Carnival of the Liberals #20
Welcome to the 20th Carnival of the Liberals. It's the end of August already - the end of summer. The days are getting a bit shorter and the nights a bit longer, the kids are back in school, and there's an indefinable something in the air that promises autumn is on the way, with its cool, crisp weather - I can't wait. For today's entertainment I had thought to take you on a hike up Black Oak Ridge along the greenbelt, but decided against it. It's still hot - very hot - and that's a steep climb. So instead, we'll amble out to the river instead, taking in the Liberals along the way. They've come from all over for this Carnival - an eclectic bunch who want to entertain you and, just possibly, make you think. Okay with you? Great! We'll start from the historic Alexander Motor Inn, where I hope you had a good night's rest. Put on a good pair of walking shoes - we've got a lot of ground to cover.
Across the street is Jackson Square, where one of our overseas visitors (he's from the actual Liberal Party! Whoo-hoo! Balloons and funny hats all around!) is set up, so we'll start by having a cup of coffee at The Daily Grind and listening to Cicero's Songs on the topic of interconnectivity, James Burke's "Connections", and the law of unintended consequences as related to that concern of our time - Security.
Leaving Jackson Square, we'll head on down to the Turnpike, via a right turn on Georgia Avenue... where we'll see another of our overseas visitors - way overseas - the fortuitously named No Right Turn is set up to tell us about new laws on secular education - and what that does or doesn't mean for mentioning religion.
Heading out the Turnpike we come to the Elza Gate to the city, and to Melton Hill Lake, and the rowing course. Across the lake you can see - you can't help but see - the houses Jake Butcher built for himself and his mother-in-law: the first huge houses in the area. Ebon Musings is set up here, with a gorgeous view at these earthly mansions, and an "argument on the dangers of trusting in charismatic absolute leaders, rather than trusting in the democratic process." (You know who the example is, right? Well... maybe you do.)
Moving down the greenway alongside the lake we can stop for lunch at The New China Palace. On the TV we might get a chance to watch that new "documentary", "Darwin's Deadly Legacy", the one claiming that there would have been no Holocaust if there were no people who believed in evolution. Instead, let's take out lunch outside and listen as The Atheist Ethicist tells us about a "number of moral shortcomings in those who would produce, distribute, or stand to be convinced by such a video."
After lunch (oooo, my fortune cookie says "The star of riches is shining upon you." Let's hope it doesn't get demoted...) we'll continue along the greenway. On our left is the lake, and as we walk we can watch the ducks and geese, the occasional rowing team sculling along the straightaway, and the ever changing clouds in the water. On our right is Melton Hill Drive, and up ahead, where Emory Valley Road t-intersects with it, another chance to rest a moment and listen, this time to some Perspectives from a Nomad, who'd like to tell us how "hybrids could pay for themselves -- if Bush let them."
Enough sitting and debating - onward, my friends! We've got a lot of ground to cover yet. Ahead is Haw Ridge Park and its incongruous companion, the Bull Run Steam Plant. (I have to pause here to tell you that my late mother was instrumental in getting the thing built tall enough not to pollute the river. She was a feisty and articulate woman, who knew how to fight for what was needed.) And what better place could there be to rest again, look out over the Clinch River, and listen to that reasonable conservative Jon Swift telling us how "Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush has declared science is dead and I haven't been so happy since we reached the End of History."
After the general rejoicing dies down a trifle, we can head on down Hardin Valley Road along the river towards the Solway Bridge - because what's a river without a bridge? And what's the use of a bridge without ... no, not a troll. This isn't Scandinavia, after all. What a bridge needs is, of course, another side. So let's take another break (it's a long walk) and listen to Etaraz, who wants to know - reasonably enough - what center Muslims are to do when they don't want to be co-opted by the Right, but aren't sure the Left is even listening.
Bridges are great, aren't they? Beautiful and practical ... There's an old Welsh proverb, A fo ben, bid bont: Let him who would be a leader be a bridge. Because they don't just have opposite ends - they have middles, too, and Dr Biobrain is stuck in the middle, asking a simple question: Maybe both sides deserve to win? Sometimes? Maybe?
Well, those are both hefty questions, so we'll ponder them a while as we head back into the city. Our route, the old Oak Ridge Highway, takes us past the golf course and the cemetery - and the latter can raise some interesting speculations if you let it. In fact, a little bit further on, just over there at the UT Arboretum, drinking in the view, is the aptly named Rigor Vitae, with easel, paints, and canvas. He's been in the desert recently, looking at lizards, and he has a lot to tell us about saurians and "a dynamic that has probably been the basis of more Warner Brothers cartoons than any other, and has always been an important factor in political history." Good stuff.
Up ahead the road gets a new name (Illinois Avenue) and the city starts up. You're booked into the decidedly non-historic Garden Plaza for this evening, and we'll stop there for a bite and something nice and chocolaty to end up the day. We've got one last speaker as we watch the sun go down over the mountains - Rennypolis, who's going to help us "explore how The Colbert Report reflects new trends in political expression that are driven by appeals to feelings and emotion rather than reason and logic."
And that wraps it up for this Carnival of the Liberals. You don't know how much I wished we had time for another five or ten speakers - but then again, smaller is good, and you're probably worn out from the walking as it is. Have a good meal at Ezra's, a nightcap, and maybe a dose of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (you can watch with a whole new appreciation now), and a good night's sleep. In the morning the good fight awaits you.
Just one last thing before we head off into the worl: don't forget the next edition of the Carnival of the Liberals will be at Archy on September 13.
Good night, ridges; good night, river. Good night, trees and bridge and ducks and geese, rowers and walkers and readers... Good night, all.
edited to change James Burke's name from the original-but-incorrect Edmund who, though a great guy in his own right, did not have a television show...