Sunday, February 26, 2006

Know Thyself

Donald J. Hagen sent me a link to his political parody, which is pretty amusing. Here’s a small sampling:

Key to abbreviations in test questions that follow:

CONS: Conservative (Archconservative)
LIBL: Liberal (Leftwing Wacko)
LBRT: Libertarian (Antigovernment Libertine)
COMM: Communist (Commie Sympathizer)

1: Government's practice of stealing from the rich to give to the poor is...

CONS: a crime.
LIBL: a brave, generous and heroic deed.
LBRT: a foolish, misguided attempt at social engineering.
COMM: an inspiration to us all.

5: What is your favorite quotation?

CONS: "The entire graduated income tax system structure was created by Karl Marx," by Ronald Reagan.
LIBL: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization," by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
LBRT: "In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another," by Voltaire.
COMM: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," by Karl Marx.

10: What techniques are best for maintaining discipline in the classroom?

CONS: If just one student misbehaves, severely punish the entire class.
LIBL: Force boys who refuse to settle down to take psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin and Prozac.
LBRT: Anyone who doesn't want to be in class can leave.
COMM: Anyone who doesn't want to be in class can be made an example of.

18: We need to get government...

CONS: out of the boardroom, and to loosen government's stranglehold on America's businesses.
LIBL: out of the bedroom, and to loosen government's stranglehold on America's genitals.
LBRT: all of the above.
COMM: none of the above.

21: How would you define the word "profit"?

CONS: What business owners earn by selling a quality product at a competitive price.
LIBL: What business owners RIP-OFF from their customers.
LBRT: What business owners are rewarded with for risking the loss of their own money.
COMM: What business owners RIP-OFF from their employees.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Vouchers: A Panacea?

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Neal Boortz, famed Atlanta libertarian talk show host, commented on something that has the potential to revolutionize the public education system:
In Georgia the governor is considering a plan whereby the state could help fund some community social service projects initiated by churches. The truth here is that these private churches do a better job of delivering many of these social services than government does. Can you guess who is stepping up to loudly protest the idea? Well, that would be the Georgia Association of Educators, our wonderful teacher's union. One union spokesman said "It would open a floodgate to vouchers and that is our primary objection to this bill." Vouchers! Union government teachers go to sleep at night worrying about vouchers. They wake up to nightmares about vouchers. They arise in the morning shivering in a cold sweat brought on by thoughts of vouchers. They see vouchers in every dark corner and under every rock. It seems at times that their entire life is occupied by a focus on keeping that floodgate to vouchers from ever opening.

…any thoughts on the subject?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Go figure...

Your results:
You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

This can’t be right…look who fell below Wonder Woman!!!

Also, what the heck does Green Lantern do?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Fighting Stupidity With Stupidity

According to an article in the Times Online, UK, an Austrian law was apparently designed to prohibit stupidity:

The British revisionist historian David Irving said today that he would plead guilty to criminal charges of denying the Holocaust, as he went on trial at a court in Vienna.

Mr. Irving faces a maximum sentence of ten years in jail under strict Austrian laws making it an offence to publicly diminish, deny or justify the Holocaust. He has been held without bail since November on charges stemming from two speeches he made to Austrian rightwingers in 1989.

But, speaking to reporters as he was escorted into the courthouse, Mr Irving said that he was no longer questioning the deaths of millions of Jews in Nazi death camps during the Second World War.

"I am not a Holocaust denier. My views have changed," he said. "History is a constantly growing tree: the more you learn, the more documents are available, the more you learn, and I have learned a lot since 1989.

Via: Apesnake, who deftly wrote: ”You can not suppress ignorance by law anymore than you can suppress the truth.”

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Not Even Close

You fit in with:

Your ideals mostly resemble that of a Humanist. Although you do not have a lot of faith, you are devoted to making this world better, in the short time that you have to live. Humanists do not generally believe in an afterlife, and therefore, are committed to making the world a better place for themselves and future generations.

20% scientific.
40% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at

But what about the remaining 40%?

Anyway, the results couldn't be more wrong...I’m a theist.

hat tip: my old friend Mark of The Grove

Friday, February 17, 2006

Farking with Photos

Fark periodically encourages loyal Fakers to have fun with photoshop; this time it's this “sucky toy”:

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…hilarity ensues:

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Go see the rest.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Offend Thy Neighbor’s Ass

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via: Apesnake

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What I aspire to be

Your Brain's Pattern

Structured and organized, you have a knack for thinking clearly.

You are very logical - and you don't let your thoughts get polluted with emotions.

And while your thoughts are pretty serious, they're anything from boring.

It's minds like yours that have built the great cities of the world!

What Pattern Is Your Brain?

via: Stacy

Sunday, February 12, 2006


My friend Apesnake always has something interesting to say. I’ve enjoyed his wry Canadian sense of humor for nearly a year now. For instance, his blog’s ‘subtitle’ reads: A private blog. If you read this you are a sinner. [Warning! Your personal judgment is likely insufficient. Please ask someone's advice before doing anything.] That having been said, his latest post is no exception; it's both poignant and funny.
I think I understand now. Secular humanistic, traditional liberal types (John Stewart Mills liberal not Pee-Wee Herman in a theater liberal) like me are being told that we just do not understand how strongly people feel about their religion. Political Christianity has been telling us this for years they tell us all sorts of crazy things. You see, those of us who feel that modern western society had been built on concepts like freedom of speech, expression and conscience and other values like reason, personal liberty, transparency in government and open societies, have made a mistake. We assumed that the rest of the world would believe that we were just as committed to these values as they were to theirs.

…go read the rest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You can’t make…

…this stuff up.

Logical Progression

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via: Boortz’s Redneck Scrapbook

Monday, February 06, 2006

Curious-er and Curious-er

Matt Stoller of MyDD links to several news stories that are curious indeed. For instance:
A Pentagon memo obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that the deputy Defense secretary now acknowledges that some TALON reports may have contained information on U.S. citizens and groups that never should have been retained. The number of reports with names of U.S. persons could be in the thousands, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

via: Majikthise

Double Standard

Via Catallarchy, here’s an interesting comment by David of Moscow, Russia:
The spate of lawless protests now being orchestrated around the world caused me to reflect on the wanton destruction by the Taliban, some years ago in Afghanistan, of the historic Buddha images carved into the a cliff there. Buddha is a prophet too, but I cannot recall any demonstrations of the Muslim world to protest this inane destruction.

Blue Monday

A short time ago, November 6, 2005 to be precise, I wrote about reuniting with my old friends:
After having been estranged from my very best friends for nearly fifteen years (roughly the duration of my ill-fated marriage)—the ones with whom I suffered ridicule for daring to experiment with ‘Punk Rock’ and *gasp* individualism and nonconformity—I recently got the opportunity to become reacquainted with many of them. Back then (and perhaps now as well), I saw myself as the least bright of those in our clique, so I was naturally curious to know how they’ve matured and/or changed, and whether or not we still have as many things in common, such as: political philosophy, world-view, interests, etc.

As it happens, I was able to spend several hours with them just yesterday, which was a lot of fun. Following the initial catch-up and the introduction of the children, the conversation turned to politics, and to a lesser extent, religion. It was as though (from my perspective anyway) the intervening decade and a half of separation simply disintegrated, as we often debated the very same topics as teenagers.

The conversation moved from exorbitant gasoline prices, to oil producers, to government regulation (among other things). In addition to my ‘libertarian’ perspective, one of the participants in the discussion was a disaffected Republican, whereas another was a self-described liberal. Contra my position, the others seemed to be content with more regulation, rather than less, with respect to the economy in general, and the ‘petroleum markets’ in particular. To the extent that I’m less than satisfied with the points I made, I’ll mention a couple of good arguments on the subject.
What I failed to mention in that post is that two of the brightest members of the original group have since died: James Zajicek passed at age 20 (a few days after his birthday) and Dr. Chris Whitehead passed away at age 29 (after receiving his PhD in chemistry and a professorship at Florida State University).

I learned of the latter in October ’05, some two years after the fact. Now, tragedy has struck once again. On Saturday night, February 4 2006, we lost another friend: Jon Rigsby a.k.a. Dr. Bastian J. Meyerson (satirical bio). Incidentally, he was in my 2nd grade class and is the “self-described liberal” mentioned above. He was only 31 years old...he’ll be missed. May he rest in peace…1974-2006.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

When I was 18...

