Monday, January 31, 2011
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS
IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 PM EST TUESDAY... A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN
EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 PM EST TUESDAY. * ACCUMULATION: ONE QUARTER TO ONE
HALF INCH OF ICE. 1 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW. * TIMING: LIGHT SNOW WILL BEGIN TONIGHT...
MIX TO SLEET AND THEN FREEZING RAIN BY TUESDAY MORNING. FREEZING
RAIN IS EXPECTED TUESDAY. A CHANGEOVER TO RAIN IS EXPECTED
LATE TUESDAY...BUT MAY MIX BACK TO FREEZING RAIN BRIEFLY
TUESDAY NIGHT. * IMPACTS: ICE AND SNOW ACCUMULATION ON
UNTREATED ROADS WILL LEAD TO HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.
ACCUMULATING ICE MAY CAUSE TREE LIMBS AND WIRES TO BREAK..
. MAKING POWER OUTAGES POSSIBLE.
TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.
Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have "opted out" of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.
Read more on CNN.
Read more on the Telegraph.
"Israel and Egypt have been at peace for more than three decades and our objective is to ensure that these ties be preserved. At this time, we must display responsibility, restraint and utmost prudence."
Read more on MyWay.
Suddenly, everything changed. I got sick with flu-like symptoms. A doctor said it appeared to be an acute viral infection.
I have yet to recover. The infection has left me mostly house-bound and often bed-bound.
For the first few years of being sick, I lived in what I can only describe as a state of shock. I couldn't believe I wasn't getting better. When I didn't recover, I blamed myself. I fell into alternating states of anger, denial and despair.
Read more on NPR.
Richard L. O'Donnell, 69, was traveling south on Route 981 in Derry Township when his 2006 Toyota slid into the path of an oncoming 2005 Buick Rendezvous driven by Judy A. Bush, 65, of Ligonier, according to a report by state police at Greensburg.
I am writing to express my strong support for the Pennsylvania Statewide Building Code as it currently exists. This includes my support for the residential sprinkler requirements that are consistent with NFPA Guidelines and IRC recommendations.
My strong support of the sprinkler requirement is grounded squarely on the fact that sprinklers will save firefighters, civilians and property. In addition, I am concerned that various "special interests" may be providing inaccurate or misleading information regarding the costs and benefits of residential sprinklers.
Across the Northeast, full of large cities where people wear their brusqueness like a badge of honor, neighbors and even strangers are banding together to beat back what’s shaping up to be one of the most brutal winters in years — and it appears to be contagious.
“It seems to have started a whole grass-roots movement of people helping one another,” said Cindy Twiss, a school administrator who lives in Milford.
Read more in WT.
"I'm [irritated by] noise too, but this is classic government overreach," said Peter Yeo, secretary of the Board of Managers, of the group's recent 5-2 vote to change the landscaping rule. "Now working dads can't mow their lawns after work. Really? It's using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat."
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Our young artists put the fresh fallen snow to good use this past Thursday learning to mix the primary colors - we were all impressed with the tie-dye results!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
I don't want to live in a society envisioned by any one human being at all and I fail to see how contributions from either of these authors would serve to create a place in which I would not want to live.
Read more on Reason.
- FEBRUARY 4: Pittsburgh Steelers Pep Rally at the Diamond, enter of downtown Ligonier at 12 noon. Bring your "Terrible Towl!"
- FEBRUARY 4: Holy Trinity School Fish Fry, West Main Street, Ligonier. 4-7 PM.
- THROUGH FEBRUARY 12: The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley will celebrate the work of local artists with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Council for the Arts 15th Annual Regional Juried Art Exhibition. On view through February 12, the exhibition features 75 works from 75 individual artists from the 19 southwestern counties of Pennsylvania. Featured work will span a variety of media, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, metal, pastel, ceramic, stone, and photography, among others.
