Fun Friday, Part 2
See if you can make it past level 2.
Tampa Bay’s first drive demonstrated the way Gruden’s offense uses formations with three receivers clustered together to create mismatches, often getting the primary receiver matched up against the weak link of the opposing team’s defense. In the Packers’ case, the weak link is rookie fifth-round draft pick Michael Hawkins, and the Bucs targeted him on both of the key passes on their opening drive, which resulted in a touchdown. Facing a third-and-10 at the Green Bay 37-yard line, wide receiver Michael Clayton lined up split to the right, with tight end Alex Smith and flanker Edell Shepherd also on the right of the formation. Brian Griese knew that Smith would release down the middle of the field, and the crossing pattern of Clayton to the inside and Shepherd to the outside would create one-on-one coverage with Hawkins on Clayton. That is a huge mismatch, and Clayton slanted inside, grabbed the Griese pass and gained 18 yards.
After four straight Williams runs, the Bucs were down to the Packers’ 5-yard line. Joey Galloway lined up wide to the right with Ike Hilliard on his inside in the slot. A play fake to Williams kept the Packers’ linebackers close, and Hilliard’s presence inside kept the safety there. That meant one-on-one coverage for Hawkins on Galloway. Griese rolled to the right, where Hawkins was stuck: He could maintain coverage on Galloway and let Griese run in for a touchdown, or he could pressure Griese and leave Galloway alone in the end zone. He chose the latter, and Griese easily tossed the ball to Galloway for the touchdown. Gruden knew the Packers had to respect Williams’ presence on the fake and Hilliard’s inside route, and that isolated Hawkins in the end zone.
A faculty member here at Illinois just sent out an informative email alerting us that the Illinois Bar Association enacted rules today making CLE mandatory and creating a mandatory "bridge the gap" type CLE program for new attorneys. Sigh.
Who argued for mandatory CLE with a straight face? In my experience (with Texas), mandatory CLE requirements simply create an industry for CLE providers. Attorneys can choose to spend a lot on out-of-town CLE programs at nice hotels, perhaps in Cancun, Aspen, or elsewhere, or spend a minimal amount on an online CLE that streams audio and/or video through your computer while you pay rapt attention. Like any education, one can get either a lot or a little out of CLE depending on how much attention you spend choosing and attending the CLE, but most people I would assume get little out of it.
I would argue that mandatory CLE raises the cost of being in the legal profession without a commensurate benefit to either the profession or the public. I can understand how it could be hard to eliminate mandatory CLE once it is enacted, but I would like to know who in Illinois thought that after all these years, mandatory CLE would be a good thing. Are grievances lower in states with mandatory CLE than in states without it?
RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.
According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.
The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.
"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies."
"The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."
I'm not sure how much stock I would put in this study. It's a tough thing to prove either way. There are plenty examples of secular Western Nations that have low crime/abortion/suicide/teenage pregnancy/etc. But there is only one Western nation, The U.S., that is religious. And although it does have higher rates of all of these things, it's tough to say that religion is the only factor at work. It certainlynly not the only factor at work in all of the screwed up non-Western nations. I think we should take a serious look into whether religion is worth it. It does appear to be a major problem in both the U.S. and the Third World.
The error occurred at the beginning of the fourth quarter. With 14:51 remaining, Steelers receiver Cedric Wilson ran a reverse and was held to no gain; the play ran the clock down to 13:59.
A false start was called on Steelers guard Kendall Simmons on the next play, but instead of resetting the clock to 13:59, the clock operator set it back to 14:51 -- the time before Wilson's running play began. No one noticed the error, including the officiating crew.
Captain: If I'm not back in an hour, take the ship...and rescue me.
Crew member: What? But the ship...
Captain: Yeah. Come and get me. I don't want to be left behind.
My cousin owns a bowling pro shop in upstate New York. Last year a law was enacted that prohibited smoking in bowling alleys, in all parts (including the lounge). In response, half of the bowling leagues at that alley folded (nearly taking his pro shop business with it, incidentally). Putnam is talking about the decline in community over a long period predating last year; nonetheless, I thought this story was an interesting example of the surprising and unintended social effects that can arise from a seeming unrelated regulation. More people are "bowling alone" in upstate New York this year than last, but it has little to do with Putnam's explanation.
