Archive for January, 2005

Garbage Pail Kids

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

The Quarterwit has all the internet sources you could want on theGarbage Pail Kids.

Quarterbacks and Rappers

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Sean @ Hardly Art, Hardly Garbageposts a lists of quarterbacks with their rap counterparts.

$50 Million In Cash Or Goats

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

U.S. News & World Reports points out that people in Afghanistan may not under stand the value of $25 million or $50 million. U.S. officials have begun to think creatively and are considering offering goats:

Marketing the program in remote places like Afghanistan, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding, has been particularly challenging. The State Department has been tweaking its radio and print advertisements about the rewards to emphasize the Muslim lives lost in most of al Qaeda’s attacks. Still, the most effective way of spreading the word in a part of the world where just about everybody smokes has been distributing matchbooks with photos of bin Laden and other fugitives.

But officials concede that sheepherders in Afghanistan often don’t understand the value of $25 million, and they are looking into offering other forms of compensation. For his part, bin Laden, citing authority from the Koran, promises his followers who die in attacks on westerners a stable of virgins. Counters one official, “We can’t come up with 70 virgins, but we can come up with goats.”

Link via Eric Umansky

State Department Now Offering $50 Million For Osama Bin Laden

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Information leading to Osama Bin Laden’s death or capture has been raised from $25 million to $50 million. The increase in the amount of funding was pushed by Representative Mark Kirk:

With the trail of Osama bin Laden gone cold, the U.S. State Department is revving up a new publicity blitz to remind Afghans and Pakistanis of the $25 million bounty for al-Qaeda’s chief. Bin Laden is still thought to be hiding somewhere along the 1,640-mile, mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but intelligence officials in Kabul and Islamabad say there has been no trace of him for the past 20 months. By the end of February, the White House is expected to double the sum on bin Laden’s head, to $50 million, acting on legislation passed in November by Congress.

One might think that people will not turn in Osama for $50 million but not $25 million. Mark Kirk thinks otherwise:

“What we’re looking for is some young Pashtun living in a town who knows the value of $25 million and can figure out how to reach us safely,” says Kirk. He points out that the lure of a $30 million reward led to the capture and killing in Iraq of Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay.

One can only be skeptical about the chances of someone in Pakistan or Afghanistan turning in Osama but it might just work.

Long Island Birth Rate Declining

Friday, January 21st, 2005

The population in Long Island has been declining for the past 15 years:

a study released yesterday attacked that theory, arguing that there are fewer young adults on Long Island today because fewer people had babies 20 years ago. The author of the study, Seth Forman of the Long Island Regional Planning Board, is calling the phenomenon a birth dearth.

The population decline seems to be from the fact that less people in Long Island have been having children for one reason or another. Of course, the politicians are not willing to accept this conclusion:

Ed Dumas, a spokesman for the Suffolk County executive, Steve Levy, said he disagreed with the new study, and still believed a housing shortage was forcing young adults off Long Island.

The median home price in Nassau County is just under $450,000 and in Suffolk it is just over $350,000, according to December data from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. Thomas R. Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, and Mr. Levy have argued that few young families can afford those prices.

But Mr. Forman said people trying to decide where to settle pay more attention to the abundance of jobs, climate and where their family lives than housing costs. “The idea that 20- to 34-year-olds are fleeing because of housing costs is manipulating the affordable housing issue,” he said.

Mr. Forman said old census records showed that Long Island had 144,044 fewer infants to 9-year-olds in 1980 than in it had in 1970. The children born in 1980 have grown up, and by 2000, there were about 130,000 fewer 20 to 34-year-olds on Long Island than there were a decade earlier. It was a demographic shift mirrored across the country, the study said. But while the percentage of young adults dropped to 20 percent from 25 percent nationwide from 1990 to 2003, there was a sharper drop on Long Island, to 17.7 percent from 24 percent.

Rather than accept evidence done by researchers local Long Island politicans are making up their own explanations so they can promote “affordable housing.” Affordable housing is really just a codeword for housing built outside of standard zoning laws. If affordable housing is really a problem, changing the zoning requirements for all rather than the chosen contractor seems like a more fair and equitable solution.

