Mark Felt, a senior Federal Bureau of Investigation official, outed himself as Watergate source Deep Throat today. This ends more than thirty years of speculation--or does it? Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein announced: "W. Mark Felt was 'Deep Throat' and helped us immeasurably in our Watergate coverage. However, as the record shows, many other sources and officials assisted us and other reporters for the hundreds of stories that were written in The Washington Post about Watergate." It's the statement's second sentence that perplexes me. For years, skeptics have wondered whether Deep Throat ever existed or was a composite of several sources. The cryptic reference to "many other sources" leaves me wondering if Woodward and Bernstein fear that Felt's admission will lead to an "I am Spartacus" moment, with Diane Sawyer, Pat Buchanan, Leonard Garment, Henry Kissenger, Al Haig, and every other would-be Deep Throat volunteering: "I am Deep Throat." Mark Felt is Deep Throat. Is he the one and only Deep Throat? Time will tell.
"The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times," claims Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International. If Guantanamo Bay is the Gulag of our times, what does this say about our times? We know of 476 camps in the Soviet Gulag; there is but one Guantanamo Bay. The Gulag imprisoned about 18 million people over the course of several decades; Guantanamo Bay has housed fewer than 1,000 prisoners since the start of the war on terrorism. It currently holds less than 550 people. Historians place the number of deaths in the Soviet Gulag in the millions; treatment of the inmates at Guantanamo Bay has led to zero prisoner deaths. "When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights," Amnesty International's Khan maintains, "it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity." A stronger case can be made that when the globe's most famous human rights organization makes such over-the-top statements as the Guantanamo/Gulag comparison, it grants a license to others to lie with impunity and audacity.
Bill Romanowski doesn't seem like a Slim Goodbody type of guy. But like Slim, Romo knows a thing or two about health--physical, not mental, health. Known for spitting in J.J. Stokes's face, ending teammate Marcus Williams's career by breaking his eyesocket, and issuing on-field cheap shots, Romanowski is no knucklehead when it comes to health. The man started 243 consecutive NFL games at linebacker. How did he do it? Hyperbaric chambers, employing 10 specialists at a cost of $250,000, intravenous therapy, and nighttime magnesium were among the unusual weapons in his arsenal. ESPN's John Clayton gives the 411 in a fascinating article on this real health nut.
"Give yourself a hug. Say, 'I love my body. I'm the best me in the world,'" Slim Goodbody recently told a fourth-grade class in Rockport, Maine. CBS may have cancelled Captain Kangaroo two decades ago, but one of the Captain's most memorable sidekicks is still going strong today. According to the Associated Press, Slim Goodbody still weighs in at the same 155 pounds he carried thirty years ago. He ditched the afro, but Slim still sports his unforgettable bodysuit parodied to perfection on Late Night with Conan O'Brian. If you don't know Slim Goodbody (consider yourself culturally illiterate), he goes around singing and dancing to little kids about healthy eating and exercise. Like the children he caters to, Slim Goodbody is unique and special. Long live Slim Goodbody!
Tommy Rollins of Grandview, Missouri shot a state trooper nine times this weekend. But it wasn't his fault. "It was just temporary insanity. I wasn't even thinking when I did it," Rollins claims. "The society's what caused me to do what I did. Just look at the society we live in." If Mr. Rollins were being graded in a sociology class, he might receive an "A." Because he will be graded in a courtroom rather than a classroom, Rollins should expect a lower mark.
Memorial Day grew out of remembrances of the Civil War dead. It became a truly national holiday in the wake of the Great War. Today, our nation is immersed in another war. Since last Memorial Day, the number of Americans killed in Iraq has doubled. The number of American military fatalities in this current war stands at 1,657. This is a tiny fraction of the war losses from the Civil War, World War I, or World War II. But there is something dehumanizing in reducing human loss to a mathematical equation.
In 1861, 1918, and 1942, the U.S. government conscripted men to fight. In 2005, thankfully, America has an all-volunteer military. This, more than the lighter body count, stands as the prime reason that American civilians continue with their daily affairs, oblivious to the reality that faces their fellow countrymen a half-world away. Patriotic Americans treat war-dead inscripted monuments with religious veneration. Reminders from Nightline or Doonsebury of the more current war dead are treated as a nuisance.
Less than half of one percent of Americans serve under arms. During the Civil War, the fraction numbered greater than ten percent. During World War II, greater than twelve percent of the population served in some military capacity. It was common for brothers, fathers, sons, and husbands to be at risk. It is uncommon now. Most Americans may know of someone serving in Iraq. Most Americans don't know someone serving in Iraq. This war doesn't hit home because this war doesn't hit home.
This war hits home for me. For eight years, I called the Marine Corps home--at least one weekend a month, and a few weeks a year. A year after my service ended, my unit was called up to fight in Iraq. They all came back save one friend, Gregory MacDonald. I see Greg as a flesh and blood person, and not as a name on a roster of the war dead. When one approaches the names of the 1,657 Americans killed in Iraq from this human standpoint, one's view of this war becomes less narrow. When one approaches the million-plus Americans dead from war from a human rather than a utilitarian standpoint, one's view of war becomes less narrow. It's welcome that war personally impacts fewer and fewer Americans. The downside of this is that people immune from war's costs treat making war in a more flippant manner.
War is serious. War isn't a video game, however much night-vision images on the Fox News Channel make it seem as one. Real people die, even if they're not part of the social circles we travel in. That's worth remembering on Memorial Day, especially if you have no fallen veteran to remember.
Last fall, a crew from Penn & Teller's program on Showtime followed me around Boston for a few hours. The episode that they interviewed me for, entitled "College," airs tonight at 10 p.m. on the pay network. Tune in. Barring any ill-advised edits that leave me on the cutting-room floor, I should appear as a talking-head on the irreverent documentary-style show.
The television show Law & Order depicts a police officer telling colleagues to be on the lookout for "somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt" after a federal judge gets murdered. Politicizing entertainment is nothing new for Law & Order. A few years back, the NBC series suggested that the police set up convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal. A district attorney tells Lennie Briscoe that she can’t talk because she has to attend a fundraiser for Mumia Abu-Jamal. "You mean the Philadelphia cop-killer?" Briscoe responds. "I mean the Philadelphia journalist," she defiantly retorts. "He was framed for the murder, you know." The remainder of the episode provides a general vindication of the views of the supposedly enlightened D.A.
I'll let others complain about prime-time entertainment degenerating into heavy-handed political rants. My gripe with Law & Order is that the manner in which it presents political points makes for bad fiction. Are there many district attorneys who lionize convicted cop killers? Is the first thing that comes to the mind of a homicide detective, "Damn that Tom DeLay"?
What's Law & Order going to do next? Have his fictional detectives wear NARAL buttons next to their badges? I want my TV cops to resembe cops, not aerobics instructors, sociology professors, or Starbucks cashiers. Fiction, too, has limits.
Rather than stepping outside of their own shoes and presenting law enforcement with a degree of reality, writers for Law & Order often depict law enforcement officials as carbon copies of the typical Hollywood writer. This is egotistical, lacking in imagination, and more fantastical than Star Wars. Understanding that cops and D.A.s view the world from a variety of perspectives doesn't negate the reality that cops and prosecutors are more likely to hold a higher opinion of Tom DeLay than Mumia Abu-Jamal. But not the cops and prosecutors you see on NBC every Wednesday night.
Last October's comments are officially closed. Here's your last chance to comment on November's posts, which stand up better over the passage of time than October's. South Park summed up my view of November's presidential options, a jury convicted Scott Peterson of aborting his son, MC Artest had a bad month, and liberals suffered devastating defeats at the ballot box. Posts worth revisiting include my dream of cabinet-level resignations leading to cabinet-department eliminations and reflections upon visiting a blue, blue state. Comment now before it's too late to comment.
Four years since President Bush first nominated Priscilla Owen for a seat on a federal appeals court, the U.S. Senate confirmed the Texas judge for the position.
Why has the vetting of judicial nominees become so political? Because the judiciary has become so political. The Supreme Court now acts as the third house of Congress. The court abolished school prayer by deciding that something within the words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" forbade localities from allowing students to say the Lord's prayer. A decade later, seven Supreme Court justices found in the Constitution a right to privacy, a word that has eluded all other readers of that document. A "right to privacy" was thus interpreted as a right to an abortion, and the court thereby repealed the laws of all fifty states. Just this year the court prohibited states from executing juvenile murderers, deeming a punishment employed in the Founders' time up until our own (save for a brief, court-dictated respite) as unconstitutional.
Democrats can continue to lose elections, but so long as liberals control the courts they can control public policy. This is why Democrats fight so hard to block jurists who will read the Constitution rather than read into the Constitution. The slow realization among Republicans of what the other side has been up to for more than a half century is why the Republicans have begun to fight.
Salon.com led with a feature on my place of employment on Wednesday, calling the Leadership Institute "one of the best investments the conservative movement has ever made." The article can be read here after viewing a brief advertisement.
The Reagan Revolution, the Contract With America, and other conservative advancements are in part attributable to the work of an amorphous entity known as the Conservative Movement. "After Goldwater's defeat, the number of people who would admit to being movement conservatives could all have fit into an average phone booth," Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell told Salon writer Jeff Horwitz. "And among us, we didn't have a dime for a telephone call." Times have changed. Recent setbacks can blind conservatives to longterm gains. Republican leaders no longer implement wage and price controls, support such nonsense as the Equal Rights Amendment, or preach peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union (because it's gone!). The Conservative Movement, of which the Leadership Institute has been an integral part for a quarter century, deserves some credit for these positive developments.
Surprisingly, some on the Left are more than willing to give such credit to the Institute. "Sure, [Blackwell] has trained Karl Rove and Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist and 223 other legislators and members of Congress," Peter Murray of the liberal Center for Progressive Leadership conceded to Horwitz, "but more importantly, he's trained 40,000 other local organizers." Murray continued: "We spent $2 billion trying to win this last election.... [Conservatives] spent 25 years, and nearly $100 million, building the talent pool that won the election. And which will consistently win them elections for the next several decades."
I direct the Institute's Campus Leadership Program, which trains young conservatives to be more effective activists, helps launch conservative student publications, and sends out dozens of field representatives to start and to bolster conservative activist groups on campus. To see what conservatives are up against at the nation's top schools, check out Deep Blue Campuses, the study I conducted through the Leadership Institute. If you ever wondered why the Right needs such a thing as the Leadership Institute, it's because the Left has hundreds of them. They're called Harvard, Duke, Amherst, Stanford, Swarthmore, MIT, Berkeley, Yale...
Why don't parents want to raise their children in San Francisco? I can think of a few reasons. The Associated Press blames the scarcity of children in San Francisco on economics. That's partly true. San Francisco's expensive, even for a big city. But the 800-pound gorilla that the AP dances around is that San Francisco is really gay. The AP concedes this, but injects that "gays and lesbians in the city are increasingly raising families." Maybe so, but the last I checked gay men can't get pregnant (despite the repeated efforts of some), and even Butch lesbians, who though they have mastered an impression of male truck drivers, lack their potency. If Mayor Gavin Newsom can unilaterally repeal ancient laws upholding traditional marriage, perhaps he will next attempt to repeal even older, biological laws determining how babies get made.
Cities don't allow space for large families, aren't affordable, boast high-crime rates, and offer subpar schools. Cities such as San Francisco also house a polluted moral climate. What parents want to raise their children in Gomorrah2K? This is a key reason why the city by the bay ranks last in residents under 18.
The dearth of families in cities has profound political ramifications. Three realities are significant. First: as has been observed elsewhere, American cities make up a "Blue Archipelago." Liberal values reign in cities. Without urban areas, the Democrats wouldn't be a competitive national party. Second: political socialization of most individuals takes place to great degree in childhood. Third: Parents balk at raising their children in the city. Parents who do raise families in an urban setting, for economic and other reasons, trend toward smaller families. All of this is bad news for liberals.
Queen Amidala edged out Chewbacca to advance to the finals, while Princess Leia beat Admiral Akbar. Now mother and daughter face off in the championship round of the intersex, interspecies, intergalactic beauty contest hosted by FlynnFiles. Who is the true royalty of Star Wars: Carrie Fischer or Natalie Portman? Crown the champion in the comments section. Walrus Man will join me live from the Ice Planet Hoth for the coronation ceremony of the true Star Wars Beauty Queen on Thursday. Cast your votes below before the polls close.
Keith Thompson, the youngest delegate for George McGovern at the 1972 Democratic National Convention, has filed for divorce from the movement he served for more than thirty years. "I'm separating not from a person but a cause: the political philosophy that for more than three decades has shaped my character and consciousness, my sense of self and community, even my sense of cosmos," Thompson writes in a widely quoted piece from SFGate.com.
