Politician characterizes immigrant-rich California as “like a third world country”

At 27 percent, California leads the U.S. in percentage of population who are foreign-born (Wikipedia). Many of these folks migrated from low-income countries where the typical resident is “low-skill” from the perspective of a U.S. employer.

What if a politician referred to California as “like a third world country”? We would cancel him/her/zir/them as a Trump-poisoned hater of low-skill migrants, right?

“Newsom grapples with his ‘third-world country’” (Politico):

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s frustration was palpable on Thursday, as he cleaned up trash-strewn railroad tracks in Los Angeles that have become the site of innumerable package thefts. You may have seen images of the property crimes in question. They’ve permeated California’s media markets and been beamed beyond our borders, where the coverage has often advanced a familiar narrative of California spiraling into dystopia. None of that is lost on Newsom.

“I’m asking myself, what the hell is going on? We look like a third-world country,” Newsom said

Separately, “Newsom has big plans to get rid of California’s massive homeless camps. Will they work?”:

After pouring an unprecedented $12 billion into homeless housing and services last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom now is turning to the massive tent camps, shantytowns and makeshift RV parks that have taken over California’s streets, parks and open spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a never-before-seen effort, the governor is doling out $50 million this winter to help cities and counties clear out camps and house people living outside. San Jose, Richmond and Santa Cruz are among those that might benefit. Newsom hopes to increase that investment 10-fold in the coming year’s budget and add $1.5 billion to house people with behavioral health conditions. In charge of it all will be Newsom’s new state homelessness council, co-chaired by none other than the face of California’s COVID response — Dr. Mark Ghaly.

“This is probably one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime type funding that we’re seeing from the state,” said Michelle Milam, crime prevention manager for the Richmond Police Department and a member of the city’s homelessness task force. “We’ve never seen this kind of investment from the state for encampments.”

If he/she/ze/they is canceled as a result of this hate speech, maybe Mx. Newsom will retire to state-income-tax-free 3-percent-foreign-born Wyoming?

Based on my own travels, I think that Mx. Newsom is incorrect regarding California looking like a third-world country. The major cities in the poorest countries that I have visited do not feature people encamped in tents on sidewalks, people consuming drugs out in the open, etc. See my photos from Haiti, for example (not the tourist Haiti, but the authentic Haiti). A sample:

And, from the Provincetown Public Library, taken shortly after the above photo, some migration-related titles in the Young Adult Non-Fiction section:

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Finished San Fransicko

I have finished San Fransicko, the book by a self-described lifelong “progressive and Democrat” that I wrote about in Reading list: San Fransicko.

Let’s go to the solution first. The author describes 50 years of failure by California government agencies and 15-20 years of spectacular failure by state and local government agencies, with ever-growing revenue for non-profit contractors. What’s the alternative to failed state government?

What California needs is a new, single, and powerful state agency. Let’s call it Cal-Psych. It would be built as a separate institution from existing institutions, including state and county health departments and health providers. Cal-Psych would efficiently and humanely treat the seriously mentally ill and addicts, while providing housing to the homeless on a contingency-based system. Cal-Psych’s CEO would be best-in-class and report directly to the governor. It is only in this way that the voters can hold the governor accountable for the crisis on the streets. Cal-Psych would have significant buying power, be attractive to employees, and be able to move clients to where they need to be. It would be able to purchase psychiatric beds, board and care facilities, and treatment facilities from across the state. And it would be able to offer the mentally ill and those suffering substance use disorders drug and psychiatric treatment somewhere other than in an open-air drug scene.

What if someone is homeless because he/she/ze/they is consuming opioids?

Cal-Psych would do as much as legally, ethically, and practically possible to establish voluntary drug treatment and psychiatric care and would also work with the courts and law enforcement to enforce involuntary care through assisted outpatient treatment and conservatorship. The low-hanging fruit, according to Rene, is getting twenty-something-year-old opioid addicts off the street and into medically assisted treatment programs, since we have good substitutes for opioids in the form of Suboxone and methadone.

What’s in these “substitutes for opioids”? Suboxone isn’t packed with healing essential always-available-even-when-schools-are-shut cannabis, but it does contain buprenorphine… an opioid. In other words, if someone is taking too many opioids, give him/her/zir/them more opioids.

So… the solution to failed government is more government and the solution to drug addiction is government-supplied drugs.

Homelessness certainly is a growth industry in California:

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of homeless rose by 31 percent in California but declined 19 percent in the rest of the United States.2 As a result, there were, as of 2020, at least 161,000 total homeless people in California, with about 114,000 of them unsheltered, sleeping in tents on sidewalks, in parks, and alongside highways. Homelessness had become the number one issue in the state.3 Half of all California voters surveyed said they saw homeless people on the street five times a week.

A big part of the reason for the failure of the homeless industrial complex has had to do with perverse incentives, progressive resistance to mandatory treatment, and the insistence on permanent supportive housing over shelters. But it also has to do with the neoliberal model of outsourcing services. Instead of governments providing such services directly, they give grants to nonprofit service providers who are unaccountable for their performance. “There is no statutory requirement for government to address homelessness,” complained University of Pennsylvania researcher Dennis Culhane. “It’s mainly the domain of a bunch of charities who are unlicensed, unfunded, relatively speaking, run by unqualified people who do a shitty job. There’s no formal government responsibility. It’s only something we dream of. And that is fundamentally part of the problem.”23 Nobody can even accurately calculate how much money is being spent. The state auditor calculates that California spends $12 billion total on homelessness, and it is not clear how much of that is overlap with other state spending. The Legislative Analyst’s Office found many difficulties: “Difficulty assessing how much the state is spending on a particular approach towards addressing homelessness, for example—prevention versus intervention efforts. Difficulty determining how programs work collaboratively. Difficulty assessing what programs are collectively accomplishing.”

There is a philosophical-religious basis for why Californians decided that they wanted to be surrounded by tent cities:

Unlike traditional religions, many untraditional religions are largely invisible to the people who hold them most strongly. A secular religion like victimology is powerful because it meets the contemporary psychological, social, and spiritual needs of its believers, but also because it appears obvious, not ideological, to them. Advocates of “centering” victims, giving them special rights, and allowing them to behave in ways that undermine city life, don’t believe, in my experience, that they are adherents to a new religion, but rather that they are more compassionate and more moral than those who hold more traditional views.

Some more quotes on how San Francisco got to this point:

How and why do progressives ruin cities? So far we have explored six reasons. They divert funding from homeless shelters to permanent supportive housing, resulting in insufficient shelter space. They defend the right of people they characterize as Victims to camp on sidewalks, in parks, and along highways, as well as to break other laws, including against public drug use and defecation. They intimidate experts, policy makers, and journalists by attacking them as being motivated by a hatred of the poor, people of color, and the sick, and as causing violence against them. They reduce penalties for shoplifting, drug dealing, and public drug use. They prefer homelessness and incarceration to involuntary hospitalization for the mentally ill and addicted. And their ideology blinds them to the harms of harm reduction, Housing First, and camp-anywhere policies, leading them to misattribute the addiction, untreated mental illness, and homeless crisis to poverty and to policies and politicians dating back to the 1980s.

There is a chapter on Jim Jones, who was close to former mayor George Moscone and Willie Brown.

Moscone made Jones the chairman of the powerful San Francisco Housing Commission.12 Jones cultivated progressives with money and favors. He made large donations to the ACLU, the NAACP, and United Farm Workers. Jones and Moscone met privately with vice presidential candidate Walter Mondale on a campaign plane a few days before the 1976 presidential election, and Mondale praised People’s Temple shortly afterward. Jones met with First Lady Rosalynn Carter several times. Governor Jerry Brown praised Jones. Glide Memorial Church’s Rev. Cecil Williams loved Jones. There is a photo from 1977 of a smiling Williams awarding Jones the church’s “Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.”

A conservative member of the Board of Supervisors who was defeated in the mayoral election by Moscone accused the new mayor, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the rest of the city establishment of being blind to Jones’s extremism. “There’s no radical plot in San Francisco,” insisted Moscone, in response. “There’s no one I’ve appointed to any city position whom I regard as radical or extremist.”

Brown was master of ceremonies at a dinner for Jones in the fall of 1976 attended by an adulatory crowd of the rich and powerful, including Governor Jerry Brown.

San Francisco’s establishment stood by Jones even after a California magazine, New West, owned by Rupert Murdoch, published an exposé of Jones’s beatings of Temple members and financial abuses in August 1977. The article was written by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter and was meant for the Chronicle to publish. But the newspaper killed the story because it didn’t want to alienate Jones, whom it viewed as central to its plans to expand the Chronicle’s circulation in the heavily African American Fillmore District. Jones also managed to avoid investigation and prosecution in part by getting the district attorney to hire as deputy district attorney Jones’s longtime attorney and confidant.