End The NHL Lockout

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005

S.M. Olivia proposes a solution that would end the NHL lockout immediately. Dissolve the players’ union:

The National Hockey League has ?locked out? its players union for 125 days. The 2004-2005 season will be officially cancelled within days, and many news reports suggest the 2005-2006 season is unlikely to take place. Neither the league?s commissioner, attorney Gary Bettman, nor the union appears to have an endgame strategy beyond waiting for the other side to fold. This certainly disproves the state?s view that mandatory collective bargaining ?promotes labor peace,? as the Supreme Court once claimed.

There is, however, a relatively simple and immediate solution: The players should voluntarily dissolve their union. Indeed, the union itself is a product of coercion, as a majority can force the minority to abide by the terms of a ?collectively? bargained basic agreement. Dissolving the union would make good economic and political sense. Without the union, the NHL owners would be free to determine their own economic system, and individual players could decide for themselves whether or not to participate. Many locked out players are currently playing for European clubs at wages that are substantially below their previous NHL salaries. Most of these players?at least, enough to reconstitute the league?would rejoin the NHL even under the salary cap?or ?revenue certainty??sought by the owners

This does ignore some facts of the particular case such as the fact that the players’ union offered to take a pay cut and the fault lies with the owners. Reducing the number of teams in the league is a sure way to create the profit potential. Businesses with a failing business model should close in hockey like they would in any other business.

It’s Time For A Republican Mayor In NYC

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

Steve Shaw is a Republican running for Mayor of New York City. Steve Shaw is a candidate running on the issues of cutting taxes and creating an environment favorable to business in New York City. This may seem like common sense but in many ways it is opposite of Bloomberg who currently believes that it is a “privilege” to run a business in New York City. Steve Shaw currently has an uphill battle running against Mayor Bloomberg who currently looks like he will win reelection. But Steve Shaw is on a mission:

I am running for mayor because I want to make New York a leader once again. Our city has the most driven and hardest-working people in the world. It is the existing administration, not New York?s people, who have caused our current situation ? a stagnant economy, high unemployment, and an ever-increasing cost of living. I have a plan to grow our economy by putting money back into the hands of hard-working New Yorkers, to revitalize our neighborhoods, to engage our citizens, and to prepare our children to lead and grow New York for generations to come. Together, we can bring prosperity back to New York.

Is New York City ready for a conservative, tax-cutting Republican? Probably not, but he is running a serious campaign and sounds like the pro-freedom candidate in the race.

Torture

Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

Cal:

Re your comment on the Dean Esmay link

I have not been to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in decades, but they used to have some recreations of tortures practiced in the middle ages on heretics by the Catholic Church. I particularly remember a cage full of rats that was strapped on to a man’s chest and then heated by coals under the cage floor which would encourage the rats try to escape by eating their way out through the victim’s chest, definitely cruel and unusual punishment by any standards.

Considering that we are fighting against an enemy who is not playing by “civilized rules” we have no obligation to the enemy to abide by the rules either. Doing so for no other reason merely gives our enemy a tactical advantage. What is important are the consequences for our society and our military of engaging in torture.

We do not allow our police to torture criminal suspects. After all, torture is punishment and suspects are innocent until proven guilty.Law enforcement is a necessary evil which is bearable because the enforcers have neither the resources nor the inclination to enforce all the laws all the time.

In the case of the military we have to consider that we as a nation ,unlike the English,do not have a professional soldier class gene pool of youth who would be soccer hooligans if they could not get into the service. We have a few lifers, but mostly we have citizen soldiers who put in their time out of patriotism and /or economic appreciation of the educational and other benefits of being in the National Guard. Somebody has to do the dirty work, somebody maybe even has to be the torturer, but it is a role that leaves lasting psychic scars for the brave citizen soldier that last long after the war has been won.

The Slave Trade and The Tsunami

Friday, January 7th, 2005

Joe Carter has a post on the children captured for the sex trade after being left parentless in the wake of the tsunami:

The number of children left parentless after the tsunami has once again brought the slave trade to the attention of the general public. Most people are unaware that there are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Before the focus shifts to other news events, we should call attention to this pervasive, dehumanizing practice. In the 18th and 19th centuries, British and American evangelicals were the leaders of the abolition movement. It’s time that 21st century evangelicals follow our forefathers example and take our place in the struggle against modern slavery.

Link via The Daou Report

Unemployment Statistics Out For 2003 Released

Friday, January 7th, 2005

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released unemployment data for 2003. The number of people who experienced unemployment drooped 358,00 in 2002 for a total of 16.4 million people.