Osama bin Laden issued this year's "October surprise." His videotaped message (his first in over a year) sought to influence the U.S. elections on Tuesday. It will, but not in the way intended. Americans are not Spaniards.
This spring, orchestrated bombings on passenger trains and rail stations in Spain dramatically influenced elections in that country. Going into the final weeks of the campaign, conservatives held commanding leads in the polls. The bombings happened, public opinion shifted, and socialists won the election. The new government's policies were far more agreeable to Islamic terrorists, particularly its decision to withdraw from Iraq and distance itself from the Bush administration.
Stunts like that pulled on the eve of the American election will have a very different effect. Any shift in the debate towards national security issues, particularly the war on terrorism, helps Bush and hurts Kerry. Bin Laden may have hoped to hurt Bush, but he didn't. He helped him, greatly.
He did so because he misunderstands Americans. Bin Laden confuses Americans for Europeans. Issuing threats, tacit or otherwise, might compel Frenchmen or Spaniards to recraft policy to better suit the interests of terrorists. Americans, however, live in a different hemisphere and behave in a different manner. Bin Laden's threats are far less likely to result in the American people giving bin Laden what he wants, than they are in the American people giving him something he doesn't want--a bomb dropped on his head. The man more likely to do this, the American people believe, is George Bush and not John Kerry.
C-SPAN taped my lecture at Colby College on Wednesday. C-SPAN2's Book TV will be airing it several times within the coming days, including October 31 at 6:30 a.m., and November 1 at 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Young America's Foundation sponsored the event, which ran about an hour and fifteen minutes. The eighty to one-hundred students who attended were generally civil, but they made some really out-there statements in response to the lecture. You'll understand when you watch the broadcast. Claims that Communism has never failed because it has never been tried and audible gasps at my labeling the 9/11 terrorists "barbarians" were among the foolish responses audience members had during the question and answer session. The lecture itself focused the main themes within Intellectual Morons. I had a lot of fun at the event, and hopefully you'll have a lot of fun watching the event.
I blog from Boston, where the mood is euphoric. Along with several million other people, I attended today's Red Sox victory parade. Passing by in Boston's amphibious duckboats were Pedro, Senor October, Manny, Johnny Damon, and other heroes of 2004. I caught glimpses of them all. Pedro held aloft the World Series trophy, and Manny held aloft a sign informing all that Derek Jeter has been working on his golf game recently. It was great to see that the Sox included Oil Can Boyd, Johnny Pesky, Louis Tiant, and other great Red Sox players of the past who never got to win the big one. When the duckboats went from land to water, a few adventurous fans joined them in the Charles River.
The parade itself was peaceful and relatively free of drunks. Once the "rolling rally"--as Mayor Tom Menino, who prevented an outright static rally, comically referred to it--ended, Boston became a bit rowdier. Fanuiel Hall was packed. By noon, bars were overflowing. Enterprising young men peddled unofficial shirts, hats, and other merchandise. Strangers generously gave out high-fives. Spontaneous chants broke out.
As foreign tourists searched for history near the Old North Church and along the freedom trail, they overlooked the history that was going on around them. The celebration was massive, seemingly devoid of negativism, and one of the most memorable parties in the history of the city of Boston.
Azzam the American reminds me of Dave Chappelle's comedy bit where a blind black man becomes an intellectual leader to white supremacists. Born Adam Pearlman, Azzam the American is, as his former last name suggests, Jewish, and as his current last name suggests, American. Normally, this combination would make him a dream candidate for an al Qaeda beheading. Mr. Pearlman-American, however, has joined the terrorists. This apparently means that he needn't worry about parting ways with his head anytime soon.
Mr. Pearlman-American should worry about other things. He is an American who has enlisted with the wartime enemies of the United States. This makes him a traitor. This makes him guilty of treason. Treason carries a maximum penalty of death. If Azzam the American doesn't die in combat operations, he will get captured at some point in the future.
In 1953, the United States executed the Rosenbergs for engaging in espionage for the Soviet Union. Fifty-one years later, are we serious enough about treason to punish Azzam the American in a manner more severe than the penalty meted out to John Walker Lindh?
The Boston Red Sox are world champions. As a citizen of Red Sox Nation by birth, and one who spent the better part of a decade working in the cathedral of baseball, the victory evokes powerful emotions. Eighty-six years have past since the Red Sox last won the World Series. People have been born, lived long lives, and died without experiencing a Red Sox World Series triumph. To live through this is a privilege.
The most compelling reason to vote for George W. Bush got sick this week. Or, perhaps more accurately, one of the nine most compelling reasons to vote for George W. Bush got sick this week. Eighty-year old William Rehnquist, the chief justice of the United States, has thyroid cancer.
There hasn't been a vacancy on the Supreme Court in a decade. All but one of the justices is a senior citizen. Chances are, the man elected president next Tuesday will nominate two, three, or even four Supreme Court Justices.
Although Democrats accuse Republicans of having a litmus test on abortion--unfortunately, they don't--two-thirds of the court that instituted Roe v. Wade, and eight of the nine justices who upheld Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, were appointed by Republicans. So, if Republicans have a litmus test, they've failed it. Democrats, on the other hand, do have a litmus test. John Kerry, like Bill Clinton before him, would never nominate a judge to the high court who believed Roe v. Wade unconstitutional.
The point of all this is to suggest that if Kerry wins, several pro-abortion judges will be added to the Supreme Court. If Bush wins, you at least get a 50/50 chance of a judicial nominee recognizing that Roe v. Wade was invented out of wholecloth.
If you're near Waterville, Maine, come to hear me speak tonight at Colby College. The address starts at 7 p.m., and takes place in Page Commons. On Thursday, I speak at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This event also begins at 7 p.m. It's being held in building four, room 270. Who'd have thought they'd use numbers rather than names to label buildings at MIT?
If you're a radio listener and get the Howie Carr Show in your area, I will be appearing on that program on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. C-SPAN has expressed interest in covering the Colby speech. In promoting Why the Left Hates America, I really discovered C-SPAN's power. My appearance on the network did more to sell books than any other single piece of publicity. The day following the Colby lecture, Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t! will be interviewing me for an upcoming program. They'll be shooting at my MIT lecture as well, which is an additional reason to attend the talk. I'm a fan of the show, so I'm hoping they treat me kindly.
Are you ready for some football? Home teams are listed in caps. You can't make up your own spreads. Make your picks in the comments section. My picks are as follows: REDSKINS +2.5 over Packers, EAGLES -7.5 over Baltimore, BILLS -3 over Cardinals, VIKINGS -7 over Giants, Bengals +3.5 over TITANS, Colts -1.5 over CHIEFS, COWBOYS -3 over Lions, TEXANS -1 over Jaguars, BRONCOS -6.5 over Falcons, SEAHAWKS -8 over Panthers, Patriots -3 over STEELERS, CHARGERS -5.5 over Raiders, Niners +2 over BEARS, and, in the Monday night contest, JETS -7 over Dolphins. I encourage new readers, and old readers who haven't taken part in the pool yet, to join us. Do your best Jimmy the Greek and make your selections in the comments section.
