“For 12 years, the 25 residents of a “tiny house” community known as Walden EcoVillage managed to live in peace with both nature and local zoning officials in the town of Peterborough, New Hampshire.
That peace ended on December 15, when the city ordered the eviction of all the community’s residents, whose diminutive dwellings, many of which were less than 400 square feet, offered an inexpensive but technically illegal housing option. An application from the village’s owner to add more units to the property had alerted planning officials to the fact that its cottages and casitas were not permitted as full-time residences. A site visit also discovered a host of building code violations, including supposedly dangerous wiring.”
“The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is $20.5 billion in the hole, even after Congress canceled $16 billion in debt in 2017. This financial shortfall is largely because the program does not charge nearly enough in premiums to pay for the flood damage on the properties it insures. For decades, taxpayer bailouts of the NFIP have enabled people to live and build in flood-prone areas instead of bearing the risks themselves.
In order to address this problem, the NFIP has been working on its new Risk Rating 2.0 initiative, with the aim of charging premiums that more accurately reflect the unique flooding risks of individual properties. The agency had planned to release its updated rates later this year.
Not so fast, says Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.). The senator’s office recently informed FEMA that adjusted premiums could have a “severe impact” on homeowners, and urged Congress and the Biden administration to work together toward “affordable protection” for flood-prone communities.”
“lots of beachfront dwellers in New York (and elsewhere) have been “unfairly” taking advantage of taxpayers. A recent study by the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation calculates that the average estimated annual loss for each of the 4.3 million properties most at risk of flooding is $4,419, whereas NFIP premiums average $981. In other words, their flood insurance premiums would have to increase 4.5 times over their current rates to fairly cover the flooding risks to these properties.”
“as a result of “direct government provision of subsidized insurance, private markets no longer generate price signals regarding the cost of living in severe-weather regions.” Suppressing the true cost of insurance encourages “private parties to (rationally) assume excessive risk, and dump the cost of living in the path of storms on others. Indeed, much of the development of storm-stricken coastal areas is due to insurance subsidies, and would likely not have happened at the same magnitude otherwise.””
“Los Angeles politicians’ plan to preserve affordable housing might just end developers’ incentive to ever build more of the stuff in the city.
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution directing city agencies to explore options for freezing rents at privately owned buildings with expiring affordability covenants. These covenants require building owners to keep their rents at below-market rates for a specified period of time, typically 30 to 55 years, in exchange for various government subsidies—including tax credits, low-interest loans, and relief from zoning restrictions.
Covenants covering thousands of these units are set to expire within the next few years, allowing landlords to raise rents to market rate. Lower-income tenants benefiting from affordability restrictions could be faced with unaffordable rent increases.”
“A rent freeze would be a pretty radical move, particularly when compared to other policies people have floated to preserve affordability covenants. That California Housing Partnership report recommended more subsidies and tax credits to preserve affordable units.
HCIDLA has proposed forgiving building owners’ debt they owe the city in exchange for extending affordability covenants, or, in the case of debt-free buildings, subsidizing owners for forgoing market-rate rents.
All those ideas involve compensating property owners for voluntarily keeping their rents low. Cedillo’s proposal would require them to eat the entire cost of maintaining below-market-rate rents.
That would be a huge disincentive for anyone to ever participate in future affordable housing programs, says Dan Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.”
“Biden made 67 false and misleading statements in his first 100 days in office, according to a report Monday from The Washington Post’s fact checker. That compares to 511 such comments from his predecessor Donald Trump in his first 100 days.”
“Two of Biden’s falsehoods have earned the Post’s “Four Pinocchio” rating, designated for “whoppers.” He claimed several times that Georgia’s GOP-led election law will end voting hours early. It won’t. The other is Biden’s claim that federal government contracts awarded to foreign companies went up by 30% under Trump, when in fact it was likely much less.
The fact-checking analysts noted that when Biden made exaggerated claims, he would often amend his wording in subsequent addresses in apparent response to news coverage.
Trump’s tally grew at a dramatically faster rate as his presidency progressed. Toward the end of his term, he was making around twice as many false claims a month as he did in his entire first year in office. On Nov. 2, the day before the election, Trump made 504 false claims in a day, nearly the same amount he made in his first 100 days.”
“There are existing federal laws that criminalize domestic terrorism. The Patriot Act, which was enacted in the wake of 9/11, defined domestic terrorism as criminal acts that are “dangerous to human life” and are “intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion” or “to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.” Experts say that the storming of the Capitol fits that definition.
