Quick Roundup 275

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Family Time

This is likely my last post until next Monday as I'll be dividing my time over the next few days between driving and enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives in Mississippi and Louisiana. Having been quite busy lately, I'm looking forward to the break.


Thanksgiving is about more than just dozing off to a football game -- not necessarily to knock something that my very busy schedule is making me really look forward to doing at some point!

For example, I really enjoyed this post by Rational Jenn in which she talks about her fond memories of making rolls with her grandmother on Thanksgiving.

The rolls sound really good, and she includes the recipe!


Ari Armstrong
and the Software Nerd write about Blue Laws, something that when I was a kid I thought was a dying remnant of Southern Baptist influence in the South. The laws keep certain kinds of businesses from operating and prohibit the sale of certain types of goods (usually and most notably, alcohol, but even things like milk) at certain times (usually Sundays).

As I was growing up, many of these laws were rolled back or repealed in my home state, which I'd had drummed into my skull was perhaps the most backwards part of the country. Imagine my surprise when, years later as a naval officer in Connecticut for training, I learned that Connecticut had more such restrictions on the sale of beer than Mississippi!

Apparently, the laws remain on the books in many states (including 16 that prohibit the sale of liquor on Sunday), although there are calls for their repeal in Colorado. I don't know how this effort will fare, but I found the Software Nerd's questions about the subject intriguing:

This got me thinking: how might a "constructionist" like Scalia rule on something like this? Since blue laws have been around ever since the constitution, wouldn't he take that as proof that the founders could not have meant to disallow them? And what of the slightly older, but still post-Constitution versions that were more explicitly religious but still hung around? Wouldn't those be upheld on the same basis?

What say, you lawyers out there?
These laws clearly violate the separation of church and state. Their persistence can only make it even easier for the religious right to continue attacking this separation as it grows in power.

And while you're visiting the Software Nerd's blog, get a load of the Flat Earth Q&A he found!

Retire Social Security

Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute writes against "saving" Social Security:
Those who wish to devote their wealth to saving the irresponsible from the consequences of their own actions should be free to do so through private charity, but to loot the savings of untold millions of innocent, responsible, hard-working young people in the name of such a goal is a monstrous injustice.

Social Security in any form is morally irredeemable. We should be debating, not how to save Social Security, but how to end it--how to phase it out so as to best protect both the rights of those who have paid into it, and those who are forced to pay for it today. This will be a painful task. But it will make possible a world in which Americans enjoy far greater freedom to secure their own futures.
This is a problem that is only going to loom larger as more "baby boomers" retire.

Is there such a drink?

Here's what I pop up as from two fun quizzes I found over at Spark a Synapse and Rational Jenn:
You Belong in the UK

A little proper, a little saucy.
You're so witty and charming...
No one notices your curry breath
You Are an Iced Coffee

At your best, you are: hyper, modern, and athletic
At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty
You drink coffee when: you're out with friends
Your caffeine addiction level: medium

Put 'em together, and I guess that makes me an "English Iced Coffee"!

And speaking of drinks, this video is hilarious, even if it is fictional!

With that -- and perhaps a little comment moderation here and there -- I leave for the long weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

I believe that DUI clip is from the very funny show "Reno 911!"

Happy Thanksgiving.
Matt F.

Rational Jenn said...

Have a nice Thanksgiving! I'm glad you liked my little piece about the rolls. I found myself getting misty-eyed over the remembrance of those times with my Grandma.

And as someone who lives in one of those 16 states that prohibit the sale of liquor on Sunday, I always make sure to state loudly that as an atheist, I don't think those rules should apply to ME and then watch the cashier's eyes bug out while they try to decide what to do. Futile, but amusing, especially if I have my small children with me.

Gus Van Horn said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you both!


That's what I thought, perhaps based on a comment from Monica's blog. The ads for that show never made me want to see it. Maybe I should give it another look....


Hmmm. Depending on where my wife matches for her residency next year, i may have ample opportunity to try that!

But then, I may find myself in my uncle's boat, and approached out of the blue while doing yard work....

Several townsmen told him the locations of about five local churches and said, "Go to one of them." Yeah. That converted him.


Dismuke said...

To the best of my recollection, the old blue laws in Texas when I was a kid did not specifically mandate Sunday per se. They simply had a very odd assortment of key items which could not be sold by the same company on both a Saturday and a Sunday of the same weekend. In practice, that meant that the stores closed on Sunday. I remember when I was a kid that pretty much all stores besides grocery stores were closed on Sunday.

Interestingly enough, the loudest opposition to the repeal of the blue laws came not as much from the churches as one might think but rather by the big department stores and the retail chains. The chains fought to keep the laws on the books by claiming that repealing them would be "unfair" to retail workers who would no longer have Sundays off.

The real reason the major retailers wanted to keep the blue laws was, of course, entirely about money. If all stores were forced to be closed on Sunday, then that would meant that all of their customers would be forced to do all of their shopping during the other six days of the week. And, of course, being open six days a week is less expensive for a retailer. Without the blue laws, retailers have no choice but to be open on Sunday otherwise they will lose business to competitors.

So this is just another example of people whose very existence depends on freedom and capitalism who end up being perfectly willing to sell out freedom and capitalism if doing so has nice short-term impact on their bottom line.

BTW, unless changes have been made recently, at least one remant of the old blue laws still exist in Texas: Car dealerships are allowed to be open Saturday OR Sunday - but not both.

Dismuke said...

Out of curiosity, I googled to see what sort of Blue Laws are in effect in Massachusetts these days. When I was there years ago, grocery stores were forced to close on Sunday - with part of the excuse being that it helped enable small mom and pop corner stores and convenience stores which were allowed to be open on Sunday to survive.

Well, as one might expect, The People's Republic of Massachusetts still has Blue Laws - and they are horrible. See http://www.mass.gov/dos/bluelaw/index.htm

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh. I just love how some Northerners will constantly rag on the South for being backwards -- and yet their states turn out to have some of the very same silliness going on.

Dismuke said...

Speaking of how those in those in the Northeast have no grounds to look down upon other regions of the country when it comes to backwardness, did you know it is actually illegal to dance in the vast majority of bars, clubs and restaurants in New York City even if the venue features live music? The only establishments where dancing is legally allowed are those who have a special cabaret license.

I was in NYC a couple of years ago and attended a very nice performance of Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, a contemporary band which plays 1920s music in an authentic style. It was at a nice restaurant and bar near Times Square. Two people got up to dance - and I was utterly shocked when the person next to me mentioned that they were actually breaking the law.

Though my family never went to church and I was not brought up with a religious background, I went to schools where a great many of the other kids were Southern Baptists. I remember hearing from other kids and from certain teachers when I was in grade school that dancing and playing cards was sinful. And I remember my reaction to it was a very puzzled "why? I wasn't anti-religious as I knew very little about religion and churches. But I vividly remember being in the second grade thinking how utterly absurd the notion was.

I have lived in a part of Texas that is considered to be in the Bible Belt for much of my life and I have yet to hear of people being ticketed or arrested for dancing in a bar or nightclub. You think this part of the world would be where stuff like that goes on. But, no, it is New York City where that is a problem. And the Supreme Court has actually upheld that law.

Gus Van Horn said...

Wow! And that story isn't from some dusty archive! 2007!