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Journal: That's Not Politic? 3

Journal by Austrian Anarchy
On this week's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee , Sarah Jessica Parker uses the phrase "that's not politic." I guess I don't get out enough in wealthy leftoid circles to know that "politically correct" has been reduced to one word, and that is the context that she used it.

It was on the tail of her gem that there used to be signs in NYC that said "No Irish, No Entertainers, No Jews, No ..." Which is another new one on me. Her rendition of the "No Irish, No Negroes, Need Apply/Served Here/etc." now includes "entertainers."

While looking for a reference to, well anything that could be called research, related to this "No" sign, I found this interesting paper by Richard J. Jensen from 12/12/2004:

"No Irish Need Apply":
A Myth of Victimization
Abstract
(the whole article at the link)

Irish Catholics in America have a vibrant memory of humiliating job discrimination, which featured omnipresent signs proclaiming "Help Wanted--No Irish Need Apply!" No one has ever seen one of these NINA signs because they were extremely rare or nonexistent. The market for female household workers occasionally specified religion or nationality. Newspaper ads for women sometimes did include NINA, but Irish women nevertheless dominated the market for domestics because they provided a reliable supply of an essential service. Newspaper ads for men with NINA were exceedingly rare. The slogan was commonplace in upper class London by 1820; in 1862 in London there was a song, "No Irish Need Apply," purportedly by a maid looking for work. The song reached America and was modified to depict a man recently arrived in America who sees a NINA ad and confronts and beats up the culprit. The song was an immediate hit, and is the source of the myth. Evidence from the job market shows no significant discrimination against the Irish--on the contrary, employers eagerly sought them out. Some Americans feared the Irish because of their religion, their use of violence, and their threat to democratic elections. By the Civil War these fears had subsided and there were no efforts to exclude Irish immigrants. The Irish worked in gangs in job sites they could control by force. The NINA slogan told them they had to stick together against the Protestant Enemy, in terms of jobs and politics. The NINA myth justified physical assaults, and persisted because it aided ethnic solidarity. After 1940 the solidarity faded away, yet NINA remained as a powerful memory.

As mentioned in the paper, certainly the occasional mention was made. One could read the NYT classifieds every day for 20 years in the 19th century and find the reference perhaps twice. The NINA signs appeared in England, but did not seem to make it across the pond in any numbers that could be called prolific.

And now, an actress wishes to add entertainers to the myth.

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Journal: Head Explode 3

Journal by Austrian Anarchy
OKAY, this ain't new to me, but sometimes it drives me to a new level of nuts. This "food desert" crap is pretty much peak bureaucrat bullshit. Back in 2009, the USDA came up with a map that was allegedly going to show where poor people had trouble finding "good" food. If they would have bothered to use factors that are easily available to the federal government, they might have come up with a useful product.

Instead, for the "good" food part they used, exclusively, supermarket locations. The industry definition, and the definition the USDA used is grocers that have all of the general grocery departments that do $2 million or more in annual sales within one mile of the "low income" folks described below. So if you have a neighborhood with Asian, Hispanic, and Indian markets (like the first food desert I examined) they are still deemed as "low access" to food. The added some other levels, like 1/2 mile from a supermarket, since 2009.

Another factor they used was "vehicle access" and it comes from census data. The running lie is that it is 500 people OR 1/3 of a census tract reporting no vehicle access. It ignores free services, like the TWO we have in Knoxville, that will pick up the poor and take them to the grocery store (or dialysis, or many other things). In this county, even the poorest of the poor has vehicle access for the necessities and they do not need to wait for the regular city bus either.

Yet another factor is the poverty measure. If a census tract has >20% households at the poverty level OR the average household income is
When you stick to the 1 mile map of 2009 the neighborhoods you expect were on the map. Areas with government housing complexes, poverty, and few grocers. But all sorts of other places showed up too, like the entire campus of the University of Tennessee, all the dorms, all the frat houses, the Agricultural campus, everything. Which pretty much makes the map cast too big a net and become nearly useless.

Then comes along the first lady in 2010 who decided the way to fix this issue was to "partner" with large grocers (supermarket owners) to bring more supermarkets to the poor. The White House announced that it was directing $400 million per year at the president's wife's project.

Here in Knoxville, the local equivalent of the Daily Worker, known as Metro Pulse, reported the 2011 version of the map. It showed what I described above, college campus census tracts appeared as destitute as the projects.

