America can't win for losing. When the Bush Administration made an initial pledge of $15 million for disaster relief for the Indian Ocean tsunami, United Nations hack Jan Hegeland used the occassion to indirectly criticize the U.S. foreign aid program as "stingy." Now that President Bush has upped the ante to $35 million, and vowed to work with other wealthy democracies to administer aid, the anti-American left is crying foul again.
"Only really the UN can do that job," whined Clare Short, a former minister in Tony Blair's government. "It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers."
Translation: give us your money, America, and we'll spend it however we see fit. After the manner in which the United Nations handled the Oil for Food program designed to alleviate the Iraqi humanitarian crisis, can you blame Bush for not wanting U.S. aid to pass through the hands of international Eurocrats in New York?
Inspired by Thomas Sowell's annual book column (in which he called Intellectual Morons "one of this year's best books"!), I decided to put together my own piece on the year in books. Unfortunately, a new job, this blog, and the promotion of my own book prevented me from reading even half the number of books that I read last year. What's more, of the twenty-seven books that I did manage to read in 2004, very few of them were published in 2004. So, my "best books of 2004" blog title is a bit of a misnomer. These are really the best books that I read in 2004.
Don't player hate. Player participate. What's the best book you read in 2004? Share it with the readers in the comments section below. And if you're so inclined, buy one of the books I listed through the Amazon links provided.
It's the last week of the regular season, which presents difficulties in picking games. Many playoff-bound teams will be resting starters. Some players on vacation-bound teams will be mailing it in. Still other players will be playing for pride, a new contract, or a starting spot on next year's squad. So which teams will show up on Sunday? It's anybody's guess. With home teams in caps and all picks against the spread, here are my selections: RAMS +3 over Jets, Niners +14 over PATRIOTS, EAGLES +3 over Bengals, Vikings -4.0 over REDSKINS, PANTHERS -8 over Saints, Dolphins +11 over RAVENS, TEXANS -10.5 over Browns, BILLS -8 over Steelers, Packers +3 over BEARS, TITANS +3 over Lions, SEAHAWKS -5.5 over Falcons, Bucs +3 over CARDS, CHARGERS +3 over Chiefs, BRONCOS -9 over Colts, Jaguars -2 over RAIDERS, and on Monday Night Football, GIANTS -3 over Cowboys. Make your picks in the comments section below.
Children from homes with a parent absent, deceased, or divorced often overcome less than ideal circumstances. But if one could preordain a child's family situation, does it make sense to deliberately deny a child a father or a mother?
A court in Arkansas says it does. Judge Timothy Fox ruled that the state's child welfare board attempted to influence "public morality" by limiting the pool of prospective adoptive parents to straight couples. Regulating public morality, he claims, oversteps the board's mandate to "promote the health, safety and welfare of children." Is he serious? How can the board "promote the health, safety and welfare of children" without taking morality into account? And isn't Judge Fox himself pushing a certain morality in dictating that adoption should be opened to all-male and all-female couples? And doesn't his insistence on couples discriminate against collectives that might wish to adopt?
There is a certain hubris that allows people to believe they are smarter than everyone who has ever lived before them. It is not by accident that for thousands of years fathers and mothers have raised children, and not fathers and fathers or mothers and mothers. Children are not lab animals for liberals to perform social experiments upon.
Homer Fong returns as champion, sporting a 10-6 record. Week sixteen proved another tough week for the competitors. The Eagles, Jaguars, Colts, Vikings, and Seahawks were among the playoff contenders that folded--at least as far as covering the line is concerned. Week seventeen may be even tougher, as playoff teams rest starters and also-rans play for pride or pack it in. Week seventeen's spreads will be listed tomorrow. For now, tell Fong you were wrong and wish him congratulations. Fong: a victory speech is in order.
The city of Atlanta is threatening to fine a country club $90,000 for not extending club benefits to the partners of gay members. The case illustrates how gay marriage is not about freedom for gays, but rather how it's about the government dictating the policies of businesses, clubs, and ultimately, religious institutions.
Any libertarians still on the fence regarding gay marriage should take a hard look at this case. While conservatives have balked at gay marriage because it uproots tradition and morality, some libertarians have supported it under the guise that gay marriage extends freedom. It doesn't. It forces society to give its stamp of approval--through health benefits, tax breaks, fines for business not in compliance--to unions most people in society generally disapprove. If gays want to join together in partnerships now, and even call those partnerships marriage, no one is stopping them. What they want through gay marriages and civil unions is for the power of government to compel individuals, private associations, and companies to recognize and subsidize their lifestyle choice. If a "civil unions" ordinance can dictate a private country club's policies, what's next? The Catholic Church? The Boy Scouts? The military?
There is no constitutional right to sodomy. But there is a constitutional right to freely associate. Self-described libertarians pushed hard to get courts to recognize a right to sodomy. Where are they now that gay-rights activists are infringing on First Amendment rights by dictating the rules and policies that govern private clubs?
Homosexuals used to castigate society for pushing its morality on them. Now they are pushing their morality on society. The reaction of libertarians to gay marriage will give you a pretty good indication whether they are truly libertarians, or just libertines.
The universe of films I saw in 2004 was too small, so this is more like my favorite movies of the year rather than the best movies of the year. The links bring you to my take on each picture. Here's my list.
Don't player hate. Player participate. Let's see your list of 2004's best cinematic offerings in the comments section below.
Norwegian Jan Egeland, the United Nation's undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, yesterday used the Sumatra earthquake tragedy as an opportunity to obliquely blast U.S. foreign aid efforts as "stingy."
The United States has made an initial commitment of $15 million to aid the victims of the Sumatra earthquake and the ensuing catastrophes. That's about ten times more than Germany, fifteen times more than Canada, and fifty times more than South Africa. The European Union, which consists of twenty-five member states, pledged just $4 million. That's $160,000 per member state, if you're counting.
If UN officials really were concerned with stinginess among its members, there are 184 other member nations it might want to examine before singling out the United States--its largest benefactor. But, of course, Mr. Egeland's rant had nothing to do with helping victims of a natural disaster and everything to do with bashing America.
It's that time of the year--the end--that gives birth to all sorts of retrospectives. FlynnFiles is not immune to all this fleeting nostalgia for the recent past, so this week I'll be putting forth "best of" lists for 2004 in music, movies, books, and other stuff.
The first category is music, which has actually improved quite a bit the past two years if you haven't been paying attention. Below is my top ten list of songs from 2004. I know, I know--not all of the songs listed below were actually released in the last calendar year. But if they got significant radio play or mainstream attention in 2004, they're eligible for my 2004 list. My list is interactive. The links below bring you to my affiliate account on Amazon, where you can buy great music and contribute to the site's financial stability. The comments section below is for you to give the readership your list for 2004. Here is my list of the best songs of 2004:
10. Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart -- Old Habits Die Hard
9. Modest Mouse -- Float On
8. The Counting Crows -- Accidentally in Love
7. Keane -- Somewhere Only We Know
6. U2 -- City of Blinding Lights
5. The Killers -- Mr. Brightside
4. Wilco -- The Late Greats
3. Velvet Revolver -- Loving the Alien
2. The Killers -- All These Things That I've Done
1. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Maps
Don't player hate. Player participate. Do you have a top ten? A top five? A top three? Let's see it in the comments section below.
