Saturday, February 24, 2007

Right on cue...

Why does the federal government think it needs to chime in on every little problem that comes up? It's micro-managing at it's worst. I'm no fan of sitting on a runway for 6 hours but this situation was obviously a very rare occurrence. And, if they do get into the habit of doing this sort of thing more often, you can bet that the market will take care of Jet-Blue and switch to one of it competitors. There's no need for Congress to poke it's nose into the situation.

"Right on cue, politicians are making a fuss about a "passenger bill of rights" and demanding Congressional intervention after last week's JetBlue airline debacle. The irony is that the marketplace is already moving to address the problem, and the government could really help by relaxing some of the rules that incentivize airlines to discomfit passengers in the first place.

The benefits of any such rules are speculative, but higher costs are certain. The airlines would face more paperwork, bureaucracy and cost--and just wait until the trial bar piles on. These costs would be passed on to consumers whether they wanted these new "rights" or not. " Come Fly With Congress

America at War?

It's always been my thought that the American public is not against the Iraq war as much as they are tired of hearing about it in the news night after night.

No way Gordon, the American people are tired of the casualties and loss of lives over there.

If that were the case, there would be more people in this country who could point out Iraq on a world map than tell you all the number of times Brittney has entered rehab.

The fact is, the American public has the collective attention span of one news cycle. Anymore than that and it's time to find out who the next father of Anna Nicole's kid is.

The picture is appropriate.


On the side is a picture Tom Callinan, editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the local paper of record, who decided earlier this week to print all the names of the jury and personal information in a high profile murder case this week.

This morning he printed an apology/rationalization of their decision. Here is the money quote.

Yes, the names, ages and occupations of jurors are a public record, and there's good reason for that. We want a system that allows us to know who is judging us.

Yeah, I wonder if the same thing would be true of reporters and editors covering the case. After all, they have biases that could taint the reporting and the ability of the accused to get a fair trial.

So I'll make a deal with Mr. Callinan, Since he finds that it's ok for the public to know this information I'll make sure to report all his pertinent information as soon as I get it.

Since we all know where he works, maybe I'll print the names of his kids and where they go to school instead.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Problem Solving

I caught this on the Best of the Web yesterday.

Crime is back in New Orleans, even though the city's population is less than half what it was before Hurricane Katrina, Reuters reports:

The larger problem is that New Orleans has too many social problems--drugs, poverty, broken families, poor education--all present before Katrina.

A recent murder encapsulated the difficulties. After a 17-year-old was beaten up, his mother gave him a gun and told him to get revenge, and he killed the boy he fought with.

When police went to his home to investigate, they found the mother with cocaine and a family photo on display of the son with a gun in one hand and a fistful of cash in the other.

"For us to correct this, we have to look at the root of the problem. The root of the problem is our education system," Police Superintendent Warren Riley said in an interview.

So let me get this straight, Mom gives Jr. a gun to kill someone and somehow it's the education system not doing it's job.

Do you want to know why inner cities around the country cannot correct their problems. Maybe because they spend to many resources fixing problems that don't exist.

Seriously, did you learn from the education system that if someone beats you up it's not OK to take a gun from your mother and go cap the guy?

Our education system in inner cities has a lot to be desired, but I'm pretty sure that not even Harvard grads were taught to not kill people.

This is why cities will never improve because no one has the guts or the smarts to identify the real problems. Subsequently, if you are so inept you can't even identify the problem or do not have the backbone to publicly state what the problem actually is, how can you possibly solve it.

Freedom/responsibility of the Press?

Yesterday, a local newspaper (I won't name them because I'm sure they would want the notoriety) decided to print the names, ages, employers/positions, and marital status of jurors in the trial of Liz Carroll who, along with her husband and their girlfriend decided to lock a child up in closet until he died (allegedly).

The trial for Liz ended this week so the local rag decided to print the names of the jurors. Why? How is knowing the names somehow in the public interest? Would you feel as though you we're more informed by knowing the names of jurors in a very public trial? Would you feel safe knowing that everyone in the world knew you were one of the people who locked up a potentially dangerous person with dangerous family members? Does this action make it more or less likely that quality people will live up to their civic duty and work jury duty?

