Let's get it on! George W. Bush and John Kerry finally square off in a debate tonight. On the one hand, John Kerry is an accomplished debater. On the other hand, George W. Bush is so underestimated that he often manages to win debates. With Bush ahead in the polls, does Kerry need to clean W's clock in the debates to win the presidency? Who will win tonight? On what issues are Bush and Kerry vulnerable?
The NFL pool is back! The spreads are listed below and are non-negotiable. Home team is listed in caps. List the teams you're picking in the comments section below. My picks are as follows: PACKERS -7 over Giants, BEARS +9 over Eagles, Redskins -3 over BROWNS, Patriots -5.5 over BILLS, TEXANS +2.5 over Raiders, Colts -4 over JAGUARS, STEELERS -4 over Bengals, PANTHERS -3.5 over Falcons, CARDINALS +3.5 over Saints, DOLPHINS +5.5 over Jets, BUCS +3 over Broncos, CHARGERS +3 over Titans, NINERS +3.5 over Rams, RAVENS -5.5 over Chiefs. Get your picks in as soon as possible. Winner will be announced with much fanfare in a post on Tuesday.
The most dangerous delusion is the idea that man is perfectible. The goal is unattainable, but the crimes committed to achieve it are very real. The belief in heaven on earth led to the horrors of the gas chamber, the gulag, and the killing fields. Today, it leads to theocratic screwballs randomly beheading Westerners in hopes of creating Allah's earthly kingdom. If you really believe that the ideology you follow will bring utopia, I write today on TownHall, then all is justified in its advancement. That's scary.
Human Events has a review of Intellectual Morons by Tim Carney. "Any parent worried about liberal indoctrination on the eve of sending his son or daughter off to college ought to require his kid to read Intellectual Morons," Carney writes. Elsewhere in the largely favorable review, he challenges my taking on Leo Strauss, one of the only figures associated with the Right examined in the book. Carney labels Strauss "too big a fish for this book." He's not, but I suppose I'll be hearing this same criticism from folks on the Left about Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. Yesterday, the Washington Times published "Smart People, Stupid Ideas," an interview of me on issues relating to Intellectual Morons. It's not available online, unfortunately. It covers a lot of ground--Margaret Sanger, Alfred Kinsey, Rigoberta Menchu, and other intellectual morons. Following the pre-publication plug from Time magazine, the Human Events review and the Washington Times interview represent the only print attention this book has, to my knowledge, received. So why is it currently #12 on Amazon.com's non-fiction top-sellers list? Talk radio, the blogosphere, and Internet news and opinion sites have generated a terrific buzz about Intellectual Morons, and clearly, have the power to sell serious books dealing with ideas.
Senator John Kerry is sporting a rub-on tan that makes him look like he's been on an orange-juice and carrots diet. His new look gives him a rather George Hamiltonish appearance. Despite all the flack John Kerry's taken for alleged Botox injections, and his current Hawaii-style tan he got in the less tropical locale of New Bedford, Massachusetts, I think the senator's new look makes him appear younger, healthier, and more energetic. The Republicans will continue to mock John Kerry, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Look for George W. Bush to wax his eyebrows on the eve of the debate.
My heart goes out to those suffering through Hurricane Jeanne. My taxdollars do too, although not voluntarily. President Bush requested that Congress spend more than $7 billion on disaster relief and other costs associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne. In total, he has requested more than $12 billion in federal funds for the states impacted most by the tropical storm season. Is George W. Bush the president of All State, or the president of the United States?
No doubt, this abundance of money will benefit individuals in Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and other hard-hit states. But the person it will benefit most is the man requesting the appropriation. Santa-Claus-in-chief gets the credit for passing out the presents that we bought. Someone please give George W. Bush a copy of Congressman Davey Crockett's Not Yours to Give.
I'm interviewed today by Chris Banescu of OrthodoxyNet.com. The interview appears on TownHall.com. Issues addressed include campus censorship, Communism, Rathergate, and other topics relating to Intellectual Morons.
Bush-haters projects their anti-war opinions on John Kerry, forgetting that the Senator voted for the war in Iraq. Kerry even noted in early August that knowing what he knows now, he would have still voted to authorize the war.
Kerry, ever the candidate of shades of gray, notes that he would have conducted the war differently than George W. Bush. Specifically, he states he would have taken a more multilateral approach. Last week, for instance, Kerry proclaimed: "the Bush administration would have you believe that when it comes to our allies, it won't make a difference who is president. They say the Europeans won't help us, no matter what. But I have news for President Bush: just because you can't do something, doesn't mean it can't be done."
In a blow to this notion, high government officials in France and Germany told the Financial Times this week that even if Kerry wins in November, they will not send troops to Iraq. So much for multilateralism.
Intellectual Morons is about how ideology--not Left ideology or Right ideology, but all ideology--makes smart people fall for stupid ideas. Ayn Rand is admired by many conservatives, but she is no conservative. Conservatism is the rejection of ideology. Rand is the epitome of an ideologue. Lest we forget this, we have Whittaker Chambers's classic 1957 review of Atlas Shrugged, the Objectivist equivalent of the Bible. The National Review piece contains one of the most famous lines in the history of that magazine. Inspired by Rand's Nietzschean disdain of the weak, Chambers wrote that on almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice could be heard, saying: "To the gas chambers--go!" That's pretty harsh, but so was Rand.
Elsewhere, Chambers turns the volume down, and delivers the most effective argument in the piece: "Systems of philosophic materialism, so long as they merely circle outside this world's atmosphere, matter little to most of us. The trouble is that they keep coming down to earth. It is when a system of materialist ideas presumes to give positive answers to real problems of our real life that mischief starts."
Communism is dead in Bucharest, Phnom Penh, and Managua. It lives in Madison, Berkeley, and Chapel Hill. My article at NewsMax.com explains how American colleges and universities are honoring prominent Communists by naming scholarships, academic chairs, and buildings in their honor.
Eight years ago, Republicans called for the elimination of the Department of Education in their platform. Four years later, the Republican Party nominee called education his number one priority. He made good on his word in making the No Child Left Behind Act the first bill he pushed Congress to pass. Now--nearly four years after Bush's assault on the conservative principle that education funding should be left to the states and localities--the president announces that in the next few months the federal government will spend $9 billion dollars, in large part, to build schools...in Iraq.
Such is the regression of the Republican Party. One could track a similar rollback from conservative principles by the Republicans in health spending, campaign finance reform, nation building, farm subsidies, and other important issues. Big government used to be the enemy--when Democrats controlled big government.
America has a Republican president. Seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court were appointed by Republicans. Republicans outnumber Democrats 51 to 48 in the Senate, and 229 to 205 in the House of Representatives. All three branches of government are in the control of the Republican Party.
The nadir of conservatism paradoxically coincides with the apex of the Republican Party. Are the two occurrences related?
In one week's time, the two biggest draws in boxing tasted the canvass--for more time than allowed under the rules. Last week it was Oscar staying down for ten, Saturday night it was Roy Jones Jr. Whereas Oscar lost to one of the all-time greats, Jones got knocked out by a fighter with nine losses on his record. I personally prefer watching Arturo Gatti over De la Hoya, Jones, and Tyson (who also lost this year), but De la Hoya, Jones, and Tyson have been the most consistent pay per view, and HBO, moneymakers for some time. Their stock, however, has diminished greatly. It's time for some new fighters to step up: Ricky Hatton, Antonio Tarver, Jermain Taylor--are you listening?
I joined John O'Neill tonight at a book-signing celebrating The Leadership Institute's twenty-fifth anniversary. In addition to O'Neill (buy Unfit for Command), whose table was mobbed for several hours, the program included talk-radio host Laura Ingraham (buy Shut Up and Sing), rising singer/songwriter Kelly Minter (buy Water Into Wine), and former Congressman Bob Barr (buy The Meaning of Is).
