The Locker Room

April 30, 2004

Re: Ben Affleck and minimum wage

Posted by Donna Martinez at 4:02 PM

Affleck needs to get in gear and really go for the minimum wage gusto. Instead of supporting a wimpy $7 per hour, he should take a lesson from Anne Fischer, Democratic candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 10th district. As John Hood blogged a few days ago, she's advocating a $12 per hour minimum wage as part of a platform that blames overpopulation for unemployment. Liberal feminists are so entertaining! This is a race to watch, folks.

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What does Ben Affleck have against people employing teenagers and unskilled workers?

Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:20 PM

Agence France Presse reports that Affleck brought his considerable expertise to Congress to lobby for raising the minimum wage.

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Say, what does the Chapel Hill cell of Indymedia say about Tillman?

Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:50 AM

So glad you asked:

He walked away from a $3.6 million contract to step on a bus bound for boot camp and ultimately his death splattered all over the rugged terrain of eastern Afghanistan.

Tillman's decision was not a publicity stunt. He repeatedly refused news media requests for interviews. Army representatives said he always asked to be treated like any other dumb-ass soldier.

On Thursday, Tillman's platoon was repelled after a baby-killing raid in eastern Afghanistan. The 27-year-old Ranger, who graduated summa from Arizona State University, was cut in half and killed.

Here is the link to the article, but be warned, the comments are replete with vulgarities. Someone with the same name as the author of the piece (meaning she may or may not be the author writing back) responds with a rant entitled "TEN MORE [expletives] DEAD TODAY HAHAHAH," in which she fumes:

i'll tell your going over there to die for dickS halburton oil stealing money grubing zio-nazis you die for a lie and well you deserve it cause YOU ARE STUPID and the arogant babykilling bastard tillman was a dumb ass too thats why the punk is dead not so tough, just a dumb ass LOSER!


In other news, the UMass student has attempted an apology to Tillman's family.

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From the Mouths of Democratic Babes

Posted by Paul Chesser at 09:46 AM

Another NYTimes piece, about politicians visiting the New York state legislature from the developing democracy in Ghana, who are trying to learn a thing or two, illustrates how far American representative politics have devolved. Followers of our state political scene will recognize certain behaviors. Excerpts:

"We were amused by the word 'lobbyist,' " said Moses Asaga, a ranking member of Ghana's Parliament. "This lobbyist can just walk around and they get money," he said, laughing.

It was not the only surprise for the delegation visiting the capital city for what was billed as a firsthand look at American democracy in action. Specifically, they were on a mission to understand how the budget process works in the United States.

But in visiting Albany, they were studying a world where individual lawmakers have a minimal effect on budget issues, deferring instead to three men who argue behind closed doors and then explain to the representatives how to vote. Indeed, several things about the workings of Albany mystified the group.

"We have a definite time when the budget must be passed," said Eugene Agyepong, chairman of the Finance Committee in Ghana's Parliament. With Albany's budget late for the 20th consecutive year, and New York the only state in the nation with such an unblemished record, Mr. Agyepong could be forgiven for finding the situation a bit hard to understand.

"If we do not have a budget, the government shuts down," he said.

Mr. Agyepong said that the hardest thing to understand, in some ways, was just where all the money was going, particularly the funds dealing with domestic security. While West Africa in general is not a place where there are functioning governments, much less governments operating in a way the public can scrutinize, the delegation found New York's budget "opaque."

"Here we have to ask a lot of questions," Mr. Agyepong said. "You just really don't know how each allocation is spent. That is quite bleak."

In Albany, the same triumvirate has been in power for more than a decade: the governor, George E. Pataki; the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver; and the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno. During that time they have consolidated their power to such a degree that little is done without their express permission.

"We don't have powers concentrated to such a degree at the highest level," Mr. Asaga said. "We find this a little bit strange. We expected more debate, more opinions."

Members of the delegation, unfailingly polite, were no less surprised at the business being conducted.

"They would introduce some baseball team to the speaker," Mr. Asaga said. "Someone introduced his son."

Not sure whether this was time well spent in conducting the business of the state, Mr. Asaga said that back in Ghana such antics would have drawn condemnation.

"They would have said, "What does this have to do with anything?' "

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A Power Greater Than the Smoking Ban

Posted by Paul Chesser at 09:34 AM

In a New York Times article about the city's smoking ban and how the air is changing in its bars, do-gooding lawmakers have not been able to influence the unhealthy behavior in certain instances:

The ban has even changed the pickup scene, according to the bartender. "There are lot of guys you see in here, not smoking,'' he said, "but as soon as they see a pretty girl go out there for a smoke, they step out and light up."

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