Prophets of Socialist Doom In Joplin Look Kind Of, Well, Silly

Every now and then, I find it necessary to remind the locals how silly it was to get out the Magic Marker or the paint and create the following signs, then carry them to Tea Party rallies in Joplin in 2009, 2010, and 2011:

joplin tea party 2009

joplin tea party 2009 2

joplin tea party 2010

joplin tea party 2011

One of the reasons, among many, that creating and carrying these signs to rallies here in Joplin was a silly idea can be found on today’s front page of USA Today:

usa today stock market

Look at that big green box above. I repeat its contents:

$12.8 TRILLION

Amount of new STOCK WEALTH produced in the broad market since the March 9, 2009, low, or a 155% gain in the Wilshire 5000.

Now, as I have said many times before, if Barack Obama is a socialist, he has had, so far, a scandalous career, even though, as right-wing conspiracy theorists will tell ya, there is still time for him to turn us into Venezuela (at the moment, it looks like turning us into “Greece” was a bust, so Venezuela it is!).

In the mean time, the rich get richer and the rest of America gets, well, whatever’s left, as Republicans in Congress refuse to address the plight of the middle class and poor in these United States.

Jesus Christ Supersocialist

A commenter on my post, “The Socialist Capital Of Missouri: Joplin,” wrote:

I would submit the idea that Christ would be in favor of socialism!

It so happens that Gregory Paul, who knows a little something about sociological research, wrote a piece for The Washington Post a few days ago that addressed the Jesus-as-socialist idea.

In fact, Paul went further and questioned “a set of profound contradictions” that “have developed within modern conservative Christianity.” If that critique sounds familiar to readers of this blog, it is because I, a former conservative, evangelical Christian, have offered the same criticisms.

Paul wrote:

Many conservative Christians, mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics, have come to believe and proudly proclaim that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling, deregulated, union busting, minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors, plutocrat-boosting capitalism as the ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christian capitalists are ardent followers of Ayn Rand, who was one of – and many of whose followers are — the most hard-line anti-Christian atheist/s you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinistic strenuously denounce Darwin’s evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to, well, social Darwinism!

He then goes on to discuss chapters 2 and 4 of the book of Acts in the New Testament, especially:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Paul comments:

Now folks, that’s outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx—who likely got the general idea from the gospels.

The pro-capitalist Christians who are aware of these passages wave them away even though it is the only explicit description of Christian economics in the Bible.

Mr. Paul also comments on the odd affection that a lot of Bible-toting evangelicals and fundamentalists have for the rabid atheist Ayn Rand:

…many influential conservative Christians have embraced her expressly atheistic theory of Objectivism that in her books such as The Virtue of Selfishness, they propose that government must be shrunk to a bare minimum so socially Darwinist that it dances with anarchy. Only then can entrepreneurial greed have the free run that liberty demands…

In the Randian hyper-materialistic world those who are on the financial make are the exalted makers, the impoverished that accept tax payer assistance are parasitic takers who need to fend for themselves. A radical modernist ideology in greater antithesis to the traditional scriptural favoring of the poor over the rich can hardly be imagined. Yet the economics of the plutocratic Republican Party that embraces the Christian, anti-Darwinist creationist right are essentially those of the uberatheist, anti-creationist, Darwin-adoring Christianity-loathing Ayn Rand. So we have Christian creationists like Jay Richards writing books titled Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem. Can a stranger amalgam of opposing opinions be devised?

Can a stranger amalgam of opposing opinions be devised?” No.  And I experienced that strange amalgam first-hand here in Joplin at the April Tea Party rally.  A state legislator from Springfield, Eric Burlison, spoke to those gathered and mentioned his enthusiasm for Ayn Rand. I wrote at the time:

I can’t be the only one who finds irony in the fact that a man like Eric Burlison—a “pro-life” Christian who advertises that he gives back to the community by “serving” and “volunteering“—is behind a podium at a Tea Party event extolling the philosophy of a godless “baby-killer,” who would openly ridicule and scorn Mr. Burlison’s work on behalf of Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Ronald McDonald House.

I can’t be the only one.”  No, as it turns out.

And thank God for that.

Ayn Rand Would Laugh At Him

Eric Burlison, a state legislator from Springfield, Mo., spoke at Saturday’s Joplin Tea Party rally.  During his speech he mentioned that he couldn’t wait to see the new movie, Atlas Shrugged, which was released last Friday.

As most of you know, Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, the pro-choice atheist philosopher whose childishly tidy philosophy argues that selfishness is a virtue and altruism is a weakness, a deadly weakness. 

I can’t be the only one who finds irony in the fact that a man like Eric Burlison—a “pro-life” Christian who advertises that he gives back to the community by “serving” and “volunteering“—is behind a podium at a Tea Party event extolling the philosophy of a godless “baby-killer,” who would openly ridicule and scorn Mr. Burlison’s work on behalf of Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Ronald McDonald House.

Except that when you think about it, what is the Tea Party movement about, if not essentially about selfishness?  At the Joplin Tea Party event, the crowd was mostly made up of older folks, many of them, no doubt, on Social Security and Medicare, who nevertheless enthusiastically applauded speaker after speaker who spoke about a too-large government, a government that takes too much and redistributes it to those who don’t deserve it.  These folks essentially epitomize a version of Randian selfishness philosophy:  They’ve got theirs and to hell with everyone else.

Isn’t that what is happening in Tea Party America?

Just look at the Tea Party’s favorite candidate these days.  Donald Trump, the Ugly American, is riding high on a wave of paranoia, perverse pride, and petty grievances.  His appearance this past weekend at a Florida Tea Party event was both clownish and vicious, both absurd and revealing.

What Trump’s well-received appearance in Florida—as well as his other public statements that have impressed teapartiers—reveals is a disturbing development in American politics. That there are people who take this egotistical, uninformed fool seriously says more about America than I care to acknowledge.  The fact that he is cheered as he denigrates America and brags about his intelligence and his business acumen—despite much contrary evidence—is symptomatic of how far a significant slice of the American electorate has fallen into a sort of Randian trance, where all but the self-described “producers” are leeches who deserve an ill fate.

And here in Joplin I watched a conservative Republican from Springfield, a man who boasts of his volunteer spirit and his “pro-life” credentials, a man who claims he shows “humility and humbleness in an open setting,” salivate over the release of a movie based on the philosophy of a woman who would mock him and his Christian beliefs.

As I said, absurd and revealing.

Ozark Billy Snubs The Erstwhile Conservative

On Saturday, I continued my tradition of attending the annual Joplin Tea Party rally.

Unfortunately for organizers, though, there weren’t that many teapartiers who were willing to continue their tradition of attending.  This year’s contingent was much smaller than last year’s, which was much smaller than the year before. 

But the sparse crowd—maybe 150 folks—was nevertheless thrown lots of blood-red meat from the speakers, which besides the usual locals, included would-be senator Rep. Todd Akin, who has never met a Democrat who wasn’t also a socialist, and, of course, Colonel Ozark Billy Long.

Now, I happened to be standing in the back of the crowd, when I spotted Colonel Billy trying to slip away from the area where the speakers were huddled:

Sensing a chance to talk to the Colonel one-on-one, I hurried over to where I thought he was heading, camera in tow.  I was prepared to make and post a newsworthy video for my faithful readers.  As I was walking, I looked up and saw Ozark Billy staring at me as I approached, with an unwelcoming look on his face. Nevertheless,  I pressed on, again, with camera in tow.

As I walked up to my congressman, my representative, I introduced myself and told him I was from Joplin, clearly identifying myself as one of his constituents.  I asked him if he minded if I interviewed him with my camera on.  No, he said.  Really? I asked.  No, he said, I don’t want you to do that.  Well, I protested, why can’t I use it?  He anxiously looked around as if he were waiting on someone, then responded again that he didn’t want me to use the camera. He said, what is it you want to ask me?

Okay, I thought. No camera, thus, no record of our conversation, but I must soldier on.

I told him I wanted to talk about his vote on the Ryan budget plan the previous day, which essentially does away with Medicare while giving tax cuts to the wealthy.  I asked him how he justified that vote.  We have to do something, he said. He told me that what the plan does is merely give people a “cafeteria” plan like he gets as a government employee.  Since Ozark Billy didn’t know I had been a government employee, I suppose he thought that his response would suffice to shut me up.  But, of course, it didn’t.

I hurriedly explained to him—he was getting fidgety waiting— that the Ryan Medicare plan would end Medicare as we know it, and the so-called voucher proposal for those under 55 would not be sufficient to purchase insurance and people would have to pay much more out of their pockets.  I added that those under 55, even while receiving reduced benefits themselves, would be forced to pay for the current Medicare system, the beneficiaries of which will continue to receive the current generous benefits for many, many years.

