Sunday assorted links

1. Rent control for Silicon Valley? (NYT)

2. The fallout from Obama’s visit to Cuba.

3. “Each guy paid for his date’s dinner or drinks, as guys who go out with women are generally expected to do. Each then used Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment app, to request that his date reimburse her share after the fact.”  Link here.

4. Which cruise ships have the best libraries?  By the way, bigger ships are often worse.

5. “Homeless people in San Francisco say the sprinklers at Bonhams are turned on at night to soak their belongings and discourage them from staying on the sidewalk”  There is also this sentence: “Still, anti-homeless design features are ubiquitous around the city.”

6. Trailer for the new Malcolm Gladwell podcast series.


#2 Why Obama is highly underrated as a President.

Re-creating ISIS in Iraq and introducing it to Syria, Lebanon, and Afghanistan

Indeed, those places were so nice under the previous administration.

BTW any idiot could have restored the U.S. embassy in Cuba. Obama’s way smarter than any idiot.

You mean all previous US Presidents and any conceivable person that could have bee nominated by the GOP?

"Indeed, those places were so nice under the previous administration."

In 2008 and 09 even Biden and Obama were saying how better it got. Headlines in the papers compared Chicago's death rate to all of Iraq's.

Then, they pulled an Obama...

So indeed the US can artificially make a not very nice place somewhat nice by spending billions of dollars and getting young men killed. Or places that can't hold together can be allowed to implode and the populations and states next to them can figure it out from there.

Well, the U.S. dropped bombs on Libya, so it's a bit much to claim that it "imploded."

I know, I know, it was all David Cameron's fault. The Messiah himself said it, so it must be true.

Yeah, it's not so hard to blame us for the mess in Libya or Yemen or Iraq, since we have intervened aggressively in all three countries. But we've been much less involved in Syria, and yet they're as big a mess as you'll find anywhere on Earth right now.

US military deaths in Iraq
2009 149
2010 60
2011 54
2012 1
2014 3
2015 6
2016 7

Given 149 is "normal", deaths seem to be below normal since Obama took office.

Or are you a "the US must be the policeman of the entire world because only the US government can tell people how to think and act" advocate, and reject individual responsibility?

Unilateral surrender is not a great policy. Obama gave Cuba everything he could. He asked for nothing in return. Not even the release of a single political prisoner.

Obama is grossly overrated as a President. He has a press corp determined to maintain his Cult of Personality and swear blind that like Kim Il-sung he can finish a round of golf in seventeen strokes. But actual achievements he has none.

Obama could cure Zika, single-handedly wipe out ISIS, make the economy grow at 4%, and beat Putin in a boxing match and you types would still find him overrated. Predictable partisanship is so boring. There are those who treated W the same way. Yawn.

Perhaps. But let's be fair. I will settle for one of those. Say beating Putin in a boxing match. Hell, I would be happy if Obama could throw a baseball like a man. But let's not ask for too much here.

A lot of insanity was expressed over W. But apart from the mixed legacy of the War on Terror, W had achievements. His spending on Africa was significant and important. A real legacy. Obama has nothing comparable. Nothing at all actually.

Justin Trudeau could certainly kick Putin's ass in a boxing match. Not really sure what that would prove.

My money would be on Putin. Zoolander seems about capable of beating up the odd female MP but little more.

Blah blah blah Obama is terrible blah blah blah W did so much good blah blah blah. Again, yawn.

Obama is far from the best president ever, and he's far from the worst. Maybe in the top 40% let's say.

Also, this guy would whip Fake Tough Guy For The Cameras Putin:

There is no denying W's achievements in Africa. He gets no press for it and everyone has more or less agreed not to talk about it, but it is still there. Not all of his tenure was good, not every policy sensible. But it is odd he doesn't get any credit even for the good parts.

Obama on the other hand can point to nothing. A disaster for a foreign policy. The longest recession in modern American history. A divided and embittered nation. I would have to think for a moment of a worse President. Worse than Wilson.

