I got two new amendments on my Amended docket this week, and I dealt with the two older amendments that were already there (one final rejection, and one allowance). This leaves me where I was a week ago, with two regular amendments, and two Special Amended cases that are actually Board of Appeals decisions.

I also finished a non-RCE Regular New, 47 minutes too late to be counted for last biweek and the third quarter, and then did a new Office Action on a Request for Continued Examination case. I also dealt with a few other little tasks at work.
I had received notice that the exterminators were coming, and that I should clear off the kitchen counters, the stovetop, and the top of the refrigerator, so I took some annual leave for Friday morning, and planned to do what was necessary.

Came the morning, and I knocked a bottle of balsamic vinegar off the kitchen counter and onto the floor, where it broke. While trying to clean that up, I cut my finger on a shard of glass. I managed to bandage and rebandage my finger, finish my domestic tasks this morning, clean the floor, and haul away a bag of trash, but then I also cut myself shaving.
To continue with the book launch on Wednesday, August 17, Frank Peddle spoke after Fred Foldvary. Professor Peddle said Volume II of the Collected Works, Progress and Poverty, would be out in the fall. The annotated critical edition was aimed at libraries and institutions, and would be available for scholarly work. Why bother, since George's works were in the public domain?

There had been no annotated critical edition before. Now-obscure economists are quoted, and there are words unfamiliar to most people today. The critical edition will have explanations, annotations, corrections, and a new index.

He mentioned the electronic future, and publishing constraints.

Then there was a break until 3:00 PM.
To continue with the book launch on Wednesday, August 17, and specifically with what Fred Foldvary was saying: There was a crash in 1873. There was land fraud in California. The federal government ran huge deficits during the 1800's, not in money, but in land. The public lands were being given away or sold cheaply.

He also spoke of the "discovery" doctrine. In 1455, Pope Nicholas V decreed in Romanus Pontifex that the first Christians to discover non-Christian land owned it. American land law incorporated this doctrine, which did not come from English common law. The mostly Protestant U.S. took this from the Vatican.

The American revolutionaries were land speculators, and therefore the revolution. It's more complicated than that, but the economic motives of the revolutionary leaders did matter.

Land policy today involves subsidies for the rich. The government taxes people for civic improvements, and it's the mostly rich owners of land who benefit.

Then there was another Alexandra Wagner Lough film clip.
After coming in to work on Saturday and Sunday, I arrived Monday morning, and resumed writing my latest Office Action. I finished it, but at 3:47 PM, almost an hour too late to get it counted for the third quarter.

That's a disappointment, but not a disaster. I should be within my safety zone, but I need to do better the final quarter, and make a success of the fiscal year.
The Financial Times printed a letter of mine today, and here it is:

Encourage the more efficient use of land

Sir, Diane Coyle writes that the market is not going to fix the housing problem, which is true in a sense, but states that private developers will not want to increase housing supply enough to bring prices down ("Grenfell Tower tragedy offers a chance to fix housing policy", June 22). Private developers may not want that result, but each developer stands to profit by increasing the housing supply a bit, and the total effect should be a large increase in that supply.

The real market failure is that private developers cannot increase the supply of land. It would be possible, however, to reconsider land use regulations, and to tax land more while cutting taxes on buildings, wages, and value added. This would encourage efficient use of land, while rendering land speculation unprofitable, and thus reducing land prices.

Nicholas D Rosen
Arlington, VA, US
No amendment activity this week, so I still have the same two regular amendments and the same two Board of Appeals decisions on my Special Amended docket.

This week, I met with an attorney who came to Alexandria for an in-person interview; another attorney was the speakerphone, and they tried to join forces, but I held my ground. I finished a new first action on a Request for Continued Examination case, and, by the way, someone filed another RCE. I've basically spent part of Tuesday and the past three days on my oldest non-RCE Regular new case, on which I've made considerable progress, but with much left to do. This is the last weekend of the quarter, so I really want to finish it by 3:00 PM Monday to meet production for the quarter.

