Archive for October, 2005

Funny Halloween Column

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Jonathan David Moriss has a funny column on the ten things he hates about Halloween. The best part is this line:

I’m sorry, but none of this stuff scares me. Not even the decidedly real-looking dead children. If you really want to spook me, try throwing a party where everyone comes dressed like a government program.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Monday, October 31st, 2005

One reason to favor smaller governmental policies is the law of unintended consequences. The law of unintended consequences says that the actions of people often cause an unintended effect. A recent story in The Guardian points out that the unintended consequence of banning smoking in bars in Dublin has led to young people congregating outside of bars and smoking more than they were previously. Government should not be banning smoking in private establishments but should also not be creating perverse incentives for young people to smoke more.

Link via Hit and Run

Winning Hearts And Minds

Monday, October 31st, 2005

As long as the United States is going to have a large military it is beneficial for the military to be used to win hearts and minds. Foreign Aid and assistance is one way in which the United States can win the support of various communities. After the recent devastating earthquake in Pakistan the United States has made a large effort to help in the recovery operations.

Here are the details of current military operations providing aid in Pakistan according to Centcom:

The United States Air Force continued to support Pakistan-led earthquake recovery operations by airlifting and airdropping much-needed supplies into the devastated region Friday and today.

Friday three U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemasters, one U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules and a contracted AN-124 Condor flew in more than 346,440 pounds of clothing, aircraft parts, cargo vehicles, and various supplies in response to requests from Pakistan’s government.

To date, the U.S. Air Force has airlifted more than four million pounds of relief supplies to Pakistan.

Today two U.S. Air Force C-130s airdropped more than 30,000 pounds of food and supplies near the Pakistani villages of Laij Copei and Batagram, bringing the total amount of airdropped supplies to 70,000 pounds.

But is it working to win hearts and minds? According to the New York Times it sounds like the aid is serving that intended purpose, at least to a limited extent. Quote:

Yet after Mr. Janbaz departed, something extraordinary happened. Here in a mountainous corner of northern Pakistan long thought to be a center for militant training camps and religious conservatism, three men dismissed his theory and heartily praised the United States for aiding victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake, which killed more than 53,000 Pakistanis.

“People don’t believe such things; people only believe in what they are seeing,” said Manzur Hussain, a 36-year-old hospital worker whose brother, sister and two sons died in the earthquake. “People who give them aid, they respect them.”

While it is too early to reach firm conclusions, anecdotal interviews with earthquake survivors in this picturesque mountain district, known as Mansehra, suggest that American assistance may be improving Pakistanis’ perceptions of the United States – an image that has been overwhelmingly negative here since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

During the past year, Taliban prisoners captured in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan and Indian officials, have said Mansehra was the site of several camps where young recruits were trained to fight American forces in Afghanistan and Indian forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir. One of the four young men who carried out the July 7 bombings in London was also thought to have visited a religious school, or madrasa, in Mansehra last year.

Muhammad Farid, a homeopathic doctor in the devastated town of Balakot, said he still deeply disagreed with the American invasion of Iraq and other policies. But the dispatch to Pakistan of 14 American military helicopters and more than 20 foreign search and rescue teams surprised him.

“It has changed our opinion about the United States,” he said, adding that hard-line clerics’ descriptions of debauched foreigners have proved untrue. “They have been accusing all these people of spreading immorality, but these are the people who came to save our lives.”

Al Qaeda has also entered the propaganda game by providing aid in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Will Iraq Lead To Terrorist Blowback?

Monday, October 31st, 2005

In the November issue of Foreign Affairs, Peter Bergen argues that the Iraq war may lead directly towards terrorist blowback:

However, despite their grandiose rhetoric, the few thousand foreigners whofought in Afghanistan had only a negligible impact on the outcome of that war. Bin Laden’s Afghan Arabs began fighting the Soviet army only in 1986, six years after the Soviet invasion. It was the Afghans, drawing on the wealth of their American and Saudi sponsors, who defeated the Soviet Union. By contrast, foreign volunteers are key players in Iraq, far more potent than the Afghan Arabs ever were. Several factors could make blowback from the Iraq war even more dangerous than the fallout from Afghanistan. Foreign fighters started to arrive in Iraq even before Saddam’s regime fell. They have conducted most of the suicide bombings—including some that have delivered strategic successes such as the withdrawal of the un and most international aid organizations—and the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, another alumnus of the Afghan war, is perhaps the most effective insurgent commander in the field. Fighters in Iraq are more battle hardened than the Afghan Arabs,who fought demoralized Soviet army conscripts. They are testing themselves against arguably the best army in history, acquiring skills in their battles against coalition forces that will be far more useful for future terrorist operations than those their counterparts learned during the 1980s. Mastering how to make improvised explosive devices or how toconduct suicide operations is more relevant to urban terrorism than the conventional guerrilla tactics used against the Red Army. U.S. military commanders say that techniques perfected in Iraq have been adopted by militants in Afghanistan. Finally, foreign involvement in the Iraqi conflict will likely lead some Iraqi nationals to become international terrorists. The Afghans were glad to have Arab money but were culturally, religiously, and psychologically removed from the Afghan Arabs; they neither joined al Qaeda nor identified with the Arabs’ radical theology. Iraqis, however, are closer culturally to the foreigners fighting in Iraq, and many will volunteer to continue other jihads even after U.S. troops depart.