Citing the scorn heaped upon the Iraqi elections by self-styled progressives as the last straw, Thompson's parting from the Left was anything but sudden. He tells an amusing story from a leftist dinner party that coincided with Reagan's frank assessment of the Soviet Union as the source of "evil" in modern times. "When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find 'evil' too strong a word," he explains, "the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation for sport." More than twenty years later, Thompson would finally have it with the Left.
"And welcome, Keith!" reacts Michelle Malkin. "Glad to have you on our side." And what side would that be? Thompson offers a devastating critique of the Left, but reveals nothing that would make one think he is even remotely conservative. Sorry, Keith, but I don't welcome you. You still call yourself a liberal. Good for you for recognizing the excesses of the contemporary Left. But you still have a ways to go.
Parties take all comers. Movements do so at their own peril. Men of the Left, such as James Burnham and Whittaker Chambers, who have rejected their old faith and embraced conservative principles warrant a gracious receipt on the Right. Leftists no longer comfortable around longtime comrades don't become conservatives by virtue of their newfound political homelessness. The admission in some circles of Christopher Hitchenses and Andrew Sullivans as "conservative" spokesmen hasn't moved Christopher Hitchenses and Andrew Sullivans further Right. It's moved the Right toward them. In doing so, the traditional Right has been marginalized. Might it be healthier if liberal expatriates redouble efforts to keep liberals sane rather than attempt to drag the conservatives Left?
I'm reminded of Clyde Wilson's thought on earlier migrations from liberalism to conservatism: "First of all, we have simply been crowded out by overwhelming numbers. The offensives of radicalism have driven vast herds of liberals across the border into our territories. These refugees now speak in our name, but the language they speak is the same one they always spoke."
Twelve Mexicans illegally entering the United States died over the weekend in the Arizona desert. No Americans died trying to get into Mexico. Over several decades, thousands of Cubans have drowned trying to float to Florida. No Floridians have perished making the reverse commute. During the Cold War, dozens of people were shot attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. They all went West. The individual will risk his life to flee socialism. The socialist will risk the lives of individuals to retain socialism. North, south, east, west, nearly all immigrants travel in the same direction: away from socialism.
As if George Lucas needed further proof that the U.S. government represents the Sith, word out of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories is that American scientists are developing the world's most powerful laser, capable of producing 180-million-degree heat (Fahrenheit, as if that matters), with $5 billion from the U.S. government. Of course, we all know what happened the last time the Dark Side attempted to produce such a laser.
Fourteen Senate moderates have reached an agreement that derails the Republicans from changing Senate rules to prevent the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees. The agreement does not prevent Democrats from using the filibuster against judicial nominees. Democrats got the better of the deal.
The Republicans get an up-or-down vote on three of President Bush's stalled appeals court nominees: Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor. Republicans roll over and allow Democrats to continue to block two of Bush's nominees. The Democrats also get the right to filibuster future nominees in "extraordinary" circumstances. What's an "extraordinary" circumstance? Anything a senator defines it to be.
The self-congratulatory tone of the moderate senators in their post-agreement press conferences was off putting. "We have kept the Republic," West Virginian Robert Byrd melodramatically held. "We have lifted ourselves above politics." "What would happen to the Senate if the nuclear option were done?" wondered Virginian John Warner. Nebraskan Ben Nelson maintained the Senate averted a "meltdown." Failure to reach a resolution, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham remaked, risked "putting us at peril in a time of war." This agreement, claimed Louisiana's Mary Landrieu saved the Senate from "perhaps pass[ing] a point of no return."
Since Democrats retain the right to filibuster, and Republicans retain the right to change the Senate rules, the agreement didn't put the issue to rest. It merely put it off for another day. What else is new?
Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff for United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, criticized the United States at a commencement address at Pace University School of Law. Brown told graduates: "This ungainly giant of a nation that has led the world in advancing freedom, democracy and decency, cannot quite accept membership in the global neighborhood association, and the principle of all neighborhoods--that it must abide by others' rules as well as its own." Isn't the principle of all neighborhoods "good fences make good neighbors"? Our neighborhood, the United States, is a republic. Why should we accept rules to govern our own country set by those who don't live here?
George Lucas and friends made a cinematic Mona Lisa in the original Star Wars films. In their three prequels, George Lucas alone took a can of spray paint to his silver-screen masterpiece.
Revenge of the Sith is a solid movie, worth seeing, and better than its two mediocre predecessors. But it's unworthy of the Star Wars trilogy. The dreadful first half of Revenge of the Sith is made up for by a climactic finish that ties together the storyline of episodes one through three while setting up the events of episodes four through six. The film is still uneven. While the grown ups (Palpatine, Obi-Wan) played their roles to perfection, the kids (Padme, Anakin) stumble through awkward dialogue. Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi employed Nazi symbolism to mark the villains. Revenge of the Sith has its tragic villain mouth George W. Bush cliches. The newly christened Darth Vader tells his former master: you are either with me, or you are my enemy. In one breath, Obi-Wan denounces dealing in such absolutes. In another breath, he condemns the Sith as evil. "I'm a relativist. No, I'm an absolutist. Now I'm a relativist again," is the translation from Jedi-speak into English.
Things are never as special the second time around. The return of Star Wars after a lengthy hiatus proves this. May the force be with you.
Boston instituted a ban on Indians within city limits in 1675. Now, 330 years later, the ban is being lifted. But why repeal a law that has been so effective? For my first two decades, I lived in the greater Boston area. In the last decade, I've returned frequently. Not only have Indians never attacked me, but Indians have never attacked other Bostonians I know either. Rather than lift the prohibition, why not extend it to the inhabitants of the Arlington projects, anyone from Chelsea, Somervillians wearing scally caps and/or Adidas sneakers, and men from the North Shore in the 18-29 demographic with tribal-band tattoos, fake tans, and more jewelry than your sister. Unlike laws against murder, car theft, and random battery, this Indian ban seems to be 100 percent effective.
Of course, Boston's arcane Indian law has nothing to do with the paucity of scalpings and abductions of settler children as of late. Even when there were great numbers of Indians in New England, the ban likely had little bearing on the comings and goings of Native Americans. The hostility of locals with knowledge of the Deerfield Massacre, the murder of the exiled Anne Hutchinson, and King Philip's War probably had a greater influence on local tribes' steering clear of Boston.