We have a new champion. Making nine correct selections, DocMcG rose above the pack to win week seven's pool. With his AFC Steelers and NFC Redskins both on bye weeks, DocMcG was able to make his selections based on reason rather than emotion. FlynnFiles readers demand the obligatory victory speech in the comments section below. Congratulations from other participants are welcome too. Week eight's pool will be posted tomorrow, and if you think you have what it takes to beat DocMcG please give it your best shot.
If there's one thing that short-circuits the mental wiring of leftists, it is the name George W. Bush. For the last four year's, George W. Bush's enemies, by their immoderation, have succeeded driving Americans into the president's arms. On November 2, the Bush-haters have the opportunity to turn passion into votes. My article on TownHall.com explores the strange world of the Bush-haters, wondering if the president could have been handed a better set of enemies had he the opportunity to invent his opposition.
President Bush enjoys slim leads over Senator Kerry in most polls. Just as the World Series is played on the field instead of on paper, the presidential election is decided in ballot boxes around the country rather than through telephone surveys. With this in mind, I've outlined six points that might help readers better interpret poll data.
1. If 2004 is a repeat of 2000, George Bush increases his margin of victory. Population shifts have increased the power of the red states in the electoral college, and thus decreased the power of blue states. Bush took 271 electoral votes to 266 for Gore. If the parties took exactly the same states in 2004, Bush would take 278 electoral votes to Kerry's 260. This is kind of like a head-start for the president before election day even arrives.
2. Undecided voters swing overwhelmingly for the challenger. Polls are fairly accurate predictors of incumbent performance on election day. They notoriously undercount challengers. Whatever Kerry's final poll numbers are, add two or three points to get a more accurate gauge of how he'll do on election day.
3. Undecided voters will be less of a factor in this election than in previous contests. Check out any number of recent polls. Do you see a lot of voters who haven't made up their minds? The natural bounce the challenger receives in the poll that matters on election day will be somewhat negated because the pool of undecided voters is smaller than usual.
4. Nader is a non-factor this time around. Even if voters wish to vote for Ralph Nader, they will be able to do so in most locales only through a write-in. Consider that Nader isn't on the ballot in such battleground states as Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oregon, and West Virginia, in addition to failing to acheive ballot status in such electoral prizes as California, Texas, and Illinois. If Nader wasn't on the ballot in 2000, Gore would have won. Because Nader won't be on most ballots in 2004, Kerry has one less obstacle than his predecessor had.
5. Count on more people voting than in any election in American history. Let's face it: the issues are more important in 2004 than they were in 2000. The United States is at war in Iraq. International terrorists have declared war on us. Add to this 2000's Florida election controversy, which for once gave credibility to the mantra that every vote counts, and all signs point to the number of voters exceeding the 105,000,000 people that cast ballots in 2000. Who does this benefit? People angry about Florida will naturally flock to Kerry. People shocked into voting because of 9/11 will likely go for Bush.
6. The anti-Bush passion is greater than the anti-Kerry passion. Many liberal voters hate George W. Bush. I don't know too many people who hate John Kerry. While the President counts many supporters who would walk through fire to vote for him, he counts more detractors who would walk through fire to vote against him.
In 2000, Governor Bush led in most public opinion polls going into election day. Yet, he lost the popular vote--the thing public opinion polls survey--and barely won the electoral college. Don't get seduced into believing that a slim Bush lead in the polls this weekend translates into a slim Bush victory on Tuesday. It doesn't, necessarily.
Polls are as much art as science. They serve as fairly accurate barometers of public opinion. But opinions, by definition, are fickle. Public opinion shown in these eleventh-hour polls may accurately reflect the sentiment of likely voters now. It's unlikely they will be so precise in how they measure public opinion on November 2.
The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals in game two largely through another heroic pitching performance by Curt Schilling.
Once again, the Sox played sloppy defense. This isn't a good sign going into three games at Busch Stadium in which David Ortiz will man first base.
The good news for Sox fans is that Pedro takes the hill on full rest Tuesday after pitching just one inning last Wednesday. The bad news is that St. Louis is great at home, there will be no designated hitter for the next three games, and Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds are bound to explode at some point. There's a lot of baseball left to be played. St. Louis is too good a team to get swept.
Ashlee Simpson got exposed as a lip-synching fraud on Saturday Night Live. Don't say I didn't warn you. When her album debuted at number one in August, I wondered on this site whether Americans had been "lobotomized."
Ashlee Vanilli is a fitting symbol of the recording industry in 2004. She offers visual over audio, marketing over product, and style over substance. If you get past her good looks and manufactured "attitude," you quickly realize: oh yeah, this is really dreadful.
Saturday Night Live deserves our scorn for perpetrating a fraud. But they at least partially redeemed themselves by not allowing a retake. If Jimmy Fallon doesn't get a do-over when Christopher Walken demands "more cowbell," why should Ashlee Simpson get a second opportunity to cue the right cassette?
The music industry has forgotten that it's a music industry. Seriously, there is some question in my mind whether the overweight Aretha Franklin, the hideously ugly Rolling Stones, or the weirdly experimental Jimi Hendrix would get a record contract nowadays. Who knows what talent the public is being denied. We do know what "talent" we are being offered.
It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. The Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 11-9. Boston's looseness, which has been a great strength, proved a great weakness in game one. Specifically, Manny Ramirez made a number of bonehead defensive and baserunning moves--none of which seemed to phase him--that potentially might have cost the hometown team the victory. But, as the saying goes, you got to dance with them that brung you.
Studs in game one include Marc Bellhorn, Keith Foulke, Senor October, and Doug Mirabelli.
The key to game one, as I suspect it will also be the key to the series, was Boston's superior pitching. St. Louis's offense is impressive, arguably better than Boston's and, thus, arguably the best in Major League Baseball. They are well coached, and have a better defense. But pitching, ultimately, wins baseball games.
Sorry, Woody Williams doesn't cut it as a game one starter. Jeff Suppan, the Sox's fifth starter last year, doesn't really match-up well with Pedro Martinez either. The Cardinal defense and hitting is great, but their pitching is just okay. That, and hometown bias, is why I believe the Red Sox will win the series.
Someone named Charlie Brooker writes in The Guardian that the president of the United States is "a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat." There's something about George W. Bush that short circuits the mental wiring of otherwise intelligent people.
The columnist pleads for Kerry over Bush, but laments that the American people don't seem to agree. This base scribe concludes: "John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr--where are you now that we need you?" That, in a nutshell, is the loony Left's view of democracy.
I'm not shocked that two dirtbags at the University of Arizona threw pies at Ann Coulter. I am shocked that the University of Arizona campus police arrested the assailants.
I've been mooned. I've watched anti-free speech thugs steal my writings and publicly burn them. I've had to deliver a speech with a student blocking the podium from the audience's view for the duration of the talk. I've had my words shouted down. All of these things happened in full view of campus police.
