The number of women in Congress hits a record high after 2018 midterm elections

By press time, at least 92 had won in the House and 10 had won in the Senate (joining 10 already in the upper chamber) for a total of 112 women — the most women to serve in Congress at once in history. (The previous record was 107.)Women also hit a series of significant milestones. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids are the first Native American women elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are the first Muslim women set to represent their states in the House. And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer are due to be the youngest women to serve as lawmakers.

So the U.S. is now at about 20% (112 or 535)… still one of the lower percentages in the world. About there with Mauritania and Pakistan. Much more work to do for gender equality.

Source: The number of women in Congress hits a record high after 2018 midterm elections. – Vox

Posted in Burkina Faso

The 20 years ago wayback machine… DJ Daydream – Make Your Own Kind of Music

Posted in Music

Uber co-founder eyes downtown San Jose historic building

Uber co-founder and former chief executive Travis Kalanick’s new realty investment enterprise has obtained a contract to purchase the old Hank Coca’s Furniture store and Odd Fellows building at 82 E. Santa Clara St. The building became available after Leisure Sports decided it wanted a different downtown location a couple of blocks away.“We are in contract to sell the furniture store building,” said Patrick O’Brien, chief financial officer with Leisure Sports.O’Brien declined to identify the buyer. However, multiple individuals with knowledge about the deal said that the buyer is a group led by Kalanick, who co-founded Uber but eventually exited the ride-hailing tech company under a cloud of controversy.Kalanick could not be reached for comment. However, in a March 2018 tweet, Kalanick referred to his “new gig” that’s underpinned by a fund called 10100 Fund, which has a focus on redevelopment of real estate assets. One of the first investments by the $150 million fund was City Storage Systems, according to the tweet.“Of particular interest are City Storage Systems’ leading B2B initiatives, CloudKitchen and CloudRetail, focused on real estate acquisition and development for the food and retail service industries,” Kalanick said in his tweet.

Source: Uber co-founder eyes downtown San Jose historic building

Posted in San Jose

Small facts I always forget: US has no restrictions on dual citizenship

Anticipating Nov. 6 election when many of my fellow citizens will vote their preference to live under a right-wing autocracy that uses mass media to boil blood just because they are mad about a trans kid in Nebraska whose gender identity bothers them (never mind the kid is suffering) and a Guatemalan woman who wants to clean houses in San Diego for $12 an hour… Up in Arnold, CA this weekend, a guy wearing a t-shirt, ‘Stomp on my flag I’ll stomp on your ass” I really was sorely tempted to ask, “Erm, excuse me sir isn’t that just a little bit of a contradiction isn’t the whole point of the flag the freedom to do what you want and not have your ass stomped?”

Section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that “the term ‘national of the United States’ means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.” Therefore, U.S. citizens are also U.S. nationals. Non-citizen nationality status refers only individuals who were born either in American Samoa or on Swains Island to parents who are not citizens of the United States. The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a national of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own nationality laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. national parents may be both a U.S. national and a national of the country of birth. Or, an individual having one nationality at birth may naturalize at a later date in another country and become a dual national.

The official source.

Posted in United States

Recent experiences with minimum wages

A nice The New York Times story on Seattle that prompted this roundup (HT:Bill Sundstrom): “In their latest paper, which has not been formally peer reviewed, Mr. Vigdor and his colleagues considered how the minimum-wage increases affected three broad groups: People in low-wage jobs who worked the most during the nine months leading up to and including the quarter in which the increase took effect (more than about 600 or 700 hours, depending on the year); people who worked less during that nine-month period (fewer than 600 or 700 hours); and people who didn’t work at all and hadn’t during several previous years, but might later work. The latter were potential “new entrants” to the ranks of the employed, in the authors’ words. The workers who worked the most ahead of the minimum-wage increase appeared to do the best. They saw a significant increase in their wages and only a small percentage decrease in their hours, leading to a healthy bump in overall pay — an average of $84 a month for the nine months that followed the 2016 minimum-wage increase.”

Mercury News story on minimum wage rise in San Jose: “So in 2015, he eliminated the option for tipping and instead raised menu prices 20 percent in order to increase wages across the restaurant well above the minimum required by law. Without having to tip, customers could better absorb the price increases, Sassen said, and he could afford to boost the base pay across his work force instead of relying on customers to “subsidize” his front-of-house staff while his kitchen staff struggled. Chris Hillyard, who owns coffee shops Farley’s in San Francisco and Farley’s East in Oakland, said when minimum wages increase, he sometimes has to raise menu prices to compensate. It can be a “challenge,” he said, but customers have been supportive so far.”