The absurd example of Boston's long-forgotten Indian ordinance illustrates the frequent disconnect between correlation and causation in legal matters. Laws against suicide, drug use, base jumping, and, until recently, male-on-male sex hardly prove more dissuasive than the natural risks posed by such behavior. In other words, the law acts as a curative to few societal problems. In a free society, government prohibitions often carry slighter punishment than nature's, or society's, prohibitions.
Spammers attack relentlessly. Thus, I accelerate my counterattack. One weapon in my arsenal is to close comments. This is your last chance to comment on October's posts. October, of course, was the glorious month when the Red Sox completed the greatest comeback in sports history and then won the World Series. Marion Barry commandeered my computer, Rodney Dangerfield passed on, and nerds celebrated a huge anniversary. FlynnFiles must-reads from October include my piece on the Randroids and a discussion of the perils of other people planning your life. This is a good opportunity to look back at what was driving debate on the site last year. Comments for October will be closed for good in a few days.
The line began forming early this morning. The people are now restless. They demand an open thread. They begin chanting: "Open thread! Open thread!" Not accomodating their wishes would invite violence. Faced with this certainty, I declare this thread open. Say anything about anything in the comments section below.
"People lost their lives. People are dead," reacted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Newsweek's blunder. "People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do." The president's spokesman observed: "This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged; there is lasting damage to our image because of this report." "It's appalling that this story got out there," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opined. "I do think it's done a lot of harm.... 16 people died.... The sad thing was that there was a lot of anger that got stirred by a story that was not very well founded."
I have returned from the Left Coast intact. I lectured to an overflow crowd of more than 300 at the University of Oregon Tuesday night. The strong turnout is a testament to the laws of supply and demand: demand for conservative ideas at the U of O is met with a heavy supply of left-wing indoctrination. I gave the people what they wanted--well, some of the people.
The Left tore down fliers promoting the lecture. They posted their own fliers, stating: "Why the Right Hates Everyone but Rich White Guys." They defaced existing posters, scribbling out the "America" in "Why the Left Hates America" and replacing it with "the pricks that run the U.S." The magic-marker activists explained why they crossed out "America" in favor of the "U.S.": "America is the entire Western Hemisphere you ethnocentric numbnuts!"
The behavior of anonymous vandals became the behavior of many in attendence. Hearing me say things they disagreed with, audience members heckled--at times yelling incoherently. Thankfully, inappropriate shouts were the worst of it. Several University of Oregon College Republicans have been attacked in recent years. This includes the incoming chairman, who received a mild concussion after crashing a Teresa Heinz-Kerry political rally in Eugene. I escaped the punches to the head that greeted that College Republican, but I could have done without the repeated interruptions too. Several of those yelling during my lecture--I suspected at the time and confirmed afterwards--were U of O professors. That's really lame.
There's a lot of talk at the University of Oregon about diversity. The school's Office of Multicultural Academic Support goes so far as to withhold a majority of spots in certain entry-level math and English courses for minorities. But the diversity preached at the U of O goes only skin deep. Prior to my speech, I examined Federal Election Commission data concerning donations from University of Oregon employees. Twenty-five Oregon professors and administrators donated more than $12,000 to John Kerry in 2004, but not a single employee showed up on the FEC records as donating to George W. Bush's campaign. The school regularly doles out money to host the likes of Michael Moore, Maya Angelou, Howard Dean, and Howard Zinn. In contrast, I was invited by a student group that generated the bulk of its support off-campus through Young America's Foundation.
The diversity pushed at the University of Oregon more closely resembles conformity. And just as those heckling my speech follow the campus herd, the school encouraging their bad behavior follows the herd of universities preaching tolerance but practicing intolerance.
When the president of the United States delivers the commencement address at your school, the appropriate response is gratitude. More than a third of the Calvin College faculty have signed onto a letter to President Bush explaining that they are "deeply troubled that you will be the commencement speaker at Calvin." "I can see that the Bush administration is gaining capital from this appearance," a former Calvin history professor opines, "but I don't see what it does for Calvin." Say what? The president of the United States is getting a bump up from Calvin and not the reverse? It's funny, when convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal gave commencement day addresses via audiotape from death row several years ago, there was no outcry--at least from within the campus communities--comparable to the uproar greeting President Bush.
Twenty-five years ago today, Mount St. Helens erupted. The explosion killed 57 people, flattened 150,000 acres of forest, and boiled fish in surrounding lakes and rivers. A 5.1 earthquake unleashed the eruption, which in turn unleased avalanches, floods, a 300 mile-per-hour wind, 600-degree (F) temperatures, fires, and showers of ash that accumulated an inch-high 60 miles away. The eruption sent 540 million tons of ash as high as 16 miles into the sky. Eventually, the ash would circle the globe. The peak of St. Helens itself, dubbed Fire Mountain by local Indians, shrank from 9,677 feet to 8,363 feet. A green forest transformed into a lunar landscape. The surface of May 17, 1980 Spirit Lake sits well below the bottom of May 18, 2005 Spirit Lake. Nature is resilient, and within a few years shrubs and wildlife began to return. A logging company, Weyerhaeuser, has reforested nearly half the acreage of downed trees. There have been fish in Spirit Lake for more than a decade. Alas, Mount St. Helens is still active and someday (days? years? centuries? millennia from now?) will wipe it all out again.
The Second Amendment Foundation is calling for a five-day waiting period on journalists before they exercise their First Amendment rights. Noting that Newsweek's false report on U.S. interrogators desecrating the Koran resulted in more deaths than the actions of the Beltway snipers or University of Texas Tower killer Charles Whitman, the group insists it is only fair that Newsweek and other press organs that regularly demand five-day waiting periods on a citizen's Second Amendment rights should endure five days of FBI vetting of their stories before publication.
"The conservative movement has passed into history," believes Pat Buchanan. Has it?
A University of Oregon professor labels surveys showing liberal dominance in higher education as "problematic," marred by "amateurish research," and conducted by conservatives with "suspect agendas." Nevertheless, history professor Matthew Dennis argues in The Eugene Register-Guard that liberal control of higher education shouldn't bother fairminded people, since liberals are so fairminded themselves. But isn't this defense of liberal faculty-lounge monopoly a tacit concession that such "amateurish" studies are correct?