The authors gave short speeches, with John O'Neill's closing address commanding the attention of the room. Among swift boat veterans, "John Kerry has zero reputation in terms of service in Vietnam," the bestselling author maintained. "True heroes don't brag," O'Neill remarked. "A fellow who parades like a peacock and claims to be a war hero," he said, probably isn't. He contended that two of Kerry's three Purple Hearts came from self-inflicted wounds.
Unfit for Command's chief author noted how the media twists the facts, pointing out that Larry Thurlow, whom he labelled "our greatest hero," is deemed a "goat" by the media, while John Kerry, whom O'Neill regards as a subpar sailor, is looked at as a "hero" among journalists. O'Neill likened John Kerry's '70s anti-war testimony to the Challenger explosion or JFK's assassination, explaining that for veterans who served with the Democratic nominee the memory is etched forever in their memories. "He gave speeches saying Ho Chi Minh was like George Washington," the swift boat veteran explained. John Kerry's testimony to the contrary, O'Neill declared that "The 58,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial are not the armies of Genghis Khan."
I flew on dozens of flights last year, and generally care more about getting off the plane safely than I do about getting on the plane free of hassle. That said, the whole Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam affair has got a whole lot of people thinking about overzealousness in airline security. Michael Smerconish tackles such issues in Flying Blind, a book about security and the skies. Smerconish is both a lawyer and talk radio host, a background that gives him an understanding of legal issues and a flair for speaking in a language that everyone can understand. If you're looking to add a book to your purchase order of Intellectual Morons, consider Flying Blind. From Cat Stevens to Ted Kennedy to Mohammed Atta, the handling of various individuals by security in airports and on airlines is a topic of heated debate. If you want to understand this issue, you need to get Flying Blind.
If you are a student I want to alert you to an opportunity to win several thousand dollars in prize money just for reading Intellectual Morons. If you know a college or high school student, please alert them to this opportunity. Young America's Foundation announced "Exposing Intellectual Morons Essay Contest" this week. It's open to college and high school students under the age of 25. First prize includes $2,500 and a free trip to the Reagan Ranch. Other monetary prizes are available as well. All you have to do is read my book and write an essay between 1,000 and 1,200 words answering the following question: "Dan Flynn discusses more than a dozen intellectual morons in his book, including Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, Margaret Sanger, and Alfred Kinsey. Of all the figures discussed in Intellectual Morons, which one has had the most pernicious impact on our world and why?"
Are pedophiles a persecuted group deserving society's tolerance and protection? A small, but growing, number of college professors say yes. Pro-pedophile academics are attempting to give their vile beliefs a scientific air by invoking famed researcher Alfred Kinsey as the source of their "scholarship." But as I discuss in my article on NewsMax, Kinsey, like his present-day admirers, is a frightening example of how much harm intellectual morons can unleash with a lie.
I'm overwhelmed by the response Intellectual Morons is getting in the alternative media--talk radio, the blogosphere, and the Internet. Blogads appearing here, here, here, and elsewhere, articles like John LeBoultillier's enthusiastic review on NewsMax, debates among bloggers about the book (like this one between John Cole and Oliver Willis), and appearances on KABC's Al Rantel Show, KSFO's Morning Show, and other radio programs have all propelled sales of the book. Despite the fact that my face hasn't graced a single television screen to promote the book, and to my knowledge not a single print review has appeared yet, Intellectual Morons has consistently been on Amazon.com's non-fiction top-sellers list for the past couple of days. All hail alternative media!
Dr. Mike Adams really got my book. His column on Intellectual Morons focuses on my chapter discussing Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger and the movement she should have aborted. It is a must read.
My research on Sanger breaks some new ground. While inspecting her papers in the Library of Congress, I stumbled upon her very detailed plan promoting concentration camps that would have housed more than ten million Americans. None of the ten or so biographies of Sanger that I examined even mention this. Yet, they had access to the same material that I had access to. If the most significant pro-life activist promoted concentration camps, do you suppose these same biographers would have sat on the information? Mike Adams discusses these and other aspects of Sanger's life that have been airbrushed from the official histories. If you want to get a sense of the important information contained in Intellectual Morons, read Dr. Adams' column. Then read my book.
Terrorists beheaded two Americans in Iraq this past week. On Tuesday, terrorists posted a video of them decapitating Eugene Armstrong. A day later, officials confirmed that Jack Hensley's headless body had been found in Iraq.
A year ago, this would have been the story for the better part of a week. Now, the media and the American public react to the beheadings as if they are pedestrian occurences. Where's the outrage? The idea that we've become so desensitized to beheadings that they compete for media attention with the Scott Peterson murder trial, Britney's faux marriage, and Rathergate is sad.
The murderers who beheaded these men have demanded that all Iraqi women be released from occupation jails. Since there are only two Iraqi women in custody and none in the jails cited by the kidnappers, and since the terrorists killed two of the three hostages before a response to their demands could be made, a disturbing conclusion must be drawn: the terrorists loyal to Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi commit acts of barbarism not out of the desire to fulfill any aim but out of the enjoyment of carrying out gruesome methods.
Dan Rather still doesn't believe the Texas Air National Guard documents disparaging President Bush that he broadcast are forgeries. So why, and to whom, did he apologize? Rather's lame act of contrition Monday night didn't kill the Rathergate story. My NewsMax article shows that it's only just begun.
I'll be making dozens of radio appearances on stations around the country to promote Intellectual Morons in the coming days. I kicked things off on KABC's Al Rantel Show last night in LA. Wednesday morning I'll appear on KSFO's Morning Show in San Francisco at 7 a.m. PDT, WDUN's Martha Zoeller Show in Atlanta at 11 a.m. EDT, and KMSR's Kevin McCarthy Show in Dallas at 11 a.m. CDT. Tomorrow's appearances include an in-studio interview with the G. Gordon Liddy at 1 p.m. EDT, and phone interviews with KMSR's David Gold Show at 3:30 p.m. CDT and WRKO's Howie Carr Show at 5:30 p.m. EDT. If you don't get these shows in your area, you can listen to my discussion with Greg Allen of The Right Balance tomorrow over the world wide web. Stay tuned to FlynnFiles for what radio stations--more shows will be added to this schedule shortly--you should stay tuned to for hearing about Intellectual Morons.
If Muhammadism isn't the religion of peace, then why did the man who sang "Peace Train" convert to Islam?
Cat Stevens became a Muslim and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, and now he's on one of those government watch lists. As he was taking a transatlantic fight to the United States, the Brit's plane was diverted to Maine. Stevens was taken off the flight, and sent back to England. Apparently, our government deems him a security risk. I understand the general tendency to not want someone named Yusuf flying on your plane (or becoming your cell mate, for that matter), but c'mon folks--this is Cat Stevens. "Father and Son" is one of the greatest songs ever. What terroristic threat does he represent? Perhaps place him on a weirdo watch list along with Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, and one of those dudes from Peter, Paul, and Mary, but Cat Stevens doesn't belong on a terrorist watch list. Then again, maybe there's something we all don't know about him.
Bill Burkett of Rathergate fame claims that he was given the forged documents that he gave to CBS by a shadowy figure named "Lucy Ramirez." In the spirit of discovery, I've begun a quest to find Ms. Ramirez. I'm currently looking in many of the same hiding places where I found the "real killers" of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson. Where do you think Lucy Ramirez is holding up? Do you have a description of what she might look like? Please share this important information with other FlynnFiles readers in the comments section below.
