Saturday, February 26, 2005

Best Radio In Indy

Easy call: WXNT, 1430-am. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is the only talker in Indy who is doing heavy issue-oriented talk and hosting the lawmakers on all levels, from governor Mitch Daniels, down to the various City-County Councilors, with the state legislators in between. Abdul in the Morning airs from 6-9am, weekdays. Get the online feed if you are outside the range of the airwaves.

WIBC-am could be doing this, especially in light of their large news staff, so it is surprising that they haven't been. That high-watt signal is positively wasted on Garrison.

The amazing thing about Abdul's head-first plunge into Hoosier politics is that he is coming from the Chicago area. Undaunted, he has aggressively pursued policy makers, so his learning curve has been sharp. Beyond that, he includes Libertarians in the mix, which always scores highly with me. Abdul self-describes as a "consistent conservative", but my assessment of him is that of a small-l libertarian. He is in favor of more public policy than I am, and he believes that the Republican Party is still the best vehicle for limited government policy.

WXNT is as close to a libertarian station as you could get. In addition to Abdul, all three hours of the Neal Boortz show air from Noon to 3pm. Boortz alone would make WXNT a favorite. Conservatives Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham are also on.

Minor downside- Michael Savage is unfortunately on, too. The man is simply nasty and unyieldingly negative. Thank goodness he is not a libertarian, or we would suffer a disastrous negative association we can't afford.

Oh well, on the average, WXNT is a great station. Check 'em out!
Poker Report

My third tourney date was rather like the second- a little bit better than the time before, and another nice lesson on the game was learned.

My play was generally very sound. This time, I finished eighth overall, good for 200 points. I'm climbing the ladder, but by baby steps. I'll need that quantum leap next time. Scoreboard. I'm still in 15th. Only the top five advance to an invitational tourney.

I stuck with my game plan and it paid off. Going into the final table, I was in third place. Problem was, the chip leader had 4x more chips than me, and I only had about 2x those at the bottom. I had a real opportunity to surge ahead, but I messed it up.

Until the final table is formed, the players deal their own hands. At the final table, ten players were crushed together along with a dealer. On the second hand, I lost sight of the fact that the dealer was not a player. I was dealt pocket sixes while being the big blind. The flop turned up another six. I was excited. Since I was sitting to the left of the dealer and I wanted to just capture the blinds and the first round of bets, I called all-in. Problem was, I was out of sequence. The action was three players ahead of me. Some of them were going to bet, but they quickly folded up. Exposed, I went all-in anyway and picked up the pot. Had I been aware of the sequence, I would have captured at least an extra 1,000 or so chips.


From there on, it was downhill. A player looking to leave the table because his wife was ready to go started playing every hand all-in. I played a K-Q suited against his all-in 3-7 off-suit. Hard to feel bad about that, right? Here comes the flop. Two 3s and a 7. Nuts! What can you do? It cut my chip stack by two-thirds, and I limped through the rest of my limited time at the final table.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Weekly Poker Fun

Tonight is the third tournament of five being held at Barley Island in Noblesville. Come on down and join the fun. Registration is 6pm, play starts at 7pm. No buy-in, no cash on the table = fun atmosphere.

I'll try to advance in the standings again this week. I'll need to leap up rather than crawl.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Marion County's Latest Disincentive

Thank goodness I left Marion County, which means Indianapolis, just inside a year ago. Had I stayed, I would be subject to a new income tax increase. Indy Star report.

Proponents will point out that the increase is only raising the tax a mere 0.3%, from 0.7% to 1.0%. This now puts Marion County's tax on par with every suburban county that surrounds it. Until now, there was actually a very minor incentive for people making large incomes to stay in Marion- that 0.3% difference. No big difference? Marion County needs all the advantages it can get.

The reason for the tax increase is to build more jails. The Marion County jails are so stuffed full of inmates that the County chooses to release many of them. Some have taken advantage of their early release to commit murder.

This sounds like a place I am glad to have left behind.

I am not at all convinced, though, that Marion County's jails are stuffed full of violent criminals. I have no doubt that there are a significant number who have committed non-violent, victimless crimes. It is unfortunate that rather than doing the job of sorting out the violent from non-violent offenders, the City-County Council, lead by Democrats, simply committed to building more prisons.

Aren't the Democrats usually the ones leading the charge against American society werehousing inner city minorities and the poor in jails? I guess they are now in favor of it. The vote was 21-7. All seven opposed were Republicans. All 15 Democrats voted in favor.

Very delighted to live somewhere else. No doubt others will continue to follow in hordes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Big Eminent Domain Case Heard Today

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on a case that matters to everyone who believes in property rights, and is opposed to the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one property owner to another private property owner for a different use. CNN Story.

Eminent Domain was meant to be a means to acquire land for obvious common benefit uses: roadways and bridges mainly. That use was meant to be employed sparingly and as a last resort in the event civil negotiations broke down to an impasse. In the best case scenario, the government makes a fair market offer and the property owner agrees to a deal.

But today, governements on all levels, especially municipalities, are using eminent domain as a tool beyond its original intention. Eminent Domain is now being used by cities for taking property away from the current owners and giving to to other private entities- usually developers- on the basis that the new use will create jobs and a bigger tax base, which are certainly public benefits and sufficient justification for getting around negotiation and agreement.

This is important because all of us live in some kind of housing. We care about our homes, especially if we are homeowners. Home ownership is the cornerstone of the middle class. These cities are showing us that homeowners are increasingly becoming a class to be oppressed and disregarded. It should cause great alarm. From CNN:
"A recent study by the property rights group Institute for Justice, which is representing the New London homeowners in court, found about 10,000 cases from 1998 to 2002 of local governments in 41 states using or threatening to use eminent domain to transfer home and properties from one private owner to another. Courts in at least six states have upheld the practice."

Neal Boortz has much to say on this, thank goodness, on his website and on his radio show. The Institute For Justice is a non-profit legal organization that takes eminent domain abuse cases, and is one of the litigants in today's case on behalf of the property owners.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Fear And Loathing Inside One's Own Head

The shocking news of the apparent suicide of Hunter S. Thompson hit the news late last night, and brought immediate response inside literary and cultural circles. Thompson was credited with being among the "New Journalists" and applied the term "Gonzo Journalism" to his own methods. AP story, with pics on Yahoo.

The results were books such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "The Hells Angels". This latter was my introduction to Thompson, and I was impressed with the courage and the fortitude required of him to gain complete acceptance by the then-outlaw biker gang, at a great physical cost.

Here are some links to fine tributes to Hunter S. Thompson: Blogcritics has no less than six obits, plus a review of his new book, "Hey Rube" by Dave Nalle. Hoosier Libertarian Al Barger has his own treatment. From Lileks' Bleat.