The Stuff Of CRT

July 10, 2021

            The news of note during the past week was also the news that “almost” flew under the radar. Nationally, it was the continuing coverage of the American withdrawal from the endless war in Afghanistan, accelerated by 10 days to the end of August. Locally, the headline read “Velvet Ice Cream moves production to out-of-state manufacturing facilities” (Kent Mallet for the Newark Advocate, 7-7-21). In an odd way, the two events are analogous in more ways than meets the eye; sort of a meta history that creates the stuff of CRT where individual events don’t mean as much as the accumulation of actualities does. The most common denominator the two news items share is that they make perfect sense to some while leaving others in the dark, insecure. To a space alien finding itself on earth in Ohio, the former president opted to end the endless war in his not to be experienced second term. The actual president is fulfilling that chore. The space alien could only conclude that this was foregone policy no matter what the party in power. “Luconda Dager, president of Velvet Ice Cream for 12 years, said the recall, the move of production and resulting layoffs were the toughest days she’s had leading the family-run company. The family gathered to discuss the best course of action. “It was a difficult decision,” Dager said. “We’ve been making ice cream in Utica 107 years. Unfortunately, this listeria plagues our industry. It’s a bacteria you can’t see. We do everything to mitigate it. We really don’t know what happened.”” Given the long history of ice cream being produced in Utica, that nationally ice cream continues to be produced throughout the country, and that Velvet ice cream will continue to be produced, only elsewhere, the space alien could only conclude that this policy also was a foregone conclusion, no matter the events described as reasons for its actualization. Butt weight, there’s more! America’s endless war has produced an emotional attachment, a bond for those embracing active military service, both actual members as well as flag waving supporters. An analogous emotional attachment bonds those advocates and proponents of local business, jobs and development. On a mini scale, Velvet’s production facility was for Utica what the Rockwell/Walker plant was for Newark – a source of reliable, well paying employment for those in the surrounding area (Rocky Boots in Nelsonville, Anchor Hocking in Lancaster, etc.). In many Advocate business columns, Luconda Dager herself wrote of exactly the need for that. The space alien wouldn’t be surprised but to those in the Utica area with an emotional attachment to their geography of choice it must come as just another reason to feel once again opportunity has been stolen, another validation of mistrust. To the space alien, premiere loyalty to the profit motive obviously underlies both news events. But to those with an emotional attachment…? Finally, the meta history that makes this the stuff of CRT (where individual events don’t mean as much as the accumulation of actualities does). We all know about the reasons (both real and fancied) and timeline of America’s endless war in Afghanistan, as well as the convoluted path of actual destruction left behind. So much for individual events in light of the accumulation of actualities. ‘Nuff said. On the other hand, “[Luconda] Dager, great-granddaughter of Velvet founder Joseph Dager, who started the company in 1914, took over for her father, also Joseph Dager, in 2009. It was a year after a new 1,100-square-foot viewing gallery was unveiled to allow visitors to watch ice cream being made.” Wiki gives the boiler plate: “Velvet, founded in 1914 in Utica, Ohio, by Joseph Dager, a Lebanese immigrant, is a family-owned and operated fourth generation ice cream manufacturer. Dager began the company in the basement of a Utica confectionary.” (Ice cream made in a 1900’s small town basement…?!) Not given by Wiki, Luconda, or the Advocate was that people were leaving Lebanon prior to the start of the First World War because conditions there for the Lebanese were unbearable, bleak as part of the Ottoman Empire. Another penniless immigrant story that benefitted the community (Utica) in which it labored? Could the same be said for today? (No, we don’t make ice cream in a basement) Were the original 1900’s middle eastern immigrants welcomed and applauded by the “native” inhabitants of Utica because their future success was an aura that enveloped them as “special”? All the stuff of CRT, where individual events don’t mean as much as the accumulation of actualities does.