Harvey Milk, too, was tarnished by his association with Jones. In the fall of 1977, Milk wrote to President Carter’s secretary of health, education, and welfare requesting that Social Security checks be sent to elderly Temple members in Guyana. “People’s Temple,” wrote Milk, has “established a beautiful retirement community in Guyana.”

“Even as the bloated bodies of the dead were removed from the jungle and the wounded were airlifted by the U.S. Air Force to hospitals in the United States,” wrote a historian, “Brown said he had ‘no regrets’ over his association with Jones.” They repeatedly disavowed responsibility. Said Moscone, “it’s clear that if there was a sinister plan, then we were taken in. But I’m not taking any responsibility. It’s not mine to shoulder.”

Moscone was ultimately killed by Dan White, an anti-Progressive former firefighter. The author tries to explain how Dan White was acquitted of what certainly looked like premeditated murder:

The jury appeared to pity White. What seemed to be particularly influential was a recording of White breaking down in tears during his confession to the police.

Playing the victim, or what researchers call victim signaling, appears to be working better than ever. Society’s definition of trauma and victimization is broadening, researchers find. As a result, there are more people who identify as victims today, even as actual trauma and victimization are declining. Researchers find that people are increasingly “moral typecasting,” or creating highly polarized categories of “victim” and “perpetrator.” And they find that people who portray themselves as “victims” believe they will be better protected from accusations of wrongdoing. In one study, participants judged how responsible an imaginary car thief was for his actions. One group was told that he had a genetic oversensitivity to pain. The other group was not given that detail. The people in the group who were told that the man was oversensitive to pain held him less responsible for his action.

Victim signalers are more likely to boast of their victim status after being accused of discriminating against others, or of being privileged. And so-called virtuous victims, people who broadcast their morality, alongside their victimization, are more likely to gain resources from others, researchers find, and display Dark Triad personality traits, than victim signalers who did not signal their virtue.

San Fransicko is worth reading, if only to see just how bad things can get for the middle class and even upper middle class before the elites need to worry about losing elections or personally experiencing anything negative. I find it tough to believe that the author’s proposed solution, a new massive state bureaucracy, would be effective. Suppose that the new state agency worked precisely as hoped, unlike any of the previous or existing government initiatives described in the book. If California were then to deliver on its promises to its current homeless, why wouldn’t that attract a more or less unlimited supply of new homeless people from other states, other countries (just walk across the border), etc.?

In the meantime, since California progressives are so passionate about helping the homeless, the least that folks in other states can do is purchase bus tickets for any homeless person who wants to go to California!

Greyhound bus photos below are from February 2020, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, currently a Deplorable-free environment:

THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES REQUIRES PROOF OF FULL VACCINATION TO ENTER THE MUSEUM. At MOCA this policy applies to all visitors 12+.

What counts as proof of vaccination? You must provide both:

  • Your vaccination card issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (which includes the name of the person vaccinated, the type of vaccine provided and the date(s) dose(s) administered), or similar documentation issued by another foreign government agency, such as World Health Organization, a digital vaccine record, a legible photograph of the vaccination card, or documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider; AND
  • Your photo ID.

(It is not in any way racist to require a photo ID.)

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Take a weekend trip to the desert, to the gay inns, where clothing is optional (and so are masks)

Here’s a mid-December 2021 story from the LA Times:

Some excerpts from a newspaper that has supporting school closures, mandatory vaccinations, etc.:

The skin wants the sun. The skin wants warmth and touch, and then water and air, shade and cool. The skin pulls you to the desert, to the gay inns, where swimsuits are optional.

some pump gay-circuit electronica through speakers hidden in cactus gardens, that peculiarly ubiquitous and relentlessly driving sex-club music, and those places tend to be more … playful.

None of the photos show anyone wearing the masks that the newspaper says the general public should be ordered to wear.

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How’s COVID test availability in your neighborhood?

From three weeks ago: Why is it still almost impossible to schedule a COVID-19 test? (at least in Maskachusetts)

How are things now? Here in the Palm Beach area, using the CVS web site, the earliest appointment that I was able to find was for next Friday, January 14, in the reasonably-nearby town of Hobe Sound (at a purpose-built “community test center”, not a CVS per se). The web site cautioned that it might take 3 days to get a result:

(How can anyone travel internationally? For most countries, we need a PCR test within 3 days prior to the trip but it will take 3 days to get a result?)

