December 01, 2003

You Asked, Jon Henke Answers

Jon Henke has answered your questions!

Learn a little personal info on a mainly political blogger. And a thought or two on the presidential election, of course.

Great interview. Bonus points for mentioning Space Ghost. Click it now!

Shouldn't it be "Quando"?

- - -That's how it sounds in my head, too. I call it "Q and O", but "Quando" is a better mental shorthand. In retrospect, "Substance. Abuse." may have been a better blog name, based on my blogging style.
I'm still debating a switch to my own .com so I may still switch it.

(already, the interview has suspense!)

Coke, Pepsi, or Shasta?

- - -Shasta. Not because of any particular love for Shasta, though. I can't even think of what Shasta tastes like.

I've long been tired of the regular sodas. They bore me. At this point, I'd far prefer something a bit different, than another godforsaken normal soda.

Frankly, I buy store brand sodas when grocery shopping. Not to save the 30 cents, either. I could afford to splurge on the good stuff....if I could tell the difference. Since I can't, I go with the stuff I haven't had a million times.

(But if I really have my druthers, I'll take sweet tea every day of the week)

What's your favorite flavor Ramen Noodle?

- - -How did you know?

First, I have to clarify.....I don't like the stuff that you get 8/$1.00. I like the Ramen in a cup....add water, 2 minutes in the microwave. Preferably one of the spicy varieties.

(note: How pathetic is it that I can have specific tastes in Ramen?)

What's your astrological sign? Do you know the personality traits that go with it?

- - -Capricorn...and no. The stars do not control our destinies, nor do they dictate our personalities. And before anybody asks, I also don't believe in alchemy, flying saucers, ghosts or Santa Claus.

Not that I'm mocking those who do.

(Wait. Yes, I am)

Do you have a favorite planet?

- - -GhostPlanet, home of SpaceGhost, Coast to of the best TV shows ever.
(uh, Earth, too. For obvious reasons. At least, I hope they're obvious)

Why did you start a blog?

- - -For quite a long time, I've participated in discussions groups. (Yahoogroups, for example) The never-ending debates forced me to think through my assumptions, refine my arguments and back up my opinions with facts. And, sometimes, I changed my mind.

A few months ago, the discussion groups were growing tiresome. We were having the same arguments over and over, and I wasn't learning anything new. The once-interesting war debates had been reduced to variations on "Bush lied, people died!" repeated ad nauseum. Debunking the myriad myths had become a Sisyphean task....I'd push the facts to the top of the hill, only to have some partisan (from either side) roll it back down. And I'd have to start all over again.

I'd been introduced to blogs via Dale Franks who was simply the most intelligent, effective debater I'd come across. His blog was my entry and I found many others from there. When the discussion groups grew tiresome, it occurred to me that I may as put all that research and arguments into a blog. I was doing the work already.

So, I deluded myself into thinking I had something valuable to add to political discourse and began to blog.

Have those reasons changed or evolved at all?

- - -To a degree, I suppose. I won't lie....there's a bit of satisfaction knowing that people actually read the blog. That's nice....and it's motivation, too.

I think it's important that political discourse be elevated, when possible. Too much of the criticism (and not just criticism of Bush. I've criticized him a lot, too) is based on falsehoods, strawmen, and other logical fallacies. I think it's important to point that out. So, I spend a lot of time meme-busting. I suppose that's a bit of an evolution.
I also began "blog rolling"....writing a post (a day, if possible) consisting of links, with commentary, to other bloggers I'd found interesting. I don't know if anybody actually follows the links, but it's become an interesting reason for me to read through my blogroll (and other blogs) to find interesting points and think about them.

So, I guess blogging is just another intellectual exercise.

Have any bloggers influenced or helped you?

- - -Damn straight. Quite a lot, too. Where to begin.
I'll list influences.

1: Dale Franks...He'd be my "blogfather". He has a muscular, incisive, intelligent writing style that I admire....and, yes, envy. I can't emphasize enough how good his blog is. Like me, he's a (small "l") libertarian, with a strong Realist approach to national defense.

2: Pejmanesque...Always find interesting stuff there, and he's smart to boot. A decent mix of aggregator blogging and commentary. Wish I could match his output. Both he and Dale have been very kind to me since I've begun blogging.

3: Instapundit...How can you not admire a guy who can process and link so much useful information every day?