- THROUGH FEBRUARY 13: It's a Dash of Rosemary at the Ligonier Theatre. Come enjoy a musical revue of the songs made popular by Rosemary Clooney....February 4,5, 11 and 12th at 7:30 PM and February 6, and 13th at 2:30 PM. Calll the theatre at 724-238-6514 for ticket information.
- FEBRUARY 21: In honor of the President's Day holiday on February 21st, the Ligonier Township Muncipal Building will be closed.
May this email find you doing well and enjoying that second cup of morning tea or coffee.
This Wednesday, February 2nd will be Heather Kramer's final instruction for Heated Vinyasa Flow (6:00pm - 7:30pm). Join me for this energizing and always festive flow session! I will return to teaching the Wednesday evening class the following Wednesday, February 9th.
Also, as a few of the dedicated students who attend the Friday Morning Beginner's Class (7:30am - 9:00am) have flown south for the month of February, this class will become an "All Levels Class". This change is temporary and only applies for February. The Friday Intermediate Class (9:30am 11:00am) will remain an Intermediate Vinyasa Flow Class.
CLASS CANCELLATIONSPlease continue to check the website (www.earthlotusyoga.com) for up-to-date information on class cancellations prior to class. The website will be updated (2) hours before class with any changes.
TUESDAY EVENING & WEDNESDAY MORNING CLASSES ON PROBATIONIf attendance for the Tuesday evening class (6:00pm -7:30pm) and Wednesday morning class (9:30am - 11:00am) do not improve during the Winter Session, these classes will be removed from the Spring Class Schedule. The health of the Studio relies on each individual student. If you want to keep these classes on the schedule, please show your support!
ELEMENT QiGONG WITH LINDA VUCELICHWhen: Saturday, February 12th (snow date: Saturday, March 12th)
Time: 12:45pm - 2:00pm
Cost: $25.00 pre-pay/$28.00 same day
means "energy practice" and each element and season has its own distinctive energy telling us to live within these energies.
In this workshop, you’ll participate in a movement exercise which will contribute to understanding the feelings you may have in regard to seasonal changes as well as transforming the manner in which you navigate through the seasons. We'll learn an 8-posture Qigong practice, which corresponds to the seasons and the 5 Elements
A short meditation on the elements will conclude.
Experience an afternoon of balance, renewal, and calm.
OPEN HOUSE WITH GLOBAL LOVIN' AND JAMIE GLOVER
When: Saturday, February 26th
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Shake away those winter doldrums and enjoy an afternoon of light refreshments and shopping with Jamie Glover from Global Lovin' Imports (www.globallovin.com), a Fair Trade clothing and accessories with a Bohemian feel. Featuring hand dyed, hand crocheted clothes, NEW scarves, jewelry and artwork from Thailand. Portion of the proceeds go to F.A.C.E. (Fight Against Child Exploitation
CULTIVATING A HOME PRACTICE WITH MELISSA
When: Saturday, March 5th
Time: 12:30 - 2:00pm
Learn techniques to enjoy your yoga practice at home. Explore how to overcome obstacles that are keeping you from experiencing the joys of a home practice.
ORGANIZING FOR THE NEW YEAR WITH PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER JODY ADAMS
When: Saturday, March 19th
Time: 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Where Are Your Clutter “Hot Spots?”
It may be wintry cold outside, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t clutter “hot spots” inside. If you’re having trouble keeping your New Year’s resolution to get organized, then this workshop can give you the boost you need!
Join Jody Adams, CPO® and owner of In Its Place as she helps you to identify what’s causing your clutter and to develop solutions that fit how you live. Bring a pen and your clutter questions to this fun and interactive afternoon.
Have a most wonderful week!
