Sunday assorted links


6 - If they cannot they will need to reduce expenses.

By relying on car thieves to provide rides?

By getting government to provide a working car no older than 7 years to every person over age 16?

I'd say half uber/lyft capitalist ride contractorss operate at a loss. That's why they must offer bonuses etc to recruit naive taxi service startups.

Remember, Lyft/Uber are not providing jobs, but contracts to small single proprietor businesses.

I call AAA Taxi - 328-8888.

Finance 101: If an entity is faced with inadequate revenues and does not reasonably expect to increase revenues, the alternative is to cut expenses.

No, you go out of business.

How do you provide services via Uber/Lyft without a reliable car?

Taxi companies unable to charge high enough fares drive cars into the ground, employ mechanics able to repair cars with duct tape and bailing wire, with enough extra cars that the barely working aren't used most of the time, only on surges. Service is terrible because even when there are cars running, there are no drivers willing to work at the low wage. Even then, most go out of business because there are easier ways to run your own business and not make much money.

Holy Jumping Jehoshaphat!

And, Uber/Lyft make becoming a business startup very easy, and also make going out of business very easy, encouraging going out of business.

If you have the required capital, you can be a startup with a standardized business registration process. If you are a poor business person, they either encourage you to quit by nootbgiving you contracts, or by simply shutting your business down by deregistering you.

All those claiming a fall in startups are failing to see the technology changes that make starting a business, and closing a business almost frictionless. Every Uber/Lyft, as well as Amazon, Walmart, etc service provider is a startup business, and most fail, or are shutdown, within a few years max.

Uber spent $1B on advertising last quarter. I'm guessing so they show up on top if you Google "taxi"

They could also merge. Save a lot of costs plus more bargaining power. Not sure if this DoJ will let it through.

DC as a 'state' would be just what it is now: a fragment of a metropolitan settlement. In 1950, about 2/3 of the population of metropolitan Washington was in DC. Now it's about 15%. Even the least populous states are a concatenation of discrete communities and swaths of countryside. DC is nothing like that.

DC has full representation on all House committees. What it doesn't have is a floor vote in the House or the Senate. The latter is significant, the former not.

You want DC to have full representation in Congress, retrocede it to Maryland. The best solution would be to treat the area north of the Potomac as part of Maryland and the area south of it as part of Virginia for purposes of Congressional representation, but enact constitutional amendments in Maryland and Virginia which would allow general legislative power in the areas in question to be delegated to local councils. These councils could then delegate it to a general council formed under a municipal corporation formed under an inter-state compact between Maryland, Virginia, and the federal government. Greater Washington, rVirginia, and rMaryland would be three jurisdictions for purposes of provincial government and two constituencies for purposes of Congressional representation.

'and the area south of it as part of Virginia for purposes of Congressional representation'

Undoubtedly, it merely slipped you mind that this has been the case since 1847. Well, apart from the period that Virginia was part of the Confederacy, that is.

I see you never pass up an opportunity to be a condescending jerk, even when you have to go out of your way to misinterpret what someone says.

And to think I even quoted your actual words before pointing out that your suggestion was already followed in 1847. Anyone with the least awareness of retrocession would not have to go out of their way to correctly interpret your apparent actual lack of awareness.

Which is apparently the height of condenscion, right?

Or is it the fact that I am a native Virginian born in Alexandria that makes you feel condescended to?

Yes, but you see, to someone who isn't a fool, not everything needs to be explicitly stated.

Well, in your case, explicitly stating your words and explicitly stating history seemed eminently necessary.

You are welcome to wonder why that might be the case, of course.

But at least you did seem to grasp the major point - Alexandria already left the District of Columbia once (in part due to the rights of Virginian citizens to vote and be represented in Congress being taken away), and has no desire to be made part of a political unit which is not part a part of the Commonwealth.

DC becoming a state would essentially require a change to the Constitution. Retrocession involves only a part of the District of Columbia, not its existence. Though with the Supreme Court having ruled that the limited time for patents and copyrights found in Article I Section 8. Clause 8 means essentially infinity minus one day if Congress so desires (one is welcome to read a PDF of the 7-2 opinion here -, one can imagine a retrocession that excludes a few hundred or thousand square yards, so as to cover the White House and affiliated office space, the Capitol Grounds, and the Supreme Court would like pass legal muster.