Adding together 7 days to wait for the test and 3 days to wait for the result, that’s 10 days to know whether or not one has been infected with deadly SARS-CoV-2 and therefore it is time to get monoclonal antibodies, emergency use-authorized pills, etc. There are free line-up-and-wait (usually in a car, since this is Florida and people love to idle in their SUVs) sites, but there are no guarantees regarding wait times (four hours last week in Tampa, but more recently maybe only 40 minutes).

For a Trump-hating, Biden-loving friend who is a professor at the University of California Berkeley, it is straightforward to maintain full confidence in the central planners who have devoted themselves (and a $10 trillion) for two years to the testing challenge. He simply denies that there is any shortage of tests or testing capacity. He asserted that anyone intelligent would have stocked up on at-home kits, as he did months ago, and that, in any case, it is straightforward to order kits via Instacart and have them delivered within hours. (NYT says the at-home kits won’t detect the Dreaded Omicron so maybe these will turn out to be the hand sanitizer of 2022? Consumers thought that Purell was critical to hoard, but it turned out to be useless.) He also pointed out that there are some walk-in test clinics and simply asserted that the waiting time wouldn’t be too long: “I don’t know what the line length is, but … there probably isn’t much of a line.” Anyone who can’t arrange a test within hours of feeling sick is “doing something stupid.” (Biden’s re-election seems secure!)

What would happen if he left the bubble of his multi-$million stocked-with-test-kits bunker? “Coveted COVID tests causing four-hour traffic jams as omicron explodes in Bay Area” (Mercury News):

Waits longer than a week for PCR tests. ‘A lot of people are frustrated’

“Getting vaxxed and boosted was fine — it’s the testing that’s been difficult,” Chandani said.

With California and the U.S. experiencing the worst COVID-19 case spike of the pandemic as the super-contagious omicron variant spreads, Bay Area residents are scrambling to get tested, and some are waiting for appointments more than a week away.

In the Bay Area Vaccine Hunters group on Facebook, set up last winter to help people find vaccine appointments, posts have shifted from where to find a booster shot to how to find a COVID-19 test, moderator Jessica Moore said.

And the antigen rapid tests that can be purchased at pharmacies remain scarce. Schools that were provided them by the state have been running out, and they disappear quickly from store shelves.

“Any time anyone posts on the Facebook site, if you click half an hour later, they’re gone,” Moore said.

Deemed-essential-by-Governor Newsom marijuana stores remain open in California, but “Bay Area schools close due to staff shortages, high case rates” (Mercury News).

Readers: What if you wanted a PCR COVID-19 test right now? How would you get one? How long would it take? (and say, in the comment, where you live)

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Who followed the Elizabeth Holmes trial?

Who followed the Elizabeth Holmes trial closely? “The Elizabeth Holmes Verdict: Theranos Founder Is Guilty on Four of 11 Charges in Fraud Trial” (WSJ, which is the newspaper primarily responsible for bringing down the company):

At the 15-week trial, Ms. Holmes testified in her own defense, showing regret for missteps and saying she never intended to mislead anyone. She accused her former boyfriend and deputy at Theranos of abusing her, allegations he has denied.

She was found guilty on three of the nine fraud counts and one of two conspiracy counts. She was acquitted on four counts related to defrauding patients—one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three charges of wire fraud.

The verdict doesn’t make sense to me on its face. If the patients weren’t defrauded with false test results how could the investors have been defrauded? But I didn’t follow the trial, so probably the jury knows a lot that I don’t.

If it were up to me, I would imprison the investors for stupidity in thinking that a young American college dropout knew more about blood testing than the file cabinets full of Ph.D. chemists at Philips, Siemens, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. I would have been reluctant to find Holmes guilty of anything or sentence this new mom to any prison time.

The man whom Holmes has accused of raping her daily, Ramesh Balwani, goes to trial next. Let’s see if readers, via the comments, can predict the ratio of prison sentence between these two defendants. I am going to guess that the immigrant/accused rapist receives a sentence that is 2X as long as whatever Holmes suffers. This is partly based on “Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases” (University of Michigan Law and Economics Research Paper, 2018), which says, all else being equal, a person whom the jury identifies as a “man” will be sentenced to 1.6X the prison time that a person whom the jury identifies as a “woman” receives. I moved the needle from 1.6X to 2X because Mr. Balwani is an immigrant and I think both the jury and the judge will be angry that someone emigrated to the U.S. to become a criminal.

