Archive for August, 2008

John McCain Goes With Inexperience

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Less than 24 hours after Barack Obama finished making his acceptance speech, John McCain shifted all the media coverage by choosing Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, as his Vice-Presidential running mate.

From a timing standpoint this was a smart move because the media was concentrating on McCain’s speculation for Vice President rather than on Obama’s speaking skills.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a good choice from her record. She has been Governor of Alaska for two years which is a bit of a welfare state. Palin has tried to clean up corruption in Alaska. She supports increased domestic drilling including drilling in ANWR which is further than John McCain is willing to go on the issue.

Strategically, it seems pretty clear that Sarah Palin is partly a quota pick. A governor,with two years experience of a small strong-Republican state would have been chosen without the rise of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Sarah Palin made reference to Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro during her speech earlier this week. Sarah Palin’s lack of inexperience may actually be a plus for Obama because each time a Democrat or the media points it out it will point to Obama’s lack of experience.

Will this choice pick up Hillary Clinton voters? Probably not but it will excite the Republican Party base.

I’ll House You

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Politico was interviewing John McCain and John McCain did not know how many houses he has. Members of the media seem to be covering this non-stop on the TV news networks.

Research has been done and according to Barack Obama, John McCain has seven homes.

It does not matter how many homes John McCain owns. Some people would like to use this as another example of how John McCain is old, senile and probably out of touch but the truth is that John McCain doesn’t know how many homes he is part owner of because his wife is the one with the money. Politicians who are treated as serious Presidential candidates have lots of money and that is not going to change.

5 Random Music Links

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

More Random Music:

Rhymefest has a video out for his song “Stolen.” Rhymefest raps about genocide in Africa over a well produced No I.D. beat.

Kanye West has a new video for his single “Champion” off of last year’s album Graduation. The video features a puppet version of Kanye West.

1 Time 4 Your Mind has posted the promo video for Nas’s first classic album Illmatic.
Featuring many of the producers talking about their impact on Nas’s classic Illmatic.

The Meaning of Dope posted an old story CBS 48 Hours did with Ice Cube.
Bernie Goldberg should go back to journalism like this instead of just complaining on Fox News about liberals which he seems to do for a living.
Buy Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted here.

Anthony Hamilton has a new song which David Banner appears on for a verse.

Earmarks are closer to being under control

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Taxpayers for Common Sense has an analysis of the new spending bills including the number and the amount spent on earmarks is down:

During this election year, lawmakers are showing slight restraint in writing the earmarks in the FY 2009 spending bills, according to an analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) (click here for the new database). The House has increased the number and value of earmarks at about the same rate.  The Senate has cut earmarks by 16% in the spending bills in terms of total dollars. The analysis is based on all the bills that have passed full committee and are awaiting action in both chambers. 

 

TCS analyzed the available House and Senate Fiscal Year 2009 spending bills and found that earmarks decreased by more than 15% in the Senate and increased nearly 7% in the House compared to the same appropriations bills at the similar point last year. The House increased the number of projects in these bills by 5% from 4,149 in 2008 to 4,367 in 2009 and the Senate reduced total projects from 4,313 in 2008 to 4,093. To some extent this represents the Senate restraining their irrational earmark exuberance of last year. In the six bills that were available for both chambers, the Senate still outstrips the House in total earmark cost: $5.86 billion to $5.12 billion.

 

One of the more remarkable shifts is a $426 million drop in Senate earmarks for the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development spending bill (the House bill hasn’t been considered yet). This is at least in part due to the cratering of the Highway Trust Fund, which is fueled by the gas tax. Overspending in previous years, coupled with the precipitous drop in gas tax receipts as motorists drive less, has drained the fund and well for earmark spending. The only other bill to have a similar fall on a percentage basis was the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill, which also fell more than 30%, or $228 million.

 

But don’t get your hopes up yet;

There are twelve final spending bills for the federal government. So in turn, there are 24 final House or Senate bills. Congress has only released 15 of those bills. With so many bills not considered, including the Defense spending bill that includes more earmarks than each of the House and Senate passed bills, much can still change. And that assumes that the spending bills will move under relatively regular order.

Earmarks is not the end all of spending but earmarks create the quickest route to corruption and may raise the level of overall spending by the Federal Government.

More Random Music

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

More random music:

I saw this great remix to the Jay-Z song Roc Boys by K Def. The horns are replaced with a smooth guitar lick. Instead of being a party song the song switches to a laid back song emphasizing the lyrics with occasional blasts of sirens for a sense of urgency.

Link via 4080Records.com

Here is the new single “Touch & Go” from Joe Budden. Joe Budden will release his new album Padded Room on October 28. Fun Joe budden song with an electronica sound.