Employees of America's oldest college, Harvard, have given 97 percent of their donations this presidential election cycle to the Kerry campaign and about three percent to the reelection effort of George W. Bush. At America's second oldest college, William & Mary, employees have given 100 percent of their donations to John Kerry. The uniform support of John Kerry by college professors and administrators, as my article on NewsMax demonstrates, evokes the lopsided vote tallies in Castro's Cuba or Hussein's Iraq. Folks, where's the diversity?
President Bush addressed the United Nations this morning. As the Sudanese delegation looked on, Bush plainly called what's occuring in that country a "genocide." He condemned cloning, and other such Frankensteinish science. "No human life should be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another," Bush maintained. Delivering his speech from the island that served as the focal point of 9/11, Bush outlined terrorism's global reach by invoking horrific events in Spain, Turkey, Israel, Russia, and points beyond. Bush naively confused Western values for universal values, claiming: "When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations." (If anything Samuel Huntington's book by that name--buy it here--has been vindicated by events of recent years.) Whether these remarks represent lofty rhetoric typical of all politicians or the true sentiments of President Bush is unclear, but what is clear is that they ignore reality. Bush's best moment may have been welcoming the UN delegates to the United States, reminding them--tempered applause to the contrary--that he was at home. His lapel-pin American flag, too, was a classic touch for the UN crowd--sort of like wearing a Jesse Helms button to a gay pride parade. Bush concluded his remarks by predicting that "this young century, will be liberty's century."
Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas is finally available in bookstores. Get your copy today. TownHall.com has an early review, and blog ads featuring Intellectual Morons can be found here, here, here, and a dozen other places on the web.
When scientist Stephen Hawking was confronted with proof that his theory was wrong, he sided with truth over self-interest. When the facts went against the assertions of environmentalist Paul Ehrlich, leftist guru Noam Chomsky, and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, they simply ignored the facts. TownHall.com features my article comparing a real scholar with numerous pseudo-scholars.
“This is a sophisticated pile driver of a book, guiding us through the wiles of great luminaries of the netherworld. And such liveliness in the writing, and such erudition. I was quite fascinated by Intellectual Morons.”
—William F. Buckley, Jr.
“Intellectual Morons is exceptionally aptly named. The thought of all that brainpower going down the intellectual drain is sad, but Daniel Flynn’s description of it is hilariously on point. This is must reading.”
—G. Gordon Liddy
“Intellectual Morons is a delight—a wonderful intellectual history of the past hundred years. Flynn ably describes the purveyors of the bad ideas that have undermined our free society.”
—Burton Folsom, Jr.
“A famous bit of folk wisdom says, ‘You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.’ Some of the crackpot notions now fashionable in academic circles, as here documented by Dan Flynn, suggest that saying is an understatement. If you want to know how crazy, and scary, intellectual morons can get, you have to read this book.”
—M. Stanton Evans
Keith Olbermann spends more time attacking the people who exposed the phony documents story than he does examining the people who broadcast it. Monday night he went after bloggers generally and Mike Krempasky specifically. Krempasky, known to FlynnFiles readers as the designer of this site, is a guerrilla internet activist involved with PaveFrance.com, RedState.org, and Rathergate.com. Olbermann referred on his broadcast to "one Mike Krempasky," who, he claims, didn't divulge "his professional connections." What??? It's no secret who Mike Krempasky is. He works for conservative direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie. He didn't hide his association with RatherGate.com. He registered the site in his own name. All of that is of no interest to Olbermann, who never even bothered to call Krempasky, check the internet registry, or have him on his show to defend himself. After attacking bloggers, Olbermann floated the idea that "the Republicans set CBS up." "Is there any question which side came out the winner politically?" asked Olbermann. To discuss blogging, the MSNBC host had a disenchated blogger on as a guest. Barbara O'Brian complained that bloggers had been "infiltrated by the establishment." That's liberalspeak for they're not all liberals.
I won't be on The O'Reilly Factor tonight, after all. I was informed this evening that O'Reilly would be postponing the interview. This is television, and these things happen. Hopefully, a date will be rescheduled soon. When it is, I'll let you know immediately. On the brighter side, there are several dozen radio interviews I have scheduled. I'll have a listing of some of the dates, times, and programs that I'll appear on in a post shortly.
"CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say," reads the headline in today's New York Times. When the stonewall doesn't work, try spin. That's precisely what CBS is now doing. CBS misled the nation on their "scoop" of documents purporting to show pressure brought to bear on George W. Bush's behalf when he served in the Texas Air National Guard. CBS says that it was misled. CBS isn't the victim, they are the perpetrator. Sure, they were misled. But more importantly, they misled the nation. They were used by some liberal crackpot with a vendetta against the president. They employed terrible judgment that was influenced more by ideological solidarity than the facts at hand.
As Machiavelli put it, "One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived." Ain't that the truth.
Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas is released tomorrow. To kick off the national publicity campaign, I'm scheduled to appear on The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel on Tuesday night. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Be sure to tune in to FNC on Tuesday, and be sure to check back to FlynnFiles.com for information on media appearances, reviews, lectures, book signings, etc.
Intellectual Morons isn't the only book that comes out on Tuesday. Why the Left Hates America (buy it here), my first book, comes out in paperback tomorrow with a new afterword. Several print runs of the hardback edition sold out, and the book was the beneficiary of numerous positive reviews and articles. To look back on some of the press that Why the Left Hates America received when it was released in October of 2002, read here, here, here, here, and here.
To refresh, Shays' Rebellion was a revolt against the government of Massachusetts in 1786. Many of the participants were farmers and Revolutionary War veterans. Captain Daniel Shays, a war vet who led the revolt, gave his name to the event.
Shays' Rebellion is often characterized as a proto-Marxist uprising, but, according to Dr. North, its roots lay in the one of the same issues that inflamed the colonists to rebel against England. "Shays Rebellion was a tax revolt," North remarked. "It was not an attempt to inflate the currency."
North pointed out that the rebels were not generally in private debt, but were angry with Massachusetts for calling in the public debt owed on bonds used to fund the Revolution. Because speculators had bought the bonds--for a fraction of face value--from the same veterans who now had to pay taxes to fund the public debt to the speculators in full, widespread anger engulfed many towns in Western Massachusetts. Had the public debt been paid off with a more gradual plan, farmers worried about land confiscation might not have rebelled against the immediate property and head taxes accessed--taxes that the previous governor, John Hancock, had refused to collect.
Hancock's successor, James Bowdoin (who curiously owned a substantial amount of bonds), enforced collection of the oppressive taxes. When the populace naturally balked at his scheme, he couldn't put down the revolt because so many militiamen sided with the rebels. Despite having more than 90,000 potential militiamen, Bowdoin had to call in the national government, which justified the venture by selling it as an attempt to squash an Indian uprising--"weapons of feathered destruction," North called it.
So why has history gotten the story wrong? North points to the letters by General Henry Knox to George Washington portraying the uprising as one of debtors shirking their obligations. Certainly, this portrayal was meant to cast Shays' Rebellion in the most negative light possible for Washington, who might have seen things differently had the true nature of the rebellion--a revolt against onerous taxation--been made clear to him. The letters helped push Washington to attend the Constitutional Convention, which replaced the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution. Knox's propaganda on Shays' Rebellion designed to win Washington over to the need for a more powerful central government, North argued, has permeated the history books.
The significance of Shays' Rebellion is that it helped pave the way for the Constitution. North seems to view this as a bad thing. I don't.
My apologies for not reporting the winner of last week's non-monetary NFL pool, and for not posting week two's games. I have been extremely busy with book promotion, work, and the blog--where we've had some technical difficulties if you haven't noticed. Be prepared for week three, as I will post my NFL picks on Thursday night. Additionally, if you know who won week one's pool, please speak up in the comments section and I will verify. For week three, you will get no credit if you pick the New Jersey Generals, Shreveport Steamer, Colorado Crush, or Barcelona Dragons, as these are not proper NFL teams.