Campus police failed to protect my ability to speak freely--and students' desire to hear my words unimpeded--at Berkeley, Connecticut College, and elsewhere. But they have, at other universities, been called on by the Left to squash free speech. Columbia University security prevented attendees of a conference I had organized from entering the meeting site. We were forced to hold our November '98 event in an alcove above Morningside Park. A residential director threatened me with arrest if I dared take the podium at Michigan State. I called her bluff, spoke, and the police never came.
Other conservative speakers have faced similar situations. In fact, this is not even the first time that Coulter has had edibles thrown at her while giving a speech. In 2001, hecklers hurled oranges at Coulter as she answered questions during a talk at Cornell, the school where she received her undergraduate degree.
In 1965, intellectual moron Herbert Marcuse wrote, "Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right, and toleration of movements from the Left." If this isn't the marching orders of today's "tolerant" left--even of numbskulls like Phillip Edgar Smith and William Zachary Wolff who've never even read it--they certainly behave in a manner suggesting that it is.
As evidenced by the red state/blue state divide, there was a geographic split between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000. There also was a gender gap: men preferred Bush, women preferred Gore--both by double-digit margins. It will be interesting to see if the gap between the sexes shrinks this time around.
If W grabs a larger share of the female vote, two campaign blunders by the Democrats will stand out. First, both John Kerry and John Edwards invoking Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter in the debates struck many as distasteful and politically calculated. Second, Teresa Heinz Kerry's questioning whether Laura Bush ever held a "real job" was offputting, particularly to women. Offputting not only because Laura Bush worked as a school teacher, a librarian, and raised two daughters, but because the job "wealthy heiress" doesn't strike too many people as a "real job."
If Bush holds on to win, political wonks might point to these two 11th hour gaffes by the Democrats as reasons why Kerry stumbled in the closing weeks. They are certainly contributing factors to Bush's current status as the frontrunner.
You know the drill: Home teams in caps, spreads are non-negotiable. My picks are as follows: RAVENS -5.5 over Bills, GIANTS -6.5 over Lions, BROWNS +7 over Eagles, COLTS -9 over Jaguars, Titans +6.5 over VIKINGS, Chargers +3 over PANTHERS, Rams -3 over DOLPHINS, Bears +7 over BUCS, CHIEFS -4 over Falcons, PATRIOTS -6 over Jets, PACKERS -3.5 over Cowboys, Seahawks -7 over CARDINALS, Saints +3 over RAIDERS, and, in the Monday night game, BENGALS +6 over Broncos. Myself and Morris won tied last week with eleven wins each, but since Morris has had a share of the victory circle for three consecutive weeks he is the reigning champion. Make your picks in the comments section to dethrone him. Don't be shy. Participate.
If you're a Red Sox fan, you're celebrating the greatest comeback in the history of sports. If you're a Yankees fan, you're lamenting the greatest collapse.
Yankees fans asked, "Who's Your Daddy?" Many of these folks--the ones hurling debris on the field--have trouble with English, so I'll break down the Spanish: Papi--David Ortiz--is daddy. Ortiz beat the Yankees with a two-run bomb in game four. He beat the Yankees with an RBI single in game five. In the deciding game, he put the Red Sox ahead with a two-run homer over the right field wall. This last hit, coming as it did after Johnny Damon got called out at the plate, should not be overlooked amidst the others. It immediately shifted the momentum from the Yankees to the Red Sox, where it stayed the entire game.
Joining Ortiz in Boston sports lore are Johnny Damon, Keith Foulke, and, especially, Curt Schilling, whose bloody-sock performance in game six will go down as one of the most memorable in baseball history.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox have tremendous heart. Perhaps the "idiots" were too stupid to realize that being down three games to zero means the series is over. It meant that for the other twenty-five MLB teams that found themselves in that position. It didn't mean that for the Boston Red Sox.
Just as you've done the last three days, George, you can put the champagne back on ice. You won't be needing it this year. The Red Sox are going to the World Series.
I try to plan out my life. I write down goals and seek to make them happen. Perhaps you do something similar. Try as we might, we can't always determine the desired outcomes in our lives. Imagine, then, the hubris it takes for someone to believe that they can plan somebody else's life, or, the lives of entire nations of people. This is what most politicians do. Certainly both major presidential candidates boast of ambitious plans. Officeholders with grand schemes may wear the label Democrat or Republican, but, in many instances, they're really just socialists.
"The problem is that government is not supposed to plan our lives or run the country; we are supposed to be free," writes Ron Paul, one politician who rejects the ethos of planning. "Those who believe in limited constitutional government should worry every time a politician says, 'I have a plan.'"
Conservatism, as the writings of Russell Kirk and others remind us, is the rejection of ideology. This is why free-market economics is embraced by conservatives. It's the anti-system system.
Congressman Paul writes: "Capitalism is not a system, but rather the result of free individuals taking economic actions without interference by government. A true capitalist economy is neither planned by bureaucrats nor steered by regulators. This is why itís so important that we resist the idea that any president should plan our economy. If we accept that government 'runs' the economy, we accept a fundamental tenet of socialism. We must understand that economic liberty is every bit as important as political and civil liberties."
Neither John Kerry nor George W. Bush understands this. The victor of the election is in doubt but not the outcome: big government.
Something told me that I'd be hearing Liza Minnelli's version of "New York, New York" after Tuesday night's game. In the tradition of an injured Willis Reed limping on to the court to play game seven of the 1970 NBA Finals, Curt Schilling pitched seven innings of inspired baseball to lead the Red Sox over the Yankees.
As if this series needed anything else to make it memorable, cops in riot gear guarded the field in the eighth inning, Alex Rodriguez delivered a karate chop to Bronson Arroyo's left hand, and the umps had to confer to award Mark Bellhorn a home run. Lest I forget, the Red Sox are also the first team in the history of Major League Baseball to force a seventh game after being down three games to zero.
They do this all over again tonight. It's only appropriate. The Sox and Yankees played this same series last year. Here's hoping 2004 brings a different outcome.
Morris emerged from the scrum of the super-six who tied in week five, only to be tied in week six. Last week, eight correct picks was all it took to win the pool. This week, myself and Morris made eleven picks to just three duds. For engaging in treachery against your hometown Patriots, Morris, you deserved to lose. But, once again, you didn't. Congratulations to Morris, and self-congratulations to, well, myself. Any flunkies who wish to give props, and Morris, if you wish to make a victory speech, you may do so in the comments section.
An NAACP campaign worker allegedly gave crack to an Ohio man in exchange for registering voters. Authorities claim the man filed 100 fraudulent registration forms.
Could it be that we're going too hard on this drugs and democracy duo? After all, our colonial forebears gave out whiskey to curry favor with voters. The NAACP was merely updating this all-American tradition by substituting crack--it's made with cocaine, baking soda, egg, and I think I tasted some cinnamon--for whiskey. In fact, this duo that risked their own liberty to expand the franchise should be considered American patriots. As I always say: Give the people free crack/and they shalt take their country back!
*#*@# Give me...my....computer...back. There.
My apologies for the interruption. Former DC Mayor Marion Barry briefly took control of my computer. For reasons unknown to me, he felt compelled to defend these people using my website. "Leave my condo at once, fiend!" Good. He's gone.
Anyhow, when you first glimpsed this story's headline on Drudge, did you even doubt for a moment what party these dirtbags were seeking to aid?
The Democrats: the party of free abortions, free food stamps, and now, free crack cocaine.
Like announcer Joe Buck said: the five hours were worth every minute--at least for Red Sox fans. David Ortiz hit a bomb over the right-field fence to keep the Boston Red Sox slim hopes alive against the New York Yankees for the American League Pennant. From my living room it appeared that all 35,000 or so fans remained for the dramatic, 12th-inning home run (It was almost 1:30 in the morning!). It was an awesome site. And for all you Francona haters: the man managed an incredible game. From pulling the infield in to nail Godzilla at the plate early on to keeping closer Keith Foulke in for eight outs, Francona made a lot of gutsy moves that paid off. The Sox may be down three games to one, but Pedro pitches later today and Schilling waits in the wings. Coming back from a three game deficit has never happened in the baseball postseason. But to be a Red Sox fan is to be eternally hopeful.
The symposium on election 2004 that I participated in has been posted on RightWingNews.com. What will Nader's impact be? Will Colorado's ballot initiative, potentially splitting the state's electoral votes, pass? Will it then get challenged in court? Did the debates help Kerry or Bush? These and other questions are explored in this symposium featuring myself, and bloggers Lorie Byrd and Captain Ed. Check it out and feel free to comment here or on John Hawkins's site.
Listen-in to the Michael Medved Show on Monday, as I'll be appearing on the nationally-syndicated program live between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. EDT. On Tuesday, listeners around Lexington, Kentucky can hear me on WLAP's Lee Cruise Show at 4:30 p.m. Tom Sullivan interviews me on KFBK and KSTE in northern California at 2 p.m. PDT on Thursday.
Bush tops Kerry in national polls. Don't delude yourself into thinking that this necessarily means that Bush wins the poll that matters on November 2.
Polls notoriously undercount challengers. This is mainly because undecided voters swing for the challenger on election day. Think about it: if someone is undecided about the politician they've seen on television every day for four years, it likely means that there is something they don't like about the incumbent. Familiarity hasn't bred support for Bush among undecideds by now, so it's not rational to count on many election-booth epiphanies among these swing voters.
Guy Molineux writes in the liberal American Prospect: "the percentage of the vote an incumbent president receives in surveys is an extraordinarily accurate predictor of the percentage he will receive on election day--even though the survey results also include a pool of undecided voters." Molineux examined the last four presidential elections that featured an incumbent and contrasted the sitting president's final poll percentages with his percentage of the vote on election day. The numbers are almost identical.
In these same elections, challengers received on average four points more on election day than they did in the final polls.
What's all this mean for 2004? My sense is that if the final polls mirror the current USA Today/CNN poll--where Bush boasts an eight point lead--then Kerry loses. But if the race tightens, and Bush finds himself with a smaller lead, then Kerry could potentially eke out a victory.
Before Kerry supporters jump for joy upon reading all this, it should be noted that there are fewer undecideds in 2004 than in any election in recent memory. Thus, the natural bump he receives as the challenger from undecideds will likely be smaller than bumps received by Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan, and others challenging incumbent presidents in recent decades.
So when you see Bush leading by six or eight percentage points in opinion polls, don't jump to the conclusion that he wins by similar margins on election day. It's closer than you think.
I do communicate with the world via means other than my computer. Specifically, I give several dozen lectures on campuses during the school year. I encourage my readers to come and say hi in person.
I'll be speaking at Accuracy in Media's monthly noon luncheon on October 21 in Washington, DC. The following week, I'll deliver a lecture at Colby College in Waterville, Maine on October 27 in Page Commons at 7 p.m. The next night, I venture into Noam Chomsky's home turf, MIT, to speak. I travel to Bel Air, Maryland on November 3 to lecture at Hartford Community College. On November 11, the Federalist Society will be sponsoring my lecture at Emory University School of Law in the early afternoon and later that evening Young America's Foundation will be sponsoring my talk at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. On November 16, I give an address at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. As events get added to the calendar, I'll post updates. If you live in the general vicinity of any of these events, come to a lecture. I hope to see you there.
This weekend marks a huge anniversary...if you're a dork. Dungeons and Dragons celebrates thirty years of making nerds forget getting picked last in gym class, not having girlfriends, and the reality that the school band isn't as esteemed as the football team. Pointing this out helps me forget that these D&D nerds make tens-of-thousands of dollars more than me, have higher IQs, and find life more pleasant after high school than during it. Needless to say, I've never played Dungeons and Dragons. I know only that the game employs weird dice, and features someone called "the dungeonmaster"--whose role almost certainly carries some sick, sexual connotation. Being ignorant of the game, but realizing its cultural significance, I'd love to hear from readers who've actually played, or at least have some memory of others playing. D&D players: if you still fear ridicule, you may use a pseudonym in the comments section.
I appear in two online symposia this weekend. Unfortunately, unlike the original symposia of the ancient Greeks, these web events don't offer the opportunity to drink to excess. In that spirit, however, it is possible that a couple of the panelists in the Frontpage event did smoke something prior to making their points. Read their rants and judge for yourself.
I participated in a discussion of the Bush-haters on Frontpagemag.com. Jamie Glazov moderated, with lefties Robert Jensen and Joshua Frank, and Elinor Burkett, a former leftist who defends President Bush, joining me in the debate.
I guess my main points regarding the Bush-haters are: 1. The president lucked out in the enemies department; central casting could not have come up with a more repulsive set of opponents. 2. If Bush-hating were solely about policy, far more conservative politicians would have evoked a similar hatred. But they didn't. Like Richard Nixon, George W. Bush offends liberal sensibilities while supporting liberal policies. 3. Hate is usually based on emotion and not reason. Thus, Bush-hating isn't generally reasonable.
Do you visit RightWingNews.com? I do, and will be participating in a symposium there with some other bloggers later in the weekend. It will focus on the election, what states are up for grabs, predictions, etc. The entire discussion should appear on RightWingNews on Monday.
Rapper KRS-One proclaimed at a public forum that he "cheered when 9/11 happened . . . I say that proudly." The event was sponsored by The New Yorker.
Perhaps you remember KRS-One for ruining a perfectly good REM song. Or maybe you recall his Afrocentric raps that sounded as if they were ghostwritten by Molefi Asante. If you have memories of him at all, they are likely distant ones. He's about as relevant to today's rap industry as Laugh-In is to contemporary comedy.
KRS-One alleges that African Americans were kept out of the Twin Towers. Based on this false premise, he makes the false conclusion that blacks welcomed 9/11. "So when the planes hit the building, we were like, 'Mmmm--justice.' [9/11] doesn't affect us. 9/11 happened to them, not us. The rich . . . those who are oppressing us. RCA or BMG, Universal, the radio stations." By projecting his individual hate upon an entire race of people, KRS-One slanders blacks in a manner reminscent of Ku Klux Klansmen and other such idiots. He is truly a fool.
"Even in retirement, Howard Zinn continues to generate new fans--and new enemies," begins a piece in Thursday's San Francisco Chronicle. One "new" enemy, the next lines explains, is "Daniel Flynn, a conservative pundit, [who] published 'Intellectual Morons,' a 304-page book that rips Zinn for 'America bashing' and biased writing." The brief reference in one of America's most widely read newspapers is thankfully just a small portion of the ink devoted to Intellectual Morons (buy it here) recently.
National Review's Mike Potemra briefly reviews Intellectual Morons among the titles in this fall's book "harvest." The paragraph review is kind and grasps the main concept of the book. But, alas, it takes issue with the middle chapter. "His Strauss chapter is disappointing," Potemra writes, "echoing as it does the hackneyed far-Left and paleoconservative arguments against the Iraq war; the rest of the book is worth reading." What "hackneyed" arguments? Saddam didn't have stockpiles of WMD? The Niger uranium documents were a hoax? Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? I confess: I prefer "hackneyed" arguments to false ones.
"The book is exceptionally well researched and documented, with 985 footnotes for 246 pages of text," Tom DiLorenzo writes in a lengthy and favorable review of Intellectual Morons on LewRockwell.com Thursday. "All in all, itís hard to determine who are the bigger morons: the 'intellectuals' whose warped ideas Daniel Flynn so clearly and extensively documents," wonders the Loyola College professor, "or those who have embraced them as the unquestionable truth about the modern world."
In The American Conservative, Edward Feser's review is mixed. Ironically titled "Smart Asses," Feser's piece blasts the "sophomoric title" of my book. The joke's on you, dude. But in a literal sense, maybe Feser is on to something without knowing it. Intellectual Morons is a sophomoric title (Sophomore's pure translation? wise fool). Anyhow, it turns out Feser has his own book on Robert Nozick with the dynamic title--get this--On Nozick. It's currently ranked #1,443,293 on Amazon. Seeing this erased any regrets I had in not titling my book, On Marcuse, Kinsey, Ehrlich, Singer, Menchu, Chomsky, Zinn, Vidal, Strauss, Sanger, Du Bois, Hiss, Rand, Friedan, Derrida, de Man, and Foucault.
English animal-rights leaders have given their imprimatur to protests targeting the children of biomedical scientists. Where did they get such ideas? One inspiration for animal-rights extremism, my article on TownHall explains, is Princeton University Professor Peter Singer, who gives his okay to parents killing their newborns but objects to schoolchildren lunching on turkey sandwiches.
What member of the super-six will emerge victorious in week six's NFL pool? Or, will a darkhorse ride in to steal the championship? You know the drill: home teams in captial letters, spreads are non-negotiable. Make your picks in the comments section below. My picks are as follows: BILLS -6.5 over Dolphins, JETS -10 over Niners, PATRIOTS -4 over Seahawks, EAGLES -8.5 over Panthers, Bengals +2.5 over BROWNS, LIONS -1.5 over Packers, Redskins -1 over BEARS, Houston +6.5 over TITANS, Chargers +5 over FALCONS, Chiefs -1.5 over JAGUARS, Steelers +3 over COWBOYS, Broncos -1.5 over RAIDERS, Vikings -3.5 over SAINTS, and, in the Monday night match-up, RAMS -6.5 over Bucs. Make your picks and unleash your trash-talking in the comments section. As is customary, the winner will be announced to much fanfare on Tuesday.
The Washington Times reports that the U.S. government is investigating intelligence reports that 25 Chechen terrorists have crossed into the United States via Mexico. The Bush Administration failed to learn a major lesson of 9/11: immigration is now an national security issue. The President's initial solution to the border problem was to make illegal immigrants legal immigrants with the stroke of a pen. The public balked, and the plan was quietly withdrawn. Uncounted numbers of foreigners illegally enter the U.S. every year. Millions come looking for jobs. A smaller number come to sponge off the system. Twenty-five, apparently, have come hoping to kill Americans.
The Pentagon acknowledged today that at least seven detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have since resumed a life of terrorism. According to Fox News, one former detainee killed a judge in Afghanistan, two more got killed fighting against allied forces in Afghanistan, and a third is currently in the news for threatening the lives of two kidnapped Chinese engineers in Pakistan.
We are in a war. Why were these terrorists released?
Last I checked, the other side doesn't have a very good track record in its treatment of prisoners. Certainly there was no prisoner-swap that we all failed to hear about. The war didn't end either, which is another time when it's customary to release enemy combatants. So why were these men unleashed upon the world? Because political correctness trumped the aims of the war on terror.
Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent. In the more than two centuries since Adam Smith wrote these words, liberals have yet to grasp this basic concept.
Davey Crockett died defending it. Pee-Wee Herman went to find his bike in its basement. Ozzy Osbourne urinated on it. And now, a teen-age couple has been arrested for having sex in the Alamo.
It might be funny when a couple pulls a stunt like this in an airplane bathroom, but scores of men heroically died in battle, and were brutally executed after the fact by the Mexicans, at the Alamo. The Alamo is sacred ground for Texans. Anyone with a grain of common sense knows that this is not the place for public sex (feel free to list appropriate places for public sex in the comments section). The fact that the couple involved are active duty soldiers makes this all the more appalling.
Congratulations, I guess, to readers Steve, RD, Krempasky, Mike Boyle, DocMcG, and Morris, who shared in a six-way tie in this week's AYRFSF NFL pool. But, as the crazy-guy with bleach-blond hair says: to be the man, you got to beat the man. No one dethroned Morris, so he keeps his title. Having said that, any of the super-six who share bragging rights in this week's pool are asked to make victory speeches in the comments section below. Congratulations to the six winners. Let's see which one of you emerges from the scrum to become champion in week six.
The people of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Italy all agree that the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism greater. The governments of these nations, obviously, disagree. The US, the UK, Australia, and Italy are the main countries that constitute the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq.
The Associated Press survey reports that more than half of Americans view the war in Iraq as increasing the terror threat, while about three in ten agree with the president that it has decreased the threat of terrorism. In the UK, Australia, and Italy, about one in twenty people view the war in Iraq as decreasing the threat of terrorism.
This weekend gave support to the notion that deaths come in threes. Christopher Reeve, whose most heroic role came off-screen as he battled paralysis, succumbed to a heart attack, as did Ken Caminiti, who won the National League Most Valuable Player Award before fighting a losing battle against addiction. Perhaps more famous abroad than in America was Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstructionism, who died of cancer.
Derrida is discussed at length in Intellectual Morons. He described deconstuctionism, a subset of postmodernism that he launched in the 1960s, as "criticism [that] aims to show that any text inevitably undermines its own claims to have a determinate meaning, and licenses the reader to produce his own meanings out of it by an activity of semantic 'freeplay.'" This spawned unmeasured mischeif in the academy, with sex-obsessed disciples of Derrida portraying Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as subconscious homosexuals and Beethoven's Ninth as a "rape" symphony.
Postmodernists often speak of the social construction of truth--one went so far as to write a book called The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. So, not long after Derrida passed I wondered how long it would take some weirdo postmodernist (I hate to be redundant) to argue that Derrida's death was an illusion. None has to my knowledge, but I did see this article on FrontPageMag that notes Derrida's passing, adding: "Well, at least that is the subjective unproven conclusion we have, since, after all, how do we REALLY know that death and cancer exist?"
