2017 December 21

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Albany, NY
Christmas Time
Delmar, NY
Delmar, New York
Dormansville, New York
Economy
Efficency
Elm Ave Park & Ride - CDTA
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Mount Greylock
Overlook Mountain
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December 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Good evening! Mostly cloudy and 26 degrees in Delmar, NY. There is a north-northwest breeze at 5 mph. The skies will clear Christmas Eve around 3 am. With the wind at times picking up a bit it can be a bit cold but not unreasonable for late December. Calm before the storm. I don’t think that the commute in will be bad but it will be bad by evening I think. Or maybe not. Depends on the temperature and the impact of the well sanded roads. 

Tonight will have a chance of snow, mainly after 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low of 18 degrees at 4am. One degrees below normal. Maximum wind chill around 18 at 10pm; North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. In 2016, we had cloudy skies. It got down to 29 degrees. The record low of -8 occurred back in 1955.

Tonight will have a Waxing Crescent Moon with 13% illuminated.The moon will rise tomorrow at 10:13 am. The First Quarter Moon is on Monday night with partly cloudy skies. The sun will rise at 7:22 am with the first light at 6:50 am, which is 30 seconds later than yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 57 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 3 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will snow and sleet before 4pm, then sleet likely between 4pm and 5pm, then snow and sleet after 5pm. High of 29 degrees at 3pm. Five degrees below normal. Southeast wind 5 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow and sleet accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible. A year ago, we had mostly sunny skies with more clouds in the afternoon. The high last year was 39 degrees. The record high of 60 was set in 1990. 12.3 inches of snow fell back in 1969.

Not a particularly nice weekend on tap. Saturday, rain. High near 41. Calm wind becoming south around 6 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Christmas Eve, mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. Possible snow for Christmas Day.  Typical average high for the weekend is 33 degrees.

It does not look really good for getting out of town during the long weekend but maybe conditions will improve for the New Years Eve weekend. Eventually winter will end and things will thaw out. 

Been having trouble with my headphones and my smartphone. That kind of sucks because I like listening to music on the bus and walking around town. As the headphones work fine with my laptop, I’m concerned that it’s the headphone port that’s broken on my phone. I could try taking the phone apart and solder it but it’s so tiny inside. I see that Bluetooth headphones are now only like $30 compared to $10-15 for the regular model, so that may be the way to go rather than buy yet another smartphone for $50 and have to reinstall all my programs and music and probably have to buy yet another case. I just get tired of replacing phones, but granted I guess the basic Tracphones I use aren’t that durable and I’m rough on them. Inexpensive Bluetooth headphones might be a good idea as usually it’s the headphone jack that breaks before the headphones do in my experience. I also like the idea of  not getting tangled up in the headphones, especially when I am cooking or hiking. Living in an apartment for the most part when I want to listen to music I have to use headphones.  They have eight hours of charge to them, and I would still use wired headphones with the laptop. Listening to music is yet another thing I’ll like someday when I have my own place out in the sticks. I’ll have to think about it some more. 

Fixed the bugs on my blog that were causing status updates to repeat in an endless loop. I just misspelled a variable that wasn’t properly defined. I’ve been working to bring Facebook and Twitter closer to my blog, so if I post on either of those sites it also pops up on my blog. 

In four weeks on January 18 the sun will be setting at 4:51 pm, which is 26 minutes and 15 seconds later then tonight. In 2017 on that day, we had rain, drizzle, snow, sleet, mist, cloudy skies and temperatures between 37 and 33 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 30 and 14 degrees. The record high of 59 degrees was set back in 1973.

Looking ahead, National Hug Day is a month away and February Save the Pine Bush Dinner – 40th Anniversary is in 2 months.

New York vs Federal Minimum Wage

New York's minimum wage has generally tracked along with the federal minimum wage, sometimes going up a bit before the federal minimum wage, and in the 1990s under the George Pataki administration, it was below the federal minimum wage for a few years. Now it's a bit above the federal minimum wage, which hasn't increased in over a decade, but is still lower then Massachusetts Minimum Wage.

Note: 2019-2021 are estimates, assuming no changes to state or federal law. Minimum wage is for Upstate NY, and does not include the higher wages required for fast food workers or those in the Metropolitan region of New York.

Data Sources:

NYS DOL, Minimum Wage (Upstate NY) for 2017-2021. https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/workprot/minwage.shtm.

U.S. Department of Labor, Federal Minimum Hourly Wage for Nonfarm Workers for the United States [FEDMINNFRWG], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FEDMINNFRWG, December 20, 2017.

U.S. Department of Labor, State Minimum Wage Rate for New York [STTMINWGNY], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/STTMINWGNY, December 21, 2017.

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas.

Old style liberalism died in the 1970s due to the gas lines brought on by the government setting too low of a price on oil, too high of a price on air plane tickets and phone calls, and well meaning automobile safety regulations that lead to a doubling of car prices for cars that were increasingly complex and unreliable. The study of economics and the realization of the consequences of government policies lead to changes.

When times change and societal knowledge of the consequences of policy choices become known, political parties change.

America 2018 is no longer America 1968, ideas that once made sense may no longer make sense. We have a better idea today on how to regulate capitalism today then 50 years ago. Government can create fair, competitive markets that serve the public interest, set basic regulations in the public interest while allowing businesses flexibility to innovate and compete to produce high quality goods at lower prices.

Phil Ochs – Another Age

"Soldiers have their sorrow
The wretched have their rage
Pray for the aged
It's the dawn of another age
Of another age
Of another age"

"Thomas Paine and Jesse James are old friends
And Robin Hood is riding on the road again
We were born in a revolution and we died in a wasted war
It's gone that way before"

"The dogs are chasing chicken bones across the lawn
If that was an election, I'm a Viet Cong
So I pledge allegiance against the flag
And the flaw for which it stands
I'll raise it if I can"

I Tried to Make My Home Energy Efficient and It’s Ruining My Life

"Leonard McBean had been told for months that his south Los Angeles home was a firetrap. Decades-old wiring had never been replaced, a common situation in his low-income neighborhood. One Tuesday morning, McBean asked a friend about the electrical contractor working on their house. By Wednesday night, the same contractor—a man who gave his name as Yogi—had approved the Jamaican immigrant for $18,000 in energy-efficient improvements."

“I said, ‘I don’t have that money,” McBean, a 67-year-old retired medical shuttle driver, told me. “He said, ‘Mr. McBean, don’t worry, you’re not going to pay a lot, just $100 a month.’ He said it was an Obama program.”

"When McBean electronically signed the contract two years ago, he didn’t realize he was consenting to have a lien placed on his house, meaning the county could take the home away for lack of payment. "He didn’t know the escrow payment attached to his mortgage would jump $400 a month. He didn’t know the lien would make the home difficult to sell."