The paint job

MEXICO IS the perfect land for libertarians. The government pretty much leaves you alone. The photo illustrates this beautifully.

There are no safety nets, no safety harnesses, no safety helmets, no safety nada. These guys are free to plunge to their deaths, and I imagine sometimes they do.

Walking down a cobblestone street yesterday, sugar donut in hand, inhaling the cool air of late May, I happened upon this painting project, and I sighed with pleasure, knowing I would never see this above the Rio Bravo. It would be unthinkable. There are laws, you know.

And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 — the most recent numbers available — 110 million Americans, about a third of the population, live in a home that receives government handouts, and that does not include Social Security and Medicare.

Won’t be long before the most noticeable difference between the United States and bankrupt Greece is that Greeks speak Greek and Americans speak Spanish English.

These things flashed through my mind as I walked by the sky-high house painters on the cobblestone street. I smiled and took another munch of my sugar donut.

Mexico: Land of the free. Home of the brave.

President Paul?

RAND PAUL is kicking off his presidential campaign tomorrow, though it looks like he’s already done it.

America could do worse, is already doing far worse.

Sure, Paul’s daddy is a kook, but let’s assume the fruit has fallen far enough from the tree. Rand has exhibited some kookiness of his own in the past, particularly in the area of foreign affairs. Isolationism’s time has passed, but Rand seems to have cooled on that stance, thank God.

Which brings me to one of his most attractive features: He’s not thumping the Bible. Even my boy Ted Cruz’s first campaign video was chockablock with Bible talk.

And Ben Carson? Lordy.

Now I have absolutely nothing against the Christian tradition — quite the contrary — but I want a candidate who keeps it to himself for the most part. We live, alas, in increasingly secular times, and the Church Lady talk turns off too many “independents” these days.

It’s time for practicality, time to send Democrats packing.

Now that things are warming with Communist Cuba, maybe we can ship them all to Havana. They think they would like it down there. But they wouldn’t.

Getting it right

right

OLE FELIPE is a conservative of the non-church variety, primarily a libertarian.

When I vote in U.S. elections (from afar), I vote Republican not because I much care for the Republican Party. I decidedly do not. They get too hung up on religious matters when other issues are far more pressing. No, I vote GOP because it’s the not-Democrat party, the only viable alternative.

Most of my life, I voted Democrat, so I am a recovering lefty. No, that’s incorrect. I am fully recovered.

It’s trendy in some circles to say there’s not much difference between the GOP and Democrats these days. This is silly. If you think the United States would be the same today had McCain won in 2008 or Romney in 2012 as the America over which Barry runs riot, you are quite in error.

Polarization is at a fever pitch. If get your news (and most Americans don’t get news from anywhere) from The New York Times, HuffPost, Slate, Mother Jones, NPR, etc., you have one viewpoint, a wrong one, in my opinion.

If, however, you get your news from the same places I get mine, you will be well informed.

As a public service, here they are:

1. The Washington Times.

2. Breitbart (my personal favorite).

3. Fox online (not as good as the most-watched TV news network).

4. Truth Revolt (Ben Shapiro, one sharp, young Jew).

5. Townhall.

6. Free Beacon.

7. The Federalist.

8. Independent Journal Review.

9. The Daily Caller.

10. The Blaze.

Due to the nonsense emanating from Barry’s White House, plus the shameless collectivist cheerleading done by the corrupt, mainstream media, new conservative news sources are popping up all over, a great thing.

Remember: The best government is the government that leaves you alone most of the time.

Al Kinnison’s hat

hat

I DUSTED IT yesterday. Al Kinnison’s hat. It’s been hanging on the wall here about nine years, since just before he died in 2005.

Long before the cancer appeared, I often told Al that I wanted him to leave the hat to me in his will. I was joking, but I did covet it.  Since he was almost old enough to be my father, I figured he would go first, and he surely did.

I had no idea the hat was too small for my head, so it’s been a wall decoration on the downstairs terraza all this time.

The hat had been a gift to Al around 1940 when he was 14, and he kept it — and wore it — all his life. Al was an Arizona cowboy in spirit, bred and born, and a mining engineer by trade. He did other things in his 79 years, but mostly he was an old mining engineer/cowboy.

I met him here not long after I moved to this mountaintop. Al arrived before me but not by much, a year or two. He and his wife Jean, a very crusty woman who often had a snoot full, had bought an old Colonial directly downtown, and they renovated it.

After we built our Hacienda, Al gave us a housewarming gift, a string of raw garlic to hang over the front door for buena suerte, good luck. It dangles there to this day — and we’ve had no bad luck whatsoever.

Al was a wonderful guy, a brilliant fellow. He would help you with absolutely anything you asked. He and Jean would often lasso tourists into their home for chitchat and coffee. And Al was a libertarian’s libertarian, about as anti-government as it’s possible to be.

He was complex, as are most brilliant people. Though warm as 9 o’clock coffee, he angered easily, but he got angry only at things that had it coming. Stupidity sat badly with him — and street musicians. Stupidity is worldwide, and street musicians are all over Mexico.

Jean died first, about two years before Al. She felt real bad one day, and Al took her to a clinic a block away. As she lay on the cot, a look of shock and surprise suddenly spread across her face, and that was it. Al told me this the next day. I had gone to his house and found him alone shuffling through paperwork, distracting himself. In that situation, I likely would be doing the same. Al loved Jean.

As we sat there in the dimly lit kitchen, he stood up and starting walking in circles, trying not to cry. I really miss her, he said. I felt badly for him. A short while later, I left him there with his paperwork and his sadness.

The cough started about a year later. Al wouldn’t mess with chemo, of course. He decided to let things happen naturally. I visited now and then. A sister came down from California, the best-looking 70-plus-year-old woman I had seen in all my life, to lend a hand. She was divorced from one of the lesser Beat Poets in San Francisco. I forget which one. She was exceptionally nice.

AlAl had told me about his plan right after the cough started. He had a stash of cyanide that he’d owned for years, something he’d obtained back during his days as a mining engineer. That was to be his end game.

He went gradually downhill. He never seemed to be in pain, which surprised me. He only grew weaker and weaker. I visited him at his home on his final evening. I did not know till the next day that it was his final evening. But it was. He could hardly stand up.

Another friend who had stayed the night told me that Al was found later lying peacefully in bed. He had taken that strong medicine he’d been saving for decades, and it pushed him over the brink. I miss him still. He was a stupendous guy.

And I have his hat.