Dr. Dennis makes a number of general assertions unsupported by anything save opinion. Perhaps unaware of the recent assaults upon Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol, Ann Coulter, Richard Perle, and David Horowitz, or the calls by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences to fire school president Lawrence Summers for weighing unpopular theories, Dennis contends: "There is no place where more open discussions of facts and ideas occur than on university campuses." Hopefully, events butress Dennis's belief at my 8 p.m. lecture tonight at his school in Lillis 211. Thus far, activists have torn down and defaced fliers promoting the event, not providing me with much confidence in the historian's contention of campus tolerance. The Oregon professor claims that he and other professors "come by our conclusions honestly and seek to open, not close, minds" and "in academic hiring and promotion there are no political tests."
If there are no political tests, what explains the overwhelming Democrat-Republican ratio among academics? Deep Blue Campuses, the study I authored through the Campus Leadership Program, shows that employee donations swung for John Kerry over George W. Bush 25-1 at Harvard, 29-1 at Carnegie Mellon, 32-1 at Penn, and 302-1 at Princeton. Is it just a huge coincidence that 25 of 25 schools I examined went overwhelmingly for Kerry? At the University of Oregon, where Matthew Dennis teaches, the ratio is infinity. Scouring Federal Election Commission data through PoliticalMoneyLine, I found not a single donation of $200 or more to Bush while I came across 25 donations of $200 or more for Kerry totalling $12,300. If the situation were reversed, would Professor Dennis still maintain his illusion that conformity is consistent with objectivity?
Revealing an unsurprising lack of objectivity about his own profession, the academic continues his look through rose-colored glasses at himself and his peers: "We probe all sorts of claims and dogmas to test them, to determine if they conform to known facts, and to see where they've taken us historically, whether they come from the right, left or the center. Indeed, professors constantly question each others' arguments and conclusions not just to be difficult, but to seek better understanding of the world and better solutions to problems we all face."
Then what explains Michael Bellesiles's fraudulent book, Arming America, winning the prestigious Bancroft Prize? The popularity of I, Rigoberta Menchu as a required text years after its total discrediting? The continued reliance on Alfred Kinsey as a scientific authority on sex? Or one survey's findings that Noam Chomsky, the man who denied the Cambodian genocide and advanced the idea of Cubans enjoying a higher standard of living than Americans, is the most cited living academic?
Blaming the surrounding culture, Dennis holds that societally-bred "cynicism" results in students mistaking sound positions for liberal bias. He writes: "In the classroom, then, students hear forthright conclusions and sometimes misinterpret them as partisan or biased." Maybe this is because the conclusions, like those of Professor Dennis, are often "partisan or biased."
Newsweek retracted its claims of Koran desecration by American interrogators. Too bad they can't retract the riots and deaths that ensued. Newsweek acted recklessly. But not as recklessley as the Muslim rioters. Ideas have consequences. So do actions. Newsweek's scribes deserve our scorn. But their words didn't kill the riot victims. Muslims did.
At least nobody died because of Rathergate.
Newsweek's story that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba flushed a Koran down a toilet and employed other means to desecrate the Muslim holy book ignited riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan. At least 17 people have been killed. The inflammatory article was groundless.
Amazingly, no source confirmed the rumors that Newsweek reported as fact. This morning, Don Imus asked Newsweek's Howard Fineman, "He [a Pentagon official] didn't confirm it or didn't deny it or anything, right?" Fineman responded: "Well, he didn't deny it." At this point, a befuddled Imus retorted: "He didn't confirm it either." "Well you know, there [are] all kinds of ways this works," responded Fineman. What ways might those be, ESP? Newsweek's anonymous source provided a "no comment," which Newsweek interpreted as confirmation of the rumors.
Having learned nothing from Rathergate, Newsweek has retreated into Dan Rather's bunker. Conceding that the offending piece got the facts wrong, Newsweek's editor Mark Whittaker proclaims: "We're not retracting anything." Is this "fake, but accurate" all over again?
A headline in Great Britain's Telegraph reads: "Revealed: How an Abortion Puts the Next Baby at Risk." With this expose in mind, I advance my own FlynnFiles exclusive: "Revealed: How Abortion Puts the Current Baby at Risk." By my calculations, the risk is roughly 100 percent.
Based on the conclusions of a French study, the Telegraph reports that "mothers who had previously had an abortion were 1.7 times more likely to give birth to a baby at less than 28 weeks' gestation." Abortion can damage the cervix, the study's primary author contends, which increases the chance of premature births for subsequent deliveries. That's science's take. I offer my own compelling theory: Babies ain't fools. The womb isn't a safe place, at least the wombs we're talking about. So, with this knowledge in mind, the unborn child makes a jailbreak from the space that had previously served as an execution chamber. Premature birth is risky, the unborn child reasons, but as risky as a vacuum? A saline needle? Scissors to the base of the skull? Weighing the odds, the child makes a mad push for freedom. If babies could talk, I'm sure they would confirm my theory and dispel all of this scientific mumbo-jumbo about cervixes and such.
It is said that when the California and Oregon Trails intersected at Pacific Springs, the directions to California consisted of some gold colored rocks underneath an arrow; the directions to Oregon simply said, "To Oregon." The presumption was that migrants to Oregon could read.
I blog from Oregon, home to Powell's, Mecca of used bookstores. I visited Powell's City of Books on Friday, leaving the four-story book palace with five titles. Highlights from the purchase include a good-as-new It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States for $17 and A History of American Socialisms, which retails for $125 on Amazon, for $10. This last title was the work of John Humphrey Noyes, a practitioner of both economic and sexual communism. The man was the Wilt Chamberlain of his time, and not in a basketball sense. Vermont kicked him out and Yale University banned him from campus. But Noyes, who styled himself as the 19th-century Jesus Christ, and his followers, who trailed blindly, found a home in Oneida, New York and launched a commune. Portland itself is quite eclectic, though not as much as Noyes's Oneida. Home of the homeless, the city also enlists armies of women to sport tattoos, granny glasses, multiple piercings, and Betty-Page haircuts. I'm not sure if the look is truly compulsory, but its popularity makes it seem so. Unlike many Western cities, an automobile is not required. Independent businesses abound. In the distance is Mount Hood. Like Oregon, the city has its own style and I like it.
