Saturday, July 08, 2006

Live BE Radio Tonight! 8pm est! and Register for a 1000 Credit Raffle!

It’s Saturday folks, and you know what that means: We’re coming up on another Live BE Radio show! At 8pm est BE Radio will once again go live and interactive.  It’s a party this and every Saturday night, and you’re cordially invited.

I’m your host, one Rock & Rollin’ Nomad, playing the tunes you request, and making this your radio station. Got something you just gotta hear?  Well let me know about it, and I’ll get it on the air.  Because this is your station, a radio station for all you bloggers out there.

We’re taking requests right here, and the sooner you get them in the better, because if I don’t own the song I’ll go and try to grab it before the show.  If I like it, who knows, maybe I’ll start the show with it!  Can’t beat that with a stick, huh?

Plus, all throughout the show, I’ll be talking about what’s going on in the blogosphere, and I could even be talking about your blog.  Do you have a headline you want publicized?  I’ll read it on the air!  Want to drive immediate traffic to your site? I can host a contest on your blog. Have another idea to promote your blog?  I’ll give it a shot.

Because we’re here having fun on a Saturday night, together, and my goal is to make BE radio your station. So come along and be part of the fun, and maybe by the end you’ll make Live BE Radio your regular Saturday night gig!

Just to make it interesting, I am going to repeat my 1000 credit raffle this week, and hopefully for many weeks to come (until I run out of credits).  In case you don’t know, BE=BlogExplosion, a great site to generate traffic to your blog. And while yes, some people just scan over your site in an effort to earn credits, some stop, read, and comment!

Each of these credits is equivalent to one person stopping at your site, so a 1000 credit raffle is 1000 people hitting your site!!! And all you have to do to earn 1000 credits is to listen to some great music, and put your name in the comments section of this post.  It’s just that easy!

At some point during the show I’ll announce the winner, and they’ll have ½ hour to write back to me to get the credits.  Last week, the Loquacious Curmudgeon took home 1000 credits, and said she had a good time listening anyway.  Will it be you this week? If you want it to be you, just post a comment here.

And while you’re listening, head over to BE’s ShoutBox Chatroom, where listeners hold their own little party.  I’ll be there as well, and it’s the easiest way to get your request in during the show.  People dance on their cameras (including the cute women), we hang out while partying the night away, it’s a virtual radio fest.

So tune in tonight at 8pm est to Live BE Radio, and see what all the fuss is about.  BE Radio: Radio for bloggers, by bloggers, and yes, even about bloggers!


Posted by Scottage at 11:17 AM / | |  

Iran Threatens To Retaliate if Israel Attacks Gaza, but the Muslim World Does Not Follow the Lead

When Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner by Hamas nearly two weeks ago, I was taken back to a post I wrote many months ago about the dangers facing the world today. However, in these very tumultuous times, I have always maintained that these dangers are the precursor to a better tomorrow. Perhaps we are seeing the first small signs of that better tomorrow today.

First off, the capture of an Israeli soldier, a teenager, is flat out wrong, and deserves the punishment that it incurs from the Israeli military.  I understand completely why Israel would target Gaza in retaliation. In many ways, it’s a matter of survival; if Israel allows a soldier to be captured like this, what happens next?  How far will Hamas go?  Israel must protect its soldiers and its youth, because that’s the only way to protect the country.

But I am not blind to how many of Palestine’s Muslim allies might view Israeli’s reaction to Shalit’s capture, including Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza. They see the thousands of Palestinians captured by the Israelis, thrown in jail with no hope of release, the youth and future of the Palestinian people rotting away in the Israeli jails. And yet the capture of one Israeli youth turns into a major offensive into Gaza.

But up until now, most of the Muslim nations have been the voice of calm, urging Hamas to return Shalit, and pushing for a resolution that will save face for Hamas while ending the crisis before it escalates.  They see the danger of a large-scale conflict in such tense times, and look to avoid it.  Those people who think that all Muslim nations are only out for war should take note of this.

The exceptions have been Iran and Syria, two countries whose alliance has strengthened in recent months, and who have been trying to widen the divide between West and Middle East while pushing their role as the leaders of the Muslim nations. And yet this whole incident has shown that the Middle East is unwilling to blindly follow these countries towards a conflict with the US and EU.

I have long spoken of the world being at a crossroads.  I believe there are great times ahead of us, times of great promise and hope, but that we can only arrive at these promises by working our way through the chaos of the crossroads.  These tumultuous times are a necessary step to achieving a brighter future; working through these times make us stronger as a society. Could we be seeing the light at the end of this long tunnel?

