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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"The time for choosing is drawing near"

Paul Ryan spoke to the GOP convention last night; he powerfully and emotionally articulated the core beliefs that unite conservatives. The closing moments were electrifying. I can't wait to see the Ryan/Biden debate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I love America

Black's Barbecue, Lockhart, Texas. There are three food groups in the Food Pyramid here: pork, beef and chicken. If you want vegetables, they'll sell you a pickle.

Chris Christie shows how its done

I can't recall watching a political speech as stirring as Chris Christie's keynote address to the GOP convention on Tuesday night. He was funny and self-deprecating, but then built to an emotional crescendo that called the troops to arms and laid out the gravity of the task ahead in a stentorian voice like Cato the Elder telling the Roman Senate that "Carthage must be destroyed".  It was awesome. Watch the whole 25 minutes - it's a master class in political oratory.

UPDATE:  Best comment on Christie's speech so far, from Jesse Walker at Reason : "I'd rather be yelled at by a fat guy from Jersey than smothered with a pillow full of inspirational rhetoric."

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Monday, August 27, 2012

What's up with gay Republicans?

Surprise - much like gay conservatives elsewhere, they think that there are more pressing issues than interminable arguments about gay marriage, and that economic freedom trumps everything. This article profiles gay delegates to the GOP convention currently underway in Tampa: 
For gay Republicans – a distinct minority whose numbers and visibility are nonetheless growing steadily – their party’s position on issues personally close to home has not prevented them from supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket.
For now, it seems, the definition of marriage held to by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and chiseled into the GOP platform – one man and one woman – takes a back seat to economic recovery and job creation.
“I’m very happy to support Mitt Romney so we can get the country back on the path to prosperity,” says Michael Carr, a young (32), gay businessman who’s running for the state senate in Colorado. “We care about social issues too, but we have to prioritize.
”Mr. Cooper is typical of what many see as a new generation of conservatives who happen to be gay: Young (40), an Iraq War combat veteran (Army captain and intelligence officer), who says, “We really need to have the party focus on its core – individual liberties, the size of government, tax reform, and national security.”

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Signs of the impending apocalypse

Anal tattoos. No kidding. Isn't this the kind of thing the Romans were doing while the Barbarians were hammering at the gates?  Watch the whole sad story on the video here . (NSFW)

Related:  A tattoo artist tells you "What you should know before you get an anal tattoo"  (also probably NSFW)

Blues for a Saturday night

Tonight's selection: Ottawa's Trevor Finlay and the Hot Damn Band in a live performance of their song Coffee :

and for your enjoyment, Trevor finding inspiration at a Tim Horton's in Ohio:

Is climate change still a thing?

I thought artists were supposed to be cutting edge, transgressive, pushing the boundaries and all that. Haven't we moved on to income inequality?  That's what makes this work by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo seem so, oh I don't know, last year.

The series of human-shaped ice sculptures was installed on the steps of the Faculty of Law building at the University of Chile in Santiago, and is meant to "symbolize climate change". Oh, I get it - humanity is literally melting.

 Aside from the juvenile symbolism-for-beginners, I actually think it's kind of a cool piece of artwork, no pun intended.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Weird politics in Kansas

This is leaving some people scratching their heads: in a recent Primary election in Kansas, Democrats chose a pro-life, anti-gay woman over the openly-gay pro-choice son of a former KKK member:
An anti-gay, pro-life Democratic incumbent -- who legally resides in an abandoned church -- won a narrow victory to retain her seat after a recount. The victory sets up a November faceoff against a socially liberal, pro-choice and pro-gay Republican.
After the recount, Kansas state Rep. Jan Pauls (D-Hutchinson) won the primary by eight votes, the Kansas City Star reported. Pauls had been leading her primary opponent, Erich Bishop, the openly gay son of a former Ku Klux Klan member, by seven votes following the Aug. 7 primary. Pauls will now face Republican Dakota Bass, who until recently co-chaired a progressive group with ties to the state Democratic Party.
Bass, a 20-year-old railroad conductor, told HuffPost in June that he considers himself "socially liberal" and a "fiscal conservative." He said he favors same sex marriage, abortion rights, and is opposed to Gov. Sam Brownback's (R) fiscal policies, including the tax cuts Brownback signed earlier this year. 
 What the ... ?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gays, libertarians and the Republican Party

Log Cabin Republican David Lampo, a director of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, talks to Reason  TV's Nick Gillespie about why rank and file Republicans should support gay rights and the place of libertarians in the Republican Party:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blues for a Saturday Night

Tonight's selection: Pink covers Led Zeppelin's Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, from a 2009 live performance in Australia

Monday, August 06, 2012

Narrative fail: Tennessee Democrats nominate gay-hating conspiracy theorist to Senate race

Everyone knows that it's the gun-totin', Bible-thumpin', queer-hatin', Chick-fil-A eatin' GOP that is the party of choice for America's crazy bigots, right? Guess what - Tennessee Democrats have just nominated Mark Dayton as their candidate to take on Republican incumbent Senator Bob Corker in November's election. Mr. Dayton has, shall we say, a somewhat unsavory past:
Mark Clayton believes the federal government is building a massive, four-football-field wide superhighway from Mexico City to Toronto as part of a secret plot to establish a new North American Union that will bring an end to America as we know it. On Thursday, he became the Tennessee Democrats' nominee for US Senate.
Clayton, an anti-gay-marriage activist and flooring installer with a penchant for fringe conspiracy theories, finished on top of a crowded primary field in the race to take on GOP Sen. Bob Corker this fall. He earned 26 percent of the vote despite raising no money and listing the wrong opponent on his campaign website. The site still reads, "DEDICATED TO THE DEFEAT OF NEO-CONSERVATIVE LAMAR ALEXANDER," whom Clayton tried to challenge in 2008. (That year, he didn't earn the Democratic nomination.)
On his issues page, Clayton sounds more like a member of the John Birch Society than a rank-and-file Democrat. He says he's against national ID cards, the North American Union, and the "NAFTA superhighway," a nonexistent proposal that's become a rallying cry in the far-right fever swamps. Elsewhere, he warns of an encroaching "godless new world order" and suggests that Americans who speak out against government policies could some day be placed in "a bone-crushing prison camp similar to the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sent or to one of FEMA's prison camps." (There are no FEMA prison camps.)
In April 2008, Clayton issued a press release accusing Google of censoring his campaign website on behalf the Chinese government.
Clayton has another intriguing theory. This one involves a former governor of California: "Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, wants to amend the Constitution so that he can become president and fulfill Hitler's superman scenario." 
The closest thing Clayton has to political experience is his work as vice president of a Virginia-based organization called Public Advocate of the United States. The group's mission, per its website, is to restore the country to its conservative Christian roots. Public Advocate supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, opposes abortion rights, and believes the Boy Scouts are under assault from the gay agenda. The group refers to mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Tom Menino of Boston as "pro-homosexual socialist dictators" for stating their opposition to the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. (It also issued a statement condemning the "gay muppets.")
The Democratic Party is backpedalling furiously, blaming his nomination on the fact that his name appeared first on the ballot, which doesn't say much for the intelligence of the typical Tennessee Democrat.

Oh my - how's Jon Stewart going to include this in his monologue?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Milton Friedman on greed

This video has been making the rounds on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of economist Milton Friedman. In it, he explains to Phil Donohue why the capitalist free market system is better than the alternatives: