Rant of the Week: 3/30/08 – 4/5/08

We have put videos in the poem of the week section. But never before have we put a clip in the rant of the week section. But this week we are making the very controversial Fitna the rant of the week.

We are of mixed minds in posting this. Fitna is nothing more than propaganda. By that we mean that it is designed to shut your brain down and let your emotions take over. On the other hand though, it is interesting to see a well done piece of propaganda. More to point, you should see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

New York State's plan to balance the the Budget

From the Associated Press we learn that New York State is facing some fiscal problems this year. As the article says…..

A national recession that’s all but declared, layoffs and losses on Wall Street that provide 20 percent of state revenues, and declining revenue from income, sales and other taxes tied to the economy.

Yet the proposed state budget, due Tuesday and being detailed this weekend, calls for about a 4.5 percent increase in spending, perhaps even a bit higher. And one of the biggest pieces _ state school aid _ will still be a whopper: A record $1.8 billion increase for state school aid already at about $20 billion, which includes among the highest per-pupil funding in the nation

So how is New York State going to balance the books? By increasing the taxes on the poor and and the cooperations that provided jobs. The article from the Associated Press spells this out pretty clearly. First off there is the doubling of the cigarette taxes. As the Associated Press article says…

Smokers face up to a $1.50 per pack increase in the cigarette tax. The state tax is already $1.50 per pack and, in New York City because of an additional local tax, it’s $4.50 a pack.

How many rich people do you know that smoke? More to point, how stupid do you think New Yorkers who smoke are? Even if you live so far from a state border that you can not easily cross the border to get you smokes, you can easily pay for a long distance trip to get smokes by brining back enough for your buddies.

But taxing those evil smokers who have no rights is not the only way that New York intends to raise revenue. The state is also looking to increase liquor taxes and raise its lottery income. From the same Associated Press article…..

Add to that other “revenue raisers” still on the table surrounded by lawmakers desperate for cash: Expanding the hours of the Quick Draw lottery game sometimes called “video crack”; redefining some malt beverages to light liquor and little cigars into cigarettes to snag higher tax rates; and countless other increases to user fees.

You got to love New York State. They make laws to protect stupid people from themselves, like mandating that everyone wears helmets when they are riding bikes and then turn around and taxes people who don’t understand mathematical odds. I guess the assumption is that if you are stupid enough to get addicted to quick draw you are too dumb to vote.

Who would have thought that a state as liberal as New York would embrace the soak the poor philosophy so eagerly? But of course, this being New York, it is not just about soaking the poor. It is also about driving away business to other states. Again, from the Associated Press story…..

For some of New York’s businesses, the cost of hard times in Albany could be measured in the millions. That’s because “loophole closers” were still on the table Saturday.

Now I am all for closing loop holes. I think all taxes should be straight forward and hard to game. But the only way I would support closing loopholes for New York State businesses is if overall tax rate that businesses had to pay was lowered. Businesses are already leaving Upstate New York like rats leaving a sinking ship. I don’t see the point of encouraging them.

There is more that I could go about. But the basic point is that it is absurd to raising taxes just as the state is going into recession. Especially when the state is still planing on having across the board spending increases.

Three articles worth reading

Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up points us to the most important news story that you did not read this week.

From National Review comes a story of a Coptic priest who is rumored to have a 5 million dollar bounty on his head.

And from Washington Post comes the story of how a big chain decided to try to buy pig meat from Joel Salatin and all the work they had to go through to make that work.

A lot of people believe whatever they read on the Internet

From the Seattle Times….

A pair of hoax ads on Craigslist cost an Oregon man much of what he owned.

The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.

But Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave. The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.

On his way home he stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders, lawn mower and weed eater.

“I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back,” Salisbury said. “They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did.”

The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he spotted other cars filled with his belongings.

Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his barn and front porch.

The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off. “They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was true,” Salisbury said. “It boggles the mind.”