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Politics & Government
Experts Provide Solutions to End Discriminatory Real Estate Practices
WASHINGTON—December 19, 2019—Following a Newsday investigation revealing widespread discrimination by Long Island real estate agents against people of color, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released a report this week offering a broad set of solutions to address discriminatory real estate and housing practices throughout the country.

The recommendations enumerated by the National Fair Housing Alliance receive strong support from the nation’s premiere civil rights leaders, real estate industry groups and Walter Mondale, co-author of the Fair Housing Act

“The problem of discrimination in real estate sales is not going away on its own and it is not exclusive to Long Island. It’s time for real estate associations and state and federal regulators to step up and implement actions that will fix what is clearly a broken industry,” said Lisa Rice, President and CEO of NFHA. “The number of housing discrimination complaints is at its highest in years. The good news is that we have the tools to make changes, but we need industry officials, real estate agents, and enforcers to be willing to use them.”

In the report, Fair Housing Solutions: Overcoming Real Estate Sales Discrimination, NFHA proposes a wide range of solutions for both the industry and governmental agencies, including:

  • Increasing funding for fair housing testing, education, enforcement, and research; Increasing the diversity of agents in the real estate business and establishing more offices in communities of color;
  • Improving the content and provision of training for real estate professionals on how to comply with both the letter and spirit of fair housing laws;
  • Improving fair housing investigations and instituting more serious sanctions against violators;
  • Preserving HUD’s 2013 Disparate Impact Rule; and
  • Reinstating HUD’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
Real estate sales discrimination in the United States is not new. For decades, government agencies and real estate boards explicitly sanctioned and even encouraged discrimination and racial segregation. NFHA’s previous multi-year, multi-city investigation revealed an 87 percent rate of racial steering, meaning that people were given listings or shown homes only in neighborhoods occupied predominantly by people of their own race. More than a decade later, Newsday’s “Long Island Divided” investigation found similar results, showing a disturbing lack of progress in the real estate industry. NFHA’s 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report documents that housing discrimination complaints in 2018 were at their highest level since NFHA began producing the report in 1995.

The following civil rights and industry leaders have given their support for the recommendations included in NFHA’s report.

Continues...

Useful Review of Uganda Politics and Economy
This is not news but does cover in useful detail the situation in Uganda in 2017.

Read the article

Training and arming classroom teachers as school guards; costly, bad idea
Donald Trump, ever our protector, has proposed arming 20% of school teachers as part-time guards. That's 600,000 teachers. We can evaluate the proposal superficially rather quickly (fearless analysis: this article has taken longer to write than DT has thought about the issue).

Average teacher salary in US (2014) is $56,383 plus benefits. With est. fringe of 25% = $70,000.

Average training period for a sworn police officer is six months; we might assume three months for limited-duty training. There is ample reason to doubt that police-training agencies could gear up for this effort, but we won't count that for now.

Cost of training = one-fourth of a teacher's annual salary plus cost of training a police officer. Averages $7,000 across the US. Total with three months teacher salary $18,500 approx. The trainees might reasonably ask for a bonus for giving up their summer vacation, but we won't count that.

Presumably the teachers accepting the risk would get combat pay, let's say 25% bonus for half their career span. Figure 25% of $70,000 for 20 years or $300,000. Of course that would raise their pensions by a commensurate amount; est. 10% rise in pension cost; we won't try to calculate that permanent cost either.

So to summarize.

  1. Initial costs
    • N/teachers (20% of 3,000,000), 600,000.
    • Initial training @ $15,500.
    • Training, first year (600,000 X $15,000), approx. $9.0 billion one time.
  2. Annual costs thereafter
    • Retraining est $2,000 + one month salary (5800/12), total @ $7,800.
    • Combat bonus, $15,000.
    • Total/teacher, $22,800.
    • All teachers (600,000), $13.7 billion.
    • Continuous training of recruits @ 600K x 1/40 = 15,000 recruits/yr @ $18,500, total $342 million/yr.
  3. Combined annual costs
    • Recruit training, $342M.
    • Armed teacher extra pay, $13.7B.
    • Min. total, $13.7B+342M=$14.022 billion per year, FOREVER, NOT including hiring more teachers when an unknown number are removed from classrooms to roam the halls at all times.
  4. Ten year program cost $9+14=$23 billion or $2.3 billion/year. That's $115 per adult (taxpayer). You might ask your local T-bagger how he feels about that.

Alternative

Ban and collect all "assault" weapons (define it yourself).

Government(s) might reimburse owners @ $400 each (currently advertised price of used AR-15 on 26 Feb 2018). (This is a good deal for most owners, whose guns are mostly hidden in closets, improperly maintained and rusting away.)

This would put a lot of money into circulation, almost entirely at a scale conducive to re-spending, which could be a boost to the economy, or perhaps equally to savings, which has lagged in recent decades.

If 10M are in circulation the one-time cost would be (400*10M)=$4 billion — about one-fifth of the armed-teacher plan — with no annual incremental cost.

To assuage anti-"Big Gub'mint" fears, there could be a federal license to carry with reasonable qualifications, e.g., an age limit; training requirement and certification; documentation while in possession; storage and protection obligations... Such a license might carry fees roughly equivalent to a passport, around $200 initially plus a periodic renewal. Further open and honest dialogue could work that out. Thus we protect the Second Amendment, as we should for a host of reasons.

Summary of Alternative

  • Less expensive
  • Radically reduces the likelihood of mass murder with assault rifles.
  • Losers: Gun manufacturers.
  • Winners: Everyone else.
  • We won't count those, either, but you might want to.

The nay-sayers are probably right that nothing can entirely eliminate the possibility of mass shootings, but this is about probabilities, not metaphysics, and imperfection is no excuse for inaction.

Ol' Blac'Donald Had a Farm...
I saw a an African American preacher on TV recently extolling the virtues of Donald Trump, complete with all the stereotypical intonations of the rural pulpit (can I have an "amen"?). That made me wonder whether such attitudes in the 21st Century, which of course strike me as self-destructive, might have originated in an earlier era. So of course I went to that font of historical truth, Google.

Using the search string "19th century black writers supporting slavery" I got the following result (graphic). I conclude therefrom that the preacher was just seeking his 15 minutes of fame.
Commentary: A little help for Nov 4
Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, and yours is a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local sports reporter, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.


(From the mailbag. -Ed.)
Discrimination Lawsuit Filed against U/Washington
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer a Seattle man has filed a lawsuit against the University of Washington charging both age and racial discrimination. He alleges that university human resource officials repeatedly offered him jobs for which he was overqualified and did not consider him for appropriate positions.

Seattle P-I Article

Plan Emerging for Gulf Coast - Finally
The future of Gulf Coast residents and business owners displaced by the hurricanes of 2005 remains uncertain. Lawmakers agree that something must be done, but so far, there’s no set plan. A bill introduced by Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.), proposes a $30 billion federal buyout. Under the plan Congress would create an entity called the Louisiana Recovery Corp. to purchase property from willing sellers at no less than 60% of its equity based on pre-hurricane values, and settle mortgages at up to 60% of the loan obligation.

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