Oscar De la Hoya fought like the warrior that he is for nine rounds. I had the fight even going into the ninth, with it trending clearly for Bernard Hopkins. In the ninth, Hopkins hit Oscar with a body shot that sent him down for the count. On no replay did the punch seem devastating, and its effect was delayed for a second or two. For the first time in his career, De la Hoya tasted the canvass. He couldn't answer the count. The FlynnFiles prediction fell short. It was neither the first, nor the last time, that that will happen.
Some technical difficulties erased my Saturday posts, so I'd like to reiterate my prediction for tonight's fight: Oscar De la Hoya. Sure, Bernard Hopkins has been fighting at middleweight his entire career, while De la Hoya has come up almost thirty pounds since his Olympic victory in 1992. I'll also concede that in their co-headlining card back in June, Hopkins looked better than De la Hoya. But underdog De la Hoya has fought the best fighters at multiple weight classes--Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, Ike Quartey, Arturo Gatti, Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, Fernando Vargas, etc.--for nearly a decade. Hopkins, on the other hand, has fought nobodies for most of his career and has been involved in only one fight that was considered a superfight when it occurred (Hopkins-Trinidad). I like that De la Hoya weighed in at 155, and will be fighting as an underdog for the first time in his career. Oscar's quickness and experience in big-time fights, coupled with Hopkins's age and diminishing power (When was the last time Hopkins has sent a fighter to the canvass on a power shot?), compel me to go against the odds and predict an Oscar decision victory.
Tonight is the night boxing fans have been waiting for. In the tradition of the '80s superfights between Duran, Leonard, Hagler, and Hearns (they all fought each other, after all), the Golden Boy Oscar De la Hoya takes on the Executioner Bernard Hopkins for the middleweight championship. The best against the best. In Hopkins's favor, he's fought at one weight his entire career. Oscar's come up almost thirty pounds since his Olympic victory in 1992. In Oscar's favor, he's been in more competitive, big-time fights than any boxer in recent memory. Hopkins's opposition has been more pedestrian; his faceoff with Felix Trinidad has really been his only superfight. Hopkins is favored, but age has got to catch up to you sometime. Hopkins has failed to KO recent competition when KOs were there for the taking. Look for the quicker De la Hoya to confound critics and Hopkins to win by decision.
The tables have turned. The Red Sox now find ways to beat the Yankees and the Yankees now find ways to lose to their AL East rivals. Tonight, Manny Ramirez leaped over the fence to steal a home run, Johnny Damon came through with clutch RBIs, and Dave Roberts flew home to tie the game in the 9th. For the second time this season, the Red Sox handed a loss to Mariano Rivera by coming from behind in the ninth inning. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks back, the Yankees are running out of gas looking in the rear view mirror at a car coming at them at 100 mph.
When Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's single-season home-run record, some fans placed an asterisk next to Maris's name in their mental record-book because Maris got 162 games to break a record that Ruth set in 154. Friday night, Barry Bonds hit his 700th home run. The man has some sick career numbers, and he may just win his seventh MVP award this year. But do you put an asterisk next to Bonds's name in the record book in your head?
Gallup reports that Bush's post-convention bounce has expanded, reporting a 55-42 lead for the president among likely voters. Pew contends that the race is essentially even, with Bush's 47-46 lead within their poll's margin of error. Investor's Business Daily calls the race even as well, but Zogby shows Bush holding on to a four-point lead. It's getting to the point where one has to poll the polls to come to an informed guess about who's really winning, and even then it's just a guess. As always, we'll all just have to wait for the one poll that really matters.
Dan Rather is giving Dans a bad name. I'm fighting back to redeem the pride of Dans everywhere. Read my take on the Rathergate affair on TownHall.com.
John Kerry may be trailing in the polls, but his candidacy has really taken off within an all-important demographic: grown adults who like to make little children cry.
Earlier this week, Colin Powell expressed doubts that weapons of mass destruction would ever be discovered in Iraq. The secretary of state, who offered a "conservative" estimate before the war that Hussein possessed between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent, now explains: "I think it's unlikely that we will find any stockpiles." The top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq went a step further today. There were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, says Charles Duelfer, the top U.S. weapons inspector.
The primary cause for war--a menacing Hussein sitting on stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction--has been undermined by the American ouster of Hussein. The notion prior to the war that Hussein possessed WMD certainly was not implausible. After all, he had used them against Iranians and the Kurds. But now that the issue of stockpiles of WMD in Iraq is settled, why are we still there?
One reason is that in solving the problem of Hussein, we have created new problems. Foremost among them: the danger of fundamentalism replacing one of the more secular governments in the region. Another reason is the idea that after liberating the Iraqis from Hussein, we owe them the favor of giving them billions of dollars and ensuring their safety with the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Haven't we already done enough for people who refuse to do for themselves?
If you haven't got your fix of the CBS scandal on FlynnFiles, then go to Rathergate (sorry, no superscript here), a new site entirely dedicated to the controversy. They name the man alleged by some to have fed the story to CBS. They name Viacom's top shareholders, and provide their email addresses. And they have sent CBS more than 5,000 faxes. Who's behind this guerrilla internet activism? None other than Mike Krempasky, the designer of FlynnFiles.com.
VH1's Bands Reunited is one of the better shows on the two main cable television music channels, which really aren't music channels anymore. The inaugural season reunited bands that we hadn't heard from in some time--A Flock of Seagulls (buy their greatest hits here), The Alarm (buy their greatest hits here), and Dramarama (buy their greatest hits here).
This season, the most worthy of the bands VH1 attempts to bring together again is The Beat, better known in America as The English Beat. Featuring an eclectic cast of characters, including proto-MC Ranking Roger and a septuagenarian named Saxa, who, of all things, plays the saxaphone, The English Beat's New Wave/ska sound screams early '80s. "I Confess," "End of the Party," "Mirror in the Bathroom," and "Save It for Later" were some of the best songs of the post-punk era, but after three albums the group called it quits when singers Dave Wakeman and Ranking Roger decided to pursue money-green pastures as a two-piece in General Public. Although General Public scored a hit in "Tenderness," two of the left-behind members ironically found the most success in life after The English Beat (buy their greatest hits here). Andy Cox and David Steele would go on to become two-thirds of Fine Young Cannibals, releasing one of the monster albums of the late 1980s in The Raw and the Cooked (buy it here).
Alas, VH1 did not deliver a happy ending on The English Beat's edition of Bands Reunited. Cox and Steele, despite an impassioned plea from the aging Saxa, refused to reunite with their former bandmates. When one of your bandmates is pushing 80, opportunities to reunite grow dimmer by the year. That's too bad, as The English Beat deserve to be heard again.
The sometimes annoying, sometimes endearing Aamer Haleem has a winning record reuniting bands. It's a great feeling to see The Motels and A Flock of Seagulls back on stage again. But let's face it: not every band should be reunited. So, I ask the readers three important questions: What band should Aamer attempt to reunite next season? What band should Aamer never, under any circumstances, attempt to reunite? What current band should Aamer attempt to break up?
I demand answers!
If you still had some lingering doubts whether the documents in Rathergate were really forgeries, then read this article in the Washington Post. At least the New Republic eventually stopped believing Stephen Glass. CBS seems content to live in its own fictional universe, pretending that the documents used for its report are as real as the Hope Diamond. Dan Rather lashed out at "partisan political operatives" and the "counterattack" against CBS. He's too busy battling strawmen and changing the subject to address the very real questions raised about the dubious memos. If CBS seems to be stonewalling like a political outfit, maybe it's because that's what they are--a political outfit.
