Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Run, my little Smurflings!

From the "What were they thinking?" Department, UNICEF has broadcast a commercial in Belgium showing the Smurfs getting carpet bombed.

The final tagline says "Don't let war affect the lives of children"

Um, do you need to blow up Smurfs to get this message across? Apparently. According to this article in the Telegraph, the use of actual footage of child soldiers in Burundi was losing its ability to move adults to give.

Maybe not such a bad idea, I think they should make ads like this everywhere. Here's a few more smurfs they could use:
  • Islama Smurf - He'd be somewhat like Jokey Smurf, except his hilarious exploding presents would be loaded with deadly shrapnel.
  • Dubya Smurf - Acts a lot like Clumsy Smurf, but for some reason gets to wear the red pants and hat like Papa Smurf. Constantly coming up with ways to attack the Carebears.
  • Euro Smurf - Also known as Brainy Smurf. Has lots of lame ideas and an over-inflated sense of self-worth. None of the other Smurfs like him.
  • Gargamerica - Size and strength makes him think he can attack the Smurfs whenever he wants. Smurfs always win. Gargamerica never learns.
  • La Smurfette - They already have a French themed smurf
And that's one to grow on.

I get my news from campaign ads.

Did you know there's a gubernatorial election campaign going on in New Jersey? I admit, I haven't been following this too closely. I do know that we have a turd sandwich running against a giant douche. You could probably say that about most elections, but in this case, it's especially true. Seriously, Doug Forrester looks just like a turd sandwich, minus the bread.

The latest Marist poll shows that Forrester has pulled into a statistical dead heat with Corzine. Not too shabby, considering that just a month ago it looked like Corzine would win this one walking.

My initial impression of Forrester was that he might actually be a good conservative and cut some of the rampant spending in Trenton. Then he unleashed the cornerstone of his campaign - 30% in 3 years, guaranteed.

The 30% he is referring to is a 30% reduction in property taxes, which have gotten out of control in New Jersey.

Forget how comical it is that he's actually guaranteeing the reduction, like Home Depot guaranteeing that your new miter saw will last 3 years.

No, the big problem is how he intends to effect the reduction - a tax rebate from the State of New Jersey. This doesn't address the core problem - local townships spending out of control. In fact, if anything, this gives townships license to spend even more. Consider the following:

  • Township resident paying $5000 in taxes on a home assessed at $300,000
  • State provides a rebate of $1500, leaving the net property tax at $3500
  • Township officials see that their residents have a little more money to spend and raise the tax rate to tax the same resident $7143.
  • State provides a rebate of $2143, leaving the net property tax at $5000
  • There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza....

Even according to Forrester's own website, the money to pay for this plan comes from State revenues, ie. your income taxes.

So he's raising my income tax to reduce my property tax.

This plan actually rewards township officials for bad behavior. Doug Forrester's hometown West Windsor, of which he was mayor, is well noted for their high taxes and inflated budget. Townships spend this money on schools, parks, pools, pocket lining, etc.

So towns like West Windsor spend all this money, and their residents will get huge rebates. Meanwhile, responsible spending towns get very little. They all see their income taxes affected by the plan. The rebate is effectively a subsidy for irresponsible townships.

Property taxes could be the biggest concern among New Jersey voters. I'm just disappointed that they could be taken in by such cheap pandering.

My biggest disappointment in Jon Corzine? It appears he's paid off everyone in New Jersey except for me. Honestly, it's his money, if he wants to spend it on his campaign, then by all means.

Forrester's tax plan is bad enough all by itself for me to throw my puny support behind Corzine.

Does it pay to vote for Libertarian Party Candidate Jeff Pawlowski? It's not like Forrester or Corzine will win by 1 vote. I changed my mind. Vote Libertarian this time. I'd actually like it if he got enough votes to play the spoiler.

30% in 3 years, guaranteed baby!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

ACLU Curiosities

Seriously, I do like the ACLU, but sometimes they're just too damn quiet for a group that claims to love the First Amendment so much.

A search on the ACLU website for "Eminent Domain" yields no results.

Maybe I could convince the NLDC to put a Nativity scene up or something.

Kelo v. New London (read You v. Your municipality)

I was reading my favorite libertarian mag, Reason, this morning, and despite how much I knew it would infuriate me (and I don't really like being infuriated), I read an article on the latest developments Kelo v. New London. (The article isn't on their website yet, I'll cite other sources when needed).

The good news is that it's not all over. There could conceivably be some legislation or executive order from the State of Connecticut that could save the Kelo Seven. I'm not optimistic, though, given these horrid developments. I'm sure you know that the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the New London Development Council (NLDC) to take people's homes and give them to Pfizer. But did you know this?