Which is presumably why he is giving everything away to the Cubans and Iranians. He needs some sort of record to claim something from his period in office. I don't think that selling out the national interest for some cheap headlines makes a good president.

So Much is right. After all, if a policy has failed for 50 years Obama should just double down on it for another 50. Why couldn't I see that before!

Like Civil Rights you mean? How many more decades go you want to go on chasing that dream?

Some policies are morally right. They should be followed no matter the cost. But in what sense did the former policy fail? It was a stupid policy - Cuba called, and calls, for armed intervention to throw out the Castros - but it was working just fine. All it did was make Americans go to Canada for their cigars. Big deal.

However even if the policy failed, it does not follow that because a policy is stupid you should replace it with an even stupider policy. It does not follow that unconditional surrender was a sensible alternative. Obama could have demanded a price for his new policy but he didn't. More religious freedom perhaps. Fewer political prisoners. Something like the Helsinki process. Anything. But of course that would involve hard work and serious thought. Neither of what Obama is good at.

"Obama could have demanded a price for his new policy but he didn’t. More religious freedom perhaps. Fewer political prisoners"
If Castro, any Castro, were ready to allow a greater role for churches-- it is what religious freedom means in the context, Cubans already can pray and go to church to their heart's content--and free prisoners, they would have done it 25 years ago when all cool kids from Eastern Europe were doing so and the Soviets cut the allowance. So we are back at making nice with China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, but not Cuba because Florida.

The Castro Brothers won't be able to survive another 55 years of embargo! America just need to stay the course.

"As I wrote in my piece, the origins of our gendered treating tradition are historical, not genetic"

And into the trash it goes. Pity, as the article started promising.

Did you read the linked article where she made the case?

Re:#5 and #1

I hope SF/MTV residents take quick actions on these important issues. Both areas are slowly losing their hold on technology and the sooner the better. More liberal policies please!

Alabama: home to the next Google.

I hear the they have a big mall there now!

#4 Thank you kindle for obviating this factor for me at least.

#1) Maybe someone who knows more about this issue can weigh in, but is the basic challenge simply that there are not enough voting renters in the Valley to force the policy changes that would allow more building and zoning reforms? I assume homeowners are almost universally opposed.

Meanwhile, my in-laws, who happened to settle in San Jose about 25 years ago and bought a few properties for work purposes, have by sheer luck been able to cash-in in a ridiculous way. I don't believe they see the need to build more housing in the area. Just a guess. :-)

Be nice to the homeless. Maybe you can lure them away from here(Santa Cruz) where we are nice to the homeless and guess what....we get more and more.

The end was good. For a homeless guy, Foley displays a greater ability to see the point of view of his adversaries than most people do.

If we make homelessness a crime, everybody wins. Nobody has to deal with homeless people bothering them and the homeless get homes, of a sort.

That would be one way to try to get around the ridiculous legal restrictions that prevent mentally ill people from being subject to "involuntary" treatment.

But this would go beyond that. This would also target drunks, layabouts, veterans and others who aren't "mentally ill."

Targeting those others is also good, but what is especially good is targeting the specious compassion of leftists.

What is also good is laying bare rightist hypocrisy when it comes to "freedom".

How? You said homelessness is the crime. Not laying down for awhile/passing out (which is mostly a crime already). Cop wakes you up from your nap, but you can prove you have a home your free to go.

I can't remember the link, but I recently came across a report that about a century ago in places like NYC detectives would stake out restaurants to identify those paying for their female companion's meal as evidence of prostitution. Perhaps we've come full circle on the dinner date issue.

Because it was here, last week

"For Obama, Cuba was his “Nixon in China” moment, a legacy move to close the last chapter of the Cold War in our hemisphere."

More of a homecoming, not much of a Nixon moment.

Obama has had lots of Nixon moments, and indeed that wasn't one of them. Nixon went to China against the policy and inclinations of his own party. Obama went to Cuba following the inclinations of his own party.