Similarly, I recall that when I lived in Mississippi, one of my colleagues observed that he thought that one reason why "social capital" levels tended to be lower in Mississippi than elsewhere was the historic prohibition on the sale of liquor by the drink in bars and restaurants (lifted relatively recently). He hypothesized that this one law gave rise to a custom of entertaining in ones' homes, rather than in public houses like bars and restaurants. This, he believed, led to a general atrophying of the public sphere not only in terms of parks, but also in terms of lower levels of public trust and civic-mindedness. I don't know if it is true, but if so, it is another interesting example of the phenomenon. For what it is worth, when we lived in Mississippi we always went to friend's homes for dinner, which we do much more rarely in Northern Virginia. Such social cultures, of course, are highly network goods, and thus become highly path-dependent and difficult to later change.
Joss Whedon, the OscarÂ® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family Âsquabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.
"Dirty Love" wasn't written and directed, it was committed. Here is a film so pitiful, it doesn't rise to the level of badness. It is hopelessly incompetent.
MOVIE SEEKS BLOG REVIEWERS: The PR folks for the forthcoming Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, etc.) science fiction movie Serenity are inviting bloggers to advance screenings. (List of cities here via an Excel document that didn't quite format right, but it's legible). It's free, and all they ask is that you blog something, good or bad, about it.
If you're interested, email 'em at email@example.com and they'll put you on the list.
Since Katrina, Stevens has been in newspapers across the country where he was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying the Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He was a guest on Coast to Coast, a late night radio show that conducts call-in discussions on everything from bizarre weather patterns to alien abductions. On Wednesday, Stevens was interviewed by Fox News firebrand Bill O'Reilly.
It makes clear that Oxford's problems over the next five years will not be resolved by the rise in student tuition fees to £3,000 a year from 2006.
But Oxford was losing at least £7,000 a year on every undergraduate and tuition fees would cut the deficit by only £1,000, it said.
"Under these circumstances, growing student numbers whilst maintaining a commitment to the quality of the student experience would lead to unsustainable losses," the report said.
It added: "Oxford's reputation for undergraduate education resides in the quality of its teaching, not the number of students admitted. Indeed, increases in the latter are capable of compromising the former."
The university could set its own fees for graduate and international students, but not for British and European Union students. The report added: "When considering the issue of shape and size it will be necessary to take account of these financial considerations." (Emphasis added)
Initially, participants will be given play money, but the site plans to eventually charge a fee, keep fees in escrow, and distribute 97-98% in prizes. I would suggest charging an "administration fee" and offering stated, non-fluctuating prize amounts, similar to other fantasy sports sites. Or, get a no-action letter from the SEC like the Iowa Electronic Markets. In time, the distinction between illegal sports gambling and recreational fantasy sports and information markets is going to get blurrier and blurrier. I hope so -- then the federal government may have to make a decision as to what is legal and what is not, and back that up with a consistent policy statement.
In an NFL fantasy competition, points typically are based on yards gained, with bonuses for touchdowns and field goals. At season's end, the jackpot goes to the fantasy team owner with the most points.
Statistics are important in ProTrade, too, but the system tries to provide more context by analyzing the situation in which a play occurs. As an example, a three yard run on fourth-and-2 would be worth more than a three-yard run in a third-and-20 situation.
The system is probably too complicated for at least half the nation's fantasy sports players, but ProTrade "will feed into the fanatical, obsessive types who are constantly looking to suck more entertainment value out of football," said Fantasyguru.com publisher John Hansen, who has been following the fantasy sports craze for 11 years.
Mr. Kerns, 28, created ProTrade with 32-year-old Jeffrey Ma, an MIT graduate with a penchant for numbers and gambling. While still in college, Mr. Ma and his buddies became so proficient at counting cards in blackjack that they carted away millions of dollars from Las Vegas casinos, inspiring the best-selling book "Bringing Down the House." (Mr. Ma is Kevin Lewis in the book).
"It's going to take fans to a whole new level of fantasy," predicted Bill Walsh, the former San Francisco 49ers coach and a member of ProTrade's advisory board.
ProTrade initially will be confined to trading NFL players, but the San Mateo, Calif., company expects to add the NBA and Major League Baseball after working out licensing agreements.
"Our mission is to change the way people think about sports," said Mike Kerns, a ProTrade co-founder and former understudy to venture capitalists and sports agents.
