To say that Hollywood is inhabited by self-congratulatory, self-important, narcissistic egomaniacs is perhaps an understatement and self-evident. However, that’s not to say that the Hollywood creative class is without talent, skill or principle. If anything, a great, contemporary Hollywood film exhibits both of these qualities at once. Hollywood films are also very good at promoting Hollywood’s own self-righteous mythology of being inhabited by collection of pious crusaders who are On the Right Side of History and Trumbo is unequivocally one of these films. Trumbo is of course a biopic which dramatizes the life of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, but it also touches on issues of free speech and the First Amendment, free markets, the anti-Communist witch hunts of the 50’s and the Hollywood Blacklist. This film is roughly analogous to Reds in that it dramatizes a figure of the American Left who had Communist sympathies and was persecuted for his convictions…
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Sanders and Me and not so Democratic Socialism
Sen. Sanders got a huge pass this primary season. Captivated by the deep dishonesty of one probable nominee and the crude ignorance of the other (not to mention his plain crudeness), the media, and informal commentators like myself, have not given the Demo candidate and his program the attention they deserve. Also, in the current primary contest, it’s difficult not to like the guy. I have said several times that he inspires in me a kind of twisted affection. Plus, he has real pluck. But, let’s face, it: He is probably done, or done for.
Sen. Sanders has gone very far into the primary while maintaining perfect dignity in his demeanor. He has seldom stooped to personal insults even when he was being severely tried by a Ms Clinton who seems to consider the man’s very candidacy a grave offense, an offense…
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South Australia’s wind powered economy is a picture of reliability (see above and below).
In its capital, Adelaide, for 2 days in row (28 and 29 April) thousands of hopeful commuters were left to their own devices, as wild variations in wind power output wrecked the power supply to its Seaford/Tonsley electric train line.
We’ll hand over briefly to what passes for journalism in SA to get (as usual) half of the story.
Free ride to pay for train line closure
1 May 2016
TRAIN passengers who use the lines affected by the electric rail shutdown on Thursday and Friday will ride for free one day this week as compensation.
A fault with a circuit breaker on the Seaford line produced a power outage that caused chaos for commuters on the Seaford and Tonsley lines, with knock-on effects on the Grange line, forcing many to rely…
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New York drinking establishments must post warnings against pregnant women drinking but still must serve them.
The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin is no fan of Hillary, but argues that she’s by far the lesser of two evils:
Unlike Trump, Hillary Clinton probably will not try to deport millions of immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of children who have never known any other home. Immigrants will not be the only victims of such draconian policies. The liberties of native-born Americans will be undermined as well. Unlike Trump, she will not build a wall on the Mexican border that threatens the freedom of migrants and the property rights of large numbers of Americans.
Unlike Trump, she will not engage in massive discrimination on the basis of religion. Unlike Trump, she does not plan to order US troops to massacre innocent civilians, an proposal that is not only evil in itself, but could cause a dangerous crisis in civil-military relations. Unlike Trump, she is unlikely to adopt a foreign…
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Opposition Leader Andrew Little accepts that mandating insulation and heat pumps into rental properties will increase their value. But he denies that this will affect rents!
An upgrade increases the value of a rental property if the improvements that increase its rental value. You cannot have the increase in the value of the asset without the increase in rent.
I will contract out the rest of my answer to David Friedman’s superb book Laws Order:
For an application of economics to a different part of the law, consider the nonwaivable warranty of habitability, a legal doctrine under which some courts hold that apartments must meet court-defined standards with regard to features such as heating, hot water, sometimes even air conditioning, whether or not such terms are provided in the lease—indeed, even if the lease specifically denies that it includes them.
The immediate effect is that certain tenants get services that their landlords might not otherwise have provided. Some landlords are worse off as a result; some tenants are better off. It seems as though supporting or opposing the rule should depend mainly on whose side you are on.
In the longer run, the effect is quite different. Every lease now automatically includes a quality guarantee. This makes rentals more attractive to tenants and more costly to landlords. The supply curve, the demand curve, and the price, the rent on an apartment, all shift up. The question, from the standpoint of a tenant, is not whether the features mandated by the court are worth anything but whether they are worth what they will cost.
The answer may well be no. If those features were worth more to the tenants than they cost landlords to provide, landlords should already be including them in their leases—and charging for them. If they cost the landlord more than they are worth to the tenant, then requiring them and letting rents adjust accordingly is likely to make both landlord and tenant worse off. It is particularly likely to make poorer tenants worse off, since they are the ones least likely to value the additional features at more than their cost.
A cynical observer might conclude that the real function of the doctrine is to squeeze poor people out of jurisdictions that adopt it by making it illegal, in those jurisdictions, to provide housing of the quality they can afford to rent.
If my analysis of the effect of this legal doctrine seems implausible, consider the analogous case of a law requiring that all cars be equipped with sunroofs and CD changers. Some customers—those who would have purchased those features anyway—are unaffected. Others find that they are getting features worth less to them than they cost and paying for them in the increased price of the car.
A surprisingly large number of champagne socialists have connections to tax havens. All international organisations are tax havens because their employees do not pay income tax.
I wrote last month about Secretary of State John Kerry being a giant hypocrite because he’s been a critic of so-called tax havens, yet he and his family benefits immensely from investments in various low-tax jurisdictions.
But perhaps that’s something that Obama requires when selecting people for that position. It turns out that Kerry’s predecessor also utilized tax havens.
Earlier this year, the New York Post editorialized about Hillary Clinton’s attack against tax havens, which they found to be absurd since the Clinton family benefits significantly from places such as the Cayman Islands.
Hillary Clinton last week lunged into her most flagrant fit of hypocrisy yet. …she took new aim at the rich — including their use of tax dodges. She told MSNBC: “We can go after some of these schemes … the kind of…routing income through the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands or wherever.” Huh. …the Clintons’ family wealth…
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