He didn’t dispute that but merely reiterated that something needed to be done because the system was designed when people only lived to be “48 years old.”  Aghast at that, I responded with a “that’s simply not true,” and was poised to explain why.  Except that a vehicle—the one Ozark Billy had been so anxiously awaiting—pulled up beside us. And without even saying goodbye, in went the Colonel and off went the car. 

I, one of Congressman Long’s constituents, was left standing on the sidewalk, camera in tow.

Long returned a short time later and gave a speech that was mostly a repeat of an interview he gave to local right-wing radio station, KZRG.  He even gave us another rendition of his now-famous “auction chant.”  The small crowd cheered.  I turned red with embarrassment.

But toward the end of his speech, Ozark Billy said the following to the crowd, and to me, the camera-toting constituent he had earlier snubbed:

We’re just having a lot of good success helping people. But it is the House of Representatives. Never forget that. It is the House of Representatives.

I’ve got a Bozo on the front of my truck—a lot of people say how come you got Bozo on the dash?—that’s to remind me—and I’ve had it on there for years—that’s to remind me not to take myself too seriously. I’m doing your work in D.C., and I was standing right down there last year with ya and I’ll be back down there in a minute…

Good! I thought to myself. He’s doing “our” work. And he’s coming down “here” among “us,” the folks. That would give me a chance to continue my conversation with him. What a man of the people!  Colonel Ozark Billy Long, man of the people!

Except that after he finished his speech,  I watched him leave the podium, walk over to his Bozo-guided truck, and get in the passenger side. Then I watched someone drive him away. 

Still holding my camera, all I could think to say was, Bye-bye, Colonel Billy! Thanks for stopping by and chatting with your constituents!

Congratulations, Billy Long! Now, Are You Lying?

In honor of Billy Long’s victory on Tuesday, I present once again a video of him I recorded at this year’s Joplin Tea Party.  Only this time, in the hands of an able editor, it has a twist.

Matthew P. Block, a communication and social media consultant, utilizing the work of noted psychologist Paul Ekman, used the video to ask a question now critically important:

IS BILLY LONG LYING ABOUT A BRIBERY ACCUSATION MADE BY CLAY BOWLER?

To review, Clay Bowler, a very conservative blogger who maintains the Long is Wrong and the Bungalow Bill websites (cited once by Rush Limbaugh), claimed that Billy Long, while at Pizza by Stout here in Joplin, attempted to bribe him with a campaign job in order to get Bowler to stop his Long is Wrong blog. 

I asked Billy Long about that this past April, and here is the result, with Matthew Block’s contribution. You decide:

The original video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EfzIwjhdFA

The One And Probably Only Shelly Dreyer-Inspired Conservative Challenge

As I was getting to know Shelly Dreyer—Republican candidate for Missouri House District 129—I came across a Questions & Answers page on her campaign website.  

Pedantic by nature, I noticed several, shall we say, teensy-weensy word-use mistakes in some of the questions, something I found surprising for an attorney and former municipal judge.  Perhaps these questions were actually submitted by careless conservatives, but in any case, I have decided to create a contest, using three examples taken from the webpage.

The first 10,000 people who can point out all of the mistakes (warning: the last one is a little tricky) and who also will send me their names and addresses etched on a $20 bill, will have their names tossed in a sweaty Joplin Miners hat for a chance to win one of these fantastic prizes:

1. An afternoon stay for one at Konrad Heid’s Panhandle Paradise, complete with a view of his formerly pristine beach and an autographed, framed print of his latest column in which he trashes our uppity President of the United States for holding a negligent, Gulf-fouling multinational corporation responsible for its actions.

2. A chance to attend a Joplin Globe editorial board meeting and watch the participants arm wrestle Anson Burlingame for space on the Opinion page.  Right now, he is undefeated, but, who knows, you may be on hand to witness Anson’s first loss.

3. Standing-room-only tickets to a four-and-a-half hour seminar on the potential dangers of expressive homophobia in the Age of Obama.  I believe this year’s guest lecturer is Rita Crowell, who, I am told, will give at least some of the lecture in Tiny Tim-like falsetto, while strumming a ukulele and sporting the same 18th-century costume worn by John Putnam at Joplin Tea Party II earlier this year.

4. An invitation to a private book-signing by author and Republican activist Allen Shirley, whose latest gift to area residents, “Plagiarism for Dummies,” received a Buy Now! from the Big Nickel Review of Books and is currently number one on the Flying J Bestseller List.                           

