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GSE Financing of Single-Family Rentals

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Fannie Mae recently completed the first ever GSE securitization of single family rental (SFR) properties owned by an institutional investor for Invitation Homes, one of the largest institutional players in the SFR business. This paper analyzes the completed deal, examining key structural aspects and the need for this type of financing. The paper also discusses affordability aspects of the deal and urges the Federal Housing Finance Agency to articulate a clear vision for the GSEs role in the SFR market to ensure that the benefits of such deals are used mainly to increase the availability of rental housing for those earning up to the area median income.

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economyaki
8 days ago
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Let's Bask in the Glory of the Scathing Reviews for Ivanka Trump's Book

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Let's Bask in the Glory of the Scathing Reviews for Ivanka Trump's Book


Ivanka Trump.jpg

It’s been a bad week, you don’t need me to tell you that, and during these moments of darkness and depleting sources of hope, we must turn to the light and find joy where we can. Since Ivanka Trump, the new accompanying description for the definition of “complict”, has no other uses on this planet beyond exploiting feminist discourse for narcissistic gain and giving Katherine Heigl research material for the inevitable Armando Iannucci satire of her life, we cannot help but gloat over the scathing reviews of her latest book.

Let’s be honest, this book was never going to be good. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In has its own myriad of problems, but it at least came from an earnest place. Women Who Work, Trump’s attempt to cash in on that “feminism as capitalist tool” trend, is a transparently egotistical folly, and fortunately for us, the critics are calling that out.

Not only is it a terrible book, but it’s one full of shockingly misused quotes from other sources. In one instance, Trump (or her ghostwriter, because come on) quotes none other than Toni Morrison for a quick pep-talk on finding a work-life balance: “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” That quote is from Beloved, a book about actual slavery. Bang up job, Ivanka!



And now, onto the reviews. Brave souls who sacrificed common sense for the greater good read the book, and so it is our duty to give them our precious clicks and revel in the schadenfreude feast, as critics dug deep to find just the right level of artful hatred to describe the awfulness of this milquetoast vanity project turned propaganda exercise.

NPR (Annalisa Quinn):

Reading it feels like eating scented cotton balls… Ostensibly a business guide for women, Women Who Work is a long simper of a book, full of advice so anodyne (“I believe that we each get one life and it’s up to us to live it to the fullest”), you could almost scramble the sentences and come out with something just as coherent.

New Yorker (Jia Tolentino):

“Women Who Work” is mostly composed of artless jargon (“All women benefit immeasurably by architecting their lives”) and inspirational quotes you might find by Googling “inspirational quotes.” Her exhortations feel even emptier than usual in light of Trump’s stated policy goals. “We must fight for ourselves, for our rights not just as workers but also as women,” Ivanka writes, and, elsewhere, “Honor yourself by exploring the kind of life you deserve.” The imagined audience for the book is so rarefied that Ivanka confidently calls paying bills and buying groceries “not enormously impactful” to one’s daily productivity. Her nannies are mentioned twice, if you count the acknowledgments; no other household help is alluded to at all. On the book’s second-to-last page, she finally, briefly mentions the need for paid leave and affordable childcare.

Slate (Katy Waldman):

She almost certainly delegated the writing of this book, which largely consists of other people’s business and lifestyle advice mashed up into a lavender balm of corporatized psychobabble. Perhaps that is what Trump means by “rewriting” the rules of success… Like certain health care bills, these words are not meant to be read. They are puffs of scented air that you purchase so that you can display the container in a prominent place.

New York Times (Jennifer Senior):

In this way, the book is not really offensive so much as witlessly derivative, endlessly recapitulating the wisdom of other, canonical self-help and business books… It’s a strawberry milkshake of inspirational quotes… So the why of her book becomes easy to discern. She’s extending the Trump brand.

Huffington Post (Emily Peck):

Trump’s book, written before the election but published Tuesday, is a grab-bag of generic work-life advice for upper-middle-class white women who need to “architect” (a verb that pops up a lot) their lives. But underneath that, and perhaps more remarkable, is Trump’s inability to truly recognize how her own privileged upbringing was key to her success… If this book is any indication, the women served by her activism will be culled from a fairly elite group.

