Posts tagged In X Words Or Fewer

In twenty words or fewer: Comparative Politics edition

From a short article in the most recent issue of reason (Citings, p. 13) taking notice of recent changes in the Cuban government’s policies towards private taxicabs:

But in January, the Cuban government took a surprising step, announcing that it would loosen up the rules, even going so far as to let taxis set their own rates in the city. Rates are still capped, and the number of licenses will be determined by local officials, but it’s a pretty big step for Cuba, where nearly all aspects of commercial life are state-controlled.[1]

Taxi drivers and passengers in communist Cuba now enjoy freer markets for transit than their counterparts in hypercapitalist Las Vegas.

1 Katherine Mangu-Ward, Connecticut vs. Cuba, reason (2009.05), p. 13; originally appeared in Hit and Run (2009-01-13). Emphasis added.

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In fifteen words or fewer: simple solutions to stupid problems (#2), featuring Senator Carl Levin (D-General Motors)

From a recent generally appalling column by Maureen Dowd:

How could Citigroup be so dumb as to go ahead with plans to get a new $50 million corporate jet, the exclusive Dassault Falcon 7X seating 12, after losing $28.5 billion in the past 15 months and receiving $345 billion in government investments and guarantees?

… The former masters of the universe don’t seem to fully comprehend that their universe has crumbled and, thanks to them, so has ours. Real people are losing real jobs at Caterpillar, Home Depot and Sprint Nextel; these and other companies announced on Monday that they would cut more than 75,000 jobs in the U.S. and around the world, as consumer confidence and home prices swan-dived.

Prodded by an appalled Senator Carl Levin, Tim Geithner — even as he was being confirmed as Treasury secretary — directed Treasury officials to call the Citiboobs and tell them the new jet would not fly.

They woke up pretty quickly, says a Treasury official, adding that they protested for a bit. Six months ago, they would have kept the plane and flown it to Washington.

Senator Levin said that the financiers will not be able to change their warped mentality, but will have to be reined in by Geithner’s new leashes. I have no confidence that they intend or desire to change, Levin told me. These bankers got away with murder, and it’s obscene that close to nothing is being asked of financial institutions. I get incensed at the thought that a bank that’s getting billions of dollars in taxpayer money is out there buying fancy new airplanes.

So why not stop giving them billions of dollars in taxpayer money?

Jesus H. Christ.

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In fifteen words or fewer: On Blaming the Victim

From the New York Times (2008-09-01): As Throngs of Protesters Hit Streets, Dozens Are Arrested After Clashes:

Elsewhere in St. Paul, a prominent Democratic Party strategist, Donna Brazile, was hit by pepper spray while trying to walk around protesters outside the convention hall, Ms. Brazile said in an interview.

I got a strong whiff — just toxic — and my head and throat are still hurting, said Ms. Brazile, who appears on CNN as a political analyst. I’ll avoid the protesters tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it have been more to the point for her to avoid the cops?

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In fifteen words or fewer: Massachusetts state Representative Paul K. Frost and Auburn Dog Officer Kathleen Sabina on renting pets

(Via Kerry Howley, in the July 2008 issue of [Reason](http://reason.com/).)

From the Worcester Telegram and Gazette News (2008-03-05): Fangs bared over rent-a-dog: Fido-for-hire service facing legislative ban

Marlena Cervantes, 30, of Big Sky, Mont., is the owner of FlexPetz, which she described as a unique concept for dog lovers who are unable to own a pet, but miss spending time with a dog.

. . .

Most interest was from professionals living in metropolitan areas.

They had the money but not the time to own a pet full time, Ms. Cervantes said.

There are no brick-and-mortar FlexPetz offices; instead, the operation is run out of existing dog day-care centers.

Clients pay a $299 startup fee, including the first month’s rental in advance, and $49.95 per month, plus an additional fee each time they take out a dog. The clients must make a minimum one-year commitment.

. . .

We’ll probably be in Boston by midsummer, she said.

Maybe not.

State Rep. Paul K. Frost, R-Auburn, and state Sen. Edward M. Augustus Jr., D-Worcester, filed legislation Feb. 21 to ban pet rentals in Massachusetts. Also signing were Sen. Robert A. Antonioni, D-Leominster; Rep. Bradford Hill, R-Ipswich; and Reps. John P. Fresolo, D-Worcester, Stephen R. Canessa, D-New Bedford; Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera, D-Springfield; Thomas P. Kennedy, D-Brockton; Denis E. Guyer, D-Dalton; Kay S. Khan, D-Newton; Denise Provost, D-Somerville; Jennifer M. Callahan, D-Sutton; and William N. Brownsberger, D-Belmont.

The legislation is in the House Committee on Rules. It prohibits the business of renting dogs and cats. I have not heard of a legitimate business like this. The MSPCA and dog officers in other towns oppose this business, Mr. Frost said. Guide dogs and working dogs are exempted. Mr. Frost said he is a dog lover and owner of a chocolate Labrador retriever named Reeses and a golden retriever named Snickers.

I know what kind of bond there is with a dog. You don’t rent out members of your family, he said.

I normally side with the free market, which dictates what is successful, but this is breaking new ground. Concerns are valid. The legislation deserves a public hearing. Let’s give the company a chance to show the benefits of this business, and let’s give a voice to those who have concerns. Are we fostering disposable pets? I’m not sure that fosters responsibility.

Mr. Frost said he was first contacted on this issue by Auburn Dog Officer Kathleen M. Sabina, who yesterday said she is appalled by the FlexPetz concept.

I can’t think of a dog that would flourish in that situation. These people want an animal but no responsibility. I’m furious about this. There’s a lot of money to be made exploiting animals, she said.

She suggested that potential renters instead help an elderly neighbor with their dog, walk a friend’s dog or volunteer at a shelter. Animals need consistency. Each person expresses love differently. In my mind, this is like rent-a-kid. If you wouldn’t rent your child, don’t rent a dog.

— Worcester Telegram and Gazette News (2008-03-05): Fangs bared over rent-a-dog: Fido-for-hire service facing legislative ban

Apparently, you shouldn’t rent family members. You must buy them, like a responsible family-owner.

In fifteen words or fewer: Robert J. Samuelson in the Washington Post on immigration and poverty statistics

(Via Kerry Howley @ Hit and Run 2008-05-15, via John Markley @ The Superfluous Man 2008-05-19.)

Robert J. Samuelson, in the Washington Post (2008-05-14):

Finally, let’s discuss poverty. Everyone’s against it, but hardly anyone admits that most of the increase in the past 15 years reflects immigration — new immigrants or children of recent immigrants. Unless we stop poor people from coming across our Southern border, legally and illegally, we won’t reduce poverty. Period. That doesn’t mean we should try to expel the 12 million illegal immigrants already here — an impossible and morally dubious task. Many families have been here for years; many have American children. We need a pragmatic accommodation: assimilate most people now here; shift future immigration to the highly skilled.

— Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post (2008-05-14): Truth Serum on The Trail

Shorter Samuelson: Let’s reduce poverty by forcing all the poor people to be poor in other countries.

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