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For most people who aren’t real estate investors, purchasing a home to live in is the largest financial transaction they will carry out in their life. Finding a home can be an overwhelming process.

Between visiting the various homes which are of interest, to getting an offer accepted, obtaining financing, and ultimately closing on the purchase, this is a process with many steps. Offers fall through, appraisals come back low, and your dream home turns out to have serious plumbing issues. Uncertainty and disappointment are recurring features of the home search saga.

In the past 15 years, we’ve seen quite…

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I have been very lucky. I’ve had the chance to live in both New York City, and Los Angeles.

In fact, I was born in New Jersey, and lived in “the city” (more specifically Manhattan) for the first couple years of my life. We then moved to the Los Angeles area, where I grew up, attended college, began my working years, and went to law school.

During law school, both of my summer internships were in New York City. After law school, I ended up moving to the city for 5 years. I lived in Manhattan (for most of my…

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Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about criminal justice reform. Bail and sentencing laws in many states have been loosened. Reformist district attorneys won election in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities.

Criminal justice reform is very much needed, especially when it comes to lower level, non violent offenses. In the past several decades, our society engaged in excessive incarceration, with insufficient opportunities for rehabilitation of offenders. This was especially true for those who engaged in non-violent and/or relatively minor crimes.

That needed to be changed. It’s good we’re moving in a different direction.

With that said, in many…

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For most of us, home holds a special place in our hearts. There’s nowhere quite like the city or town where we grew up.

It doesn’t matter if you’re from a small town in a tiny country, or from a huge city in a large nation. Where we grow up colors our perspective on nearly everything.

With that said, it is incredibly powerful to make big changes in our lives. From these major adjustments, we grow and improve.

One of the biggest adjustments you can make is to move to a different city, one which is a meaningful distance from…

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In the United States, it appears that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down. New cases and deaths have dropped considerably. Schools have been reopening, and even concerts and live performances are resuming.

Of course, there’s one big thing I haven’t mentioned: Work. Essential workers have been on the grind since day one, dying of higher rates from COVID-19. Whether we’re talking about agricultural workers, those in construction, or of course health care personnel, those on the frontlines have faced considerable dangers at work.

For tens of millions of other Americans, work also changed — but in very…

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Growing Larger Faster

Nearly 4 years ago, I published a piece on Medium, titled “The Trouble With Amazon.” In this piece, I explored the problematic implications of Amazon’s dominance, from an antitrust perspective.

At the time, Amazon had recently acquired Whole Foods, and in 2016, accounted for 43% of all online retail sales. In 2017, the company reported more than $177 billion in revenue, which was 30.8% higher than in 2016.

Today, Amazon is even more of a juggernaut. In 2019, the firm reported $280.5 billion in revenue. This is an increase of more than 58%, in just 2 years.

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When we look back through the annals of American history, March 2020 will stand out. That month, the spread of COVID-19 became the focus of intense national attention.

The NBA was cancelled. California issued a stay at home order, and many other states soon followed. Public life came to a grinding halt, as offices, restaurants, and much more, shut down. To say that life has changed, is a gross understatement.

Plenty has been written about COVID-19, vaccines, and the recent trajectory of the virus. I’d like to focus a bit more on what comes after.

More specifically, how might we…

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How a (partially) distributed, remote Congress could better serve Americans

435 House Districts, 435 Different Stories

Less than 2 weeks from today, on January 3, 2021, 435 members of the United States House of Representatives will take their oaths of office. So will 33 members of the Senate. The other 67 senators were elected / reelected in either 2016 or 2018.

These Members of Congress represent highly varied parts of our country. In the House, the 13th Congressional district, located in New York City, is the nation’s smallest (in terms of land mass).

Adriano Espaillat is the district’s congressman. The…

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Early Voting Is Very Popular

In much of the country, early voting is well under way. Polls suggest that as many as 52% of Americans plan on voting early in the presidential election. In states like North Carolina, ballots for voting by mail were sent out beginning in early September.

It is widely anticipated that voter turnout will surge to record levels. The 2018 midterms brought the highest voter participation rates (for a midterm election) in at least 4 decades, with more than 50% of the voting-age population showing up at the polls.

Higher turnout seems to be reflective of…

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Just over 10 years ago, I graduated from the UCLA School of Law. I finished my legal education during what was a very difficult economic environment for most Americans — including attorneys. In the first few years after graduation, I grew skeptical of the value of law school.

Today, I look back fondly on those years. I believe there are plenty of good reasons to attend law school, and become a practicing attorney.

At the same time, I’ve also been critical of legal academia. More than 4 years ago, I argued that institutions were not being transparent in disclosing bar…

Shiva Bhaskar

Enjoy reading and writing about technology, law, business, politics and more. An attorney by training, I’m a native of Los Angeles, and a former New Yorker.

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