The idea drew its inspiration from the 2003 Michael Lewis best-seller "Moneyball," which dissects the statistical analysis Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane used to obtain players he considered undervalued by the rest of the baseball market.
How does it work?
At the outset, basically for the first half of the NFL season, no actual money will be exchanged in ProTrade's market; each participant will get a virtual stake of 25,000 coins to invest.
But capitalism will fuel the market's activity, with weekly prizes awarded to the portfolios with the best investment returns. Later this year, traders will be allowed to create their own competitive leagues and set their own entry fees, with a $5 minimum per entrant.
ProTrade will hold all the entry fees in escrow and then distribute jackpots, minus a 2 percent to 3 percent commission, to league participants who generate the best investment return. ProTrade hopes to make money from those commissions and advertising on the site.
Former San Francisco 49ers tight end Brent Jones, a member of ProTrade's advisory board, believes most players will stay away from the site. "There are a lot of guys out there who aren't going to want to see what they're really worth," he said.
9. In retrospect were bullets too cheap in this game and did children gain a false sense of security as to how easy it was to kill a buffalo?
Unfortunately, in real life it was all too easy to kill a buffalo with a rifle. In later decades hunters would kill vast numbers of buffalos and take only the tongues. So I wanted kids to feel a sense of shame for killing too much and then wasting the kill. That was one of the reasons for allowing the player to carry back no more than 200 pounds of meat. I wanted the kids to develop a sense of conservation while playing the game – to say “We should not shoot more meat than we can carry”. Our field testing showed that this lesson was indeed effective.
On the other hand, I wanted to force the player to master certain skills in order to be successful at hunting. Some other versions of The Oregon Trail made hunting too simple and too easy – in my opinion. In my version, you could move the hunter around the screen in 4 directions and fire the gun in 8 directions – using various keys on the keyboard. Furthermore, I put obstacles on the screen that the animals could run behind. So it requires some practice to master the hunting skills and be successful. Consequently, some new players – and most adults – complained that I had made hunting too difficult. But a visit to any school provided ample evidence that legions of kids – mostly boys – had completely mastered the hunting interface.
Finally, the false sense of security was a double-edged sword. After you get into the mountains, game animals become scare, and there aren’t any more buffalo to shoot. It’s easy to starve in the mountains, and each time you go fruitlessly looking for game, you waste of day of travel time.
Former President Carter, a co-chair of the commission, said he was hesitant about the free photo ID proposal at first, but laws passed in some states like Georgia convinced him that a national approach was a better idea. Republican lawmakers in Georgia pushed through legislation that requires a new voter identification card that costs $20 for five years.
"Some states have passed abominable laws that are a disgrace to democracy," Carter said.
In Atlanta, voter and civil rights organizations challenged the Georgia law in federal court, contending in a suit filed Monday that it would disenfranchise minorities and the poor. Nineteen states require voters to show identification; five request photo ID, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
The commission proposed that voters who don't have the card could cast a provisional ballot and produce the photo ID later. States also would have to promote the photo ID card aggressively.
The commission recommended improved voter registration lists, requiring a verifiable paper trail for electronic voting machines and rotating regional primaries, while warning that "Americans are losing confidence in elections."
"Some foreign countries have gone far beyond us in making sure that voting procedures and registration of voters is at a high level of true democracy," said Carter, who has monitored elections around the world.
Carter's co-chair on the private commission, former Secretary of State James Baker, acknowledged that "there is room for improvement" in a system he believes remains strong.
College freshman Dana Rehnquist was on her way to dinner with her brother and grandfather one night a few years back when the grandfather, a big movie buff, announced that he had just seen a "really raunchy" film.
He loved it so much, he said, that even when his disgusted friends wanted to get up in the middle and leave, he ordered them to stay put.
The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, it turns out, was professing his admiration for the frat-house film Old School.
Originalism is itself highly problematic, the worst judicial philosophy except for all the others, because they permit unmoored and arbitrary constitutional interpretation -- and thus unmoored and arbitrary judicial power. The learned senators, however, really don't care much about originalism, except to the extent that it would, almost by definition, make Roberts a categorical opponent of Roe . Which is why Roberts denies that he has any ideology, any "overarching judicial philosophy," and is nothing more than an ad hoc, bottom-up type of guy.
