Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Breaking Bad": The White, Many-Windowed Building

I've always been curious about The White, Many-Windowed Building in "Breaking Bad". I suspect it might be a defunct juvenile-detention facility.

Lately, the "Albuquerque Memories" Facebook group has taken an interest in the building, and may their antiquarian impulses can help settle the question about the building's original purpose. Their members pointed me to "Born Innocent", a 1974 film starring Linda Blair (not long after "The Exorcist"), which features the building (as Linda Blair's 'Kris' runs away from Albuquerque's current juvenile-detention facility).

The full film has several scenes of Albuquerque interest. The runaway scene featuring the white building is at 34:40, there is a nice drive on what might be Broadway Blvd. at 45:40, with suburban scenes too, and the cemetery scenes at 1:22:00 are at Algodones Cemetery.

The Dancing Pig: 1907

And so, Stormy Daniels will be on Jimmy Kimmel after Trump's SOTU:

Sacramento Proud!: St. Francis Girls Respond to "Lady Bird"

Go Greta! Five Academy-Award nominations!

Adriano Celentano & R. Carra - Prisencolinensinainciusol

I really like this stuff! Sort-of ProtoItaloDisco.

Better quality video here.

Adriano Celentano: ahead of his time, by being right in his time.


Earth Rings Like a Bell

Walt posts this:

A magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Alaska, reported by the USGS on January 23, 2018 at 4:51 am Eastern Standard Time (EST), caused groundwater levels to spike in Florida as far as 3,800 miles away. Measuring devices in two Florida wells recorded sharp upward and downward spikes as the groundwater oscillated. This phenomenon has been observed in the past, such as after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra that triggered the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. The USGS describes this phenomenon in a fact sheet available here.


We just live there.

If this blogpost is correct, after only ten years, we're back to the excesses of the Housing Bubble. Good luck with that:
Now these perfunctory valuations abound, underpinning tens of billions of dollars of home deals. Sometimes the process is outsourced to India, where companies charge real-estate agents a few dollars to come up with U.S. home values by consulting Google Earth and real-estate websites. BPOs have been used to value collateral in the more than $20 billion of bonds sold by institutional landlords, such as Blackstone’s Invitation Homes Inc., and in the fast-growing business of lending to individual house flippers.

...It’s remarkable how fast we’ve decided to ignore the lessons of the great housing bubble and the subsequent crash. Republicans, of course, never wanted to learn any lessons from the very start, but Wall Street stayed cautious for at least a few years. Now even that’s receding into the rear view mirror, a mere decade after the second-worst recession of the past century.

I'm not nearly as worried as most on the Left about Democratic eagerness to reopen the government. That was Part 1 of a two part drama. The Republicans had seized two hostages, the CHIP kids and the DACA Dreamers. The Democrats got at least the CHIP kids released. In February, the real battle will be joined:
But “someday” isn’t here, and as of 23 January 2018, Schumer’s Democratic Senate looks cowardly and inept to the people most invested in the party’s future. Schumer chose to end the government shutdown without a deal to protect undocumented immigrants. He chose to trust McConnell because the Kentucky Republican promised an immigration vote in the coming weeks.

...There are no serious political consequences for shutting down a government. Republicans did it in 2013, won the Senate in 2014 and the presidency two years later. Arsonists win.

Obstructionism for a moral purpose is noble. Obstructionism for the sake of obstruction – the Republican way under much of Barack Obama’s presidency – is nihilistic.

The progressive wing of the Democratic party and the senators who chose to stand for the Dreamers understand this truth. They know trusting Donald Trump’s Republican party is absurd. They know what they are dealing with.

Baiting Donald Trump's government shutdown trap:
That’s easy: Schumer has figured out that if there’s another government shutdown, it needs to be seen as the Republicans’ fault. So he’s going to negotiate a deal that gives Republicans most of what they want in return for DACA—except for the wall. If they refuse to pass another continuing resolution—or Trump threatens to veto it—because it doesn’t contain funding for the wall, then it’s their fault. Democrats were the voice of sweet reason, but Trump was so obsessed with his stupid wall that he shut down the government over it.

In other words, it’s a trap. It’s also a fairly obvious trap, so the question is how Republicans are going to react to it. We’ll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I'm On Fyah!