Today I visited the Smith Family Bookstore in Eugene, picking up four books, including the $4 The Social Psychology of Social Movements by Hans Toch. Unlike the sterile Powell's, which resembles a giant Borders that sells used books, the Smith Family Bookstore has a more traditional, disorganized, used-bookstore feel. The stacks overflow with titles that may or may not have been stocked on the appropriate shelves. Eugene's a college town, so its used bookstore's selection reflects the (bad) tastes of the professors who impose them on their students. If Portland attracts punks over hippies, Eugene attracts hippies over punks. At least neither is an identyless collection of TGI Fridays, Wal-Marts, and Burger Kings.
Just like Ted Nugent said, "It's a free for all." The readership awaits your interesting observations and commentary.
The Minutemen upstaged the Border Patrol by performing their duties more effectively (and for a lot cheaper). Now the government's Border Patrol seeks to slap back at the citizens' border patrol. More than a dozen Border Patrol agents told the Washington Times that their bosses ordered them to suppress the number of illegal immigrants they arrest along the stretch of land monitored last month by The Minutemen. An uptick in arrests, observers theorize, would strengthen the perception of the success of last month's volunteer effort. "It was clear to everyone what was being said and why," an agent told the Washington Times. "The apprehensions were not to increase after the Minutemen volunteers left. It was as simple as that."
I announce the launch of the FlynnFiles book club. The club consists of the FlynnFiles community reading a book and then participating in an online book discussion. The inaugural title is F.A. Hayek's The Fatal Conceit. Please order the book through the link provided and read it prior to late June. At that time, I will in multiple posts highlight a few key themes on Hayek's final book and open it up for reader debate and comment. Discussing a book with other intelligent people is a good way to gain a better understanding of a book. Participation in the book club means ordering the same edition of The Fatal Conceit as the other participants, reading the book in full, and participating in the discussion. With these three requirements in mind, who's in?
As George W. Bush acknowledged earlier this week, World War II didn't turn out so well for the people of Eastern Europe. Does that mean it wasn't worth fighting?
This is the provocative question Pat Buchanan raises, at least when it comes to Britain and France, in a new column that echoes themes laid out in his book A Republic, Not an Empire (buy it here). For Americans, the debate over going to war in 1941 is moot. The decision, after all, was made for us. First at Pearl Harbor and a few days later in Berlin, when Hitler declared war on the United States. But a different situation confronted France and Britain, and it is upon these two nations that Buchanan's argument fixates.
Buchanan makes a few strong points. Chief amongst them is that it's hypocrisy to praise Churchill while condemning Chamberlain because they both signed away Eastern Europe--one at Munich the other at Yalta--to tyrants. The only difference is that Churchill signed away a larger chunk of real estate. But this, his strongest argument, is also his undoing. Buchanan, here, seems guilty of the same hypocrisy he ably points out in Churchill sycophants. To write an article questioning the wisdom of Britain and France launching a war on Nazism for absorbing eastern lebensraum, amidst a discussion about how awful it was to let Stalin have Eastern Europe, misses something that's rather glaring.
Elsewhere, there is a petty one-upsmanship regarding the bodycount of various socialist tyrants. "Where Hitler killed his millions," Buchanan writes, "Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Castro murdered their tens of millions." When a dictator gets into the seven digits, is it really all that constructive to turn moral questions into mathematical ones?
The enemy in World War II was straight from central casting. It is for this that it's called "the good war." Our friends, on the other hand, proved far more problemmatic. Because teaming with Stalin necessarily calls into question the traditional black-and-white presentation of the war, discussions of our Red allies provoke a changing of the subject in a hurry. Bush, and Buchanan, are right for calling attention to this. But in the case of the latter, couldn't he have made his point more effectively had he held National Socialists and Soviet Socialists to the same standard?
I speak tonight at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. The Carleton Conservative Union hosts the speech. Carleton, of course, was where Paul Wellstone taught political science prior to putting his classroom know-how to work on the campaign trail. The lecture takes place at 7 p.m. in Boliou Hall. On Tuesday, May 17, I'll be giving a talk at the University of Oregon in Eugene. My hosts are the College Republicans. That lecture takes place at 8 p.m. in Lillis 211. The subject of both talks is Why the Left Hates America. Both events are free, open to the public, and sponsored by Young America's Foundation. If you're a FlynnFiles reader who lives near Northfield, Minnesota or Eugene, Oregon, come out to show your support (I'll need it) and be sure to introduce yourself.
The Pew Research Center for the Policy and the Press has a new political typology survey called Beyond Red vs. Blue. After seeing it linked on MichelleMalkin.com, I took the survey and discovered that I, like Malkin, am an Enterpriser. Enterpriser--I like the sound of it. Take the survey and tell the readership how the survey classified you.
Is conservatism dead? No, it's just been lulled into a sleep by the ballot-box success of Republicans. Surely conservatism's prospects are directly connected to electoral outcomes for the Grand Old Party? The truth is they aren't. The experience of the last four years proves this. The No Child Left Behind Act, the gargantuan prescription-drug giveaway, nation-building experiments, McCain-Feingold chipping away at the First Amendment, a nationally-mandated ID card linked to a federal database, a federal takeover of airport security, the bailout of mismanaged airlines, a push for amnesty for illegal aliens, billions for the global AIDS fight, tsunami relief, a mission to Mars, etc. In other words, the government is more powerful and you are less free.
But don't fret, conservatives (and Republicans) are waking up. The Senate making a stand for conservative judges, citizens patrolling the Southern border, and the president threatening to wield his veto pen all are signs of life. Conservatism isn't dead. It's just been sleeping--and repeatedly hitting the snooze button for the last four years. And if conservatives don't rise from their slumber soon enough, they'll certainly leap out of bed when Democrats win back the White House.
"Real conservatism is dead in Britain," concludes John Derbyshire after the Conservatives garnered just a third of the vote in last week's elections. "Is it any better off here in the USA? Hardly." Derbyshire cites six fundamentals traditionally associated with conservatism that John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge lay out in The Right Nation: suspicion of the power of the state, favoring liberty over equality, patriotism, deference to institutions and hierarchies, lack of faith in progress, and elitism. Derbyshire finds Bush wanting in the first three principles. He doesn't explore the last three, but it's hard to make the case that the president would score better here. By embracing a Hegelian understanding of progress (without knowing Hegel from Bagel), Bush discards that esteemed warning of all conservatives: "Don't Immanentize the Eschaton." "We think of our president as a conservative," Derbyshire notes, "but in what respects can he be said to have advanced conservatism?" Good question.
