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Marie

WASHINGTON, DC, United States
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  • How to Kill a City

  • Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood
  • By: Peter Moskowitz
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72

The term gentrification has become a buzzword to describe the changes in urban neighborhoods across the country, but we don't realize just how threatening it is. It means more than the arrival of trendy shops, much-maligned hipsters, and expensive lattes. The very future of American cities as vibrant, equitable spaces hangs in the balance. How to Kill a City takes listeners from the kitchen tables of hurting families who can no longer afford their homes to the corporate boardrooms and political backrooms where destructive housing policies are devised.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Unproductive criticism.

  • By Aaron Rogers on 06-01-18

Snobby Socialist New Yorker Gets Hyperbolic

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-18

Five stars for the narrator because I truly felt the author was an intolerable New Yorker with a superiority complex in love with his own opinion. If I had to read this in dead tree form, I would have given it one or negative stars, and probably wouldn't have finished it. The writing style was just entertaining enough, and the narration superior that I was willing to finish listening to the intolerable subject.

Before I go further, quick summary of the book. This journalist goes and visits 3 cities (Detroit, New Orleans, and San Francisco) and then writes about his own city, New York. White people are rich and gentrifiers, and people of color are poor and must be saved by government intervention with the assistance of activists, artists and non-profits. And capitalism is evil.

Peter Moskowitz lost me early on with conflating gentrification with genocide. His grandmother doesn't see why anyone would want to live in the city and I doubt she'd agree that the Holocaust, with its gas chambers, starvation, and other methods of death have anything in common with displacement. What gentrifier breaks into their neighbor's home and hacks the family to death with a machete as like Rwanda? Or what government favoring gentrification burns the homes of the soon to be displaced and moves them at the point of a gun and denies them citizenship, as the Burmese government has done to its Muslim population. It is offensive that the author even went there, but hey, shock value. I was willing to listen to an argument or point of view that I knew that I would have disagreements with, but this an other bits of hyperbole made me not trust the author, because I see he is willing to write stupid stuff that insulted my intelligence.

I have read Jacobs, Florida, and Glaeser's work as well as various academic papers, and urban planning blogs, so I'm familiar with the subject of cities and gentrification. So there were moments when I wondered if Moskowitz ever did as well, or conveniently forgot how cities and housing actually work so he continue on with whatever narrative he was slavishly sticking to. For example in the Bay area, he seemed to want to count people who sold their homes to developers as the displaced and was annoyed that those who did, did not show up in any measurements about displacement. Same with buy outs (cash for keys) that don't show up as evictions, because they aren't evictions! But I know he want the power of the word 'evictions' for things that are voluntary agreements between landlord and tenant. He also doesn't seem to understand that city governments, well most that I know of, do not exist to serve the poor. Nor does he seem to understand that when a city is bankrupt and or hasn't a decent tax base, it is very limited. He seems annoyed that broke and not broke cities are catering to companies and people who have jobs and money and they're not doing the same for the poor.

There was one section of the book, when covering the history of redlining and he Federal government's role in segregating housing, where I thought he should have started here. It was actually tolerable. I wish I could say informative, but if you've read about race and housing in America before, this should be familiar. It was the same old stuff to me, but I didn't mind hearing it again. What I did mind was that he gave zoning a free pass and ignored its racial history to instead talk about zoning specific to New York City.

Because I am listening to this book for a book group I belong to I kept stopping the audio (you can do this in the audible app) for taking notes. These notes were mainly to disagree with the author. If this is your first book on the topic, then you have no idea what's missing and ignorance is bliss. I unfortunately am aware of what he left out, what is highly colored by his Socialist leaning anti-capitalist point of view and what he has wrong.

Moskowitz doesn't add anything to the topic except his own opinion, nor does he offer any solutions that have a snowball's chance in Hades. One was land banking. Sounds great, but as I said, the author sometimes doesn't know how cities work. Cities will kick the homeless off public lands, and mine closed their waiting list for public housing years ago because it and the wait got ridiculously long. Cities are slower than a dead snail in Alaska when it comes to building the kinds of solutions he suggested. Another suggestion mentioned community boards like that in NYC. Once again that New Yorker-centric mentality creeps in. He likes the idea of the people but doesn't care for democracy when ballot initiatives in San Francisco don't deliver the results he wanted. Another suggestion was to regulate housing nationally. Housing is already regulated. There are only things a licensed plumber, HVAC person and the like can do. There are many tenant friendly cities, like NYC that are heavily regulated and the costs of doing business are passed on to the tenants in one way or another in higher rents, deferred maintenance and/or poor service. If regulation was so great NYC should be a renter's wonderland, but it isn't. Protectionism is another suggestion, but this just goes to something that is NYC specific regarding up-zoning. The last suggestion could just be summarized as try Socialism, raise taxes and wages and spend the money on the poor.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Free Women, Free Men

  • Sex, Gender, Feminism
  • By: Camille Paglia
  • Narrated by: Camille Paglia
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139

Ever since the release of her seminal first book, Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia has remained one of feminism's most outspoken, independent, and searingly intelligent voices. Now, for the first time, her best essays on the subject are gathered together in one concise volume. At once illuminating, witty, and inspiring, these essays are essential listening that affirm the power of men and women and what we can accomplish together.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Paglia at her best

  • By Jason on 04-19-17

Listen at .75x

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-15-18

Camille is the narrator and she doesn’t talk as fast as she does in her lectures or speaking engagements, she still talks quickly. I found listening at .75x the spee

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Free: Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff audiobook cover art
  • Free: Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff

  • By: Pappy Pariah
  • Narrated by: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Ari Fliakos, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 3,457
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,142
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 3,144

By turns tender and terrifying, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff captures America on the verge of political upheaval in 2016 and introduces us to a man who just might be able to save us from the oncoming horror. Yes, Bob Honey - carnival carny, sewage specialist, and government operative, among other occupations - has spent years in preparation, crisscrossing the world in the employ of a mysterious government program that pays in small bills.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just friggin weird man...

  • By agreenbuddha on 12-12-16

This was just not my thing

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-17

This work of fiction just wasn't my thing and I disliked it within 10 minutes of it and 20 more minutes to give it another chance.

  • Written Out of History

  • The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government
  • By: Mike Lee
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 256

In the earliest days of our nation, a handful of unsung heroes - including women, slaves, and an Iroquois chief - made crucial contributions to our republic. They pioneered the ideas that led to the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, and the abolition of slavery. Yet their faces haven't been printed on our currency or carved into any cliffs. Instead they were marginalized, silenced, or forgotten - sometimes by an accident of history, sometimes by design.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If only we were told about these guys and gals

  • By fair & balanced on 06-20-17

Interesting American History- not the usual stuff

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-17

The most striking thing that this audiobook had mentioned that has stayed with me is the case of Aaron Burr and President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson is the bad guy, not because he was sleeping with Sally Hemmings, or because he didn't care for Alexander Hamilton, but for trying to brand Burr a traitor without sufficient evidence.
Overall this is about people who have fought to hold back the worst parts of big government, except for the story of the slave woman. Her story is very interesting but isn't really about big government, but expressing her rights and it doesn't seem too different until you look and see what all the people profiled have in common. Most of the people profiled existed around about the time of the American Revolution.
Lastly, I think having a female narrator was probably the best decision for this book. A male voice would have come across as too aggressive.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Salt

  • A World History
  • By: Mark Kurlansky
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 13 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,917
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,301
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,310

So much of our human body is made up of salt that we'd be dead without it. The fine balance of nature, the trade of salt as a currency of many nations and empires, the theme of a popular Shakespearean play... Salt is best selling author Mark Kurlansky's story of the only rock we eat.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More than SALT

  • By Karen on 03-12-03

Informative but not very exciting

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-04-16

It filled the silence at work, but it isn't rave-worthy.
I like salt as much as the next person and it was very informative and I really appreciated that it wasn't completely Western Civ centric, as the author did include China. However, I could put the book down. I would listen to this when I ran out of podcasts. It filled the void.

  • You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

  • By: James Duane
  • Narrated by: James Duane
  • Length: 2 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 386
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 343
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 341

Law professor James J. Duane became a viral sensation thanks to a 2008 lecture outlining the reasons why you should never agree to answer questions from the police - especially if you are innocent and wish to stay out of trouble with the law. In this timely, relevant, and pragmatic new book, he expands on that presentation, offering a vigorous defense of every citizen's constitutionally protected right to avoid self-incrimination.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good to know and remember

  • By Marie on 11-04-16

Good to know and remember

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-04-16

I've seen Duane's YouTube video "Don't talk to the police", and listened to his talk at Cato so I was really worried when I saw that he was also the narrator. Many authors should never, ever, read their own book. I was worried because the man talks very quickly. For the Cato podcast I had to put his talk on 1/2 speed just so I could comprehend what the heck he was saying. Thankfully, for this book he speaks at a normal pace and does a very good job.

Yes, the basics of the book are don't talk to the police. Don't try to prove your innocence with the police. Don't plead the 5th and sit silently. Do invoke your 6th Amendment right by clearly saying "I want a lawyer." So then why do you need to still listen to this book? Because he includes several stories that bring home the point and explains the devil in the details. He provides examples of how the police lie to people and have people waive their rights and put innocent people in jail. It's the details that you need and to help remind you why you shouldn't do this or that.

He also reminds the listener to never ever lie to the police. Even a white lie will earn you jail time. Even a mistaken memory where you get some of your facts mixed up can be used against you. So to be safe, ask for a lawyer.

It was a good listen and very informative.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Split Second

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 18 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,778
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,549
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,540

Michelle Maxwell has just blown her future with the Secret Service. Against her instincts, she let a presidential candidate out of her sight to comfort a grieving widow. Then, behind closed doors, the politician whose safety was her responsibility vanished into thin air.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • not a bad read

  • By David on 11-14-03

Fine until my eyes started rolling out of my head

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-15-16

I started listening to this because I was fed up with another book and thought anything would be better than the other book. This was better for several hours, but then it just went downhill.
It's like the author was going well and then he handed it off to another writer who put in some concepts that just had me rolling my eyes and thinking the book was heading into the land of stupid. The women were okay but then later seemed hollower and, as a woman myself, I began not to like them.
I could be expecting too much for something that is mainly for people stuck on a plane.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Kids, a Primer

  • By: Bob Ungar
  • Narrated by: Kevin Scollin
  • Length: 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Kids, a Primer is a collection of a grandfather's musings on the way his (now grown) children are raising their children and being glad about being a grandparent rather than a new parent with young children (again). While Ungar is convinced that grandparents could do a better job raising children if they had the energy, he is grateful that he, in fact, no longer has the energy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining but not for kids

  • By Marie on 09-15-16

Entertaining but not for kids

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-15-16

It is short and in several places very funny. It is observations by an old crank who lives/lived in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, Dc regarding his upbringing, his kids and grandkids. But despite the subject matter this is not something you would want to listen to with your minor children. This was well worth the $2 I spent for this 44 minute bit of entertainment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The New Jim Crow

  • Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • By: Michelle Alexander
  • Narrated by: Karen Chilton
  • Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,494
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,467

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An essential read. A horrifying reality.

  • By Jeremy on 04-28-12

Angry for the wrong reasons

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-16

I knew the book was going to make me mad, but I didn’t think my annoyance would be with the author, but the system. I don’t like either.

Where do I start with why I think someone else should have written the book. Someone less defeatist, with her woe are us attitude, would have been better. To battle the problem you don’t need Eeyore always saying well that strategy was tried but now it’s closed off and we can’t do anything. She adds an extra layer of depression that undermines the impetus for change. If you suffer from depression stay away from this book.

There are facts I don’t argue with but the author’s interpretation of them is annoying, like her defeatism. She goes with the South as racist narrative, but the way that is played out seems to let the rest of the country off the hook. The ghetto as we know it in America is a very northern thing. The ghetto is mentioned and in parts is the focus but its geography gets forgotten. There are other things too, such as over and under crediting various players in the government and civic sphere.

When talking about what citizen rights that are lost when branded a felon she mentions jury duty and voting. Yes, serving as a juror is important, but very few Americans are dying to serve and lose a few days of work. Also all Americans are bad about voting. American turnout for mid-term elections, those times when voting for the locals who actually impact their day to day life (schools, local roads, etc) the turnout is less than 50%, lately 30someodd percent. A lot of people get by without voting or serving on juries. Democracy is more than being heard once a year.

Another problem with the narrative, is that it sacrifices coalition building at the expense of adding on the depressingness. She is preaching to her own choir using rhetoric that pushes aside accuracy to lob rocks at groups that could help with the problem, such as libertarians who are challenging the militarization of police or blacks in power. In her conclusions, she takes time to lash out at the choir. She’s dissatisfied with civil rights lawyers wanting them to be something other than what they are. She attacks civil rights gains obtained on “the cheap”. It’s cheap only because she didn’t buy it.

I am a historian and referring to certain groups simply as “conservatives” is horribly clunky if not inaccurate when talking about certain time periods, and like the thing with the South, it lets the left off the hook. She also uses the term “passing” during the actual Jim Crow era incorrectly. It meant “passing for white” not “coping”, which seems to be the word she needs to use. She might have dumbed down the language for a broader, non-academic audience, but as a result she sacrificed accuracy.

She also mixes the problems of African Americans with prison records and felonies with that of all African Americans, regardless of class or status. The author’s remarks regarding non-poor blacks or black “elites” is negatively all over the place. It might be a foreign idea that black middle & upper classes may want certain things for themselves, not just to impress or appease whites. She damns the black middle class for pushing for slum clearance and efforts to remove the black ghetto she spends most of the book complaining about. In regards to family matters, yes, child support is one of many burdens placed on men returning from prison, but it needs to be paid. She seems to want to enable deadbeat dads.

I have no problem with the narration. In the beginning there are male voices, an unknown and I guess Cornell West or someone reading as Cornell West. She sounds annoyed, and that’s okay. It might have added to my annoyance with the author.

I finished the book so my complaint could be complete.

21 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Dream City

  • Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C.
  • By: Harry S. Jaffe, Tom Sherwood
  • Narrated by: Norman Dietz
  • Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

With a new afterword covering the two decades since its first publication, two of Washington, D.C.'s most respected journalists expose one of America's most tragic ironies: How the nation's capital, often a gleaming symbol of peace and hope, is the setting for vicious contradictions and devastating conflicts over race, class, and power. Jaffe and Sherwood have chillingly chronicled the descent of the District of Columbia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good DC hIstory

  • By Marie on 08-08-16

Good DC hIstory

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-16

This audiobook is an update to a previous book that was written before gentrification swept up NW and parts east of the river. The update takes that into account whereas the book it is updating left off in the depressed 1990s.
It is a recent history of DC, the city of residents, as opposed to the Federal city of agencies and the 3 branches of government. Recent being mid-20th Century going to the 21st century. It covers home rule and hopefully explains it in a way that people new to DC and trying to figure it out can understand. I am a DC historian so it only deepened what I knew about Home Rule.
Of course the late, Mayor for Life, Marion Barry is covered and this might include an explanation of him, depending on your outlook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful