HIGHTOWER: Selling Disaster Properties

Time for another journey [space music] into the Far, Far, FAR-OUT World of Free Enterprise.Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you into an odd, highly-specialized sphere of real estate called "diminution value" properties. These are homes and other buildings where the karma is not very conducive to quick sales. I'm talking about places where bad things have happened -- things like murder.For example, the Los Angeles townhouse where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered. The question for "diminution value" real estate appraiser Randall Bell is not "Did OJ do it," but "How much can I get for this blood-stained property?"In the world of Realtors, Bell is known as "Mr. Disaster" -- a property appraiser who is paid $295-an-hour to put a price on real estate that has a dark past ... then sell it. He did sell the Nicole Simpson property, and he has also helped market the homes where Jon Benet Ramsey and Sharon Tate were slain, as well as the apartment complex where Jeffrey Dahmer kept the mutilated and dismembered bodies of his victims.Presently, Bell is showing the Southern California mansion where 39 members of the "Heaven's Gate" cult committed suicide last March. AP reporter Cynthia Webb recently toured this seven-bedroom property with Bell, who pointed-out a freshly-cleaned pink carpet where, he said, "there used to be big blood stains, and they are simply not there anymore, which is nice." Yes, isn't it?You can see why Bell gets the big bucks, since his selling points have to include the fact that there are no longer "big blood stains" on the carpet. He's even developed the "Bell Chart," a real estate Richter Scale that ranks a property's disaster quotient from one to ten, with a ten being "hopeless."This is Jim Hightower saying ... It's a very strange world out here on the fringes of free enterprise.Source:'Mr. Disaster' polishes image of real estate with a dark past" by Cynthia Webb. Austin American-Statesman: Nov. 7, 1997.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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