Silly Summer Shorts

June 27, 2021

            What better time than the start of summer to note disparate reportings that say nothing about each other, yet a whole lot about the world we inhabit. Like the start of summer with its faux nostalgia, the stories all reinforce that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The first story hearkens back to 2016 and the spectacle known as the Trump rally. Then wannabe president held mega, as well as MAGA, events that seemed to attract a cult like following. Many, at the time, pointed out how akin to deadheads these followers were. Deadheads (Grateful Dead aficionados) would travel long distances and put up with great inconvenience in order not to miss an appearance of their favorite band. The world’s largest disorganized religion it was referred to at the time. Well the ex president is back with a rally in Ohio this past week. “’Trying to save American democracy’: Donald Trump returns to rally stage in Ohio” (Michael Collins, USA Today, 6-27-21) covered the June 26 affair in Wellington Ohio. Like cleveland.com did back in 2016, Collins interviewed attendees, revealing the enormous distance and troubles they endured to be able to attend the ex president’s celebration of the Big Lie. Deadheads indeed! “Ohio House passes bill increasing penalties for disobeying or distracting police”  by Anna Staver for the Cols. Dispatch (6-25-21) shows that learning went out the window long before school let out for the summer. “House Bill 22 would expand the crime of obstructing justice to include not following a lawful order, distracting an officer or getting within about an arm’s length of an officer without permission. Violating these statutes would be a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. But the crime could rise to a fifth-degree felony if a person’s actions risked physical harm. The penalty would be up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.” House Bill 22 proponents conveniently elided the lessons to be learned from the almost half century old War on Drugs (America’s real longest war?). Expansion of the crimes and increasing the jail time/punishment only resulted in greater misery (those incarcerated and fined) as well as greater drug use. The more things change, in terms of those representing “the people”, the more they remain the same; the stuff of CRT! Finally, the oxymoronic summertime solution (and quote) to a problem that isn’t a problem, but rather a condition, goes to Michelle Newman (Newman: The conundrum of the Tuesday Farmers Market, guest column The Advocate, 6-27-21). Seems participation in the Tuesday Canal Farmers Market is a bit “off” (an understatement, to say the least!). “The truth of the matter is that we need customers to attract more vendors, but more vendors to attract customers.” (the Indian Mound Mall suffers from the same condition) To paraphrase the big bucks economists, it looks like the market is trying to tell you something, Michelle. 

“I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth.”

June 13, 2021

            A funny thing happened on the way to spending $3 million on street paving in Newark this week. Newark residents were told to “Shut up. We know better.” at a City Council Street Committee. The incident was so news worthy that the local paper (?) promptly wrote an editorial for the Sunday edition. This in itself was newsworthy (call the Dispatch! On second thought, fuhgettaboutit. They also are a Gannett publication). “Our view: Newark council Republicans wrong to cut off public input” (the Advocate 6-13-21) basically said “Tsk. Tsk. This is no way to run a government.” It referenced the original report by Kent Mallett, 6-9-21, headlined “Newark council committee cuts off public testimony on road repairs”. In that report Mallett shares “The meeting lasted 40 minutes, with council members and the city engineer speaking for about 30 of those minutes. A local Eagle Scout and a Grant Street resident were allowed to speak before the meeting adjourned.” “William Koser, an Eagle Scout working on his Citizen of Community Merit Badge, urged the city to pave roads, such as Countryside Drive, instead of spending money on continual patching.” And “Before the adjournment, Rebecca Speake, a Grant Street resident, said, “Grant Street connects 79 to Williams. We do get quite a bit of traffic on that street. I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth. I’m pretty frustrated.”” The bulk of Mallett’s report covered the brouhaha of “City Councilman Doug Marmie, R-6th Ward, made a motion to adjourn the meeting after one speaker and less than 10 minutes, saying the meeting was unfair because the speakers would only be from a couple wards.” This was eventually (after the fairness folderol) followed by “Marmie’s motion failed with a 3-3 vote. But, Councilman Jonathan Lang, R-5th Ward, later made a motion to adjourn and changed his vote, after addressing a 5th Ward concern about Countryside Drive.” All of which was an accumulation of little lies made possible by the tight Republican embrace of the Big Lie – you know, the fairness, the “public” in “public meeting”, the rules of order, etc. All of which caught the eye of the editorial board. None of which their editorial reveals as concerning them in terms of lies and truth. Something that Rebecca Speake couldn’t keep quiet about. “I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth.” At which point the GOP majority committee men adjourned their meeting.