Goodreads (Samantha Londer):

Step 1: Be born extremely rich

The end.





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It's Too Early to Make Plans to Send Your Ashes to Republican Congressman | Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' - James Gunn Hits The Sweet Spot Again




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economyaki
13 days ago
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came for the article, stayed for the useful life tips in the comments since we all don't have a real estate business to support our extravagant ways
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Here to Help

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"We TOLD you it was hard." "Yeah, but now that I'VE tried, we KNOW it's hard."
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economyaki
20 days ago
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Over 10 years, Martha Stewart has quietly become the perfect blogger

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This summer marks 10 years since Martha Stewart started her lifestyle blog, The Martha Blog: The Official Martha Stewart Blog. It’s about Martha’s life, her family, her friends, her peafowl, and her desire to organize the 500 bottles of wine in her cellar. It’s also about Martha’s skills: at cooking, decorating, gardening, hosting, organizing, tweeting, crafting, farming, and caring for peafowl. Oh, and the act of blogging itself — arguably the dominant expertise of a woman who is supernaturally gifted at everything.

The style and layout of the blog has hardly changed at all over the course of a decade. Some image links are broken, and at some point Martha added a header subtly renaming the blog martha up close & personal. Widgets linking to Martha’s Twitter account (started in 2009) and Pinterest (2012) are also newer, but otherwise the site is basically the same. It’s a rudimentary website, with little in the way of adornment or interactive elements. Just black text, a white background, a comments section, and searchable archives.

The community of commenters who thank Martha for her advice and compliment her on her taste and apologize for the death of her cat named Bartok looks to be much of the same group throughout the years. The structure of each post is exactly the same because The Martha Blog is, duh, a blog. A near-daily blog to which Martha (or one of two assistants who help her in “the blog studio”) will upload a series of photos and then describe what is happening in the photos as quickly and coherently as possible. For years, she has introduced these posts with “Enjoy!” or “Enjoy the photos:” or “Enjoy these photos...”

Photo: The Martha Blog

You would think, in 10 years, that someone might come along to do what Martha does and do it better. Many — hundreds — have tried, and all have failed. Even those who have come the closest can’t match the authenticity of a Martha Stewart piece of advice, given their websites’ immaculate, commissioned layouts and roster of contributors. Lauren Conrad, the former Hills star whose party-hosting books, crafting tutorials, and online market for handmade goods make her the closest we have to a Martha Stewart successor, is listed as the editor-in-chief of her own blog and writes only a slim percentage of the posts herself. It’s not bad, it’s just not the same. She’s conceded that she isn’t, not really, a lifestyle blogger.

Today the lifestyle blog industrial complex is mostly associated with the weird, ongoing feud between Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson, or the sort of person who was briefly famous enough to achieve name recognition and figured they might as well do the cheapest thing you can do to stay spotlight-adjacent. That includes former Bachelor contestants, current fixtures on Bravo reality shows, the rest of the Kardashians, and basically everyone in Conrad’s social circle. The content varies, but the aesthetic and the general message doesn’t. They all put forth a pastel, soft-lit version of the world. The picture-perfect life revolves around an unimpeachable, usually white, body.

Where the modern lifestyle blog is about making the life you want look effortless, Martha has never protected her readers from the truth: if you want to have a magazine-worthy garden party, you will spend at least one hour staring down and wrestling with the intimidating metal apparatus of a party tent, and you will need help. Before you serve an elaborate lunch, you will have to measure your table to make sure all the plates fit.

Photo: The Martha Blog

Anything Martha does is accompanied by a roughly 53-image photo series, complete with captions about the intricacies, difficulties, and labor time. She has dozens of personal employees who work in her home, on her farm, and for the various arms of her company, and it’s a given that they’re doing some of the real muscle work — except Martha doesn’t consider it a given, because whenever someone else is helping her, she takes their photo and explains what they contributed to a project. When Martha starts a process she anticipates will take a long time, she bravely labels the post “Part 1.” You can read all 10 years of Martha’s archives, and you’ll never find a “Part 1” that doesn’t have a corresponding “Part 2,” or sometimes even a “Part 3.” Martha doesn’t forget. Martha doesn’t assume it will go unnoticed if she doesn’t follow through. She gets around to it.

