the doses precisely and immediately intervene if there’s a reaction.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to atomickristin
            Ignored
            says:

            The exposure idea only works on children that have not already had a reaction. Once your child has had a reaction, you need to be under a doc’s supervision since they can both control the doses precisely and immediately intervene if there’s a reaction.

            Yep.

            I do allergy shots, because I’m allergic to every tree native to my area and most of the grasses. And I’ve been exposed to them since birth. Allergy shots are done at the doctor’s, and well worth every penny.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Apparently it is a thing to leave pennies on the grave of the Traitor John Wilkes Booth.

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/11/erik-visits-american-grave-part-357Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    CityLab finally comes out and says what needs to be said. Housing can be an investment/equity opportunity or it can be affordable but it sure as hell can’t be both:

    https://www.citylab.com/perspective/2018/11/housing-cant-both-be-a-good-investment-and-be-affordable/574813/?fbclid=IwAR3mzGSDr3sFHqlt8S9Gj9V84eikCkakKuO2EfslxT0SPA6ZUyykhtHl_Hk

    But this sort of wealth building is predicated on a never-ending stream of new people who are willing and able to pay current home owners increasingly absurd amounts of money for their homes. It is, in other words, a massive up-front transfer of wealth from younger people to older people, on the implicit promise that when those young people become old, there will be new young people willing to give them even more money. And of course, as prices rise, the only young people able to buy into this Ponzi scheme are quite well-to-do themselves. And because we’re not talking about stocks, but homes, “buying into this Ponzi scheme” means “able to live in San Francisco.”

    In other words, possibly the only thing worse than a world in which homeownership doesn’t work as a wealth-building tool is a world in which it does work as a wealth-building tool.

    I’ve been trying to buy a house in San Francisco for the past few months and what is happening here is interesting. A lot of real estate agents say we are now in a “buyer’s market” but I don’t think that is quite true. It is true that I have seen price reductions and even a few months ago, this was inconceivable.

    What I think is happening is that a lot of buyers are balking at spending lots of money on fixer-uppers. What is mainly on the market in the “affordable” price range are fixer-uppers. The article is basically correct. Lots of real estate listings say that the houses are “on the market for the first time in X years.” X is always a number north of fifty. It is also clear that a lot of them haven’t been updated in about as long. Very few people want to spend over a million on a house and then need to budget 6 figures or more for a renovation. Sometimes the houses need complete gutting. One extreme example had the house occupied by the same woman since the 1920s. She grew up there and lived there her whole life, never married, never had children, died in 2017 at 92. Her updates were nonexistent.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Sellers don’t want to put any money in that they don’t have too. If a house in that market is a million before restoration then that is the market. If the current owners (it sounds like the family of the deceased) don’t have to sell it to make the mortgage nut, they can sit on it for a while. I won’t hurt them to try and see what they can get for it.

      My family sold my great aunts place on top on Noe hill for a couple million and it was almost a complete tear down due to termites. But it had a view of the bay. That’s real estate. If people want to buy but can’t afford a place that is finished to their liking, then they aren’t ready for that market.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      But this sort of wealth building is predicated on a never-ending stream of new people who are willing and able to pay current home owners increasingly absurd amounts of money for their homes. It is, in other words, a massive up-front transfer of wealth from younger people to older people, on the implicit promise that when those young people become old, there will be new young people willing to give them even more money.

      I don’t understand this at all. If a young family buys a house from an older couple, that’s not a transfer of wealth. That’s the sale of a house. Let’s do some math:

      The median household income for a married couple is ~$86k per year. The median home price is ~$200k. If that median couple saves up $20k and uses it on a down payment for that $200k house, they’ll end up with a monthly payment of about 25% of their take home pay on a 30yr mortgage. That means, using the 2.5% above inflation from the article, that couple would have a paid for asset worth about $420k in 2018 dollars in 30 years. That may not be super wealthy, but on a $20k investment and the price of rent for for 30 years it’s not bad. And keeping the payment at 25% of take-home pay means that there should be additional money for other savings.

      What am I missing here? Maybe the problem is that there aren’t enough $200k houses, but that has nothing to do with anything being mentioned in that article. The lack of affordable housing is the direct result of our housing policy and consumption choices.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        What am I missing here?

        You’re thinking about how housing works in the part of the country that is not San Francisco.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I’d say it’s a bit more than the part that’s not San Francisco. In my zip code you’re lucky if 200k can buy you anything and if it will it’s a bombed out shack or major renovation project on something barely habitable. DC market is not as extreme as the Bay area or Seattle but the price of entry is really steep. Even once you can do it you have to make really hard choices about commuting, school districts/crime situation, and the quality of the home itself.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            How many cities would we have to name before we ran out of cities that could reasonably be called outliers?

            (I suppose I could also ask “how many outliers does it take for us to say ‘okay, these aren’t outliers anymore’?”)Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I think the meaningful distinction is population/economic activity. You can find many cities/metro areas with declining populations and economic activity that don’t have this issue. But there are a hell of a lot of people and a hell of a lot of jobs in places where it is a big challenge, even if its only 10 or fewer metro areas.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Talking about the national median is kind of silly because the United States is a very big country and as INMD points out below, SF is an extreme example but there are plenty of other areas where housing stock is low.

          It isn’t even just SF, it is the entire Bay Area where Prop 13 and some other things are causing old people to say “Fuck you, I got mine but where are my grandchildren?” to their children. Earlier this year I went to Livermore for a wine release event. Livermore is a town of 96K about 46 miles east of San Francisco. The town has the Lawrence Livemore labs, some wineries and ranches, an Outlet mall. There were a lot of really angry senior citizens protesting in the town square about how the council should “build parking, not housing.” They looked like they were in a frothy state of rage at housing construction which is not much.

          So even exurbs in the Bay Area are doing everything they can to not build.

          You can’t take it with you but you can create an intergenerational wealth transfer!

          Anyway, JR’s comment supposes it is easy to just get a job in a more affordable part of the country. I have family here and a girlfriend whose job is here. So I guess the hardcores would just have me fray these bonds…Report

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