Archive for September 19, 2005

kanYe West late registration

Kayne West might have just released an album that’s dated before it even hits stores. Late Registration stands on that hopeful vibe that backed The College Dropout and actually contains less preaching than Common’s truimph. At that it’s not as vapid as say Black Eyed Peas nor is it as creative as Outkast’s shit or really anti-con, but what it is another update on sincerity. Kanye’s samples, which include Gil Scott Herron’s Home is Where the Hatred is, seem more chilled. If anything, the cynicism that marked his debut has gone away, While Kanye’s recent remarks are certianly sensationalist, they are, unfortunately, somewhat true. No one seemed to consider the problem of the poor with out cars, but to switch over to the period where Kayne made Late Registration is to enter a different world. Right when intelligence seems to be meeting up with good production and sucess something has to come along and ruin it. Katrina is, as the economist put it, reveals the bitterness of the U.S. racial divide. Does Late Registration represent a period that’s already gone to end? Well thanks to back ups in production schedules, chances are the first truly sorrowfull mississippi crunk love sung to refugees will probably only occur some 6 – 8 months down the road on u.s. radio, granted 12″ plants began churning George Bush Hates Black People 12″s with in hours of the pronouncement. Hopefully, it’ll be David Banner that comes to provide that howl in pop form. Blackness and poverty when mixed have a tendency to encourage neglect instead of aid. Regardless, Late Registration sounds a sincere optimism in what was a commericialized world of despair (50 cent) and a joy (black eyed peas) although like Common and Outkast or even Banner it seems like hip-hop has returned to sincerity. His ability to use his own co-opting to bring ghetto despair to the fore-front hardly seems like a ploy for attention now, in fact it seems to have stuttered straight into reality. It’s a shame then, that Late Registration showed Mr. West moving past all of that. From embittered MC to producing an album that’s more redemptive in nature, “go to school get your doctorate… but she still supported me when I did the opposite. Now I feel like their’s things I gotta get… just to prove you…” if anything West has turned from the cynical to the sentimental. Late Registration explodes the myth of defeatism, here one dude did it with out bling and extortion, just a little drug dealing and some common sense. A little kindness can go a long way.

pick it up

September 19, 2005 at 7:22 pm 1 comment

Letters Supporting Science

Yeah I’m an activist these days… or sorts… kinda… just read that Malcom Gladwell piece in the New Yorker and rather like it. Anyway, via Cosmic Variance a bill being introduced in the Senate that’s well… actually good. Wow, when did this happen positive movement in the U.S. (I am being jaded here Bush has improved public school education programs and passed a few good anti-poverty measures too). Anyway, here’s the summary of the bill:

I am writing to urge you to help prevent political interference in government science by co-sponsoring the Restore Scientific Integrity to Federal Research and Policy Making Act (S. 1358).

Countless policy and legislative decisions affecting the health and safety of the American public and the environment rely upon transparent, independent scientific information. Over the past several years, however, science has been suppressed, manipulated, and distorted by political appointees at an unprecedented level, threatening our nation’s unparalleled scientific legacy and capacity.

In one recent example, a Government Accountability Office report found that the EPA distorted its analysis of the health impacts of mercury on brain development in children and fetuses. The EPA’s own inspector general reported that agency scientists had been pressured to alter scientific findings to justify the proposed rules.

The Restore Scientific Integrity Act would take significant steps to prevent the misuse of science and ensure that you and other decision makers have access to independent scientific advice. Please help preserve the scientific integrity that is critical to making decisions that protect our safety and security by promptly co-sponsoring S. 1358. I look forward to your response on this issue.

You can sign the thing here

September 19, 2005 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

The Housing Problem or more ideas or another solution


Once again marginal revolution has forced me to google stuff and actually learn something about what has worked in the U.S. The revolution condemns Bush and FEMA’s plans to build mobile home cities. The one example of this type of community is rather scary.

So what has worked when it comes to getting the poor housing and then jobs? It turns out North Carolina is leading the way. “The key to Charlotte’s new approach is time limits. This simple idea promises to make public housing more like the new welfare system—short-term aid, provided on the assumption of the recipient’s serious effort to improve her situation.” North Carolina provides residents with a 5 year lease in an average housing project and then the ability to move to a better neighborhood if they meet some requirements, high school education, a job, and enrollment in social work programs. It’s worked pretty well so far with 400 people leaving their housing projects for better apartments and homes before their 5 year limited lease is up “it is more likely.. that even in a welfare-reform environment, an unreformed public housing system will keep people from being all they can be.” Says Howard Husock.