Here they are and good luck!

UPDATE/CORRECTION:  Anson Burlingame wrote in to correct the above:

I am NOT on the Globe Editorial Board. I have NO contact other than Carol with ANY member of that board. My only influence that I might have on the Globe is through the columns that I PROPOSE and Carol then chooses to publish.

[Tiny Tim image by Drew Friedman]

Glenn Beck’s Spirit Present At Joplin Tea Party

I thought I would see and hear some references to Glenn Beck at Thursday’s Tea Party here in Joplin, since many of the ideas tossed around at such gatherings seem to first originate in his strange and lucre-loving mind.

But that didn’t happen.

Then, I realized that the spirit of Glenn Beck was there all around me: in the form of a book.

That book, The 5000 Year Leap, by W. Cleon Skousen, was available for free (courtesy of the Jasper County Republican Party), with copies spread along the table holding the “scroll of grievances.” 

John Putnam said the book, which he “found” in 1984, had “inspired” him.

Beck has endlessly and energetically promoted the book, which, according to Alexander Zaitchik, has become “the bible of the 9/12 movement,” “the civic initiative he pulled together…to restore America to the sense of purpose and unity it had felt the day after the towers fell.”

The popular Fox broadcaster has even claimed the book is “divinely inspired,” although Beck doesn’t specify what divine being inspired it. Presumably, it was the God of Mormonism.

So, since our local Republican Party subsidized the distribution of the book, and since our local Joplin Tea Partiers were urged to read the book—and I saw many folks walking around with fresh copies in hand—I thought I would find out more about the author, especially since the Tea Party movement is heavily influenced by Beck-like thinkers. 

Who was W. Cleon Skousen?

Perusing Alexander Zaitchik’s essay on Salon.com, I discovered that Skousen shared Glenn Beck’s Mormon faith, and that he was ostensibly a “historian.” But as Zaitchik described him,

 …Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen’s own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous editions of “The 5,000 Year Leap.”

Skousen died in 2006 at the age of 92, the author of more than dozen books; a 15-year veteran of the FBI (in administration);  a law school grad; a teacher at Brigham Young University;  Chief of Police in Salt Lake City (where, according to Zaitchik, “he gained a reputation for cutting crime and ruthlessly enforcing Mormon morals” and, according to a 1961 article in Time, the conservative Mayor of the city said Skousen, “operated the police department like a Gestapo“);  and most important for our purposes, a virulent anti-communist conspiracist,  who earned a good living giving speeches to far-right gatherings.

As an anti-Communist, Skousen was affiliated with the John Birch Society, whose elaborate communist conspiracies proved too much for men of the right like William F. Buckley, who sought to sever the Birchers from “legitimate” conservatives. In those days, there were adults in the conservative movement, and when Skousen and the Birchers grew more and more extreme—accusing WW II hero Dwight Eisenhower of being a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy“—most responsible conservative groups dumped him.  Buckley said such accusations were “paranoid and idiotic libels.”* Russell Kirk, an eminent conservative philosopher, viewed such people as being “disconnected from reality.”  Barry Goldwater concurred.

Wrote Zaitchik:

By 1963, Skousen’s extremism was costing him. No conservative organization with any mainstream credibility wanted anything to do with him. Members of the ultraconservative American Security Council kicked him out because they felt he had “gone off the deep end.” One ASC member who shared this opinion was William C. Mott, the judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy. Mott found Skousen “money mad … totally unqualified and interested solely in furthering his own personal ends.”

Damn. That sounds a lot like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other right-wing conspiracists these days.

Zaitchik also wrote something about Skousen’s increasing popularity that again sounds eerily like our own Glenn Beck, whose “enemy” is not so much communism, but progressivism:

When Skousen’s books started popping up in the nation’s high-school classrooms, panicked school board officials wrote the FBI asking if Skousen was reliable. The Bureau’s answer was an exasperated and resounding “no.” One 1962 FBI memo notes, “During the past year or so, Skousen has affiliated himself with the extreme right-wing ‘professional communists’ who are promoting their own anticommunism for obvious financial purposes.”

By 1970, Zaitchik reports that Skousen had discovered that “liberal internationalist groups” like the Council on Foreign Relations were pushing U.S. foreign policy “toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society,” which would later become the New World Order, a “super-conspiracy” involving the Rockefellers and the Rothchilds and other very “powerful” people.

Eventually, the Mormon Church cut its ties with Skousen, which was just in time for his invitation to become part of the “Reagan Revolution.”  Zaitchik wrote:

In 1980, Skousen was appointed to the newly founded Council for National Policy, a think tank that brought together leading religious conservatives and served as the unofficial brain trust of the new administration. At the Council, Skousen distinguished himself by becoming an early proponent of privatizing Social Security.

It was around this time that Skousen published the book that changed the life of Glenn Beck, The 5,000 Year Leap,  which Zaitchik described this way:

…a heavily illustrated and factually challenged attempt to explain American history through an unspoken lens of Mormon theology. As such, it is an early entry in the ongoing attempt by the religious right to rewrite history. Fundamentalists want to define the United States as a Christian nation rather than a secular republic, and recast the Founding Fathers as devout Christians guided by the Bible rather than deists inspired by French and English philosophers. “Leap” argues that the U.S. Constitution is a godly document above all else, based on natural law, and owes more to the Old and New Testaments than to the secular and radical spirit of the Enlightenment. It lists 28 fundamental beliefs — based on the sayings and writings of Moses, Jesus, Cicero, John Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith — that Skousen says have resulted in more God-directed progress than was achieved in the previous 5,000 years of every other civilization combined.

So, learning all of that, I realized that Glenn Beck was in fact a part of the Joplin Tea Party, through the vehicle of W. Cleon Skousen’s book.  And I realized what attracted John Putnam, the chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee, to Skousen’s interpretation of American history.

Putnam is a conservative Christian, who when I first encountered him, was an elder at Christ’s Church of Joplin, and who was a believer in the Bible as the “inspired” and inerrant Word of God.  

He said at the Tea Party on Thursday:

I see a real similarity between the days we live in and the founding days of this country. I realized at least in 1978 that America was on an unsustainable path.  We have continued to spend more than we take in, we have continued to turn our back—to become more interested in commercialism and entertainment and luxury than we have the spiritual values that made this country great. And my family’s tired of listening to me say we can’t go on this way, but in the last year there is a whole lot of other people who have seen that the pace is accelerating and it is up to the people to restore the country…

I suspect that many in the crowd Thursday hold views similar to those of Mr. Putnam.  Indeed, Jay St. Clair, the minister who uttered a rambling four-minute plea to the Almighty, began his remarks this way:

Welcome to the Tea Party!  Well, this isn’t a religious gathering but I will tell you that everything about our country was founded on the faith of God and the principles that are found in his Word…

Such folks don’t want to admit that our secular country—the United States of America—was not founded on the Bible, but on Enlightenment philosophy, a philosophy that was responsible for taming the excesses of fundamentalist Christianity, and a philosophy that is under attack, either consciously or unconsciously, by some members of the Tea Party movement.

If these people were to get what they wanted—a return to “God-directed” governance—then the Tea Partiers would no longer be mere objects of liberal scorn.

They would be forces to fear.

____________________________________________________________________

*In 1962, Buckley published “a 5,000-word excoriation” of Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society, which included the following:
How can the John Birch Society be an effective political instrument while it is led by a man whose views on current affairs are, at so many critical points . . . so far removed from common sense? That dilemma weighs on conservatives across America. . . . The underlying problem is whether conservatives can continue to acquiesce quietly in a rendition of the causes of the decline of the Republic and the entire Western world which is false, and, besides that, crucially different in practical emphasis from their own.
Few conservatives today are willing to say about Glenn Beck and other conspiracists that their views are “so far removed from common sense.”

Joplin Tea Party A Dud

Last year, the crowd “estimate” for the April 15 Tea Party in Joplin was 1000, which, of course, wasn’t really close to the actual number. I estimated that crowd at about 500 to 600 folks.

This year, there was about half that number, probably less than 300.  So, by any standards, the Tea Party this year was a little lame.

But I did have a good time attending the event.

I talked with many people, some holding strange signs and some just standing, listening, and applauding whatever it was that John Putnam was saying.  And, honestly, some of the people holding ridiculous and blatantly false signs were actually nice to talk to.

I talked to one pleasant couple who didn’t seem like they really belonged at the event, since they didn’t sound as extreme as their signs would indicate.  In fact, after talking to them, I found that the health care reform law that upset them so much really contained a lot of stuff they liked.  The nice lady actually admitted that her views were “to the left” of her husband’s, especially on the health care issue. 

Another lady, who attended with her mother, said she thought all our representatives, Republicans and Democrats, should only get one term and then come home.  If they stay longer, she urged, they will just get corrupted. There is, of course, some truth to that.

But not all of the people I talked to were as nice.

One guy I was photographing took offense at a question I ask him about his sign. Here is the sign in question, which should look familiar because I have posted about it before:

I tried to ask him what his sign meant, which set him off.  At one point, he walked up and got in my face and threatened me, and I had to gently push him back.  After that, he seemed to calm down a little bit, so I decided to crank up the video:

Although I disagree with the guy, he had every right to tote his sign to the event and display it, but apparently the organizer, John Putnam, didn’t think so.  According to this guy and an independent witness I talked to, Mr. Putnam tried to get him removed from the sidewalk.  Presumably because the sign sent a message contrary to what Mr. Putnam envisioned for his rally.

As for other signs—messages—here are a few I saw:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I found something rather disturbing as I read through the messages written on a long  “scroll,” provided, presumably, for folks to express their grievances against the government. Notice the “regime” reference, straight from the lips of Rush Limbaugh:

I took the time to interview a gentleman who was holding a sign that cried out for explanation.  Here’s the interview:

Finally, what is a Joplin Tea Party without a new costume gracing the body of John Putnam?  Incidentally, on KZRG this morning (an event sponsor), before the event got underway I heard Kara Marxer interview Mr. Putnam and she remarked about his nifty uniform, saying something about his “Hessian boots.” 

Gently, the head of the Jasper County Republicans reminded her that they were not Hessian boots, since the Hessians were on the other side of the fight in the Revolutionary War.  Whoops! 

[All photos and videos by The Erstwhile Conservative, so whoever borrowed one of last year’s photos and put it on John Putnam’s Southwest Missouri Conservative Network, please credit TEC in the future. It’s the Christian thing to do.]

“Peeping Putnam” And “Faith-based Tyranny”

John Putnam, local Tea Party organizer and the Christian conscience of Jasper County, made the news again yesterday.  In a story in the Joplin Globe, “Adult store bill backers optimistic,” the moral crusader is reportedly “pleased” with the Missouri Senate’s passage—by a 32-2 vote—of a bill to further regulate sexually oriented businesses in our Christian state.

Leaving aside for a moment the propriety of a teabagging, free-market espousing, Founder-quoting advocate for liberty supporting government regulation of a business solely on moral grounds, let’s look at what the bill, and its companion bill in the Missouri House, might do:

Among other things, both measures require sexually oriented businesses to be set back at least 1,000 feet from sites including homes, schools, churches, day cares, libraries and public parks; bar a person from appearing nude in the business; and set visibility and monitoring requirements on booths where films and videos are shown.

That last one is interesting: It would, “set visibility and monitoring requirements on booths where films and videos are shown.”

The only purpose for such a “peeping Putnam” provision would be to prohibit potential purchasers from prematurely pleasuring themselves before entering the sanctuary (for now) of their homes.

Now, why would a teabagging, free-market espousing, Founder-quoting advocate for liberty care about that and support what Harvey Wasserman called, “faith-based tyranny“?

Beats me.

Next Time Try Free Wings And Beer

I will be the first to admit that getting 600 people to come to your event is pretty impressive.  I mean, if at your last birthday party you had 600 celebrants, I would say you were pretty damn popular—or you were giving away free wings and beer.

But it seems to me that if the teabagging phenomenon is more than just worried white folks blowing off a little cultural steam, then the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville would have attracted more costume-laden fans than a mere 600. 

Heck, I like dressing up in 18th-century drapery as much as the next guy, but if I were courageous enough to parade around in public in such attire I would want more support than that.  In fact, our own Joplin Tea Party last April drew more folks, of course that was because most of them gathered to see Thomas Jefferson’s fantastic impersonation of local Republican activist, John Putnam.

←Pretty good, isn’t it?

In any case, I think it’s may be a good sign that more people didn’t show up or weren’t invited.  It may mean the organizers suspected that a substantial number of sincere teapartiers would refuse to be exploited and would refuse to pay the steep fee to see Sarah Palin accept her $100,000 check.

Or it may mean that Obama’s strategy of trying to put as many teabaggers out of work as possible—through his Socialist economic policies—is working, thus the culture warriors couldn’t afford to pay the steep fees associated with teabagging on the national level.

I’m fairly sure it’s the former, but I’m hoping it’s the latter. 

Because I’d like to think Obama could do something to help the country.

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