I pray for the peaceful return of Gilad Shalit, the victim in this whole incident.  I’m optimistic as I see that most Islamic countries pushing for a peaceful resolution to the present conflict. But most importantly I’m hopeful that this incident points to the beginning of the diminishment of at least one of the major conflicts we face today, the rift between West and Middle East.

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Posted by Scottage at 1:43 AM / | |  

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Jersey Heads Back to Work, Accepts Offer it Couldn’t Refuse

New Jersey has accepted a state budget that should get the casinos up and running today.  The deal that was struck may be bad for New Jersey (though no one will tell you so), but it is certainly good for gaming, who was loosing an estimated $20M per day, a number that stood to increase as we moved into yet another summer weekend.  

The budget crisis forced reached a stalemate on Saturday, July 1st, and suddenly all state workers were out of a job.  This included some 45,000 state workers, a large number for such a small state; but it also effected a number of other businesses who needed state functions to be operating in order to open, including the casinos, who require state inspectors to be on site at all times.

$20M a day!  Did we really think our friends with the crooked noses were going to let the casinos stay closed while they lost that type of revenue?  Not likely!  First, the casinos did a bit of legal maneuvering to assure that they were not shut down during one of their most lucrative weekends of the year, staying open until July 5th.  Now they’ll be one of the first businesses to reopen.

The casinos employ some 36,000 workers, and all have been out of a job, waiting for the return of casino inspectors. While no one is indicating that the mob-run casinos had anything to do with the signing of a budget that looks to hurt the state coffers overall, the casinos are about the only groups hailing the budget agreement as a victory.

Operators and their customers criticized the state for ordering the closings, saying the $1.3 million in daily tax revenue they add to state coffers made them the wrong targets for cost-cutting in a budget crunch. "We're just happy it's resolved, and let's move on," said Alyce Parker, a spokeswoman for Harrah's Entertainment, which operates four casinos.

Daniel Heneghan, public information officer for the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said once Corzine's office lifts the emergency shutdown order, the commission chair will sign an order to open the casinos. "We have inspectors on call, ready to respond whenever that happens," he said. "As soon as that happens, we will open up casinos as soon as possible."

Anyone else lining up to praise the new agreement?  Well, surprise, surprise, surprise, it’s the unions!

"We're extremely pleased that we have reached a settlement so that folks can get back to work and get on with their lives. More importantly, we have a budget that breaks with the budgets of the past in that it's fiscally sound," said Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034.

But is this budget fiscally sound?  Not in the eyes of this economics major! The new budget is supposed to relieve the state’s $4.5B budget deficit by increasing the state sales tax was raised from 6% to 7% statewide. The thought is that this will generate an additional $1.1B in state revenue per annum.

But there are problems with the plan.  First, democratic lawmakers were unwilling to pass the new budget unless half of the new revenue would go towards easing the state property taxes of its residents, among the highest in the country. So already, there is a sharp decrease in the amount the deficit will be eased by the plan.

But perhaps more troublesome to me is the lack of recognition that the increased sales tax will greatly effect the number of sales made in the state of New Jersey. While lawmakers are busy drooling over the $1.3M in state revenue being lost daily from the casino closures, they forget that a tremendous amount of New Jersey’s state revenue comes from operations in Port Jersey and sales in the surrounding towns.

For years, North Jersey has made a tremendous amount of money because consumers and businesses in New York City find it cheaper to travel across the bridge and buy goods in NJ as opposed to paying the exorbitant prices in New York City. The increased sales tax will decrease the price gap, causing many New Yorkers to purchase goods in their home state, or make a trek to a location such as Delaware, which is farther away but tax free.

Plus, increased sales taxes will hit the New Jersey state residents hardest.  Initial estimates are that a New Jersey family will have to pay an additional $275 a year from the tax hike, but the numbers could be much higher. Considering the already low standard of living in New Jersey, this may result in people moving out of the state.

There were a number of measures that could have been pursued that would have targeted tourists specifically, generating more revenue than the tax hike and taking that revenue from a tourist trade that is loyal to the casinos and beaches and often willing to spend money.  But these measures could have hurt the casinos and thus were not considered seriously.

Only time will tell if this new budget will do anything to help the state’s budget crisis; my belief is that it actually will do little to nothing to help reduce the state deficit. But what the resolution does, without question, is open up the state’s casinos, which were loosing big bucks daily.  Perhaps these are the interests the state was defending in the first place.