Husock is the author of America’s Trillion Dollar Housing Mistake: The Failure of American Housing Policy. Mr. Husock is a historian of American housing projects, and unfortunately most have failed to provided adequate programs for the poor. Obviously the sit around in a housing project model isn’t working as Howard says, “Consider Greta Greer, who entered Charlotte’s public housing system as a young welfare mother in 1993. In 1996, welfare reform pushed her into the workforce, where she landed a low-paying job as a day-care assistant. But public housing kept her horizons low. Why try to move up? After all, she had her apartment, and if she made more money, her rent would increase. She’d only get to keep 66 cents out of every additional dollar. So why bother?” In the case of the FEMA mobile home cities, they might actually give citizens a reason to move: their crime rates are higher than even inner-city ghettos with over 200 calls a month to the local police for merely 1500 people. Scale this up for the 20,000 or more people Bush wants to house by these means and we begin to see the blueprint for possibly the most violent city on Earth (highest country is 200 reports for every 1000 so technically speaking the Fema Village already is higher than current crime statistics show. The point being a time limit program and some decent local housing could do more than trailers. Time limit housing rewards those who work hard while providing rewards for exceptional members of the program. So why can’t we provide katrina victims with housing vouchers, and nicer housing for people who enroll in work training programs, keep down jobs for over 6 months, have high school degress etc? One could differniate by neighborhood and square footage. Single bedrooms and effenciencies for starting out mothers, those who do well move up to double bedrooms, more squarefootage. Better places to live, better neghborhoods. One of the problems is that Bush changed Welfare Reform from the 1996 act requiring 30 hours of work to qualify to 40 meaning that already stressed victims, now have the additional problem of fullfilling 10 additional hours of work while resettling a family. However it’s important to note that Bush also left addendums to allow states to ammend their welfare reform act by their own means. Meaning that is might be possible to eek out a program similar to this under federal guidelines using Fema’s already active housing voucher as your base. After all if states have to accomodate the newly unemployed, their going to have to deal with unemployment in better ways. All of this also assumes that 1 million displaces from Katrina are all in need of programs like this. The reality is, most are probably more than capable of finding new work and housing. This means only a smaller number of folks will actually need such aid. Obviously we can do better than ghettoes for those already slumming from them.

Bush plans for welfare reform
http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/welfarereform/

additions: more money and 40 hours a week to qualify for welfare either working or in a reform program
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030114.html

Bush promotes marriage
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/02/26/welfare.reform/
300 million towards married couples.

Bush called single mothers “heroic” and said they had “the toughest job in our country.” Still, he said, statistics show that children from two-parent families are less likely to end up in poverty, to drop out of school, to do drugs or to commit violent crimes.

And people in suburbs are usually more over-weight than urban dwellers, but recent research has suggested that fatter people choose the suburbs over urban areas i.e. the fat go to the burbs and the slim job in urban enclaves. In other words, people who choose to get married probably do so becuase of values they already have that increase their ability to climb up the economic ladder and the single decend away.

“We must never be content with islands of despair in the midst of a nation of promise. We want all Americans to believe in the potential of their own lives and the promise of their own country,” Bush said.
– wasn’t that what New Orleans was? Why has Welfare Reform in Louissana sucked so much?

“The Bush welfare reauthorization proposal runs counter to everything we have learned in the past five years about what helps poor families survive,” Deepak Bhargava, director of the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support, told the Associated Press.
Deepark Bhargava articles: http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?name=View+Author&section=root&id=852
Deepak on the welfare reform act and what to do about it:

The debate in Washington over welfare policy has taken an unfortunate turn: Republicans and many Democrats seem to be in a battle over who can be tougher on poor people rather than who can be tougher on poverty.

So let’s see what we can do about housing reform and the katrina displaced. First, housing vouchers. Housing vouchers subside apartment. Their relativelly cheap

September 19, 2005 at 5:50 am Leave a comment


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