CATO: America’s Longest War

The CATO blog takes a look at a new article in Foreign Policy magazine calling for drug legalization.

Sadly, when it comes to drug legalization, both Democrats and Republicans are downright pig headed. Powerful police unions have a lot to do with this. Without the drug war, police budgets would be slashed to hell. It takes a lot of work and money to do the worming into people's lives necessary to arrest drug criminals, at least drug criminals that "matter".

Show me someone who supports drug prohibition and I will show you someone who is horribly misinformed.

"Conservatives like seeing people make money. "

Yes, yes they do. I never claimed they didn't. I claimed that they only like seeing the already well off making more money. Griffiths doesn't dispute this fact, because he cannot.

Conservatives passed huge tax cuts which were intended to "trickle down" to all of us dirty poor people. The logic generally follows that corporations and rich individuals, because they have more money, will invest a portion of that into paying their workers better salaries. This is how, in the conservative economic plan, poor people "are able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps" or something colloquial like that.

Of course, it rarely happens that way.

In the case of the Stadium workers in question, Maryland gives HUGE tax breaks, loans, and subsidies to these stadiums, their owners, etc. The owners, players, most likely even the concession workers are paid relatively well. However, because the workers who clean the stadium are contract workers, they don't get the feel the success. The "trickle down" even if it does exist, has no chance of reaching these people, unless we assume the contracting company has a change of heart and decides to pass on a bit of the millions they made in lucrative deals to clean the massive M&T Bank stadium and Camden Yards.

I suppose in that case, Griffiths wouldn't mind the employees getting raises. But then, isn't the whole Reagan "trickle down" theory dependent upon corporations passing on their tax savings on to the workers and consumers? Or is it just a plan to bankrupt the federal government while giving a nifty little handout to the already rich.

Most State sanitation workers make much more than the $9/hr the stadium workers are begging for. I believe both sets of workers do difficult and necessary jobs, whereas Griffith's sees their work as similar in value to Taco Bell/KFC workers (who nationally make 7.65 last I checked). Now, if State sanitation workers make what Griffiths refers to as "artificially inflated salaries" (because these salaries are set by the government, that makes them "artificial" in Griffiths mind), why hasn't the stadium already, according to his economic laws, had to pay their workers increased salaries?

Clearly, if we pay the people who clean the stadiums in Maryland more money, it will create a trash-pick-up-workers crisis of epic proportions. Orioles tickets will cost $75 for nosebleeds, and Ravens tickets will require a deposit of your first born. People all over Maryland, will have to swim through piles of trash, as all sanitation workers will have to be fired. In fact, such an act could plunge the whole state into poverty. Griffiths really thinks this to be true:

Of course what Kujan fails to realize is that the artificial inflation by government of the salaries of the stadium workers creates an unequal environment for other businesses.

An unequal environment for who, other owners of professional sports stadiums in Maryland that need to have them cleaned by outsourced workers?

That means if government mandates the inflation of salaries by $3 an hour, those businesses either will hire less skilled workers or will need to inflate their wages by $3. And that price gets passed onto the consumer. That creates inflation. That diminishes purchasing power. And that means nothing really changes in the end other than creating more, not less, poverty.

Yes, an inflation crisis because people MIGHT have to pay more for Orioles/Ravens tickets. Its laugh out loud worthy.


Then again Kujan proves why liberals can't run government; a basic lack of understanding of economic environments:

Just look what years of liberal policy and has done to salaries in Maryland. Maryland liberals are so terrible at understanding economic environments that they created the best one in the whole country.

Maryland Democratic Party "Gala": No Poor Allowed

I dunno, I think it might be nice to do this:

Help us celebrate our success together and show your support for the Maryland Democratic Party's commitment to the promise of One Maryland.

Join us on October 1, 2007 as we gather with Democrats from across our great state to prepare for the vast challenges before us. We are a strong party. Together we can grow our numbers here and in Washington. Don't just watch us do it. Have some fun and be a part of building a better future as One Maryland shows America how to get the job done.

I am a Democrat. I worked on the 2006 co-ordinated campaign, as did many other young people. I donated what small amounts I could afford. I blogged in support of Democratic candidates. I would actually like to attend this little Gala.

But tickets start at $250 PER PERSON.

Lets see... go to the food store and eat for a month or go see Martin O'Malley and eat for one night. I think the choice is clear for thousands of Maryland Democrats.

I understand the necessity of events like this, but if this is truly a CELEBRATION, hold it at a state park and make it free, or at least a price anyone can afford.

Otherwise, call it the FUNDRAISING dinner that it obviously is.

I'm Someone's Favorite!



Dan Gainor: Asshole

Like so.

On workers who pick up trash at Maryland Stadiums (which only exist due to massive state subsidies) wanting the ability to actually LIVE on their earnings.

The United Workers might mean well, but it labors under the misconception that government should make unskilled labor something it’s not — high-priced employment.

$9.25 hr is not high priced labor. Its extremely low priced labor. High priced labor would be $40 million a year spread over 6 people who cannot even do their job, IE the Orioles bullpen.

High priced labor is Peter Angelos raking in millions every year while still failing to field a competitive team.

Andrey Bundley made a great point about investment in the City during the radio debate yesterday. He said that the city should only subsidize investment in companies which promise to bring quality paying jobs for Baltimore City citizens. Otherwise, why should we help you set up in our city? Of course, the Stadiums bring in millions in revenue to the City every year, so that is not the issue.

The stadiums in Baltimore are massive money makers both for their owners and for the City. Why shouldn't they be at least paying their workers enough to live?

Gainor, in his fervor to put down working people assumes the exact opposite of what will happen if these wages are raised.