(If Mr. Balwani enters into a plea bargain, the above prediction should be revised to 1X.)

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California Karen hosts a 200,000-person mass gathering (Super Bowl in Los Angeles)

SARS-CoV-2 is a sufficiently serious enemy that the Inglewood, California schools shut down completely for more than 400 days and, even after that, reopened only in a diluted “hybrid” form (source). Karen takes COVID-19 seriously enough to deprive children of an education (albeit not seriously enough to shut down the alcohol and essential marijuana stores for adults).

What’s Karen planning for February 2022? Super Bowl LVI, which will bring more than 100,000 ticket-holders together simultaneously in the (mostly enclosed) Inglewood, CA stadium (closer to 200,000 in and around the stadium and nearby hotels if we count support staff, hospitality workers, etc.?).

A free state such as Florida or South Dakota could host a Super Bowl without hypocrisy, but how can California in general or Los Angeles County in particular? COVID-19 was serious enough to warrant closing schools and imposing vaccine papers checkpoints on gathering places, but not serious enough to refrain from pulling 200,000 people from every corner of Planet Earth into close proximity? Even if they are righteously masked in the stadium (0-11% reduction in spread!), they’re inevitably going to be partying indoors and unmasked (#BecauseEatingAndDrinking) in big crowds before and after, no?

Separately, how could the National Football League have taken the risk of scheduling the game in California? What if the #Science-following Covidcrats decide that public health is more important than mere profits and shut down the event? A lot of $5,000 tickets will have to be refunded, no?

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Reading list: San Fransicko

A friend, who was forced to abandon his $10 million custom-built house in San Francisco after the wife refused to continue to live in a neighborhood where people injected heroin in their driveway, recommended San Fransicko.

I rejected the recommendation at first because I don’t have any intention of moving to the Bay Area or even visiting. See Working in San Francisco today (2019), in which I quote an understated young colleague:

[the meeting is] inside of WeWork Civic Center on Mission between 7th and 8th wedged between a homeless encampment and emergency heroin detox center. I would recommend picking a hotel in another part of town. … Due to the layout and direction of the one way streets and traffic I’ve found cabs/Uber to work fairly poorly and often take longer than BART. I stopped using cars when junkies started trying to open my door at stop lights.

But the book turns out to be more widely relevant. First, the author proves that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged:

In the 1990s I had worked on a broader set of progressive causes, including advocating for the decriminalization of drugs and alternatives to prison. But for most of the last two decades my research and writing has focused on the environment. And, in the early summer of 2020, I was busy running my nonprofit research organization and preparing for the release of my book on the topic. It was anarchy of a different sort that motivated me to write San Fransicko. During the pandemic, a growing number of people in floridly psychotic states were screaming obscenities at invisible enemies, or at my colleagues and me, on the sidewalks or in the street, as we went to and from our retail office in downtown Berkeley, near the University of California.

Though I have been a progressive and Democrat all of my adult life, I found myself asking a question that sounded rather conservative. What were we getting for our high taxes? And why, after twenty years of voting for ballot initiatives promising to address drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness, had all three gotten worse?

Inspect the lamppost before parking your Tesla Model S Plaid:

Complaints about human waste on San Francisco’s sidewalks and streets were rising. Calls about human feces increased from 10,692 to 20,933 between 2014 and 2018. In 2019, the city spent nearly $100 million on street cleaning—four times more than Chicago, which has 3.5 times as many people and an area that is 4.5 times larger. Between 2015 and 2018, San Francisco replaced more than three hundred lampposts corroded by urine after one had collapsed and crushed a car.

(Car and Driver: “trust us, you don’t want to do 200 mph in [the Tesla S Plaid]. Even 162 mph was terrifying, wandering and nervous to the point that we were concerned about our ability to shepherd it between lane lines. The steering doesn’t firm up enough with speed, making the task more difficult. At similar velocities, a Taycan is resolutely stable. Another reason to fear a 200-mph speed is brakes that got soft during our testing.”)