4: IMAO...He's funny. Seriously, one of the funniest writers I've read, and I've read a lot. He's climbed my "funniest authors" ladder quickly....surpassed Dave Barry and rests just below Douglas Adams and PJ O'Rourke. He's going to be famous one day, and I wish I could do something to help that day come sooner. His work deserves it.

5: Econopundit...Fact-based economic commentary. Useful, and thought-provoking, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

6: Lileks...A national treasure. Lileks does the sort of writing that increases you. Common sense, expressed poignantly.

7: JustOneMinute...He does the sort of investigative blogging that I appreciate....and would like to do more often. He makes me work harder.

There are so many others that influence me...... Cointelprotool, The Belgravia Dispatch, Hobbsonline, etc. Too many to mention, but all good.

You have a "ranking" blogroll. (Blogs you like, etc.) Do you have any qualms about that?

- - -Well, heck, I do now. Thanks a lot. I hadn't really thought of it like that.

I guess I should explain the divisions.....
1: Council of Doom - the bloggers that I regard as the most important reads. The first blogs I read every day. The ones that influence, inform and increase me. They are also among the first blogs I discovered.

2: The Justice League - blogs that I find very valuable, in terms of news, information and opinion. They are (generally) my erudite editorial page.

3: The Loyal Opposition - Bloggers with which I disagree...but find worth reading, for one reason or another. Some, (Yglesias) I respect. Others, (Atrios) I think are just muckrakers. In either case, it's worth keeping up.

4: Blogs I like - Actually, many of these could very well be in the Justice League. I started it to include blogs that were more personality driven. Yourish, the Anti-idiotarian Rotweiller, etc. Blogs I just found interesting. Now that I think of it, I suppose it's become an odd category, since so many do belong in the Justice League.

5: Reciprocity - Bloggers that linked to me. I didn't seek these out, necessarily, although I did read some of them already. The reciprocity category is not, in any way, a "lower level" than the others. I enjoy all of them, to one degree or another, and I really enjoy some of them.

6: For My Consideration - Blogs I'm checking out for awhile, to see if I should add them to my blogroll. Some, I'm finding, are invaluable.

I should emphasize, there really isn't a "ranking" involved, except insofar as I find some blogs more valuable in terms of political/economic instruction. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy other kinds of blogs, too.
I gave very little thought to the categories when I set them up....mostly, they just sort of evolved. If I have an epiphany, a new idea, I may change it. I certainly hope nobody is bothered by their position on the blogroll. (and I'm always looking to expand it, too. Whether it be for valuable insights, or reciprocity)

Are there any TV shows you absolutely cannot miss?

- - -Not really. TV is just an appliance for me. I usually have it on in the background, but I don't necessarily watch it all the time. I do enjoy The Chapelle Show, Reno 911, SpaceGhost Coast to Coast, Kudlow and Cramer, Scrubs, Malcolm in the Middle, occassional C-Span, and a few others. Nothing is vital, though.

Oh....there is SpongeBob Squarepants....but that's mostly for my son, Alex, who will sit still for it.

Can you believe the whole Victor and Nick Newman thing?

- - -No! Who are they?

Quick Google search turns up references to soap operas. The names should have given it away.
Let me guess....square-jawed, good looking brothers. Involved in some sort of love triangle. Death, disappearance, identity swapping or serious medical problems are involved. Every scene ends with silence and long hard stares. They look, look away, and look back. That's the formula, anyway.

Who is your favorite actor? Actress? Performance animal?

- - -Hm....I'm almost as disinterested in movies as I am in music. Some people like sculpture, others don't. I'm the guy who doesn't like music....and movies aren't that great, either.

Having said that....I do appreciate Steve Martin. What great range....what a funny guy.
Actress? None would make me go out of my way to see her. None that I can think of, anyway.
Animal? No. Do people really have favorite performance animals? How many of them actually get more than one role?
Aren't you disappointed when your favorite pig never breaks out into dramatic roles? Bacon....that's their only real contribution, isn't it?

Which actor would you dip in a vat of acid? Actress? Performance animal?

- - -Uh, what sort of sadist do you take me for? Really, I can't imagine I'd dip anybody in a vat of acid.
I guess it worked well for Jack Nicholson in Batman, but otherwise, it's probably not a nice thing to do.