Not that anyone honestly would think that retroceding most of DC would change any political calculus, meaning that the current Republican Party would oppose it, regardless of whether or not it would be constitutional. (The difference between one or two virtually assured Democratic House members is more than sufficient to oppose in the current political climate, even if the actual political effect is minimal. As one can observe with how tenaciously blatant gerrymandering is defended on purely partisan grounds.)

DC becoming a state would essentially require a change to the Constitution.

It would require nothing of the sort. The constitutional provision which authorizes the creation of DC is permissive, not prescriptive. The only impediment would be if Maryland declined to accept the District back.

Wyoming should be retroceded to Idaho.

#6 Uber and Lyft will probably have an increasing overlap in shareholders. Someone who owns shares in both companies prefers they don't compete on price.

'Someone who owns shares in both companies prefers they don't compete on price.'

And clearly don't care about losses.

Which makes one, possibly, wonder why Saudis are such major investors in one of those companies. 'Even as Uber’s lawyers finalized the details of the deal, they still couldn't quite believe it would really happen. The Saudi Arabian government was set to give the San Francisco-based startup $3.5 billion, an astronomical amount. The company’s legal team had to double-check that it was even possible to send that much money in a single wire transfer. But on June 1, 2016, the Saudi Public Investment Fund sent Uber Technologies Inc. the cash in one lump sum. It was the largest single investment from a foreign government to a venture-backed startup ever—and still is.'

The pre-IPO unicorn investments had all sorts of additional rights for the investors, it's hard to know what deal they actually got because the parts of the contract that Uber had to sign in blood were nullified at the IPO.
It's also possible that the Saudis have enough investments for some of them to be hedges.

People who own shares in index funds don't want anyone to compete with anyone anywhere.

Don't forget about Puerto Rico Statehood! Rep. Darren Soto (D.-Fla.) has even proposed a bill to this effect:

Approximately every four years in the past 50 years, PR voters have had their votes on statehood, remaining an associated commonwealth or independence. Statehood is gaining. The status quo has been the voters' choice.

What about the debt?

DC would be a city-state like Athens with a very-low IQ.

It seems to be smarter than New York, LA, Dallas, Houston.

PR - a bunch of free riders that take the money but don't pay any US federal income tax. Screw them. We should toss 'em like a hot potato.

Taxation with representation I believe is how the system works. If they become a state, they will start paying federal income taxes.

Puerto Rico's political economy has been wretchedly injured by it's association with the United States - i'm guessing do to federal regulation and welfare benefits which are calculated with reference to prevailing wages on the mainland. As we speak, employment-to-population ratios are around 0.36, just about the lowest in the occidental world, in spite of the fact that the quantum of production per capita makes it borderline 1st world. It's necessary and proper to quit dealing with Puerto Rico with the left hand and take steps to address its economic pathology. An aspect of that is going to be replacing it's current status with a protectorate status, and ending free migration to the mainland.

We should do one better and make PR a fully independent sovereign state. It would be worth it to help pay off their debts in exchange for a permanent separation.


Meh. Solid mood affiliation.

A) without internal data it is impossible to know how much of the losses are from geoexpansion and how much the companies benefit from scale. Both have very expensive IT operations, which should scale in theory.

2) every driver I have spoken with has noted how the freedom of the job is the primary selling point. I’ve never seen one of these liberal economists mention this as they scratch their head and wonder why do the drivers do it?

3) indeed there is great surplus in ride sharing and some of that may be borne by the riders. Especially when on business.

Ride sharing?

When you eat out, is that meal sharing?

It is called ride sharing to discourage regulation as a taxi business. However, it is a taxi business, and a much better one than the pre-existing one. Nobody makes drivers drive for Uber or Lyft, so there must be some producer surplus. The consumer surplus is huge.

4 - I thought this was an especially bad piece. Because of his religious beliefs, Ross disagrees that suicide should be legal. How does this imply that liberal proceduralism is failing?

Come on.

He clearly was diverting focus from the mental healthh system he and conservatives advocate: prison, jail, euthanasia by cop, assisted suicide by inmate and jailers.

It looked to me like a different sort of error. It's true that we are merely concerned or critical, but that's true of most things "far away." People don't worry that much about Peterson's buddy Orbán either, because he's far away.