Derrida's influence was great in academia. Richard Posner's Public Intellectuals, for instance, pointed out that between 1995 and 2000 scholarly journals cited Derrida more than every other "public intellectual" save Jurgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu, and Michel Foucault. That Derrida's deconstructionism became widespread among intellectuals says more about intellectuals than it does about deconstructionism.
I regret Derrida's death. I welcome the death of deconstructionism.
If you won a Roseanne Barr Award for Athletic Achievement or a Cameron Diaz Genius Prize, would you be honored or insulted?
Libya awarded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez the Muammar Gahdafi Human Rights Prize this weekend. "I feel bathed in honor," Chavez explained upon receiving the award. His reaction speaks volumes. So does the fact that Gadhafi singled him out for "honor."
With the current Nobel Peace Prize winner claiming that Western scientists developed HIV as a weapon of biological warfare, and past winners including the liar Rigoberta Menchu and the murderer Yasser Arafat, one might wonder why a Muammar Gadhafi Human Rights Prize is even necessary.
If you're not a weirdo, the Gadhafi Human Rights Prize probably strikes you as an oxymoron. But it's not even the most Orwellian award that has been handed out on the international stage. In the 1950s, such Communist lackeys as singer/entertainer Paul Robeson (the Susan Sarandon of his day), novelist Howard Fast, and German playwright Bertolt Brecht were awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. Later, when Stalin fell out of favor within the Kremlin, the prize was renamed for Lenin, and the Soviet government bestowed it upon W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis. Like Chavez, they too basked in the "glory" bestowed upon them.
Something had to take the place of the Stalin Peace Prize for unintentional humor value, and that something is the Muammer Gadhafi Human Rights Prize. Congratulations, Hugo Chavez. You deserve this award.
Is multiculturalism a celebration of other cultures or a belittling of our own?
On Saturday in Denver, 600 protestors, of which more than 200 were arrested, blocked the route of a Columbus Day parade for more than an hour. So much for tolerance.
"We have a permit for the parade," Carter Barnard (must be from a matriarchal line!) of the Sons of Italy explained to an AP reporter. "We don't try to stop them from their celebrations."
Columbus uncovered a new world. The Indians didn't discover Europe. Europe discovered them. On our continent at least, no Indian tribe had invented the wheel or utilized a written language by the time the Italian explorer arrived in the New World. Columbus is a hero. The world is better because the the lands he uncovered included present-day America. How you view America usually determines how you view Columbus.
The protestors have every right to view Columbus in any manner they please. They don't have the right to deny others who disagree with them their right to do the same.
For only the sixth time in baseball history, a team ended a postseason series with a home run. The Red Sox swept the Angels Friday night with a walk-off bomb by David Ortiz. The Red Sox are the total package. Schilling and Pedro are the best one-two punch in baseball. From one through nine, their hitting is unmatched. Unlike last year, the Sox bullpen is solid, particularly with Keith Foulke closing games. They are, for once, an above average defensive team with the additions of Doug Mientkiewicz, Pokey Reese, Orlando Cabrera. They even have some base-stealing threats in Johnny Damon and Dave Roberts. But a team is more than the sum of its parts, and what the Red Sox have over all of the competition is chemistry.
The town-hall style setting is apparently more George W. Bush's speed. A relaxed, engaged, and articulate (yes, I said articulate) George Bush bested John Kerry in tonight's exchange in St. Louis.
Bush used humor throughout. When asked who he would select for the Supreme Court, the President replied: "I'm not telling." When moderator Charlie Gibson called on a questioner and looked in the opposite direction, Bush playfully noted that the moderator had "Put a head fake on us." When Kerry bizarrely made reference to a timber company that could be counted as Bush's "small business," Bush retorted: "I own a timber company? That's news to me. Need some wood?" Bush was at ease; Kerry, stiff.
Bush won on substance too. On questions regarding judges, abortion, and federal funding for stem-cell research, Bush reminded Americans about the differences in the candidate's opinions. Kerry, however, seemed ill-equipped to give a straight answer on partial birth abortion. He claimed, "It's just not that simple." Well, yes it is "pretty simple," the president responded; either Kerry voted for a ban on partial-birth abortion or he didn't. Elsewhere, Kerry demonstrated his fetishization for globalism. He repeated his tired critique of "unilateralism," and blasted the President on Kyoto, claiming: "we walked away from the work of 160 nations over 10 years." Kerry, of course, voted against the Kyoto Accords with 94 other senators.
And thus, we have a pattern to the debate. On the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, the Kyoto Accords, and the No Child Left Behind Act, Kerry voted in favor of George W. Bush's position. Yet, Kerry criticized Bush on these issues. Kerry supports the same things as Bush, the Democratic nominee assures us, he just would execute them differently. Emphasizing shades of gray is no way to win a debate. On his evasions on abortion, as well as his distinctions without a difference on important issues like the Patriot Act, Senator Nuance tried to be all things to all people. He ended up being just one thing: the debate's loser.
Round two of the Bush-Kerry, three-round debate occurs tonight in St. Louis. The event features a town-hall style format with questions coming, supposedly, from "swing" voters. Judge for yourself if any hardcore partisans make it through the screening process. Whereas the Miami debate focused on foreign policy, Friday night's affair will cover a broader range of topics. While no candidate delivered a knock-out punch in round one, most judges seemed to have scored it for Kerry. What happens if Kerry again outperforms Bush? With poll numbers so close, could these debates be the deciding factor on November 2?
"Saddam Hussein is a man who has told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, and yet he deceived the world. He's got them... We know he's got chemical weapons, probably has biological weapons."
--President George W. Bush, November 1, 2002
"Chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has now issued a comprehensive report that confirms the earlier conclusion of David Kay that Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there."
--President George W. Bush, October 7, 2004
A heavy dose of self-righteousness is a dangerous thing. Just look at the behavior of any number of John Kerry supporters for evidence of this. In Orlando, Democrats ransacked a Bush-Cheney campaign office, drawing horns on a picture of George W. Bush (The Left doesn't believe in God, but they sure have had their fair share of devils over the years). A similar episode happened in Milwaukee on Tuesday, with a crowd of fifty invading the Republican campaign office and a leader shouting slogans through a bullhorn. In nearby Madison, Bush supporters have had their lawn signs stolen and replaced with Swastikas burned into their grass. In Knoxville, someone shot into the Bush-Cheney offices. How will these unhinged people, overflowing with indignation, react if George W. Bush wins reelection?
The main justification for going to war in Iraq was based on a false assumption. It isn't anti-war critics saying this, but a report from President Bush's own Central Intelligence Agency. If the administration can admit its mistakes, why can't so many of the pundits who advanced the war in early 2003? Those still claiming Iraqi weapons of mass destruction stockpiles, now supposedly hidden in Syria or beneath the sands of the Mesopotamian deserts, do so based on a desire to be "right" rather than a desire to find the truth. They talk about Saddam Hussein's WMD the way Miss Havisham talked about her wedding dress.
