Late Night Open Thread: Burning Turds

An ancient source of heat, if not much illumination. Dave Weigel reports on the latest attempts to polish the right-wing dung droppings:

Grover Norquist is not shy about media availibility, but yesterday was spectacularly busy. On Monday, Norquist had tweeted that he and his wife were “off to Burning Man” this year, after ages of wishing and hoping…

Honestly, had someone like Bill Bennett or Rick Santorum decided to check out Burning Man, the proverbial man would have bitten the proverbial dog. But Norquist, perennial bard of the “Leave Us Alone Coalition,” is a Burning Man natural. Modern libertarians have always overlapped with, and grown out of, the counterculture.

A more intriguing aspect of that is how wealthy businessmen, who come to politics less out of a desire to build desert sculptures and more to prevent regulation of their businesses. That’s the story suggested by Lee Fang, who covered the annual Las Vegas FreedomFest—a studiously cool conference that stands apart from the dry klatsches you see in D.C.—and ran into Don Blankenship. Yes, Don Blankenship, he of Massey Energy, he of many pro-coal rallies in West Virginia. “I’m basically looking for information and fresh ideas,” Blankenship told Fang, from the meeting, which he attended right after the Heartland Institute’s annual climate change skepticism conference. “We’re in a reg-cecession.” The hipness of libertarianism was a much more attractive storm port than the messy, villifiable activism he’d paid for before. This, it’s pretty clear, is a reason why Pando is publishing so many pieces about the unsung past of Reason and the (increasingly well-known) background of the Koch family and Rand Paul. There’s an effort to close off an escape hatch, before these people can rebrand themselves as relatable, radical, and cool.

20 replies
  1. 1
    srv says:

    Ricky Perry’s specs have won me over.

    Santorum may have to go steampunk soon for Iowa.

  2. 2
    David Koch says:

    But Norquist, perennial bard of the “Leave Us Alone Coalition,” is a Burning Man natural. Modern libertarians have always overlapped with, and grown out of, the counterculture.

    Weigel can be such a glibertarian idiot. Norquist was a lobbyist for South Afrika’s apartheid. If Weigel wants to lump apartheid with libertarianism… well, keep fucking that chicken.

  3. 3
    opiejeanne says:

    I arrived in Las Vegas for a meetup with a bunch of baseball friends on the Sunday before the All Star Game, only to be told that I’d just missed meeting Matt Welch by a couple of hours. There was a bit of snickering because they know my politics and thought there might be some amusing incivility if we’d bumped into one another.

    I told them that no, we probably would have been best buds.

  4. 4
    shecky says:

    A man who would come here of his own free will.

    A man who has come here with the power of a king. By representing the law…

    A man who would come here as a virgin…

    A man who has come here as a fool!

  5. 5
    Origuy says:

    This might fit better in the last thread, but it’s starting to die:

    An English as a Foreign Language teacher at a private school in Provo was fired for writing a blog post about homophones.

    Tim Torkildson says after he wrote the blog on the website of his employer, Nomen Global Language Center, his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger, called him into his office and told him he was fired.

    As Torkildson tells it, Woodger said he could not trust him and that the blog about homophones was the last straw.

    “Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,” Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    @Origuy: Well, now they will be a large private Provo-based English language learning center publicly known for being timid, illogical idiots. Granted, in Utah, that might be a selling point and will only increase their considerable market share.They might need to reconsider their name though. Applicants they are catering to might see the name “Nomen” and assume it’s an all-girls program.

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The problem with American libertairans is thet every last one of them is a selfish asshole who doesn’t give a flying fuck about the rights of anyone but himself/herself. Every time they bitch about “reg-cessions”, what they’re basically doing is saying “I want to be able to fuck over my neighbors with pig stench from my rendering plant”.

    Which is why they’re assholes, and should be treated as such. Brutally and with all the force the state can muster to beat into their heads that other people have rights, too.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Origuy: The stupid. It burns.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    How was firing Torkildson on those grounds anything but wrongful dismissal?

  10. 10
    Origuy says:

    @Amir Khalid: Utah is an “at will” state. Unless he can prove that he was discriminated against, he probably doesn’t have a case. Having a brain doesn’t make him a protected class even in Utah.

  11. 11
    EconWatcher says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    In most states, unless you have a contract that says otherwise, you can be fired for any reason at all as long as the reason does not violate a specific discrimination law. I suspect Utah has no laws restricting idiocy.
    Edit: I see someone else already got there.

  12. 12
    Glocksman says:

    I’m tempted to buy a ticket for this:

    Ron Jeremy to join local church debate on porn

    “The Great Porn Debate” will be hosted by City Church at the Old National Events Plaza in Evansville.

    Organizers say the audience will watch an interesting ‘debate’ between Craig Gross, the Porn Pastor, and Ron Jeremy, the Porn King.

    City Church Pastor Jeff Kinkade says his church is hosting the event because he wants to deal with the issue that he says impacts everyone.

    Kinkade says porn is a problem when it’s kept in the dark and isn’t being talked about.

    He tells us the debate isn’t meant to shame or guilty anyone, rather it’s a chance to have a very candid conversation.

  13. 13
    EconWatcher says:

    By the way, this is a sleepy late-night thread, so maybe not the right place to ask, but a while ago Cole posted a link to an incredible cover of Radiohead’s song Creep by a young woman singing at a New York club (might have been CBGB). I loved it but can’t find the link. Does anyone know it? Many thanks.

  14. 14
    EconWatcher says:


    I had to spend a lot of time in Evansville a while back. People are very polite and friendly, but I thought the place had a very repressed feel. I’ll bet they indulge a lot in some very weird genres of that material.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Schlemizel says:

    @David Koch:
    I see no problem with it, many of the libertarians of today were pro-apartheid in the day. The pretend was that SA needed to do whatever SA wanted to do & the rest of the world should let the government run the country.

  17. 17

    Burning Man was taken over as a “countercultural” activity by the haves and have mores by the late 1990s. It’s about as transgressive these days as a baseball game or joining the Army, although a more precise metaphor for it these days is that it’s a typical pickup bar, where wealthy Olds go hoping to get some sweet tattooed freaky Young action.

    Unless they’re toting a duffel bag full of drugs, they’re unlikely to succeed.

    And it’s been a libertarian cesspit since the second one, but that’s another story for another time.

  18. 18
    J R in WV says:

    Homophones. At a language school called Nomen. It is so classic. The boss gives himself away, can’t even use either a Dictionary OR Google to discover what a homophone is, just leaps to an unsupported assumption that one of his staff is stupid enough to post about the gays on his educational site.

    Probably doesn’t remember the alphabet to use a dictionary. And can’t type to use the google. Not willing to ask someone to look it up for him lest he be thought gay-curious.

    No way not to look sub-normal here. What, about 65 points?

  19. 19
    Seanly says:

    Burning Man doesn’t seem that alternate to me. I have 2 cousins who go every year. One is an actress & bartender at a San Francisco microbrew while her sister is a freaking attorney. Neither is the type to parade around neekid. Nor to my knowledge do either one have any tattoos.

    Like most Americans, I have no understanding of irony – would it be ironic or just poetic if Grover was to be found drowned in a bathtub out in the desert? Not that I wish that upon him… no, not at all…

  20. 20
    AnonPhenom says:

    Libertarianism and the Right Wing?

    What Chomsky sez….

Comments are closed.