Archive for 2005

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

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 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 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.”

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.