Martha Stewart knows how to embrace the mundanity of being alive and of blogging. (She doesn’t have a personal public Snapchat. I wish she did; we would all learn so much.) For Martha, any moment is just as worth documenting as any other. And it’s true: who is she to decide which of the thousands of competent things she does every day will be useful and compelling to someone else? It’s likely that they all are, equally.

Photo: The Martha Blog

The best posts on The Martha Blog are anodyne and workaday in a way that implies a life without worry. They have headlines like “Starting Onions from Seed,” “Francesca Gets Acupuncture,” or “A Business Dinner at My Farm.” For Martha, clickbait is a headline reading “What are Desiree, German Butterball, Kerr's Pink, and La Ratte?” (The answer? “Potatoes!!!!”) While the lifestyle blogs that have sprung up in her wake are more delicate illusions — designed to appear sincere and breezy, all the while concerned with metrics and online store referrals — Martha seems to blog for no other reason than because she likes it. It would be hard to milk a capitalist angle out of a post called “Soaking and Planting the Peas.”

For Martha, it’s barely bragging to post a photo of Richard Gere, fork en route to his mouth at her 2015 holiday party, with the caption “Richard Gere was crazy about the stuffed potatoes.” The photo isn’t even deemed interesting enough to appear near the front of the album. It comes after 45 photos of the food, flatware, and Martha’s non-famous family members because Richard Gere is not the point. Martha’s life is the point.

If we’re being honest, whose ideal lifestyle (or at least one of their occasional daydreams) isn’t seclusion on a sprawling, elegant estate with all the friends, family, pets, plants, Riesling, and linens one could ever want?

Martha isn’t stuck in the past. She loves Facebook Live (see this “FBL” art she made out of blueberries), and she has one of the wittiest and strangest Twitter accounts you’re likely to find. But she realizes and respects the long-forgotten secret about blogging — that blogs are as much about the act as they are about the content, and that consistency and longevity are the only qualities in blogging worth respecting. Anyone can write about the first peacock they buy. Only a world-class blogger will write about every peacock they purchase and every thing that happens to each one. Anyone can share a personal story in hopes of aiding someone with a menial task. Only a truly exceptional blogger will do that every day for over 3,000 days and show no signs of stopping. Martha, possibly, has done her research and knows that blogging consistently is good for you. In any case, she made the promise of being there, and she has followed up.

Photo: The Martha Blog

Increasingly, celebrity bloggers have added paywalls to their best content — why not? There is now such a glut of fashion and home-making and trendy baking blogs from C-list celebrities and Instagram influencers that A-listers might as well put a premium on their higher production-value content. Both because they can, and to remind everyone that it’s more valuable. To get the best of Kristin Cavallari or Kim Kardashian, you have to pay a modest recurring fee. To get the best of Martha, you still pay nothing. (Unless, of course, her free blog leads you to her monthly magazine.)

She rarely does sponsored content. Recently, tucked among the personal missives, there was a short post endorsing PetSmart dog beds. It’s not as if you were going to go somewhere other than PetSmart (or maybe Target?) if you needed a dog bed anyway. It’s like if someone asked me to do sponsored content for Morton Salt. Everyone would read my laudatory blog post and be like “Well, I don’t want to pick Morton’s just because Kaitlyn is telling me to, but it would be a weird amount of work to think of something different to buy.”

If you’re going to indulge in materialism, Martha’s is the materialism to indulge in. Her favorite things are usually made of paper, which is recyclable. Her other favorite things occur naturally, from the earth. For example, blueberries or baby chickens. Some of her belongings are clearly expensive — most glaringly, her house. Some of her product lines are expensive, too — most glaringly in my life experience, her scrapbooking supply line, which includes 1.5-ounce bottles of glitter that retail for $10.99 apiece. But on The Martha Blog, she’s not selling you any of that, and she doesn’t so much as hint that you ought to have a sweater as nice as hers before you can enjoy a crisp fall day. You should have an apple, in her opinion.

Maybe you and I want different things from a lifestyle blog, and that’s fine. You can feel anything, and I can feel this: Martha Stewart is the original lifestyle blogger, and no one will ever top her.

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economyaki
20 days ago
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The Art of NieR:Automata - The Amusement Park

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Hello, nice to meet you, everyone! My name is Kazuma Koda and I’m a concept artist on NieR:Automata.

I am privileged to write this blog post and I hope you enjoy reading it. Today, I want to show you the process of how we created the art of NieR:Automata. 

The above images were captured in-game. If you’ve played through the game already, the amusement park it illustrates may be familiar already! 

I tried to capture a very specific time of day in such a setting; we’re at a point when the park’s evening events are just starting to kick off, and the park’s daytime attendees are starting to head home. It adds to the atmosphere of both the location and scene. Personally, I really like this setting! 

But how did we end up with this final, evocative shot? Well, the concept artwork I am sharing with you today will showcase how it came to be. (The art looks much more appealing in the actual game. I really do appreciate the work from the background artists!)

To ensure the artwork fitted correctly with the game’s style, I used a screen grab, taken from an early version of the game, to use as reference to capture the correct mood. 

Now, please let me show you the process of how the final artwork (which you can see above) was created.

1.) An original screenshot taken from the game 

This picture is from the early stages of the game development. At this juncture, the focus is on the gameplay, so the quality of art is not the priority. 

From the artists’ point of view, this is the most painstaking part of the whole process; we need to imagine what the final form the in-game art will take, and work towards capturing that. 

This early concept of mine was actually displayed for the whole studio to see, as it was used as a reference image. I felt embarrassed as it was incomplete! You were a really considerate guy, Taura-san!

2.) Deciding composition

For the next step, you start arranging the different elements that’ll make up the final image in the correct order. At this point it’s more a copy and paste job, but the intention is to create a really cool composition. For this setting, we really wanted you to feel the presence of the castle in the background, and give a sense of depth to the amusement park as a whole. 

By the way, the galleria-esque facility you can see in the middle? That was based on an idea from a level designer. I think it looks fabulous! 

The actual castle was cropped and pasted from the art which I had drawn previously. 

3.) Lighting and texturing

Next up, we added the sky and started working on the commercial area around the entrance. 

As long as you have the clear idea in your head, this was a relatively easy part of the work since the process was repetitive. 

4.) Check with Yoko-san

Next, we discuss with the game’s director Yoko Taro, to check whether the direction of the art is okay or he wants to add anything else. . 

This time, he gave us some feedback such as to remove the reflection on the ground, add more lights and put debris everywhere at the forefront of the shot.

5.) Finish

At last, we completed the process, and this is the final version of the artwork. The idea is that while the image initially looks very glamorous – as the best amusement parks are – we start picking up on the smaller details, such as the debris, and you realise the entire setting has an uncomfortable eeriness to it. 

When you get to visit this area in-game, it would be great if you think about this art while playing!

I hope you enjoy the article and thank you so much for reading!

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economyaki
28 days ago
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amusement park was my favorite setting in the game. creepy and sad and weird all at once
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Data distributed as clipart

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Government data isn’t always the easiest to use with computers. Maybe it’s in PDF format. Maybe you have to go through a roundabout interface. Maybe you have to manually request files through an email address that may or may not work. However, this file that OpenElections received might take the cake.

It’s a spreadsheet, but the numbers are clipart.

Did someone enter clipart manually? Why is it clipart instead of numbers in Excel? Who made this file? So many questions, so little data.

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economyaki
34 days ago
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so, like, in a lot of places things like cusips are listed as images (sometimes badly cropped, e.g. emma) because of cusip bureau's inane licensing blabbity blah terms (and cusips are not optional in muni securities), but wow, that transgression isn't even in the same universe as the city of detroit
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