GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Late Night Can't Sleep Writer's Block...

Have to finish writing today's Environmental Science lessons.

Stream-of-delirium and doldrums.  Maybe it is because I haven't had a beer in a couple of days.  Just haven't been in the mood.  Unlike most folks, when I am depressed, I drink less (or don't drink at all).  No use wasting expensive beer when it won't do any good.  It is partially because of the gray, drizzly weather over the past few days.  I have some outdoor painting projects that I need to start in warmer, drier weather.

It is partially because I haven't been able to find a suitable DVD on the subject of ecosystems (of different types) and I am having trouble rewriting my power point notes to match this newer book.  I have considered setting up my little digital camcorder on a tripod and doing my own video, but that does take some advance planning, as I won't be using a Teleprompter, heh heh.

It is also because I had to spend $600+ on my car last week and that doesn't even include the power steering pump and hoses and the mystery leak. [Obviously, there is no need to replace a pump, if it is a hose leak, but the mechanic couldn't find the leak.]

It seemed that Spring was getting an early start, now it seems that it is interrupted.  And I eagerly await the morel mushrooms, which should start sprouting in the next week.  Need to start that stained glass window to fit the right clearlight next to the front door.  I haven't done any stained glass in 25+ years and I can't quite settle on a design.  Nothing complex, just mostly glue chip glass, I want to add in some straight or curved narrow colored panels (actually strips), but can't decide which.  Just some random splashes of color.

And while I dread having to scrape up the info to get my taxes done, I eagerly await April 15, hoping that Atlas Shrugged: Part I will be showing somewhere in the northern 'burbs.  I haven't seen a movie premiere in a long time, if ever, but I fully plan to catch this one.

And the sorry state of the Republican Party, vis-à-vis the prospects for the 2012 race and how the "leadership" is turning its back on the Tea Party.  Need for Herman Cain to catch fire and capture some national attention.

The night of my discontent...

Need your prayers...

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Thursday Videos - Nanci Griffith Late Night Grande Hotel

I found this while surfing YouTube for John Prine and refound Nanci Griffith. I have become absolutely hooked on this song. It somehow fits my melancholy mood.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tueday Videos - The Manchurian President...

I haven't finished the book, yet, but "give a listen" to these two videos.



and



No, I don't consider myself a "birther", but there are questions. It would be easier to prove that he is a Marxist.

Please watch these, maybe take notes, in case they are taken down by YouTube. Would the MSM allow a Republican to have such a foggy history?

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just Another Thought,...

on a comparison between Herman Cain and Barack Obama. Herman Cain is old enough to remember the latter days of the Jim Crow era in the South, while the younger Barack Obama - despite being dragged back and forth between Hawaii and Indonesia - was afforded something of a more upper Middle Class existence by way of his maternal grandparents. Also, being in Hawaii, aside from the native Hawaiian resentment of any "outsiders" or "mainlanders", Barack Obama was insulated from the traditional Jim Crow laws and attitudes in the Democrat-dominated southern United States.

Yet, Herman Cain is not the bitter one. He has an unabashed love of this nation, despite its flaws. Despite having slave ancestors, he apparently was never taught that he was a victim.

When one considers the mentors (that we know about) that have influenced Barack Obama, e.g., Frank Marshall Davis, William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, he cannot help but have a jaundiced view of the United States. And Barack Obama likely has no American slave ancestors.

So which viewpoint do you think would "want the best" for our future? Need I ask?

Let's raise some Cain in 2012. Don't get discouraged. Our childrens'/grandchildrens' futures are too important to give up to Socialism.

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More on the Schlitz Gusto...

To follow up on last Friday's post, I enjoyed a pitcher of Schlitz Gusto (the 1960's recipe) at a local watering hole, with a fellow Conservative/Beer Can Collector/Drinking Buddy.

Truth be told, on draft, this is a really drinkable "session beer", i.e., one that is generally <5% alcohol, i.e., "quaffable" during music jam sessions or long conversations.

It is also available, locally, in 12 and 16 oz cans and presumably 12 oz bottles.

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Are You Comfortable with a News Monopoly...Again?

The way it was before, when Walter Cronkite, et al, lied to us? When there was no viable alternative to ABC, CBS, NBC? There were times when there were some more objective reporters and reporting, but with the march-of-time and as the "100-year socialist plan" continues its forward lurch towards more thorough controls, nowadays, we need the balance that talk radio, the internet, and Fox News provides.

It seems that the political Left is incapable of meeting fairly on the "battlefield of ideas", i.e., to let the best-presented, most factually-supported ideas prevail. Mabe it is because - deep down - they somehow know that they will lose.