Week five's NFL pool is here! Everyone is gunning for reader Morris, champion of week four. Spreads are non-negotiable. Home teams are in caps. Write your winners in the comments section of this post. My picks are as follows: PATS -13 over Dolphins, Browns +6 over STEELERS, COLTS -9.5 over Raiders, FALCONS -7 over Lions, SAINTS -3 over Bucs, Giants +3.5 over COWBOYS, TEXANS +4 over Vikings, Bills +7 over JETS, CHARGERS +3 over Jaquars, BRONCOS -5.5 over Panthers, SEAHAWKS -7 over RAMS, NINERS -1 over Arizona, Ravens pick 'em over SKINS, and, in the Monday-night match-up: PACKERS -3 over Tennessee. The week five winner will be announced to much fanfare on Tuesday.
Dick Cheney put on a debating clinic in Tuesday's contest with John Edwards. Edwards appeared as a second-stringer on a high school debating team taking on F. Lee Bailey. Edwards's personality grated after the first half-hour, whereas, though Cheney's grim demeanor may not endear, it struck the right serious tone for serious times.
Cheney delivered memorable line after memorable line. Noting his opponents' change in attitudes on the Iraq war in the wake of the Democratic primaries, Cheney asked, "If they couldn't stand up to the pressures Howard Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to al Qaeda?" Cheney explained that as president of the Senate, he appears in the Capitol on an almost weekly basis. Despite this, he told the oft-absent Senator Edwards: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight." Ouch!
Cheney's clear victory put a stop to the momentum Kerry-Edwards picked up when the Massachusetts senator defeated the president in the first debate of the general election season. The only consolation for the Democrats tonight is that the debate was for an office that John Nance Garner famously compared to a bucket of warm, well, you get the picture. In other words, tonight's debate drew less viewers than Thursday night's affair and swayed few voters. After all, who votes for the guy at the bottom of the ticket?
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Rodney Dangerfield failed to make it big as a comic in his late teens and early twenties. He quit, and returned to comedy later in life to find success through dozens of appearances on The Tonight Show. He may be best known for his "Can't get no respect" line in his stand-up routine, or perhaps his portrayal of a nouveau riche golfer in Caddyshack. But I prefer him in 1983's Easy Money, where a gambling, drinking, overweight Rodney Dangerfield is forced to mend his ways to inherit a massive sum of money. Dangerfield turned in an awesome comedic performance--with Joe Pesci by his side and some dude named Hector wooing his daughter--playing, essentially, Rodney Dangerfield. Carrying on the tradition Willie Nelson started in the Carter years, Dangerfield admitted to smoking pot in the White House--just say yes--when Ronald Reagan was president. Dangerfield was into hip-hop ("Rappin' Rodney") before Jay Z and Eminem, and was one of the few non-athletes to shill Lite Beer from Miller. Dangerfield's most amazing accomplishment might be living to the age of 82, being that he appeared the walking embodiment of poor health. Al Czervik is now burying the hatchet with Judge Smails on the 19th Hole in the sky. Rodney Dangerfield, rest in peace.
The results are in! Morris wins the FlynnFiles "AYRFSF" NFL Pool for Week Four. Reader Morris picked nine winners to just four losers (the Bucs/Broncos game was a push), edging reader RD by just one game. Keys to Morris's victory included smart selections of the Texans and Chargers, both home underdogs, as well as taking the Giants on the road getting seven over the Packers. Readers seeking to dethrone Morris can look forward to a post on this week's NFL games tomorrow. Congratulations to Morris! You may address the FlynnFiles readership in the comments section.
Jamie Glazov of FrontPageMag.com recently conducted an interview with me on Intellectual Morons. In the interview, I discuss why I wrote Intellectual Morons, in addition to talking about Dan Rather, Michael Moore, Margaret Sanger, and Noam Chomsky. It appears today.
Last week, I wrote an article for TownHall.com that condemned the political fanaticism that inevitably stems from utopian ideologies. Among these delusions is the misnamed Objectivism. My inclusion of Ayn Rand as an intellectual moron has sent her followers into a frenzy. Angered that I would dare criticize Objectivism as an incubator of fanaticism, one admirer of Rand threatened in an email missive: "we are going to make this world hell for you." I guess he missed the irony.
While you didn't get to see the nasty emails, you may have noticed the invasion of this site by Randroids. You may have also noticed their cowardly retreat. After listing a number of things I admire about Rand, I asked her defenders to list one defect in Rand's novels, philosophy, and character. It's five days later, and I'm still waiting for an answer. My sense is that I'll be waiting quite a bit longer. This is because Objectivism is not that different from a cult. Any criticism of Rand is deemed treason, with the "guilty" party excommunicated.
It's not so much that the Randians objected to my specific criticisms of Rand. It's that they object to any criticism of Rand.
Despite the pretext of individuality, Randians are joiners--people who follow a guru and rely on the guru's system rather than their minds to think. They are programmed. What else explains the overload of their mental circuits when confronted with the simple challenge of coming up with a few substantive matters on which they disagree with Rand?
According to one Randian poster on this site, believing in the truth of Rand's philosophical system is no different from believing in the truth of the laws of mathematics. Another Objectivist went so far as to invent quotes and attribute them to me. He then attempted to refute the quotes that he had made up. That's usually a fairly easy way to win a debate, but the jury is still out whether this guy was even able to win this staged argument. I realize this blogger used caveats like "he said in effect" when quoting himself quoting a fictional me, but why invent quotes when all you have to do is use the "cut-and-paste" function?
While I welcome the input of readers, including Randians, to this site, this same tolerance is not extended to critics of Rand when you comment on various Objectivist sites. Take Don Watkins, for instance, who was one of the Randian posters on FlynnFiles who left in a huff when the challenge to make a criticism of Rand was made. I came across a comment on his site that politely congratulated him on opening his mind to other perspectives. Watkins curtly responded: "what makes you think MY blog is the proper forum for anti-Rand statements?" "I'll be stating my general policy on what I do and do not want posted in my comments section," he continued. "Slams against Rand or any other value I hold are unacceptable and will be deleted."
Erasing dissenting opinions is certainly one way not to lose an argument. Putting words in quotations marks that someone never said and then attributing those words to that person is another way. Neither method, however, does much to uncover the truth--which, of course, is never the goal of intellects in submission to a guru.
Two Americans won the Nobel Prize for medicine today. The Nobel committee in Stockholm announced Richard Axel and Linda Buck the winners for the scientific advances the pair made relating to their discoveries about how the human sense of smell works.
How they came to the prize may be surprising. Where they are from should not be. An American has won at least a share of the Nobel Prize for medicine in nine of the last ten years. Since World War II, an American has won the award in roughly three-fourths of all years.
Americans cured polio, created vaccines for hepatitis B and yellow fever, and invented the pacemaker. Why does a country with such a disproportionately small percentage of humanity contribute a disproportionately large share of medical advances? The answer is freedom. Our freedom creates the wealth necessary for research and development. Our freedom guards the incentive to create. In other nations, the government reaps the rewards from creation. In America, the creator reaps the rewards--and thus we all do because this inspires ever-more creation.
