NYT: New York Soon to Trail Florida in Population

New Yorkers knew this was going to happen… Florida will have a larger population. The Times published this article about Florida’s rising population. New York isn’t losing population. The state is growing at 1% a year, but Florida is growing at a faster rate. Who wouldn’t want to move to Florida? It has sun, beaches, oranges, and Disney World. It also takes in New York’s older residents to the tune of 50,000 a year. New York isn’t going anywhere. The state is still a major player when it comes to attracting businesses and talent. The biggest thing it loses is representation in Congress. It lost two seats after the last census. Florida isn’t all roses either. I don’t know where to begin so I’ll just leave you with Florida Man’s Twitter.


The Atlanta Braves New Stadium

A few days ago, I read that the Atlanta Braves are getting a new stadium. In the world of professional sports, this isn’t big news because teams get new stadiums and arenas left and right. What makes this one different is the fact that Turner Field only opened in 1996 for the olympics and became the home of the Braves in 1997. They’ve only played there for 16 years! The Braves are leaving Atlanta for Cobb County in the suburbs. In so many words this is what happened, the Braves wanted Atlanta to pay for a new stadium for them and the city said no. The team went to Cobb County and they said yes. So the Braves get a free new stadium while local tax payers flip the bill. This is the story of professional sports in the United States. I’m not a fan of this at all because the teams are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and can pay for new facilities themselves. What always happens is that the teams threaten to move and politicians cave in and give away the farm. Politicians don’t want to be blamed for losing the team.  Municipalities state that new stadiums or arenas are part of greater economic development agendas which have been refuted. This isn’t going to stop because teams will continue to get as much as they can from localities and politicians will keep on giving.

On the side, the Atlantic Cities has published this funny article countering all the Braves arguments for a new stadium.


NYT Op-ed: The Plot Against France

This morning Paul Krugman wrote a very good op-ed about the S&P downgrading of France’s debt and how it’s wrong. What makes it wrong is that S&P did the downgrade for political reasons instead of fiscal. France is not following the current austerity methods of the rest of the world and has decided to increase taxes to the wealthy. France is still in good financial shape , but because it has decided to raise taxes S&P believes they are not in good  standing. Honestly, it’s complete bull because its S&P overreaching its “authority.” The company is supposed to judge finances not policy. I find it hard to believe most of these ratings agencies because they are the ones who gave good rankings to many of the bad investments that caused the global financial crisis. Think about it. Also, haven’t we learned that austerity they want doesn’t work?

The Atlantic Cities: The San Francisco Exodus

If you don’t know it already, San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country. It and New York usually switch back and forth over that distinction. Not a great one though. I really like San Francisco. It has everything I like in a city: public transit, walkability, culture, great architecture, and etc.. Many people love those things too and have flocked there and as a result its not affordable. The law of supply and demand. There is a limited supply of housing units and the demand greatly exceeds that. San Francisco is not the only city with this problem. This morning, the Atlantic Cities published this article about how the high cost of living is causing an exodus from the city. The article’s author Gabriel Metcalf spells out the reasons: demand, downzoning, and the high cost of developing affordable housing. People can’t affordable to live in the city proper so they move to where they can. In San Francisco’s case that’s Oakland, which has been termed the Brooklyn of the Bay Area. People keep on getting pushed away from the core and move further and further away. This is what’s going on in New York City for years. It’s a cycle. I don’t know how this can be addressed. Metcalf stresses regional planning, but that rarely ever happens between different municipalities.

NYT Op-ed: Fixing Penn Station Without Rebuilding It

I’ve mentioned before that Penn Station in New York is hellish. The place is dark, dingy, and cramped. It’s the busiest railroad station in North America. Three railroads serve the station Amtrak, LIRR, and NJ Transit. For years, there has been talk of building the new Penn Station. The plan was to convert part of the Farley Post Office into the new Moynihan Station. So far the Empire State Development Corporation has been able to fund the construction of new entrances in the post office that will connect with Penn Station. The entire site is complicated for several reasons. One, Penn Station is completely underground. Two, Madison Square Garden is right above it. There’s the whole push to kick MSG out in ten years which I find to be completely bogus. Three, there are several government agencies involved and no one seems to be talking to each other. A few days ago, Robert W. Previdi wrote a op-ed talking about all the problems and some commonsense solutions. Even though we all agree that the current Penn Station is horrible, who is going to spend the billions needed to build this world class station everyone wants? There isn’t really the political will to do that. It may have to be a more pragmatic approach to fix the place up.

Breaking Bad

Tonight is the finale episode of Breaking Bad. For the past week there have been various retrospective articles and predictions about how it will conclude. This weekend the Times has published two reflections about the show. The first one is about fan support and how the evolution of viewing habits (DVR and Netflix) helped keep the program on the air. The second article is about the production’s effects on Albuquerque’s local economy. Beyond the multiplier effect of filming, there are now Breaking Bad tours of the city, beers, and donuts.

I didn’t watch Breaking Bad when it premiered. I heard the concept and thought it was a little ridiculous. Also, I couldn’t imagine Malcolm in the Middle dad (Bryan Cranston) doing a serious role. Well, one night after I got home from work I was channel surfing and stumbled on AMC and saw Walt doing one of his evil acts. I watched the entire episode and thought it was pretty good. I got the discs from Netflix and started from the beginning and became hooked. When I was living out west without cable, I would go to my local coffee shop and watched it on my laptop.

The series started out as one thing and transformed into another. It took a decent man who was trying to do something noble (but extremely misguided) for his family and changed him into a evil person. Throughout the series, I always wondered what is Walt’s limit to only discover that he has none. And poor Jesse. He has been dragged through hell. He may be a punk, but he is still the most moral one on the show.

To be honest, I have no clue how things will end for Walt and Jesse. I don’t want to speculate because however things get wrapped up it will be far better than anything I can conjure up.

NYT Op-ed: Caught in the Hipster Trap

Another good op-ed from today’s Times, Steven Kurutz writes about how everything has become hipsterfied in so many words. Wearing a flannel shirt makes you a hipster. Or wearing a certain brand of shoes does the same. Having certain musical tastes makes you one too. Almost everyone of my generation falls into the stereotype. Even myself. I’m not a big fan of hipsters. My big qualm with the young and the hip is the pretentiousness many show and the fact that most live off mommy and daddy’s money. I’m not even going to touch the gentrification that follows them. At the end of the day, I could care less. I will say that hipsters have given me plenty of comic material. Check out this old comic strip from a few years back I made.