Communism lasted for more than 70 years in Russia. Freedom lasted about a decade. Vladimir Putin (Are we allowed to preface his name with dictator yet?) already did away with the last vestiges of a free press. Now he's proposing to chip away at democracy in the wake of the Chechen terrorist attacks. Putin wants the power to appoint governors, instead of the people electing them. He wants candidates for the national legislature to come from party lists, eliminating any independent or unapproved office seekers. Perhaps someone can clue me in regarding what, exactly, Putin's proposals have to do with fighting terrorism.
A little more two years after 9/11, George W. Bush proposed granting amnesty to illegal immigrants in this country. The idea was about as popular as naming Ted Bundy homecoming queen. It was quickly dropped.
The administration already has in effect instituted its amnesty program on illegal immigrants--or perhaps more accurately, the companies that hire them. In the last year of George H.W. Bush's presidency, the government levied more than a thousand fines against companies that hired illegal aliens. In the second year of George W. Bush's presidency, the government imposed just 13 such fines. The information can be found in this week's Time magazine cover story, which is generating a definite buzz.
The concept is simple. If you break the law, you should be punished. When you don't punish lawbreakers, you reward the crimes they commit. Take away the incentive to commit a crime, and instances of that crime will decrease. Illegal immigration is a crime--get it, "illegal" immigration.
Ignoring law also undermines democracy. The people and their representatives made the law. There's a proper way to repeal law. It's by working through the legislature or referenda. Refusing to enforce the law isn't one of these proper methods. It's an end-around on democracy.
Traditional arguments against illegal immigration focused on crime, economics, government spending, and culture. Today, security concerns make the issue more of a matter of life and death.
There are 15 million illegal immigrants in America. Most of them are here to make a better life for themselves and their families. Some, though, are habitual criminals. Others are welfare cheats. A tiny few are here to commit acts of terrorism against us. When the notion of terrorists illegally entering this country to kill us seemed the stuff of fantasy, a more lax immigration policy might have been more understandable. We don't live in that world anymore. We don't live in that world anymore because of nineteen immigrants.
We have immigration laws. As long as they're on the books, they should be enforced.
Blogging ain't all it's cracked up to be. Monday's Washington Times reports that dollar signs don't match the hype for most bloggers. "It is in no way a moneymaking device," Michelle Leder of Footnoted.org told the Times. "I'm enjoying it. If it got to the point where it was becoming a hassle, I'd rethink it." Miss Leder is not alone in finding blogging a financially thankless profession. Other than big guns like Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, and DailyKos, few bloggers reap rewards beyond the knowledge that their work is reaching a mass audience. And I guess most bloggers can't even claim that.
Since this site will run a four-figure deficit in '04, I guess it's a good thing that I didn't go into blogging to make money. I speak, write books, and have a day job. For me, blogging is a late-night hobby. It serves as a vehicle to get my ideas out to a mass audience without having to wait on an editor's decision. Blogging also allows me to write about off-beat topics--such as reality television, 1980s New Wave music, and boxing--that I'd likely never get a chance to write about beyond this site. People who believe politics is the only subject of interest are themselves generally uninteresting.
Who knows? Maybe blogging is to the early twenty-first century what CB radios were to the 1970s. I doubt it. I'm having too much fun in our online community, whose population should rival some small cities once the campaign to promote Intellectual Morons launches next week. Other bloggers are having a blast too.
But as with everything else, bloggers gutsta pay the bills. This isn't a pay-site. You don't see pop-up ads. And FlynnFiles.com doesn't solicit you for donations. We do have products (books, CDs, and DVDs), and if you see anything you like please buy it as you'll be helping to fund the overhead for this site. If you don't like what you see on the right side of the page, how about Michelle Malkin's new book, The Very Best of Elvis Costello, or this inexpensive five-games-in-one video game player?
Stinging from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's effective campaign against John Kerry, liberals rushed to find their own Vietnam issue to use against George W. Bush. The fact that Bush didn't serve and Kerry did wasn't enough. So someone came up--literally--with something they could use to go on the offense.
It seems fairly clear that the documents CBS's 60 Minutes used to smear Bush are forgeries. They contain superscript, smart quotes, and times new roman font--three features of microsoft word not widely available on typewriters in the 1970s. The colonel named in the letter as trying to "sugarcoat" Bush's poor record was honorably discharged from the National Guard more than a year earlier. The alleged memo writer's wife, son, and numerous experts believe the memos are phony. Despite all of the evidence, Dan Rather doesn't believe that the documents that show Bush in a negative light are fakes. Perhaps more accurately, Dan Rather doesn't want to believe they're fake.
September is a big month for reality television. Last week, The Real World Philadelphia debuted. As is tradition, the obligatory homosexual character, this season it's Willie, came out of the closet to his roommates on day one. To break this formulaic boredom, Karamo, who sounds like DMX and looks like he plays power forward for the New York Knicks, announced that he was gay too. Although the openly gay co-creator of The Real World, Jonathan Murray, admitted that a mere one to two percent of the applicants for a recent season were homosexual, he selected two gay men for the cast of seven strangers this time around. What agenda do you suppose he's pushing?
King of all reality shows, Survivor, kicks off a new season this week, while The Apprentice premiered last week. Right now, I'm into the budding romance between Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielson on The Surreal Life. Nielson stumbles through the house naked, while an--I'll be kind--overcaffeinated Flavor Flav yells his own name at all hours of the night while wearing viking headgear. New Kids on the Block's Jordan Knight, American Idol's Ryan Starr, frequent '80s sit-com guest Charro, and Full House's David Coulier are resigned to look on in horror. Flav is on the wrong side of sanity ("Yeeeaaah! Boy!"), while Nielson is on the wrong side of sobriety. Last night on VH1's The Surreal Life, they sort of, well, consumated their relationship--or its least that's what clever editing made viewers believe. The current Surreal Life is the best bad television to come along since P. Diddy sent the contestants of Making the Band to fetch his cheesecake in Brooklyn.
Ten years after President Clinton signed it into law, the assault weapons ban is dead. Good riddance.
Just as President Bush and the 107th Congress had no right to codify McCain-Feingold, President Clinton and the 103rd Congress had no right to codify the assault weapons ban. The First Amendment fobids the former while the Second Amendment forbids the latter.
Along with his failed attempt to socialize health care and impose gays on the military, President Clinton's gun ban is one of the three policy reasons why his party got trounced in the mid-term elections of 1994. Like President Clinton, President Bush supports the assault weapons ban. Unlike President Clinton, he is not politically foolish enough to actively push for it. In 2000, gun owners constituted 48 percent of all voters. Any attempt to roll back the rights they exercise, as the Democrats found out the hard way in 1994, will result in retaliation at the ballot box.
First, Time, America's largest news magazine, gives Intellectual Morons a pre-publication plug. Now, the king of all bloggers, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, recommends my book to Dan Rather, whose actions this week make at least half of my book title applicable to him. The book isn't even out and Time and Instapundit, the big dogs of their respective mediums, have already plugged it. When it rains it pours, I guess, because an even larger development regarding Intellectual Morons has transpired. Check in later this week and I'll have a full report on something that should have an enormous impact on book sales. I've spent several years of my life writing this book. It's inspiring to know that tens of thousands of people will spend several hours of their lives reading it.
Today is September 11. This week FlynnFiles explored some of the key themes in The 9/11 Commission Report. On this solemn anniversary, the numerous television specials and newspaper remembrances will do a far better job than this blogger discussing that horrible day. After spending a week on 9/11, I'd like to shift gears to another, less important, September 11 event.
On September 11, 1960, young activists and intellectuals gathering at William F. Buckley's Sharon, Connecticut home advanced one of the most succinct statements articulating conservative principles. The Sharon Statement launched Young Americans for Freedom and the modern conservative youth movement. It is must reading for any conservative.
The document put forth a number of bold but true statements that would guide conservatives for decades. It declared that "political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom." The Sharon Statement noted that "the genius of the Constitution--the division of powers--is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government." When government, it explained, "takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both." Amidst what some might see as a dated preoccupation with Communism, The Sharon Statement's final line seems especially salient to our times: "American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?"
Tomorrow is 9/11/04. It's been 1095 days since al Qaeda claimed credit for a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. This drought is not for lack of effort on the part of Osama bin Laden's disciples. So what has kept us safe from such attacks within the United States for three years?
One answer is the single-minded pursuit of security on the part of John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge, and others similar to them. The ACLU doesn't like them, but more importantly, neither do terrorists. Another, less-explored answer is the utter incompetence of many Islamic terrorists. Sure, they've pulled off something as satanically ingenious as the 9/11 attacks. But they've also demonstrated cartoonish bumbling in some of their ambitious, but failed, attempts at mass murder.
Consider that among the reasons the 1993 World Trade Center bombers were caught, in the words of the 9/11 Commission, is that one of the conspirators, “Mohammed Salameh, who had rented the truck and reported it stolen, kept calling the rental office to get back his $400 deposit." That truck, of course, was used as a giant bomb in the attack.
In Sudan, bin Laden and associates paid $1.5 million for weapons-grade uranium--or so they thought. The commission noted, "Al Qaeda apparently purchased the cylander, then discovered it to be bogus."
In late 1999, the Millenium Plot to blow up LAX failed because an al Qaeda operative cracked under pressure and exhibited extreme foolishness. Ahmed Ressam, a common criminal who graduated to terrorism, was arrested attempting to smuggle large amounts of explosives into the United States. Ressam boarded his car smuggling the explosives on a Canada-to-U.S. ferry, and waited until all of the cars had disembarked thinking that this would enhance his chances of success. It didn't. It drew attention to him, as did his strange behavior and anxiousness. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that as the INS agents inspected Ressam, he "panicked and tried to run away."
Three weeks later in January of 2000, al Qaeda attempted to blow up the U.S.S. Sullivans, a destroyer in the Gulf of Aden. The terrorists failed because zeal overcame common sense when they overloaded their boat with munitions and inadvertantly sank the murderous vessel.
Following the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda terrorist Richard Reid attempted to ignite his sneaker, which was really a bomb, in the presence of other passengers on board a transatlantic flight. The passengers subdued him and foiled his plot. The event demonstrated the paradoxical nature of al Qaeda--capable of something as clever as a sneaker bomb and as idiotic as attempting to light it in such a conspicuous manner. Did Reid never figure out that he would have had more success in the bathroom?
It's a curse that so many Muslims are willing to engage in acts so evil. Thank God that so many of them are incredibly stupid.
Alright, here we go. The home team is in caps. You don't get to make up your own spreads. The lines you see here are non-negotiable. Also, the Miami-Tennessee game has been postponed due to Hurricane Ivan--don't pick the winner here since the game won't be played this week. All that's necessary for you to do is list the team that you think will beat the spread in the comments section. If you want to add commentary feel free, but all you have to do is list the winner. Please consult FantasyTailgate if you need to brush up on your NFL knowledge. Here are my picks: PATRIOTS -3 1/2 over Colts, REDSKINS -2 over Bucs, SAINTS +2 over Seattle, Bengals +4 over JETS, BROWNS +3 over Ravens, BRONCOS -3 over Chiefs, BILLS -3 over Jaguars, NINERS +3 over Falcons, STEELERS -4 over Raiders, Lions -3 over BEARS, VIKINGS -4 1/2 over Cowboys, Chargers +4 1/2 over TEXANS, EAGLES -9 over Giants, Cardinals +11 over RAMS, Packers +3 over PANTHERS. If you get to this post after the Pats-Colts game, feel free to pick from the rest of the field. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday. Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted others, make your picks!
UPDATE: My mistake, the Titans-Dolphins game has been moved to this Saturday rather than next. Titans -3 over DOLPHINS. Adjust your picks accordingly, and if you haven't picked yet please share your selections on the comments section before kickoff on Saturday.
Iraqis fight harder to block freedom than they did to oust tyranny. With news of the thousandth American death in the Iraq war, one can't help but come to this uncomfortable conclusion. The brutal regime of Saddam Hussein provoked no uprising similar, even after the Gulf War, to what Americans face now.
The milestone raises an important question: Was it worth it? Other than Saddam Hussein sitting in a jail cell, there's not a lot to celebrate. The dead were sent to seize the Iraqi stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, prevent further acts of terrorism, and create a democracy in the heart of the Arab world. The WMD stockpiles proved illusory. Iraq has become a terrorist Woodstock. The notion that a bunch of James Madisons and Thomas Jeffersons were sitting around Baghdad waiting to install self-government if only America rid them of Saddam Hussein seems the stuff of comedy.
Why should Americans die giving freedom to the inhabitants of Fallujah, who die trying to block that freedom?
Are you ready for some football? The NFL kicks off tonight from Foxboro, Massachusetts, as the Patriots take on the Colts in a rematch from last season's AFC championship game. With the success of the '99 Rams, the '00 Ravens, and the '01 Patriots, surprise teams acheiving ultimate gridiron success have been the rule rather than the exception in recent years. Despite this, I'm going on record now with my Super Bowl picks--and I want you to go on record too. The New England Patriots will face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 39 (enough with the Roman numerals), with the Patriots repeating. Stand up and be counted! Share your Super Bowl predictions with FlynnFiles readers.
"We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans," Osama bin Laden told a CNN reporter three years before 9/11. "Nothing could stop you except perhaps retaliation in kind. We do not have to differentiate between military and civilian. As far as we are concerned, they are all targets."
On 9/11, two of the four targets were purely civilian. Last week in Russia, Islamic terrorists took this cowardly approach to even baser extremes, going after children on the first day of school. We should be horrified, but not surprised, when terrorists do what they say they are going to do.
Killing other Muslims seems a more controversial tactic among terrorists, particularly the captured murderers of school children in Russia who seemed shocked that their leaders killed other terrorists. In deed as well as in word, bin Laden has been clear where he stands on killing other Muslims: "when it becomes apparent that it would be impossible to repel these Americans without assaulting them, even if this involved the killing of Muslims, this is permissible under Islam."
First and foremost, terrorists are rationalizers. They justify their barbarism with certitude in the nobility of their cause. Killing other Muslims, Western civilians, and even school kids is thereby rationalized. Calls to understand why the terrorists attack us imply that there's some way to identify and correct our problem, and thus satisfy extremists who murder adolescent children. Solving the terrorist problem, however, involves a greater focus on killing the terrorists rather than understanding the terrorists. The latter course assumes that the terrorists will react rationally to change while the former course assumes that the terrorists will act like terrorists.
Could anyone have predicted 9/11? Probably not. Could anyone have prevented 9/11? Probably so.
The 9/11 Commission Report details numerous opportunities the Clinton administration had in 1998 and 1999 to kill Osama bin Laden. Political correctness and general unseriousness plagued the Clinton administration's efforts to arrest, not kill, bin Laden.
"Early drafts of this highly sensitive document emphasized that it authorized only a capture operation," the report notes of one Clinton-era directive. "The tribals were to be paid only if they captured Bin Laden, not if they killed him."
In February of 1999, a memorandum asked Clinton "to allow the CIA to give exactly the same guidance to the Northern Alliance as had just been given to the tribals: they could kill Bin Laden if a successful capture operation was not feasible. On this occasion, however, President Clinton crossed out key language he had approved in December and inserted more ambiguous language." In other words, the man who wondered what "is" is inserted weasel words to let himself off the hook. Additionally, he bowed to liberal sensibilities rather than the safety of the American people by making it unclear whether it was permissible to kill the Saudi exhile even in the event that efforts to capture him failed.
Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Massoud wasn't amused. "CIA officers described Massoud’s reaction when he heard that the United States wanted him to capture and not kill Bin Laden. One characterized Massoud’s body language as 'a wince.'" "You guys are crazy—you haven’t changed a bit," he is remembered to have said.
When not applying onerous regulations on the method in which bin Laden was to be engaged, Clinton exhibited great reluctance to strike at al Qaeda. On one occassion, Clinton administration officials balked at bombing the terrorists over concerns "that a strike would kill an Emerati prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Laden or close by."
The report is replete with examples of other squandered chances. "I'm sure we’ll regret not acting last night," the report quotes a CIA operative named "Mike," who criticizes Clinton administration decision-makers for "worrying that some stray shrapnel might hit the Habash mosque and 'offend' Muslims." "The principals, he said, were 'obsessed' with trying to get others—Saudis, Pakistanis, Afghan tribals—to 'do what we won't do,'" the report states. "We should have done it last night," another operative commented. "We may very well come to regret the decision not to go ahead."
The report details no similar embarrassing missed opportunities on President George W. Bush's watch. Unlike Clinton, Bush never made an attempt--even of the half-hearted variety favored by his predecessor--to get bin Laden before 9/11. Eight years of missed opportunities may be worse than eight months of unpursued opportunities, but the fact is that prior to 9/11 neither administration took Islamic terrorism seriously enough. Neither did the media, or the American people. Now we do.
On 9/10, al Qaeda had killed less than fifty Americans. By 9/11, that number had increased more than sixtyfold.
The attacks occurred three years ago this week. As a result of The 9/11 Commission Report released earlier this summer, Americans now have a clearer idea of what happened that dreadful Tuesday.
Beginning with Muhammed Atta piloting American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m., four planes crashed within one hour, sixteen minutes, and thirty-one seconds.
Within thirty minutes of takeoff, the three five-man teams that successfully used the planes as jet-fuel missiles had sprung into action. United Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania rather than the Capitol, carried just four hijackers who waited more than 45 minutes before launching their nefarious scheme. Other factors, including the fact that the plane carried numerous brave passengers in addition to the terrorists and that the flight took-off twenty-five minutes late, militated against al Qaeda’s plans. As the commission’s report explains, the hijackers of Flight 93 attempted to fend off the charging passengers by sharply elevating and then nosediving the plane. When it became apparent that they couldn’t complete their mission, the terrorists crashed the plane, shouting: “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!”
The explosion in the North Tower was so intense that a fireball traveled four stories below ground. More than a third of New York City’s fire companies had arrived at the scene of carnage in lower Manhattan prior to the collapse of either Twin Tower. “The first FDNY fatality of the day occurred at approximately 9:30, when a civilian landed on and killed a fireman near the intersection of West and Liberty streets,” The 9/11 Commission Report notes.
The South Tower, the building that got hit second but collapsed first, crashed to the ground at 9:59 a.m. So great was the force that firefighters on the upper levels of the North Tower got knocked down when the South Tower crumbled to earth. Within minutes, the firefighters in the North Tower were forcefully ordered: “All FDNY, get the f*** out!” Just as adamantly, one firefighter responded: “We’re not f***ing coming out!”
That firefighter likely died when the North Tower came down about a half-hour after the South Tower’s collapse. Amazingly, sixteen people inside of the North Tower survived its collapse. Not a single person inside the South Tower when it imploded lived.
The FDNY lost 343 men, the Port Authority Police Department endured 37 deaths, the Pentagon saw 184 Americans killed, and the NYPD suffered 23 fatalities.
At a total cost of about a half-million dollars, al Qaeda killed 2973 people, caused billions of dollars in destruction, and successfully targeted the functioning symbols of America’s military and economic power. With all that bloodshed, the terrorists no doubt view their investment as money well spent.
Writers are first and foremost readers. One writer I always enjoy reading is Bill Simmons, otherwise known as the Boston Sports Guy on ESPN.com's Page 2. In his latest offering, Simmons gives 84 reasons why 1984 is the best year of the last quarter century.
Simmons recalls 1984 as "one of the last years when it was still fun to collect Topps cards," when HBO played "Eddie and the Cruisers every six hours," and "the last time Joyce DeWitt ever filled out a 1040-form" (Three's Company got cancelled in '84). In March of that year, the WWF's "Roddy Piper slammed coconuts into Jimmy Snuka's forehead on a 'You remember exactly where you were when you watched it, JFK-assassination-level' episode of Piper's Pit."
All of it rings true, save for Simmons highlighting ZZ Top's Legs as "one of the five greatest strip-joint songs of all-time"--overlooking the fact that The Scorpions' Rock You Like a Hurricane, the undisputed number one song in this category, also came out in 1984.
Simmons notes that Wham's Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go video "is 10 times funnier when you know that....another 15 years passed before I realized that George Michael was gay, and only because he announced it." Reason number one? "Four once-in-a-lifetime athletes enter their absolute primes: Bird, Gretzky, McEnroe, Montana. Good golly."
"Too many good docs are getting out of the business," President Bush told a Labor Day audience in Missouri. "Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country." Come again?
Children may not be aware of Kobe Bryant or Michael Jackson enough to be affected by their misbehavior. Some celebrities have a greater obligation to steer clear of hookers, cocaine, and $100K gambling debts. Sadly, they don't. The recent troubles of this former role model have really bothered me. What should we tell our children?
Kali Meehan beat Lamon Brewster for the WBO version of the heavyweight championship Saturday night. Unfortunately for Meehan, two of the judges didn't see it that way. I gave Meehan the victory by four, perhaps five points. Meehan pummelled Brewster in the eighth round. Without knocking Brewster down, Meehan probably scored a 10-8 round. Both fighters lack of defense, and ability to score with big punches, made for an exciting fight. On each judge's scorecard, the last round would decide the fight. Anyone watching the fight saw Meehan win the last round decisively--anyone except the judges, who unanimously gave the twelfth frame, and thus the fight, to Brewster. After the decision, Brewster appropriately announced: "give Don King the praise."
When the Cleveland Indians beat the New York Yankees 22 to 0 earlier this week, I was tempted to blog on the historic beatdown. Having seen the Yankees rebound from defeats in the past, I thought the better of it. Give it a few days, I figured, and see how it all plays out. Well, things are not playing out well for the Evil Empire.
The Orioles beat the Yankees 3 to 1 Friday night. Following the loss, Yankees ace Kevin Brown (don't worry, they have several aces up their sleeve) punched a wall in frustration and broke his non-pitching hand. Earlier in the day, news reports revealed that star firstbaseman Jason Giambi has a benign tumor in his pituitary gland.
Pedro Martinez shut out the Texas Rangers Friday night. The Red Sox have won ten games in a row. After being back ten-and-a-half games a short time ago, the Red Sox are now just two-and-a-half games behind in the AL East. They smell blood. Worse for the Yankees, six games remain with their divisional foe. The Yankees encounter Pedro twice in those six contests, and will face a murderers' row that includes the most potent duo in baseball, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez; the former tailor made for Yankee Stadium, the latter the odds on favorite to win 2004's Most Valuable Player Award.
The Red Sox have put more runs, and allowed fewer, on the board than the Yankees. They hold a commanding lead in head-to-head match-ups. Whereas the Yankees appear as a Mr. Burns, identikit baseball team (in other words, they don't have the chemistry of the Paul O'Neil/Tino Martinez/Scott Brosius Yankees), the Red Sox are a loose club that has gelled together as a team. Most importantly, just as the Red Sox are coming together, the Yankees are falling apart.
One month ago, there were serious doubts that the Red Sox would earn the wild card spot. Now they look strong to win the American League East.
Today, the Red Sox appear as an Indy car catching up to an old, broken-down jalopy. The Yankees are ahead, but for how much longer?
My favorite speech at the Republican National Convention occurred, well, 3,000 miles to the west and forty years earlier. It offered a "Republicanism so focused and so dedicated not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels." What do you suppose Barry Goldwater would have made of "compassionate conservatism?" I confess: I wasn't inspired by John McCain, Ron Silver, or even President Bush himself. I feel like a party switcher and I didn't even change my registration. Well, at least I can read Goldwater's Cow Palace speech, Pat Buchanan's 1992 oration at the Astrodome, and Ronald Reagan's acceptance speech in 1980 to be reminded of why I am a Republican.
George W. Bush's address was a safe, albeit long-winded, speech. He did himself no harm. In many ways, it was Clintonian--proposing a number of minor programs and amorphous "reforms."
By my count, the president proposed about a dozen new spending projects. In one breath, Bush announced that "government should help people improve their lives." In another, he pointed to "restraining federal spending" as a second-term priority.
President Bush promised "direct help for low-income Americans to purchase" medical savings accounts, to "ensure every poor county in America has a community or rural health center," and to "lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance program." He looked to government for the solution to anemic job growth as well. President Bush announced that he would seek to "double the number of people served by our principal job training program." As recently as eight years ago, the Republican platform called for the elimination of the Department of Education. After four years of expanding the federal education budget, the leader of the Republican Party pushed to "fund early intervention programs to help students at risk," "require rigorous exams before graduation," and expand "Pell grants for low and middle income families."
If that's President Bush's idea of "restraining federal spending," I'd hate to see his wish list of programs when he is in a more "generous" mood.
On the plus side, Bush reiterated his support for protecting the unborn and his opposition to activist judges attacking the institution of marriage. He expressed his desire to make the tax cuts lasting, and to "reform" (I would have preferred the word "abolish") the tax code. The most exciting and ambitious proposal involved Social Security. "We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account--a nest egg you can call your own and government can never take away," he declared.
What's troubling is the reality that President Bush's conservative proposals will meet opposition and probably fail to pass. His big-government programs, on the other hand, will attract liberals and White House lackeys on the Republican side. Their prospects for becoming law are much greater.
No doubt some of the more conservative conventioneers enthusiastically chanting "Four More Years," in moments of clear thought, began to silently wonder: "Four More Years?"
For Islamic terrorists, their ends always justify their means. But what end is so glorious that it justifies kidnapping hundreds of children? Chechan terrorists have taken a schoolhouse full of children hostage. Rather than a sign that a cause is noble, the rationale that the ends justify the means usually denotes an evil cause. After all, the Red Cross or the United Way don't go around killing people to bring attention to their causes. People serving evil causes do this, which includes the terrorists in Iraq killing a dozen Nepalese journalists, the terrorists in Russia holding school kids as human sheilds, and the terrorists in Israel blowing up buses. Their means are evil, and not coincidentally, so are their ends.
Kobe Bryant may be a selfish teamate for running Shaquille O'Neil out of town. He may be a bad husband for cheating on his wife. But, based on the limited information presented to the public via the media, he doesn't seem to be a rapist. Tacitly admitting that they couldn't prove this charge, the prosecution in Eagle, Colorado dropped the case. A number of alleged and proven developments made the successful prosecution of Bryant increasingly unlikely. The accuser seemed reluctant to testify. The defense suggested she had sex with another man between the alleged rape and her medical evaluation. They further painted her as an unstable character prone to wild changes in mood. She also pursued a lucrative civil case. Given that the case amounted to a "he said, she said" matter, these added factors militated against the prosecution. Case closed: Kobe is no OJ.
On a night when a Democrat gave the most rising defense of Republicans, it's only fitting that a Republican would serve as most spirited defender of the Democrats.
John McCain's appearance with Tom Brokaw on NBC after Zell Miller's speech was a bit surreal. McCain objected to the vibe of Miller's speech that John Kerry isn't fit to be commander in chief. Fair enough; McCain has served in the Senate with Kerry for almost two decades. His second objection to Miller's speech came off as self serving, and well, untruthful. McCain stated that he rejected the notion that the Democrats were unpatriotic. Here are Miller's exact words about Kerry and the Democratic leadership: "It is not their patriotism—it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking." McCain seemed to be reacting more to the speech he expected to hear than the one he did hear.
Leave it to a Democrat to steal the show at a Republican gathering. In contrast to last night's fluff, Senator Zell Miller delivered a serious speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.
Miller hammered away at three winning issues for Republicans: faith, sovereignty, and a strong military. These used to be winning issues for Southern Democrats too, which does a lot to explain why a Georgia Democrat addressed a Republican convention. The Democrat Senator delivered his old-school oration with a scowl and a Southern accent. The red-meat may have been off-putting to lobotomized couch potatoes, but its substance and rhetorical flair grabbed the attention of anyone paying any.
Why did the keynoter at Bill Clinton's 1992 nominating convention deliver the keynote address for George W. Bush twelve years later? "For my family is more important than my party," Miller answered, implying that Americans are more secure with Bush in the Oval Office. Miller outlined a laundry list of weapons systems that Kerry opposed, and how they were later used to defeat our enemies. He noted that Kerry hopes to "outsource" our national security, citing an ancient Kerry remark that the US should get UN approval before deciding to use military force. Miller also spoke of faith and family values, noting that Bush is "the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning."
What was best about Miller's speech is that it provoked genuine emotion from those gathered, as opposed to the obligatory applause that greeted other speakers. No line seemed to generate more enthusiasm than Miller's observations that "it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.... It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.... It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag."
I like my comedians with smiles on their faces. Al Franken seems to sport a scowl more often than not these days. It's hard to make people laugh when you're angry all the time. From looking at these pictures hosted on Drudge, it's obvious something made Stuart Smalley snap. Could it be the fact that his city has been taken over by Republicans?
If media bias didn't exist, why did CNN beat the other cable networks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention, and Fox News trounce the other cable networks by more than 3 to 1 during the Republican National Convention? Since Fox News normally defeats its competition, their Monday night victory isn't that much of an anomoly. But the huge margin that they won by was. CNN, on the other hand, doesn't win much these days. But they had strong ratings during John Kerry's coronation in Boston. It's no secret that Republicans are more interested in their party's convention and Democrats are more interested in their party's convention. Republicans, and the plurality of American cable viewers, prefer their information from the Fox News Channel. This is why their ratings spiked Monday night. Democrats opt for CNN. This is why they scored rare cable news victories when the focus was on the Democrats.
So why do Republicans tend to tune into FNC while Democrats turn the channel to CNN? The differences between CNN and Fox News are as wide as the differences between Democrats and Republicans.
The Republicans garnered an hour of network coverage tonight and managed to say absolutely nothing.
An especially giggly Bush twins referenced Outkast, Sex and the City, and Bono. Their mom told us that George W. Bush used to drive an Oldsmobile Cutlass, is "still the same person I met at a backyard barebque in Midland, Texas," and is "a loving man, with a big heart." Arnold Schwarzenegger explained, "I'm even more proud to be an American," "America brings out the best in people," and that "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." The delegates chipped in too, holding up placards stating "People of Compassion" and "W Stands for Women."
Save the platitudes for a Hallmark card. A Republican convention should make the case why voters should cast their ballots for the GOP this fall.