In Love & Light
(home & business phone)
Earth Lotus Yoga Winter Class Schedule 2011
9:00 am - 10:30 am Intermediate
9:00 am - 10:30 am Beginner's Yoga
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Intermediate Yoga
7:30 am - 9:00 am All Level Yoga
9:30 am - 11:00 am Intermediate Yoga
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Heated Vinyasa Flow
7:30 am - 9:00 am All Level Yoga
9:30 am - 11:00 am Friday Flow - Intermediate Yoga
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Dharma Talks (2nd Friday of each month)
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Restoratives Yoga (Final Friday of each month)
8:30 am - 10:00am Intermediate Yoga
10:30 am - 12:00 pm 6-Week Beginner's Yoga (beginning 15 January)
The best case from my perspective is for the violence to abate. That would allow the inchoate reform impulses within the protest movement to coalesce around a clear alternative to Mubarak. And if Mubarak somehow manages to stay on a while longer, I hope that he will use that respite to move Egypt towards a genuine democracy, not merely invoke fears of further chaos in the country as an excuse to perpetuate his autocratic rule.
Read more on CATO.
A high school principal in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is defending a policy of separating an underperforming segment of the student body -- and he's not talking about the Amish.
Read more on Reason.
This was first posted to YouTube last summer, but has gone viral in the last 24 hours after someone posted it to Reddit. The Reddit post says it's set in Wildwood, New Jersey, and begins as police are writing a guy a ticket for wearing a t-shirt with profanity. I can't find a news account of the incident to verify that. Read more on Reason TV.
But Mr. Ryan is widely portrayed as an intellectual leader within the G.O.P., with special expertise on matters of debt and deficits. So the revelation that he literally doesn’t know the first thing about the debt crises currently in progress is, as I said, interesting — and not in a good way.
Read more in the NYT.
Read more on FP.
Doug Hill, Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association pointed out, "Many of our commissioners also report that the companies have reached out to them with an appreciable and appreciated civic-mindedness." But then Hill added, "Simply relying on the ad-hoc civic-mindedness of each of these companies, we don’t think is fair or equitable, and certainly not a long-term solution."
Using Hill's logic one would have to conclude that you can never rely on the 'ad-hoc civic mindedness' of the private businesses, nonprofit groups, charities, or private individuals, and every aspect of our economy must be carried out by the government. That is, if you assume government officials are always looking out for the public good, and not just on an 'ad-hoc' basis.
Read more on CF.
There is something inherently wrong with our current government-run, zip code based school system if it is creating groups of educational haves and have nots based solely the address of the parent.
That is why the introduction of SB 1 is so important to the educational futures of tens of thousands of students who a being forced to attend a school that is failing to prepare them for a successful future simply because of their parent's address.
Read more on CF.
Read more on Monster.
“It takes a whole lot of money to serve this (population),” Osborn said. “At the end of the day, there’s no way I can spend $14,000 on a line and bill a customer $16 a month. We couldn’t do it without (the federal dollars).”
Obama said the broadband goals far exceed convenience.
Read more in the WT.
These measures reflect a reflexive urge to regulate even the smallest elements of human behavior, from the flavorings in cigarettes to the type of fats in restaurant meals to the number of bullets a magazine may hold. Some people apparently sit around thinking, "What's the good of having all this government power if we're not going to use it?"
Read more on Creators.com.
The Maryland State Board of Education chastised Montgomery County's school board last week for its anti-charter bias when it overturned the county's rejection of two charter schools.
The state said Montgomery "failed to provide any rationale for its decision" against Global Gardens Public Charter School and that it was "very concerned" by biases among three board members. In a questionnaire of candidates for board re-election, then-President Patricia O'Neill said she was "skeptical about charter schools" and "worr[ies] about the draining of funds from MCPS."
Global Gardens board member Ashley Del Sole said she knew "we never had a chance" when applying to the Montgomery school board. "Their schools are among the best. It's the 'why fix what's not broken' mentality."
Only four charter schools are open in Virginia, with none in Northern Virginia. Arlington-based Imagine Schools, a nationwide charter operator with three locations in the District and three in Prince George's County, is in "the exploratory phase" of applying for a charter in Loudoun County, a spokeswoman said.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/01/charter-schools-boom-parents-seek-more-options#ixzz1CWwJNyyC
Saturday, January 29, 2011
May we suggest a venture to the countryside
Make any one of the nine artfully decorated units at Huddleson Court your home in the country as you turn a night away into a relaxing escape.