Something happened between 2011 and 2013. The map changed here and a good chunk of the tracts with public housing projects dropped off. The tracts still numbered 20, but new ones popped up. One was a bit west of where I live. in 2012 a Trader Joe's opened there, and by 2013 it was a food desert. Even more odd, one of Michelle Obama's food desert partners converted part of their store to a grocery.

Also in 2012, the city of Knoxville decided to throw $1.5 million dollars at a developer for the "University Commons" project. Developers are supposed to be developing all on their own and the good ones know how to buy land with their own money, and build stuff that will turn a profit. The ones that build crap that becomes and empty hulk in a few years get $1.5 million dollars from the city.

Their project includes a Publix, in the food desert, pretty close to the new sorority mansion compound.

What about all of this compassionate government crap and the housing projects? No new stores there, and I am pretty sure the residents didn't get any wealthier either. However, they are not in a food desert anymore, so no new Publix for them. No, the city had to raise our property tax to bribe a developer into building a Publix for sorority girls.

It gets even better than that! A charter school wants to open and locate in the low income area I was talking about (Western Heights), but the teacher's union wants to block it. The charter school does not get any more money per student than a regular government school, they just don't have the bureaucrat overhead of the local government schools, plus the local school board still sticks their collective nose into every crack in the place anyway. The teacher demonstration I recorded yesterday on Market Square Mall was indeed the whitest gathering of people I've ever seen in this town. Whiter than #FFFFFF. By the way, that demonstration was in another food desert, surrounded by fancy pants eateries and expensive condos.

Pissed me off so much I have not been able to narrate the latest video hardly anybody is going to see anyway.

In other news, I start a new job tomorrow.
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Journal: Knoxville's Yuppieville is still a Food Desert?

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

Another week, another ground truth video of what the local Food Policy Council and the USDA call "food deserts" these days. Most of the video shows the conditions in two census tracts with high concentrations of public housing that have been de-listed from the basic food desert map by the USDA. The Knoxville Knox-County Food Policy Council joined with them and call the map "the 20 food deserts of Knox County." The last several minutes of the video shows me leaving the safety of recovered food deserts and entering the downtown area, populated by condo dwellers and all sorts of government sponsored urban renewal, which is still listed as a "food desert." One of the council members works in the midst of 'recovered' food desert territory, so you would think these people would know there was something a bit off with their map.

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Journal: Knox MPC brings Walmart to Sorority Village Food Desert 3

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

In my ongoing examination of what KnoxFood.Org (part of our Metropolitan Planning Commission) is calling "food deserts" (basically, whatever the USDA says they are), I discovered a new one. The new sorority village at the University of Tennessee is labeled on of Knox County's 20 food deserts, and they just got Walmart and Publix stores to relieve the suffering. Before they built the sorority dorms, this tract was home to student dorms and fraternity houses.

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Journal: Knoxville has the most humble bureaucrats anywhere? 3

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

It looks like on these evolving food desert maps, that the local Knoxville bureaucracy has performed a miracle. Two miracles if you count not announcing it as one. They have apparently gotten a few of our 20 food deserts moved away from the low income neighborhoods and moved into yuppieveille. It is just in time too, because First Lady Michelle Obama wants to help large supermarkets move into the food deserts, and if the public housing projects don't need them anymore what better place to locate a Whole Foods than next to a Trader Joe's?

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Journal: My Metro Planning Commission is nothing but a propaganda machine

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

I've been finding some odd info in the "food desert" maps of my community. Like a wide variety of grocery stores within the borders of the so-called food deserts. Now I discovered the Knoxville Metropolitan Planning Commission is on board with the corporate propaganda (I was not surprised). The started a website KnoxFood.Org and ask the usual propagandist open ended questions, in this case implying the only way for some to get to the grocery store is by city bus, walk, or starve. The problem is there has been a bus service in place for years and years that is there specifically for driving the elderly, disabled, and anybody without vehicle access to the store (or pharmacy, or dialysis, etc.). Food Desert Fabrications gives the info on how to contact Knox CAC for a ride to the store, while KnoxFood.Org never mentions it. How is this a big business scheme? KnoxFood.Org and the USDA want you to think that 1. food deserts exist all over the place, and 2. that the ONLY way to relieve them is by building Supermarkets every mile or two. BTW, a grocery store sells less than $2 million per year, and a supermarket sells $2m or more per year.

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Journal: Food Desert Solutions

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

The way the USDA has developed their food desert map leaves few options for solving this problem, at least it leaves few options for getting an area off of their food desert maps. For one thing, if you have an expensive subdivision within the city limits zoned residential, by definition a grocer cannot locate his storefront there and it becomes a food desert because the residents do not have "access" within 1 or even .5 mile of a grocery. If only 500 people within that census tract do not own their own vehicle, the whole tract counts as "limited vehicle access." Some food deserts use the .5 mile rule, so if a poor person is not within .5 miles of the store, it is a food desert. Now imagine how to eliminate this problem to the satisfaction of the USDA. You have to get all of the poor people within .5 miles of a grocery store, or give away a pile of vehicles. I'm not sure who is up for corralling poor people into grocery store parking lot dorms, nor am I sure who is for bulldozing homes every mile for a Kroger's. Don't even suggest bus service, because that has no effect on the map at all. More here.

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Journal: Food Co-Op in middle of Food Desert

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

Knoxville, Tennessee's oldest food co-op, and the only community owned food co-op in the State is in the middle of a food desert. As it turns out, nearly the whole city of Knoxville, and not much of the surrounding county, is a USDA food desert of one level of another. The co-op responded: "Our co-op is considered a small grocery store (not a large grocery store or supermarket), so the USDA, Treasury and HHS do not view us as having an impact on this designation." Interestingly enough, Super Target, Trader Joe's, Super Walmarts, ethnic groceries, and Sam's Clubs are not enough to make an impact either, even in fairly wealthy areas.

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Journal: Glenn Reynolds goes grocery shopping in a food desert

Journal by Austrian Anarchy
Via Instapundit - "I BOUGHT LAST NIGHTâ(TM)S DINNER AT THE FOOD-DESERT TRADER JOEâ(TM)S: Knoxvilleâ(TM)s Federally-Designated âoeFood Desertsâ Include Super Walmart, Samâ(TM)s Club, Kroger. Plus a couple of tasty oriental supermarkets. âoeIf the federal government wants to be taken seriously, they really need to try harder.â" That food desert also contains a Super Mercado and an Indian Market
Hidden in this story is a big lesson in data analysis. Looking at the USDA food desert atlas, the definitions of the desert do not appear to be followed very well by the cartographers. In the area central to the story (Downtown West/West Town Mall area of West Knoxville, TN) is almost completely commercial property and very few residences. The only residential area in the desert is quite well to do too. Right across the south boundary of the desert are square miles and miles of apartments and single family homes, but no grocery stores of any kind. Also, it appears that independent or small chain stores are ignored when one looks to the downtown area. The corner of Baxter Ave. and N. Central has a discount supermarket, and it sits in the middle of another food desert. I did find one food desert without a grocery store contained within: my own subdivision and immediate area. It is not low income at all and is pretty darn close to Kroger's, Food City, and many other food stores that can be visited easily by private and public transportation.
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Journal: The Food Deserts of West Knoxville, TN 1

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

I just heard about the Department of Agriculture's "food desert" map, so I decided to take a peek at the most prosperous part of Knox County, TN. The first two "deserts" I noticed were the homes of large grocery stores, or right next to large grocery stores. By "right next to" I mean literally across the street. One of the "deserts" has both a Super Walmart and a Sams Club anchoring its corner, INSIDE the "desert." The second of the "deserts" is the home to West Town Mall, established in the 1970s, with a large food court and several stores that sell "artisan" food, and it is directly across the street from a large grocery store. When I looked deeper into the city, I found my own subdivision in a large "desert" and homes here ain't cheap. Even deeper into the city, I found food deserts with discount grocery smack in the middle. Now I wonder just what the heck they mean by a "food desert" since a lack of produce, raw or prepared, does not seem to matter. Places that are not considered "deserts"? The more expensive subdivisions with no grocery stores or eateries of any kind at all.

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Journal: Was Slashdot down yesterday? 3

Journal by Austrian Anarchy

A bit of a strange day yesterday. I could not get any slashdot or sourceforge pages to load on my machine for most of the day. Everything seems fine now. Scrolled through the stories from yesterday and did not see any note of an outage and when I tweeted about it, one other person retweeted it. Did not have any trouble with any other sites at all. Strange.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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