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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

This is it for me, at least for this chapter.  I am off to join some people who don’t much appreciate voices singing out of key, and while they might be able to get over my public disdain for coaches who punt in opposing territory, it would be rather awkward to continue to point out the incompetence of the administration.  So for now, it’s probably best to hang it up.

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I’m a little surprised to see this:

Wal-Mart, the mightiest retail giant in history, may have met its own worthy adversary: Amazon.com.  In what is emerging as one of the main story lines of the 2009 post-recession shopping season, the two heavyweight retailers are waging an online price war that is spreading through product areas like books, movies, toys and electronics. (more…)

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Good Job Switzerland

Roman Polanski, after thirty years of thumbing his nose at justice, was arrested by the Swiss police while on his way to collect a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. (more…)

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No, Mind If I Fart?

Marc Ambinder and Crooked Timber reflect on the oddest aspect of tobacco regulations: they work.

I would have predicted that the ban would never work in pubs. But it did – pretty well instantaneously as best as I could tell. If it hadn’t been for the Irish example, I would have bet even larger amounts that the ban would never have taken off in Italy (…where the general attitude to large swathes of civil and criminal law seems best characterized as a kind of amiable contempt). But again, it appears to have worked.

I suspect three forces are at work:

  • Smoking norms turned out to be incredibly complicated views of public and private space, and the bans fit nicely inside them;
  • Widespread acceptance of the harm of environmental tobacco smoke empowered nonsmokers;
  • The bans – and, indeed, the significant increases in tobacco taxes – were not complete, and gave smokers a feeling of agency.

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Edward Kennedy, dead at 77.

We will see plenty of reverential soft-focus pieces on the news over the next few days, stories about the “Lion of the Senate,” about his advocacy for the downtrodden, about the long-lost era when Democrats were not the party of Wall Street.  I’d like to see something a bit more like this:

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Insane Bolt

I don’t know what this guy is on, but he sure is fun to watch:

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Fiftieth State

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Hawaii’s accession to the Union.

It should be a much better place.

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