The Cabin Fever special continues through February 11.
*The lesser-priced of two nights at Huddleson Court is free for new reservations only.
The 10-part series (each episode is about seven minutes), written and directed by Whitehall's Chris Preksta, has a retro look (think: "The Rocketeer") and is set in Pittsburgh in 1975 as an office worker (Mark Tierno) is trapped when his building is seized by the Mercury Men.
RKM CLOCK SYSTEM $30,000.00
WIRELESS INTERNET $40,000.00
SECONDARY TEXTBOOKS $85,000.00
CONTINUOUS READING PROGRAM $300,000.00
So, far I understand the requests for the wireless internet and continuous reading programs and will suggest to the board that we say NO to the requests.
Anyone have more information on the other "new" requests?
mama mia mama mia let me go...
Jewels...Didn't know you were taping! Good sound. ;)
Use hospitality to one another without grudging. (1 Peter 4:9)
Why would anybody want to come into our house to stay? Our outside yard is never fully manicured. Our house is cluttered and too full of things. We often are busy with other activities that keep us from being the “perfect hosts.”
And yet I married a hospitable woman. She’s always been ready to open her door to those with special needs.
As I look back there were many that came and stayed for a while. There was the woman who was so lonely and distraught that she considered suicide. She stayed for a few weeks.
There was the man who was reluctant to enter a church because “It might fall down.” He came for a little time to “dry out.” He stayed a couple of weeks.
There was the homeless woman who stopped by from time to time to get a meal, to clean up and get a good night’s sleep. The odor she left behind reminded us of how difficult it is to be homeless.
There was the woman who stole from our church and stayed in the parsonage with us (along with her young daughter), with the church’s blessing, to try to help her and to provide a good environment for the child.
The common denominator here was persons with special needs and our God-given place (continued at Alphabet of Bible - Letter U)
Friday, January 28, 2011
Then, he casually mentioned a few other songs by Queen that have great lyrics and I heard the words......
Bohemian Rhapsody. Boy someday it would be nice if we tried that song, I said, looking out at the eyes sparkling back at me.....and sooooo, we sang ...
a capella...and in various keys......
and it was wonderful. ;)
if you don't live in the "no birds allowed" Ligonier Borough and want to have a small chicken coop, take a look at this
Hen house capacity-
This is a medium sized chicken coop. It’s plenty of space for four to six chickens.
There's 8 linear feet of roosting space for the chickens. In cooler weather, you'll notice the chickens roosting closer together. In warmer weather, they'll spread out a bit so they'll need the space the space the roosting sticks provide. It's plenty of room.
Chickens tend to dislike the heat. A white roof on this coop reflects the sunlight, cooling down the coop. And, it's a well ventilated coop with the wire covered window and extra ventilation holes.
Made in the U.S. A. Read more about it and see other coops on Clean Air Gardening.
After identifying the vehicle and person in question, Hughes said a decision was made on the scene for police to attempt contact. They were able to communicate with him and he voluntarily exited the vehicle. No weapon was found and the individual was taken into custody without incident less than 20 minutes after police arrived on scene.
The individual was talking on a cell phone at the time of the incident. It's likely that is the object the passerby identified as a gun.
Read more on Kirksville Daily.
A little something sweet for your SWEETIE! Nobody can resist these special Valentine's Day cakepops!
in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet.Read More...
...this sequencing looks like people getting phone calls, one at a time, telling them to take themselves off the air. Not an automated system that takes all providers down at once; instead, the incumbent leads and other providers follow meekly one by one until Egypt is silenced.
Pray for peace.