The author points out that Californian taxpayers give “people experiencing homelessness” and “persons with substance use disorder” (CDC preferred terms) everything that is required to survive until death by overdose:

Progressives give homeless people the equipment they need to live on sidewalks. After Occupy Wall Street protests were held in Oakland’s City Center in 2011, protesters gave their tents to the homeless and money to buy more.8 Five years later, a graphic designer in San Francisco purchased and gave away $15,000 worth of camping tents. “Other organizations were giving them out as well,” noted the city’s head of homeless services in 2016, “and now we’ve got 80 encampments.” San Francisco remains significantly more generous in its cash payments to homeless, and other spending to serve them, than other cities. For example, San Francisco’s maximum General Assistance cash welfare monthly benefit for the poor is $588, as compared to $449, $221, and $183 for individuals in San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York City, respectively. While New York City, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Diego spend 3.5, 1.1, 0.9, and 2.5 percent of their budget on homelessness services, San Francisco spends 6 percent. When local, state, and federal funding are accounted for, San Francisco spends $31,985 per homeless person just on housing, not including General Assistance, other cash welfare programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other services. By contrast, New York City spends $11,662 and Los Angeles spends $5,001.

San Francisco, according to the book, is the nation’s best destination for any would-be “Persons who returned to use” (CDC). The city and its array of homeless industrial-complex non-profit org contractors will supply “Persons who use drugs/people who inject drugs” with clean needles and crack/meth pipes in a location conveniently across the street from an open-air drug market.

For a bunch of rich say-gooders, San Franciscans are awfully stingy:

Mayor Breed said she opposed Proposition C because she feared that spending yet more on homelessness services, without any requirement that people get off the street, would backfire. “We are a magnet for people who are looking for help,” she said. “There are a lot of other cities that are not doing their part, and I find that larger cities end up with more than our fair share.” After San Francisco started offering free hotel rooms to the homeless during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, first responders reported that people had come from across the state. “People are coming from all over the place—Sacramento, Lake County, Bakersfield,” said the city’s fire chief. “We have also heard that people are getting released from jail in other counties and being told to go to San Francisco where you will get a tent and then you will get housing.”

If housing is a human right and health care is a right and clean needles are a right and inequality is bad, why does San Francisco object to caring for the poorest and most addicted of Bakersfield? The San Francisco median household income is 2X what the good citizens (and undocumented!) of Bakersfield enjoy. Californians will cheerfully pay for every American’s abortion. “California plans to be abortion ‘sanctuary’ if Roe v. Wade is overturned”:

With more than two dozen states poised to ban abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court gives them the OK next year, California clinics and their allies in the state Legislature on Wednesday revealed a plan to make the state a “sanctuary” for those seeking reproductive care, including possibly paying for travel, lodging and procedures for people from other states.

Why is it objectionable to pay for housing the nation’s already-born unfortunates?

I’ve long been an advocate that the marginal tax rate should be 100 percent on incomes greater than my own and on wealth greater than my own. It turns out that the unhoused think along the same lines:

Even people who would prefer to live in sober environments say they do not want to quit their addictions. “When we surveyed people in supportive housing in New York,” said University of Pennsylvania homelessness researcher Dennis Culhane, “almost everybody wanted their neighbors to be clean and sober but they didn’t want rules for themselves about being clean.” In 2016, after the city of San Francisco broke up a massive, 350-person homeless encampment, dozens of the homeless refused the city’s offers of help. Of the 150 people moved during a single month of homeless encampment cleanups in 2018, just eight people accepted the city’s offer of shelter. In 2004, just 131 people went into permanent supportive housing after 4,950 contacts made by then-mayor Newsom’s homeless outreach teams.

How about the richest and goodest of the rich say-gooders?

In 2018, a reporter asked Marc Benioff if Prop C would create a magnet effect. “It seems like one of the things that you guys are doing is you’re creating a magnet for people to come to the city and be homeless,” she said, “because it’s not a hostile environment. Everybody has talked about seeing people out on the street openly shooting up.”

“That’s just not true,” said Benioff. “I can tell you that’s clinically not true. Our University of California at San Francisco, we’ve got the clinical studies to show you that when you give homeless people a home, their lifestyle does change.”

According to Benioff, #Science (“clinically”) proves that providing a house is the cure. What is Marc Benioff doing about it, relative to his net worth (estimated by The Google at $10.8 billion)? He could spend $9.8 billion on helping his brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters who are experiencing homelessness and still have “tres commas”. According to the developer that I talked to in Real estate peak near? (cost to buy a crummy old apartment building about the same as to build new), it costs about $130,000 “per door” to build medium-quality apartments. If Benioff spent his way down to “merely three commas” that would work out to 75,000 new apartments and, therefore, assuming a 2BR average size, 150,000 human lives transformed (more than double the entire unhoused population of San Francisco and Los Angeles combined). Where are “The Benioff Towers” in which the nation’s unhoused can be housed in peace and tranquility?