What does a Canadian psychology professor have to do with the leader of Hungary?

And what does either one of them have to do with acceptance of euthanasia in Western Europe or Douthat’s opinions on said euthanasia?

Weird comment.

Oh. It’s just Democrat Party culture wars.

So you’re just a mouthpiece of millionaire liberals. That’s disappointing.

“Make Biden reach $1 billion in assets” is a cause, I guess. Go Dems?

Or maybe you should Google things you don't understand.

That's a weird sock puppet. Please ignore.

Peterson made a weird and in my opinion ill-conceived visit to Orbán. Twitter threads ensued.

So a Canadian Psychology professor met with the leader of Hungary and people tweeted. What does that have to do with a policy of assisting suicide of minors in Europe?

You're free to comment on it directly. No need to drag it down to culture war inanity.

It's not off the wall, the arc of Jordan Peterson began in these pages when he was declared a leading public intellectual in January, 2018.

One comment on that page: "It is not uncommon for influential public intellectuals to have a sell-by date."

Wise words.

now that you mention it
it is mebbe a little odd to have a law in a western European country
that allows assisted euthanasia for psychiatric patients between the ages of 12-18 especially after you look at the data

It is not something I see us in danger of adopting here in the US, and good on us.

good point!
it looks like the current "danger" of a law allowing assisted euthanasia for psychiatric patients between the ages of 12-18 in the netherlands
would be dutch adolescents (age 12-18) support the support of starvation suicide of a 17 year old Dutch girl because a Canadian psychology professor was mentioned as a commentator in Marginal Revolution?

You’re free to give your opinion on the matter.

I don’t see the connection between euthanasia for depressed children in the Netherlands and a Canadian psychology professor, or the PM of Hungary.

Grasping at straws ?

I said "It's true that we are merely concerned or critical, but that's true of most things 'far away.'"


ask your boss how much money she still owes to smith college?
and then tell her that
"It's true that we are merely concerned or critical, but that's true of most things 'far away.' - is a aphorism that really doesn't explain
why there is a dutch law that allows for the medicalized euthanasia of adolescent psychiatric patients!

Genocide Watch counts 5 ongoing emergencies:

But they are far away.

6. Actually, what Goolsbee wrote is that if you believe Uber and Lyft can find their way to profitability, he has a bridge he would like to sell you. This is an era in which investors determine where to invest based on expectations of rising asset prices, and as long as the Fed cooperates, not much will change. Until it does.

I never thought I would agree on anything with Dr. Goolsbee.

This week, Chmn. Powell signaled with certainty that the Fed will continue to cooperate.

There's no fundamental reason that ride-sharing services cannot ultimately be profitable. After all, the cab business was historically profitable, and Uber & Lyft have many quality and efficiency advantages over the legacy cab business model. However, I am very skeptical that, ultimately, either company will be able to justify their stock prices / market caps.

4. I very much enjoy Douthat's column. That doesn't mean I agree with him, because I often don't. But I respect someone who is consistent, and Douthat is consistent. Here is an essay by George Packer that I found appealing because, rather than blame this or that group(think), he places blame on individual prejudices and delusions; after all, God did give us free will:

@wayward: "But I respect someone who is consistent, and Douthat is consistent. "

No, you certainly do not respect anyone who is "consistent" in evil or destructive outlook. You are posturing here.

Just what is it that Douhat is consistent about that you so remarkably respect?

(IMO one can very safely ignore all of Douhat's mutterings)

Douthat is a fundamentalist Christian. Sure, he is a Roman Catholic today, but that followed many years as a fundamentalist Protestant. He doesn't care for the reformist Pope Francis, preferring instead the fundamentalist Pope Benedict. But give Douthat credit for bing consistent: he may no longer identify as a fundamentalist Protestant, but he is and always will be.

Douthat is a fundamentalist Christian.

He isn't.

Sure, he is a Roman Catholic today, but that followed many years as a fundamentalist Protestant.

A few years as an adolescent.

He doesn't care for the reformist Pope Francis,

Francis is actually an agent of every kind of institutional corruption.

preferring instead the fundamentalist Pope Benedict.

I see you prefer using nonsense terms.