Libya was Obama's Nixon moment. Syria is the moment that got away.

3.It's self-evident that if one datee is paying a larger % of discretionary income than the other, that the dynamic is unfair. OTOH, I think the etiquette of the inviter paying for the invitee is fair. You probably should include the cost of the entire date, including makeup. I'm not a big fan of buying clothes for a date, nor of paying to have fingers or hair done in a salon. Seems to me that is more for oneself than for the other person. That said, it can equally be argued that when the outcome of dating is a long term relationship, and that in most ltrs, the female does most of the housework, meal prep, and errands, then the little amount spent up front is a good investment. Or perhaps the people who claim female libido is the same as male are completely wrong.

what a comment, hoo! "Li Zhi June 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm

I think the efficiency needs to come from organizing the paperwork around the sales tax deduction. If you use an app to try and split the deduction the overhead is higher, so yes the person who owns the meeting should pay.

I don't think that extends to what would effectively become an amortized expenditures, since it would be hard to allocate makeup retailed in an amount that may last at least several months (or years in the case of clothing) particularly if it were also worn earlier in the day during working hours; I would also prefer any date not wear makeup.

I wouldn't let anyone do more than their pro-rata share of housework, but anyone paying their pro-rata share of property taxes would be a good thing. Indeed, anyone would earn more (on an amortized basis) over the time it takes to get to the meeting place, and it is hard to infer discretionary income until the end of the calendar/fiscal year even assuming people will disclose this info. It is just a matter of principle.

You are assuming males value the housework the same as the females. My wife vacuums/washes floors, etc. once a week. This is wasted on me. I would literally pay her not to clean so much, since it inconveniences me.

As they say, only Nixon could go to China. And perhaps only W or Mr. Trump could have gone to Cuba for it to be acceptable to you. A real Nixon moment would be leaving office in disgrace, but he'll finish up on a high note, what with all the new socialist programs and islamification of America.

(Was a reply to TMC)

Nixon had anticommunist bona fides and got a strategic bulwark for his efforts. Obama not so much, and his high note leaving office appears to be the deadliest mass terrorist shooting in U.S. history.

Nixon going to China while he had "anticommunist bona fides" just made him a hypocrite. Meanwhile, Nixon's OTHER disgrace was presiding over 1/3 of US deaths in Vietnam well after it was clear that war was over and we had lost--to the communists by the way.

I suppose you also think that FDR was a hypocrite for allying with Stalin. The Left never tires of a chance to have two minutes of hate directed against Nixon.

You've missed the point, dear.

With the tea party capitalization, is that any surprise?

We lost when we pulled out. Even after we pulled out, while we supported South Vietnamese forces, they held their own. Once we stopped supporting them the war was lost.

Nixon actively sabotaged peace talks while LBJ was still president. Had he not done so, it is quite possible the U.S. would have gotten the same deal it got in 1973 except about four years earlier and with fewer dead and wounded American soldiers. The "Nixon in China" business was a last-ditch attempt to exert some pressure on North Vietnam once it became clear to Nixon and Kissinger that their military efforts were not going to give the U.S. the edge they had hoped in negotiating an end to the war.

And he did so for purely political reasons--there are tapes that confirm this.

You seem to have the Nixon visit backward. That the US president could go to Beijing and meet with Mao was a sign that China was willing to change. They had tense relations with the Soviets, Mao was sick and reformers like Deng were emerging. Nixon's visit strengthened this transition.

Obama's visit to Cuba - and rapprochement with Iran - serve no process toward reform, but rather strengthen the resolve and ability not to reform.

The Iranian regime is more deadly today than it was four years ago. In their latest budget, they increased spending on the military while cutting health and education.

"That the US president could go to Beijing and meet with Mao was a sign that China was willing to change. They had tense relations with the Soviets, Mao was sick and reformers like Deng were emerging. Nixon’s visit strengthened this transition."

