Monday, August 14, 2017

Progressivism, Somewhat Defined

From the Weekly Standard, August 21, 2017
From a review of The Demon in Democracy by Ryszard Legutko
Reviewer: Matthew B. Crawford

"Like Fran├žois Furet before him, Legutko suggests that the key to understanding the character of life in a liberal democracy is the role that history—or rather History, understood as inevitable progress in a certain direction—plays in the liberal imagination. In recent decades, this manifested as the enthusiasm for trying to bring liberal democracy to very illiberal places using the blunt instruments of military action and marketization. But it was during the Obama era that this energy really got released onto the domestic scene for the first time in perhaps 40 years. Liberals started calling themselves progressives—a rebranding significant because it announced a new boldness in speaking an idiom of historical necessity. It announced a new impatience with foot-draggers as well...
"Willful obtuseness to social phenomena is crucial in constructing the symbolic persons at the heart of these progressive dramas, because the point of the dramas is for the progressive to act out his own virtue as one who embraces the symbol. Progressive purity, based on abstraction from social reality, sometimes has to be guarded by policing the speech of real individuals who are putatively the objects of the progressive’s enthusiasm, or the speech of those who are in more intimate contact with these individuals and threaten to complicate the picture—for example, the speech of the social worker who frankly describes the confusion and unhappiness that mark the lives of transgender people. The great march forward requires the erasure of “gender binaries,” and that is all one needs to know."

Denver Envy Still Wastes Time

In late July the Albuquerque Journal ran stories in the business section proclaiming younger adults love of Denver, the lifestyle and the economic opportunity. My letter to the editor response went to the Journal July 30. I don’t think it has run. The letter is the July 30 post, below. The stories unlocked memories of past Albuquerque junkets, commonly led by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, to places such as Portland, Florida and Denver.
An accidental reminder of the Denver difference appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal. A story about telecommunications tycoon John Malone mentioned that his Liberty Global PLC, “the world’s biggest international cable company” was operated from “Mr. Malone’s hometown of Denver,” though it is incorporated in London.
A couple of decades ago there was Bill Daniels, a pioneer in the cable television industry. Daniels was the brother of Jack Daniels who stayed in the hometown of Hobbs and made money and did politics. Jack was father of Diane Denish, former Lt. Governor. Bill Daniels was a competitor of Malone and Ted Turner in the early cable days.
This international business infrastructure has no Albuquerque equivalent. It is an important part of today’s Denver. It makes the Albuquerque’s decades-long Denver envy a waste of time.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

July Abq Home Sales Down From June, Up From 2016

Sales of metro Albuquerque single family detached homes peaked at 1,196 in May, dropped ever so slightly in June to 1,194 and then to 1,075 in July, according to Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors, which released the July sales report today.
The pace of sales has eased. In June, 93% of the 1,279 May pending sales turned into closed sales. For July, it was 84% of June’s 1,283 pending sales closed. This rough metric assumes it takes about 45 days for a sale to close.
The 1,214 sales that were pending during July is down from 1,283 in June, which was essentially the same as the 1,279 sales pending during May. The May and June pending figures were down a bit from 1,299 in March and 1,331 (the pending peak for the year) in April.
On a year-over-year basis, pending sales remain popping. July pending sales were 29.6% above July 2016. June was 22.9% ahead of a year ago.
June’s 1,075 closed sales were just five units ahead of July 2016.
Homes continue to sell more quickly. Homes sold during July were on the market and average of 42 days, down from 46 days in June and from 48 days for July 2016.
In my neighborhood just north of UNM, two homes reduced the average days on the market. One sold to two young lawyers with a toddler grabbing their first home the day it hit the market. The other took a plodding five days. Both were early 1950s stucco on wood frame with three bedrooms and about 1,800 square feet. Couples bought both homes. The other couple, in their 40s, renovates homes, investing sweat equity and then sells.
The median sales price, $199,250 in July, dropped from $200,000 in June. The median price was $199,950 in May. The July median price was 4.9% up from July 2016. July’s average price increased $2,091, or 0.89%, from June. The average increased 5.3% from July 2016.
The inventory of homes for sale—3,566 during July—continued well under

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Policy Perspectives From Senior Democrats Diverge

The Albuquerque Journal’s Denver-envy articles and some education stories generated response in the Letters to the Editor section.
Two top establishment Democrats supplied letters that ran August 1 and 2. They offered different perspectives. Dick Minzer's view was useful and informative.
Chuck Wellborn, Albuquerque lawyer and tax expert, offered some thoughts, but no way to accomplish the platitudes and ended with a chamber of commerce rah, rah, “We need cooperation and collaboration, to knock off the name calling and to work together successfully. There’s no way we can’t accomplish this.”
Wellborn’s points included spending more money on pre-K through post-secondary education, fixing post-secondary without getting the four-year institutions out of the constitution, fixing roads with higher gas taxes, and fixing the tax system, the gross receipts part in particular. Wellborn began with a cheap shot at economic developers—professionalize our economic development efforts—his broad brush catching all developers. Wellborn should have named names such as the departed Jon Barela, now being a politician in El Paso with the Borderplex Bi-National Economic Alliance. Gary Tonjes of Albuquerque Economic Development is plenty professional and was unfairly slammed by Wellborn.
Dick Minzer also is an Albuquerque lawyer, tax expert. Minzer also is a lobbyist sometimes called “powerful” by those who make such judgments, was a state representative long ago and secretary of the Taxation and Revenue department.
Minzer considered school problems and policies at some length. His August 2 letter ran 25 inches of copy. He called for comparing New Mexico’s education performance with surrounding states, something, so far as he knows, has not been done but could be done by the three legislative education committees, state government’s education bureaucracies, the sundry business groups. Minzer poses additional worthy questions such as, “Is it too difficult and expensive in New Mexico to terminate under-performing teachers?”
Minzer’s questions are the preferable place to start. While he doesn’t say who should do the analysis to get the answers he does at least name names of organizations that claim to be interested.