Maybe he is. Maybe he isn't. But he knows that if he dares to say otherwise, he gets Borked. If, on the other hand, he pretends to have a mind so scrubbed of theory that he is at a loss to explain gravitation itself, he gets to be chief justice of the United States for 40 years.
In 2000 Al Gore declared that he would not nominate a justice who did not support Roe. Dianne Feinstein says today that if she determines that Roberts opposes Roe , she will be compelled to vote against him. For Democrats, abortion is an open litmus test. For Republicans, it is a test of agility: Can they find the nominee who might be against Roe but has been circumspect enough not to say so publicly and who will be clever enough to avoid saying so at his confirmation hearings?
More gimmicky horror; one that you can peg the surprise ending a mile away on. Cry Wolf concerns a whole bunch of spoiled rich kids going to a private school who like to play games, and within the first few frames I wanted them all dead and someone to get away with it.
The proportion who had same-sex contact in their lifetimes was 6 percent for males and (using a different question) 11 percent for females (figure 5).
Survey participants were asked if they were sexually attracted to males, to females, or to both. Among men 18-44 years of age, 92 percent said they were attracted “only to females,” and 3.9 percent, “mostly” to females. Among women, 86 percent said they were attracted only to males, and 10 percent, “mostly” to males. The percentage attracted “mostly to males” was 3 percent in a survey conducted in 1992, compared with 10 percent in the 2002 NSFG.
(a) No vehicle may be driven upon any highway of this State at a speed which is greater than is reasonable and proper with regard to traffic conditions and the use of the highway, or endangers the safety of any person or property. The fact that the speed of a vehicle does not exceed the applicable maximum speed limit does not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection, approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, or when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions. Speed must be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
The fact that the speed of a vehicle does not exceed the applicable maximum speed limit does not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection, approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, or when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
(d) Unless some other speed restriction is established under this Chapter, the maximum speed limit outside an urban district for any vehicle of the first division or a second division vehicle designed or used for the carrying of a gross weight of 8,000 pounds or less (including the weight of the vehicle and maximum load) is (1) 65 miles per hour (i) for all highways under the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and (ii) for all or part of highways that are designated by the Department, have at least 4 lanes of traffic, and have a separation between the roadways moving in opposite directions and (2) 55 miles per hour for all other highways, roads, and streets.
Speed must be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care. (Emphasis added.)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gillette Co. (G.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday unveiled its newest shaving system, a five-bladed razor called Fusion with a trimmer on the back of the cartridge aimed at the 50 percent of men who have mustaches and beards.
Fusion is Gillette's latest product geared at maintaining the company's leading share of the world's razor and blade market.
It has one more blade than the Quattro sold by rival Schick, a unit of Energizer Holdings Inc. (ENR.N: Quote, Profile, Research), plus a trimming blade on the back of the pivoting cartridge for shaping facial hair, trimming sideburns and shaving under the nose.
Courageous team, huh? Here's what I like about them. Paul Tagliabue wanted to address them Saturday night. They said no thanks and chose, instead, C. Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, who spoke so powerfully about his city and the failure of the administration and the relief efforts and FEMA ... straight from the shoulder, pow!
The shade from the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market sign is minimal around noon; still, six picketers squeeze their thermoses and Dasani bottles onto the dirt below, trying to keep their water cool. They're walking five-hour shifts on this corner at Stephanie Street and American Pacific Drive in Henderson—anti-Wal-Mart signs propped lazily on their shoulders, deep suntans on their faces and arms—with two 15-minute breaks to run across the street and use the washroom at a gas station.
Periodically one of them will sit down in a slightly larger slice of shade under a giant electricity pole in the intersection. Four lanes of traffic rush by, some drivers honk in support, more than once someone has yelled, "assholes!" but mostly, they're ignored.
They're not union members; they're temp workers employed through Allied Forces/Labor Express by the union—United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They're making $6 an hour, with no benefits; it's 104 F, and they're protesting the working conditions inside the new Wal-Mart grocery store.
"It don't make no sense, does it?" says James Greer, the line foreman and the only one who pulls down $8 an hour, as he ambles down the sidewalk, picket sign on shoulder, sweaty hat over sweaty gray hair, spitting sunflower seeds. "We're sacrificing for the people who work in there, and they don't even know it."