... I was an enthusiastic young artist; art school seemed inevitable. I even entered a state-wide contest, (circa 1990) limited to sophomores and juniors, called Governor’s Honors. These are the pieces that I submitted:

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This is my teacher and me discussing my impending interview. He actually said to me: "don't get your hopes up", implying that my chances were slim. Yeah…that was a confidence booster. I had the last laugh, however...I won! Actually, there were a few dozen ‘winners’ selected from nearly three hundred kids. The prize was a one-year scholarship for Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and a six-week stint at Valdosta State College during the summer (I didn’t go…I got married instead...yes, that was incredibly stupid, but I was 18 and I "knew everything" then).

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This is me at age 18:

This is my only self-portrait…just me and a mirror…I was 18—graphite:

This is my friend Ashton, who also: is an artist, won Governor’s Honors and was 18 at the time I drew his portrait—colored pencils:

Sign of the Times

Amsterdam, Netherlands—if you can't beat 'em ... joint 'em? The City of Amsterdam has begun selling recently introduced "no toking" signs to prevent the official ones from being stolen as collector's items, a spokesman said Friday.


Marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but police don't bother prosecuting possession of small amounts. It is openly sold in designated cafes known euphemistically as "coffee shops." But people who smoke marijuana outside in De Baarsjes risk a euro50 (US$60) fine.

What?!...the “police don't bother prosecuting possession of small amounts”? If that’s the case, then Amsterdam must be inundated with "pot heads"…right? Well, the facts tell a different story:
The [U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency] points out that from 1984 to 1996, marijuana use doubled among 18- to 25-year-olds in Holland. What it doesn't say is that marijuana use in the Netherlands has been stable since then, and it remains lower than in the United States, which has seen use rise from a low in 1992.

Indeed, 30 years after the Netherlands began allowing open marijuana sales, only about 3 percent of the Dutch population — or 408,000 people — use marijuana in a given year, compared with 8.6 percent — or 25.5 million — of Americans, according to the most authoritative surveys by both governments.
Don’t misunderstand my view; I’m not as much pro-pot, per se...I'm just pro-individual liberty. To get a better sense of what I think about the War on Drugs, read this.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Contemplating a Move

My old friend Gravy (a.k.a. Dave...we lost touch after I got married—he and his band actually played at my post-wedding party) has turned me on to journalspace, which is much more user-friendly than Blogger; and the cool thing is: it’s also free!

So anyway, I’ve set up a Libertopia Clone and thought I’d see what you, dear readers, think of it (i.e. should it become the *new* Libertopia?).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Redefining the First Amendment

The following was originally posted in April, 2005:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.-Amendment I

The First Amendment is perhaps the most well known of those that comprise the Bill of Rights. Or is it? Free speech and assembly are more or less understood broadly. The right to petition the Government is likewise relatively common knowledge. But strangely enough, the so called “establishment clause” seems to be a matter of contention.

The two main contenders in this civic drama are the political extremes: committed secularists and devout religionists. For one reason or another, each group claims that this Amendment was codified to silence the other. In an essay entitled The Enemies of Religious Liberty that indicts the secular left, James Hitchcock writes:
But legal restraint on religious influence is not to be confined only to the public sphere and to corporate religious life; it extends to individuals as well. Macedo acknowledges that such strictures are designed to affect citizens’ private beliefs; exclusion from public life, he predicts, will cause believers to find their faiths less credible, and he justifies tolerating these faiths merely on the grounds that such toleration can cree use of governmental authority precisely for the purpose of undermining their own beliefs, even of impairing their ability to inculcate those beliefs in their children. By redefining “free exercise” and exalting the “establishment clause,” separationists have in effect “established” their own hostility to religion.

It would seem that an invocation of “majority” status justifies the use of Government authority to compel others to either act in a certain fashion or accept a particular philosophy. Now, I’m not suggesting that Hitchcock explicitly advocates theocracy in his essay, but it’s clear to me that not a few people in this country assert that America IS a Christian nation. Further, they claim that the First Amendment does not insist upon “separation of Church and State”.

Anyone with a public school education ought to be able to understand that the First Amendment prohibits the Government from either establishing or restricting any and every religion. There is, in fact, both a freedom of and freedom from religion. The desire of some to use the police power of Government to force others to conform to a particular ideology and thereby suppress individual liberty, is precisely the reason the Bill of Rights was ratified.