Family Tradition

May 16, 2021

            Talk of the Big Lie is usually filled with names like McCarthy, McConnell, Lindell, Gaetz and Taylor Greene. But never DeWine. Somehow, magnificently, Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine has managed to disassociate himself from anything even remotely emanating the stench of a lie. The Governor appears unscathed. This past week Mike immersed himself completely, and proved it to be quite unremarkable. What was the lie and why the lack of interest? On May 13, 2021 DeWine announced establishment of the Ohio Vax-a-Million program, offering $1 mil to five lucky newly vaccinated individuals as an incentive to get Ohioans vaccinated, and by implication, benefitting Ohio’s economy. The very next day his administration announced that it would be ending the $300 weekly Federal unemployment benefits with the end of June, roughly 2 months prior to when they are scheduled to run out. Let’s get a calculator and compare apples to apples, or rather dollars to dollars. DeWine’s new benefit distribution allocates $1 mil to five individuals for a total expenditure of $5 mil. Simple enough. The termination of $300 weekly benefits checks to one individual, over two months, amounts to that individual not receiving the earmarked $2,400 meant to benefit Ohio’s economy. Both funds, the $5 mil as well as the $300 weekly unemployment, come from the same honey pot. So how many denied individuals would the $5 mil have provided weekly benefits to over two months span? $5 mil divided by $2400 equates to about 2,083 individuals. Not a great number? Which? The 5 lucky ones? The $5 mil? The $1,200 monthly income to live on? Or the 2,083 denigrated individuals? (denigrated by virtue of insinuation, that they are “just not trying”) Enter the Big Lie. It is now exactly 40 years since President Reagan’s Budget and Management guru brought “trickle-down” economic speak into the common vernacular. Since then David Stockman has had a remarkably checkered history of successes and failures, even vaguely disavowing responsibility for what was once termed “voodoo economics.” But one thing for sure is that trickle down never delivered benefits to the people of the US as intentionally projected. It benefitted the few, leaving a whopping deficit for the many. “Ninety-two percent of the wealth is owned by five percent of the people.” (Stockman on Bloomberg TV 2013) But the Big Lie persisted, carefully cultivated and nurtured by the Republican party. In the same year Stockman himself is quoted by Public Affairs as writing “[T]he Republican Party was hijacked by modern imperialists during the Reagan era. As a consequence, the conservative party cannot perform its natural function as watchdog of the public purse because it is constantly seeking legislative action to provision a vast war machine of invasion and occupation.” Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine was just carrying on an old family tradition when he anointed 5 individuals to have a greater impact on “reopening” Ohio’s economy than the 2,083+ affected by the cuts to weekly unemployment benefits. But that’s even less than 92% of the wealth being owned by 5%; more like being owned by .0024%. As Black Lives Matter points out so succinctly: Big Lies morph into family traditions oh sooo easily that it seems almost unnatural to imagine otherwise!