Just because you have the freedom to print anything, doesn't mean that you should. With every freedom comes a responsibility. It occurs to me that this particular paper decided to print this information just because it could and yet those in the mainstream media have the stones to mock bloggers. Get real.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sowell again

Thomas Sowell has a great piece in NRO blasting Barack Obama's thoughts on jobs and the economy.

While his piece focuses mainly on jobs, he has a small snipet regarding the cost of education

Money quote

Senator Obama is for making college “affordable,” as if he has never considered that government subsidies push up tuition, just as government subsidies push up agricultural prices, the price of medical care and other prices.

I have a question for all libs out there. Why are college education rate increases, on average, almost double the rate of inflation?

Could it be that increased financial aid and availability of student loans contribute to the rate increases?

Absolutely not Gordon it must be other factors.

Well consider this on a micro economic basis. Assume I have a commodity that you need to earn more money and I'm willing to sell it to you for $1,000. You agree to the price because you know you'll be able to turn that thousand into $10,000 in a short period of time.

Now assume that Uncle Sam wants to allow poor people access to my widget so they are willing to give everyone $400.00 to buy it. Do I keep the price of my widget at $1,000.00?

Hell no I don't. I now have a larger supply of people with money to buy my widget. In addition, I already know that the market place has already set a price that people are willing to pay $1,000 without the subsidy. So guess what, I now increase my price to $1,400. Rich people are still out of pocket $1,000 and poor people still can't get in. So people like Obama now have a platform to increase the subsidy to $600.00, which only allows me to increase my prices yet again. It's a never ending cycle.

But Gordon, if you increase your prices won't competitors come in to the market and lower prices. Yes, more people will come into the market place but, I would argue that they come into the market place and take the $600.00 subsidy from poor people and deliver them a shoddy education. Look at all the "colleges" springing up in nearly every office park in the country.

So everybody wins, except the poor schmuck who's now on the hook for a $30,000 student loan that qualifies him to be a Cincinnati city councilman or a car salesman.

Sorry for the slam on car salesman.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rx Price Control

Both Gordon and I discussed this topic right after the November elections. Let's face it, the federal government isn't good at very much. Why would we even think for a second that it would be good at pricing drugs?

"At first glance the idea makes sense. Instead of multiple companies competing to negotiate drug prices, have one big powerful entity do the negotiating. Wouldn't that lead to lower prices?

It might -- and that's part of the problem. We should be suspicious when someone promises benefits from a government monopoly. Government doesn't produce things. It simply uses force to move things around. So why think that Medicare, hardly a paragon of efficiency, should be given the power to negotiate -- in reality, control -- prices?

The last thing we should do is give federal officials more power. When government controls prices, it must eventually ration supplies. Consumers suffer. When the product is medicine, the results could be catastrophic."

John Stossel: No Drug Price Controls

Chief Illiniwek RIP

Normally, I couldn't care less about what Illinois University decides to do with the mascot they choose to represent them.... They could go by the Illinois University Flying King Weasels as far as I'm concerned.

However, I read this article about the retirement of Chief Illiniwek and the smell of hypocrisy is worse than the smell of a south Chicago landfill on a hot August day.

Where to start. Well, let's start with the NCAA.

The NCAA has threatened all Division I schools with offensive nicknames by not allowing those schools to host NCAA sanctioned tournaments and championships. They've threatened sanctions on the University of North Dakota for their use of the nickname "The Fighting Sioux" despite the fact that Sioux tribal leaders have endorsed the University's use of the nickname as non offensive and a positive promotion of the tribe. The NCAA comes back with "No, It's surely offensive to you folks. You must be too dumb to realize it."

So how does that relate to IU? The NCAA is going to allow IU to keep the Illini nickname despite the obvious naming after a native American tribe because "it's short for Illinois and the school can use the term Fighting Illini, because it's considered a reference to the team's competitive spirit. Yeah, I can now see why tribes are disgusted..... all those references to competitive spirit and all is surely offensive.

Why is it that Illini is not offensive to native Americans when it's clearly derived from the tribal name but Warriors is offensive when it has no reference to a tribe at all. Could it be that Illinois has more pull than Marquette, Hawaii, and UND. Nah... It has to be principal. Right?