But no existing laws make domestic terrorism a “chargeable offense on its own” with attached criminal penalties, as the Congressional Research Service recently noted. It can, however, be an element of other federal crimes, such as assault and firearms offenses, and result in an enhanced sentence.
Some have argued that’s not enough to effectively prosecute domestic terrorism. Richard Zabel, a former deputy US attorney overseeing terrorism prosecutions in New York, wrote in the Washington Post that current law “limits our societal condemnation of the defendants and their dangerous ideologies.” The threat of domestic terrorism — which was not prioritized by former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly refused to denounce white nationalists and told those who stormed the Capitol, “We love you” — would be taken more seriously if it were easier for prosecutors to charge people as domestic terrorists, Zabel and others have argued.
But civil rights groups, including the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, are raising concerns that the harms of enacting those legal authorities outweigh the benefits: They argue it would enable law enforcement to target political dissidents, and those in marginalized communities who are frequently the victims of domestic terrorism, in violation of their constitutional rights.
“Such a law is not needed given the broad reach of existing criminal statutes,” Mara Rudman, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement. “It will not solve the problem of domestic extremism and is likely to lead to unintended harms. … As lawmakers explore options for cracking down on these lawless and hateful acts, they should take care to ensure that the solutions do not create new risks for the communities they are trying to protect.””
““Woke” was originally a term used largely by Black people in activist circles, particularly after the rise of Black Lives Matter, to signify a consciousness around racial issues in America. The term is still sometimes used in that context.
attacking Democrats, more centrist Democrats attacking more liberal ones and supporters of the British monarchy using the term to criticize people more sympathetic to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Those critical of so-called woke ideas and people often invoke the idea that they are being “canceled” or a victim of “cancel culture.””
“Cancel culture is broadly the idea that people advocating more liberal ideas, particularly around identity and race, have too much power and can publicly shame those who don’t agree with them, sometimes leading to those who don’t share these ideas being removed from their jobs or having their speaking invitations withdrawn (so “canceled.”)”
“there is no agreed-upon definition of “woke” or a formal political organization or movement associated with it. Nor is there an exact definition of what constitutes being “canceled” or a victim of “cancel culture.” However, despite their vagueness, you now see conservative activists and Republican politicians constantly using these terms. That’s because that vagueness is a feature, not a bug. Casting a really wide range of ideas and policies as too woke and anyone who is critical of them as being canceled by out-of-control liberals is becoming an important strategy and tool on the right — in fact, this cancel culture/woke discourse could become the organizing idea of the post-Trump-presidency Republican Party.”
““The term woke has rapidly come to encompass everything and anything conservatives don’t like – anything and anyone they want to discredit””
“it’s Republicans under the age of 45 who are really concerned about “cancel culture.”
One in 4 Republicans between the ages of 18 and 44 listed it as a top concern, compared to just 1 percent of Democrats in this same age group, according to a recent YouGov Blue poll.1 In fact, among younger Republicans, “cancel culture” ranked sixth in terms of overall importance, but for younger Democrats it ranked dead last.”
“the largest bloc of young Republicans (ages 18 to 29) are white men, according to a 2018 survey from Tuft University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which found that among young voters, white men were the only racial or gender group to align with the GOP in the midterms. This is important because polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, also from 2018, found that 43 percent of young white men (ages 15 to 24) think that discrimination against white people has become as big a problem as discrimination against Black people and other minority groups. In fact, almost half said in that poll that diversity efforts will harm white people.”
“one reason the right’s reactionary movement wields political power is that many of the tones underlying the debates over free speech on campuses are also playing out in conservative media outlets. Young Republicans are already more likely to be plugged into these outlets, like “The Ben Shapiro Show” and PragerU, making them the prime candidates to carry the“cancel culture” mantle.”
“I saw this firsthand when I worked in the Obama campaign and in the summer of 2008 met with Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister. When I asked him about the agreement to withdraw, he told me it was a non-negotiable demand. When I relayed this to Denis McDonough, who was on the campaign trail with Obama and eventually became his chief of staff, he was surprised and asked me if I was certain about what I heard. In 2009, while on a visit to Iraq, I brought this up with several Iraqi government officials in the parliament and the executive branch and received the same answer. Finally, in December 2011, when Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki came to Washington to finalize the deal, I and several others, including Obama’s first national-security adviser General David Jones and future Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, met with him. I asked him directly if there was anything President Obama could have done to keep the troops in Iraq. He essentially said that Bush made an agreement and the U.S. must stick to it. At the meeting, Jones said Obama was willing to leave 10,000 troops.”