Friday, July 13, 2007

Nobody Left But the Ghosts at the George & Dragon

Thanks to the relentless insanity of light rail construction down Central Avenue -- the main drag here in Phoenix -- many longtime businesses are going under. I just learned that one of my favorite restaurants, the George & Dragon, may soon be one of the casualties.

An English-style pub run by real Brits, the George & Dragon is a treasure. Not only do they serve wonderful, pub-style food -- fish and chips, bangers and mash and roast lamb to die for -- but, in very English fashion, they even have their own ghost.

At least one ghost, maybe more.

Several of the waitresses have regaled us with accounts of their encounters with the supernatural in that place. One young lady was quite alone in the (too small to hide anybody) restroom when she heard loud and insistent sobbing coming from right there inside. Another spotted a gentleman with a hat sitting in the far corner of the dining-room, went to fetch him a menu, and found him gone, even though there was no way past her in that small space. I'm told the manager refuses even to venture into the dining-room late at night after the lights are out.

Well, by the end of the summer the ghosts may have the place all to themselves.

Not only is this sad, it's criminal. How the city is able to get away with this is beyond me. It is literally strangling the life out of once-vibrant business along the Central corridor, all for a light-rail boondoggle that's thirty years out of date before it's even completed.

I hope the proprietors of these businesses sue the city of Phoenix. What's more, I hope they win. Will "the people" lose if this happens? Pardon me, but the people lost before the construction even started.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pink Pistols and Cold, Dead Fingers

Apparently only heterosexuals have rights under the Second Amendment. Bill O'Reilly's whacko-homophobe guest, Rod Wheeler, launched a lurid urban legend in late June about lesbian gangs -- supposedly all over the country -- on the basis of a story about a group of lesbians who helped a friend defend herself from sexual assault.

This time Fox has really outdone itself. When we are bashed, evidently we're all just supposed to lie down, take it and like it. If we dare to defend ourselves, some asshole like Wheeler will get on a Right-Wing program and warn the world that we're invading. It's Lesbian Jihad!

Particularly disgusting was Wheeler's attempt to smear the Pink Pistols. I happen to belong to the PP's, both because I enjoy shooting and because I want to be able to use my handgun proficiently (and safely) if I ever need to defend myself against a violent assault. That anybody could hate gays enough to claim we don't even have the right to basic self-defense is simply beyond the pale.

Next time anybody from this crowd tries to claim that they don't hate us, I've got the perfect response: BULLSHIT!

They'll get my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. The day only hateful bigots can be armed is the day America is over.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"No Flags of Truce, No Cries of Pity"

"As I returned across the fields I'd known
I recognized the walls that I once made,
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
of walking on the mines I'd laid..."

-- "Fortress Around Your Heart," by Sting & The Police

How many conservatives, I wonder, are really bigoted and hateful -- and how many have simply been demonized by their political rivals on the Left?

On the other hand, conservatives tend to do the same thing to liberals.

This mindless villification seems to stem from the all-out nuclear war now raging between Left and Right in American politics. At stake now is the almost total ability for the "victors" to tyrannize everyone else according to their own narrow ideology.

Were the powers of the State confined to what they should be -- performing the few tasks private citizens cannot do better -- there would be much more room for civility and understanding between those on the Left and those on the Right.

I know many good-hearted, decent and well-intentioned people on both sides. Far too few of them seem to recognize it in those on the other.

This war is tearing families, friendships, marriages and religious bodies apart. It is utter madness.

Bringing an end to politics that poison our souls by enabling the inner tyrant within each of us is the only way to stop the madness and restore us to peace.

I have come to believe, very literally, that a return to classical liberal, libertarian politics is the only way out of the hell to which we have damned ourselves.

We need to start seeing one another as people again, and recognizing our shared humanity, which is the only true source of our God-given rights and intrinsic value. Otherwise, the balkanization of our country -- which may have originated on the Left, but is now being perpetuated very nearly as much by the Right -- will surely destroy us. It will not end until we have destroyed each other.