It would be nice to dismiss Media Matters as simply a George Soros-funded squawkbox of Leftist drivel, but unfortunately, some of their talking points make their way to social media sites, e.g. Facebook, as if said talking points had anything more than a shred of truth at their core.

We all know about the "Big Lie" concept. Sometimes the Big Lie is the stuff that isn't published, rather it is what is covered up. The lying-by-omission minions of the left will not tell you about the non-Conservatives that are part of the Fox News lineup.

Though he had a brief awakening after 9/11, Geraldo Rivera is not a conservative. Shepherd Smith is not a conservative. Juan Williams is clearly not a conservative. As I take in a broad range of information sources, I don't know about the politics of all of the major Fox personalities. But Hannity and Beck - to my knowledge - are the only somewhat doctrinaire Conservative/Libertarians. I am not sure John Stossel would even be comfortable with being called anything more than a Libertarian. I don't stay up late enough to be well-aquainted with Greg Gutfield, I guess I would classify him as a somewhat irreverent "South Park Conservative". Do any of the "alphabet media" networks have this much diversity of opinions? Need I ask?

Forgive the digression from the title-linked article, which is about the recently stepped-up Media Matters campaign to bring down Fox News, actually termed a "war on Fox".

From the article:

..."This isn’t unique language in the grassroots media-criticism industry. A few individual bloggers have expressed a desire to destroy certain media outlets through criticism, and it’s certainly not unusual for conservatives to cheer the misfortunes of the New York Times, for instance. However, the scale of MMFA (Media Matters for America) and its reported $10 million budget put those boasts in a different and somewhat more credible light."...

It is perfectly acceptible for there to be media watchdogs, as part of our series of checks-and-balances, though that is not the goal of the new MMFA campaign. Acceptible campaigns against particular news/opinions outlets should not employ "sabotage", if they hope to maintain any shred of purported objectivity. But then, that was never the goal of the Saul Alinsky school-of-thought.

[Dogged by a mild sinus headache, triggered by atmospheric pressure changes, I am not being as articulate with this post/rant as I would like. I may come back to this later. For a more complete source, please consult the linked article.]

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

We the Thinking...

[In a minor play on Ayn Rand's "We the Living"]...

From my comment on this American Thinker post (also see this previous post):

"We the Thinking" can filter out Rand's atheism to get to the important message of Atlas Shrugged. The message doesn't have to be incompatible with Christianity or Judaism when "noodled out" by a person of logic.

But as for getting discouraged, that can happen, but for the sake of our kids and grandkids (including those yet unborn), we need to first get on our knees to pray for the courage to defend our Creator-granted rights, then get up and - with firm resolve - push back against socialism. Firm, yet polite resolve in reminding people that Capitalism = freedom, Socialism = tyranny.

I haven't yet read any of the other Rand writings, yet (my bad, I intend to take care of that after I see the movie). Herman Cain for President. Let's raise Cain in 2012!"
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Be Bold...What are We Defending?

The future of our children and grandchildren.

Our freedoms, granted by God and defended by our ancestors are not ours to give away, nor let slip from our grasp.

Yes, we get tired of the onslaught coupled with the helter skelter of our daily lives, but "the other side" is made up of those of the Saul Alinsky mindset and their legions of useful idiots.

Tired we be, but fight on we must...so sayeth Yoda.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Just a Little NASCAR Nostalgia...

since they no longer have a Spring race at Atlanta.

The famous Sprint Cup car owners that I have gotten to see win twice, over the years, with their respective drivers.

Junior Johnson - Darrell Waltrip (1981), Bill Elliott (1992)
Bud Moore - Buddy Baker (1975), Ricky Rudd (1987)
Wood Brothers - David Pearson (1973), Neil Bonnett (1982)
Rick Hendrick - Geoff Bodine (1984), Jeff Gordon (1998)
Roger Penske - Rusty Wallace (1993), Kurt Busch (2010)

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Beer Can News...

One of the beer brands riding the retro-nostalgia wave is Schlitz Gusto, brewed to the 1960s recipe, a bit more flavorful than the modern day Schlitz (and some of the other "factory beers").

Initially available in some northern markets (Minnesota and Chicago), it has now come to Atlanta and hot damn, it is in 12 oz cans. As I don't have the shelf space for 16 oz cans, which - along with 12 oz longnecks - had been a preferred package for the Schlitz Gusto, I had been hoping for a can that would fit my 12 oz. shelves. In Kroger tonight, I noticed a 12 pack of 12 oz cans that look like the 1960s Schlitz cans, so I might have to pick up a 12-pack.

[One of the reputed reasons for Schlitz's downfall was a formula change (to save money) in the 1960s, which didn't set well with the customers. For the macro brands, consistency is the holy grail.

Coors is also revisiting some of their classic can designs (four I think), but they are not mixed in a 12 pack, i.e., after having been given one of the cans, I would have to get 3 12 packs in order to add the others to my collection.

Yes, I am easily entertained...

Hmm, may have to go back to Target and get that olive-drab colored Schlitz t-shirt. How campy is that?

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Videos - Herman, I Approve of Your Message!

Herman, go raise some more Cain!

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Thursday Videos - Finally, Some Good Conservative Music!

"Union Man", by Glen Shulfer

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Thursday Videos - Takin' the Tea Party to San Francisco



Good Luck.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

When a Liberal "Gets It"

After throwing some "stink bombs" on Facebook (that will annoy libs),...I did some diverse reading. I tried to stay away from politics on FB for a few days, but...

Anyway, I sometimes read Huffington Post and sometimes I find things worth considering.

In this case, it is the post of Lee Stranahan, a textbook liberal, who after being hired by Andrew Breitbart to study the fraud in the Pigford Farmers Case - has immersed himself in the conservative blogosphere - with more of an open mind than most liberals are capable of having. And he has come to realize that most of the political hate and violence in this country is Left-wing. And he is very uncomfortable with that fact.

From the article:

..."On the other hand, if you read conservative blogs or listen to conservative media, you know all about these threats because people like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and websites like Newsbusters and BigJournalism have not only been talking about the death threats for days now but they have been talking about the mainstream and liberal media ignoring the threats for days.

Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It's bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it."...

More:

..."I'm in an odd position. In the last few months, I've had one foot in the left wing news stream and one foot in the right. My media duality began when conservative publish Andrew Breitbart hired me to work with him on the Pigford 'black farmers' settlement story. I'm a pro-choice, pro-single payer, anti-war, pro-gay rights independent liberal with years of work in print and film backing those positions. Breitbart hired me to bring a different perspective to the non-partisan issue of corruption in Pigford.

Since then, I have written both here for the left-leaning Huffington Post and at Breitbart's right leaning BigGovernment.com. I've ended up reading a lot more conservative sites and dealing with a lot more conservatives than any time since I attended a high school dedicated to the principles of Ayn Rand about 30 years ago."...

After posting a quote in reference to FDR's opinions about public-sector unions, Stranahan continues:

..."Roosevelt's statement makes sense to me; it does seem that public employees are different than private. I'm not at all anti-union. (I've publicly supported unionizing the visual effects industry, for example.) I'm open to a good rational argument against the case FDR made but in discussions on Twitter and elsewhere, all I got in response from people on the left was anger and insults. I saw little light and felt much heat.

That tone of extreme hostility I experience brings me back to the death threats in Wisconsin. Frankly, the bile and invective in that threat reminded me of the tone I saw directed at me from many so-called liberals because I committed the heresy of taking a different position from them on the issue of collective bargaining for public sector employees... based on something FDR said.

Is this really what liberalism has come to in 2011? [Well no, it has been going on for a while. Liberalism ain't what it used to be, not since it has been infiltrated by the likes of Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, et al, on the Hard Left.]

Since I began working with Breitbart, my position on political issues hasn't changed but I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm deeply disappointed by the virulent, lockstep attitude I see on the left. My experience in the last few months tells me what I would not have believed possible; on any number of issues (including Pigford, by the way) I've seen liberals act much nastier and with less factual honesty than the conservatives... and this includes on issues where I disagree with conservatives.

Burying the death threat story is a clear example of intellectual dishonesty and journalistic bias."...

Not that I am anybody important, but Lee - welcome to the real world. As I said, Liberalism ain't what it used to be. And I salute you for having the courage to say this in public.

So, it appears that I can add Lee Stranahan to the short list of honest liberals that I respect, though I may disagree with many of their viewpoints. Natt Hentoff, Juan Williams, Lee Stranahan,...uh, uh,...I can't think of any others right now.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Liberal Facism in Wisconsin

So many incidents, so little time...

This particular incident occurred in Merrill, WI last week during a Recall Jim Holperin rally. Holperin, a Democrat member of the Wisconsin Senate, was one of the "fleebaggers" that ran from their responsibilities to try to prevent a vote.

A female union supporter tore up several petitions, rather than engage in thoughtful debate. Not surprising, it is easier to destroy than to create. Liberalism is intellectual laziness.

There are some ongoing efforts to investigate this as a crime, perhaps a felony.

From the original Blogs for Victory post:

..."This is what fascism really looks like, good people - attempts to shut down debate, prevent votes, and intimidate people into silence. I know our liberals will go ballistic and insist that there is no similiarity [sic] between modern liberalism and fascism...but that is simply because they've bought the age-old, Stalinist line (and, yes, they don't even know whence it comes) that all on the left are "anti-fascist" (and, thus, they are the good guys)."...

From decades of observation, it seems that as liberals project their worst characteristics onto conservatives, we conservatives project our best characteristics onto liberals. They accuse us of being narrow-minded when they themselves are unable to tolerate dissenting viewpoints, especially when voiced by individuals belonging to minorities claimed by liberals. When we disagree with the political viewpoints of a minority person, they accuse us of racism, whereas they make blanket judgements of what those minorities are supposed to believe and that they are incapable of thinking for themselves, i.e., they are infected with the "soft racism of low expectations."

We who attempt to live lives of politeness and restraint during political debates make the mistake of projecting our goodness onto liberals. Because we make an effort to allow dissenting voices (even though we may roll our eyes to the point of fatigue), we make the mistake of thinking that they will do the same thing. We make the mistake of thinking that because we uphold traditional morals and accepted societal norms (such as cleaning up after ourselves and being polite) - they will do the same. [There are of course, some liberals that are polite and open-minded, but they often do not have the courage to speak up against their brethren, lest they be turned-upon.]

[Yes, I have engaged in making generalities - as is done for the sake of conversation or making a point - on talk radio and in personal debates/conversations. I don't see a problem with that, as long as everyone knows and accepts that they are generalities, that do not apply to everyone.]

"...attempts to shut down debate, prevent votes, and intimidate people into silence."... That is not Classical Liberalism, there is no aspect of open-mindedness within these efforts. Those are the methods of Saul Alinsky.

In this previous post on Classical Liberalism, these are the core principles presented (slightly paraphrased):

1) Preservation of liberty is paramount. Do particular actions increase the liberty (as opposed to hedonistic libertine behavior) of responsible individuals?

2) Individualism is more important than collectivism.

3) Skepticism about power. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts, absolutely."

4) The rule of law is paramount. This includes long accepted principles, i.e. concepts of "natural law" and "Robert's Rules of Order" on a smaller scale. These have arisen through the interactions of countless individuals and have been deemed as successful behaviors. It also includes those laws that are designed to preserve the sovereignty of a nation.

5) Maintenance of a civil society is paramount. Voluntarily organizations are better at engaging in most interactions, without the imposition of top-down, inflexible rules.

6) Spontaneous order. Spontaneous order can arise from the voluntary interaction of open-minded, respectful people.

7) Maintenance of free markets is paramount. Morally-rooted individuals are capable of engaging in voluntary interaction with one another, without artificial relationships and rules being forced from "above".

8) Toleration for speech and viewpoints with which we disagree. This doesn't mean we have to accept clearly harmful behaviors within our midst. It means that we don't try to use the government (or mob intimidation) to shut down dissent.

9) Maintenance of Peace. This is to allow the free movement of Capital, Labor, People, Goods, and Services. In a truly equal, libertarian society, this would include the movement of law-abiding citizens across borders, when the cultures and practices of adjacent nations are relatively similar. However, in the real world, when people (not of good faith) cross a cultural boundary when they also cross a national boundary, i.e., from a less-free historically-corrupt society and they have no intention of assimilating into their new "home", this is injurious to the host society.

10) Limited government is paramount. Self-government though needs self-discipline.

So, who fits these definitions better? Modern conservatives or modern liberals? Need I ask?

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ultimate Paranoia...Perhaps

I started thinking this way back in the late 1990s, after the "Republican Revolution" fizzled, partially because Newt weakened himself by not being able to keep his pants on. In Washington, there are no secrets.

Anyway, my fear is that "Republican leaders" have been taken into a back room and told "OK guys, it's over. We are in charge. You can pretend you have some influence, but keep it under control." Or something like that. Is this the reason why Republicans keep being corrupted by Washington?

Just sayin'.

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New Year's Resolutions - 2 1/2 Months in...

The best way to keep as on-track as possible is to keep this in front of me, so-to-speak.

In an effort to maintain these attempts...Compare, if you wish with this post from approximately 5 weeks ago.

1) To blog more, posting political stuff here, so my Liberal cousins' ears won't bleed on Facebook. Or maybe not. [I have been a little better lately, as long as no one posts any really stupid lib stuff.]

2) To have McDonald's sweet tea only twice a week, unless I have to drive long distances. At home I always have unsweetened tea, as I don't want to know how much sugar is in sweet tea. [Partial progress on this one. Sorry, McDonald's sweet tea is one of my "comfort foods". So it goes. No change.]

3) To get back into doing stained glass, which I haven't done in 25 or so years. [Picked up some free "scrap glass" from a local glass shop and a new pair of specialty pliers. Need to clean in the basement for a work area.]

4) To lose weight...Honestly. [Somehow, I lost 9 lbs. during January. I appear to be holding the line. Haven't checked during March.]

5) To host more social events at my home, beer tastings, parties, etc.. [No progress, however, progress is being made on some necessary indoor projects.]

6) To photograph more wildflowers. [Where are the flowers? With the weather warming, it will be soon.]

7) To pray more, for myself and for those Liberal cousins that haven't changed their views in 40 years. [Got to do this one more...]

8) To have Mexican food or hot wings only once a week. This will be tough. [OK, once a week for each.]

9) To get my life more organized. Being disorganized costs $$$$$. [Working on it.]

10) To have the confidence to dive into those needed home projects and the persistence to get them finished. I have the skills, but sometimes lack the confidence. Well, not for anything electrical, but for glasswork, light plumbing, woodwork,... [Tasks - to rebuild the center sink drain and maybe add a new disposal later. Old backporch fan is down and awaiting the purchase of a new one. Got to replace screens on the back porch. Works in progress.]

11) To have zero french fries or Krispy Kreme doughnuts for January and only once per month afterward. [Success, I done it. No doughnuts thusfar this year. I backslid and had home fries during a beer tasting event.]

12) Get my basement cleaned out, move the air hockey table either to the basement or to the extra bedroom. [Not yet, a bit of progress, but not ready to move the air hockey table.]

13) Find a home for one of our 3 cats. I like cats, but we don't need 3 of them. [No change, yet.]

14) To cook at home more. As I am not teaching this next semester, I won't be using several hours a week to drive to and from the campus. [No change, other than the occasional batch of chili.]

15) To take some free training courses offered by the college. [Not yet.]

16) To do something with the 1978 Ford F-100 truck sitting in my driveway. Sell it, fix it, whatever... [Not yet.]

17) To have a yard sale, or at least put some stuff out at the street labeled "Free" for folks to haul away. And to call the Kidney Fund to come pick up the unsold yard sale stuff, so I don't have to cart it back to the garage/basement. Not selling much stuff is not the worst part of a slow yard sale. It is having to haul the junk back inside afterward. [Not yet.]

18) Blog more on my other blogs, too. [Yes.]

19) Donate more to our church. [A bit better than before.]

20) Fix the leaky shower valves in our back bathroom and reconnect the pipes (the disconnection was an emergency move). [Plan to get back to this soon, see college schedule remarks. Got to go back to Home Depot, again.]

21) Paint the main bathroom. Get rid of the larger mirror, replace with a smaller mirror. [Got the smaller mirror. Need to put the hooks and wire on the frame.]

22) Improve my Beer Karma on Beer Advocate, currently it is 165.6. Will explain that another time. [Up to 192.92 - now .]

23) Get the wireless router working, however necessary. [Not yet. I did extend ethernet cable through the crawlspace, so we now have a computer hook-up in the dining room for one of the laptops. Got to find the instructional CD to re-begin this project.]

24) Participate in at least one Tea Party event. [Haven't heard of any yet, but as Herman Cain is considering running for President, there should be some activity this spring.]

25) Read "Atlas Shrugged". I got a head start by reading the Cliff Notes version. Yeah, it is cheating of a sort, but I will understand the characters, etc., when I dive into this daunting book. [Finished it in about 3 1/2 weeks. Now awaiting the movie.]

26) Try to read two books per month, at least. [Did that. Reading the Cliff Notes version of "The Fountainhead" and "When Money Dies" about the Weimar Republic. Plan to read something else during March, too.]

27) Check out the local pawn shop for a used chainsaw. [Keep forgetting to do so.]

28) Clear front yard of all fallen oak leaves by the end of January. [Just a few scraps left.]

29) Repaint shutters when the weather warms. [When the warmer weather holds.]

[I would probably give myself a C+ for my efforts, taking the weather into account for the outside stuff.]

30) Expand xeriscaping in front yard. Repair rock walls. [Partial progress. I need a source of flat stones. I don't like to pay for rocks.]

31) Do some backyard landscaping. Clean up wildflower garden to prepare for spring. [Waiting for it to dry from the latest rains.]

New ones:

32) Collect more heavy mineral samples (including gold) by panning local creeks. Get more Geology photos.

33) Start a job-search for more part time work (or full-time in the local school system, if I can find a satisfactory position for teaching science.)

34) Reorganize my beer can collection, in order to have one more "blowout party" to show it off (haven't done so since it peaked in early 1994, for my 40th birthday). After that, I will recycle, sell it off when the spirit moves me.

[Maybe this is drifting away from the original idea, but if I need to publicize it to keep it on the front burner, then so be it.]

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Videos - What is a Classical Liberal?



Of the 10 Classical Liberal Principles listed, how many of them are adhered to by today's Libs?

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Just a Thought,...On Why Modern Liberals Ain't,...

vis-à-vis Facebook Liberals and their attacks on the Tea Partiers and Fox News.

If you were going to spend a few weeks in Israel, in order to make your visit as easy as possible, it is assumed that an intelligent person would spend time reading from a number of different resources, so as not to appear to be the stereotypical ignorant, arrogant American tourist, i.e., you would hopefully be perceived as slightly more mature and "worldly". It might not hurt to do some investigations as to the validity of hostility towards Israel, just as a "balance" and to be somewhat aware.

It seems to me that this preparation would not be well-accomplished if you only read from sources that were highly hostile to Israel, i.e., "Arab" and/or neo-NAZI and/or Leftist publications and websites.

Yet, otherwise "intelligent" (?) people only get their Tea Party info from Huffpo, MSNBC, CNN, Center for American Progress, and other august sources in their echo chamber. They wouldn't consider going to the original source for anything that challenges their worldview.

As I have stated before, when I was a Classical Liberal, I saw it as my "duty" to be informed as to the viewpoints of "the enemy". Over time, when subjected to the light of logic, the viewpoints of "the enemy" began to make more and more sense, thus I was able to escape, in so doing, admitting that I had been wrong.

I am just saddened that others seem unable and unwilling to evolve through the intake of more information and logical thought processes. In other words, "If I could do it, why can't they?".

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Did You Ever Notice...

that when Liberals accuse you of being "judgemental", they themselves are being judgemental? And that they get pissed off if you point this out?

Just a thought.

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Just a Few Thoughts on Ayn Rand's Objectivism vs. Christian Thought

Replying to one of my Facebook posts about the upcoming release of "Atlas Shrugged: Part 1", a more devout, young cousin of mine offered some objections to Objectivism, suggesting it was totally incompatible with Christianity. In my humble opinion, one doesn't have to "swallow" the entirety of Objectivism to appreciate the message of "Atlas Shrugged".

In my unsophisticated way, I offered the opinion on Facebook that one doesn't have to accept the atheistic "qualities" of Ayn Rand's philosophies and that as much as anything, "Atlas Shrugged" illustrates a scenario by which increasingly oppressive regulations - coupled with political favoritism and class envy - can bring about the collapse of a formerly free and vibrant United States [partial paraphrasing]. That drove me to wonder what sort of writings were available on Christianity vs. Rand's atheistic Objectivism.

The first two things I found were books on Amazon.com, which I will be ordering through a local bookstore, when time and budgets permit. The first one, reviewed here on Amazon, is "Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System", by John Robbins. From a review by Scott Ryan comes these selected passages:

"John Robbins is unlikely to receive much respect from Objectivists, since he is a devout Christian -- a sola-scriptura Biblical inerrantist whose critiques of Rand are mounted on a thoroughly Calvinist foundation and offered for clearly evangelical purposes."...

More:

..."Robbins is a follower of the late Gordon H. Clark..."

Still more:

..."Calvinism is no friend of irrationality and, especially as interpreted by Clark, assigns a_very_high place to reason and logic. As a student of Clark, Robbins develops his critiques with more respect than Rand ever showed in her entire life."...

Robbins also apparently wrote "Answer to Ayn Rand" in the 1970s, as a predecessor to "Without a Prayer". Ryan continues:

"...Rand started with her conclusions and worked backwards, very badly, to transfer those conclusions onto a foundation that will not support them. As her libertarian, free-market capitalist, limited-government conclusions in fact depend on a view of man and society that properly and in strict consistency belongs to Christianity (I would say to Western monotheism generally), they are -- for Rand -- "stolen concepts." It is only a matter of time until some of her followers work her premises_forward_and wind up with very different conclusions indeed."...

Continuing:

..."His demolition job is mostly an able one, with only an occasional misfire. Space will not permit a full discussion of Robbins' contentions here, but in my own view his best chapters are his sustained attacks on Rand's epistemology and theology."...

The second book is entitled "Reconsidering Ayn Rand", by Michael B. Yang, also reviewed by Scott Ryan (John S. Ryan). Some passages from Ryan's review:

..."Yang devotes much less detailed attention to Rand's philosophical errors and contradictions than does Robbins, on whose previous book Yang quite properly leans. But Yang complements Robbins' work by providing greater detail on just exactly how Rand misunderstood and/or misrepresented Christianity. Indeed, as he notes, it was a couple of her ill-considered remarks about the Bible that started him thinking to begin with.

In addition to providing fine summaries of Rand's two major novels and an outline of her philosophy, Yang also engages a few thinkers whom Robbins does not -- on both sides, from C.S. Lewis to George H. Smith (author of_Atheism: The Case Against God_). Moreover, he elaborates at some length on several broad principles at which Robbins only hints at in his own book, including (for example) the Christian theistic idealism which both Yang and Robbins have inherited from Gordon Haddon Clark."...

Ryan continues:

..."Yang's book is divided into two broad sections. In "Part One: The Fiction and the Practice," Yang provides the aforementioned summaries of _The Fountainhead_and ATLAS SHRUGGED and then spends several chapters describing the Objectivist views of self-esteem, competence, and romantic love. In "Part Two: The Philosophy," he provides the aforementioned outline of Objectivisim and proceeds to criticize the Objectivist views of reason, morality, government, and science -- in each case arguing that Christian philosophy deals much more adequately with the material in question than does Objectivism."...

Continuing:

"...Yang, like Robbins, depends heavily on Gordon Clark, whose Reformed/Calvinist theology gave_very_place to reason and rationality."...

Again, to my own simple thought patterns, there doesn't have to be an incompatibility between Christianity and rational, free-thought, as long as we recognize that there are boundaries to "where we go" with our thoughts, i.e., as long as we keep things in proper perspective. There does seem to be a perception among some Christians that engaging in deep thought leads one to question God, again invoking the aforementioned boundaries, it seems to me that I (we) are simply using the mind(s) that God gave us - as long as we maintain that proper perspective - that our thoughts, interpretations, and actions will always be flawed and subject to a higher judgement.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Equivalent of Screaming Into a Pillow...

is one reason why I still blog here. To write things that I can't say (in the spirit of some sort of diplomacy) on Facebook. Plus, it is cheaper than therapy.

I write here in relative anonymity because there are terribly misguided liberal cousins and foolish friends of my wife who still don't "get it" due to their intellectual laziness. Without doing their own research, they swallow anything served up to them by their masters, including a recent, sloppy leftist attack on Tea Partiers, just because it buttresses their worldview. No skepticism exists that will drive them to dig a bit deeper, no reading challenging views with an open mind. If Media Matters, Huffpo, or Jon Stewart say it, it is gospel to them.

From the linked NewsBusters post:

"Recently, the Los Angeles branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) released a video showing a group of protestors exhibiting anti-Muslim sentiments outside an ICNA fundraising dinner. Liberal media outlets ran with the press release as a way to highlight bigotry towards Muslims, with the video showing up on The Guardian, Think Progress, Salon, Mediaite, Huffington Post, and Hillary Clinton’s source for ‘real news’, Al Jazeera. Problem being, the video and press release is so bereft with false statements, distortions, and a cut and paste documentary style, it could have passed as a Michael Moore film."

Right away, if CAIR is involved, it is dubious at best. The gist of the subject is that outside of this ICNA fundraiser, there was a largely-peaceful protest by American citizens.

More:

..."The video attempts to portray the obnoxious portion of the protesters as the whole of the entire crowd. However, the Orange County Register paints a picture of a much more serene group of protesters, with many in the crowd waving American flags, singing patriotic songs, and tying red, white, and blue bandannas on their dogs. The report stated that, “the event had the atmosphere of a July 4th picnic.”

Problems began when a small group of individuals, separate from the several hundred peaceful protesters, started yelling and booing a mere 50 yards from the entrance to the event.

“As the fundraiser started, a splinter group of about 100 stood about 50 yards from the community center entrance and booed, yelled "go home" and chanted "no Sharia law" as attendees entered the building.”

The rogue faction was nothing more than a small percentage of the entire protest, and stood in their own separate area, but is clearly being featured in the video clip as representative of the entire group."


But this rogue faction is what was presented as the entirety of the "Tea Party" mindset, when the words "Tea Party" ARE NEVER MENTIONED in the NewsBusters post nor in two different Orange County Register articles. But truth and accuracy are not the pervue of CAIR or their cohorts.

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Holy Mother of Gatherings...

otherwise known as HMOG, is a BeerAdvocate gathering that takes place at the Brick Store Pub in downtown Decatur, GA each spring. The idea is that the attendees bring several bottles of exotic beers, i.e., stuff that ain't sold in Georgia, or else brands that were previously sold and the aged for more than one year.
Last year, I tried 44 new beers. Did a bit better this year, I tried 67 new beers, mostly 1 oz. samples over the course of 4 hours.

The gathered empty bottles are what are known as "beer porn".




