Archive for November, 2005

Ron Paul On "Slashing The Budget

Monday, November 28th, 2005

In Ron Paul’s latest speech before Congress he criticized the Republicans for not really cutting the budget. All the Republicans did was cut the increases which was enough to enrage some Democrats, causing Democrats to accuse the Republicans of dramatically slashing various federal programs.

Here is the text of the speech:

Only in Washington DC can a spending increase be called a spending cut– but that’s exactly what happened last week. Congress passed a budget bill that merely slows the rate at which some federal spending grows by a tiny percentage, and both parties acted as though a revolution had taken place.

Republicans trumpeted the measure as a huge victory for fiscal conservatism, while Democrats were enraged by the supposed “slashing” of government programs. The uproar shows just how entrenched the spending culture has become on Capitol Hill– even insignificant reductions in the rate of growth in federal spending are seen as earth-shattering. But if we’re really serious about cutting federal spending, why not simply cut 10% from the 2006 budget?

Remember, the same Republicans claiming victory for slowing spending next year also passed the Medicare prescription drug bill, which will add over $50 billion to the federal budget in 2006 alone! In just one year the Medicare bill adds ten times in new spending what the budget bill purportedly cuts. So nobody who voted for the Medicare drug bill has any business talking about government spending. Neither do those who refuse to consider cutting one penny from the military and foreign aid budgets. You cannot conduct a foreign policy based on remaking whole nations using military force and pretend to operate a frugal government.

The Democrats, by contrast, never want to cut spending on anything, no matter how much the federal budget grows– and it’s doubled in 15 years. A $2.4 trillion federal budget is woefully inadequate in their eyes, and ten years from now they’ll say the same thing about a $5 trillion budget. No amount of spending will ever satisfy those who believe government should address every human problem and involve itself in every aspect of our lives.

The budget bill fails to address the root of the spending problem–this belief that Congress continually must create new federal programs and agencies. However, with the federal government’s unfunded liabilities– Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid– projected to reach as much as $50 trillion by the end of this year, Congress no longer can avoid serious efforts to rein in spending. Instead of a smoke-and-mirrors approach, Congress should begin the journey toward fiscal responsibility by declaring a ten percent reduction in real spending, followed by a renewed commitment to fund only those government functions that are consistent with the Constitution.

Hip-Hop Coming of Age In China

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Austin Arensberg has a post on thedevelopment of hip-hop in China. Quote:

But anyone that saw and heard the first attempts at Hip Hop in China would have chuckled showing just how far off target the MCs were. Many DJs wouldn’t even bother to rap in Chinese, offering instead the more ‘rappable’ English. But movements can’t be transplanted to a new place by mere duplication alone. 20 years after Deng Xiaoping presented China in the world’s largest debutant party it has been the critique that Chinese pop culture is as fake as the DVDs sold on its streets that has stuck.

Westerners have lamented for years that China’s cultural products were either heirlooms to the past or sad imitations of whatever was new and coolest in Europe or America. But over the past few years there has been considerable momentum indicating that Chinese cultural ambassadors are finding their own rythm. This past year saw an event in Shanghai with MCs rapping in Shanghainese, a dialect on the ropes reinvigorated with a raw and daring infusion of youthful energy. Black MCs in China sample old songs people have long forgotten, Chinese MCs sample a dying language.

China’s clubs from Ningxia to Beijing bump Hip Hop nightly and recently Star Club here in the capital had a raging night with a Japanese DJ spinning the newest hits to an adoring crowd of the young, rich, and powerful Chinese. The riots and violence of last spring seemed a world away.

Hip Hop tends to reinvent itself every few years feeding on the change rather than being redered obsolete. It is fitting than that Chinese youth, thrust unwittingly into a new hyper speed of development where all views are as foggy as the polluted skyline, have chosen to weave out of the madness a new form of music that is their own. I suspect that if those hipsters in Washinton Heights back in the early 1980’s could meet the kids in here in China’s clubs they would have more in common than most people would think.

POLITICWIKI: Build a Political Platform from Scratch

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

I received an email asking me to post the following information:

Researchers in Indiana are currently examining the effectiveness of a wiki in
helping multiple authors create a political platform. A “wiki” is an internet
site that allows multiple authors to edit pages through the web. Although more
than a decade old, wiki forums have only recently started to be used widespread
for collaboration projects.

Participants in this six-month study, offered by Indiana University in
cooperation with 3rdparty.org, are asked to create a new political party
platform from scratch. The findings could help improve and innovate political
forums in the future. If interested in participating in this experiment, please
go to the following web site URL:

http://www.politicexchange.org/politicwiki/consent.cfm

If you have questions at any time about the study or the procedures, you may
contact the researcher, Kevin Makice, by sending email to kmakice@indiana.edu.

John Conyers Wants To Protect Private Property

Sunday, November 6th, 2005

Usually I am not a big fan of John Conyers. He often comes off as a Democratic partisan hack opposing Bush for the sake of politics. John Conyers comes off in positive light with measures he supports limiting eminent domain in the wake of the Kelo decision.

John Conyers is on record supporting H.R. 4128, the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2005. H.R. 4128 would deny federal economic development funds to any state or locality that used eminent domain to take the property of an individual and gave it to a corporation. It is good to see a congressman standing up for the property rights of the citizens.

