iowahawk: Fear and Loathing in the Mystery Machine

gives us Fear and Loathing in the Mystery Machine: Excerpts from the never-aired 1973 Scooby Doo episode with guest star Hunter S. Thompson

This combination was a natural and completely hilarious. Uptight folks who’ve never read Dr. Gonzo be warned – drugs, foul language and Scooby Doo walking on his hind legs.

Saturday morning in the late ’60s was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe Roadrunner or Johnny Quest or Space Ghost or Lancelot Link Secret Chimp meant something. Maybe not, in the long run …but no explanation, no mix of words or music or can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in front of that Zenith console color TV eating a gigantic bowl of Quisp. Whatever it meant.

And that, I think, was the handle–that sense of the inevitable victory, and that we were part of it. In the end we would unmask the ghost as the Old and Evil town banker, or kill those evil frogmen in a really cool explosion; our pre-sweetened, vitamin-fortified energy of youth would simply prevail. We were shooting the curl of a beautiful cartoon wave and nothing could stop us, except when our moms would yell at us and then we would have to go outside and maybe ride our minibike around for a while. Now, less than five years later, if you turn on Saturday TV and look at the cheap washed-out backgrounds in a certain way you can see where the wave broke and rolled back, and broke and rolled back, in an endless Xeroxed repetition.

More Power of Freedom: Lebanese, Egyptian, even Palestinian and Syrian

What a couple of days for the Bush Doctrine.

Lebanese people buck their government and protest Syrian occupation.

Mubarak announces multiparty Presidential elections in Egypt.

Neither of those are outside the realm of something we might have expected to eventually happen. After all, some Lebanese have taken up arms against Syria in the past, so demonstrations aren’t without precedent. Egypt of course has an ‘authoritarian’ government, but has also been a moderate voice in Arab politics and has for some time had the trappings of democracy despite falling short on substance. But there were other surprises.

Abu Mazen responded to the latest terrorist attacks on Tel Aviv by saying, rightly, that they are “against Palestinian interests” and won’t be tolerated. Not surprising since even Arafat could say the right words about terrorism as long as he was speaking English. But there’s substance here. The Palestinian Authority received intelligence from the Israelis and used it to arrest 3 suspects.

And the Syrians made a small but significant “gesture of goodwill” to the Iraqi government and the United States by capturing and turning over Saddam Hussein’s brother-in-law, number 36 on the US “most wanted” list of Baathist officials.

Seems like maybe the world is getting the message that the US means it – we will “go anywhere, pay any price, bear any burden” to promote freedom.

Who spends 40% on health care?

Marginal Revolution has a good point but misses the more important one – the 40% is just an average. I don’t spend 40% of my income on health care, so taxing me 40% for health care I wouldn’t choose on my own diminishes my liberty and wrecks my budget. I’ll be blunt: a 40% tax for health care would result in at least one more bankruptcy in the United States. If you include over the counter pain relievers and antihistamines and the occasional chiropractic visit, I spend somewhere in the neighborhood of a half to one percent of my income on health care. (If I decided to add some catastrophic care coverage that I’d likely never use, my cost would go up to about 5% of income and I’m not by any means rich. I’m not sure what the problem even is beyond people who don’t pay for their own care seeing a doctor every time they have the sniffles.) Even if moving from private payment to goverment payment made no difference in the aggregate, it would still mean that those who budget for less traditional health care will have their liberty reduced and their budgets shot to hell.

Sorry Brad (and Brad), I’d like to oblige but there is a big difference between spending 40 percent of your own income on health and having 40 percent of your income taken in taxes and spent on health even if we assume that the spending is on exactly the same thing.

Interesting point on religion

I try to avoid talking about religion, other than saying when asked my religion that “I’m a Republican,” because my views are too conservative for my libertarian friends and way too liberal for evangelicals. But the following point from
A Red Mind in a Blue State’s Friday Quickies

deserved some comment:

The key contention revolves around the watchword for this new century: democracy. Americans’ true religion is democracy. We treasure freedom. We believe in “one person, one vote”. The right to stand up and say, “That’s wrong!” and to expect to be listened to, and to expect change– it’s in our blood.

Which is why many Americans have difficulty with Old World religious institutions, whether Anglican or Catholic. Americans refuse to understand that the Catholic Church is not a democracy. You have no vote. You obey the rules or you go to hell. It’s pretty simple, and this Pope has not backed off an inch– if anything, he toughened up the rules.

That’s the thing that doesn’t seem to click with those who criticize Christians for saying something is sinful when it’s not politically correct to do so. If Christians believe the Bible is literal and are honest with themselves, then that is going to be their belief. It’s not a matter of choice.

Not only are American’s too used to democracy, we’re too used to the buffet line. But if an eternal unchanging God gives rules for living, you don’t get to take a little piece of sexual morality, a smidgen of baptism, a little communion wine and pass on the “love your neighbor ” and the “judge not.” It’s not a buffet, it’s a soup and you’re gonna end up hungry with a cold bowl of soup if you try to pick out the pieces you don’t like.

You want smorgasboard religion, you better be a Minnesota Lutheran. 😀