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Archive for January, 2010

January 31st, 2010

Mercedes Love…

…still in it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Mercedes Love…

January 29th, 2010

What Lord’s Work?

Something I posted over at Truth Wins Out…

Willa Sibert Cather said “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” So I’m reading a story in Today’s Deutsche Welle which, after another round of Vatican pronouncements on how defending marriage from same-sex couples is the moral equivalent of protecting the environment, and weeks of reading about American fundamentalism’s disturbing, sickening willingness to incite anti-gay violence in Africa, that reminds me how the more time change the more they stay the same…

Nazi-era churches helped classify Jews, say historians

For years, a tight lid has been kept on the activities of Germany’s Catholic and Protestant churches during the Holocaust. But now, historians have shown that many clergy actively contributed to the persecution of Jews.

The article gives me a piece of the puzzle I hadn’t fully understood before: that at the beginning Nazi rule, Churches in Germany performed a service for the fascists that nobody else could: identify who had Jewish blood in them.

Read the rest over at Truth Wins Out

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on What Lord’s Work?

January 25th, 2010

Do You Have A Place For Hate Lite Program…?

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Wheatland Wyoming School Board Member Joe Fabian…

Platte County School District 1 trustees voted 4-3 to keep the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” banners down at Wheatland High and West Elementary.

The schools were two of 25 in Colorado and Wyoming taking part in the program.

One of the sponsors listed on the banner is the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado. Wheatland board members and parents took issue with that, according to the district.

Un…

Joe Fabian, [another] board member, said he believes the Anti-Defamation League is pushing an “agenda that is pro-gay marriage”…

Deux…

…and that the community of Wheatland is not supportive of that.

Trois…

“They wouldn’t want the organization, the Anti-Defamation League, dictating to their children that an alternate lifestyle is a normal lifestyle,” he said.

Quatre…

He implied students who were not supportive of the banner suffered discrimination.

Cinq…

He spoke of a “moral attitude by the community” and indoctrination of students.

Six…

“I don’t believe (homosexuality) is a normal lifestyle…

Sept…

…but I don’t have anything against them,” he said.

Le Curtian…Applaus a Voux…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Do You Have A Place For Hate Lite Program…?

January 24th, 2010

Adventures In Home Ownership…(continued)

For nearly all of my life I’ve been an apartment dweller.  I grew up, and grew into young adulthood with neighbors above me, neighbors below me, neighbors to my right and left.  The daily rustlings and occasional arguments heard through the walls were part of my normal experience.  Mind you, we lived in reasonably nice apartments.  You didn’t hear every little thing.  The walls were solid and the floors firm.  But you always knew you had neighbors living all around you.  You heard the sound of water moving through the building pipes when they turned on the tap water, heard their toilets flushing through the sewer drains.  Sometimes, you heard a door slam, or something drop.  I suppose my friends who grew up in their family’s own homes would think they had ghosts.

One routine of my apartment life was scouting the building washing machine room on the morning of laundry day to see if there was anything free.  If the machines were all in use I would try to judge from the cycle how much longer before one was free.  But this was an iffy prospect because some neighbors wouldn’t go fetch their laundry from the washer for hours, which would make me furious.  To this day I have a built-in mental self timer for how long it takes a wash load to run.  Also, on my dresser, a box which I put my spare change into every night: a habit born of necessity where you were always needing coins for the weekend laundry.  When people ask me what I like best about home ownership, or what motivated me to take the leap and buy a house of my own, I tell them instantly: my own washer and dryer.

It wasn’t until I moved to Baltimore that I discovered that some apartment complexes offer washers and dryers right in the apartment.  In Cockeysville, the Baltimore suburb I moved to from Rockville, my first apartment (my First apartment!) had the usual communal laundry room.  But my second, the the best apartment complexes I ever lived in, had full size washers and dryers right there in the apartment.  I thought I had reached the very pinnacle of luxury.

When I got the job at Space Telescope, and decided to relocate to within walking distance of the office, I had one absolutely firm no-compromise specification for my new apartment: it had to have its own laundry closet.  Alas none of them within walking distance did.  Also, being so close to the campus, their rents were a tad outrageous anyway.  A good fifty percent more then the rent I was paying then in Cockeysville, for apartments nearly half as big.

And so, with great trepidation since I knew nothing of how to go about buying a home, I started looking at the little rowhouses clustered around the campus.  I’d actually given it some thought a few years previously, when I discovered how affordable homes were in the Baltimore area, compared to Rockville and the Washington suburbs.  But knowing nothing at all about buying a home, and getting tied up with seller’s agent instead of a buyer’s agent, I quickly gave it up.  It just seemed out of my reach.  But at Space Telescope some co-workers put me in touch with a reliable buyer’s agent and after one false start, I got the hang of it and…well…now I am a home owner.

With my very own washer and dryer! Conveyed.  They Conveyed!  I got to add a new sense of the word ‘conveyed’ to my vocabulary.  Also, Service Contract

So I had a Service Contract on the furnace and hot water heater, but not the washer and dryer because I reckoned the ones that Conveyed were old enough that I’d want to replace them anyway when they started going bad.   The dryer is a pretty simple machine and all it has needed over the years I’ve been here was one repair to replace the igniter element.  The washer though, started having transmission problems last year.  The repairman I called in gave me a quote of about 4-500 dollars to repair it.  Well…that’s the cost of a new one just about, so I decided to just keep that one running until it failed.

Failure came a week ago Friday.  Well…not so much failed, as became not at all well.  It still washes, but to get the spin dry cycle going I have to open the lid, defeat the interlock, reach in and yank the tub around to get it going.  When it stops after the cycle is over, I can hear the bearings grinding.

So I get my trusty back issues of Consumer Reports out, and the annual Buyer’s Guide, and start investigating.  I wanted a nice front loader, since those are more water and energy efficient, and it’s a proven design.   I got my tape measure out and jotted down not only the dimensions of the space around the washer I had, but the doorways and stairwells the old and new machine would have to navigate on the way down to the basement utility room.  Then I started looking around the net for complaints.  Well…I got an eyeful.

It was the same problem I ran into when I needed to replace the old fridge.   Every make out there, even the ones Consumer Reports said were less likely to need repairs then the others, had problems.  Reading over the complaints, you get a sense of which ones were outliers, and which were endemic.   Mold was a persistent issue with the front loaders…all of them.  Some had vibration problems and would try to walk all over the laundry rooms whenever the spin cycle started.  Some had persistent problems with gasket tearing and leaking.  The new electronic control boards were a constant source of problems for all models.  When they weren’t failing altogether, they were causing problems with correct water amounts and temperatures.   An appalling number of people were saying to stay away from anything with an electronic control board.  Just get a cheap all-mechanical one instead, was the advice.

It was going around to the stores and looking over the models first-hand that I discovered the problem that forced me to give up a front loader.  I have two possible paths of entry into the basement…the front door or the back kitchen door and then down the basement stairs, and through the door to the utility room in the back of the basement…OR…through the back basement door and right into the utility room.   The catch is: 1) the door to the utility room has only 25-1/2 inches of width, and while the back basement door has 27 inches there is a deck the previous owner built over the back basement doorway and I only have a three foot crawlspace there for someone to carefully wheel something into or out of the basement.

I know that can be done…Casa del Garrett once had two full-size fridges (they Conveyed!): the second one being located in the utility room where it was used by the previous owner for storing ice and cold drinks for the club room he’d made of the front of the basement, and which I am now using as an art room.  I gave the second fridge away and some friends wheeled it carefully out the back basement door on a hand truck, tipped it on its side and slid it out under the deck.  But that path only has 27 inches at it’s narrow point, which is the back basement doorway.  And the deck only gives you three feet of clearance to wheel something out from under it.  You had to figure in the size of a hand truck, plus the size of the washer.

So as it turned out, the only front loaders I could get into my house were the smallest of the small ones…something you’d buy for a condo with a tiny laundry closet maybe.  It would only be able to do small loads of clothes but not large towels or the sheets and mattress cover on my queen size bed.  For those I’d either be back to doing the communal laundry room thing again or just dropping them off at the cleaners.  I figured if I was paying several hundred bucks for a washing machine the only time I should need to take anything to the cleaners was if I needed something dry cleaned.

So with regret I started looking at the top loaders.  Even the largest of those could get down the basement steps and through the utility room door.  Once again I saw the same complaints about machines that were mainly controlled by electronic motherboards.   I also saw a number of complaints that the new high efficiency top-loaders didn’t actually get clothes clean.  I suspect those were mostly from folks who were shocked to see how little water is used by the new machines, and don’t understand how detergents work.  I looked over some YouTubes of these machines in action and…yeah…they don’t look like they’re using nearly enough water.  But no washing machine is a scrubbing machine.   Really bad dirt always requires attention by hand scrubbing and cleaning it first.  It’s the same with dishes and dish washers.

I settled on a GE High Efficiency model that Consumer Reports recommended.  It’s supposedly going to be delivered tomorrow.  In the meantime I had a whole ‘nother gallon of Costco liquid laundry detergent I hadn’t even opened yet that I gave to a neighbor, because the new machine requires the new High Efficiency detergents.  I noted when I went to Costco for some, that the regular Kirkland brand liquid detergent isn’t even being sold anymore…just the High Efficiency stuff now.   I guess that’s where it’s all going now.  But if it cuts down on the amount of detergent going down the drains every day that’s for the better.

I have to say I’ve never seen a top loader with nothing but a little impeller device at the bottom of the tub.  It makes the tub seem huge.  Supposedly the machine will determine the correct amount of water itself, and before it goes into spin cycle, do a little self-balancing act.  I am told though, that once I fill it with clothes and turn it on, opening the the lid and adding something I missed like a stray sock is problematic because it confuses auto water level system.  I can theoretically override the auto water level, but I would need to do that before I start it up.  I’m also told to expect it will be substantially quieter then the old machine, so I can’t just listen to it from upstairs to get a sense of what it’s up to.  I’ll likely have to reprogram my internal sense of how long a wash load takes because these machines take a bit longer on the wash.  That may take some doing as my mental model of the laundry room work flow is about fifty years old.

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

January 20th, 2010

Wait…What…? I Thought We Could.

First they sold out the gays, and we said nothing because we weren’t gay. Then they sold out the liberals and we said nothing because we weren’t liberals.  Then they sold out the progressives and we said nothing because we were moderates.  Then they sold out the moderates and we said nothing because we were moderates.  Then they started loosing elections…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Wait…What…? I Thought We Could.

January 18th, 2010

“Against The Public Policy Of The State”

Posted on Truth Wins Out…

Here in my home state of Maryland, state delegate Emmett Burns Jr. (D – Baltimore County), known among activists here as a reliable opponent of equality for gay citizens, went on the offensive right out of the gate this year.  The legislative session had hardly begun when he introduced House Bill 90, to invalidate same-sex marriages performed in other states…

But it isn’t just marriage Burns, and his anti-gay cohorts in the Maryland legislature want to deny gay Marylanders…it’s acknowledgment of the basic humanity we share with our heterosexual neighbors…and support in our time of grief.

Support such as that the Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which gives money to victims of violent crime to help with medical and legal expenses. Along with the news of Burn’s latest attack on same sex couples, came news in the Baltimore Sun of a gay man shot and killed, apparently at random by a young man who had been overheard to say “I’m going to kill myself a gay tonight”.  The killer left in his wake one dead man, and a grieving companion of 13 years.  Burns, a longtime foe of same sex marriage will, if he has his way, insure that no grieving gay spouse will ever see a cent of help from the Board, even if they avail themselves of marriage outside the state.

What you need to understand about situations like this is they’re not a bug, they’re a feature.  The message must be that the state does not care one whit what happens to gay people.  But more then that, gay people must suffer, simply for existing.  And what better time to drive the knife into our hearts then when we are burying our dead.  Because if we don’t bleed, if our hearts don’t ache, then men like Burns, who says he is a Baptist minister, just aren’t being righteous enough.

You can read the rest of my TWO post Here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on “Against The Public Policy Of The State”

January 16th, 2010

Invaders From Mars, Atomic Ray Guns, Mysterious Caves and Bad Guys Wearing Fedora Hats…Must Be Republic Serial Time!

Oboy…my copy of “Flying Diskman From Mars” came in the mail yesterday!

My collection of Republic Serials I Used To Raptly Watch On Saturday Mornings is almost complete now.

To this day the techno-nerd in me marvels at the special effects magic of the legendary brothers Howard and Theodore Lydecker.  And perhaps the reason I still like working in black & white photography is so many of my Saturday morning adventures were in black and white.  No…I am not having my second childhood.  Ask anyone who knows me.  I’m not finished with the first one yet.  Tico you were wrong…my heritage isn’t Baseball, Mom, Apple Pie and Mickey Mouse.   It’s Invaders From Mars, Atomic Ray Guns, Mysterious Caves and Bad Guys Wearing Fedora Hats.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Invaders From Mars, Atomic Ray Guns, Mysterious Caves and Bad Guys Wearing Fedora Hats…Must Be Republic Serial Time!

January 13th, 2010

Life Is A Process Of Growth And Maturity, Wherein We Seek Our Level Of Incompetance…

So I was handed the following books by one of my project managers today…

  • The One Minute Manager
  • Managing Projects – Harvard Business School Press
  • Leading Teams – Harvard Business School Press
  • Running Meetings – Harvard Business School Press

I guess I’m at that stage in the life of every little tadpole techno nerd kid who one day becomes an engineer somewhere and then goes on to become a senior engineer and then one day finds themselves reading the Harvard Business School Press.  So I’m walking back to my little office feeling a tad elated somehow.  It’s always Very Nice to know your employer wants to keep and nurture you.  Plus, it’s good to find new challenges.  Your brain needs challenge if you’re not to get simply old and tired and set in your ways.  You just can’t let your one life slide on past you like that.  Yes…this is all well and good.  Except I’m walking back to my little corner of the Institute and this line from a song I haven’t recalled since I was a teenager suddenly bubbles up from somewhere in the shag carpet basement of my brain…

…Find out I’m the chosen one
Oh noooooo!

Ever since The One Minute Manager first came out, something deep down inside of me would get a tad irritated every time I laid eyes on its cover.  Any art you can teach in a minute cannot be that worthwhile.  Is this why so many bosses are idiots? And now here I am reading the damn thing.   But the Harvard stuff looks good actually.  And…I guess I need to know this stuff now…

Life goes on…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Life Is A Process Of Growth And Maturity, Wherein We Seek Our Level Of Incompetance…

January 11th, 2010

Taking Stock…

Damn…

I own a house of my own.

And…a Mercedes-Benz…that I bought New

New…! It’s mine…

And I’m working for the Hubble Space Telescope…

I’m actually working for the space program…  The fucking Space Program! Making a living at it…getting a paycheck for it and everything…  A really nice paycheck…

And I live within walking distance of where I work…and to two nice grocery stores and some nice restaurants and stuff…

And…I can just decide if I want to take a vacation to Key West later this spring…

Or go for a drive through the southwest…

And I own a house of my own…a fucking house of my own

A house of my own…

How the hell did this ever happen to me

The little geek whose clothes never fit right.  I was the joke of my Jr. High…  Ugly.  Crooked teeth.  Weird.  Everyone laughed…  I was a nerd…   A nothing…a little faggot…   A laugh…

Figured I’d always be a stock boy…a disposable run of the mill nothing…living in rented rooms somewhere if I was lucky…  Just struggling to survive and make ends meet…  Ugly…an ugly nothing…

How the hell did all this ever happen to me

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Not A Good Thing

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by The Barefoot Bride

Un…

I have grown up in a home where Martha Stewart Living is one of the most oft-read magazines and, since I was old enough to truly appreciate weddings, have been a faithful purchaser of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Deux…

However, I feel I would be remiss if I did not share my great disappointment with the current issue. As part of the large portion of the population who strongly believes marriage should be between one man and one woman, I was rather taken aback to see a homosexual wedding featured in the Winter 2010 issue.

Trois…

I may not always agree with the lifestyles and life choices made by all the people featured in every publication I read, but I do not appreciate picking up my favorite magazine to see photographs of homosexual couples being affectionate.

Quatre…

For someone who believes that same-sex marriage is wrong, such articles and/or photos are offensive – and something I certainly would never knowingly pay money for.

Cinq…

I understand that one reader’s views, opinions, and purchases can not change the course of an entire magazine. However, I believe that I speak for a majority. A very large majority.

Six…

As marriage amendments protecting marriage as between one man and one woman have been passed across the country, the facts speak for themselves – America as a nation does not support same-sex marriages.

Sept…

Note: I just wanted to clarify that I don’t hate homosexuals. I actually know a couple gay and lesbian people and they’re great folks.

Le Curtian…Applaus a Voux…


by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

January 9th, 2010

Tequila Connoisseurage

I was at the Williams-Sonoma near Casa del Garrett, explaining to the nice lady behind the counter that, yes in fact, a good tequila is worth not only spending serious money on, but savoring slowly, and in just the right glass.   Last New Year’s week I was served an absolutely wonderful glass of Don Julio 1942 in the tequila bar in Epcot Mexico.  American tequila affectionados seem to like Patron, but I am told Don Julio is what the tequila connoisseurs of Mexico drink.  If you think Jose Cuervo is synonymous with tequila then I am sorry for you.


Behind the bar at La Cava del Tequila in Disney’s Epcot Mexico

Behind that bar in…Disney World of all places…are some of the best, most expensive tequilas Mexico exports.  But Walt Disney believed that this world would be a better place the more we all got to know each other, and shared with one another the best of our lands and ourselves.  And as I said, if all you know of tequila is the house rot they sell at the local bar then you do not know tequila…or Mexico.  The tall thin bottle on the top row near the center (it’s supposed to be shaped a bit like a leaf of the agave plant) is the Don Julio 1942.  I spent $25 dollars for a little bit of the rare stuff served in a glass that resembled a champagne glass, but to a smaller scale.  It was decadent, and for the first time I really understood how the right glass is absolutely necessary to the experience.  When the distiller works that hard to produce perfection, and succeeds so…well…perfectly, you need a glass that captures the delicate aromas and presents them as you drink.  I walked out of there with a new appreciation for all that funny glassware I kept seeing in the wine glass section of Williams-Sonoma.

So there I was, trying to explain to the nice lady behind the counter why I’d been searching for just the right tequila glasses, and was so delighted to finally find a set at her store.  I’d searched everywhere and turned up nothing like the glasses I’d been served with at La Cava del Tequila.  Some had come close, but none of them were just right.  Then I happened on a set that, thankfully for me was on deep sale.  The normal price was $70 a glass, but they were on sale for $17 each.  I’m assuming it was a product line Williams-Sonoma was discontinuing.

The lady behind the counter quizzed me about the tequila I’d had at La Cava del Tequila that had made me want to spend so much money on a bottle, let alone go to all the trouble to get the right set of glassware for it, as if it was some sort of fine wine or Cognac.  I tried to explain but was never able to get past that slightly astonished look on her face, and I realized that the concept of high end tequila is probably a difficult one for most Americans, if not most everyone else outside of Mexico.

One tequila,
Two tequila,
Three tequila,
Floor…

If demon rum is the devil’s drink, tequila is probably Tezcatlipoca’s.  At least to the American puritan.  And the stuff generally sold to American consumers doesn’t do much for its reputation.  I told a co-worker the other day, a young collage student, about how much I liked the tequila bar in Epcot Mexico and his first reaction was to be a bit astonished that tequila could be anything but a really bad hangover.  Actually I’ve never had a hangover after drinking fine tequila.  But the house rot they sell during happy hour most places will probably give you one just looking at it.

Computers have enabled people to make more mistakes faster
than almost any invention in history, with the possible exception
of tequila and hand guns.

-Mitch Ratcliffe

So I got my tequila glasses home and discovered something else.  Fine glassware is intimidating.  Swear to god the moment I picked one up and felt its delicate perfection in my fingers (remember, these tiny little glasses originally sold for $70 each), I was a bit awed, and a bit terrified.  I have never felt glass like this in my hands before. Ever.  So…delicate…yet so perfectly made.  I had to get the stickers off and then clean them and that isn’t easy when you are scared to death you’re going to break one every time you hold one in your hand, let alone pick it up and move it.  I decided the dishwasher would not do and I hand washed them and I swear the only thing I felt safe washing them with was with my fingertips in soapy water.  I didn’t dare rub a rough dishcloth over them.  I got out the good dish rack and for the first time ever made use of its wine glass hangers to let them dry.  I am not kidding, just picking these things up and moving them around scares me.

But…if you gently (very gently!) tap the edge of one of these glasses, it sings a beautiful, perfect note.  These are just the right glasses to serve my Don Julio 1942 in.

I think this could be my first 200 point review…People give me booze for Christmas. I mean, everyone I know does it, even the ones who don’t know everyone else does it. This should probably tell me something about myself, but fuck it.

So this year, among other outstanding bottles which will also be reviewed, a friend dropped off a bottle of Don Julio 1942, and all I can say is Holy Shit.

Holy Shit.

The box states that this tequila is the lifetime achievement of the Don Julio distillery, which may seem a bit much; but a glass and a half into it and I’m starting to see how they could make this claim. Don Julio 1942 is a perfect tequila. No, actually, it’s a perfect spirit, period.

Oak’s apparent in the nose, straight away, but it doesn’t whap you upside the head with it… it’s just a high-level whiff that gives way immediately to the heady vanilla body with just a hint of caramel. The vanilla carries over to the glass, and it’s surprising in the first taste. The agave is unbelievably balanced, the sugars so perfectly apparent in the glass, but not overpowering. It drinks like wine. In fact… it would be way too easy to drink half this bottle right here and now; though this is one I think I’m going to have to make stretch– there are just too many people I want to share it with. But don’t get me wrong here, it’s tequila through and through– this isn’t some fluffy shit– it’s just unbelievably mellow. I’ve never tasted a tequila like this. This is the kind of tequila you could serve at a meeting between the President of Mexico, the head of the Tijuana cartel and the head of the CIA and none of them would kill anyone, lie or any make covert deals until the bottle was done. In fact, they might not even talk until the bottle was done– too much of a distraction.

-Booze Reviews, Don Julio 1942

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

January 6th, 2010

Today In Defending The Family From The Homosexual Menace…

Via Sullivan…

Oh look at all the bible belt states in that second map.  They keep saying that same-sex marriage violates the “complementary nature of the sexes”.   Well it sure doesn’t get more complementary then when the family gene pool is kept in the family.

I’d like to see a comparison between states with the highest number of churches per capita and states that allow adult heterosexual men to marry young teenage girls.  I’ll bet there’s a lot of overlap there.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

January 5th, 2010

What Digby Said…

Via Atrios…  Digby has a good post up about Hippie Randism and Libertarian Lefties that goes into something I’ve wanted to discuss more.  A libertarian isn’t a Randiod and either one of these could occasionally seem to resemble either a conservative or liberal.  Or to put it another way, and speaking of Whole Food’s hippy climate change denying champion of absolute corporate deregulation and union busting, just because someone looks and acts like a granola organic liberal progressive New Age self-actualization holistic health guru that doesn’t mean they aren’t a right wing asshole when it comes to the prerogatives of massive corporate money.  Here, Digby quotes the Times profile…

In the early eighties, Mackey told a reporter, “The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.” (That quote, to Mackey’s dismay, won’t go away, either.) His disdain for contemporary unionism is ideological, as well as self-serving. Like many who have come before, he says that it was only when he started a business—when he had to meet payroll and deal with government red tape—that his political and economic views, fed on readings of Friedman, Rand, and the Austrians, veered to the right. But there is also a psychological dimension. It derives in large part from a tendency, common among smart people, to presume that everyone in the world either does or should think as he does—to take for granted that people can (or want to) strike his patented balance of enlightenment and self-interest. It sometimes sounds as if he believed that, if every company had him at the helm, there would be no need for unions or health-care reform, and that therefore every company should have someone like him, and that therefore there should be no unions or health-care reform. In other words, because he runs a business a certain way, others will, can, and should, and so the safeguards that have evolved over the generations to protect against human venality—against, say, greedy, bullying bosses—are no longer necessary. The logic is as sound as the presumption is preposterous.

Digby goes on to say…

He’s a libertarian who identifies culturally with the left. He’s into New Age religion and self-actualization and believes in holistic health practices, clean food etc. But he’s not a left libertarian. These things get confusing, but it’s important to make the distinction.

Basically, this guy is a standard issue right libertarian which means that he is a free market fundamentalist, hates unions, hates government and extols the virtues of the John Galts like himself, although he believes in a sort of corporate paternalism that requires him to look after the parasites (workers) in some rudimentary fashion. He is also a believer in civil liberties and drug legalization. (I assume that since he’s a Paul supporter, he’s also critical of the Fed.) There are quite a few of these folks out there who seem like your liberal next door, more than you might realize. Hollywood, for instance, is full of them. I worked for a few. Many of them even think they’re liberals and will vote for Democrats on social issues. But when it comes to taxing the wealthy and regulating business they might as well be Dick Cheney.

There is, of course, an actual left libertarianism and it is best articulated by Noam Chomsky, not some wealthy twit like Mackey…

It gets confusing, and I suppose it will only get more so as the republican party degenerates further and further into theocracy and outright populist-nationalist lunacy.  Others have noted how the 2010 edition of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference is going to be sponsored in part by the John Birch Society…they of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Was A Communist fame.  If this is what the republican party wants to become then don’t be surprised to see people fleeing from it into a lot of factions and libertarianism is a very popular label to wear in some circles.  But that’s really all it is in most of them.  Just a convenient label the wearer hopes means I’m Really Not A Right Wing Asshole…Honest…

There are Lefty Libertarians.  They think government shouldn’t regulate business and shouldn’t regulate morality.  There are Right Wing Libertarians.  They think government shouldn’t regulate business and states should regulate morality but not the federal government since it had the unmitigated gall to desegregate the schools.  And then there are the Randoids.  Rand herself and her intellectual spawn Leonard Peikoff absolutely loathed the libertarians.   There are mixes and matches (call them mashups if you will…) of all three and then some.  There are almost certainly for example, John Birch Libertarians and John Birch Randoids.  Probably some of these shop at Whole Foods and look outwardly like hippies.

I like to think of it as that little corner of the Twilight Zone where which way is up depends on which ideology you’ve bought into.  The problem with all of these is they have very little interest in how things actually work, and why things can and do fail.  It’s all about the ideology.  So in one very real sense there isn’t much to practical difference between any of them.  But don’t try to tell a Lutheran that they’re more or less like an Episcopalian just with different vestments.

It’s going to be a fun decade, with the republicans leading the way to a political landscape where parties begin are more and more like religious movements, then conversations about how to…you know…actually govern…

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

-Emo Philips, The Best God Joke Ever

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on What Digby Said…

January 4th, 2010

Today In Random Google Searches That Led People Here…

I’ve been getting a lot of hits on this particular google search lately…for some reason…

robbie benson

When I first noticed it I got a tad scared that he’d suddenly passed away or something.  But no.  It seems the gods of Google are just favoring my little blog with hits from people, I assume they’re mostly girls, who think Robbie is very nice on the eyes.  I know the feeling.  I’m assuming they came here for this…

Yes…it’s a nice one.  So for all you folks who ratcheted up my hit count lately over this photo, I would like to take a moment to say thank you…

You’re welcome.

To the Verizon DSL user running Windows on their Mac (ugh!) who asked google today…

bruce garrett gay?

The answer would have to be…yes.  But you knew that after shuffling through all my episodes of A Coming Out Story I suppose.

I got a flyer in the mail today from Costco advising me to pre-order my Valentine’s Day flowers now, right next to an offer of $4 off on Splenda artificial sweetener.  It must be an omen.  So to the user whose google…

valentine’s day posters

…brought them here: Come back in February.  This year’s winner promises to be even more worthy then last year’s!  Here’s a wee sample of the awesomely fun time we have here during the annual Valentine’s Day Poster Contest!

Be sure to stop by then.  It’ll be Fun!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Today In Random Google Searches That Led People Here…


The Romans Had Lions…We Have Marching Bands…

Over at Truth Wins Out I wrote…

The Romans Had Lions, We Have Marching Bands…

On the ChristianNewsWire site I see that something called “The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission” has released a list of what it’s pleased to call “the top ten incidents of anti-Christian defamation, bigotry and discrimination in the US from last year.”  According to its own press release, the list was “…selected by the subscribers to CADC’s e-mail list and was selected from a list of twenty of CADC’s top stories from 2009.”

Read the rest over at TWO…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Romans Had Lions…We Have Marching Bands…

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