Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2023

James Bennet on his departure from the NYT

Bennet's piece is long, but a mostly worthwhile read: It doesn't exactly cover him in glory, which may or may not have been intentional, but that is probably good nonetheless. He clearly made a bunch of mistakes during the aftermath of the Cotton op-ed affair, mostly of the kind that I would characterize as "cowardice", but honestly the gold medal on that front goes to none other than AG Sulzberger, who could have and should have told the entire newsroom staff to choose between being journalists at the New York Times or activists on the sidewalk working the find-a-new-job beat. One thing that jumped out at me that seems minor but really clearly illustrates a blind spot in approaching the journalistic enterprise with good faith is his reference to "a certain Murdoch-owned cable-news network". Instead of conjuring the image of a shadowy media empire, led by a deeply

House Prices, NIMBYism, and Income Inequality

The difficulty of building new housing, once really a problem only in high-demand urban areas, has now spread even to many low-density areas. NIMBYism, as represented by overly-restrictive zoning laws, combined with a mismatch between demand for housing and the supply of house builders, has created a situation in which housing prices have doubled over only three years in many areas that I would describe as in the middle of fucking nowhere. Constrained markets in necessities is the one area where people who decry income inequality have a legitimate point obviously supported by facts on the ground. We are now in a situation in which those on the right side of the fat part of the income spectrum are in a position to set prices for the entire market. That is: tech workers and those making similar incomes are putting a floor on house prices because there isn't enough housing to go around, so they bid up prices for what is available. While in theory the solution to high prices is high pr


"Sequel." A word almost synonymous with "apprehension". In the case of beloved movies, a sequel is often highly-anticipated but also feared because the history of sequels is so mixed. Let's look at a few case studies. The Godfather (1972) → The Godfather Part II (1974) This is the most basic kind of good sequel: another great story, filmed solidly, to follow up a great original. It's actually a bookend to the original, with the scenes divided between Vito Corleone's back story and those chronicling Michael's downfall, but it qualifies as a sequel in the most basic sense that it continues the story begun in the original film. While the first movie satisfyingly ended with Michael symbolically becoming his father despite his protestations to Kate in the first act, from the perspective of the combined saga (let's just do the right thing at the beginning and pretend Part III had never been made) it merely foreshadows his irreversible destruction of