Now let's hit the "Activists". The most persuasive argument these people offer is that we don't nickname teams with caricatures of other ethnic groups such as the fighting Jews, or Zulu's etc., Well, have you ever heard of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Western Washington Vikings or the Monmouth College Fighting Scots? I bet all those Northern Europeans are pissed as hell at the disrepect.

If it's so offensive, why is it that schools on the rez all have these nicknames?

By the way, what do we do with all these state names? Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, the Dakotas are all tribal names. We obviously don't have states named after other ethnic groups so let's change those names as well.

For that matter, what about all those streets in the 'hood where I grew up, Shoshonee, Cherokee, Wyandot, Miami, Shawnee, Mohawk etc. Ohhhh, the disrespect is everywhere!

The fact is, there is a country where all the names of minority groups where eliminated just like this. The country? Bosnia. Only there they called it Ethnic Cleansing which is what the Native Americans would be calling it if Anglos were leading the charge on this.

In any event, if my almamater is interested in renaming their nickname I think the $250.00 I've donated over the years warrants changing the name to the "Fighting Gekkos".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


When you look at the amount of money governments spends to "help the poor" in this country, it makes you wonder why they don't just cut everyone a check and skip all the administrative costs associated with the handout process. But what about golf courses?

"Among the many rationales used to defend the welfare state, the most powerful is that it is necessary, in order to take care of the poor and the downtrodden. But the amount of money required to bring every poor person in the country above the official poverty line is a fraction of what is spent by government on the welfare state.

Put bluntly, the poor are in effect being used as human shields in the political wars over government spending, which extends far beyond anyone who could even plausibly be called poor.

Politicians will spend money wherever that is likely to increase their chances of getting re-elected. Of all the things that governments spend money on, none is further removed from fighting poverty than municipal golf courses."

Thomas Sowell: Priceless Politics

Lenten Season

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Lenten season. A time that many Christians use as a period of sacrifice and somber reflection on faith.

I believe that when God created humans, he created them with an empty spot in their soul. That empty spot, devoid of the noise of everyday life, is the quiet place where we have our relationship with God. However, he also gave us free will, the ability to place anything in the spot that we choose.

As a result, many of us try to fill that spot with food, booze, drugs, sex, control, pornography, the internet, TV, politics, popularity, cigarettes, work, etc. The list goes on and on and on....

What many of us eventually find is the buzz from our elixir is often short lived and really does not satisfy long term; it takes more and more and more to get that ever precious feeling of security. Some times we just try to keep the place noisy so we never have to deal with the solitude. Many never learn the lesson and die in their attempts to fill the space, ie Anna Nicole Smith, Kurt Cobain, et al.

So as we enter the Season, I would encourage all of us to sacrifice some of those things we use to fill the "hole in our souls". For me, that would be beer and pizza.

Even if you are a non-believer, I would ask you to try it. What could it hurt? Many health professionals would tell you that it takes a month to a month in a half to give up a bad habit and replace it with a good one. Once you empty that space out and eliminate the noise from day to day life, I think you'll be surprised at what fills the vacuum your life. And maybe you'll lose a few pounds.

God Bless

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another Cincinnati Homicide

While city leaders are busy making sure people in Washington know they are against the Iraq war, another homicide takes place; number 11 if you're counting.

That puts the city a pace well ahead of last year and we are not even in the busy summer murder season yet.

I guess there is one thing that has me slightly curious. The victim last night was shot last night at 3:44 am on Central Ave. Who in their right mind would be out that late, outside, cold as hell? It was 10 degrees out last night.

I hear community leaders keep saying that black youth get into trouble because there's nothing to do in the city. I beg to differ. Apparently, there is some good stuff going on in a city when it's worth getting shot to check out.

As the legendary Vince Lombardi once said to Max McGee

"Max the next time you miss curfew I'm fining you $100.00 and the time after that I'll fine you $250 and then I'm going to fine you $500.00.... Max, if you know of a place that's worth $500.00.... will you wake me up and take me with you."

So if anyone's up to checking out what's going on in the west end at 3:00 in the morning on a freezing weekend night, let me know and we'll head down. It must be a damn good time if people are willing to risk their lives for it.