John Conyers is right to say that eminent domain needs to be brought in line with this quote:

Finally, states and cities must make it their priority to protect the property rights of their
citizens. We all must act to further the Constitutional guarantees provided by the Takings Clause
of the Fifth Amendment – that “private property shall not be taken for public use, without just
compensation.” It is important to point out that the Majority admitted that state courts are free to
interpret their own provisions in a manner that’s more protective of property rights. Today, as we
advance the Private Property Rights Protection Act, we encourage them to do so.”

Is Snoop Dogg A B-List Rapper?

Friday, November 4th, 2005


Nastack.com has a post arguing that that Snoop now has the status of a B list rapper because he is signed to Koch records. Snoop Dogg signing to Koch records is viewed as a sign of a possibly fading star.

Nastack.com points out no successful rapper has been signed to a major label after being signed to Koch Records.

Koch Records pays rappers a larger percentage for each record sold.

Major record labels will spend more money on marketing and recording but this money must be paid back by the artist. The marketing of a major artist also helps in planning concert events where the real money is for an artist.

Update: Typo edited out.

50 Cent Defends George Bush

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

ContactMusic.com records 50 Cent as defending George Bush from Kanye West’s statements that George Bush hates black people. From ContactMusic.com:

Rapper 50 CENT has lashed out at fellow hip-hop star KANYE WEST for accusing US President GEORGE W BUSH of racism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The IN DA CLUB star believes human intervention could not have prevented the effects of the hurricane, which killed over a thousand people in the US gulf states in August (05), and sees no point in reprimanding the President for something which was beyond his control.

He says, “The New Orleans disaster was meant to happen. It was an act of God.

“I think people responded to it the best way they can.

“What KANYE WEST was saying, I don’t know where that came from.”

50 Cent believes Kanye West was wrong to make his statement saying “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” 50 Cent is correct that Katrina was something that could not be prevented from the federal government. Generally, I don’t think we should be looking to rappers for views on politicians and current events.

Some hiphopbloggers are reffering to these statements of 50 Cent as beef between 50 Cent and Kanye West. This might qualify as beef with Kanye seeing as how 50 has recently had beef with everyone in the industry who doesn’t work with him.

This also seems in a way like an easy statement to throw at someone like Kanye who isn’t the worlds greatest rapper. It almost reminds me of the way Eminem went after easy targets like Britney Spears, Moby and Fred Durst on early albums. 50 needs to step his rap game up. Could it be that 50 Cent is just saying this to get publicity for his soon to be released movie.

Another amusing anecdote from this is the quickness in which Republican George Bush fans have posted up this story in defense of the President.

Will Democrats Take A Small Government Strategy?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Matt Welch, writing in the Los Angeles Times writes that it is time for the Democrats to take a small government western strategy. Welch points out that Montana, New Mexico and Arizona have Democratic governors with small government tendencies. It is time some major party appealed to voters who want small government.

Link via The Next Prez blog

Military Cover-Up Dishonors Hero

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Radley Balko has an article at FoxNews.com arguing the military’s mistreatment of Pat Tillman after his death is disgraceful. Quote:

In 2000, Pat Tillman, safety for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, turned down a $9 million contract offer from the St. Louis Rams, in order to remain in Arizona for a mere $500,000. Tillman valued team loyalty, even though his team wasn’t all that good.



We now know that Tillman died in friendly fire, shot accidentally by members of his own platoon. Soldiers interviewed in subsequent investigations have since testified that it was apparent to everyone involved that Tillman died from friendly fire the moment he was taken off the battlefield. A series of serious errors by Army commanders and Tillman’s fellow soldiers — none of them by Tillman himself — led to his unnecessary death. These events were tragic, but they certainly don’t reflect poorly on Tillman, his bravery, or his memory.

It’s also now clear that U.S. Army brass knew early on how Tillman died, but allowed alternative histories to permeate the media and sink in with Tillman’s friends and family for weeks. They even hid the truth from Tillman’s brother, who was in the same platoon, but didn’t witness Tillman’s death. He was immediately flown back to the U.S. with Tillman’s body.

Cutting Our Losses

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Gene Healy and Justin Logan write in Reason Online that it is time to leave Iraq. Healy and Logan question if any benefits will come to continued United States involvement which Condi Rice can not predict ending any time soon. We can not know when the war will end and policy makers are not discussing publicly the sacrifices that are necessary to continue this indefinite endeavour.

Russell Simmons endorses Bloomberg

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

AllHipHop.com reports that yesterday Russell Simmons endorsed Mayor Bloomberg. This is a good sign. Initially it seemed like Simmons and the HHSAN were extensions of the Democratic party but now it seems otherwise with this endorsement.

Here is the relevant portion of the article:

Russell Simmons endorsed New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Bronx, New York rally yesterday (Oct. 30). The endorsement came at a rally held inside Co-op City auditorium, where Simmons commended the Mayor’s track record on homelessness and poverty. The endorsement marks the first time Simmons has backed a Republican candidate. Both Simmons and Bloomberg squared off in 2004 over the Rockefeller Drug Laws. “Over the last four years he’s been on the steps of City Hall politely screaming…,” Bloomberg said. “I always shake my head as I walk by but we always stop and chit-chat.”