A 2016 policy brief about likely effects of minimum wage increase in San Jose area: “Increasing the minimum wage to $15 would increase earnings for 115,000 workers, or 31.1 percent of the city’s workforce. Among those getting raises in San Jose, annual pay w
ould increase 17.8 percent, or about $3,000 (in 2014 dollars) on average. These estimates include a ripple effect: some workers who already earn $1 5 will also receive an increase.
96 percent of workers who would get increases are over 20 and 56 percent are over 30
—with a median age of 32.  The proposed minimum wage increase would disproportionately benefit Latinos, who represent 53 percent of affected workers.”

Posted in Burkina Faso, United States

Some readings on the economics of private prisons

Here is a Brookings Institution report:  “The 2016 Nobel prize-winner in Economics, Oliver Hart, and coauthors explained that prison contracts tend to induce the wrong incentives by focusing on specific tasks such as accreditation requirements and hours of staff training rather than outcomes, and noted the failure of most contracts to address excessive use of force and quality of personnel in particular.”

A Wharton student blog briefing: “Today private prisons house about 126,000 federal and state inmates. Orders issued under the Obama Administration to phase out the use of private prisons are now being reversed under the Trump Administration, which has caused some debates over the efficacy of private prisons to resurface.”

Briefing from The Sentencing Project: “In 1996, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) looked at four state-funded studies and one commissioned by the federal government assessing the cost benefits of private prisons. The outcomes of the research varied, leading the authors to conclude that “…these studies do not offer substantial evidence that savings have occurred.”) Similar conclusions were reached in a 2009 meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Utah that looked at eight cost comparison studies resulting in vastly different conclusions. The analysis led the researchers to state, “…prison privatization provides neither a clear advantage nor disadvantage compared to publicly managed prisons” and that “…cost savings from privatization are not guaranteed.”)”

From The Nation: “Hedging their bets in light of significant sentencing reforms sweeping the country, Geo Group and CoreCivic are diversifying into running reentry programs, halfway houses, drug-treatment centers, electronic-monitoring companies, and providing an ever-growing list of services to those who are part of the criminal-justice system. In fact, GEO Group boasts on its website that it “is the world’s leading provider of correctional, detention, and community reentry services with 98 facilities, approximately 87,000 beds, and 20,500 employees around the globe.””

Posted in Burkina Faso, United States

Did capitalism reduce global poverty?

You will find that questions being asked, rhetorically, all over the Internet and especially academic Twitter. I think many people conflate “recent small policy change towards market liberalization” with capitalism. What is missing in these discussions is an agreed upon time series for something called “capitalism”…. so while “poverty” has an enormous measurement apparatus, and environmental quality also has a big measurement apparatus, and life expectancy, and other things (well, maybe not nature deficit disorder)…. “capitalism” is always mentioned and never measured. It is as if people think somehow by simply knowing the name of a country and a year, they can proclaim it “capitalist”… So play a game: Is Nicaragua in 2014 more or less capitalist than Nicaragua in 2002? Than Nicaragua in 1952? Than Nicaragua in 1852? What metric among the metrics that go into the multidimensional index changed ? Tired already? Imagine now doing that for 150 complex countries over 200 years (and why do we not think that the Roman Empire was or was not “capitalist”?)… Remember that selecting on the dependent variable (as Marx did) is a big problem (the countries that got rich in 1850 are the capitalist countries…)….

If we have no such measure, we can’t even start to attribute credit or causality….

Commentators also often overlook that many people think that the United States, the global leader for most of the 20th century in poverty decline and income growth, had an indicator of “extent of capitalism” that declined, sometimes sharply, over the entire 1930-2000 period, with some upticks maybe in early 1980s but even that is debatable if one had a comprehensive measure rather than a simple rhetoric…

And by the way maybe rhetoric rather than measurable policies or practices is  important: the main attribute of “capitalism” might indeed be that people think they are actually in a capitalist economy…. pop-writers have a field day with that kind of stuff, that people need to be like Uber and just “do it” rather than “ask permission” from the bureaucrats…

Posted in Development thinking