  • The NLDC gets to purchase the houses at 2000 market value.
  • The NLDC is attempting to charge back rent for the residents for living in their own homes.
    See Fairfield County Weekly for the full story.

HOLY FREAKING SH!T!!! Housing values have nearly doubled since 2000. So not only does the NLDC take your house, but they only give you half of what they say it's worth. Where are these people supposed to buy new homes? Does this meet any accepted standard of what the Fifth Amendment means by just compensation?

Could you imagine this happening to you? Somebody tries to steal your house. You fight them in court for 5 years. You lose. You get 1/2 of what your house is worth, less 5 years back rent.

Joseph Stalin, himself, just raised an eyebrow.

This whole process is like a Mafia sitdown. As explained by Henry Hill in
Goodfellas, if you wanna have a guy whacked, you had to have a sit down and you better get an ok. If you don't get the ok, they whack you instead.

If you try and fight the taker legally, you'd better win, or you'll be paying them instead. It's times like these that I wish I believed in God, because I could take at least some solace that these bastards would rot in hell for eternity.

I can't even continue. I'm too worked up.

Yankees lose...the-e-e-e...Yankees lose

It would be more fun if the Yankees completely sucked, like the way they did back when their starting pitchers like Andy Hawkins were losing no-hitters, and their star player was Kevin Maas who hit 10 HR's in a month.

I'll settle for this post-season losing streak. Only because I know how much it gets to the Yankee fans.

Thank the Arizona Diamondbacks for finally telling the rest of the Major Leagues to stop being a bunch of wusses and stop being 'just happy to be here'.

Consider the 1998 San Diego Padres. So shocked that they actually made the series that not one player publicly made any mention about winning it. They were all just 'happy to be playing the Yankees'.

Playing for the Padres, Jim Leyritz, formerly with the Yankees, actually put Darryl Strawberry's number on his hat. You're playing the freaking team in the world series. Who are you trying to kiss up to?

Mike Piazza wrote an article in the NY Post after the Mets won Game 3 of the 2000 World Series (the only game they won). In the article, he said the series wasn't 'life or death'. No sh!t. Why trivialize it? Does it make it easier to lose?

Timo Perez is still playing ball and making $1 mil per year. Can you think of another line of work where you can totally suck and still make 7 figures?

Yes, I'm sure you can.

Too bad there wasn't some controversial play this year. Listening to Yankee fans call into WFAN in NY was so much fun. Yes, they're the Yankees, they should be allowed to cheat, right?

I'm taking a pool. Guess how many times the phrase "26 World Championships" will be uttered on WFAN. I'm guessing no less than 273 before noon.

Too bad I'm out of state right now. I won't be able to listen until the evening when I can pick up the clear channel. By the way, anyone outside of NY can pick up WFAN on 660 AM after sundown.

I love AM radio.

Ahoy mateys

I've been thinking about starting this for quite some time. Even though I know nobody will be reading this for the time being, perhaps someday this blog might generate more traffic and you'll check through my archives.

I'll get into what inspired me to start this blog, but I'll start by explaining the name - From Starboard to Port.

If you don't already know, starboard and port are nautical terms, which represent the directions right and left, respectively, while facing forward in a boat, ship, airplane, space ship or other free range vessel.

So you get the idea, starboard to port, right to left. Yes, this will be mainly a politically oriented blog. The title actually represents a transformation I've been making lately. You'll get to know my political views over the course of time. It would probably be difficult to pigeon hole my views as either conservative or liberal. That's because you shouldn't. I'm strictly libertarian --the other white ideology.

I wasn't always this way. I was once a hardcore conservative. Rush Limbaugh dittohead and all. (but that's not for many years) I voted for Bush in 2000. No, I'm not proud of it. I'm even still registered as a Republican.

What happened? Bush happened. Elaborations will come in time.

I really do want to get through to people, especially Republicans like myself, that there are other options. I believe people are libertarians at heart, at least for themselves. Which is part of the problem. People don't always think about the liberty of others. You want liberty for yourself? Then be willing to grant liberty to others. It's the only way.

I'll blog about other things. Like boats, hipsters, dogs, and anything else that comes across my plate. I will keep the nautical terms to a minimum.

Oh yes, what finally inspired this? Eminent Domain. It deserves its own post. It'll probably be posted before you read this.

Thanks for reading. Let's try and keep this ship called America at an even keel. If she lists too far to the port or starboard, she's liable to capsize.