Here is a new song from Q-Tip called “Gettin’ Up Clean.” How we all miss A Tribe Called Quest. Hopefully Q-Tip will get a release for the album he has been working on.
Link via Hip Hop Flavas

Here is a new video by Detroit female emcee Invincible for her song titled “Sledgehammer”. Invincible covers topics such as gentrification and urban decay briefly in this song.

This song by Invincible is off of her new album Shapeshifters which will be released on September 9th.

There is a new Jay-z song called “Jocking Jay-Z” produced by Kanye West that is floating around the internet. More Jay-z talk about how rich he is and famous he is; Jay-Z’s act of exclaiming how famous he is getting a little boring but his rap flow is still great and the Kanye Beat is amazing with the simple guitar distortion and straight forward hard rap drum beat.

Tire Pressure and Politcal Pressure

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Obama mentioned in a speech that energy would be saved if they properly inflated their tires. This is a good solution that will help solve the energy crisis without any government solution that either involves spending taxpayer money or causing damage to the environment that would come with coal mining or oil drilling. According to a federal government website, properly inflating your tires can improve fuel economy by 4 percent.

One would think that Republicans would support properly inflating car tires as a free-market solution to the energy crisis. This is not the case, Republicans care about winning elections, and apparently the Republicans think that if they attach Obama with properly inflating tires people will start supporting McCain and other Republicans. Properly inflating tires alone is not an energy policy but it is a solution for the average person to save themselves the money they would spend on gasoline. We need to increase drilling and inflate our tires.

Harvard Political Review

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Harvard Political Review has an article addressing the need to get the appropriations process under control. The article by Pio Szamel points out the corruption that has lately been found in the appropriation process. The article offers two options to get control of the appropriations process limit earmarks or find more accountability:

While the current process is certainly not ideal, the question of how to reform it is a controversial one. One approach is to eliminate earmarks entirely. Some members of Congress, with the support of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), tried to enact a one-year moratorium this spring. However, the measure failed in the Senate by a 71-29 vote as rank-and-file senators voted to protect the pork that helps their bids for re-election. Nevertheless, clamping down on earmarks remains a priority for many reformers because earmarks are considered to be the easiest avenue for corruption: they provide a mechanism for individual members to direct money to specific causes, groups, and even corporations.

But Adam Hughes of OMB Watch, a non-profit budget watchdog organization, told the HPR that there is another approach to reform: an emphasis on transparency rather than on eliminating all earmarks. “There’s been a lot of negative press around the term earmark,” he explained, before pointing out some valuable projects that were funded by earmarks, such as the Iraq Study Group. Rather than get out of the earmark business entirely, Hughes argued that the problem is accountability, noting that “when you can operate unaccountable to others, you can do whatever you want.” The solution is then to make the process more transparent, thereby fostering accountability.

The article points accountability efforts have been more effective than attempts to limit earmarks.

The article misses the major way to combat government corruption which is to reduce the size of government. Many earmarks are for activities to be performed at a local level. What we need is a change to at the very least to expect a lot less from our federal government.

Hillary is Right!

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

I don’t often agree with Hillary Clinton on anything but Senator Hillary Clinton has a column in the Wall Street Journal arguing for fiscal restraint on the executive. Quote:

I’ve proposed a comprehensive overhaul to root out corruption in no-bid contracts and other shady deals. Reforms must include the following:

- Instead of rewarding companies that exploit tax shelters and incorporate in tax havens, let’s ban the federal government from contracting with companies that hide profits offshore.

- We should put in place safeguards so that contracts are awarded to responsible companies that abide by the law and complete the work they’re hired to do.

- Let’s put a stop to the disgraceful practice of giving bonuses to contractors for work never performed, which has been allowed to happen in Iraq and throughout the federal government according to the GAO and inspectors general.

- We need to increase transparency and competition in the contracting system, and to stop the ideological privatization of critical governmental functions.

Except for the last measure these all seem like good ideas. Federal contracting has failed recently in Iraq and with FEMA after Hurricane Katrina.

However, there is nothing wrong in of itself with federal contracting and privatization. There is no efficiency gained by the government by producing everything which is the logical extent of attacking privatization.

5 Random Music Links

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

More music on the blog. This looks like it will become a regular feature.

Here is a video of some guy calling himself Narduwar interviewing Shay and Pharell Williams of N.E.R.D. The interviewer seems to know a lot about them and be a little crazy.

Link via Elitaste and Metal Lungies

The Full Clip has a new song from Blu called Pour Me Another. Fun song worth the download. Smooth relaxing song.

A new song from GZA called Finance has leaked on to the internet. Gza flows off the track really well in this song. This song is leftover that did not make his new album Pro Tools.


The Full Clip has also recently posted a live performance of J Dilla’s work as interpreted by jazz artist Robert Glasper and Mos Def
.

The Meaning of Dope.com continues to present interesting old hip-hop videos. Here is a video of a Much Music interview with the Fugees.