States setting inmates free to keep taxes low

I’ve posted on an embarrassing number of occasions about the fiscal crisis the states are experiencing in the wake of the aggressive tax cuts of the 90’s, the economic slowdown, and the federal estate tax repeal. State tax revenues are in the longest period of negative growth since World War II.

To cut costs, some states are opting to release inmates from prison instead of raising taxes. Continue reading…

The “first honest gay personal ad”

Choire, the NYC half of East West, has posted a personal ad detailing the eleven reasons no one should date him. Says Choire:

As a social corrective and ethnographic experiment, I’ve taken out The Personal Ad of Truth. Although it doesn’t present all my excellent qualities in a fair light (such as my revolutionary fashion sense, my excellent phone manner, and the fact that all the critics love me in New York), it’s about time that someone represented the real deal in public. . . .

Poor and middle class to pay more in taxes?

It looks like Dionne was right when he predicted in the Washington Post last month that conservatives would soon be assailing the “non-taxpaying class.”

I heard on NPR this morning that the Bush tax policy wonks are gearing up to try to convince the populace that the lower and middle classes should shoulder a larger share of the personal income tax burden.

(There’s a tax rant coming on. Proceed at your own risk.) Continue reading…

Solaris author denounces Soderbergh’s film

Stanislaw Lem, author of Solaris, announced after the release of the Soderbergh adaptation that “he had no intention of seeing the film,” and “was troubled by its emphasis on romance at the expense of deeper philosophical concerns.”

Lem’s novel, among other things, “is a veiled attack on Marxism and its claim to have replaced religious mystery with a science of human history.”

Had he intended Solaris merely to be the “story of love between a man and a woman, Lem wrote, he could have just called it ‘Love in Outer Space.'” (Link via Bookslut.) Continue reading…

Bob Graham to announce run for president?

“For those of you think [sic] the Democratic nomination field is pretty set, what would you say if you heard that Senator Bob Graham of Florida had initiated some ‘serious discussions’ with people about whether he might put together a strong 2004 presidential campaign?” from ABC News’ (hideous) the Note, via Flablog (a great source of information about Florida politics).

Chalmers, Carroll, and more

In the NY Times Sunday Book Review, Sam Sifton puts in a good word for Robert Chalmers’ Who’s Who in Hell, “a coming-of-age story set in a post-Thatcherite world, amid darkness and mirth combined.”

Hornby fans, take note; Sifton says:

Nick Hornby mines much the same vein of hipster melodrama in his own novels, and while Chalmers doesn’t quite exhibit the same heartfelt grace, he is of the same angry, hopeful type. A post-punk romantic aesthetic comes through in both authors’ work: Chalmers plays Graham Parker to Hornby’s Nick Lowe.

AS Byatt writes in today’s Guardian that Lewis Carroll, with his Alice books, “invented the least sentimental, most real, child character in children’s literature.” According to Byatt, one thing that makes Alice’s world so successful “is the almost complete absence of any object of love, attachment or fear from Alice’s connections.” Continue reading…

Target boat disappoints Manhattan shoppers

In this week’s Talk of the Town, Nancy Franklin reports on the Target boat experimentally docked at Chelsea Piers for the holiday:

There could hardly be any news more thrilling to discount-minded Manhattanites . . . than that Target has come to town. Manhattan has a lot going for it, but until two weeks ago we didn’t have a Target store. And, just like that, Target has already been taken away. The Minneapolis-based store set up shop on a boat at Chelsea Piers for a fortnight that just ended, to test the waters for a possible full-blown store in Manhattan and to give New Yorkers who couldn’t make it to Chelsea Piers in time the familiar, nagging feeling that they missed out on something.

Evidently the boat sold only 92 holiday items and was a hollow experience for those familiar with the glories of a suburban Target expedition. Continue reading…

My hell

Is waking up feverish in the wee hours, not going back to sleep, and then heading down to the subway at 9 a.m. to ride into Manhattan for work on a train filled with at least 30 excited 12-year-old girls, most of whom do not feel the need to hold onto a pole but instead cling together and pretend they’re on a roller coaster, screaming and slamming into the rest of the passengers every time the train turns a curve or hits a bump.

Attention holiday shoppers

JCPenney is selling the perfect gift for your 5-year-old:

The Dream House, post-Barbie?

Forward Command Post ($44.99)
“Take command of your soldiers from this fully outfitted battlezone. 75-piece set includes one 111/2″H figurine in military combat gear, toy weapons, American flag, chairs and more. Assembled dimensions; 32x16x32″H. Plastic. 10 lbs. Ages 5 and up.”

(Thanks for the link, Gina.)

Goodbye to affordable haircuts?

I adore my salon. Luis, my stylist, always does a fantastic job. And I pay just over $100 for a cut and single-process color. Take my word for it: that’s a coup in Manhattan. But the reasonable price is dependent on the salon’s continued (relative) obscurity.

So I wasn’t thrilled when a co-worker sent me this message today:

I go to Gemini last night to get my hair done and guess who was also getting her hair done–Monica Lewinsky!!!!

Not that I begrudge Ms. Lewinsky good haircuts. Not at all. Just that I hope she either hated what they did with her hair or keeps her mouth shut. Continue reading…