Tag Archive: WSJ


They sell them

Here’s a sample listing on eBay.

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NYC has embedded sensors throughout the streets of midtown in order to monitor and control the flow of traffic.

First, the triumph of private property in West Bengal, India:

The [Communist Party of India-Marxist] CPI-M won Bengali hearts and minds through “Operation Barga” in 1978 that awarded tenancy rights to poor sharecroppers (called “bargadars”) who tilled farms.  .  .  .

This was not full land reform, since the tenants did not gain ownership rights. Yet the Communists’ move to record and hand bargadars certificates of tenancy represented real progress. It expanded farm productivity, as well as sharecroppers’ freedom. Rights to tenancy also raised expectations of full property rights some day.  .  .  .

In truth, the Communists never planned to grant full property rights, and not just because it violated a fundamental tenet of their ideology. Operation Barga was designed to leave villagers politically beholden to the party. Awarding title, so a bargadar could one day sell his land and move on, would have defeated the strategy.  .  .  .

The combination of partial land reform and complete political control came back to haunt the Communists in the past decade. By 2001, the fruits of capitalism had started to become apparent, especially at the state level where chief ministers competed for investment and jobs.

As people began to see these fruits of private property, the power of the Communists declined and eventually they were defeated.  Private property allowed the people of West Bengal to succeed.

Second, the failure of Salamanca, NY:

In a valley that curves along the Allegheny River is a tract of land built on opportunity, greed and the bureaucratic nightmare of being one city in two nations.

According to state and local authorities, Salamanca is the only U.S. city on an Indian reservation.  .  .  .

Acts of Congress in 1875, 1890 and 1990 created a landlord-tenant relationship between the Seneca Nation and Salamanca’s homeowners and businesses.

Homeowners and businesses occupied their properties in accordance with a 99-year lease originally granted by the Seneca Nation in 1892. It expired on Feb. 19, 1991 .  .  .  15 property “owners” eventually were evicted by the Seneca Nation.

Today, shabbiness blankets what could be a quaint river town, a state park and a national forest. Garish “Nation-owned” cigarette outlets and gas stations produce a city drawn by Norman Rockwell but touched up by Jackson Pollock.  .   .  .

The result, in Salamanca as elsewhere, is sweeping, perhaps irreversible, economic and social devastation.

By contrast, here in the United States, the failure to enact private property reforms has seemingly doomed this unique city.

Sort of the end of an era, Jack Daniels is changing its label to make it easier to read.  The new label uses more empty space and eliminates the kitschy “Pop 361,” among other changes.

Bi-Coastal iPhone Thieves

There is a rash of iPhone thieves on the streets (and subways) of New York City and Los Angeles.  In the WSJ NYC blog, Metropolis, there is this report on a 17.8% increase in subway larcenies due largely to iPhone thefts.

Meanwhile, the pseudonymous Bob Cringely, had his iPhone snatched from his belt while in Los Angeles.  Even though he had his Where is my iPhone? app, it was not to be found.  Cringely explains:

The moment it was grabbed from my belt the thief handed it to an accomplice. Within a minute the phone was powered-off and untraceable. They didn’t want my data, just my iPhone.

An iPhone 4 can go for $300 in China. They replace the SIM card, spoof the MAC address or sell it for use on a network that doesn’t care. The street price in L. A. for my phone is $100. An industrious criminal can grab several phones per day.

Good thing I have a Droid, I suppose.

Rabbis and Blowtorches

Happy Passover, Everyone!  Here’s an article featuring rabbis and blowtorches.

The office candy jar or bowl is always one of the great temptations of the workplace.  She is a siren of empty calories, leaving us and our hopes of svelte figures dashed upon the shore.

Food and workplace camaraderie certainly go hand-in-hand.  Pizza at lunch meetings is always appreciated and having snacks and coffee make late hours much more tolerable.

The candy bowl?  A guilty and all-too-ephemeral pleasure.  I know I’d be better off without it.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting obituary on Ray Townsend.  It has the unfortunate title of, “Inventor Had Relish for Hot Dog Making.”  That’s because Townsend had invented the Frank-a-Matic, which automated the whole process of hot dog making.  He also invented a number of other inventions, including a jogging treadmill and a bacon injector.

So this summer, when you’re around the grill, biting into a hot dog, think of the man who made it possible.

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