Oh, and I confirmed the abandonment of an application a little over six months after my first action rejection. It's good to have things like this fall into my lap now and then.
To continue with Wednesday, August 17, after lunch we had the book launch for The Annotated Works of Henry George, Volume One. A few years ago, I had my doubts, as a Schalkenbach trustee, about spending tens of thousands of dollars on this, but Ted Gwartney made the argument that having scholarly, annotated printings would help get Georgism taken seriously by more academics (some academics already do take it seriously). Anyway, the event began with a video clip of Dr. Alexandra Wagner Lough speaking about American economic history.

Brendan Hennigan spoke (giving an introduction, I presume), followed by Dr. Fred Foldvary, Professor Frank Peddle, and Professor Bill Peirce.

Dr. Foldvary spoke about "Our Land and Land Policy," the first (short) book by Henry George, then thirty-one years old. He already understood about land and rent, and gave a brief history of massive land giveaways by the U.S. government to railroads, veterans, colleges, etc.

Land "monopoly" doesn't mean that there's a single seller, but that the supply cannot be increased.

Only one seventh of the land was transferred to homesteaders.

The Southern States had blocked Western expansion. During the Civil War, the Homestead Act was passed, with no Southern Congressmen to oppose it.

Speculators used "dummy entrymen" to obtain lands supposedly set aside for homesteaders.

There was an 1868 article by Henry George, "What the Railroad Will Bring Us." He was concerned that when the raw new city of San Francisco was connected to the Eastern U.S. by railroad, and became as great and rich as New York City, there would be hungry, ragged children in the streets of San Francisco, just as there were in New York.

To be continued.
I think that the killing of Philando Castile was an appalling incident of trigger-happiness and related misconduct: for example, the police proceeded to handcuff the dying man's girlfriend, who hadn't shot anyone, rather than Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who had. Upon reading of the jury's verdict of acquittal, I felt a temptation to get a gun, and assassinate Mr. Yanez myself.

I won't do it, but I won't be astonished if someone else does. Also, sad to say, I won't be astonished if someone with a hot temper and a list of grievances against the world murders some random policeman, or random white man, and proclaims that he was avenging Phiando Castile.

Then, I won't be astonished if the law-and-order types use the incident to rail against Black Lives Matter, and try to discredit legitimate complaints about police misconduct.

Let's hope we don't go down that road.
This week, I got one new After Final amendment that appeared on my Expedited docket, and which I dealt with expeditiously. I also got another case on my Special Amended docket; this case was actually a Board of Appeals decision affirming my rejection of someone's patent application. Just like last week. So I now have two regular amendments on my Amended docket, and two Board decisions on my Special Amended docket.

Otherwise, I finished a first action on my oldest non-RCE Regular New case, and then finished an action on my oldest Request for Continued Examination case. I got a new RCE case this week, and I have just started on that.
To continue with the morning of Wednesday, August 17, there was a question and answer session after Professor Clark's talk.

Someone mentioned cow-leasing. If you have at least one cow per ten acres, you're a farmer or rancher, not just a land speculator, so there's supposedly a company in Florida that leases cows. You pay the company money, you get a tax break in your property, and the company provides both the cows and the service of taking care of them.

Someone else -- it may have been Professor Clark, I don't know -- said that Walt Disney's father built the first tourist hotel in Florida, near Daytona Beach, and it failed. The Disneys failed in Florida, went to Chicago, and later to Missouri. Walt Disney's grandfather for the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, the "White City," which helped inspire Walt.

After this, we had lunch, with CGO memeber organization reports.
To continue with Professor Clark's talk on how Disney World got started, there was a chicken ranch, with a diner, offering chicken dinners and plumbing. Disney executives went there to eat. When an agent secretly representing Disney tried to buy out the owners, they said that they had been praying for someone to offer them good money for their swampy land, "But lately, business has been so good." So they didn't sell, and now the Hyatt Regency is on the site of their ranch. I guess their family still owns the land.

