Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind? — Dinesh D’Souza vs. Andrew Bernstein (YouTube link)
Here is the debate in a more compact format, divided near the middle, for portable devices:
|Put a whale in your tank.|
It is a fantastically surreal propostion. An Icelandic whaler, Kristján Loftsson, is powering his whaling ships using "biofuel" composed of 80% diesel – and 20% whale oil. Loftsson claims the oil is additionally friendly to the environment as it is rendered out of whale blubber using heat from Iceland's volcanic vents.It is even more organic than first blush, with the geothermal aspect added in.
It's not the first time animal fat has been used to feed the whale hunt: 20th-century whaling operations in the Southern Ocean made similar use of penguins, throwing the oil-rich animals on fires as living kindling.
|Imagine one of these running on whale oil!|
Slugging is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area sometimes referred to as "Instant Carpooling" or "Casual Carpooling". It's unique because people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers even though they are total strangers! However, slugging is a very organized system with its own set of rules, proper etiquette, and specific pickup and drop-off locations. It has thousands of vehicles at its disposal, moves thousands of commuters daily, and the best part, it’s FREE! Not only is it free, but it gets people to and from work faster than the typical bus, metro, or train. I think you'll find that it is the most efficient, cost-effective form of commuting in the nation.The term apparently was coined by bus drivers who inadvertently stopped for cues of riders looking for car rides, who would waive off the buses, and the dedicated public servants deemed them counterfeit bus riders.
The system of slugging is quite simple. A car needing additional passengers to meet the required 3- person high occupancy vehicle (HOV) minimum pulls up to one of the known slug lines. The driver usually positions the car so that the slugs are on the passenger side. The driver either displays a sign with the destination or simply lowers the passenger window, to call out the destination, such as "Pentagon," "L’Enfant Plaza," or "14th & New York." The slugs first in line for that particular destination then hop into the car, normally confirming the destination, and off they go.Well, no it is no free ride either. All that HOV talk above comes with hefty fines if drivers do not follow all of the stupid commuting rules in the DC area. I may cover the stupid inefficiency of HOV lanes in another post. Anyway, about 35 years ago a system developed where some people picked up riders to get around the stupid rule. The website continues to inform readers that no money is exchanged, which is not strictly true. No cash is exchanged, but both driver and riders get an economic benefit. In Northern Virginia, the benefit to drivers can be seen in the schedule of fines:
Northern Virginia HOV Lane Fines: First offense: $125If you are an outsider who thinks this is something that is easy to get away with, therefore the risk of being fined is negligible, you have another think coming. Every jurisdiction in the area that has an HOV lane passing through it, has a whole shift of cops standing by to ticket anything illegally moving in those lanes, as well as ticketing plenty of folks who were not doing anything illegal at all.
Second offense: $250 plus 3 points on your driving record
Third offense: $500 plus 3 points on your driving record
Fourth offense: $1,000 plus 3 points on your driving record
The Crisis in Soviet Economic Planning
GARY NORTH (from page 54)
The almost incredible bureaucratization of Soviet planning is evidenced by two frequently encountered examples. In one case, a plan for the production of ball bearings had to go through so many agencies for approval that a staggering (literally) total of 430 pounds of documents was generated.22 In another instance, one “autonomous” Republic, the Tatar ASSR, had its investment plan changed almost five hundred times in 1961.23 Under these conditions, the task of enterprise management would be impossible if it were not for some ingenious (and often illegal) solutions worked out by factory managers.
The basic solution has been the creation of a vast network of “independent” supplies - a black market. This is the phenomenon known informally as “blat.” Joseph S. Berliner, in his valuable study, Factory and Manager in the USSR (1957), has described this process. Since supply channels are often exasperatingly slow and frequently deliver the wrong or inferior goods, managers must turn to alternative sources of inputs if their production quotas are to be met (and their bonuses and promotions received). For example, a plant may have a surplus in any given year; this, in turn, is probably due to the fact that the manager overstated his supply needs and understated his plant’s productive capacity in the previous year, when the central plans were drawn up. These additional goods may be traded to some other firm for some future service or present luxury from that firm. This aids not only those smaller firms that are on a lower priority list for supplies, but it also helps the high priority industries. during periods of crisis?24 Certain “middlemen” with informal connections are employed, usually under a bogus administrative title, as the agents for the blat operations. They are “pushers” whose activities. coordinate the underground facilities of supply and demand. They are called tolkatchi. Some firms employ only part-time tolkatchi, especially the smaller ones. In recent years, the government has wisely removed the criminal sanctions that were once imposed upon such activities of unauthorized exchange or resale of supplies. In addition to this softening, the procedures for obtaining official authorization to purchase extra supplies have been eased?’25 The state planners have, in effect, recognized the necessity of these “capitalistic” practices. Production goals are sometimes more important than official ideology. These practices go on as long as the conditions of inefficient production and distribution remain. As Berliner says, “The tolkatch thrives in an economic soil watered by shortages and fertilized by unrealistic targets."26
|Ed Brantley, General Manager WNOX|
|Bob Thomas, Professional Actor and WNOX entertainer|
The cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider it was everywhere.Sadly, I cannot find the television interview where he combines that statement with what he said on Inside The Actor's Studio (skip to 27:14):
Which is easier to conceal and transport—a million dollars’ worth of marijuana or a million dollars’ worth of cocaine? Obviously, it’s cocaine because there is far less bulk per dollar of value. Thus one effect of prohibition is the tendency toward increased sales and use of more-concentrated forms of drugs that can include products such as crack cocaine, ice, and meth.Well, in the case of illicit drugs, the more things change, the more things change. Particularly the price. In 1969, when Easy Rider was released, cocaine was apparently a very pricey powder which did become more popular from that point forward. In the early 1980s, the typical price I heard from people I knew who knew about this stuff (usually bragging to others about how financially flush they were) spoke of "$1,200 coke", which I am pretty sure they must have been talking grams. If it were ounces, that comes out to only $42.33/gram and does not sound like a sum to brag about.
Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/drugs-economics-and-liberty#comment-739840010#ixzz2FRzZRNw7
I recently asked a group of ex-offenders who had served time for drug possession or drug distribution about historical trends in the price of cocaine in Baltimore. Those who had sold drugs in the early 1990s agreed that, depending on purity, you could get (or have to pay) as much as $300-$500 for a gram of cocaine.He also quotes a New York Times article:
When I talked to and observed some street level dealers for an Urbanite story last year, it was not uncommon to hear of a gram being sold for $75-$100. There was no way to know about levels of adulteration of the product, which is common, but the price trend was clear nonetheless.
If there is one number that embodies the seemingly intractable challenge imposed by the illegal drug trade on the relationship between the United States and Mexico, it is $177.26. That is the retail price, according to Drug Enforcement Administration data, of one gram of pure cocaine from your typical local pusher. That is 74 percent cheaper than it was 30 years ago.As I have written about in the previous two posts, the prices of marijuana, and heroin, especially heroin, have been dropping like a car from Marina Towers into the Chicago River since the 1970s. Now I discover, the same thing has been going on with cocaine.