But give Douthat credit for bing consistent: he may no longer identify as a fundamentalist Protestant, but he is and always will be.

Quit pretending you know anything. You're making a clown out of yourself.

All you said.

I would add, "But, I love you, man."

Douthat became a catholic like me after getting penis from the local catholic priest as a boy

msgkings gets grosser every year.

Even Msgkings can see that you're a bumboy

You need help: please get some help.

re discussion on DC, the literal text of the Constitution allows Congress to create a federal district but does not require it.

There is no need to even shrink the district to a few buildings. They could just repeal whatever law was passed in 1790 that established the district. DC local government would just be an local government entity in Maryland. Representation in both chambers equal to that of other Americans who live in states.

When the capitol was in Philadelphia, Congress was bothered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's refusal to disperse mobs of soldiers demanding that Congress pay them, and also Pennsylvania outlawing slavery. They wanted to meet in a place under federal jurisdiction so they could control their own grounds and bring their slaves in. By 21st century standards the reasons for having a separate federal district are weak and most countries forgo it.

Before the lightsaber SF authors played with ideas like "monomolecular wire." Something like that might slice easily, but then it becomes some kind of string and weight weapon. A yo-yo! Or a flying guillotine.

Generalists, are generally good.

Specialists who assume they are automatically generalists as well, are generally dangerous.

Why the Apple watch still is not a medical device.

That’s an interesting concept. What’s an example of a specialist who is dangerous because he assumes his knowledge is broadly applicable?

An engineer who won't read books on investment strategy, because he's smart and can figure it out.

In the case of Apple, they really did reject a deep knowledge base on medical elections because they thought it was dumb and old fashioned.

Or perhaps an electric car company who is going to do "self driving," because they are smart, and how hard could it be?

The pattern repeats frequently.

"Medical electronics"

There doesn't seem like much evidence that the Apple watch would be a "medical device" if they're hired lots more medical specialists. Or that self driving electric cars would have been more doable if the companies hired more specialists in what exactly? The closest thing to an applicable specialist being automotive engineers and AI specialists, and I would presume they have hired plenty of those.

Even if that's true, at worst those are "missed opportunities" rather than any actual harm.

Ok, if you don't mind bs false starts and misallocated capital/effort, each of these examples is really "fine."

Working out if they're dead loss misallocation seems tricky.

In any case, market should decide and if market chooses badly, that's a flaw in investors, not any of the startups under consideration.

Albert Einstein, when he strayed into politics. And every other socialist or communist scientist in the first half of the last century - there were many.

To be fair, generalists don't do better than specialists when it comes to politics.

Richard Dawkins, when he strays into politics, this very day -

Turnout is about 70%, with a good chunk of those self selecting out being people who have little interest or confidence in their competence. Dawkins would presumably like some sort of "qualification" that would reduce that by 1/3 to 1/2 again. At this point it's hard to describe as democracy....

Presumably this will be much to the upset of Anon, tireless self proclaimed defender of democracy that he is.

A probably more common pattern is an assumption that knowledge in one subject means an educated person has a better bet of knowledge outside their field, which then leads to the confusion of the self serving prejudices of a particular economic class with qualitatively better arguments.

#4 So this is what the liberal democracies of the West have become? Having outsourced reproduction to Middle-eastern, African, and Latin American 3rd world hoards, the west now wants to kill their imperfect offspring. And yet you Apathetics do or say nothing. You and your elite Eternal overlords await the sweet death I shall bring into your Vortex, as soon as I finish this video game.

ITMT, check this out:

+ 1 Senor Thiago,
Estamos amando a orquestra brasileira de violão!

Ha Ha HA Thank YOu Thank YOu! I shall not be out CUCKED!

I am not Thiago. He is my professor of trolling.

zed/sir connery
what the heck! was that movie all about about anyway

And meanwhile Vox applauds the corporate rulers so they can get cheaper labor:

2. Light sabers: "... but is very implausible due to the high intensities and energy needed for their operation."

Just one more reason nuclear fusion needs to come on line as soon as possible.

#4...A while back, when we were discussing Roe, a person advocated in response to me that we should leave abortion to the States. But it appears to me that Douthat, for example, cannot accept that, since abortion is considered an evil, akin to slavery. As for slavery, the deal was that some people argued we can't just leave it to the States. So, I'm seriously curious, how can abortion be left to the States if you consider it an evil like slavery? The same point applies to assisted suicide. Once again, if you can't accept such a view, why not work on amending the Constitution, which I believe is how people who want Roe reversed should proceed? It's a serious question so please only respond if you're serious.