Never having consciously experienced an earthquake, it's tough for me to comprehend what one feels like--let alone an earthquake that hits 9.0 on the Richter scale. Scientists measured one of the aftershocks of Sunday's quake at 7.3, considerably larger than the 6.6 earthquake that killed 30,000 people in Iran last year and the 6.9 earthquake that hit San Francisco during the 1989 World Series.
To put this in perspective, a 620-mile section of the Earth moved. The earthquake pushed the entire island of Sumatra 100 feet. It even affected the rotation of the planet.
Just as the earthquake itself caused only a fraction of this tragedy's deaths, the ensuing tsunami--some reports told of 40-foot waves travelling 500 miles per hour--will account for just part of the final death toll. Millions are homeless. Decomposing bodies, sewage, and debris now mix with the drinking water. Starvation and disease loom. Currently, the death toll stands at about 22,000. Expect that number to rise.
Bill Murray essentially plays Gene Hackman's character in The Royal Tenenbaums, with much of that film's cast returning. The story is similar too: years past his prime, the lead character--Steve Zissou--attempts to resuscitate his life and reconnect with family.
Highlights include a cast of the best actors on the planet: Angelica Huston, Willem Defoe, Kate Winslett, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, etc.; a soundtrack of David Bowie songs, only bizarrely covered by a black Portuguese sailor in his native tongue; parodying Jacques Cousteau; awesome aqua-blue scuba suits; gunfights with Asian pirates; Monty Python-like animation; and an assortment of other surreal occurrences.
Go see The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and if the $8.50 ticket-price scares you away, remember: a dark movie theater is one of the last public places on earth where you can drink a store-bought six-pack without people hassling you.
Merry Christmas to all! I thank each and every reader for contributing to this site through your intelligent comments, through spreading the word to others, and through purchasing merchandise through the Amazon links on the right, something that more than 100 of you have done in the last few months. Since I moved from blogspot to FlynnFiles.com, the readership has grown more than tenfold. To experience this type of growth in just seven months surpasses my expectations. Thank you and merry Christmas.
"The fact that so many hypotheses are necessary to reconcile a theory with the facts should persuade one to abandon the theory itself," Raymond Aron wrote in The Opium of the Intellectuals. Aron's words readily apply themselves to a current controversy surrounding the Iraq war.
Prior to the war, some neoconservative theorists assured us Iraq would be a "cakewalk," that democracy in Iraq would cause a domino-effect of democracy in the surrounding countries, and that the reconstruction would be cheap and paid for with Iraqi assets. None of this has come to pass. Rather than admit flaws in their theories and predictions, pro-war pundits have turned their guns on a man they lionized up until fairly recently: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Why? To absolve themselves of responsibility for the failure of their ideas in action. Crying that an idea didn't work as marvelously outside of your head as it did inside of it is, of course, the fallback position of all utopians. Ever hear a delusional academic claim that communism has never failed because it's never been tried? That's more than a bit like the blame-game that currently engulfs the pro-war scribes and bureaucrats.
Robert Novak's latest column on the internecine war between pro-war pundits and the secretary of defense is a must-read. Armed with his pen, William Kristol has inflicted the unkindest cut of all upon the beleaguered Rumsfeld. Novak writes: "the neocon message is that the war was no mistake but has been badly conducted.... [William] Kristol's call for Rumsfeld's dismissal removes culpability for those who beat the drums to go to war."
He continues: "Getting rid of Rumsfeld does not answer agonizing questions. Was the change of regime in Baghdad worth going to war? Could Saddam Hussein have been removed from power by other means? Is the use of U.S. military power to topple undemocratic regimes good policy?"
"There are no clear answers," Novak concludes. "To say simply that all would be well in Iraq, save for Don Rumsfeld, only begs these questions."
George W. Bush issued four pardons earlier this week, bringing the total number of clemency orders during his presidency to thirty-one. The president is on pace to grant clemency to about one-eighth the number of individuals as his predecessor. President Clinton actually pardoned more people on his last day in office than W has pardoned during his entire term. But when you consider that Clinton used his clemency powers less than every other Democrat president this century, you realize just how stingy George W. Bush has been with this power. In fact, just four presidents have issued fewer clemency orders, and two of those guys--W.H. Harrison and Garfield--died shortly after taking office.
Strangely, one of our least significant presidents issued the most significant pardon. Not only did Gerald Ford pardon Richard Nixon, but he pardoned Tokyo Rose as well. Warren Harding pardoned the socialist Eugene Debs, Calvin Coolidge pardoned pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, and Jimmy Carter pardoned heiress turned bank robber Patty Hearst. Most beneficiaries of this Christmastime tradition of presidents, like this week's four recipients, are not so well known.
Not coincidentally, promiscuous use of the pardon power often corresponds with promiscuous abuse of other powers. Presidents generally regarded as more corrupt issued far more pardons than presidents without a reputation for low character. The most noble man to occupy the office, George Washington, issued the least number of pardons--save the aforementioned Harrison and Garfield--putting our current George in good company.
Football is not just played on Sundays anymore. There is a Friday game this week, so get your picks in as soon as possible. All picks are against the spread. The home teams are listed in caps. Here are my selections: In the 3 p.m. EDT Christmas Eve contest, VIKINGS -3 over Packers; on Christmas Day, CHIEFS -8 over Raiders and TITANS +4 over Broncos; for Sunday, BENGALS -6 over Giants, LIONS -5.5 over Bears, COLTS -7 over Chargers, JAGUARS -7 over Texans, Falcons +4.0 over SAINTS, Ravens +6 over STEELERS, NINERS +11 over Bills, Patriots -2 over JETS, SEAHAWKS -7 over Cards, Panthers +3 over BUCS, COWBOYS +2 over Redskins, DOLPHINS -7 over Browns; and on Monday Night Football, Eagles +3 over RAMS. Make your picks in the comments section below.
If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again. Having lost the Washington gubernatorial election, and the recount, the state's Democrats are now claiming victory after a hand recount in a single, heavily Democrat county allegedly gave them an eight vote victory.
Isn't this what Gore's crew tried to pull in Florida? Recount the recount only in the counties where your guy stands the best chance of picking up new votes. Claim that predominantly black voting districts mysteriously disenfranchise (is that a real word?) black voters. Hold recounts until the Democrat wins.
The Democrats increasingly rely on lawyers and the courts to elect their candidates in much the same way that they rely on lawyers and the courts to pass their agenda (see abortion, gay marriage, blocking immigration reform, etc.). I much prefer the old Democratic Party, which put the "D" in democracy by energizing the dead to vote and encouraging union workers to cast multiple ballots.
Week fifteen was a humbling one for many pool participants. Winning records were scarce, with reader Dennis cruising to victory with a competent 10-6 record. Dennis returns as champion after a one-week hiatus largely on the backs of bad teams. Dennis correctly made seven of his ten underdog picks, with three rather mediocre favorites--Buffalo, Washington, and Oakland--coming through for him. Vanquished: show some love. Victor: reveal what it's like to be back on top.
As is the case with many big-government do-gooder schemes, the public is finally catching on that the advertised benefits don't outweigh the obscured costs in Iraq. A Washington Post/ABC News poll reports that 56 percent of the American people believe the Iraq war was "not worth fighting" and that 70 percent of the American people believe that any gains from the war have come at an "unacceptable" price. President 43 would have been wise to have read President 6 before embarking on this ill-advised nation-building scheme.
What do Islamic fanatics and the irreligious Left have in common? Both seek to ban public expressions of Christianity. The latter group's fervancy in doing so is usually on display this time of year.
"It is impossible for everybody's religious belief to be displayed and non-religious belief to be displayed," explained atheist Sidney Stock of Bellevue, Washington, so "no religious beliefs [should] be displayed." Mr. Stock and his wife are upset tht something called a "giving tree"--which, in all but name, is a Christmas tree--is showcased in Bellevue's city hall.
"Holiday celebrations where Christmas music is being sung make people feel different," opined a parent in Maplewood, New Jersey, "and because it is such a majority, it makes the minority feel uncomfortable." Maplewood bans religious music in its school programs over the holidays.
The aforementioned examples come from the columns of two Jews--Jeff Jacoby and Charles Krauthammer. Both make the case that it's non-Christians uncomfortable in their own faith, rather than Americans immersed in the traditions of, say, Judaism or Hinduism, that feel threatened by Christmas. "Far from feeling threatened when the sights and sounds of Christmas surround me each December, I find them reassuring," Jacoby writes. "They reaffirm the importance of the Judeo-Christian culture that has made America so exceptional--and such a safe and tolerant haven for a religious minority like mine."
Krauthammer observes: "It is the more deracinated members of religious minorities, brought up largely ignorant of their own traditions, whose religious identity is so tenuous that they feel the need to be constantly on guard against displays of other religions--and who think the solution to their predicament is to prevent the other guy from displaying his religion, rather than learning a bit about their own."
In one of the great expositions on religious freedom in American history, Thomas Jefferson wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia: "it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." And what injury do the worshippers of Ebenezer Scrooge suffer when their neighbors say Jesus Christ was God's son, and celebrate his birth on December 25?
In an article generating a whole lot of commotion in the blogosphere, Christian conservative Chuck Baldwin writes: "the Religious Right has obviously and patently become little more than a propaganda machine for the Republican Party in general and for President G.W. Bush in particular. This is in spite of the fact that both Bush and the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., have routinely ignored and even trampled the very principles which the Religious Right claims to represent."
Baldwin cites Bush domestic security measures as the conservative principles "trampled" by the president. While disagreeing on some of Baldwin's particulars, I'm in agreement with his general idea that many on the Right conflate conservatism with whatever policy the president is advocating at the moment. President Bush's pursuit of nation-building, his backdoor attempt at open borders, the dramatic growth of the federal government on his watch, the accompanying deficits and debt that have consequently ballooned, and his signing into law McCain-Feingold--a bill he once labeled unconstitutional--are an affront to conservative principles but not, apparently, to many self-described conservatives.
"Unfortunately," Baldwin concludes, "when the seed of Bush's unconstitutional policies come to fruition, it will produce large scale fallout economically, socially, and politically. And sadder still will be that, instead of blaming Bush's infidelity to constitutional government and conservative principles, people will blame Christianity and conservatism itself. The result of this miscalculation will doubtless be a massive tide of support for more and greater unconstitutional government, but only under a different name." I'm afraid Mr. Baldwin is correct on this point.
A new book claims that Abraham Lincoln was gay. I'm not big on the "consider the source" style of argumentation, but considering that the new book's author bragged of having sexual encounters with dogs do you think maybe we ought to take his controversial thesis with a grain of salt?
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Hamilton College's decision to hire a member of a terrorist outfit, who went to prison for possessing of a massive amount of explosives, to teach a writing class. Well, the controversy has since provoked Susan Rosenberg to withdraw from her Spring semester post. Around the same time, I blogged about the burning of a construction project in Maryland. Because environmentalists had protested the building of the high-scale homes, and because groups like the Earth Liberation Front have torched such construction sites in the past, I suspected the involvement of extremists. It increasingly appears that environmentalists had nothing to do with this fire, with a disgruntled security guard and some accomplices coming under suspicion. I memorialized rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard more than a month ago. The autopsy results are in, and it turns out ODB's in-studio heart-attack likely came about because of cocaine and prescription drugs. RIP, ODB. Since I blogged on Lawrence O'Donnell's post-election on-air meltdown on The McLaughlin Group, the Hollywood liberal has yet to reappear on that program. Almost two months back, I discussed the phenomenon of Amazon enthusiasts reviewing books without reading them. Well, some more reviews of Intellectual Morons have been posted, and a few show signs that the reviewer actually read the book.
One of the most depressing aspects of Major League Baseball in recent years is the explosion of rent-a-players: Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, etc. Rooting for the home team becomes more difficult when every April we see more and more hometown favorites playing for the visiting team. Like other evils, money is the root of this.
But do the players take too much blame for what's wrong in baseball?
MLB made an agreement with the mayor of Washington, DC to bring baseball back to Washington in exchange for a baseball stadium funded entirely by the taxpayers of the nation's capital, of which I am one. Roughly, this project would cost a half-billion dollars. Every dime of it would come from the taxpayers.
As a taxpayer, I object to this. I find subsidizing third-generation welfare recipients objectionable, so why would the mayor of my city believe that I'd be okay with subsidizing Nick Johnson, Tomo Okha, and Jose Vidro? As a participant in the democratic process, I object to this. The city council, rather than the mayor, allocates money. Why didn't Major League Baseball go to them?
The DC city council has made a concessionary proposal. They've asked for private sources to fund about one-third of the costs. Is this too much to ask? San Francisco's baseball stadium is funded entirely by private sources, after all.
While the local liberal uproar has more to do with outrage over uprooting gay strip-clubs that stand in the way of a prospective stadium, one can't define one's position based on the motives of low individuals. They're right to oppose the public financing of the stadium--just for the wrong reasons. If a Catholic church, rather than a series of gay bars, stood in the way of the home of the Washington Nationals, my sense is that the DC liberals would be all for this corporate welfare. My wife got the automated calls from the shady front group for pornographers opposing the tax-funded stadium, and yet we both still agree with these weirdos.
If the third incarnation of a Major League Baseball in Washington, DC takes the field at my expense this April, I at least demand my name on the back of their jerseys as is traditionally done in little league, A-league softball, and other bush league ventures relying on sponsors. Anything else would be a fraud, as the Washington Nationals' primary source of income would not be ticket sales, a television contract, or merchandising, but my tax money--coupled with the tax money of a few hundred thousand of my neighbors.
I awoke this morning to learn that I am the beneficiary of a huge honor. Thomas Sowell has named Intellectual Morons as among 2004's best books. In his year-end column on books, Sowell writes: "Intellectual Morons by Daniel J. Flynn was one of this year's best books. It shows how the intelligentsia have for years fallen for unbelievably stupid--and often tragic--notions on everything from the environment to Communist dictators." Thomas Sowell has consistently put forth some of the best books over the past several decades. He is one of America's leading intellects, so his endorsement is a bit overwhelming. Let me reciprocate Sowell's Christmas-gift suggestion of Intellectual Morons by commending The Vision of the Annointed to my readers as a book definitely worthy of slipping under the tree.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll asked Americans: "When it comes to the war in Iraq, do you think that removing Saddam Hussein from power was or was not worth the number of U.S. military casualties and the financial cost of the war?" More respondents answered in the negative (48 percent) than in the positive (43 percent).
We know the costs: lives, dollars, and credibility. Other than removing Iraq's brutal dictator, what, exactly, are the benefits? Blocking Hussein from attacking us with imaginary weapons of mass destruction? Retaliating against Iraq for its non-role in 9/11? Giving democracy to people who fight against it more ferociously than they fought against tyranny?
Popular music affects mood and behavior. Test my thesis out by repeatedly listening to Morrissey's "Everyday Is Like Sunday." Take a break, and then do the same with The Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye." Notice a change?
In my inaugural post on TownHall.com's C-Log, I explore the possibilities of why a deranged fan shot-up a Damageplan concert last week rather than, say, a Jessica Simpson or Usher performance. Is it so radical to entertain the notion that monomaniacally listening to lyrics that obsess over murder, drugs, venereal disease, rape, and other dark subjects might serve as an influence for a weak-minded fan to engage in dark acts?
Washington, DC is the safest city in America. There are no gun murders, armed robberies, or drive-by shootings because the city bans the private ownership of firearms. When the DC government permitted citizens to have guns prior to the late 1970s, there were murders, armed robberies, and drive-by shootings. But news reports suggesting the persistence of that kind of thing are dead wrong. I know because I live in gun-free DC. The media must be mistaking my Washington for the Washington on the left-hand corner of the U.S. map. After all, if guns aren't allowed how can gun crimes occur?
Perhaps inspired by Washington, DC's amazing success in stopping gun violence, San Francisco city supervisors are placing an initiative on the ballot next November that would imitate the gun-control laws of the nation's capital. If passed, city inhabitants would have ninety days to forfeit their guns. The proposal would allow guns just for people "actually employed and engaged in protecting and preserving property or life within the scope of his or her employment." But why allow anyone to possess a gun? With guns out of the hands of people, the police--just like the rest of us--won't need guns for protection...unless...unless some people actually disobey the law.
Bono promised U2's "Who" or "guitar" record for the band's eleventh studio album. It's not that, although How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (buy it here) offers a few harder, more raw efforts ("Vertigo," "Love and Peace or Else," "All Because of You"). Instead, HTDAAB offers something for every U2 fan, from just about every U2 period.
The preachy, political U2 of the mid to late '80s resurrects itself on "Crumbs from Your Table," on which the activist Bono sings: "Where you live should not decide/Whether you live or whether you die." The opening ten seconds of "Yahweh" radiates an "A Sort of Homecoming"/"Unforgettable Fire" vibe. The listener finds Edge's echoing, chiming guitar style of Boy, October, and War (buy them here) on almost every track. You even get a poor man's "Beautiful Day" in "Vertigo."
HTDAAB is not a masterpiece like Achtung Baby, The Joshua Tree, or The Unforgettable Fire. It doesn't break new ground like the '90s-era experimental albums. It does add some instant classics to the U2 oeuvre ("Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own," "City of Blinding Lights"), and most importantly, it will wear out your CD player.
Readers: if you haven't played before, I encourage you to join us and make your picks. The home teams are listed in caps. All picks are against the spread, which is listed in the negative when my pick is the favorite and in the positive when my pick is the underdog. Here are my picks: Steelers -10 over GIANTS, Redskins -4 over NINERS, FALCONS -3.5 over Panthers, JETS -6 over Seahawks, Cowboys +12.5 over EAGLES, LIONS +3 over Vikings, BROWNS +10 over Chargers, BENGALS +1 over Bills, PACKERS -3.5 over Jaguars, BEARS -1 over Texans, Saints +7.5 over BUCS, Titans +2 over RAIDERS, COLTS -8 over Ravens, CARDS +1.5 over Rams, Broncos pick 'em over CHIEFS, and on Monday Night Football, Patriots -9.5 over DOLPHINS. Rookies and veterans: make your picks in the comments section below.
UPDATE: Remember readers, it's mid-December and college football's regular season is over. This means the NFL plays Saturday games, so get your picks in before Saturday's 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
It hurts. Pedro traded in a roster spot on the world champion Boston Red Sox for one on the 90-loss Mets, New York's second team. By signing with the Mets, Pedro officially becomes a rootless mercenary. His suitcase bears the stamp of Los Angeles, Montreal, Boston, New York, and, when his run with the Metropolitans ends, likely some other stop-off point or two.
Didn't we sell out all of your starts? Didn't we elevate you to the highest level of stardom, that level where you go by one name like Prince, Elvis, and Bruce? Didn't we let you take in-season vacations, and skip out on game six of the 2004 ALCS, with impunity?
In the past, Sox fans could blame management for losing the likes of Fisk and Clemens. You can't blame the Red Sox for losing Paydro--why guarantee four-years to a fragile, six-inning pitcher on the decline?--or even Nomar, who might have been in the first year of a four-year, $60 contract had he accepted the initial Red Sox offer. Instead, he has a one-year $8 million deal with the Cubs.
Anyhow, the reaction from Red Sox Nation to Pedro's departure is diverse. On the Sons of Sam Horn, the message board is replete with tributes to Pedro's incredible seven-year run with the Sox. Boston Dirt Dogs seems out for blood, comparing Pedro to a washed-up Mo Vaughn and labeling him a prima donna.
I understand signing Pedro to a Mets-like deal made absolutely no baseball sense for the Red Sox. Nevertheless, I'd like to see players so closely identified with teams stay with those teams. It's a traditional game, after all.
Walk onto any college campus, and you'll be bombarded with the buzzword "diversity." But the faculty lounge is to intellectual diversity what a Debbie Boone concert is to racial diversity.
Last week, I presented readers information I dug up from Federal Election Commission reports demonstrating just how far outside the mainstream Ivy League faculty and administrators are. Donations to John Kerry exceeded donations to George W. Bush by $32 to $1 at Harvard and $11 to $1 at Yale.
Critical feedback I have received at lectures, and online, counters that the Ivy League schools are all located in blue states, making preferences for Kerry among employees unsurprising. Additionally, it is noted that the political eccentricities of Ivy League pedagogues hardly indicts the entire academy as a leftist intellectual ghetto.
Fair enough. With these criticisms in mind, I investigated the FEC data on employee giving at several large, public universities in red states. Guess what? They too exhibited an overwhelming bias for Senator Kerry over President Bush in the 2004 election.
At Indiana University, employees gave $11 to Kerry for every $2 they gave George W. Bush. Indiana's voters, on the other hand, went for Bush by a 3 to 2 margin over Kerry. President Bush won North Carolina 56 percent to 44 percent. Contributions from University of North Carolina employees went $11 to $1 in Kerry's favor. Oklahoma ballots swung 2 to 1 for Bush; University of Oklahoma dollars swung 2 to 1 for Kerry. Bush eked out a victory among New Mexico voters, but got trounced at the University of New Mexico, where employee giving favored Kerry by a $7 to $1 ratio. Ditto for Kentucky, where inhabitants of the Bluegrass State favored Bush, but the eggheads at the state's flagship university favored Kerry $7 to $1.
The bias may not be as pronounced as at a Dartmouth or a Brown, but it's there and it's overwhelming.
Readers Alan, Morris, and DocMcG share week fourteen's championship, each posting 10-6 records. The Chiefs last-minute comeback on Monday night ensured the threeway tie, thrusting Alan and DocMcG into the championship and transforming Morris from the undisputed king into an equal member of the pigskin triumvirate. Next week's games should be listed early Thursday. Also-rans: offer your congratulations below. Champions: the readership awaits your victory remarks.
Old Sparky. Nevada Gas. The Gallows Pole. A jury sentencing Scott Peterson to death conjured up these images in many minds on Monday. But the chances of California executing Scott Peterson are slim to none--and slim's in Texas, where they actually do execute murderers. Exactly ten murderers have paid the ultimate price for their crimes since the Golden State reinstated capital punishment in 1977. In that time period, Californians experienced more than 75,000 murders. In other words, California has executed less than one-tenth of one percent of its murderers in the last twenty-seven years. If Richard Ramirez, Randy Kraft, and Charles Ng can avoid lethal injection, Scott Peterson stands an excellent chance of doing so too.
A jury sentenced Laci and Conner Peterson's murderer to death. The state of California, which refuses to enforce the law its citizens made, will see that the sentence will never get carried out.
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Did you know that some hyper-political Democrats are dreaming of a blue Christmas? Let me explain: a website has outlined the political donations of major corporations, directing websurfers to retailers who give to the Democrats.
Want to buy a book? In 2004, Borders gave 100% of its political donations to Democrats, while Barnes & Noble gave 98%. J Crew, Calvin Klein, Netflix, Foot Locker, and Starbucks (I'm shocked, shocked!) donated exclusively to the Democrats.
Are you more of a red Christmas person? Take your sweetheart to dinner at the Outback (95% R), buy your mom some Russell Stovers (100% R) chocolates, or send some distant relative a Hallmark (92% R) card.
The idea of a "blue" or "red" Christmas a bit too politicized for you? Try having a FlynnFiles Christmas. Give Intellectual Morons or Why the Left Hates America as a Christmas present. Get a Book, DVD, or CD listed on the right side of the page, and it helps fund the site, which, like the government, operates on a deficit. If the items listed in the right column don't appeal to you, how about unleashing your brother's inner-Atari by getting him a cool 5-in-1 Ms. Pac Man/Galaga (buy it here) game console? How about getting the uncloseted Anglophile in your life The Young Ones (buy it here) on DVD? Since all normal people like The Beatles, you're safe getting anyone the Fab Four's new box-set collection (buy it here).
To sweeten the pot, I testify that not one cent of the proceeds to FlynnFiles that comes from your purchases will subsize any candidate, of any party, for any office, any where. Have a merry FlynnFiles Christmas!
Today is the Monday after the second Wednesday in December in a year divisible by four, which means it's time for each state's delegation to the Electoral College to meet.
Some people want to undermine the Constitution and prevent this from happening--at least in Ohio. Protestors gathered outside Ohio's statehouse on Sunday to object to the state's delegation casting its ballots in the Electoral College.
Despite President Bush winning the state by more than 100,000 votes, activists (including a group called We Do Not Concede that contends John Kerry actually won the election) hold that the votes haven't been counted to their satisfaction. And unless someone can find a way to make 119,000 votes disappear, the Ohio votes will never be counted to their satisfaction. Ohio is not Florida; 2004 is not 2000.
Two Midwest road-construction workers faced off in the final vote on Survivor, with the jury engaging in the usual round of self-righteous whining about betrayal, deception, and unfairness. Survivor Vanuatu is the ninth season of the television series. You'd think the contestants would have bothered to watch an episode or two before they sent in their video applications.
A Survivor contestant complaining about a fellow competitor lying to her is a like a boxer complaining about his opponent punching him. Boxers punch, survivors lie. Outside of the contexts of these games, deceiving or clocking someone is generally wrong. But on Survivor, the proper response to someone manipulating you to get to the finals is to congratulate rather than berate. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
Survivor Vanuatu wasn't a particularly memorable season. But it is the only time in the history of the game that a season's two best players made it to the final two. Chris survived despite being the sole male among the last seven survivors. Twila survived despite altogether lacking in tact. Neither Twila nor Chris flew under the radar. They were active players who altered the course of the game on several occassions.
Ironically, as juror Eliza complained about Twila's brutal honesty, juror Julie complained about Chris's brutal dishonesty. Twila told Eliza she didn't deserve her spot in the final four, while Chris lied to his "little sister" Julie's face before breaking their alliance and sending her packing. Both moves--slick lying and cold bluntness--not only symbolized the finalists' styles of play, but their answers to jury questions. Lying Chris bested blunt Twila five votes to two. Unsurprisingly, the mob chose flattering lies to painful truths.
Initially startled that a human being actually called himself Dimebag Darrell, I got over my mild shock within a few seconds by being overcome with horror that someone actually killed Mr. Dimebag and several other people at a concert in Columbus, Ohio.
Did Darrell sell the killer a dimebag for $25? Why would someone murder the former Pantera guitarist? Occuring exactly twenty-four years to the day of John Lennon's assassination, the answer should have been obvious.
Like everyone twenty-one and older at the Damageplan concert, Nathan Gale had "assassin" stamped on his hand. An offensive lineman for a local semi-pro football team, Gale reportedly got himself psyched up for games by listening to Pantera. He apparently hung out in a local tatoo parlor, bothering patrons with conversations about heavy-metal music--once claiming that Pantera had stolen lyrics that he had penned. Prior to the show, Gale approached Damageplan's tour bus in the stated hopes of partying with the band. Whether he had planned to kill Dimebag Darrell then or if this perceived slight motivated him to hatch this evil plot, we may never know. Trying to understand through reason the actions of crazy people is often a fruitless task.
In the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse argued that true tolerance meant censoring the Right, while Noam Chomsky preached that to engage in debate with the Right on certain issues was to lose one's humanity. Ideas have consequences. The post-sixties Left currently dominating the campuses has put the words of these intellectual morons into action in a recent round of newspaper thefts and acts of intimidation. Read about the current state of free speech in academia, and what can be done to defend against campus assaults on free speech, in my article on NewsMax today.
It was with great sadness that on my drive back from Rutgers on Wednesday night I heard David Brudnoy's WBZ colleagues eulogizing him. Alas, the radio legend was not dead; he had only announced his retirement that night and explained that he had resigned himself to imminent death. But hadn't he repeatedly cheated death? Twenty-four hours after his radio show officially died, so did David Brudnoy. He was sixty-four.
I had the pleasure of listening to Brudnoy's program on WBZ since its inception almost twenty years ago. In the mid-1990s, I actually appeared on The David Brudnoy Show a few times as a guest.
I confess: I did not always appreciate David Brudnoy. If my memory serves me right, Brudnoy took over Larry Glick's place on the WBZ dial in the mid-'80s, discharging "the Commander" and shutting down Glick University. For any longtime listener of WBZ--which includes many outside New England, since its 50,000-watt signal reaches 38 states and parts of Canada on a clear night--Larry Glick was AM radio in the PM. To have him replaced, and by a host that so greatly differed from him in tone and in the subject matters he tackled, was greatly upsetting to a twelve-year-old AM-radio addict.
But in time, I came to appreciate David Brudnoy. As my interest in politics grew, my interest in Brudnoy's more politically-driven show grew too. In a medium that often (unfairly) gets blasted for formulaic hosts, Brudnoy was an orignal in style and in substance. He offered listeners a high-brow, gentlemanly alternative to fast-paced hot-talk, and a politcal outlook that defied conventional conservative/liberal labels.
Other than the Village People, Brudnoy was the first homosexual I had any awareness of as a homosexual. Just as the Village People's chaps and handle-bar mustaches were fairly clear signals, Brudnoy's peculiar references to "lady friends" instead of "girl friends" struck me--even as a kid--as a bit, well, queer. Although he was still ostensibly in the closet, Brudnoy's homosexuality was an open-secret all around Boston--just as his medical condition was known before he announced it in 1994. And it is the courageous way in which he battled AIDS that makes him a memorable figure to most people. But his WBZ radio listeners, his Boston University students, and the many readers who relied on his film reviews to determine their weekend cinema choices likely remember Brudnoy in ways that transcend a simplistic association of the radio host with a disease.
Writing movie reviews of Ocean's Twelve and Finding Neverland, grading the final exams of his Boston University students, and appearing on WBZ Wednesday night, David Brudnoy lived life until life stopped. May he rest in peace.
Dennis is your champion going into week fourteen. Home teams are in caps. Spreads are non-negotiable. My picks are as follows: Bengals +11 over PATRIOTS, Browns +11 over BILLS, Giants +9.5 over RAVENS, Detroit +9.5 over PACKERS, VIKINGS -7 over Seahawks, FALCONS -7.5 over Raiders, JAGUARS -7 over Bears, COWBOYS -6 over Saints, Colts -10.5 over TEXANS, Jets +5.5 over STEELERS, Dolphins +11 over BRONCOS, PANTHERS -6.5 over Rams, CARDINALS -6 over Niners, CHARGERS -5.5 over Bucs, REDSKINS +9.5 over Eagles, and on Monday night, TITANS -2 over Chiefs. Make your selections in the comments section below.
Reader Dennis dominated the competition in the year's best performance in week thirteen. Dennis went an amazing 14-1-1. If it weren't for the AFC West, he would have had a perfect week. Almost half of the winner's correct picks were underdogs, with the Niners, Panthers, Bengals, Jaguars, Bears, and Cowboys coming through. Losers, offer your congratulations in the comments section below. The winner will return with a victory speech and trash talking on Saturday.
I spoke at Rutgers University Wednesday night to a crowd of about seventy-five. If you recall, Rutgers was recently the site of a massive newspaper theft of a humor publication that had offended campus feminists. The school's reputation is left-wing, but I encountered an audience quite receptive to my message and departed with an empty book box.
The conservative student publication at the school, The Centurion, has run into some trouble of its own. You see, they have no faculty advisor because they haven't found a single professor who will agree do it. Think I'm joking? The Centurion recently researched the Federal Election Commission's reports on the recent election, and found that for every $1 Rutgers employees gave to George W. Bush, they gave $104 to John Kerry.
"I'm a Marxist, a socialist, a feminist, and a pragmatic postmodernist," admits History Professor James Livingston, until recently the paper's advisor. Livingston, despite obvious political disagreements with The Centurion, initially agreed to be the paper's advisor--but at the cost of the publication giving him a page in each issue to air his thoughts. This didn't work out, and the two parties have gone their separate ways.
While there's nothing wrong with student groups having a faculty advisor, requiring one seems in some cases discriminatory--at least at a place like Rutgers, where campaign giving for the Democrats' presidential candidate outpaced giving to the Republican by a factor of more than one-hundred. For even the Marxist, socialist, feminist, pragmatic postmodernist former faculty advisor of The Centurion admits: "By now we all know that the pilot disciplines in the Arts & Sciences are dominated by leftists of one kind or another."
The military is one of the most popular institutions in America but one of the least popular on campus. This is a direct consequence of stacking faculties with people politically alienated from the society that surrounds them. If the campus repulsion to the armed forces seems so foreign to us it is because we are so foreign to the people teaching at these institutions. Read my NewsMax article detailing how two of the institutions most corrupted by the Left--academia and the courts--have combined to kick military recruiters off of law school campuses.
Various conservative media outlets are calling on Kofi Annan to resign as secretary general of the United Nations in light of his mishandling of the "Oil for Food" program for Iraq and his son's role in that scandal. I join these writers in calling for Annan to resign. I ask them to join me in calling on all of Kofi Annan's colleague's to resign with him.
The United Nations is a farce. It has democratic pretensions, but the majority of the national delegates were appointed by governments that don't have the consent of the governed. Seriously, does it make sense for Muamar Khadafi to have a personal representative voting in the United Nations but for the people of Libya not to have one? Even if the UN became a league exclusively of democratic nations, it would be an enemy of self-government in that it takes decision-making further and further away from the people.
With many globalists dreaming of UN taxing authority or a blue-helmeted world army, a few elites hope to further consolidate their power. This is bad news for anyone who cares about national sovereignty.
Yeah, and that scandal about stealing billions of dollars intended for the people of Iraq? Well, that was bad too but it has no bearing on whether one views the United Nations as a legitimate institution or not.
So Kofi, it's time to go. It's time for you and everyone else at the United Nations to go home.
Ron Artest assaulted the fans who pay the salaries of the entire NBA. Barry Bonds assaulted the legends who built his sport. What's worse: juiced-up ball-players stealing the places of Aaron, Ruth, and Mays in the record books, or out-of-control punks transforming the NBA into a thug league?
Hamilton College has hired Susan Rosenberg, an advocate of "collective violence" against the U.S. government, to teach a writing class next semester. Caught with several hundred pounds of explosives in 1984, Rosenberg was serving a fifty-eight year prison sentence until President Clinton pardoned her on his last day in office. The hiring of the unrepentant Rosenberg, unfortunately, is not an isolated example of a college bringing on board a faculty member largely because of the faculty member's criminal past. My NewsMax article explains why setting off bombs, aiding terrorists, kidnapping, and even murder are no obstacle to steady employment at a number of U.S. academic institutions.
Today is the "date which shall live in infamy." Or, at least that's what Franklin Roosevelt said about December 7. But I'm willing to guess a substantial minority of young people might guess that "Pearl Harbor" is a movie starring Ben Affleck rather than the location where the Japanese conducted their sneak attack against the United States Navy in 1941. Even when I was a kid, to "Pearl Harbor" someone meant to sucker them or attack them from behind. Today, it's not likely to carry those connotations for young people because not too many kids know what December 7, 1941 means.
Michelle Malkin has a wonderful remembrance of December 7, 1941, discussing why the date has lost its cultural significance. My question to the readers is: even with the stunning video reminders, is it not likely that sixty years from now the date September 11 will fail to resonate amongst a sizable minority of young people?
Did you know that setting massive fires helps the environment? No? Well, me neither, but that's what numerous environmentalist extremists believe.
Yesterday morning, arsonists torched the construction site of a housing development in a community outside of Washington, DC. The conflagration comes on the heels of some very public objections to the building of the houses by environmentalists. Want to take a guess who did this and why?
The biopic Kinsey fails both as biography and motion picture. Against a backdrop of strawmen and stereotypes, Bill Condon's Kinsey emerges to slay ignorance. The real Kinsey did more to perpetuate sexual ignorance than any other figure of the past century. Perhaps in tribute, this fawning movie adopts Alfred Kinsey's dishonesty in telling the Indiana University professor's story. "Artistic license" whitewashes Kinsey's extreme masochism, tolerance of pedophilia, and stacking his sample group with prison inmates and homosexuals, but it fails to make the movie interesting or entertaining. Read what the film starring Liam Neeson leaves out in my review of Kinsey on Accuracy in Media's site.
The U.S. map is red but America's campuses are deep blue. I examined Federal Election Commission records and found donations to John Kerry wildly outpaced donations to George W. Bush. My amateur inspection found that Harvard employees gave 32 times more money to Kerry than to Bush. The disparity was 270-1 at Princeton, 32-1 at Cornell, 22-1 at Penn, 11-1 at Yale, 7-1 at Brown, and 5-1 at Columbia. Get this: because I could find no Dartmouth employee that had donated to President Bush's reelection efforts, John Kerry received an infinite amount more from the faculty and administrators at the Hanover, New Hampshire school than his opponent. I detail my findings, and why a politically alienated academia is bad for education, on NewsMax.com.
Sick of Kinsey, Alexander, Fahrenheit 9/11 and other movies made for the bluest of blue America? May I recommend I Am David, a more inclusive film that won't insult your values in exchange for your money? The film opened in limited release in selected cities this weekend.
The story traces the escape of twelve-year-old David from a concentration camp behind the Iron Curtain. David escapes from Bulgaria into Greece, and then stows-away on a ship bound for Italy. From Italy, he treks northward toward Denmark for reasons unknown to him. Unaware of what he's looking for, David finds trust--a luxury foreign to concentration-camp survival ethics. "The world is full of terrible people, and they all do terrible, evil things," David explains. "I've seen them." Outside the camps, he discovers another side of human nature.
The PG-rated I Am David in many ways resembles Hope and Glory, Empire of the Sun, and other not-just-for-kids movies starring children. Jim Caviezel again portrays a self-sacrificial man, and we are introduced to Brit Ben Tibber, who plays the title character. Significantly, I Am David features an anti-Communist sub-theme alongside a respectful treatment of Christianity. Along the way, the movie-goer experiences stunning scenic shots of Italy and Switzerland, and unpleasant visuals of life in a Bulgarian concentration camp.
Police allege that a 36-year-old middle-school teacher in South Haven, Michigan "married" one of her former students in a pagan ritual after introducing the child to witchcraft. The student is fourteen. The teacher, "married" to another women, is also the adoptive mother of a small child.
Folks, I don't know if the most creative holy-roller fire-and-brimstone type could have made this up. What's not to object to? Statutory rape, teacher-student relationships, witchcraft, homosexual adoption--even, if you will, bigamy.
The teacher's fellow pagans have largely denounced her alleged behavior, but many of these spooky people defend her. Perusing a wicca site has provided copious amounts of unintentional humor.
Poster Celebwen writes: "I cannot believe the amount of people jumping on the bandwagon to lynch this woman!" Another writes: "Ok, yea sure the teacher might have taken advantage of the girl (I believe love knows no boundries), but isn't life in prison a little harsh. And that's just plain out unfair to use there interest in witchcraft against them." No word yet what the Wicked Witch of the West has to say on this weighty topic, but Marianne opines: "this town is very very small..3000 or so people, very GOP, very right wing..gossip flies and if one would consider ones self a pagan, they sure wouldnt tell anyone here. I have never met this woman, but people in this town are mostly ultra evangelicals..this reminds me of the 80s, when they had all the satanic ritual scares in small town america...The newspaper here is run by conservatives, the police department, very ultra conservative..something sounds fishy to me in all this." "It just sounds too suspicious to me that the woman is a lesbian and a Pagan (maybe)," a web-surfer calling herself "e" explains. "It seems like in a very conservative community they could be looking for any excuse to get her."
Or, perhaps, many pagans are looking for any excuse to provide excuses to the accused sicko.
File this one under gross.
They counted all the provisional and absentee ballots in Ohio. Guess what: John Kerry still lost. I hear there's still time for him to win the presidency of the Ukraine, or perhaps of Vermont, or of whatever condo association Keith Olbermann belongs to. But he's never going to be president of the United States, thank God.
Does the governor of Maryland have the power to order his employees not to talk to certain media outlets? The Baltimore Sun claims that is unconstitutional, and is suing to force Governor Robert Ehrlich to order his employees to speak to two of the newspaper's reporters.
The feud stems from The Sun's objection to the governor's plan to sell as much as 3,000 acres of state lands. Whether through zealousness or shoddy journalism, the Sun displayed on its front page a map of all of the protected land in Maryland, rather than just the 3,000 acres under consideration, suggesting Ehrlich was considering selling all of it. Additionally, a Sun reporter claimed that Ehrlich's press aide struggled to "keep a straight face" defending the governor's policies at a hearing. The reporter, as it turned out, never attended the hearing. In response to all this, Ehrlich ordered his press officers not to speak with the largest newspaper in his state.
One can object to the governor of a state employing so many tax-funded spin-doctors, but that's not what this case is about. It's hard to find--even through a deconstructionist interpretation--any Constitutional prohibitions against a governor of a state governing the people who work for him.
Governor Ehrlich not only has the right to avoid a partisan newspaper that has printed lies about his policies, but he is right to do so. It is the plaintiff, rather than the defendant, that has abused the First Amendment in this case.
A school bus driver outside of Buffalo was fired for telling school children that not a single cure has been developed through embryonic stem-cell research in twenty-three years. She didn't molest a child. She didn't drive drunk. She didn't even slip up and wish a student Merry Christmas (verboten) instead of Happy Holidays (gelobt). She merely said something that is true.
Alert the Sierra Club! Somebody get me that girl who camps out in giant Redwood trees! We've caught a polluter red-handed, and it's...it's...Mother Nature.
Washington state's top polluter, various news sources revealed today, is Mount St. Helens. In fact, take the pollution from every industrial business in Washington, double it, and it still doesn't match Mount St. Helens. And Mount St. Helens isn't the only one of these volcanoes dirtying up our air. More than a decade ago, Mount Pinatubo exploded into the atmosphere above the Philippines and points beyond. It emitted more than 20 million tons of muck and ash into the sky.
To think environmentalists have targeted corporations for so long when a much more sinister force has been poisoning our Earth for millions of years. How could it have escaped our notice?
I've come to find out it's not uncommon for living things to pollute--people, animals, even trees on occassion. In conversing with some of my environmentalist friends--including an incredibly wise goat and a whale who communicates through mental telepathy--I offer the modest proposal of nuking the entire Earth and turning our planet into an environmentalist paradise like Mercury, Saturn, or the Mojave Desert. They'll be no Mount St. Helens, no smokestacks, no decomposing plants, and no elephant mess. Everything will be pristine. Think about it: transforming the Earth into a desolate rock devoid of polluters will not only teach those contaminating the Earth a lesson, but will undeniably purify our lakes, rivers, oceans, air, and land.
The transcripts of the "sealed" testimony of New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi reportedly contain admissions from 2000's AL MVP that he used steroids. Jason Giambi? Steroids? Really? Next thing you know they'll be saying Barry Bonds is on the juice too.
With at least 135 U.S. deaths, November tied April as the deadliest month for American servicemen in Iraq. Although no statistic measures this, November also seems to have been the deadliest month for insurgents, terrorists, and other Arab ne'er-do-wells because of the assault on Fallujah.
With Saddam Hussein rotting in a cell, and the primary motivations for going to war--weapons of mass destruction, Hussein-9/11 link, an advanced nuclear program--proven false even to the White House's satisfaction, the question necessarily arises: what are we doing in Iraq?
What President Bush is doing is what Governor Bush denounced: nation-building. Next month's elections have caused the president to boost the U.S. troop presence in Iraq to its highest level in the short history of the war. And for what? So that Iraqis can elect a government. In other words, to nation-build.
In 2000, Republicans ran mocking the practice of nation-building, something the Clinton administration had taken part in, for instance, in Haiti and Bosnia. In 2004, Republicans eagerly support our continued presence in Iraq that focuses on one objective: nation-building. How quickly politics overtakes principle.
College administrators feign lofty ethics by rebuffing military recruiters from their campuses. Just don't ask them to apply those principles to their own pursuit of military money.
Spurning the custom of relying on the body politic or elected officials to create law, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals opted to go the oligarchic route. The judges usurped the law-making function for themselves in declaring unconstitutional the government's witholding of tax funds for universities that ban military recruiters. In other words, the court claimed that somewhere in the Constitution it states that the federal government must subsidize institutions that hate its armed forces.
The case focused on law schools, but is likely to be applied to any academic institution. Within hours of the decision, Harvard Law School announced that it will reinstitute its ban on military recruiters.
Admission: I've been intimately involved in this issue for a decade. I lobbied Congressman Richard Pombo's staff in the mid-'90s to prohibit Department of Defense payouts to institutions of higher learning that banned the Reserve Officer Training Corps from campus. In the debate that led to Pombo's amendment passing, Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston read on the floor of the House of Representatives from an article I had penned in Human Events about Ivy League schools banning ROTC opportunities for students but greedily grabbing millions in funding for themselves in DoD research grants and contracts.
As one who spent eight years in the Marine Reserves, my minor role in getting this important piece of legislation passed was quite gratifying. Seeing a court, rather than Congress itself, repeal such legislation is quite infuriating. By what right?
The issue is pretty simple: just as any private entity should be free to ban military recruiters from their premises, the military should be free to ban its money from bankrolling institutions that ban their personnel. Just as there is nothing in the Constitution that compels Harvard to allow ROTC or military recruiters on their campus, their is nothing in the Constitution that compels the military to unconditionally subsidize Harvard.
In the 1960s, faculty and administrators pointed to the Vietnam war as the justification for kicking-off military recruiters and ROTC from campus. Today, school officials cite the ban on open homosexuals serving in the military. Ten years from now, they'll invent some new chain of reasoning for their stance. While the rationalizations of academics may change, their underlying motivation remains constant: they hate the military.
The beloved FlynnFiles football pool enters the homestretch of the NFL season. If you have shied away from making picks, I encourage you to join in and make the pool even more competitive. We demand new blood. A record of 13-3 won it last week. Can you outdo it? Home teams are in caps. All picks are against the line, which is non-negotiable. Here are my selections: RAMS -10.5 over Niners, Bills -3 over DOLPHINS, SAINTS -1.5 over Panthers, JETS -5 over Texans, Falcons +2 over BUCS, Bengals +7 over RAVENS, Vikings -7 over BEARS, Patriots -7 over BROWNS, LIONS -6 over Cardinals, COLTS -10 over Titans, Chiefs +1 over RAIDERS, Broncos +3 over CHARGERS, Giants +2 over REDSKINS, EAGLES -6 over Packers, JAGUARS +3 over Steelers, and on Monday Night Football, SEAHAWKS -7 over Cowboys. Make your picks in the comments section below.
Today is World AIDS Day. While AIDS may cut across demographic lines in other parts of the world, here in America AIDS remains a disease primarily affecting men who have sex with men. Notions that "AIDS Does Not Discriminate" or "AIDS Is an Equal Opportunity Killer" simply don't mesh with the facts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's periodic reports on AIDS clearly show that men engaging in homosexual acts constitute three-fifths of those who have died from AIDS complications in the United States. Intravenous drug users make up the vast majority of the remaining AIDS-related deaths.
AIDS has killed more Americans than World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War times two. Perhaps a million people are infected with HIV in the U.S., with about half of that number succumbing to the disease since its arrival was noted in the early 1980s. It's time to get serious about combating this killer that has taken away too many talented and good people from us. Getting serious entails doing away with politically-correct slogans and admitting the truth. And the truth is that like lung cancer, heart disease, and other maladies, behavior matters when it comes to AIDS. Decreasing new HIV cases means decreasing certain behaviors, i.e., the dangerous sex practices of some homosexual men and the intravenous use of drugs among addicts.
After proposing guidelines for medically-sanctioned infanticide, doctors at the Groningen Academic Hospital in Holland admitted that they have already begun to administer deadly amounts of poisons to infants that they judge unable to live. Issuing such a judgment on a person, and then proceeding to kill that person, is certainly one way to vindicate your "medical" assessment.
Not to worry, because the Dutch find all of this very controversial.
"As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," explained Eduard Verhagen, who runs the hospital's children's ward. Would it make it any better if doctors were murdering babies in the open?
If this callous disregard for human life strikes you, in the words of Yogi Berra, as deja vu all over again, check out Edwin Black's War Against the Weak (buy it here), which chronicles early twentieth-century efforts--particularly ones here in America--by scientists to decide who lives and who dies.
Three years ago, the Dutch legalized doctor-assisted suicide. Now, doctors are killing infants, obviously with no one's consent save their own. Who's next?
If you've ever heard the phrase "slippery slope" and were confused by its meaning, just look at how the Dutch practice of doctors aiding patients to commit suicide has evolved to encompass doctors murdering sick babies.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Yale University newspaper thieves made off with the entire press run of the Yale Free Press. The school's dean of student affairs responded to the theft by telling the conservative student editors of the Free Press to individually contact the directors of the school's eleven residential colleges with their complaints. In other words, get lost.
At Rutgers (where I speak a week from today), anti-free speech activists made off with 5,000 of the 6,000 copies of the Medium, a weekly campus newspaper that offended feminists by printing some risque pictures of women and offering readers politically incorrect humor. In response, a women's studies professor teaching a course called "Woman, Culture and Society" required her students to collect signatures demanding the school ban the Medium. Shortly thereafter, the thefts occurred. A group calling itself the Progressive Activists anonymously took responsibility (if that's possible), but left it unclear what they were progressing toward in absconding with thousands of newspapers.
All of this seems not to bother campus feminists in the least. "I don't even know that they're stolen," the head of the Rutgers women's studies department told columnist Paul Mulshine. "Do you have evidence that they're stolen?"