Archive for February, 2005

Smoking Bans And Economic Effectiveness

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

While the smoking ban in New York City may not have hurt New York’s economy significantly. The case is different in Lakeland, Ohio:

For today’s lesson, let’s go to our more educated brethren in Toledo.

That city enacted a ban in 2003. Within a year, roughly 20 bars closed. Business bottomed so hard that when they auctioned off liquor licenses — the gold standard of the street-level economy — no one showed up to bid.

Arnie Elzey owns a sizable sports bar, the kind with theater seating and NFL Ticket. His place used to be packed. Then came the ban.

His sales plummeted by 40 percent; his employee ranks fell with it. Twelve workers qualified for unemployment. Another 10 quit because they couldn’t get the shifts. He started closing for lunch, and his happy hour died. “People would come in for one drink and then leave,” he says. “People go outside to smoke and they don’t come back.”

Meanwhile, 10 minutes away in Michigan, where cigs and bars had yet to divorce, business boomed. The most crushing evidence came on Super Bowl Sunday last year. Elzey’s place, which once flourished on any game day, was at just two-thirds capacity. In Michigan, however, people waited in lines to get in the door. “Seventy percent of the cars in the parking lot were from Ohio,” he says.

Most neighborhood joints ignored the law. “They’d have someone watching the door,” says Elzey, as if they’d been transplanted to the days of Prohibition. So police, much to their chagrin, were dispatched to bust people for Illegal Use of Ashtray. In terms of burning public resources, it was akin to sending out squads on jaywalking stings. “The cops don’t want to do it because it’s stupid,” says Elzey. “They sit there and they shake their heads.”

Give Toledo credit. It took only a year for it to reach that inevitable “Oh, shit!” moment. Last fall, voters repealed much of the ban.

This story was found at Radley Balko’s site. In general, I don’t believe smoking bans are a good idea even if they have no negative economic effect. But when they result in an economic hardship for the community, it seems pretty clear the policy is doing more harm than good. If you want to fight the smoking ban in New York State, here is a petion to end the ban.

Karl Malone To Retire

Saturday, February 12th, 2005

Karl Malone Is About To Retire:

The Mailman is retiring, having come up short in his quest for both during his 19-year career.

The 41-year-old Malone will announce his retirement Sunday, the Jazz said Friday, deciding against making one more run at an NBA title. He will hold a news conference Sunday at the Delta Center — the arena where his 1997 and 1999 league MVPs are celebrated with signs below the upper deck.

Soon, a giant No. 32 Malone jersey will hang above the court.

“Even though he never won a championship, he had an outstanding career,” said Jerry Sloan, Malone’s coach for 15 seasons in Utah. “He played a lot of times when he shouldn’t have. He did whatever he could to try to win, and I think that kind of thing is overlooked a lot these days in the game of basketball.”

Malone’s agent, Dwight Manley, said Malone was “very serious” about returning to action with the San Antonio Spurs before he decided to retire.

“I can tell you he’s given a tremendous amount of thought to this decision, but the specific details are best left to him to make on Sunday,” Manley said.

Jazz owner Larry Miller said he spoke to Malone on Thursday night and left it up to Malone on when he wanted to hold his retirement news conference. Miller said he promised Malone not to get into details about his 18 years with the Jazz until Sunday, when the emotional owner will help Malone say goodbye in the city where he started his NBA career in 1985.

And now that his playing career will officially be over, Miller said the next step is to retire Malone’s number.

“The earliest it will be is the beginning of the next season,” Miller said. “We’ll let him choose the timing.”

Malone has scored 36,928 points, just 1,459 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record.

Malone should have retired a year ago instead of playing with the Lakers who did not give him a Championship ring.

Recent Reading: How To Read A Book

Saturday, February 12th, 2005

How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren is a practical how to guide to intelligent reading. That might not seem necessary for someone to read with more than a basic education but the book really does give good advice on how to pick out the relevant information from the books we read. I would suggest this book to all college students and people in general who want to get more out of the books we read.

U.S. Influence of Mexico

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

Stephen Green has a cool map noting that the border between America and Mexico isn’t that clear.

George Bush Winning Over Hip-Hop?

Friday, February 4th, 2005

Jeff Chang explains how a program proposed by President Bush to curb violence will win over the hip-hop generation. Jeff Chang makes the point that Bush may be able to be able to win over some of the hip-hop generation through their spirituality. Jeff Chang think this is not enough but it is more than what the left is doing to win over the hip-hop generation.

The Fountainhead – A Parody

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

The Fountainhead – A Parody has a short funny parody of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

Link via Foreign Dispatches

Proper English Translation Of Songs

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Slang City has a translation of popular songs into standard English. From The Game’s This Is How We Do:

I am cool like an Chevrolet Impala car

With chrome, hydraulics, and the loud sound of a Roland TR808 drum synthesizer

You don’t want any trouble

A black man had better run

When we are looking for a fight with each other,

I’ll open my car trunk to get my weapon

Come get some

I will shoot you with my shotgun, which can be held like a pistol

If a man steps on my white Nike Air Force One sneakers and makes them dirty

I will murder him

Ready, here I come!

I am from Compton, a dangerous city by Los Angeles

Producer Dr. Dre found me in a bad neighborhood

Selling strong marijuana with one hand on my gun

I was selling crack cocaine in the late 1990s

Rapper Young Buck, pass the marijuana cigar

These girls spending time with 50 Cent’s rap group G-Unit just want to have fun

Coke and rum

I have been smoking marijuana

I’m having sex with a girl and my hand is up her dress

I’ll make her have an orgasm, marijuana in my lungs

My friends are in the front in case someone wants to show off

Link via Aaron Wherry