(Separately, it looks as though Mr. Benioff has not been persuaded by the “Black Girls Code” signs that are attached to the buses that circle his $1 billion office tower.

“Salesforce’s equality struggles burst into the public” (Protocol, 2/8/2021):

In a resignation letter posted to LinkedIn earlier this month, Cynthia Perry wrote a searing take-down of the company’s racial equality efforts, specifically the treatment of Black employees, at the massive software provider.

“I am leaving Salesforce because of countless microaggressions and inequity,” she wrote. “I have been gaslit, manipulated, bullied, neglected, and mostly unsupported … the entire time I’ve been here.”

[Salesforce’s] struggles with race and equality aren’t new. For one, its diversity statistics remain abysmal: Just 3.4% of its 49,000 workers identify as Black.

“Salesforce, for me, is not a safe place to come to work. It’s not a place where i can be my full self. It’s not a place where I have been invested in. It’s not a place full of opportunity. It’s not a place of Equality for All. It’s not a place where well-being matters,” she wrote in the letter posted on LinkedIn.

Words must be followed up with action. And if they can’t be, then there should be no words,” she wrote. “There is a really big gap between how Salesforce portrays itself and the lived experience I had working at this company.”

Let’s hope that the above highlighted point is incorrect. Otherwise rich Bay Area residents could be in real trouble!)

What’s the story here in Palm Beach County? The median income is only half of San Francisco’s and there is no income tax, but funds are in ample supply due to property taxes on the mega-rich (soon those $80,000/year property tax payments will be 100% deductible from federal taxes!). The 2008 “Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Palm Beach County” says that 1,766 people were homeless in 2007. The 2020 count was 1,510 (of whom 480 were sheltered).

Circling back to the opening sentence, what are the rich people who have continued to live in San Francisco doing? “San Francisco residents are hiring private security to patrol their streets in bid to stay safe, amid crime spike that has left many fearful of going outside during the DAY” reports the Daily Mail. And, indeed, my friend confirmed that this was the path his former neighbors were going down.

More: read San Fransicko.

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Locked-down, pregnant, and stoned is actually a great way to go through life…

…. in the opinion of American pregnant people.

“Rates of Prenatal Cannabis Use Among Pregnant [People] Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (JAMA):

Considered an essential business in California, cannabis retailers remained open during the pandemic with record sales in 2020. We used data from Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), a large integrated health care delivery system with universal screening for prenatal cannabis use to test the hypothesis that rates of prenatal cannabis use increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of 100 005 pregnancies (95 412 [people]), 26% were Asian or Pacific Islander; 7%, Black; 28%, Hispanic; 34%, non-Hispanic White; and 5%, other, unknown, or multiracial. The patients were a mean age of 31 years (median, 31 years).

… In the ITS analysis, we found that prenatal cannabis use increased by 25% (95% CI, 12%-40%; Table) during the pandemic over prenatal cannabis use during the 15 months before the pandemic.

Note that I have edited the title and a portion of the text to remove offensive language that is inconsistent with #Science and CDC Guidelines.

Related:

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California versus Florida government workers

Jesus said “The last shall be first and the first last.” Perhaps he was talking about government workers in Florida and California who swapped jobs?

Searching the Web for teaching examples of strategic plans (private companies’ plans tend not to be available), I found one for the Florida DMV (“Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles”). Pages 11-12 cover the outcomes that Florida considers important to measure. All of them relate to the customer until the last one…

Employee welfare is not even a “value”. Page 4:

What about their brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters working for the California DMV? The 2021-2026 strategic plan puts workers #1 on page #1:

This is over a heading mentioning “stakeholders” (i.e., people other than customers). A little more detail on page 4:

Separately, it turns out that a resident of Florida doesn’t interact with “the DMV” to get a license, register a car, etc. County tax collectors are responsible for dealing with the unwashed. Due to coronapanic, the thinly populated counties are refusing to deal with non-residents and the densely populated counties, such as Palm Beach, require appointments. Once there, one finds that the front-line workers are all masked and behind the Plexiglas dividers that #Science first told us to install and now says are useless. What about the management overlords who set up the mask policy? They’re in open cubicles, about 20′ behind the front-liners, next to a bank of windows looking out at the palm trees… unmasked.

