Friday, June 26, 2020

Somewhat relevant to today

"Much to Lincoln's delight, Grant understood the role of a general officer in wartime and the delicate relationship between commander in chief and soldier. Military men must subordinate themselves to political authorities. 'So long as I hold a commission in the Army I have no views of my own to carry out," Grant explained to Representative Elihu B. Washburn, his sponsor in Congress. 'Whatever may be the orders of my superiors, and law, I will execute. No man can be efficient as a commander who sets his own notions above law and those whom he is sworn to obey.'"


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

What do abortion and the pandemic have in common?

They generate the same kind of politics according Taylor Dotson in this insightful article:

Radiation Politics in a Pandemic
Why is Covid-19 science making us more partisan?

In his 2007 book The Honest Broker, political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. characterized two different idealized styles of decision-making: Tornado Politics and Abortion Politics. In the case of an impending tornado, citizens are bound together by a common purpose: survival. And simply acquiring information — whether through science or direct observation — drives the negotiation about how to respond. In contrast, Abortion Politics is characterized by a plurality of values, and new scientific information only contributes additional complexity to the divergent goals and motivations.

As Pielke admits, this is a somewhat rough characterization. Many contentious issues have elements of both Tornado Politics and Abortion Politics. The conflict over how to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic has been little different. Yet what has been striking is how many people seem to insist that the pandemic be treated as a case of Tornado Politics, as if it were a cyclone bearing down on us. But it hasn’t been this kind of case. Every day, its politics has come more and more to resemble that of abortion, as scientific information about the virus has become weaponized for partisan ends.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Real estate after the virus

From McKinsey:

Reimagining the office and work life after COVID-19

Rent, capital costs, facilities operations, maintenance, and management make real estate the largest cost category outside of compensation for many organizations. In our experience, it often amounts to 10 to 20 percent of total personnel-driven expenditures.
Companies have tried to control these costs by fitting more people into less space. This cannot continue in n era where social distancing prevails.

Even the Pandemic Can t Kill the Open-Plan Office

Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.
So what now?

Will firms pay higher rents to add space to their urban offices?

Or do they look to move their offices to suburbs where space is cheaper?

Perhaps the lockdown will turn out to be a inflection point and companies will move away from the whole idea of an office as a mere warehouse for employees.

The answer to these questions has profound consequences for cities. Much of their tax base is commercial real estate.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Giving Trump the credit he is due

The Massive Trump Coronavirus Supply Effort that the Media Loves to Hate

The administration has used deft improvisation to secure huge supplies of PPE. There is a new cardinal rule in journalism — never write anything favorable about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, even about its successes.

It’s why the story of how the administration handled the potential ventilator crisis has gone almost entirely untold, and why its effort to secure supplies of personal protective equipment, or PPE, has been gotten largely skeptical or hostile coverage.
The legacy media is so invested in anti-Trump narratives that they allow blatant lies to pass unchallenged.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has repeatedly said that the president needed a military leader to take charge of the supply chain — when Admiral Polowczyk, the vice director of logistics for the joint chiefs, was already in charge.
Orange Man Bad. That's the lead story – often the only story – on CNN every night. As a result, they have become enablers of scam artists.

Stories in the press have tended to relay complaints that FEMA has “commandeered” supplies headed for states or other entities. According to FEMA, this is erroneous. After looking into supposed instances of commandeering, Gaynor says, FEMA believes that shady brokers have been using this line an excuse for their own failures. “FEMA has become a convenient scapegoat for malicious actors who are unable to deliver on the promises they had made or are engaging in illegal activity,” he says.
Even worse, the prevailing narratives obscure the shocking death toll in nursing homes. No one in the MSM seems interested in holding anyone accountable for the tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Kaus-Reynolds with a vengence*

The Cuomo brothers made for good theater. They bashed Trump, issued dire warnings of impending doom, posed as defenders of the vulnerable, bantered like frat boys. Fredo even suffered in his basement – quarantined after he caught the Corona virus.

It was all lies, a series of performances, a ploy for TV ratings, for poll numbers, maybe a spot on the 2020 ticket.

CNN missed one of the biggest stories of our time. It played out under their noses in NYC. Instead they created “The COVID Chronicles with the Cuomo Bros". Everyone had a great time except for the senior citizens who suffered and died alone and their grieving families.

The press has utterly failed to live up to the ideals it espouses. Few members of the Guild seem concerned about this. It is pretty clear that the MSM is best seen as the propaganda organ for the Leninoid wing of the DNC.