12,000 acres were acquired from the Dimitri family, who sold Disney the land, and donated the mineral rights to Tuft University. Disney bought the mineral rights from Tuft U.

Mostly, the Walt Disney Corporation managed to keep its land-buying confidential, but one charter airplane pilot overheard, and spent $25,000 to buy an option on some land; he made a million dollars in profit.

Disney demanded legislation creating the Reedy Creek Improvement District, to protect the Disney World park from local politicians.

Walt Disney died, and the ideas he had had for a City of Tomorrow were not brought to fruition. His brother Roy said, "Walt's dead," and just built an amusement park.

A carnie had told Walt Disney that free parking was a bad idea.

Also, before he died, Walt asked Roy, "Don't you wish we had bought 27,000 acres in Anaheim?"

This was followed by a Q&A session. Watch this space.
Peter Suderman has an interesting article in Reason about video gaming. It has its benefits, no doubt, but there are reasons to be concerned when substantial numbers of young men are devoting major amounts of time to video gaming while living in their parents' basements, instead of getting jobs and taking on adult responsibilities. Some of them, to be sure, genuinely find it difficult to get jobs. Suderman doesn't just say one thing; he is capable of seeing several sides of the question.
To continue with Wednesday, August 17, the second part of "Disney World as an Intentional Community" was a talk by Jim Clark, a historian, a professor at the University of Central Florida, and also a journalist. His aunt sold her twenty acres for $1000 per acre.

Walt Disney couldn't get financing for Disney World, so he mortgaged his television program to ABC. Ultimately, Disney Corporation ended up buying ABC.

In the late 1950's and 1960's, 98% of visitors to Disney Land in California were from west of the Mississippi; it would be nice to get money from people in the East as well. Walt Disney talked with Angie Busch, who owned Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. There are exotic birds and gardens at Busch Gardens.

Walt Disney's parents were the first couple married in new Lake County, Florida. Young Walt didn't grow up in Florida, but did visit as a child. He saw the future site of Disney World from an airplane, and chose the land. It was swampland, with 16 feet of filter on top of the swamps. There is a lake near Disney World, which was dredged out to get soil to put on top of the land elsewhere.

Disney hired a CIA agent to buy up land for Disney World, and he conducted it like a CIA operation. The tipster was "Ford Mustangs," and the second telegraph said "Hay for the mustangs."

Walt Disney (present as "Mr. Brown") was eating with some Disney executives, when the waitress asked whether he was Walt Disney. Someone hastened to say no, that Walt Disney was better looking. Walt Disney said that he was, indeed, Walt Disney, and one of his executives made a "he's crazy" gesture.

A female journalist asked Mr. Disney whether it was true that he was planning to build a theme park near Orlando. He denied it, saying that it was a terrible place for a theme park, with 42.8 inched of rainfall per year, and he also pronounced Kissimmee correctly, with the accent on the second syllable. The reporter figured out that if he knew that much about the local rainfall and pronunciation, he was planning a theme park there, and was behind the mysterious land purchases. The headline read, "Girl reporter says it's Disney."

To be continued.
There was an interview in Reason with Richard Rothstein about discrimination in housing. He has written a book saying that it didn't just happen because of voluntary choices and private discrimination, but because government agencies actually required places like Levittown to be white-only, with restrictive covenants, as a condition of obtaining the credit that enabled them to be built. There's more, but that's one important point.

This meant, among other things, that a white veteran of World War Two could buy a house in the suburbs, and build wealth for his family, while a black veteran could not, even if he was theoretically eligible for a loan as well. This meant that inequalities were passed on, because the black veteran would then be less able to meet emergency medical expenses, or help his child go to college. So what can we do about it now? How do we, or can we, compensate blacks whose grandparents got a raw deal because of government-mandated discrimination?

I will note that "building wealth through homeownership" tends to mean "getting rich through appropriating increases in land value."
I got one case on Special Amended docket, and on Monday, I dealt with the After Final Amendment on my Expedited docket. I still have the two ordinary amendments I had a week ago. The Special Amended case is actually a decision of the Board of Appeals, affirming my rejection of an application, and adopting my cogent arguments as to why the claims should be rejected. I'm not called upon to do anything in response for now; the Appellant gets a period of time to decide what to do. Most likely, the case will be allowed to go abandoned, although the disappointed Appellant might amend the claims and reopen prosecution, or might take the case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Meanwhile, I did a first action rejection on my oldest non-RCE Regular New case, and I've been working on my next oldest such case; unfortunately, I'm not likely to finish it by Monday at 3:00 PM.

There's one more biweek in the quarter, and I'll try to make it productive.
To proceed with the Q&A session after Dr. Fred Foldvary's talk on "Disney World as a Proprietary Rent-Funded Community," someone said that Florida lands are sinking; people are not being charged market rates to extract water from the aquifer.

Dr. Polly Cleveland described Disney World as a benevolent dictatorship, which she doesn't like very much. She went back and forth in is with Dr. Foldvary.

Lindrith Davies asked whether Disney was truly creating land value, saying that the highways and airports also contribute. But then, Disney does pay taxes.

Scot Walton said tha old town Orlando was pretty decrepit, and not benefiting much from Disney, it seemed.

Ed Dodson asked about employee housing. David Wetzel mentioned gated communities in South Africa, with pricpvate armed guards protecting them. Fred Foldvary noted that this turns public goods theory on its head. The government in South Africa doesn't provide much security, but private companies and associations do.

There was various other discussion.

Joan Moylan said that she had visited the Magic Kingdom in 1973, when Walt Disney was in charge, and it cost $6 for adults, $4 for children. Now the corporate mentality has taken over, and it costs much more.

Frank deJong referred to the Jane Jacobs book, Systems of Survival. It's important to distinguish the Traders from the Guardians. In Italy, private businesses, the Mafia, have gained coercive power. In the Soviet Union, the Guardians took over the whole economy. We need to make a sharp distinction.

Polly Cleveland said that her 96 year old mother is in an assisted living facility. It seems nice, but it's a trap. They provide poor nursing care, and just dial 911 in an emergency. But she can't move her mother.
Jesse Walker has an article in Reason magazine about the idea of the Basic Income, sometimes known as a Citizen's Dividend, and mentions Henry George. Some Georgists, notably Jeff Smith, are big on the idea of a Citizen's Dividend; we are all equal owners of the world's land, and should all get a share of the land rent. I agree, and being on the more libertarian end of the Georgist spectrum, I think that the government should not necessarily be trusted to spend its revenue wisely. Therefore, land rent revenue not duly appropriated for other purposes should be distributed as dividends; among othe benefits, this should give people a stake in the system, and give them an incentive to demand frugality in government.

Alaska does something along these lines with money from oil revenues; it could also be done with rent from valuable city building land.
Here is more reportage on the real gem of a human being currently occupying the White House.
Something called the Protection Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017 has passed the House, and I have written to my two Senators, urging them to oppose it. (My Congressman, Don Beyer, deserves commendation for voting against it, despite a name chosen to make it sound virtuous.) According to what I've read, this bill would apply a fifteen year mandatory minimum to producing or conspiring to obtain child pornography, which might be a good idea if it applied only to forty year old creeps who molest prepubescent children and photograph their criminal acts.

However, it would also apply to teenagers, so that a sixteen year old girl who sends a nude selfie to her boyfriend could apparently be sent to prison for many years, as could a teenage boy who so much as tries to persuade a girl ("conspires") to send him a sext. You don't have to approve of behavior like this to think that it should not be punished more severely than actual rape.

Please get in touch with your senators.
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