Stop in at MerJo on Main Street for some great STEELERS 'stuff' especially the Oreo Football Cookies dipped in CHOCOLATE ! YUMMM - we now carry Bedford Candies, all Hand Dipped and some of the BEST Chocolate around. (Stop in and ask for a sample)
Some of the other items you will find are HAND CRAFTED Jewelry, Scarfs, Wreaths, Quilted Banners and Stain Glass Designs just to mention a few of the treasures that you will find at our store. Remember most all of the items sold at MerJo on Main Street are crafted by LOCAL WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA ARTISANS. We have so much talent in the area we really need to showcase it.
If you are interested in being a part of our store give us a call or stop by - we love to see your work.
Don't let the SNOW keep you from shopping . . . .
MerJo on Main Street
331 W. Main Street
Wednesday - Saturday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday - 12 Noon - 4:00PM
Dwarfing the other cost-cutting proposals on the table, Mr. Paul‘s plan would gut the Education and Energy departments and impose across-the-board spending cuts, including in the Pentagon‘s budget. He dismissed criticism that his plan is too radical.
Read more in the WT.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Sure, I’ll keep playing along. In this comment, Anon is responding to my initial response (Post 1) to Diane’s claim about the perils of eating breakfast at school. After that, I made two more posts (Post 2 and Post 3) about the claim. Anon, look at Post 2, and by all means, feel free to rebut it, accept it, or ignore it. The good readers of this blog can then decide for themselves what they find convincing—that, as you profess, Diane’s claim “is not absurd in the least”; or that, as I profess, the claim is as absurd as they come, a piece of unqualified BS; or perhaps somewhere between those extremes. They can also look at Post 3 and decide whether they think I am insulting to those with whom I disagree or if I am unfairly misrepresenting Diane’s position.
Now I admit, my initial response was sarcastic and facetious. But sometimes a piece of alarmist hyperbole calls for a piece of alarmist hyperbole in response. My hyperbolic sarcasm had a purpose: to extend the reasoning inherent in Diane’s claim. If accepting a meal from a school breakfast program could result in a child becoming a GOVERNMENT-dependent drone and later becoming a bad parent, couldn’t it stand to reason that my own acceptance of government-related favors could have dreadful consequences for my character? That accepting my mail from a federal employee or having ridden a school bus as a kid could make me want to knock baby birds from their nests? But that’s just absurd, you say. Exactly. About as absurd as the notion that eating breakfast at school could turn someone into a bad parent.
In a follow-up comment, Diane said, no, let me clarify, it’s OK for government to do certain things, like mail, defense, build roads, etc. And that leads me to today’s opening topic: that is a distinction that could have been made in the first place! What I wish to challenge is the practice of using the word government as a blanket term that, for the person using it, essentially stands for “things I don’t like.” But when I think of government, maybe I think of my high school classmate Patrick, a lifelong government employee who has been in the army since 1987 and is currently serving his umpteenth tour in Afghanistan. I might think of Mary at the post office. I might think of the nice folks at park headquarters in Linn Run, who cheerfully let me thaw out by their woodstove after I’ve been out hiking in the rain or snow (Isn’t their fire built and maintained at taxpayer expense? Couldn’t I build my own fire? Won’t such dependence have ruinous consequences for my moral fiber and society at large?). Or John, the state prosecutor. Or Jill, who works in the crime lab. The list goes on.