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Coronapanic orders from governors meet the American people

From California, one of the world centers of optimism regarding the power of government, via shutdown and mask orders, to reduce, not merely delay, coronavirus infections: “The number of babies infected with syphilis was already surging. Then came the pandemic” (Los Angeles Times). If Californians did what Gavin Newsom told them to do, you’d expect a pandemic to reduce sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis. It is tough to catch syphilis while staying home and watching Netflix/playing Xbox for 18+ months. But, with the same logic we use for COVID-19 is sure to kill you, but life insurance rates haven’t changed and Wave of death among the elderly bankrupts Social Security, we can actually blame coronashutdowns for an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. From the LA Times:

More and more babies in L.A. County have been infected with syphilis in the womb, which can lead to stillbirth, neurological problems, blindness, bone abnormalities and other complications. Nine years ago, only six cases were reported across L.A. County, according to a Department of Public Health report. Last year, that number reached 113.

The numbers were already surging before the arrival of COVID-19, but public health officials fear the pandemic exacerbated the problem, closing clinics that screen people for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections and putting new efforts to battle the disease on ice.

At the time, she said, she feared that going to a clinic could lead to her being jailed for using meth. “You think, ‘I’m going to get in trouble because I’m high,’” she said.

The surge in congenital syphilis has been especially frustrating to experts because the illness can be thwarted if pregnant people are tested and treated in time.

Men who have sex with men have been especially vulnerable, but the accelerating numbers among women and babies have spurred particular alarm for health officials because of the potentially devastating consequences.

Note the use of CDC-approved vocabulary, e.g., “pregnant people” and “men who have sex with men”. But then things break down a bit as the article wears on…

In L.A. County jails, eight cases of syphilis had been confirmed among 170 pregnant patients seen as of late August, said Dr. Noah Nattell, who oversees women’s health for the county‘s Correctional Health Services agency.

The sentence starts with “pregnant patients”, but falls back to the old term “women” towards the end. The inconsistency continues lower down:

Researchers have found that nationally, not all pregnant people are screened for syphilis despite the urgings by health officials. Even when they are diagnosed, nearly a third of pregnant women with syphilis did not get the care they needed, according to an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The sentence that immediately follows one in which “pregnant people” is used falls back to the discredited term “pregnant women.” There is only one author for this article. Why can’t Emily Alpert Reyes pick one term and stick with it?

One of the key problems is that, unlike marijuana, methamphetamine hasn’t yet been recognized for its medicinal value and therefore remains illegal.

The woman who lost her baby said she started using meth at an overwhelming point in her life, facing the demands of a stressful job, school and a relationship that had grown strained after her earlier struggle to get pregnant.

At the time, the drug felt like “a ticket to freedom.” She quit her unrewarding job. Her boyfriend moved out. Meth made her feel brave, “like I could take a deep breath finally.”

She started seeing a man who told her he didn’t need to use a condom with her, a decision she now sees as naive. After they broke up, she got into a relationship with a friend who would become the father of her baby.

When the waves of pain began to roll over her in a hotel room where she was spending time with her boyfriend, another man and his girlfriend, the girlfriend quickly realized she was in labor and urged them to call 911, she said. But the men bristled at the idea, she recalled, because there were drugs there and they didn’t want attention from the police.

Soo… the population that was supposed to be refraining from gathering and using the governor-ordered face masks consistently and correctly is, in fact, spreading sexually transmitted diseases at a higher-than-previous rate, partying in hotel rooms with a miscellaneous collection of potentially infectious humans, etc. Is it fair to say that America’s leading public health experts have never met the American public?

(Separately, how effective have California’s measures been? In the COVID Olympics, California has a higher COVID-19-tagged death rate than do-almost-nothing Sweden. California initially appears to have had some success, if we’re measuring a society’s success by this one number, compared to Florida. Adjusted for population over 65, however, California has actually had a higher death rate than Florida, where adults have enjoyed near-total freedom. Could a failure to consider what Americans are actually like be part of the reason that California’s aggressive lockdowns and mask orders have had no apparent effect?

(And let’s see how the masks and lockdowns worked in California compared to the #Science-denials of the Florida Free State… from a Stanford Med School prof:

Compared to Florida, California may have a lower cumulative death rate tagged to COVID-19, but that is only because the population is younger (free and/or subsidized housing available only to those with children apparently encourages “pregnant people” to have babies and become “lactating people”!). For a given person of a given age, the risk of dying from COVID-19 was actually lower in Florida.)

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