Herb Kohl. My son Chris (age 22) just came home. He looks at the TV and says, "Hey, that's our Senator." He watches for about eight seconds, then bursts out laughing and says: "What is the point of them lecturing him like this?" I just say, "Yeah, I know." Kohl says his standard for voting on a judicial nominee is "judicial excellence," which he proceeds to define as containing four elements. Chris says, "'Judicial excellence.' What bullsh*t." Kohl says: "Justice, after all, may be blind, but it should not be deaf." Me: groan.
Russ Feingold. I don't know why Wisconsin gets two Senators on the committee, but we do. Feingold gets the first laugh I hear from the assembled crowd, when he comments that Roberts looks "healthy," after pointing out that Roberts is up for a lifetime appointment. Roberts and his wife both look like the think it's highly amusing. Of course, he's setting up his statement about how intense the scrutiny ought to be. Of all the Senators, Feingold makes the most articulate argument for why Roberts should answer detailed questions. He's the best speaker on the committee — probably the smartest too.
The profound flaws in our officially calculated poverty rate are revealed by its very intimation that the poverty situation in America was "better" in 1974 than it is today. Those of us of a certain age remember the year 1974 - in all its recession-plagued, "stagflation"-burdened glory. But even the most basic facts bearing on poverty alleviation confute the proposition that material circumstances in America are harsher for the vulnerable today than three decades ago. Per capita income adjusted for inflation is over 60 percent higher today than in 1974. The unemployment rate is lower, and the percentage of adults with paying jobs is distinctly higher. Thirty years ago, the proportion of adults without a high school diploma was more than twice as high as today (39 percent versus 16 percent). And antipoverty spending is vastly higher today than in 1974, even after inflation adjustments.
In the face of such evidence, what do you call an indicator that stubbornly insists that the percentage of Americans below a fixed poverty threshold has increased? How about "a broken compass?"
The soundings from the poverty rate are further belied by information on actual living standards for low-income Americans. In 1972-73, for example, just 42 percent of the bottom fifth of American households owned a car; in 2003, almost three-quarters of "poverty households" had one. By 2001, only 6 percent of "poverty households" lived in "crowded" homes (more than one person per room) - down from 26 percent in 1970. By 2003, the fraction of poverty households with central air-conditioning (45 percent) was much higher than the 1980 level for the non-poor (29 percent).
Besides these living trends, there are what we might call the "dying trends": that is to say, America's health and mortality patterns. All strata of America - including the disadvantaged - are markedly healthier today than three decades ago. Though the officially calculated poverty rate for children was higher in 2004 than 1974 (17.8 percent versus 15.4 percent), the infant mortality rate - that most telling measure of wellbeing - fell by almost three-fifths over those same years, to 6.7 per 1,000 births from 16.7 per 1,000.
The poverty rate is out of step with all these other readings about deprivation in modern America because it was designed to measure the wrong thing. The poverty rate has always been derived from reported household income. (Exigency played a role here: at the start of the war on poverty 40 years ago, those income numbers were already available from the Census Bureau.) But a better gauge of a household's material deprivation is not what it earns, but what it spends. When we look at spending patterns, we immediately see a huge discrepancy between reported incomes and reported expenditures for low-income Americans.
Pellegrino has been active in the national political debate over various biotech developments. For example, he participated in a press conference sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) in 1999 opposing all human embryonic stem cell research. At the press conference, Pellegrino urged that a congressional ban "should be extended permanently to include privately supported as well as federally supported research involving the production and destruction of living human embryos."
The bottom line: Pellegrino's appointment as chairman of the President's Bioethics Council will, if anything, increase that body's opposition to a lot biotechnological progress.
Read the whole article, and you'll see that because of Mbeki's complete ignorance of science, he wasn't able to discern the difference between the real medical breakthroughs that have been made in the fight against AIDS and the fools who espoused the idiotic idea that anti-retrovirals were toxic and there was no proof that HIV caused AIDS. As dhodge said to me, "It's very reminiscent of the ID/evolution debate in the US in many ways. A head of state propping up lies and pseudoscience in the hope of political (or perhaps financial) gains. Fortunately, no one is the US is dying due to ID."
Getting coal or oil was a simple, mechanical process. All we needed was the wit to save up some capital, and the luck to have those natural resources under oil soil. Building cars and ships wasn't much different, but required more brains, less brawn, and a lot more capital. Computer chips require a ton of capital and lots of brains; the only natural resource needed is sand – and you can find that most anywhere. So as we've progressed, we've relied less and less on resources and muscles and mechanisms, and more and more on brainpower - human capital.
So what do I mean when I say biotech dwarfs all are past glories? Because biotech holds the promise to exponentially improve and indefinitely extend our human capital.
How bright is the future of a nation whose best minds can contribute to the economy for a century or more, instead of a mere 40 years?
How bright is the future of a nation that can produce better minds in an ever-growing portion of the population?
How goddamned stupid are some people, for wanting to put a legal cap on our human capital?
The starter's pistol has fired, and our President and his Council are busy tying their shoelaces together. As another, smarter President Bush once said, "we're in deep doo-doo."
HOUSING THE POOREST HURRICANE VICTIMS
By Edgar O. Olsen
What the people displaced by Hurricane Katrina need most now is housing. Hundreds of thousands of families are now living in temporary housing and shelters, sometimes little more than tents, throughout the south central region. These families cannot wait for new housing to be built.
Fortunately, new construction is not necessary to solve the immediate problem. Enormous numbers of vacant units in the region are available for immediate occupancy by families with the ability to pay rent — and a simple expansion of HUD’s largest housing program would provide even the poorest families with the means to rent these units.
The rental vacancy rate in the United States is at a historically high level. For all metropolitan areas as a group, it is over 10 percent. The largest metropolitan areas in the south central region have some of the highest vacancy rates – 15.6 percent in Houston, 14.4 percent in San Antonio, 12.8 percent in Dallas, 12.2 percent in Memphis, 13.1 percent in Birmingham and 18.5 percent in Atlanta. Vacancy rates for smaller metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan areas are also at historically high levels. In short, many rental units in the south central region and throughout the country are available for immediate occupancy by people with the ability to pay the rent.
Fortunately, no new federal program is required to match families suddenly needing housing with an existing stock of vacant apartments. The United States government already operates a program that would enable low-income families to pay the rent for these units. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program currently serves about two million families throughout the country. It enables participants to occupy privately owned units renting for up to, and somewhat above, the local median rent. Enormous numbers of vacant units could be occupied immediately by families with these housing vouchers.
Congress could show its bi-partisan resolve to respond to this emergency housing crisis by acting promptly to authorize a sufficient number of additional Section 8 vouchers to serve the poorest hurricane victims.
Since many victims have had to travel quite a distance to obtain temporary shelter and many will have to move further from New Orleans to obtain permanent housing within a reasonable time, these vouchers should be available to any public housing agency in the country to serve families displaced by the hurricane. To avoid delays in getting assistance to these families, the vouchers should be allocated to housing agencies on a first-come-first-served basis and any low-income family whose previous address was in the most affected areas should be deemed eligible. We should not take the time to determine the condition of the family’s previous unit before granting a voucher.
Getting the poorest displaced families into permanent housing is an urgent challenge. It requires bi-partisan support for Congress to act promptly, quick action by HUD to generate simple procedures for administering these special vouchers, and housing agencies in areas of heavy demand to add temporary staff to handle the influx of applications for assistance. Even with the best efforts of all parties, the proposed solution will not get all the low-income families displaced by Hurricane Katrina into permanent housing tomorrow. However, it will be much faster than building new housing for them. And it will show them that the federal government cares about their plight and is working to do what it can to help.
It is worth noting the basic influence of political salience here. I suspect that a great many libertarians would like to cut federal welfare programs, but would also like to make sure that the programs we do have are good ones. This means that when it's clear that federal welfare is going to happen no matter what, the good-government libertarians speak out loudly, but when it is time to start cutting, they are likely to take whatever they can get.
The owners of a Japanese restaurant who claim their newly renovated building is haunted are being sued by their landlord for refusing to move in.
An offer to hold an exorcism was refused, according to the 2.6 million dollar lawsuit filed by the owners of the Church Street Station entertainment complex last month in Orange County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit also asks a judge to decide whether the building is haunted and, if so, whether the ghosts would interfere with the restaurant's business.
Christopher and Yoko Chung had planned to move their Amura Japanese Restaurant into the building in October 2004, but backed out of the lease.
The Chungs' attorney says subcontractors gave several documented reports of having seen ghosts or apparitions in the restaurant at night. The attorney also says Christopher Chung's religious beliefs require him to "avoid encountering or having any association with spirits or demons."