Saturday, May 23, 2009

One Volokh, Three Nicks, Flannery O'Connor, and passion

I'm going to quote three of my favorite websites in this post. The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine, and Counting Cats. Read all three of these closely. You will be tested.

Here's The Volokh Conspiracy:

....For libertarians who lean "left" on foreign policy, Obama's rhetoric gave them hope that as president he would fundamentally reassess American foreign policy in the direction of nonintervention, and reverse various national security policies that they felt threatened individual liberty.

....libertarian Obama supporters got the opposite of what they hoped for: a moderate on foreign and national security policy, and someone fundamentally reassessing American economic policy in the direction of bigger government.

Yep, The Teleprompter Jesus has sent an extra 17,000 troops into the sandpile, and you can check the clock to your right to remain updated on how long he's been in charge of the whole mess. And Havana East, or Guantanamo Bay, remains open for business.

Nick Gillespie of "Reason" lays out a rant on the same topic:

Question to the folks, including some of the libertarian persuasion (you fools!), who were bullish on Obama back when the alternative was John McCain, the Terri Schiavo of presidential candidates: When are you going to admit that Barry O stinks on ice?

Here's NickM, from the Counting Cats website, on the British National Party - a "whites only" political organization led by Nick Griffin. The BNP made the mistake of sending NickM a pamphlet comparing their political battles to The Battle Of Britain:

I am English and proud of it. Being English is a state of mind and I absolutely don’t need Nick Griffin’s Brownshorts to remind me of the truth of my birth. To put it bluntly he can go away and be fucked up the council gritter by an alpaca (or whatever other Latin American beast of burden is up for the job and can be hepped-up on PCP).

...OK folks. A poignant image. (The fighter plane in the BNP's pamphlet) Our finest hour and all that. Obviously “Battle for Britain 2009″ is a dismal attempt to compare what Churchill called the struggle to save Christian Civilization to the tawdry political ambitions of a one-eyed Welsh git.

....But that’s the BNP for ya. They might use the symbolism of our finest hour (farcially incorrectly - but what the heck) to their electoral ends but they do not speak for me.

They are in fact abhorrent to me. I am a libertarian and they use one of the free-world’s most potent symbols (and it was also pretty good in a furball) of freedom to espouse insane racism. I am sitting here in my shed in Cheshire with my pale skin and blue eyes and blonde(ish) hair married to a blue-eyed blonde and I am fucking outraged. English is not something you are. It is something that just happens to you. And the BNP bastards will never, ever, take that away from me.

....It is not so much that the BNP are excrable racist hoons (though they are) that I object to. It is the simple fact they’re complete fucking edjits.

Now let's toggle back over to Nick Gillespie of Reason. Trust me, I'm going someplace with all this.

Mega-props to our President Obama for yesterday's speechifying about simplifying and fair-izing the Infernal Revenue Service and all that.

Except for one small nitpicky thing: He's full of shit on this topic. How precisely is he or his Slugger's Row of policy mavens (you know, the idjits who can't even use Turbo Tax) gonna make the income tax more fair? As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent (5-0, Dano!) pay a whopping 3 percent of all income tax.

Kind sir, prithee, what the hell are you going to do to remedy this situation? You promise "tax cuts to the Americans who need them." Hey pal, I just shelled out tens of thousands of dollars so Citigroup can keep its fucking name on the 21st century's answer to Shea Stadium. Where in the name of Ray Sadecki and Bob Apodaca is my bailout? (Ray and Bob played for the NY Mets in Shea Stadium - TWS)

Here's my point.
What do you remember about the first quote I copied, the one from The Volokh Conspiracy? Anything? Anything at all? Prob'ly not. The logic was flawless, the grammar was flawless, and the tone was polite. But it had no passion. The person who wrote it doesn't have any blood in his mouth.

Nick Gillespie is another story. What tax preparation software did Tim Geithner use for his falsified tax returns? What company is using your tax dollars to put its name on which baseball stadium? What percentage of income taxes are paid by the bottom 50% of taxpayers? And John McCain was called the ____ ______ of presidential candidates. I bet you remember most of what was written.

Or the NickM rant... Where does NickM live? What is Nick Griffin's nationality? What Latin American Beast Of Burden would NickM encourage to have unnatural relations with Nick Griffin?

One week soon I might stage a series of Sweet-16 basketball playoff style brackets between NickM of Counting Cats and Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine. Points would be awarded based on logic, creativity, disdain for The Remaining Sheeple, and contempt for Messianic Big Brotherism.

A lot of people object to the snarky tone used on the internet. Profanity is the rule rather than the exception.

But dang it, Barack Obama is raising the troop levels in the Middle East when he promised he wouldn't. He promised to Guantanamo Bay, and he probably won't. He's spending money at a rate that makes little Bush, Daddy Bush, and Grandpaw Reagan look miserly. He's still claiming that your taxes won't go up as a result.

Nick Gillespie is the one of the few print journalists brave enough to point out the obvious: Barack Obama is full of shit. He really is.

Is Nick Griffin a one-eyed Welsh git, as NickM claims? I have no freakin' clue. I didn't know anything about the BNP until tonight. But NickM hasn't led me astray yet, and NickM has now made me want to know more.

(I apologize for the overwhelming number of people named "Nick" in this post. It just worked out that way.)

Nick Gillespie and NickM are alarmed. Fire alarms don't have a snooze button. Paul Revere didn't ride from Boston to Lexington politely whispering so as not to wake the baby.

"I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear." — Flannery O'Connor

On the subject of genuine diversity....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Forklifts Revisited

Dear Taxpayers,
About a week ago, I thanked all of you for purchasing me some new forklifts.
I love them, love them, love them.
The explanation and justification for your generous purchase can be found here.

In short, I'm accustomed to running warehouses with stuff like this:

But becase of something called the "Texas Emissions Reduction Plan", and the brilliant "Low Emission Propane Forklift Initiative Program", my employer, Jukt Micronics, got $9,000.00 rebates on 19 forklifts that look like these:

The idea is that the new lifts meet higher emissions standards than the old ones.

(Let's see....$9,000.00 x 19 forklifts = more money than I'll make all day long. So I can't thank you enough. Seriously. Especially the little people who dug deep to make this happen for me. These things are nice.)

The goal of this program is to emit less Nitrogen Oxide into the environment. But what if an unscrupulous factory or warehouse owner had a lot of old junk forklifts that he ran no more than 20 or 30 hours per year? Or perhaps his old environmentally harmful ones didn't run at all?

OMG....he or she could still apply for the rebates offered through the Texas emissions reduction plan and get brand new forklifts from the taxpayers even though he or she didn't really have a use for new forklifts and then sell the brand new machines later at a huge profit ! ! ! (This is not the case at my workplace, BTW.)

So how do the administrators of the program (sponsored by the Texas Railroad Commission) determine that a factory or warehouse has a genuine need for new forklifts?

They ask how many hours my old forklifts ran per year and this determines the amount of money you give me, and then my new forklifts are expected to run for a comparable number of hours. Every year, they inspect the hour meters. The number of hours I'm burning propane determines the size of our rebate, and whether or not we get to keep all of your money.

I repeat....they do inspections. They look at the hour meters on the dashboards.

If we don't run our forklifts for enough hours per year, we don't qualify for the total rebate.

Let's assume that burning propane on a forklift can actually influence the weather. If that's the case, my employer is now being rewarded for burning more propane, not less. (I assure you, we are now running the living shit out of these forklifts. We're burning propane as an entrepreneurial activity.)

As an Anthropogenic Global Warming Skeptic, I'm enjoying this more than you can imagine.

As a small-government libertarian, this next part makes me downright giddy. It gets better.

We have multiple shops and warehouses all over Tarrant and Johnson counties. There are forklifts in all of these places. Some of these shops are open for only one shift and others are open 24 hours a day. The forklifts in the busy shops will easily qualify for the rebate, but some of the others might not.

So once a month, I fire up three semi-tractors and go from shop to shop, warehouse to warehouse, moving your gift forklifts to places that are busy enough to ensure they qualify for the full emissions reduction rebate ! !

So....what does this mean to you?

Well, are you trying to save the earth by driving a Prius? Taking the bus? Riding a bike? Thanks to the Texas Railroad Commission's program, I eliminate any good that you supposedly do. Heck, on the days that I use two Mack trucks and a Freightliner to move the forklifts from shop to shop, I bet I negate the environmental efforts of entire subdivisions.

Once again, thanks for the forklifts. This year for Christmas, I'll get you some new recycling bins, a DVD of Al Gore's "Earth In The Balance" and a Moped.

Dr. Thomas Sowell has said it over and over. Programs and policies should be judged and evaluated in terms of the incentives they create, not their stated goals and objectives.

Pics of old forklift came from here. Pics of new Yale forklifts came from here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Carnival Of The Libertarians - Post Swine Flu Pandemic Edition !

Welcome to the May 17, 2009 edition of carnival of the libertarians. I hope that all of you survived the Swine Flu.

Banquet Manager presents World History Lesson: Conservative vs Liberal posted at So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager...

KP Silverman presents It's Called Fiction, Stupid posted at Kpsilverman's Weblog

Erika Collin presents 10 Things You Should Know About the Nation?s New Technology Czar posted at Computer Colleges.

Mikkal Travvis presents American Christians Approve Of Torture? posted at The Last Days.

Mark Montgomery presents Party Schools: Choose a College or University by its Alcohol Policy posted at Great College Advice, saying, "All colleges are "party schools." But different colleges have different formal and informal approaches to dealing with underage drinking on campus. Which approach is most in line with libertarian principles? Have a read, and see which college you'd rather your son or daughter attend...."

Inthon Blog presents Free Market Myths posted at Inthon, saying, "An article which DESTROYS the notion that our crisis is a result of free-market capitalism."

Wenchypoo presents Keeping Up With the Enemy posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

DWSUWF presents The Arrogance of "Hope" posted at Divided We Stand United We Fall, saying, "Obama has been compared to many past Presidents. Some see, FDR, LBJ or JFK. Others compare him to Jimmy Carter and even to GWB. Perhaps after the heavy handed treatment of Chrysler bond holders, all of these comparisons are wrong. The comparison that is most apt, is a comparison to the arrogance of Richard Nixon, as exemplified by the money quote in the Frost/Nixon interview -"When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.""

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of the libertarians
using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stephen Bruton Tribute, McDavid Rehearsal Studio, May 17th, 2009

Where to begin, where to begin....

Sunday afternoon I went to a tribute concert in honor of Stephen Bruton, who recently passed away after a two year battle with cancer. Bruton was one of Fort Worth's great guitarists (if Kris Kristofferson, T-Bone Burnett, and Bonnie Raitt show up at your funeral, you're a great guitarist and a great person. End of story.)
Here's an uncharacteristic Bruton performance with The Tosca String Quartet.

Lord have mercy, this was a good show.

Here's the announcement blurb from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Bass Performance Hall will pay tribute to Stephen Bruton on Sunday at 2 p.m. at McDavid Studio, 301 East Fifth St., with a free concert featuring many of his friends, including Johnny Reno, Dave and Richard Millsap, the Tejas Brothers, Gary Nicholson, Rollo Smith, Linda Waring, James Hinkle, Yogi Musgrove, Randy Case, Lewis Stephens and Bill Ham, along with special guests.

Make that lots of special guests. Add Monty McClinton. John Nitzinger. Sumter Bruton, Stephen's brother. Plus Mike O'Neill, a blues wizard from Wichita Falls, Tx (the gateway to Nowhere, Oklahoma)

It was basically a well-organized jam session, with Fort Worth and Austin's best musicians paying tribute to one of their own.

Here are The Tejano Brothers, who do a sort of Tex-Mex Blues-Cajun thing. That's the only way I can describe them. Dr. Ralph, if these guys show up within 30 miles of here anytime soon, we're going.

The gent below in the black track suit is Johnny Reno, formerly of The Juke Jumpers, The Sax Maniacs, and a band led by somebody named Stevie Ray Vaughan. By this time in the show, I had a serious case of Happy Feet.

Twenty years ago, I used to go hear Reno and The Sax Maniacs at The Red Parrot, a now defunct club just west of downtown. Good times. Johnny Reno is the guy below on the left who doesn't look any older now than he did then. He was kind enough to stop and talk for a few minutes, and tell me what it was like to be in a Quentin Tarrantino movie (Grindhouse).

The guitarist on the far left in the next picture is John Nitzinger, who was simply awesome.

And then I noticed the next drummer. See her head sticking over the cymbals?

The drummer was a she, not a he, which is unusual in North Texas. And she was laying down an incredible wall of sound. Nailing it. I'm talking head out on the highway, heavy metal thunder levels of nailing it. And she looked familiar.

Flashback to 6 months ago, when I'm playing guitar in my neighbors' back yard. Amy and Cheryl are the best neighbors anyone could ask for. They have a beer fridge beside the garage that is always stocked, and they've given me total access. They have great parties where world-class singer-songwriters show up. All sorts of guitars, fiddles, banjos, acoustic basses, and hybrids are passed around the campfire for hours.

On more than one occasion, a nice lady named Linda has shown up with her wooden drum box. She always played it well, but I've never paid that much attention to her when the music was going. She kept the eighth notes going nice and steady, but that's all. Mostly we talked about how bad the roads are on the East Side.

The next time Linda Waring shows up at Amy and Cheryl's, I'm only going to have eight words for her.... "Teach Me, Oh Master. Make Me Your Disciple".

Here I am with Linda. This was like discovering that your Mom has superpowers.

I think I heard the song below twice in the course of the afternoon. It had no direct connection to Stephen Bruton, but the artists who put the performance together thought it was appropriate.

This is "Fort Worth Blues", a song Steve Earle wrote after the death of his friend Townes Van Zandt. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

Fort Worth Blues by Steve Earle

In Fort Worth all the neons're burning bright
Pretty lights of red and blue
But they'd shut down all the honky tonks tonight
And say a prayer or two if they only knew

You used to say the highway was your home
But we both know that that ain't true
It's just the only place a man can go
When he don't know where he's travelling to

Colorado's always clean and healing
And Tennessee in Spring is green and cool
It never really was your kind of town
But you went around with the Fort Worth blues

Somewhere up beyond the great divide
Where the sky is wide and the clouds are few
A man can see his way clear to the light
Just hold on tight that's all you got to do

They say Texas weather's always changing
And one thing change will bring is something new
And Houston really ain't that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth Blues

It's a Full moon over Galway Bay tonight
Silver light over green and blue
And every place I travel through I find
Some kind of sign that you've been through

Well Amsterdam was always good for grieving
And London never fails to leave me blue
And Paris never was my kind of town
So I walked around with the Fort Worth Blues.

Click here for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's review of the show. Thanks also to FWST for the pic of Nitzinger, Reno, and Linda Waring. Thanks to the other Wichita Falls natives for the pictures.

Does This Excite You?

Does this excite you?

Here's Reverend Estus Washington Pirkle, of New Albany, Mississippi, on the subject of what heaven will be like.
The entire video is worth watching multiple times, but if you're impatient you can skip to the 1:10 mark to learn about your new glorified body. Somehow, I was expecting better things.

The rapturous assemblies at 1:40 remind me of the crowd at Ronald Reagan's funeral, or perhaps Denver's Mile High Stadium during the Democratic Convention last year, but a little less worshipful.

If you ever allow yourself to watch from 2:05 to 3:00, you will watch it again. It's gonna be seared into your brain. You've been warned.

The looks on the congregation's faces says it all, doesn't it?

This isn't a heaven I would want any part of. Plus, it's whiter than a Mormon choir.

As Mark Twain put it, "Heaven for climate; Hell for society."

A fresh coat of Whitening to Little Green Footballs for the link.
I'm posting excerpts from Pirkle's work every weekend. Hit his name on the post labels to see the others.