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Social Puritans On Parade

I don't think that Bush's presidency is a sign of the end-times, but it's hard to deny that it has empowered social conservatives to actions they never would have considered before, or at least not been so open about being involved with. Witness the Parents Television Council, which is responsible for almost every single complaint filed to the FCC. Their motto is "Because Our Children Are Watching"—as if the goal of our media should be to provide everyone with the same extremely low level of entertainment. Read more »

Habemus Papam: Benedictum XVI

The big news of the day is that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has been elected pope, choosing the name Benedict XVI. The significance of this bulletin won't immediately be as clear as the news of November 3, 2004, but it should not be ignored. (Also, I'd like to thank the College of Cardinals for a quick decision, sparing me from having to complete the pre-decision draft analysis.) Read more »

Friday Night in Atlanta

Lately I've been carrying a digital camera with me to capture parts of Atlanta's beautiful spring and skyline, as well as anything else that seems interesting. So far I've come up with quite a bit of interesting material, some of which I hope to share from this outlet. I hope you enjoy what I hope will be the first of several forays into photoblogging.

Friday night some buddies and I were looking for something to do and decided to go to some festival that was then being celebrated in Centennial Olympic Park. We had to park pretty far away so as not to have to pay and as we walked through the middle of the city we decided to go on top of a building where one of our motley gang present and other members of our group absent used to reside. The doorman has been there for a while, has a good memory for faces, and let us in even as we were getting the entry code wrong. We then spent a few minutes trying to guess the new combination of the lock on the door to the roof and finally got through.

Here is what the city looks like from the window just before the top of the staircase:

city from window

The closest building is Atlanta's own Flatiron Building, which is actually five years older than the much more famous Flatiron Building in Manhattan. Read more »

TSA Mockery

I'm a little bit late with it, but I thought I'd share a humorous link with our readers from Jason Kirk at Spaceman's Abode commenting on my recent TSA post.

Kant on bums

We have great weather here in Atlanta. It's mild in winter and warm in summer. Our springs and autumns are most right where they need to be, sometimes a little warm. The upside of this is obvious: it's nice to be outside and we have active running and cycling communities. The downside: we get a lot of bums.

Every major city has plenty of homeless, but our mild climate means that we pick up a few from other cities. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it usually works out that way. They clog up social services and bother people all the time on the street. Read more »

The Continuing Failure of the Antiwar Left

I just got out of an antiwar event hosted by Iraq Veterans Against the War. (The speaker, Michael Hoffman, can be seen here in focus in the image on the right.) Hoffman had some very good things to say, and while our views appear to differ greatly, I agreed with most of what he said and would recommend him to other audiences.

As with many of the antiwar events I've been around, segments of the audience did not make me optimistic. The events are dominated by leftists who, while antiwar - a position I agree with - blame it on things I consider irrelevant; corporations, of course, are the main culprit.

One explanation for the failure of the antiwar movement to yield positive results against the numerically inferior people actually responsible for the war came to me while I sat in audience. It occurs to me now as I write this post that Ayn Rand had similar thoughts about communism.

American resistance to communism was very powerful in one sense, as we seem to have matched basically one-to-one or surpassed communist armaments, military assistance, insurgency training, etc. But compared with what the United States could have offered against world communism, what was actually given was miniscule. America could have had reason on its side, could have had humanitarianism on its side, and sure as hell could have had truth on its side. But these were features of the young America. By the time communism became a serious foreign policy problem, America had abandoned much of what made it great in the first place. Socialism was fast becoming a reality here. Militarism was a reality. The USA couldn't really attack communism at its root because they weren't removed enough from it themselves. It's been a few years since I read Capitalism, so I'm not sure if that was in there, but if not then the ideas were at least in the background. Read more »

The Other Minutemen

You may have seen the Minuteman Project in the news lately. They have been on patrol on the Arizona-Mexico border recently keeping out Mexicans who try to enter the United States illegally. From the reports I've seen, the US Border Patrol is officially against the effort, but some of its members support it.