Visuals

May 2, 2021

            Large item in the national news this past week was the President’s address to a “socially distanced” (to put it mildly) joint houses of congress. This was followed by the institutionally de rigueur rebuttal speech by the opposing party. Both were meant primarily for the prime time television viewing audience. That kind of explains the institutional requirement of a follow up address by the party opposed to the president. Which makes little sense in an age when folks can choose where and when to “tune in” on a device of their choosing. Also the institutional obligation to have a party in opposition. Analysis finds it not so hard to imagine both, if not multiple parties, without opposition but difference. But back to the visuals of the two events. Front and foremost was that of the addressors, one an old white guy, the other a young black guy. Background is important. It contributes context (which is why all those weathermen get blown over standing outside in a hurricane, or wading with alligators during a flood). Behind President Biden were the official government trappings of our representative democracy. These consisted of the leaders of the house and senate as well as one big flag which back dropped all three. Any head-on shot showed the flag behind the president even if it didn’t show Speaker Pelosi or Vice President Harris. The president always had a red or white stripe rising up vertically behind him. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s background consisted of the mandatory flag, only this time it was in the multiple. The surprise wasn’t the number, or kind (there were flags of the US as well as SC), but the angle at which they were presented. It was hard not to notice as one was forced to continuously “adjust” the upright Scott to the skewed backdrop while following his address. It was impossible not to notice that the multiple flags were arranged as a backslash diagonal (\), with the head of the flag starting above the speaker’s right side and sloping to his lower left. Coincidence? Was the senator leaning to the right?  It was hard to tell since, other than the senator himself, there was no vertical visual in the image field (such as a podium). Analysis concludes this was deliberate, and symbolic. Much as Scott’s address relied on flag, family and religion without any point by point rebuttal to the previous presidential address of specific policy proposals, so the special effects  folks at the opposing party relied on symbolic presentation to carry through this absence of any reasoned conversation (or argument). Multiple flags for multiple America’s. State flag given equal space and arrangement with national flag. Right at the top with left near the floor. Etc. Why the emphasis and reliance on symbol? Analysis finds it is precisely because symbols elide and negate reasoned conversation (debate) that they are employed as a means of political propaganda. The symbol embodies all kinds of feelings and fuzzy imagining, but only to the chosen ones who recognize it. Voila! Scott can say on television, in a short time spot, what cannot be verbalized in reasoned debate (conversation). So the backdrop contributed to the baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet speech, successfully creating a unified visual reply without voicing any kind of policy proposal as to why or why not.

Revolving Door

April 25, 2021

            Ever wonder why the candidate who has raised the most money, has the biggest war chest, is considered to be a front runner for being elected? Despite SCOTUS Citizens United ruling that money speaks, it still remains that money doesn’t do the voting. Or does it? “The Licking County Commissioners approved on Thursday an Alternate Energy Zone for a 512-acre Harrison Township site proposed for a 108-megawatt solar field.” (Licking County Commissioners OK Alternate Energy Zone for solar field; more on horizon Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate 4-25-21). No end to where the public revenue of this project will be distributed in this reporting. Similar articles outlining new corporate investment surrounding Newark usually travel down the road of tax credits, abatements, etc. with no promises of who will get what (“some risk involved”). Why not this one? Could it be that taking credit for “real” market forces at work (Amazon, Google and others need the electricity) rather than the contrived “subsidized” pie-in-the-sky creations is being usurped by GOP county commissioners who otherwise treat climate change/global warming as a preferred whipping boy? But Analysis digresses. Of course we are all familiar with the “revolving door” complaint when it comes to national administration, also state as well as local. How often is it the case that someone appointed to lead a regulatory body, or department has previously been salaried as part of what that body or department manages or administrates (what George W. Bush referred to as its “customers”)? And then, with a new administration (or just time passing), the same gov’t administrators go to work in the private sector for those they previously regulated. But what about elected officials, representatives of the people? Recent news was that central Ohio US Representative Steve Stivers has opted out of running for re-election, as well as seeking a senate run to replace Rob Portman. Stivers has agreed to a leadership role with the state’s Chamber of Commerce that salaries him at twice what he is making now. Just reward for services rendered? We’ve seen this movie before. Several years ago US Rep Pat Tiberi opted not to run and assumed a leadership position with the Ohio Business Roundtable. The similarities are uncanny. Both white men had accumulated vast war chests for whatever position they would run for. Both opted to “double down” on their earnings rather than continue to “represent” the fine people of their district. Both no longer “fight” for their constituents’ values. Why should they? After all, they’ve made it to the top of the public service leadership ladder where they can now be more “quietly effective.” The unmentionable underwear in all this is, of course, where did all the accumulated war chest donations come from? Hint: the very lobbying groups who lured them away to higher salaried positions represent these folks; you know, the people who contrive all the tax credits, abatements, etc. for the sake of “job creation.” Analysis will let Cardi B, who btw nailed it, have the last word: “this is why people gotta vote, elect better people cause you got these dumb asses representing states.”

It’s Time To Defund CIC’s

April 1, 2021

            What is a CIC? The NDP (Newark Development Partners) uses the terms “Community Improvement Corporation” as part of their full name, so we’ll stick with that rather than “investment”, or the British “interest company.” In Ohio these are primarily public/private entities, or at least that is what their stakeholders claim. The “public/private” generally refers to the entire operation being funded by the public sector and administered by the private. Grow Licking County is funded not only by the county but also income from the various municipalities that it markets. Its administration is in the care of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, a private entity; public sector funding, private sector spending. Amount of funding supplied by the public is readily available (thanks to freedom of information), how it is spent and the outcomes of that expenditure not so much. The term “public/private” is confusing enough. That probably stems from its oxymoronic character. And oxymorons, as we all know, are the preferred devices for the conveyance of magical thinking and mystical alliances. But what does “Community Improvement Corporation” mean? Or is it also an oxymoron, or a near kin? Analysis of the component terms may offer a clue. “Improvement” isn’t a toughie. Defined as “better” is sufficient for understanding. The dictionary gives two relevant meanings for “community”: 1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. For “corporation” only one: 1. a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. For “CIC”, no entries found. Again, we’ve hit the oxymoronic wall. Is it a community of improvement corporations? Or is it community improvement by corporations? The oxymoronic element appears to be the contradiction of people living in common fellowship and authority under force of law. Holy crime fighters, Batman! It sure looks a lot like another publicly funded service institution in crisis today. It is no coincidence that “authority” is used in another area public/private CIC – the Newark Port Authority. That “Community Improvement Corporation” is just soap suds to screen the laundering of money is quite apparent. And the washed sums are considerable. The Licking County Chamber of Commerce was the largest in Ohio when most of LC’s CIC’s were begun back in the early years of the Kasich administration. What “better” has the fellowship of people living in common have to show for all the wealth siphoned to the top? “Places to work” we are told. Employers stress their number one need is that workers have a reliable way to get to their jobs yet Licking County has no fixed schedule public transportation after all this time. Neighboring counties do though their Chambers of Commerce are dwarfed by LC’s. Ditto for affordable housing having been built over that period as well as presently projected. Lancaster (and soon Zanesville) have the Pearl House for those without housing while Newark has the promise of shopping in the waiting-to-be-historically-designated Arcade (and other rainbow stew propaganda). It’s time to defund Newark’s Community Improvement Corporations.

The Headline Says It All

March 14, 2021

            The Newark Advocate headlined “Four North 21st Street homes to be demolished for Sheetz gas station, store, restaurant” (Kent Mallett, 3-12-21). The story included the requisite song and dance of the company’s history, as well as the rigorous planning and zoning process activated with the, er, development. “The zoning certificate for the project will be granted when five conditions are met, [Newark City Engineer Brian] Morehead said.” There were photos of the houses to be leveled, interview with previous owner, etc. Besides, who hasn’t seen the Sheetz Truckstops when traveling on the interstate? A name you’ve grown to trust! Everything appears to be above board and legit, serving the beneficial interests of the community. Not. Four less homes to house the community. Earlier there was the overture to demolish another house at the corner of 21stand Church for the sake of another gas station/convenience store. When it comes to demolition the county land bank and Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation can’t find enough, always in the name of development and growth. When it comes to finding homes for those without housing these city leaders are nowhere to be found (backing out of their commitment for a low barrier shelter on East Main Street). When it comes to developing housing, actually building affordable in town residences, the matter is poo-pooed for the razzle dazzle of River Rd. expansion, etc. Four less affordable homes is four less places to shelter in town Newark. The real “development” would be replacing these units with 4 new ones. A lack of housing is a lack of housing, and is a major contributor to the growing number of citizens without a house to call home. This is not complicated cause/effect reasoning. In the 80’s, New York City commercial investors bought up the in town residential properties for demolition and commercial “development.” This resulted in the overnight burgeoning of people on the streets without a house to call home. Remove the existing housing stock without replacement creates scarcity. Scarcity may be good for capitalism but it is bad if you need a roof over your head. No matter, Newark City government leaders are all patting themselves on the back for dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s in their quest to accommodate commercial “development.” But is commercial interest the public interest? Is the demolition of housing stock with no replacement in the interest of the public good? 

Early Onset Of Collective Amnesia

February 14, 2021

            It has been pointed out by witty pundits that when breaking news, or national news, doesn’t match the Fox network’s outlook, the news conglomerate defers to some totally unrelated story that does, no matter how trivial or absurd. Not reporting the news of the day (or hour) is replaced by something other to occupy the viewer’s interest. This is very reminiscent of a parent’s attempt to assuage a child’s pre-meal hunger with activities in order to occupy their time. A similar deferral is currently being foisted on Newark Ohio. Indeed, this particular form of bait and switch is so ubiquitous that it is taken as normal. The Covid 19 vaccination roll out has been occurring, in Ohio, for quite some time now. Statewide we are told that 1 in 9 have been inoculated. The Licking County Health Department, for some unknown reason, has not been receiving an allotment and stopped their vaccination appointments/inoculations. In its stead, to keep the citizenry occupied, we have received an updated website with all kinds of bells and whistles, but no registry, no online appointment strategy. It is still appointment by phone (with registration to follow appointment confirmation). It is still appointments not being scheduled at the present time. Same cannot be said for LMH, a private hospital, which is still receiving vaccine allotments and scheduling appointments. But that is part of the normal, learned helplessness that Newark residents have been channeled into. Astute readers will recall that years ago the Newark Health Department was eliminated through a merger with the Licking County Health Department. “Greater efficiency and better service” were given as the primary reason for consolidation. It was the same reason given for the unified 911 call center. Ditto for the elimination of public transportation responsibility for its residents by the city of Newark. The demise of the low barrier shelter projected for the defunct Family Dollar building follows the same modus operandi. The deferral of “public” seems to be a particularly GOP characteristic, a party which has dominated city, county and state governance for years; for so long that its privatized outlook has almost become accepted as the norm. Now, with the Covid 19 vaccine, the privatization extends to its distribution (and subsequent deferral). Reliance on the vaccine administration is being shifted to the pharmaceutical monopolies of CVS and Walgreens. Their limited site dominance in the greater Newark area was made possible through buying out local pharmacies (more complicated than that but no space to address). Now they will “lead” in serving the public good. It needn’t be that way. West Virginia’s touted vaccine roll out success is attributed precisely to their abundance of local, non-franchise pharmacies. They, along with other states, register vaccine aspirants and THEN follow up with appointment time calls TO the aspirant, through the Health Department or pharmacy. Privatizing public services, whether health, transportation, housing, safety, education, etc. just doesn’t work and is NOT more efficient. A public service only works if it is always available and accessible to the public. Along with the disappearance of public space, the collective memory of public services is fading fast in Newark Ohio.

