Four minutes to watch this clip — more than twice the time it takes them to come save your life.  If you live in a town with traffic, maybe you can get Ambucycles, too.


Margie:  “Loved Zac’s sample from How to Write a Sentence.  It reminded me of an old article in the March 2004 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, entitled ‘Would Shakespeare Get Into Swarthmore?‘  Judged against the criteria of the SAT writing test introduced in 2005, failures would have included Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein. Shakespeare would not test out of freshman English and Stein would have to take a remedial class.  But the Unabomber’s manifesto got a perfect 6.”


I once advocated a boycott of American Airlines — which was planning to move its headquarters from a then-troubled New York to low-tax Dallas — on the theory that, while boycotts usually fail, the airline industry operates on such low margins, and it was so easy at that time (when most planes flew with lots of empty seats) for New Yorkers conveniently to switch to a competitor — maybe the threat of a boycott could make them rethink the move.

Needless to say, both New York and American survived somehow.  (And I remain a fan of each.)

Now comes the boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel — joined by people as thoroughly good-hearted and mainstream as Jay Leno — over the despicable, barbaric, archaic human-rights policies of its owner, the Sultan of Brunei.  (E.g., death by stoning for gay sex.)

But nothing in a complex world is easy, as this excerpt shows:

INSIDE THE BOYCOTT: A server at the Polo Lounge shares her side of the boycott of The Beverly Hills Hotel:

. . . How does this boycott affect the Sultan and his politics?  The short answer is that it doesn’t. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, as well as many other countries with dubious human rights records, are heavily invested in the West, in hotels and movies, in Apple and Twitter, in Citigroup, Time Warner and Valentino to name a very few. In fact, Qatar Investment Authority (the sovereign wealth fund of the Sharia nation of Qatar) is the lead investor of Miramax. But most of these countries’ money doesn’t come from any of these investments, large as they may be. It comes from oil. It comes from the oil we all use.

And therein lies the both the flaw and the hypocrisy of the boycott. To threaten the demise of The Beverly Hills Hotel does not begin to touch the Sultan financially or politically. We don’t pay his check, Shell does. Using the hotel as leverage is really no leverage at all.

How does this affect me?

The Sultan isn’t our boss; he’s our investor. His laws, which are completely not aligned with our code of conduct, do not reach Dorchester Collection properties.

We at The Beverly Hills Hotel are women. We are men. We are gay. We are straight. We are multinational and multicultural. We are the ones who will feel the monetary loss. Profits from the hotel don’t go back to Brunei; they go back into the hotel, to us and to the community.

We participate in AIDSWalk, The Revlon Breast Cancer Walk; we participate in charities and contribute to the preservation of our environment.

Some of the celebrities who struck out most venomously against us were some of those we saw most often. I wonder how, knowing us as they do, they have no problem making The Beverly Hills Hotel the face of their outrage? They, to my knowledge, have no problem with any of those companies listed above whose money is also stamped with the blood of Sharia Law, companies who (with the exception of Miramax) have no personal connection to them as we do.

What should we do?

Some have called for us to quit or to strike and join the boycott. We don’t want this. We love our job and the incredible company for which we work. This is the company that recognized same-sex partnerships before gay marriage was legalized by recognizing and offering insurance to the partners of my co-workers. This is the company whose benefits and commitment to equality transcend any I’ve known.

The concern for human rights is commendable. We should all be part of finding a solution for this global problem. The solution starts with our government and others. Reducing our dependency on oil would help, too. But reducing my income won’t help, I promise you.


This woman rejoins the workforce after 30 years.  It’s like riding a bicycle: some skills are long retained in motor memory.  Here.


The Russians are now trying to do this for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 — as reported here — which just adds to the air of “e-taxi” inevitability.  But if this were easy to do — let alone without violating our patents — I think it would have been done by now.



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