The "slavery metaphor" has been bantered about for a while. I believe it is inapt,

Abortion is murder. That has been the teaching of the Church since day-one, like 34 AD. In effect, abortion, murder and suicide usurp (man has free will) God's Will as to deciding who lives and who dies. Sadly, the Church has refused to advance its millenniums old abortion teachings, because?

Slavery was involuntary servitude and treating people as chattel, rarely did it involve killing.

I believe abortionists if they ever were prosecuted, were charged under manslaughter/murder statutes.

I think The US Constitution does not need to be amended.

Abortion and gay marriage are the only rights ever endowed on mankind by the Supreme Court. Can anybody name more?

Rights are not endowed by the US Constitution or its first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights. The US Constitution was agreed/ratified to establish a more perfect union and promote the "general welfare." The Bill of Rights, systems of checks and balances, and etc. are meant to stop government/the state from infringing on inalienable rights endowed upon us by our Creator.

Somehow, in 1973 five robed solons found in the penumbra of the words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, sections articles a right to privacy between a pregnant woman and her killer/doctor to in privacy kill human life in utero.

Additionally, the Constitution does not grant omnipotence to the executive, judiciary and legislature branches. When they cannot cite an affirmative grant of constitutional authority, they can’t act.

Nationwide abolition wasn't the immediate goal of the anti-slavery movement, either: the plan was to keep it confined to where it existed and wait for circumstances to change. Yeah, I'll admit it, and I assume most pro-life people who are even a little bit serious would too: we want total abolition in the long run. But that's not where the country's at right now. So the next best thing is passing state-level restrictions, which save some lives, and if the culture moves our way we'll be able to do the same thing in states where it isn't currently viable.

Laws involving homicide are an inherently state function, outside a few narrow exceptions like political assassinations. So yes, abortion law needs to be left to the states.

Uber and Lyft shouldn't find it difficult to make a profit....... as long as they don't try to be or do too much. I find it difficult to believe you can lose money forever on a software app that just brings riders and drivers together for a fee. So where exactly are they losing hundreds of millions of dollars? I suspect it is the legal battles and the drive for autonomous vehicles. They are biting off more than they can chew.

And D.C. will likely never be a state, nor will it be given back to Maryland. The Republicans will oppose the first option, and the Democrats the second one. If it goes back to Maryland, it will likely only add one Congressional seat to the Democrats' slate, and the Democrats would lose two net electoral votes (or one if MD gets two House seats out of it). And the Republicans will never agree to give the Democrats two new Senators

The issue centers on representation of DC residents. In fact, no federal, state or local government employee should be allowed to vote in any election.

About 20% of the working population of greater Washington are federal employees. The place has little manufacturing and little agriculture, but otherwise the distribution of employment among sectors is unremarkable.

You make a correct response to my inane statement. What I really meant is that no public employee anywhere should be allowed to vote in any election, period.

All adult citizens of sound mind should be allowed to vote, period. Who they work for is as irrelevant the color of their eyes.

Re: Uber profitability. It seems like the basic dispatch business is automated and low cost. According to my neighbor, who has thousands of rides as Uber driver, the Uber organization serves the purpose of facilitating credit card charges when a rider vomits in the back seat, and in general assume the liability associated with the operation. I don't think there is a reason these functions need to cost more than the current 20-25% of the total fare. One might ask whether the current management is the problem?

Uber is in expansion mode, similar to Amazon where they plow revenues into global expansion. Like Amazon they could theoretically stop doing that and value profitability more.

Expansion into what? Ebay has made a mint out of bringing buyers and sellers together- what is particularly different in regards to paid car rides?

Douthat referencing Lincoln as an "authoritarian leader" seems like an ill omen to me

Light sabers will not work because they need too much energy.

Yet they operate in a society that has an energy source that powers faster than light travel on a massive scale.

If you can image that why can't you imagine an energy source for light sabres?

The photon u-turn also breaks physics.

6. They have to to cover the cost of regulation and fight with the taxi monopoly.

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