But it often seems that including these things under the umbrella of the term government is now frowned upon as somehow illegitimate. In the Libertarian Conservative Constitutionalist (as Anon describes her preference) lexicon of today, government needs to mean “things I don’t like” and liberty needs to mean “things I do like” (just as the American people means “people who share my preferences”). Lexicons matter, as we know from Orwell. Renaming the Department of War the Department of Defense shapes our thinking, though it is much less accurate (which is, of course, the whole intention). One person’s “social safety net” is another person’s “nannyism.” And it seems the burden is on me, the receiver of the language, to bring to mind the intended and precise things each word needs to conjure. But let’s have some of the burden on you folks, the speakers of that language. If you want more precision in what we conjure up, then use more precision in your language to begin with. Too often, vague and fuzzy language provides a cover for vague and fuzzy thinking. (Is government always the enemy of liberty? Isn’t government ever the guarantor of liberty? Shades of gray, complexity alert, does not compute…)
So this is my friendly challenge: try to refrain from using government as a blanket term for “bad stuff.” See if you can do it. If so, communication will be cleaner for all of us. Now, I’m not so pedantic as to say that the word isn’t ever necessary or appropriate. When speaking in a very general sense (as Lincoln did in the Gettysburg address: “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”), then it’s a fine word. When distinguishing between public and private sectors in a general sense, it is often a useful shorthand. But if you simply say government, then be prepared to include cops and VA hospitals. If you mean something more precise that doesn’t include these things, then be more precise. (Federal, state, or local? Executive, legislative, or judiciary? Elected official or appointed? Bureaucracy? Inefficiency? Greed? Then address those topics as topics).
For example, faceless bureaucracy is often a culprit. Some of the most excruciatingly frustrating experiences of my life have been in dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. I could use that to construct a narrative about how bad government is. But the truth is, my experience with the DMV has much more in common with my equally painful experiences with Comcast “customer service” (another great Orwellian term) than it has in common with Linn Run State Park. I think bureaucracy is the culprit here, not government, though the two do, as we all know, too often coincide. When a government agency misspends funds, we have a right to be upset. But is it accurate to turn it into a narrative proclaiming that they misspent funds because they are government? Anyone know of any privately-held entities that misspend funds? Did they do so because they are privately held? Am I making sense here?
There’s a further danger in some of the current ways of speaking and thinking about government. It is as though government is an alien presence, an impersonal occupying force from another planet. Now I know it can often feel this way. Faceless bureaucracy contributes to this. The influence of big money on politics contributes to this. The lack of actual, responsive governing (proposing real solutions to real problems), as opposed to endless campaigning and posturing, contributes to this. But there is a danger to forgetting that sometimes and in some ways, government is us. If we don’t acknowledge this, then we as a people are off the hook for the things our government does. Many of our global escapades drive me crazy, and it would be easy to just say, well, that’s our government doing that stuff, not me. But something inside won’t let me. When agents of the US govt. blow up innocent people in far-off lands and build secret prisons and torture and all the rest, I am not just alarmed because I disagree with these policies—I am sick because I know, deep down, that they are committing these acts in my name. (I know some folks out there are already questioning my patriotism—hang with me, though). My friends and family in the service, like their colleagues, are faced with daunting tasks in impossible situations. They (and we as a country) have real enemies and face real dangers. I know that. And they do those things in my name and for my sake. In this, government is not alien and abstract. But it would be cowardly and intellectually dishonest of me to accept the solace provided by these government actions but then claim that government is an impersonal alien presence when it does things in my name that I don’t abide by. So the convenient dichotomy between we the people and the bad, bad government can insulate us from accountability and provide cover for moral cowardice, too.
Freedom and liberty are other vague and fuzzy terms that can mask complexity. Don’t get me wrong—I love freedom and liberty. Who wouldn’t? Freedom is always good, right? But is it always that neat and tidy? Is squashing freedom ever a good or necessary thing?
The Preamble to the Constitution provides a convenient rationale for the document’s general purposes (thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, I still know the preamble by heart and can sing it in my head): We the People of the United States, in Order to  form a more perfect Union,  establish Justice,  insure domestic Tranquility,  provide for the common defence,  promote the general Welfare, and  secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. I enumerated the objectives so that we could see and compare them. We see something about liberty near the end. Wouldn’t it be great if all the objectives worked harmoniously together all the time? But what if providing for the common defense came into conflict with liberty? What if the government forcibly conscripted someone into government service, stripping him of his very liberty, in the name of a common good? What a libertarian nightmare.
What if liberty came into conflict with justice?