Bergen continue by making the point that Bush’s statement that we must fight the terrorists overseas in Iraq so we do not fight them over here is false. Bergen points out there is not a finite number of terrorists who need to be killed. Bergen also argues that the Iraq war is bringing foreign terrorists into Iraq who are fighting who might not be otherwise.

The full article is here.

List of Ongoing Libertarian Campaigns

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Liberty for Sale has a list of ongoing Libertarian Party campaigns. I encourage you to look at hist list of candidates running for office and volunteer in any campaigns you deem worthwile. It is good to see that Tim West is ignoring any extreme fringe candidates.

Win 50 Cent Autobiography

Monday, October 24th, 2005

E-mail at: to enter to win a copy of 50 Cent’s Autobiographhy. Winners will be selected on Monday, October 24, 2005. Here is a a description of the book from the publisher:


That’s what this book is about–the good times and the bad times. I wrote this book to explain the world I come from. To a lot of people, I may be too young to reflect on life. And they may be right. But I’d be wasting my blessings if I didn’t use the attention I’m getting to shed light on the experiences that have caused me to say the things I say and make the kind of music I make. I want to explain my environment to those who don’t come any closer to it than the records they buy or the images they see on television. People want the truth. Even if they can’t handle it, they want it. I let you know that I survived nine bullets not to sell records, but because it’s the truth. Every time I sit down for an interview, I’m asked, “Well, 50, how did it feel to get shot nine times?” But those stories don’t hold the weight, the pain, or the hope of my experience. It just can’t. This is my mindset and these are the things that go on. This is why I say the rhymes that I say. This is what happened when I was trying to get rich before I died in Southside Queens.
So begins From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens, a violent and introspective memoir that reveals not only 50′s story but the story of a generation of youth faced with hard choices and very little options. A tale of sacrifice, transformation and redemption, but it is also one of hope, determination and the power of self. Told in 50′s own unique voice, the narrative drips with the raw insight, street wisdom, and his struggle to survive at all costs…and behold the riches of the American Dream.
50 Cent has sold over 20 million records worldwide. His record-breaking debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ has sold over 12 million units worldwide, with the largest debut in SoundScan history. While his sophomore effort, The Massacre, sold over 1.14 million copies in its first four days of release, he has since become the first artist to have four songs in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100 since The Beatles in 1964.
His business empire includes: a record label (G-Unit Records, a division of Interscope Records), apparel/footwear ventures (G-Unit Clothing and footwear, joint ventures through the Ecko Clothing Company and Reebok, respectively), vitamin water (Formula 50, through Glacéau’s Vitamin Water), watch line (G-Unit Watches, through Jacob & Co), and a video game (50 Cent: Bulletproof, through Vivendi Games). His future plans are to dominate the film and television worlds through two new G-Unit ventures in film and television…and his most prized project: the nonprofit organization The G-Unity Foundation, which aims to better the life of urban youth.

To purchase click here.

Houston’s Dominance of the Rap Scene Hits The Wires

Monday, October 10th, 2005

Reuters has a story on on Houston’s current dominance of the rap scene


By Gail Mitchell

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – When it comes to filling the pipeline for hip-hop hits, Houston does not have a problem.

Houston rappers Paul Wall, Mike Jones and Slim Thug — each of whom honed his craft on the mix-tape circuit — are among this year’s biggest national breakout artists. But they are just the leading edge of a movement that has long flirted with mainstream success.

Among the next wave poised to break nationally is Wall’s former partner, Chamillionaire. Nicknamed “the Mixtape Messiah,” he will make his major-label album debut November 22 with “The Sound of Revenge” on Universal Records.

“People are tired of hearing the same thing over and over again,” Chamillionaire says. “They want something new. Timing is everything, and it’s up to us to take advantage while it is hot.”

There is more in the story. Several papers appear to have picked up the Reuters story… maybe more.

Staying or Leaving?

Monday, October 10th, 2005

Here is the text from the latest speech by Ron Paul calling for the U.S. to leave Iraq. Ron Paul makes the point that some of the violence occuring in Iraq is do to the U.S. presence. Paul quotes Reagan to make his point:

We should heed the words of Ronald Reagan about his experience with a needless and mistaken military occupation of Lebanon. Sending troops into Lebanon seemed like a good idea in 1983, but in 1990 President Reagan said this in his memoirs: “…we did not appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle…In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believed the last thing we should do was turn tail and leave…yet, the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there.”

During the occupation of Lebanon by American, French, and Israeli troops between 1982 and 1986, there were 41 suicide terrorist attacks in that country. One horrific attack killed 241 U.S. Marines. Yet once these foreign troops were removed, the suicide attacks literally stopped. Today we should once again rethink our policy in this region.

It’s amazing what ending military intervention in the affairs of others can achieve. Setting an example of how a free market economy works does wonders.

We should have confidence in how well freedom works, rather than relying on blind faith in the use of military force to spread our message. Setting an example and using persuasion is always superior to military force in showing how others might live. Force and war are tools of authoritarians; they are never tools of champions of liberty and justice. Force and war inevitably lead to dangerous unintended consequences.

Is Little Rock, Arkansa the next big thing in hip-hop?

Friday, October 7th, 2005

The Arkansas Times has an article speculating that Little Rock could be the next big scene in hip-hop.

Link via Music Filter

Warriors, Come Out And Play

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005 gives an inside look on the making of The Warriors.
Buy The Warriors DVD here.