Land of the free

by Chris Bertram on October 16, 2004

Via John B at “Shot by Both Sides”: , I see that US citizens or permanent residents who buy Cuban cigars abroad (say in the UK) and consume them there, are liable to criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison and civil penalties of up to $65,000. So my British-based American friends who amble down to the local tobacconists and buy one of Havana’s best to smoke in their own living room will be in jeopardy of arrest on their next trip back home (if suitably denounced). [1]

From the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s “Cuban Cigar Update (pdf)”: :

bq. The question is often asked whether United States citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States may legally purchase Cuban origin goods, including tobacco and alcohol products, in a third country for personal use
outside the United States. The answer is no. The Regulations prohibit persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from purchasing, transporting, importing, or otherwise dealing in or engaging in any transactions with respect to any merchandise outside the United States if such merchandise (1) is of Cuban origin; or (2) is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or (3) is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba. Thus, in the case of cigars, the prohibition extends to cigars manufactured in Cuba and sold in a third country and to cigars manufactured in a third country from tobacco grown in Cuba.

Here’s what to do if you spot an American having an illicit puff:

bq. Suspected embargo violations may be reported telephonically to OFAC’s Enforcement Division at (202)622-2430 or via facsimile at 202 622-1657.

fn1. Since the ban also hits permanent residents, Henry, Harry, Brian and Kieran had better be careful on _their_ trips home!

A month ago John Quiggin posted about his basically happy experience downloading from Amazon an e-copy (PDF) of China Miéville’s new novel, Iron Council. Let me offer my own happy Amazon/China Miéville’s new novel-related tale.

[click to continue…]

Brad DeLong discovers Cultural Capital

by Kieran Healy on October 16, 2004

Brad DeLong “notices a relationship”: between the PSAT tests and the magazines lying around his home:

Dubbed… declaimed… reflexive… inquisitive… sustenance… enumerated… demeaned…harangue… munificent… straitened… divestment… sinecure… corollary… culmination… manifestation… constellation… amalgam… embodies… sanguine… impudent… reiterating… carapace… antennae…

[I]t’s hard to avoid noticing something about the vocabulary that they are testing. It’s not, by and large, science or engineering vocabulary. It’s not financial or commercial vocabulary. It’s not political or quantitative vocabulary. What they are testing is the high humanistic vocabulary of the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section, of the New Yorker, of the New York Review of Books.

Now we get all three of these publications. And my children thus get an extra edge through this testing process. But is this really what we want to allocate resources based on–whether people’s parents have the NYRoB lying around and whether their children pick it up and read it?

“Cultural capital”: is indeed a vital factor governing resource allocation in contemporary societies. For more information on what might happen to his fourteen-year-old in the near future, Brad should consider reading an oldie-but-goodie article from “Paul DiMaggio”:, 1982, “Cultural Capital and School Success: The Impact of Status Culture Participation on the Grades of U.S. High School Students” (American Sociological Review, 47: 189-201). And for longer-term prospects, there’s Paul DiMaggio and “John Mohr”:, 1985, “Cultural Capital, Educational Attainment, and Marital Selection” (American Journal of Sociology 90: 1231-61).

Oh, the Humanity

by Kieran Healy on October 16, 2004

“Ted”: beat me to this, mostly. But I wanted to say this: I’m sure if we trawl through our 1990s archives we’ll find that the “high-minded”: and their lofty correspondents

bq. Reader Keith Rempel gets at the heart of what’s wrong here, and articulates what I couldn’t: “Kerry was using Cheney’s daughter to harm her father. … ANOTHER UPDATE: “More thoughts “here”: ‘thou shall NOT speak of another’s kid in any way that could POSSIBLY be construed as negative’ … MORE: … James Somers emails: “Kerry crassly exploited Cheney’s daughter for use against Bush and thus, by extension, Cheney. Perhaps you have to be a parent to understand what that means.”

were _right out there on the front lines_ defending Chelsea Clinton from anything that might have been “construed”: as “insulting”: at the time. (We can leave aside — as perhaps too complex to grasp — the point that it is not actually an insult to mention that someone who has worked in various professional and political contexts doing outreach work with the gay community is, in fact, gay.) I’m waiting to see if the parallel to Chelsea strikes any of the “people”: over at “The Corner”: who are “waving”: the “flag”: of “‘common decency'”: in defence of Mary Cheney at the moment. But, of course, I forget: when _they’re_ insulted it’s an offense to common decency and “civility”:, but when _we’re_ insulted it’s just more political correctness and evidence that the left is “too sensitive”: and has no sense of humor.

Mary Cheney II

by Ted on October 16, 2004

I’ve got to quote Andrew Sullivan again:

Some of the subtler arguments I’ve heard overnight say the following: it’s not that homosexuality is wrong; it’s just that many people believe that and Kerry therefore exploited their homophobia to gain a point. I don’t buy it, but let’s assume the worst in Kerry’s motives for the sake of argument. What these emailers are saying is that Kerry should hedge what he says in order to cater to the homophobia of Bush’s base. Why on earth should he?

The truth here is obvious: Bush and Cheney are closet tolerants. They have no problem with gay people personally; but they use hostility to gay people for political purposes, even if it means attacking members of their own families. What they are currently objecting to is the fact that their hypocrisy has been exposed. To which the only answer is: if you don’t want to be exposed as a hypocrite, don’t be one.

There are at least two bloggers (Jason Kuznicki at Positive Liberty and John Cole) whose disapproving reaction to this little tempest isn’t blatant opportunism. I’m sure that there are more.

I’d just like to draw a little Venn diagram, if I could.

A: Outraged Kerry-bashers who think that they feel insults to gay dignity more keenly than Andrew Sullivan or the Log Cabin Republicans.

B: Giggly Kerry-bashers who write posts like this or this (search for “When do they kiss?”)

OVERLAP: People I see no reason to take seriously.