I know Kim Jong-Il is a big movie fan, and has commissioned movies, too.....has he been in anything? I don't think anybody would object if I dipped him.

Do you have any pets?

- - -I have three cats. Two of which are, my wife's. I've had Cleo for 9 years now and we've been through just about everything together. Hard to imagine life without her.

My wife wants to get a dog, but I'm just not sure I'm ready for that level of committment....or annoyance. I like animals that you can pet.....or not. Whatever. Dogs require too much attention.

How about pet peeves?

- - -Oh, yes. A few:

1: I am guilty of it, sometimes, but I hate ending a sentence with a preposition.
2: People who say "sherbert". No such's called "sherbet".
3: People who are willing to whine, but not willing to actually DO anything to fix their problem.
4: People who make logical fallacies, and defend them, even after it's pointed out that it's a logical fallacy. (correlation, for the last time, IS NOT CAUSATION!)
5: Geraldo Rivera, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity....the overrated trinity.
6: Reality TV. (good lord, people, you're pathetic. Please get off my television)
7: Musicians. (great. You care deeply about *fill in the blank*, AND you can rhyme it with something else, while somebody plays a what?)
8: Tabloid news. My god, Scott Peterson is not's "coverage". (Nor is Michael Jackson, Ben and Jen and assorted other celebrity 15-minute rule abusers) Don't we have important things going on in the world? Couldn't I be learning something instead?

There are more, but I'll leave it there.

Any thoughts on cigarette smoking?

- - -Smoking is like being gay. I don't do it, but I don't care if you do. Just don't do it in my house, please....there's a kid around. Also, I don't want the residue on my couch.

I've never smoked, and can't really understand why people start....but to each their own. If you want to die early, it's not my place to stop you.

Do you think the United States will ever legalize marijuana?

- - -Yes. The trend, I think, is moving in that direction. Like smoking, I'm not in favor of people doing it....but it's none of my business if they choose to do so.
I think it's going to become clear that the "war on drugs" is a miserable failure, and we could do a lot more, and more efficiently, if we didn't toss marijuana in the same category as cocaine, and other more problematic drugs.
I say legalize it....and regulate the hell out of it. I think it will eventually happen, first at the state level, eventually gaining momentum, and becoming the norm. I think it will be a de facto law, before it is an actual law. We'll just stop enforcing it, before we actually codify it.

What is the biggest weakness facing the Republicans next year?

- - -Bush's spending record. It's a no win thing, too. If he'd spent less, he'd be criticized for not spending enough, especially during a recession/post recession period. (counter-cyclical policy being the Keynesian solution to recessions) And nobody, but nobody, was suggesting we cut the military budget after 9/11.

I'm not worried that his fiscal recklessness will cost him votes among Democrats. They're not going to vote for him, no matter how much social spending he does, or does not, support. I'm worried that moderates and libertarians will support a candidate like Howard Dean, in the misguided notion that he will be fiscally responsible.
That's not a very good gamble.

By the time the next election rolls around, the economy will be a plus for Bush, and the Iraq situation should be more resolved. At least enough that Bush can point to some success, rather than the current, necessary "on the way" stage.

What is their biggest strength?

- - -Bush is the only candidate who is actually serious about national defense. I mean, my god, "let the UN handle it" is not a national's an abdication of responsibility. The UN is a nice organization, and useful at times. It is NOT an end,'s a means to an end. Sometimes, that "means" is useless, and should be discarded so that the end can be accomplished.

Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan realized that. Bush does, too. I'm not sure if the Democrats really don't, or if they're just picking sides and Bush is on the other side.....but it's dangerous wishful thinking.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you while you were school-age?

- - -I was once expelled from high school for some nonsense, by a principal who was eventually fired for that sort of thing. That was good for me, in the long run, although it didn't feel like it at the time. Built character, taught me to question authority, examine my assumptions more closely....that sort of thing.

Other than that, I'd say "just living through school" was pretty good.
I made it....I'd never want to do it again, but it was an important thing to do. Once.

Thanks for the questions. It was interesting, and it appealed to the narcissist in me.

Posted by Jennifer at December 1, 2003 05:55 AM


Good interview! But do you know where Susie left the sherbert at?

Posted by: Ted at December 1, 2003 12:03 PM

Damn you, Rocketboy! :)

Posted by: Jon Henke at December 1, 2003 12:08 PM