It’s the most wonderful time of the year

That’s right, it’s time for the Homestarloween Party!

Tim Boyd in The Hustler

I should have mentioned before that Tim Boyd has a witty column in the most recent Vanderbilt Hustler about the role of slavery in the Civil War. Yes, there are those at Vandy who just don’t see a connection.

Liberty blogs

Tonight I made some changes to the sidebar at the left. The main thing is the addition of a section of links to other (mostly) libertarian blogs, something I’ve been meaning to do for some time. There’s a lot of Cato people (Catoids) in there along with a few others, mostly in the D. C. area.

The tricky thing was to decide what to do with the overlap between this new section on the sidebar and the pre-existing “Friends” section. Since double-listing would be redundant and because it’s probably more useful to visitors to have all the libertarians in one listing, I decided to make the categories mutually exclusive. So if you run a libertarian blog, I guess we can never officially be friends. That also means Johan Norberg has been demoted from friend to libertarian (or maybe he’d consider that a promotion; I won’t ask him).

I’ve also added a few links in other categories lately, so take look around if it’s been a while. Today’s addition: Tony Packo’s online!

October Torch online

The October issue of The Torch is now online. Highlights include Trapper Michael’s “Yes Virginia, we still have an athletics department” defending Chancellor Gee’s restructuring of the athletics program and a debate over the PATRIOT Act (pro: Seth Wilson; con: Brent Dooley).

My own column is on the DC voucher legislation. Two publications from Cato worth reading on the subject are David Salisbury’s policy analysis “What Does a Voucher Buy?” and Casey Lartigue, Jr.’s op-ed “Mayor Williams wants school vouchers for D. C.

A gay time with Antonin Scalia

Last night I was at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 50th Anniversary Gala. The food, drink, music, dancing — all great. The speakers were a mixed bag, with Mitch McConnell and William F. Buckley, Jr., being the highlights.

Senator Rick Santorum being asked to lead the audience in saying the Pledge of Allegiance was an omen that not all would be as pleasant, and the remarks by Justice Antonin Scalia proved this expectation true. Despite a request for no visual media coverage, the AP has published this report of the event complete with photo.

The article is good, but by focusing only on what Scalia said about the recent Lawrence decision it misses the more astonishing and alarming quotes — such as Scalia calling the Bill of Rights an “afterthought” to the “real Constitution.” He wasn’t just being overly literal; throughout the speech he derided the liberal emphasis on individual rights as opposed to majority rule.

I’m sympathetic to the idea that our current view of the Constitution is more liberal rights oriented than the Founders’ was (see Akil Amar’s The Bill of Rights for an interpretation like this), but Scalia takes this view to absurd lengths. What, after all, makes the “real” Constitution so good except that it checks a government’s power over minority interests by enumerating and separating powers and establishing a federal system? (Fed 10, anyone?)

Scalia seemed to undercut his own argument when he concluded by praising ISI for bringing conservative minds together. He noted that this is important since people’s thoughts are effected by what the people around them think, which strikes me as a reason to be skeptical of majority rule.

The lesson of the night: hearing Scalia in front of a room full of supporters is a frightening experience.

Strindberg and Helium

This from my dad: www.strindbergandhelium.com. I think the Swedish playwright really comes into his own here, with Helium the balloon creature providing the perfect foil to reveal the darkness of Strindberg’s soul.

See also the Sundance Online Film Festival for some other odd creations.

And his parrot sings “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles!”

Chad Horne sent me this story today about a German man who has trained his dog, Adolf, to give the “Hitler salute” (right paw raised stiffly in the air). The article reads like something from The Slant, as it is revealed that the owner, Roland Thein, sports a Hitler mustache and a military tunic and has a dog house with the name “Adolf” emblazoned above the entrance. Thein is actually being prosecuted under Germany’s anti-Nazi laws, though for other infractions (even in Germany it was deemed unclear whether it was illegal to train an animal to perform Nazi tricks).

What I find ironic is that Adolf is reportedly a mongrel. Wouldn’t a guy so intent upon raising a Nazi dog at least start with a purebred?

[Update 2/21/05: As of today, comments on this entry are closed and many have been deleted. Too many racist morons have found this entry and left anti-Semitic or anti-black comments. I'm reluctant to censor and let it go for a while, but they became particularly hateful lately. I also don't want the 100 or so visitors per month who find my site through this entry walking away with the impression that that's the kind of conversation I'm trying to encourage here. If anyone has a problem with that I'm sending nordictypeguy's Nazi-busting kitten after you.]

A letter from Taco Boy

Ancient rivalries die and a new alliance takes shape, as The Queso Crusader receives a surprising offer from Taco Boy:

It was a hot summer day as I relaxed in my Cantina of Solitude with an ice cold margarita, a steaming bowl of queso, and a fresh batch of tortilla chips, when a note slid under my door. There was only one man who could reach me here, and I steeled my courage as I opened the envelope: it could only have come from my arch-nemesis, Taco Boy. But to my surprise, it was a letter of conciliation [signature typos and grammatical mistakes left in for authenticity]:

To my hated enemy, The Queso Crusher,

It seems that my nefarious plans to strand you in the UP have succeeded! Soon my minions will be upon you like so much fire sauce upon the luscious soft taco! While you may have been spending your time looking for something to do, I have been quite busy.

Upon the end of this thing you call “college”, I departed this country to bring Tacos to less fortunate people. I of course, refer to the people in your own nation who have not yet experienced the glory of tacos! Axl Rose, Bill O’Rielly, Steve Perry, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger looked upon me with teary eyes as I showed them the glories of the taco! Some of my critics have criticize me for not putting such efforts towards feeding the hungry. I tell you, there is a no-brainier when it comes to such nonsense. Which of these people looks more like they need a taco?
Axl Rose needs a taco

OR

No taco for you!

Clearly, the answer clearly Axl Rose. Think about it, there are tons of people willing to pay for the kid to get food. Who is going to make sure that such celebrities like Axl are exposed to such things? Also, he looks a bit famished after another concert.

After a month of doing such charity work, I felt the need for a vacation of my own. The place? The glorious Taco Bell that sits atop of Mt. McKinley! What a sight! AND I get all the Tacos I want!! It’s one of the best places I’ve been to — ever. Sadly, the Taco Bell hurtled to its doom to the bottom of the cliff. Guess we shoulda invested in that insurance. The only casualty was that annoying little dog. Ironic, aint it?

Mt. McKinley Taco Bell

I write this letter to you also to offer to you an alliance. Think about it. Queso Crusher and Taco Boy: ALLIES! The world shall tremble at our might! This is your last chance at redemption before I cover the world in fire sauce, and kill all the infidels.

Your Newfound Ally,
Taco Boy

Taco Boy, I accept your offer to bring tacos to the world, especially to the unenlightened celebrities. However, we will take no action until our alliance is complete. Yes, you know whom we need: Dr Pepper Man. Not just an alliance, but a Tex-Mex Triumvirate! Bring him into this, and the world belongs to us.

The Slant vs. Kristen Hinson

If Kristen Hinson ever retires from The Hustler, she will do to The Slant what Bill Clinton did to stand-up comedians when his time in office came to an end. She provides such easy material for satire that sometimes the biggest challenge she presents is resisting the urge to devote an entire issue to her. [Note to non-Vandy readers: The Hustler is our campus newspaper and, despite recent articles about such topics as sodomy and nipple licking, it should not be confused with the Larry Flint magazine of similar name.]

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at her Hustler editorial from a couple weeks ago, “Sodomy is ‘wrong,’ ‘disgusting’ and ‘perverse.’” This is the only piece of writing I’ve seen at Vanderbilt to get people more riled up than Brett Austin’s infamous “Need-based aid cost us all,” published in the premiere issue of The Torch (I would link to the column, but sadly it has been taken off the Web and dropped into the memory hole). Do a search on the Hustler website for “Kristen Hinson” to see the numerous responses.

Meredith Gray did prevent us from doing an all-sodomy issue, but there’s plenty of Hinson-related content nonetheless. Richie Green disagrees with Hinson, arguing that in fact the GBLT is a damn good sandwich. I actually take Kristen’s side, but do I have any idea what I’m talking about?

Around the Loop asks what other students find wrong, disgusting and perverse, the Top Ten lists upcoming Hustler editorials, and the horoscope, poll, and Other News all make a few references to our favorite Hustler columnist.

Just for fun, here is Hinson’s defense of her anti-sodomy column, and here is her Hustler debut, “Evolution is not a trusted theory by all scientists” (ably satirized by Andy Coz’s unpublished “My shoes turned into a rocketship”).

Please, Kristen, don’t ever retire. It would strain our creativity too much.

Slave reparations? Here, have a muffin!

A Vandy alumnus sent me this link today, suggesting that we might try holding our own Affirmative Action Bake Sale. Conservatives at SMU did it and created an uproar (unfortunately, the administration there allowed a heckler’s veto to end their activity).

Left-leaning students at Vanderbilt have beaten the right to the punch (see my comment at the end of the article). When they did it no one raised any objections; I wonder if, at apathetic Vandy, things would have gone differently if a conservative group had tried it first.

Google gets geographic

Google Labs has a new prototype feature that narrows a search by location. Not just a general location, but an exact location integrated with MapQuest. This could be really useful when it’s fully operational, and maybe even in its present form. Give it a try, it’s cool.

Link thanks to blogosphere.us.

Blast from the past

It’s not Jesus Clothes Day yet*, but one person is celebrating early. Somehow a high school blogger stumbled upon the parody ad created by Justin and me back in fall 2001 and inserted it into her webpage. I’m sure Ryan will be thrilled that his foray into knickers modeling is still getting attention.

*Since we made it up, I guess Jesus Clothes Day can be any day you want it to be. Or don’t want it to be. Just like Gay Jeans Day, which we didn’t make up.

Year’s first Torch online

It’s been out in print for about a week now, but the year’s first issue of The Torch is now also available online. Both editions have been given new layouts, and they look great!
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