One country bears the heaviest share of the burden in ensuring that we live healthier and longer lives. That country is the United States, strangely the object of much of the world's hate these days.
All cultures are not equal. All cultures are not equal because their contributions to the betterment of mankind differ. Nowhere does this maxim prove its validity more demonstratively than in medicine.
That's a pretty scary set of words, even when phrased in a question. The chances of this becoming a reality, John Kerry being sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States, increased this week. Why? The superficial answer is the performance of both candidates in last Thursday's debate. Kerry did well; Bush, poorly. Beyond this surface explanation, lies an uncomfortable truth. Yes, Bush did poorly in the debate because he is not as accomplished a debater as John Kerry. More importantly, Bush did poorly in the debate because it was a debate that focused on Iraq.
If the war in Iraq never happened, President Bush would have this election in the bag. He is more likeable than every president of the last forty years save Reagan. The economy is picking up. His leadership after 9/11 was outstanding, and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since that terrible day.
Here are some potential realities of a Kerry presidency: four pro-abortion Supreme Court justices, gay marriage, tax hikes, even bigger government, and a commander-in-chief who seeks UN and not congressional approval for military action. If you are a conservative, a Kerry presidency terrifies you.
Knowing how John Kerry would like to govern, and knowing that the war is not popular among independents and undecided voters, will the Iraq war have been worth it if it results in a John Kerry presidency?
Obviously, issues of life and death, weapons of mass destruction, the prospects for freedom in Iraq, the expenditure of billions of tax dollars, U.S. involvement in nation building, and the actions of a brutal dictator are the serious issues that influence one's approval or disapproval of the war. But there are also domestic political consequences that deserve to be weighed.
That roughly half of all Americans believe the war is going badly (even if they think Kerry would handle the war worse) hurts George W. Bush. Even if more Americans don't believe the war a mistake than do, Iraq is divisive and not a winner politically for the president. Knowing that Iraq could result in a Kerry victory, and that a Kerry presidency will result in the advancement of many liberal policies, will Iraq have been worth it?
Accuracy in Academia's Mal Kline reviews Intellectual Morons on the CampusWatch website, while AIA's parent group, Accuracy in Media posts its own review on their site. Later this month, on October 21 to be exact, I'll be speaking on my new book at Accuracy in Media's monthly luncheon in Washington, DC. Contact AIM for information on the event, or to reserve a seat.
Will America become a better society by forcing states to allow all convicted murderers, child molestors, and thieves to vote? Martin Luther King's widow thinks so, and believes it should become the next civil rights crusade. "Something is very wrong with laws that prevent any citizen from experiencing his or her democratic right, even when they have paid their debt to society," Coretta Scott King said in an address in Portland, Maine this weekend.
Leaving aside the political motivations a staunch Democrat such as King might have for endorsing such legislation, the idea is bad on many counts. People who violate the rights of others can't be trusted to serve as a steward for those rights. It's presumed that children don't possess the judgment to vote prudentially. With felons, a similar assessment is based on more than prejudice. Felons have demonstrated poor judgment. Why would anyone who cares about a society wish to expand the franchise to people who have a track record of making bad choices?
While agreeing with Winston Churchhill's maxim that democracy is the worst form of government save all others that have been tried, it is important to recognize that voting in itself isn't necessarily a good. It's how that right is used that matters most. People can vote for a man as vicious as Adolf Hitler or as virtuous as George Washington. What type of leader would the votes of convicted felons bring us?
Not surprisingly, the race for the presidency is a horse race again after John Kerry's defeat--not drubbing--of George W. Bush in Thursday evening's debate. Newsweek's much publicized poll depicts Kerry holding a 47 to 45 percentage point lead against the president. I don't doubt Kerry improved his prospects with his strong showing in the debate. I do doubt the Newsweek poll. It's important to recognize that the Newsweek poll relies on registered voters. Respectable polls, generally, report the attitudes of likely voters. When Kerry leads in a poll of likely voters, we can again say that the Massachusetts senator is ahead. Until then, it's safe to say he's got the "big mo." It's not accurate to say he has taken the lead.
The campaign over the airwaves moves forward. Besides writing, I like talk radio better than any other medium. I've appeared on a couple dozen shows since the book's release. Earlier this week, one host--Alan Nathan on Radio America--began shouting incoherently at me because I disagreed with him on Iraq. On Thursday, I was interviewed by Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio. Although it was pretty apparent that Cardin was no sympathizer with conservative ideas, she let me answer questions. It was a real discussion rather than a verbal foodfight. One caller--a university professor in the UW system--objected to my critique of academia as an intellectual ghetto. To rebut my point, he noted that the professors in his department had a diversity of views on the 2004 election--they were split on Nader and Kerry! This is what he said. I am not joking.
Next week, I may be appearing on a transistor radio near you. On Monday, October 4, I'll be interviewed by Greg Garrison--he prosecuted Mike Tyson--in Indianapolis at Noon EDT on WIBC. In Philadelphia, I'll be appearing on The Michael Smerconish Show (WPHT) on Tuesday, October 5 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. A few hours later, at 11:15 a.m. EDT to be exact, I'll discuss Intellectual Morons on The Laura Ingraham Show, which goes out nationally. Thursday, I'll discuss the book on KSMR's The Other Side with Chevis and Joe out of Dallas at 8:30 p.m. CDT. Tune in and call in. If you hear me on the airwaves on these or other programs (other radio updates coming soon), let me know what you think in the comments section.
In June, 42 American servicemen were killed in Iraq. In July, 54; August, 66; and in September, 72 members of the American armed forces were killed there. "Facts," as John Adams said, "are stubborn things." The facts in Iraq are that it's getting worse, not better, for Americans. The trendline is pretty clear.
Saddam Hussein is in jail and weapons of mass destruction haven't been found. Most of the issues that led us to war have been resolved, for better or worse. Americans are now dying in Iraq for a nation-building exercise. Is it really in America's interests to spend billions of dollars and more than a thousand lives establishing a democracy in a climate that's proved inhospitable to political freedom? Know this one reality: the Arab fight against freedom and democracy, advanced by the Americans, has been more fierce and sustained than any fight to oust tyranny and oppression, advanced by Saddam Hussein. This is an uncomfortable truth, but a truth nonetheless.
Tonight was John Kerry's finest moment on the 2004 campaign trail. John Kerry won the debate more than George W. Bush lost the debate. Kerry looked presidential. Bush didn't. Did Bush let Kerry back into the horse race by agreeing to three debates?
Bush had several Cameron Diaz moments. He searched for words. He asked for more time and then stared into the camera without much to say. He repeated himself on lines that weren't effective the first time. The "ems" and "ahs" prefaced just about every statement.
Kerry, on the other hand, fought on George W. Bush's alleged home court (foreign policy) and won. He appeared dignified, serious, confident (not his usual arrogance), and articulate.
At 8:59 EDT, George W. Bush sat somewhat comfortably in the driver's seat. At 10:31 EDT, George W. Bush could be seen fighting with John Kerry over the steering wheel.