The angle

February 11, 2011

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Runaway snake on T: “There was undoubtedly some cost incurred when the T took an entire train out of service to capture an escaped boa. And the questions that have been raised over who pays for the incident illuminate a larger question: where are the limits of when the public should be expected to abosrb the cost of individual decisions that are, at best, questionable?’’


Banning phone books: “The Cambridge City Council is considering a measure that would allow residents to opt out of receiving phone books. The Seattle city council voted to create a similar opt-out program last October, but Yellow Pages publishers claim the ordinance is unconstitutional. Anyone can currently opt out of phone book delivery at the Yellow Pages Association’s opt-out website — although I’m not sure how effective that can be, since most phone books are delivered without addresses attached to them.’’


Obama and the US Chamber: “The health care reform legislation pushed by Obama and passed by Democrats which ‘pro-business conservatives’ tend to hyperventilate about keeps health care in private hands and will greatly expand some companies’ client bases, and is based on conservative, market-oriented ideas. And yet Obama is forced to go out of his way to prove he’s not ‘anti-business.’ Why?’’


The national anthem: “If you haven’t sung the anthem recently, or ever, please do. Please sing it, twice in a row, at the top of your lungs in the car, in the shower, in the yard. Don’t worry if it sounds even worse than Christina Aguilera’s wince-inducing Super Bowl version: another benefit of the complexity is that with such a wide range of notes, you’re bound to hit at least one of them.’’


Reagan’s urban legacy: “From an urban standpoint, the policies embraced in the Reagan era were negative: tax exemptions and deregulated ‘enterprise zones’ in blighted neighborhoods, and cuts to municipal government funding. . . In the general move away from government activism, there was little room for a more balanced approach that might encourage private initiative while ensuring that functions that could not be performed by the market, would be performed by invigorated city halls.’’