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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Prison Reform

There's been a lot of talk lately about prison reform and I couldn't be happier about some of the buzz. Senator Jim Webb has been pushing hard for a re-evaluation of our policies with several speeches and op-eds. The Washington Post also printed this article about possible closures and what they would mean to small Upstate towns that house prisons.

Being from Upstate I have often heard the tired cry that weakening sentencing laws and therefor having fewer prisoners would be bad for the Upstate economy. Rarely is it discussed whether weakening sentencing laws (particularly the onerous Rockefeller Drug Laws) is actually sound public policy.

Here is my proposal. Along with legalizing marijuana and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences in New York, the legislature should also pass a bill which gives civil service points to prison employees applying for similar work in public schools or the State University of New York system. Economic incentives can be offered to private schools that hire former guards as campus police officers.

Not only does my proposal offer sensible solutions to an intensely costly system (in lives and treasure) but also offers a real symbol that education rather than incarceration is the priority of the Empire State.

Excelsior

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Sasiadizzles are moving to Buffalo!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that this blog, and its author, and its author's wife, and the author and his wife's cats, and many of their belongings will be relocating to lovely Buffalo, New York. In case you haven't heard of Buffalo, let me tell you a little bit about it. It is Heaven on Earth. You should move there too, but only if you're good enough.

Here are some good things about Buffalo:

Unlike many places, Buffalo has four distinct seasons which each offer differing opportunities regarding recreation. There is real snow in winter, which makes everything bright and cheery, unlike the dull gray of winters elsewhere. There are flowers and buds and rains that run warm and cool in the spring. Summers are tempered by the cool water of lake Erie, so that they never scorch too completely. And fall is a panoply of color. Buffalo fact- the air tastes differently during each season, but you really only notice it when the seasons change and it sends a tingle up and down your spine.

More to come....


PS: The blog really won't be relocating, as a blog really doesn't have a physical presence, but it will be re-focused.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sasiadizzle in the real world

This blog is claiming to co-host an event at Busboys and Poets Thursday March, 26th from 5:00-7:00.  There will be a reception for up-and-coming visual artist Tara Sasiadek.  It should be a great time.

Where: Busboys and Poets (14th and V street NW, DC)
When: Thursday 3/26/09 5:00-7;00
How: Stylishly

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why we should let GM die...

I've already blogged that we should let General Motors and Chrysler either figure things out on their own or die.  My argument was that hundreds of innovators would swoop in to pick up the pieces and put them to far better use than their current owners.

While this was a venture capital start-up using lots of internet "new money."  Imagine what people of lesser means could do if they could start their companies off the carcasses of GM and Chrysler on the cheap:
Tesla Motors is already producing electric cars.  Apparently really good electric cars.  And they are using market segmentation to their benefit, instead of trying to appeal to the least common denominator and pleasing no one like the  VOLT is almost guaranteed to do.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

American Gods

American Gods by Neil Gaiman should be made into a movie.  Here is the cast list as per my wife and I:

Mr. Wednesday: Brian Cox or Timothy Dalton 
"Low Key" Lyesmith: Vigo Mortensenor  John Travolta
Jaquel and Ibis: and  Alan Rickman
Laura:  Parker Posey
Mad Sweeney:  Michael Hogan
Media:  Tricia Helfer
Sam/Hitchhiker:  Camilla Belle

More to come....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chuck Grassley has some good ideas....

Professional old man, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made two incredible statements today.

In the first, he accused AIG executives of "so suckin' the tit of the taxpayer."  So if you felt something amiss under your shirt today, it was just American Insurance Group.




In his second quote, he said:

“The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them if they’d follow the Japanese model and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things — resign, or go commit suicide.”

Brilliant idea!  Now if only those bozos who voted in favor of the Iraq War would man up.  If Chuck "tit sucker" Grassley finds himself in need of a sword, I've got one that I would be glad to let him borrow.

MAN UP CHUCK!


PS:  We're still waiting for John McCain to make good on his 2006 promise of suicide too.  Where's the straight talk, Mac?



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Something right in the world today:

Cornell University was awarded a well-earned 14th seed in the NCAA tourney.

GO BIG RED!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stewart slams Cramer?!?!?!?

Please people.  I'm sick and tired of seeing bloggers with headlines like "Stewart slams Cramer!" or "Watch John Stewart totally own Jim Cramer!!!!!!!1."  Leave that sort of irresponsible hyperbolic mis-reporting to the "traditional" media outlets.  John Stewart didn't "slam" Jim Cramer"  or "totally pwn" him.  Stewart did what he always does; he offered a well-reasoned and highly articulate critique of Jim Cramer, CNBC, and the leaders of American capitalism.  The goal was not to tear apart Cramer, although he really deserved it.  Steward did not wear gloves and used a vast array of incriminating tapes, as well as a few F-bombs.  But he did not slam Cramer.  

Let's all take a pause and be thankful that at least we have one comedy show doing the work that CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS should be doing themselves.  

So go change those headlines to something better representing the truth.  "Stewart offers well-reasoned and highly-informed critique of media and financial markets." Thank you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Casini

Glamorous!

I'm sick and tired of hearing about casini as a form of economic development.  Except for Vegas (a city which has no rights to exist) I can't think of another place in America that has seen any real development from casino gambling.  And don't say Atlantic City, 'cause Atlantic City is a shithole.  Places that have casini: Hogansburg, NY; Rancho Mirage, CA;  Detroit, MI; Verona, NY; Lincoln City, OR.  Soon the Mississippi will cease to be a navigable  artery of commerce it will be so congested with riverboat casini.  Detroit called one of it's houses of gambling Greektown as a reference to gamblers taking it in the a$$.  Stay classy, Detroit ;)

This is an industry that produces no product, and no real service.  It is a funnel from the poor to the rich.  Yet place after place in America thinks that a casino is the way to CREAT JOBS and balance the ledgers of local and state governments.  Sure there might be short term benefits to building a casino.  Construction jobs occur of front (jobs that actually produce something of value from labor).  Some jobs at the casino are created.  In the long run, though, building acasino will crowd out  investment in real production of goods and services.  Money spent at casini essentially evaporates. Very little is left in the host community in the form of wages  or consumption.  

Building a casino is a short term solution that hampers long-term economic growth.  It is a classically short-sighted, simplistic solution to long-term complex economic issues.  So it's obvious why they are so politically popular.

It's kinda like leveraging your assets  30-1 in the hopes that the market will continue to grow at an even and rapid pace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Administrations

When faced with economic crisis in 2001, the Bush administration encouraged Americans to go shopping.  When this proved ineffective at rectifying what ailed the economy, the Bush administration pushed through tax rebates using borrowed Chinese money to encourage Americans to buy Chinese-made energy-guzzling flat screens and cheap plastic shit.  It was typical "if it feels good, do it" Republican philosophy.  There was a short uptick in the economy followed by crash.

Now, we have to deal with the results of that crash, and the Obama administration proposed among other things, this:

They put forward a wide-ranging plan for regional networks of high-speed rail linked together by traditional rail networks.  The East Coast megalopolis extended past DC all the way to Savannah (with a link to Montreal!).  All the major burghs of the midwest linked by a hub at Chi-town.  And, my personal favorite, the Empire State Express linking NYC to Buffalo along the storied route of the Erie Canal.  This is an investment in meaningful 21st century regional infrastructure (Richard Florida probably shat his pants when he saw this)--a way of reducing our dependence on expensive and dangerous foreign fossil fuels.

Two concerns.  High-speed rail is too slow.  We really should be building at least one of these lines as a bullet train or mag-lev.   Not only will this create extremely fast routes but it will be an important investment American companies involved in these fields-- fields where we currently trail the Germans, Japanese and even Chinese.  Secondly, the New York-Buffalo route should extend all the way to Toronto-- ask Richard Florida.





Sunday, March 8, 2009

NO to T.O.

Count me among the many people who think signing Terrell Owens can only backfire on the Bills. Owens doesn't have the skills. He's an ass, and he's going to blow our salary cap. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Deep Thoughts....

Do Kentuckians think that the grass is always bluer on the other side?