China was suspicious of Vietnam as the two countries have never really gotten along -- China has a tendency to see Vietnam the way Russia sees Ukraine. Communist Vietnam ultimately entered the Soviet orbit of influence and went to war with China in 1979 so China's meeting with the U.S. was as much (if not mostly) about geopolitics than internal change. Today, the roles are reversed as the U.S. and Vietnam have serious talks about greater military cooperation with an eye toward keeping a lid on Chinese influence and belligerence in the region.

Just another 55 years of embargo and the Castro Brothers will be gone! Stay the course, America!
"That the US president could go to Beijing and meet with Mao was a sign that China was willing to change. They had tense relations with the Soviets, Mao was sick and reformers like Deng were emerging. Nixon’s visit strengthened this transition."
And China's government never disrespected human rights again... Truth is, unless we onlycare about Apple making money, America can negociate with Cuba already. After all, it is a country with more freedom of press (or less crushing of freedom of press) than either China or Vietnam (not a great feat) and whose regime, unlike China's or Saudi Arabia's, is a threat only to its own unfortunate citizens.

3 cont'd
Signaling? (of what? dominance? nesting/provider aptitude? cultural compliance? agreeableness?)

To me all #3 is a "signal" of is that the person sending the bill is cheap and petty. If you want to split the check, do so at the start. Don't "pretend" to pay and then send off a bill later on. And if dinner is such a BFD that you care enough to send a bill for it. Go somewhere cheaper or don't date out of your league.

Considered in the context of international relations of what possible moment is trade with Cuba? What does Cuba have, beside the now-discouraged cigars, that Americans need? As far as exports from the US to Cuba, what do American exporters receive in payment? Since US trade is only a small portion of the total of world trade, how does the embargo on Cuban commerce negatively affect either country? If the Cubans have such neat stuff others must surely be willing to pay for it and ship their own products to the island. There are other places in the world that have minimal trade relations with the US while having amicable relations, why should we care about Cuba in particular? If tourism is the issue, travelers can vacation in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Belize, and a host of other places. The only attraction to visiting Cuba is to observe one of the few remaining communist dictatorships.

Those who appreciate and have the ability to evaluate cigars (which, to most of us, seem to be much harder to successfully counterfeit than wines, both within and across general-quality-level boundaries) recognize that Cuba has, for the moment and possibly forever, lost the unique cachet it had decades ago in the cigar business. Not completely off topic, but those who wonder if one or another president will triumph as "most underrated" among future "historians" misses the real question. Mark 8:36 discusses the actual values at stake.

Troll me, the site you're linking to looks like it was written by a crazy person.

Sugar? Rum? Coffee? Just speculating.

The US has a tariff on sugar so a few cane growers in Florida and some beet farmers in the Red River Valley don't have to compete with the likes of Cuba. Rum is produced in lots of places, Puerto Rico for instance. Coffee is grown in Hawaii, and many other parts of the world. If Cuba slipped beneath the waves tomorrow it would have zero economic impact on the US except for loss of employment for a few prison guards and interrogators.

"why should we care about Cuba in particular?"
Well, apparently you cared enough about Cuba in particular to keep the embargo for more than 50 years and counting while making nice with lots of other vile dictatorships.

Here you go:

The relationship has been an eyesore, mainly because other countries that we are friendly with (e.g. France, England, Mexico) have normal relations, so it basically makes Cuba look like a socialist martyr while hurting our chances at developing trade and tourism.
The only reason it's been a big deal, really, is all the ex-Cubans in Florida who hate Castro and were throwing up a protest on a whiff of normalizing relations. But Obama doesn't care as he's not up for reelection and Clinton can just say she'll look into removing the embargo if Congress passes it, which they won't.

peaceable cohorts, willingly exchange, knowing we're just a molecule in a big game; nevertheless, we are resourceful, and got a chance in this big old woirld out there . . .

#3 They are just toying with the fantasy of perhaps someday divorcing this woman.

...and you thought the MEAL was expensive!!!

5) Did I read that right that they want to make it illegal to wash feces off the sidewalk? Great idea.

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