One ad showed a restaurant looking for a dishwasher and paying $8 an hour. Another firm was looking for a fiscal accounts clerk and paying just $12.55 an hour. While that’s more than the stadium, the clerking job required two years’ experience. Even the Maryland Zoo was paying just $7.25 to $8 an hour for part-timers.

All of those companies and organizations would have to compete under a new pay scale if United Workers wins. Too bad, according to Rosenthal.

“That’s an issue the state would have to figure out,” he said.

Those companies would have to compete against ridiculously high wage scales for totally unskilled work. Many might go out of business or fire low-wage earners, creating more homeless people and, possibly, more day laborers.

First, those companies would in no way be affected by raising the salaries of a particular group of workers at Camden Yards. An apparently every restaurant, zoo, and "firm" would go out of business in Maryland if 11 people get a $3 raise.

I also don't see how "day laborers" are now lower on Gainor's "'EWWWW POOR PEOPLE' scale" than homeless people. Either way, last time I checked, paying people a fair wage leads to lower poverty, decreased homelessness, decreased crime, decreased stress, improved family units, etc.

There really is nothing scarier to a conservative that someone who is not already rich making more money.


Texas Executes a Man who Killed No One

Update 2: Good news.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

The Republican governor did not address the Texas law that allows an accomplice to be given the death penalty, but said: "I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine." Foster was tried alongside Mauriceo Brown, the man who actually murdered 25-year-old law student Michael LaHood Jr. and was executed last year.

Good for Rick Perry, I suppose. Its hard to say though, seeing as he presided over at least three other state sponsored killings this week. In reality, good for the activists all over the country who brought this horrible injustice to attention and forced Perry and the Parole board to make their decisions with an outraged public looking on.

And it wouldn't be right to forget the specific activists who played a large part in this. First,over at Afrospear and second, blogger Eddie G Griffin. Amazing work.


Go ahead and read his story. h/t to The Field Negro and Color of Change.

On August 15, 1996, Maurecio Brown got out of Kenneth Foster's car and killed Michael LaHood. When the shots were fired, 19-year-old Foster was in the driver's seat, over 80 feet away, and had no idea that that LaHood was about to commit murder. Foster was no angel that night. Earlier, he had drunk beer, smoked marijuana, and waited while Brown and other friends got out of his car to rob people at gunpoint, twice.

Brown was executed on July 19, 2006 for LaHood's murder. If Foster didn't kill LaHood, why is Texas trying to execute him? It's the "law of parties," which states that a person can be held responsible for a crime committed by someone else. Texas is the only state where the law of parties applies to capital cases, where someone can be executed because of someone else's actions. In this case, the prosecution claimed that Foster was guilty because he "should have anticipated" the murder.

In 2005, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the Law of Parties had been misapplied, violating Foster's Eighth and 14th Amendment rights, and overturned his death sentence. But a federal circuit court overruled that decision, so now Foster's fate is in the hands of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Unless the Pardons Board acts, Foster will be killed by the state for failing to read Maurecio Brown's mind.

The Pardons Board rules today. If they recommend commutation of Foster's death sentence, Gov. Perry decides Foster's fate. The Pardons Board rarely commutes sentences, and Governor Perry, citing strong support in Texas for the death penalty, did not uphold the only commutation recommended during his term (he has overseen 159 executions since 2000).
Even though the odds are against Foster, we know that public pressure can make a difference. Every ounce of pressure could help.

Texas is a rather disgusting state when it comes to executions. They make a real party out of it, scheduling death after death. Please visit FN's site and call the pardon board. I hope Foster gets a reprieve. I seriously doubt he will. Man, I really really hate Texas.

update:Another post on this over at newsrack.


A Minor Private School Drawback

No regulations for hiring teachers. Even if those teachers are convicted second degree murderers and have been repeatedly accused of raping 13 year olds.

According to police charging documents, two other girls reported being abused by Carroll between December 2004 and April 2005.

The girl previously testified that Carroll fondled and groped her on numerous occasions, sometimes consensually, before eventually raping her on the classroom floor.

Christina Phillips Holtsclaw, principal of Community Initiatives Academy, publicly defended Carroll after his 2005 rape indictment, saying he deserved a “second chance,” and never told parents about Carroll’s 1995 second-degree murder conviction.

For all we know, Mr. Carroll is teaching could be teaching a class in a week or two. No regulations exist, aside from internal ones (which clearly SUCK if a murderer/rapist had a job) to keep men like Carroll from being hired at private institutions. What is particularly troubling is that parents had no clue about Mr. Carroll's past when they paid through the nose to send their children to "Community Initiatives Academy". How about we have a "community initiative" to keep murderers and rapists out of our schools? Oh wait, we already do, and they are called public schools where teachers have to earn degrees and become certified to teach, and where all school employees must pass a criminal background check. These are all things to keep in mind when debating school privatization.


Red Maryland Baltimore Bashing

Here's the formula.

I know that X happened in P.
Therefore X is a regular occurence in P.

X = home invasion and rape
P = Baltimore City

Despite the fact the rape rates are significantly higher in the counties than in the City, this is sufficient proof that Baltimore is THE MOST DANGEROUS CITY EVER OMGZZZ.

Thing is, I know that Red Marylanders have access to statistics that could make their point in a much more reasoned, less fallacious manner. That just isn't their style.

From the apparently inefficient world of public schools.

While conservatives continue to decry public education, I find it interesting that one of the most conservative counties in Maryland happens to have one of the best public school systems around. The county also spends half of their yearly budget on schools. Something tells me that "public" schools aren't the problem, "mismanaged" schools and lack of parental involvement (for numerous reasons) are.