Last May, after winning the Republican primary for Senator from Kentucky, Tea Party and libertarian hot ticket Rand Paul gave an interview on MSNBC. He was asked how his somewhat unorthodox views would play out in real world policy matters. He was asked how his support for extremely limited federal government affected his view of the Civil Rights Act, for example. Would he have voted for it? In a previous interview, he had said that banning discrimination in public institutions might be OK, but interfering with private business owners as to whom they could serve or whom they could hire was not OK. Government should not force private businesses to abide by civil rights laws. Same goes for the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said.
Now, I give Rand Paul some credit. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is probably fine with the fact that lunch counters in the south are no longer segregated. He went on a news show and spent a long time subjecting his views to critical scrutiny. He responded to forthright questions with fairly forthright answers. (Just think about how rare that is becoming these days). He was consistent in applying his principles to their logical applications on policy. He spoke his mind and ignored orthodoxy. And as a result of all this, the Republican establishment immediately acted to rein him in, saying in effect, OH MY GOD, DON’T EVER DO THOSE THINGS! And Paul spent the next days and weeks backpedaling and distancing himself from himself. What happened?
Rand Paul simply stepped on a landmine called ideological purity. The Civil Rights Act was the culmination of a hundred years of Jim Crow. In the years before the Act, action from the bottom up (local people in churches and diners) and action from the top down (the federal government) converged to finally break the death grip of local and state segregationists. The Supreme Court struck down state and local laws. Congress passed overriding federal legislation. Eisenhower sent federal troops to integrate schools. Common folks in the south marched the streets and filled the jails (try to hear “This Little Light of Mine” being sung in the background as you read this).
So Rand Paul faced the horns of a classic dilemma. He could choose horn A (ideological purity), and stick to his libertarian principles of telling the federal government to stay out of local or private affairs, which would mean impaling himself on the willingness to be on the wrong side of history and justice, and placing himself in the company of Bull Connor and Orval Faubus. Or he could avoid that fate by choosing horn B, which would mean impaling himself on this admission: that the federal government squashed the freedom of individual citizens to do what they wanted to with their private property and businesses; the federal government sent in armed troops and, under threat of force, took over matters (like schools) that were under state and local provenance; and the results of all this were, by and large, GOOD.
Yikes. Poor guy. He was stuck. (I have to say, though, in one interview, Rand Paul said that since the forces that Martin Luther King was working against were the government—segregationists—and that since he, Rand Paul, was pushing back against government, that his goals and values were in perfect alignment with those of MLK. Now THAT is some seriously muddled thinking that results from an imprecise use of the word government.)
In an ideologically pure world, maybe Paul has a point. I honestly can’t quote offhand the constitutional basis for saying that one individual has the right to eat in a private business owned by another individual. But I do know that for enough of us, the idea of legally-sanctioned segregation is so abhorrent, so antithetical to the notion of a “more perfect Union,” that we don’t give a damn about ideologically pure worlds. We care what happens in this world.
So one point is that even freedom may not always be the highest good, if in conflict with justice, for example. And government, even the federal government, may not always be an unqualified villain. Government and freedom and liberty are fine words, sometimes even elegant in their simplicity, that often mask deep complexity.
Another point is that ideological purity can get in the way of actually governing. We’re going to have a case study play out before our very eyes. Folks have recently been elected and have come to Congress pledging to set things right. These folks said, Our highest priority is to fix the deficit. They sounded serious. But these same folks are ideologically committed to the unpaid-for tax cuts that helped create the deficit in the first place. But at least they will be pure.
We can do it all by cutting government spending, they say. Except we won’t do anything meaningful with entitlements and military spending (comprising the overwhelming bulk of our spending), because people who voted for me like those things. And if people like them, they don’t really count as government. Because government means “things we don’t like,” remember? Don’t worry, we can do it.
Lots of people want desperately to believe they can do it. What are the odds that ideological purity is powerful enough to conquer the demands of real-world governance (not to mention the demands of arithmetic)? What are you telling yourself? Can you tell if you really believe it will work? There is a way to test yourself: