Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Readable Reads & Mapping Oddities -OR- Seaside Libertarian Delights

**Updated 12:59AM 6/25/2014: See below.**

Stormy skies with Hurricane Irene passing offshore as seen from Sunny Isles Beach in Miami - Dade, Fla., Aug. 24, 2011.


Hello everybody ...

This entry will not be too long, or at least I'm not planning a lengthy one. Mostly, I just want to post a few article excerpts with political images (I haven't had many of those lately) and (time permitting) return to my "geographic trivia" feature.

I've been quite busy at work with activities related to a certain kind of compliance issues for certain kinds of projects that I quite enjoy and that gets me involved at a level of specificity at the local level that almost turns me into a self-parody of a bureaucratic (though I'm actually a contractor). But these have happy outcomes.


A dramatic / eerily lit evening sky last Thursday two days before Hurricane Irene over Washington, D.C., 7:49PM, Aug. 25, 2011. A frontal system had passed through with strong / severe t-storms about 60 miles southeast of D.C. with mammatus clouds painted golden-yellow by the setting Sun. (Mammatus clouds are formed in powerful thunderstorms by what amounts to an "upside down convection" in the anvil-head.)

Speaking of Hurricane Irene, I should note that the U.S. death toll from the tropical cyclone is at least 40, if only from all the flooding. I'm guessing the NHC/NWS will retire the name.

The K-storm has formed waaaay out over the Atlantic -- a "Cape Verde" storm. It is "Katia", except I don't know how to pronounce that.

The track of Tropical Storm Katia -- expected to become a major hurricane by the weekend -- issued by NHC at 11PM EDT Aug. 30, 2011.


It's way too soon to know if the storm will strike / impact the East Coast. I sorta hope it stays away because its arrival on its current trajectory would be circa Sept. 9th -- coinciding with my postponed Jersey shore trip with Gary and maybe LP to Wildwood Crest. However, at this point, it appears a trough will pick it up and recurve the storm out into the North Atlantic well before it reaches the Eastern Seaboard.


Awww, puppy ...

A young lady walking a dog carrying a big, broken stick. This is at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and R Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:52PM, Aug. 24, 2011.


Readable Reads -OR- Columns of Note

First, I would like to point readers to two excellent Michael Lind pieces from Salon and two other pieces from The New York Times, one by Paul Krugman and another by Ross Douthat.

Ha ha


The first one by Michael Lind concerns the fundamental incompatibility of libertarianism with representative democracy (pluralistic or parliamentary) and instead it invariable advocates / supports fascism.

In this piece, Lind lays out clearly the case why libertarianism -- a profoundly utopian philosophy of supposed total individual freedom championed for decades by immature young American men sitting in their underwear in their parents' basement -- in the real world ends up being antithetical to any style of democracy and rather becomes a champion of brutal corporate fascism.

He also cites the Cato Institute with its bought-and-paid for corporate gigolos where Jose Piñera is on their payroll. He is "a former functionary of a mass murderer" (the late and hopefully in hell Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet), having been in Pinochet's "cabinet." This Piñera is also the brother of the current president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.

Pinochet's own brutal rightwing corporate "free market capitalist" police state -- where "[m]any of its victims were drugged and taken in military airplanes to be dropped over the South Atlantic, with their bellies slit open while they were still alive so that their bodies would not float and be discovered" -- was (and is) much admired by the Usual Suspects of the right in America including the Chicago School.

Today, hard-core libertarians dream of "'seasteading,' or the creation of new, microscopic sovereign states on repurposed oil derricks, where people who think that Atlas Shrugged is really cool can be in the majority for a change."

In short, the libertarian's utopia leads instantaneously to authoritarian, if not police state, corporate fascism and brutality. But the libertarian is so doped up on a crazy utopianism that they (as Lind notes) would prefer pre-Civil War slavery in lieu of a Department of Labor or progressive taxation. Deranged.


The other Michael Lind piece is simply beyond what I can quote on this blog, though I suspect my long-time friend Aaron would enjoy reading it. The piece is entitled "Secular humanists on the real planet of the apes" and it argues that "as fundamentalism gets stronger, post-religious liberalism offers a naive and sentimental creed" that simply is at odds with human nature.


Paul Krugman in his Monday New York Times op-ed talks about the extreme anti-science, if not outright outright anti-knowledge, bent of today's GOP. In addition, I VERY highly recommend as a daily read his New York Times online blog.


Finally, Ross Douthat (a conservative but usually thoughtful columnist at The New York Times) has a piece entitled American Theocracy, Revisited.

He writes that liberals are excessively worried about rising American religious fundamentalism, in particular seeing it as a growing existential threat. He argues that (1) the American fundie right is big and complicated; (2) don't assume GOP politicians (even Rick Perry, though (I say) probably Michele Bachmann) believe what their most extreme religious backers believe; (3) don't assume massive conspiracies when GOP voters vote against people they don't like; and (4) those fundie voters are often "mobilized" by the GOP machine, these voters actually rarely (if ever) get what they want.


**Updated 12:59AM 6/25/2014: Content removed.**


Eleanor Roosevelt (!) and Frank Sinatra at some formal event called "Girls Town Ball" in Florida, March 12, 1960.

When I answer that question, "What historical figures would you like to meet?", Eleanor Roosevelt is always in my top 5.


Geographic Trivia Oddity: Henry MO's Tightwad

In this entry, the geographic oddity featured is a place name rather than a boundary. Specifically, I feature the village of Tightwad, Missouri, an incorporated community of approx. 65 people in HENRY County, Missouri.

Here is a map of Missouri with Henry County and the village of Tightwad highlighted.&

As for why the town has that name, here the Wikipedia article on the town and its name origin. It's probably just as accurate as anything else for these kinds of things.

The city limit sign for Tightwad, Missouri, which I found online.


And with that, I will end this entry. My next planned update will be either tomorrow or Thursday, possibly Friday. 


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