Where do I start with these clowns? Their 'about' page describes them thus:

    The Minuteman Project

is a grassroots effort to bring Americans to the defense of their homeland, similar to the way the original Minutemen from Massachusetts (and other U. S. colonies) did in the late 1700s. Like them, we want to bring to this effort only what few personal possessions we can our heart, mind and spirit.
This call for volunteers is not a call to arms, but a call to voices seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments charged with applying U.S. immigration law.
It is a call to peacefully assemble at the Arizona-Mexico border to bring national awareness to the decades-long careless disregard of effective U.S. immigration law enforcement. It is a reminder to Americans that our nation was founded as a nation governed by the "rule of law", not by the whims of mobs of ILLEGAL aliens who endlessly stream across U.S. borders.
Accordingly, the men and women volunteering for this mission are those who are willing to sacrifice their time, and the comforts of a cozy home, to muster for something much more important than acquiring more "toys" to play with while their nation is devoured and plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens.
Future generations will inherit a tangle of rancorous, unassimilated, squabbling cultures with no common bond to hold them together, and a certain guarantee of the death of this nation as a harmonious "melting pot."

The result: political, economic and social mayhem.
Historians will write about how a lax America let its unique and coveted form of government and society sink into a quagmire of mutual acrimony among the various sub-nations that will comprise the new self-destructing America.

The first thing you might notice is the gross misappropriation of classic American values and the heroic early American resistance, and perversion of their ideas of self-determination into anti-immigration. Were the Minutemen trying to expel industrious British workers who were destroying the American economy with their low wage labor? No, they were trying to expel an occupying military force.

The second thing you might think about is what kinds of permits early Americans of all cultures were getting before they set up camp on our side of the ocean. I admit to knowing nothing about American immigration law in the 1700s, but I don't think there was a lot of paperwork involved. The anti-immigration segments of this nation of immigrants surely don't see the irony of the project. Read more »

The Glory and the Anguish of Wikipedia

I've been a fan of Wikipedia for a long time. I like the very idea of it, and I spend lots of my free time reading about completely random things or compulsively checking the populations of cities. Recently I've been spending that time creating or editing articles instead of reading. Read more »

rational architecture

Anyone who reads any architecture trade journal or smarmy congratulatory architectural review comes across the word "rational" all the time. They throw it around like boozing Objectivists to angular robotic bitches.

O\'Reilly Overdose

I don't usually watch Bill O'Reilly's show, but tonight I was doing a job in a house where it was on, and I couldn't very well make them turn it off so I had to put up with it. If any of our readers caught it and have multiple other samples to compare it with, please tell me if he was especially abrasive tonight. Even I, politically world-weary as I am, was surprised. O'Reilly, a Catholic, was bashing the Pope for his opposition the Iraq invasion. Read more »

Democracy: more confusing than a barrel of monkeys

surprise package

Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. Zimbabwe now. Read more »

TSA Trickery

Here's a story about an agency that has become one of the banes of my existence in the last few years.

The Transportation Security Administration misled the public about its role in obtaining personal information about 12 million airline passengers to test a new computerized system that screens for terrorists, according to a government investigation.

Nobody cares about despoiling West Virginia with coal mining

Sure to create controversy is the news that the Senate has ok'd the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling effort. Sure to create controversy, but not to bother me any. Why? Read more »

Against an Establishment of Language

One of the proposals that keeps coming up on legislative agendas all over the country is making English the official language of the state/nation (I noticed it recently looking over the agenda of the Georgia House). Not only does this phenomenon seem to be largely an anti-Mexican move, which is almost motivation enough for me to oppose it, there are several reasons why even anti-Mexican conservatives should be against it. Read more »

Why the suburbs suck...

No, I'm not one of those turtle-necked elitists who simply can't understand why anyone would want to live outside of Chelsea. I wouldn't presume to tell other people where they should live. I'm aware there are many valid reasons why people would want to live in suburban areas. But let's face it, the suburbs are dull, especially for a young buck like me. Read more »