Sigh. Zipcar, short-term rental car service that has occasionally made my life a lot easier, just got swallowed by Avis:
Zipcar Inc. has been growing as more people in urban areas forgo owning a car and instead tap car-sharing and hourly rental services when they need a vehicle. The company’s third-quarter sales grew 15% to $78.2 million while its membership (renters) grew 18% to more than 767,000. Zipcar earned $4.3 million in the three-month period and has said it expected 2012 to be the first full year for which it posts a profit.
Avis Budget, the nation’s third-largest car rental company -- after Enterprise Holdings and Hertz -- will pay $12.25 a share in cash for Zipcar, a 49% premium over the stock's closing price Monday.
Avis believes it can whittle $50 million to $70 million of expenses out of the combined operations of the companies by eliminating duplication of functions such as the cost of maintaining Zipcar as a publicly traded company.
Just once I'd like to see a cool, niche company grow to a sustainable size without being acquired by a huge corporation.
The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf takes on the troubling contradiction between right-wing support of the 2nd Amendment at the expense of a few others:
It's one thing to argue that gun control legislation is a nonstarter, despite tens of thousands of deaths by gunshot per year, because the safeguards articulated in the Bill of Rights are sacrosanct. I can respect that... but not from people who simultaneously insist that 3,000 dead in a terrorist attack justifies departing from the plain text of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments, and giving the president de-facto power to declare war without Congressional approval.
[I]f you're a conservative gun owner who worries that gun control today could make tyranny easier to impose tomorrow, and you support warrantless spying, indefinite detention, and secret drone strikes on Americans accused of terrorism, what explains your seeming schizophrenia?
Think of it this way.
If you were a malign leader intent on imposing tyranny, what would you find more useful, banning high-capacity magazines... or a vast archive of the bank records, phone calls, texts and emails of millions of citizens that you could access in secret? Would you, as a malign leader, feel more empowered by a background check requirement on gun purchases... or the ability to legally kill anyone in secret on your say so alone? The powers the Republican Party has given to the presidency since 9/11 would obviously enable far more grave abuses in the hands of a would be tyrant than any gun control legislation with even a minuscule chance of passing Congress. So why are so many liberty-invoking 2nd Amendment absolutists reliable Republican voters, as if the GOP's stance on that issue somehow makes up for its shortcomings? And why do they so seldom speak up about threats to the Bill of Rights that don't involve guns?
I've always wondered these things, too. I keep getting to the conclusion that extreme-right-wingers don't actually think about anything, they just believe stuff.
- I took 15 trips, visiting 2½ countries (England, France, Wales) and 9 states (Wisconsin, New York, California, Minnesota, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia); flew 25 flight segments for 67,647 km; and drove 7,600 km.
- The Daily Parker grew by 535 entries, ticking along at an average of 1.48 entries per day (as it has since December 2010).
- I spent 189 hours walking Parker, 112 hours blogging, 222 hours commuting to work, 2,219 hours working for someone else, and 174 hours working for myself.
- I took 3,955 photos, the fewest in 4 years.
- I started 35 books, finished 31, dropped 2, and have 4 open right now. (Some of the ones I finished in 2012 I started in 2011.)
This compares similarly to 2011.
All right, 2012 is in the can. On to 2013: the first year since 1987 in which all four numbers are different.
Well, here we are, just the seven point one billion of us.
Here's the situation:
- Depending on how you reckon things, it's 平成25年, ԹՎ ՌՆԿԲ, or 12013.
- American children born this month will likely graduate from high school in 2031 and from college in 2035.
- Children born in 1992 can legally drink in the United States. Those born in 1995 can vote in the U.S. (and drink in Britain).
- That means it's been 21 years since Boutros Boutros-Ghali became U.N. Secretary-General, 21 years since President George H.W. Bush puked in Kiichi Miyazawa's lap, and 21 years and one week since Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the U.S.S.R.
- Coming up soon: the 50th anniversaries of Tab Cola, and of Bull Conner turning on the fire hoses; the 100th anniversaries of the Federal income tax, the direct election of U.S. Senators, and the British Board of Film Censors; and the 200th birthdays of Stephen Douglas, Søren Kierkegaard, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, and David Livingstone (I presume).
- Garry Kasparov, Russel Davies, and Valerie Plame turn 50 this year; Divine, Andy Gibb, and Lee Marvin have been dead for 25.
- Unless Congress once more extends copyright, Mickey Mouse will fall into the public domain in ten years.
- 2112 is less than a century away. This is important if you're a fan of Rush, Babylon 5, or Wall-E.
Updates as conditions warrant.