Can't See The Forest For The Trees

Too Close to the Black Hole

"The Greatest Showman" and "Hostiles"

With Joe the Plumber tonight, saw a movie (The Greatest Showman) and half a movie (Hostiles).

I notice the girls at DMTC are studying the Greatest Showman soundtrack - very popular with the musical theater crowd. Liked it!

Even though a lot of Hostiles was filmed in New Mexico, I still found it hard to like it much. I noticed they referred to the rainy season as "the monsoons," even though that usage has been popular probably no more than fifty years, or so. At least Jesse Plemons seemed like a decent character here, for once.

Nevertheless, this evening's micro-adventures centered on Step One Health and Fitness Studio. I found myself pressed into service as a tour guide, explaining the various technical features of the Step-One men's bathroom to a curious boy, age about three, who was playing hide-and-seek from his mother (but who was still in voice contact). The three toilet stalls, all different sizes, as if provided by Goldilocks for the Three Bears, was the biggest hit.

I left Step One, but had to return when I discovered I was missing my iPhone, which I eventually found in good working order, stuck in the mud in a gutter on 19th Street, where I had parked earlier.

Good for Kevin McCarty!

Making them pay:
A pair of California lawmakers want to claw back some of steep tax cuts that corporations will receive under the federal tax overhaul signed last month by President Donald Trump.

Democratic Assemblymen Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Phil Ting of San Francisco announced Thursday that they will pursue a constitutional amendment to add a surcharge on large companies that do business in California, potentially raising billions of dollars to expand social services for Californians.

“We’ve seen enough billionaire justice from the presidency,” McCarty said in an interview. “It’s time for middle class tax justice.”

New Mexico Stumbles Into Zimbabwean Politics

A helicopter crash:
SANTA FE – What was apparently supposed to be a weekend getaway for a former Zimbabwean politician, a wealthy Houston-area businessman and others on a sprawling ranch in northeastern New Mexico turned into tragedy Wednesday evening when their helicopter crashed, killing five and leaving just one survivor.

Five people were killed when this helicopter crashed Wednesday evening about 15 miles east of Raton. One injured passenger survived. (Source: KOAT)

Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett, 60, and his wife, 55-year-old Heather Bennett, died in the crash about 15 miles east of Raton, State Police have confirmed.

The others who were killed were pilot Jamie Coleman Dodd, 57, of Trinidad, Colo.; co-pilot Paul Cobb, 67, of Conroe, Texas; and wealthy businessman, investor and philanthropist Charles Burnett III, 61, of Houston.

Andra Cobb, Paul Cobb’s daughter and Burnett’s long-term girlfriend, survived and is being treated for burns and broken bones at University of New Mexico Hospital, Burnett’s lawyer confirmed Thursday.

A State Police press release said that Andra Cobb was able to escape the wreckage and called 911 around 6 p.m.

Still Doing Tide Pods?


The REAL problem:
That’s not how things work when competition breaks down and companies can exercise monopsony power. If that happens, businesses may find it’s more profitable to pay workers less than their worth. (Shocking, I know.) But this creates a dilemma for bosses who can’t find any more workers willing to work for low pay. Management can either advertise higher wages, and risk having to bump up its current workers’ earnings as well. Or it can keep advertising the same cruddy wage and end up not hiring anybody. In the textbook models, employers choose the latter—more profits, less staff. (Shocking, I know.) As President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers explained in its brief on monopsony back in 2016, “Economic theory shows that firms with monopsony power have an incentive to employ fewer workers at a lower wage than they would in a competitive labor market. What the monopsonistic firm loses in reduced output and revenue, it more than makes up in reduced costs by paying lower wages.”

Here’s a hypothetical example of how the theory might play out in the real world. Let’s say you manage a small construction company, and you’ve been getting away with paying your crew relatively little because there aren’t that many other contractors posting help-wanted ads in your town. You need a new carpenter. But you don’t want to tick off the rest of your men by offering this new potential employee a more generous wage. So you post the job with the same mediocre hourly rate you’ve offered for the past three years. Nobody good responds, and to you, this looks like there aren’t enough talented carpenters out there. But in reality, there’s only a shortage of people willing to work at the artificially low wage you’ve set your heart on paying. The real problem isn’t a skills shortage, it’s that you aren’t offering market wages, because the market isn’t functioning.