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Posted by Scottage at 10:21 AM / | |  

Thursday, July 06, 2006

House Keeping and (CHA-CHING) a 1000 Credit Raffle!!!

Now that I’m back home and recovered from the weekend, I have a bit of house keeping to do.  

First off, one of the best new blogs I’ve seen is the recently revamped Paranormal Experience, which is my renter for the week. PE’s site is awesome, and you should check it out.  Plus, go to her site, find out who’s guilt PE questions, and report back here whether that person is guilty or innocent, and I’ll give you 50 BE credits.

Next, I held a 1000 credit raffle last week in conjunction with my radio show Saturday night.  Well, the raffle was a success, so I decided to repeat it.  My show runs from 8pm to 11pm est Saturday night, and at some time during the show, I will announce the winner of the credits.  That person will have ½ hour to claim their credits.  So if you would like to be registered for a 1000 credit raffle, leave a comment here.

Along those same lines, congratulations must be sent out to Loquacious Curmudgeon, who won the first raffle, and the 1000 credits that go along with it. Loq has a really cool looking site, a cool set of views to go along with the look and feel, and you should definitely check it out. It’s worth your time, believe me!

Finally, I have been chosen to be a contestant on Survivor BE Island, hosted by the Blogosphere’s answer to Jeff Probst, Dark Marcy.  The game looks like a ton of fun, and I believe it begins this upcoming Monday.  Check it out if you’re interested in a bit of blogging fun.  I’m psyched to be a part of it.


Posted by Scottage at 2:05 AM / | |  

Training Your Man or Woman; Why Bother?

I read a disturbing piece by Maureen Dowd in today’s New York Times.  The Piece is called How to Train a Woman, and talks about the ways to get your significant other to act more in line with your tastes using positive reinforcement and other tricks.

“The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't,'' she wrote. ''After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging.''

She began using ''approximations,'' which means rewarding the small steps toward learning a whole new behavior. ''With the baboon you first reward a hop, then a bigger hop, then an even bigger hop,'' she wrote. ''With Scott the husband, I began to praise every small act every time: if he drove just a mile an hour slower, tossed one pair of shorts into the hamper, or was on time for anything.''

Dowd goes on to discuss the difference in how to change men and women, but she never addresses whether it’s right to try to train your spouse.  Now admittedly, I’m single, so perhaps I’m just naïve.  But while I think that any healthy relationship includes some compromises, I also believe that trying to change a mate drastically is just wrong.

When I go out with a woman, it’s because I like her for who she is, not for the potential of who she can be.  If I try to change her, even some of the more minor points, I change who she is, and she isn’t the person I fell for.  I feel like, if I try to change her, she was never the woman I wanted in the first place.  And I’ve felt that way when I’ve lived with women too.  

Maybe it will be different when it’s “till death do us part”, but right now, that’s the way I see it.

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Posted by Scottage at 12:34 AM / | |  

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Heading Home, and Back to my Teenage Years

July 4th weekend, and I went home to Philadelphia for a reunion with my father’s side of the family. I arrived home today, having returned a day early, and much more confused than when I arrived.

On one hand, it is always wonderful to see my family, especially my nieces and nephews. Having no kids of my own, I really love these kids. I don’t get to see them that often, but they are a special part of my life, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.  So it’s wonderful to see them; they’ve grown so much, with ages between 1-9, and each is developing their own special personality.  I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to see them for the world.

But on the flip side, while my parents have hearts of gold and great intentions, they unintentionally push my buttons on a regular basis. Away from home, I’m working on myself, on my ego and the various aspects of my personality which need improvement with I think great results. At home, I immediately recess to my 18-year-old personality, with all the defects and immaturities that I have grown to hate in myself.

I had only been in Philadelphia a couple days, and already I could feel my recent progress crumbling away. And so finally, I had to leave, to head home to my protect little corner of the world, even though it meant leaving the kids behind. It was a difficult decision, but in the end of the day, I think the improvements I’m making on myself are important, and I need to protect them. I worry about having hurt the feelings of family members, but I did what I had to do.

Sometimes, I think its difficult being a member of a family.  I do feel guilty about having left, and I miss having spent more time with the kids. But I think that I did the right thing, that at this point in my life I need to be a bit selfish about my progress as a person, as I try to become someone better, someone more productive and better to be around.  But it wasn’t easy, and tonight I’m filled with remorse.  At least, however, I’m filled with remorse in my own safe environment.


Posted by Scottage at 10:45 PM / | |