Polarity

February 7, 2021

            “We must work on homeless issue” is the title of Newark’s 2ndward council person Jeremy Blake’s response to the 1-8-21 news of the end of low barrier shelter/beginning of another thrift store on East Main St. (guest column Newark Advocate 2-7-21). “I voted along with all of my colleagues on the City Council to spend taxpayer dollars for a consultant to perform work and then provide recommendations on how to end chronic homelessness.” Even though the consultant resigned due to her own finding that the community was not committed to the solution (let alone the problem), Mr. Blake argues that the consultation was but a step in a further process of meetings and conversations. Such a drawn out and extensive “process” never seems to accompany council matters with regard to TIF’s, renovations, redevelopment, development, or even annexation for the sake of development. Indeed, Blake’s approach laser focuses on the homeless aspect without mention of the homefull. Is such a concept possible? Or is it like thinking of night without day, wet without dry, good without bad? Reporting for the NY Times (2-4-21) Stefanos Chen headlines The Down Side to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks. “The nearly 1,400-foot tower at 432 Park Ave., briefly the tallest residential building in the world, was the pinnacle of New York’s luxury condo boom half a decade ago [2016], fueled largely by foreign buyers seeking discretion and big returns. Six years later, residents of the exclusive tower are now at odds with the developers, and each other, making clear that even multimillion-dollar price tags do not guarantee problem-free living.” “The building, a slender tower that critics have likened to a middle finger because of its contentious height, is mostly sold out, with a projected value of $3.1 billion.” “[Sarina] Abramovich and her husband, Mikhail, retired business owners who worked in the oil and gas business, bought a high-floor, 3,500-square-foot apartment at the tower for nearly $17 million in 2016, to have a secondary home near their adult children.” “She’s aware that the plight of billionaires won’t garner much sympathy, but says she is speaking out on principle. “Everything here was camouflage,” she said. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have never bought.”” How many times have we heard that hiring a consultant is the way to solve a problem? Do consultants wear camo? Today’s NY Times provided some PC sympathy. Conor Dougherty headlines Pandemic’s Toll on Housing: Falling Behind, Doubling Up, Eviction moratoriums don’t keep arrears from piling up, and aid to renters may not reach the most vulnerable. (2-6-21) Analysis uncovered these relevant insights: “The nation has a plague of housing instability that was festering long before Covid-19, and the pandemic’s economic toll has only made it worse.” “Even before last year, about 11 million households — one in four U.S. renters — were spending more than half their pretax income on housing, and overcrowding was on the rise. By one estimate, for every 100 very low-income households, only 36 affordable rentals are available.” “Reflecting the broader economy, the pain in the U.S. housing market is most severe at the bottom. Surveys of large landlords whose units tend to be higher quality and more expensive have been remarkably resilient through the pandemic. Surveys of small landlords and low-income tenants show that late fees and debt are piling up.” “But for every million or so households who are evicted in the United States each year, there are many more millions who move out before they miss a payment, who cut back on food and medicine to make rent, who take up informal housing arrangements that exist outside the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. “What happens in housing court will miss most of the people who need help,” said Davin Reed, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. While rents have fallen in many big cities, vacancy rates for the cheapest buildings are essentially flat from last year, according to CoStar Group, a commercial property group. That is: Nothing about Covid-19 has changed the fact that there is a longstanding shortage of affordable housing, so anyone who loses an affordable home will still have a hard time finding a new one.” “It is a world of cash rent and oral agreements that are unstable and easily torn — a big reason that various studies show informal tenants are more likely to become homeless. “People who have places they can be evicted from are better off than those who don’t,” said Marybeth Shinn, a professor at Vanderbilt University who studies homelessness.” But conversations about and “solutions” to the homeless problem are primarily focused on the problem “along the banks of the waterways which travel through the neighborhoods of the second ward that many of our chronic homeless call home.” (Blake) Analysis finds this akin to addressing agricultural weed eradication programs without mentioning how it is we farm in the first place. Newark is not exceptional to anything Dougherty writes about, nor what Chen covers. When speaking of big money west end development no mention is made of those who are couch surfing and doubling, tripling up to find shelter. And in researching a solution to the homeless issue, no word on the quickly acquiesced and subsidized big money developments. Flat earth versus a globe that spins round and comes round, night without day, homeless without homefull, it is obvious where the roots of American polarity spring forth.