The beers/ales tried during this year's HMOG:
Aiken Wee Heavy
Alesmith Old Numbskull
Anchor Our Barrel Ale
Ballast Point/Victory at Sea BA Imp Porter
Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury BA
Bend Hop Head Imperial IPA
Boulevard Saison
Brau Brothers Rubus Black
Brooklyn Black Ops 2010
Cantillion Kriek
Cascade Bourbonic Plague
Cigar City Either
Cigar City Guava Grove
Cigar City Or
Cigar City Vuja De
Coast Bulls Bay Oyster Stout
Coast Milk Stout
Coronado Red Devil Imp Red Ale
Craggie Dubbelicious
Craggie Herkulean Dark IPA
Deschutes Black Butte XXI
Deschutes Hop Hinge
Deschutes The Abyss 2010
Dogfish Head Fort
Firestone Walker 12
Firestone Walker 13
Firestone Walker 14
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Foothills Baltic Porter
Foothills Hoppyum IPA
Good People Brown Ale
Good People IPA
Goose Island Bourbon County Rare
Goose Island Pepe Nero
Goose Island Pere Jacques
Grand Teton Barrel Aged Quad
Hair of the Dog Fred #77
Lawson’s Fayston Maple Imperial Stout
Maui Big Swell IPA
McNeil’s Imperial IPA
Nebraska Hop God Belgian IPA
New Glarus Raspberry Tart
Odell Avant Peche Porter
Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale
Odell Levity Amber Ale
Olde Hickory Death by Hops
Pelican Mother of All Storms
Penn St. Nicholas Bock 2008
Rogue Old Crustacean 2004
Russian River Consecration
Russian River Supplication
Straight to Ales Unobtainium
Surly Abrasive
Surly Four
Surly Furious
The Bruery Oude Tart
Thirsty Dog Leg Humper
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus
Three Floyds Moloko Milk Stout
Troeg’s Nugget Nectar
Troeg’s Splinter`
Uinta Cockeyed Cooper BA Barleywine
Weyerbacher Riserva
White Birch Pale Ale
Widmer Brrrbon
Widmer Prickly Pear Braggot
Yellowhammer Tripel

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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Adventures in Stereotyping

Arguing with idiots. It is not just the title of Glenn Beck's book, unfortunately it is reality. Perhaps the teacher/dad/grandad in me has to try.

Actually, it isn't arguing, it is a passionate discussion on Facebook with two of my wife's long-time friends. I don't mean to try to pass myself off as any sort of an intellectual, but I do spend a great deal of time studying the issues and the players, for at least the last 25+ years.

In my political evolution, I had the courage to admit I was wrong about President Reagan. At the time, I didn't understand his policies - but I did appreciate his backbone - with the exception of the "rules of engagement" vis-à-vis the Beirut bombing and the follow-up. And as I received more info and analysis and "noodled it out", I evolved (I don't want to say I "progressed", as that word has been tainted).

I may get "unfriended" over this, it has happened before, because I pointed out that the two libs were engaging in stereotyping over an incident in which some Tea Partiers were behaving badly. I don't recall the exact incident and as we know, the biased reportage (involving CAIR and the Center for American Progress) could take "an ounce of truth and turn it into a pound of lies". But for the sake of diplomacy, I was willing to acknowledge that individuals are capable of behaving badly. [Update: This was not a Tea Party event. There was no mention of the words Tea Party in either of the two Orange County Register articles on the subject.]

But that wasn't enough. In their shallow, narrow minds, all Tea Partiers were guilty. I politely pointed out their stereotyping and I am sure that it will not sit well with them. I did "catch" one of them onetime. She said "I hate Sarah Palin.", to which I asked her "Why do you hate?". After stumbling and mumbling, she backed up and said she didn't agree with Sarah - which I acknowledged was fine.

When one doesn't change their views over the course of 30 to 40 years, how is that anything other than stagnant? When cause-and-effect have played themselves out time after time and more information is constantly available, how is it one doesn't grow? When gradually done "under the flag" of learning and self-improvement, it doesn't have be the same as backing down in public. It is just a bit sad that of all of the people I knew in El Paso (including these two who have moved elsewhere), no one seems to have advanced/evolved in their thought processes over the last 20 years, since I moved away. Not even from Liberal to Libertarian.

I have first cousins and former co-workers who are the same. So smug while stuck in the same mindset they had in college. Thinking of themselves as "free thinkers", while not acknowledging that other "free thinkers" may disagree with them. When I was a Classical Liberal, I saw it as my duty to listen to dissenting viewpoints and to engage in civilized debate. Maybe I didn't get the memo from Saul Alinsky. I do remember seeing his book "Rules for Radicals" in the Georgia Southern bookstore, but as I didn't consider myself to be a radical, it held no interest for me.

When it comes time to fully re-engage the job search, I may just dump my Facebook account all together, lest I be misunderstood. And to save myself the aggravation.

But what would I be if I didn't try? Sometimes all it takes is a different articulation of the same point to trigger an "ah ha! moment" of learning. I do wish that some of my political allies on Facebook would back me up a little more often, with well-articulated, polite responses.

Just sayin'.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Long and the Short of Capitalist Philosophy...

IMHO.

Last month I read "Atlas Shrugged" for the first time. Now I am re-reading "The Law", by Frederic Bastiat.

Will read something else by Ayn Rand before April 15th.

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