The Rolling Stones played a surprise set in New York City today to announce the launch of a U.S. tour in August. The tour will support a new, untitled Stones album, their first full-length release of original material in eight years. Mick Jagger insists the new CD is "eighty-five percent done." The tour kicks off at Fenway Park (hosting its second rock act after Springsteen), and will visit five other major-league fields and a multitude of other venues, including the massive Giants Stadium. Mick Jaggar revealed that the Stones "might dig into the catalog" during the tour. So outside of the standard numbers--"Start Me Up," "Jumpin Jack Flash," "Gimme Shelter," etc.--which songs from the deepest recesses of the Stones catalog should the band "dig into"? Stones fans speak.
Had Senate Democrats not "borked" Robert Bork in 1988, or Clement Haynesworth and Harold Carswell in 1970, we would live in a very different country. Anthony Kennedy replaced the defeated Bork, and as of late has looked to international law for guidance in interpreting the U.S. Constitution. After Nixon's nominees Haynesworth and Carswell failed to gain Senate approval, the 37th president nominated Harry Blackmun, who subsequently authored the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.
The stakes are so high in the current battle over the president's judicial nominees because the Supreme Court has set itself up as a shadow legislature. By whim, five judges have (usurped) the power to repeal the laws of all fifty states, overturn traditions dating back thousands of years, and make null and void Constitutional laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. Placing judges on the court who reject this activism for the interpretation of law is of great importance for the republic to function as a republic.
The current battle over appeals court nominees is merely the dress rehearsal for the larger fight that will begin this fall over nominees to the Supreme Court. This is why Rush Limbaugh went ballistic on senators seeking to compromise with their obstructionist colleagues. This explains the popularity of Mark Levin's Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America (buy it here). This is also why nearly every Senate Republican stands committed--through the 'nuclear option' if necessary--to combatting the rule-or-ruin conduct of the Senate Democrats who block conservative judges by filibuster. Conservatives, and mainline Republicans, have begun to wake up regarding the importance of the judiciary. It's too bad the alarm went off several decades after liberals recognized this. But better late than never. After caving on No Child Left Behind, the prescription-drug giveaway, and a host of other big-government schemes, conservatives have finally decided to make a stand--and a stand on the right issue too.
Amid a few bad weeks in Iraq, there is good news: Americans launched an offensive on insurgents along a smuggling route near the Iraq-Syria border. The good guys took out more than 100 bad guys, who no longer have the ability to implode car bombs outside mosques, assassinate elected leaders, behead civilians, or detonate roadside explosive devices that maim and kill Americans.
Maxboxing.com reader reaction says it all: "one of the best ever," "so incredible it's hard to describe in words," "fight defies all description," "my dad and I were jumping around and yelling like maniacs."
Apparently, I'm not the only one calling the Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo free-for-all "The Greatest Boxing Match I Have Ever Seen." Steve Kim's headline echoed mine: "The Greatest Fight I've Ever Seen." "The action was almost too savage to be acceptable in modern civilized society," Kim, who saw the fight live, held. ESPN.com's Dan Raphael labeled Corrales-Castillo "clearly the fight of the year and of the decade.... one of the greatest ever, right up there with Ali-Frazier III, Pryor-Arguello I, Hagler-Hearns, Leonard-Hearns I, the Zale-Graziano, Bowe-Holyfield, Gatti-Ward and Morales-Barrera trilogies." Doug Fischer, whose readers' reactions appear above, called it "the best slugfest I've ever witnessed live." "All the nobility, all the savagery, and all the brutality of boxing was captured in one three-minute round Saturday night," the Boston Globe's Ron Borges observed. It's all true and more. If you want to see what all the commotion is about, then find a way to be in front of a television that has access to Showtime this Friday night at 11 p.m., as the network will replay Corrales-Castillo.
At its worst, boxing is bad: shady promoters and crooked decisions, clutch-and-grab fests, mismatches, and an alphabet soup of champions. At its best, boxing is the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the NCAA tournament all rolled into one. Anyone wanting to test the rectitude of this assertion should tune into Showtime this Friday at 11 p.m.
Politics makes strange bedfellows. Wars make even stranger ones. Today, George Bush sat in Red Square with Vladimir Putin and various world leaders to celebrate the victory over Nazism. The White House website promotes Bush's trip under a banner stating "Celebrating Freedom and Democracy." In reference to World War II, we can make that boast. Can the nation Bush celebrates in today do the same?
The Soviet Union sacrificed millions of men to defeat the Nazis, but not a single one to liberate Europe. While we went home after the war, the Soviet Union didn't. They used the war to incorporate Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into the Soviet Union, to install puppet regimes by bayonet point in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and points beyond, and to make unsuccessful attempts to take over Finland, Greece, and other sovereign nations. Had Hitler not turned on his erstwhile ally Stalin in Operation Barbarossa--who knows?--a bunch of cartoonish fanatics in military garb might be celebrating victory with the Russians today. The people of Eastern Europe traded one oppressor for another. Did it matter all that much to them that one bore a swastika insignia while the other bore a sickle and hammer? In times of war, it's often necessary to align with unsavory individuals to defeat a common enemy. Recognizing this doesn't compel us to forget just what it meant when the U.S. and Britain liberated a nation from the Nazis, and what it meant when the Soviet Union "liberated" a nation from the Nazis.
Is Tyrone Biggums a character Dave Chappelle plays off camera too? "It's called crack, and it's great," Biggums explains on Chappelle's Show. "All you need is cocaine, baking soda and I think I tasted egg and cinnamon." A piece in Newsweek euphemistically blames "partying" for the delays for the third season of Chappelle's Show. The article then reports that Chappelle's publicist "denies that his client has a drug problem." Cocaine is a helluva drug.
It's been more than a year since Comedy Central aired an original episode of Chappelle's Show, and the season three premiere is not happening anytime soon. Oh well, we still have our memories. Speaking of which, I'm having trouble deciding the best Chappelle skit. My three favorites focus on music: Chappelle singing R. Kelly, Prince and the Revolution taking Charlie Murphy to school in basketball, and, of course, Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories featuring Rick James. So which Chappelle skit towers above all others?
The Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo fight on Showtime Saturday night is the single greatest fight I have ever witnessed in more than twenty years of watching boxing. The entire fight could have been fought within a phone booth. Corrales and Castillo traded blows for ten rounds. Both fighters now appear as if wearing Halloween masks. It was brutal. The action was non-stop. The fight was truly incredible. Joe Goosen, Corrales's trainer, had it right when he observed: "These two should never fight each other again. It's too much."
As round ten began, I proclaimed it the greatest fight I had ever witnessed. Round ten proved to be the greatest round I have ever witnessed. The frame's drama stands unmatched. Castillo sent Coralles to the canvass 27 seconds into the round. Corrales spit his mouthpiece out to gain time. In 27 more seconds into the round, Castillo again sent Corrales to the floor. Again, Corrales spit his mouthpiece out. Tony Weeks, who refereed the fight to perfection, deducted an additional point from Corrales. Coming into the round, the fight seemed close to even. With Castillo looking good to win a 10-6 round with two knockdowns and a point-deduction for his opponent, a decision seemed out of the question for Corrales.
Joe Goosen, Corrales's trainer, grasped this. As he delayed in reinserting the discarded mouthpiece, Goosen forcefully issued the most effective corner advice delivered in some time: "You gotta f---in' get inside on him now!" Corrales took the advice. After tasting the mat twice in one round, Corrales went to work. He brutally let loose a fury of unanswered punches, leaving Castillo out on his feet against the ropes. Referee Weeks correctly called a stop to the action at 2:06 into round 10. It stands with Ward-Gatti I as the greatest fight in recent memory. If you miss the replay, or forgo seeing Corrales's future fights, you are not a sports fan.
Before the fight, Diego Corrales announced that he would "go through hell to beat Castillo." He would and he did. Unbelievable.
A political party is not a church. Subtracting numbers for purity leaves you on the outside looking in. A church is not a political party. Subtracting purity for numbers leaves you on the outside looking in.
An Associated Press article intimates that Father Thomas J. Reese's decision to resign as editor of the liberal Catholic publication America came as the result of Vatican pressure. The piece notes that during Reese's recent trip to Rome a superior had "mentioned there had been complaints about a couple of articles." It doesn't offer any proof that Rome forced Reese to depart, although the entire tone of the article suggests it.
The famous Cardinal Ratzinger t-shirt explains, "Putting the Smackdown on Heresy Since 1981." While the pope's friends and foes benefit from laying Reese's resignation at his feet, there is no evidence suggesting that he compelled the liberal Jesuit scribe to leave the magazine America. Reese himself, in his resignation letter, makes no such charge. The fact that his successor, Father Drew Christiansen, shares Reese's left-wing views makes it unlikely that any such Rome-engineered coup occured.
But what if it did? Does not every church have the right to lay out its beliefs and have those beliefs accepted or rejected? If Thomas Reese wishes to start his own religion with women priests, divorce, homosexual marriage, and a clergy of the laity, he's entitled. He's not entitled to glom on to a two-thousand-year-old religion and hijack it for his own ends.
There's already a number of religions preaching the gospel according to liberals. Rather than join those sects, liberal anti-Catholics focus their energies on shutting down the religion that so offends them. Just as Unitarians have the right to remove believers in God from their pulpits, Catholics have the right to choose their own spokesmen based on their own beliefs.
After one year of FlynnFiles, this much I know: bloggin' ain't easy--which is why I'm turning my site over to you, the reader, for just one day as the anniversary celebration continues. It's open-thread Friday. Get creative. Say it loud and say it proud in the comments section below. "It" is anything you want it to be.
David Hackworth, the decorated Vietnam veteran who outraged superiors by coming out against the war, has died. Hackworth's career in the military spanned from the tail end of World War II to the Vietnam War. In disgust, he emigrated to Australia following his Vietnam service and gave away his many, many medals (eight Purple Hearts, 10 Silver Stars) to a platoon of 12-year-old children. After more than a decade in exile raising ducks and making a successful go in the restaurant business, Hackworth returned to the United States to write extensively on military affairs. His greatest success after turning in his rifle for a pen was his blockbuster autobiography, About Face (buy it here). Hackworth leaves behind a wife, children, and legions of admirers.
Larry Franklin, who worked in the Pentagon under Douglas Feith, has been arrested by the FBI for disclosing classified material. The FBI alleges that Franklin turned over a classified presidential directive on the Middle East, as well as other sensitive material, to employees of the American Israel Political Action Committee. A search of Franklin's home in West Virginia revealed his possession of more than 83 classified documents. The allegations are disturbing, but not as disturbing as Larry Franklin's continued employment at the Pentagon after he partook in secret meetings with an Iranian arms dealer against U.S. policy. If Larry Franklin had been fired when his superiors found out about his attempt to conduct his own alternative foreign policy, he would not have been in a position to handle our nation's most sensitive information.
Marathon Pundit has been all over the ongoing case of Thomas Klocek, an adjunct professor at DePaul University who was suspended earlier this school year after taking issue with the rhetoric of members of the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine. The instructor objected to members of the group comparing present-day Israel with Hitler's Germany, and engaged them in a heated conversation about their inflammatory charge at their on-campus promotional table. For this, the school suspended him. The school administration holds that Klocek's suspension "is not a case of academic freedom, but a situation of inappropriate behavior outside the classroom by a university employee." But since the "inappropriate behavior" starts and ends with the political speech of a fourteen-year school employee, why wouldn't this be a violation of academic freedom?
Until now, I have refrained from commenting upon Jason, the 320-pound drama queen from Making the Band 3. I can hold my silence no longer. Jason is easily the most entertaining reality television star since Daniel Baldwin, whose coked-out moments on Celebrity Fit Club guaranteed him induction into the Reality Television Hall of Fame. If you don't know Jason, he terrorized more than a dozen girl-group wannabes for several episodes of Making the Band 3--waking them at 3 a.m. to clean the house, forcing them to throw away all the bread in the kitchen, and randomly insulting their fragile egos. His firing by P.Diddy's henchmen may not have been as entertaining as P.Diddy ordering Making the Band 2's cast to fetch him cheesecake, but it came close. Though temporarily satifying, Diddy's termination of the hefty house mother removed the most entertaining aspect of his show. Diddy just didn't get Jason. To quote Jason on Jason: "I'm sorry! I can't be anybody but Jason."
John Hawkins at RightWingNews polled bloggers on their favorite columnists. Mark Steyn won, followed by Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, Victor Davis Hanson, and Thomas Sowell. I didn't participate in Hawkins's survey because I don't read too many columns these days. With the net allowing unlimited space, and blogs constricting writing to a few short lines, is the 750-word op-ed piece a thing of the past? Not yet, but its relevance is waning. Op-ed writers I've enjoyed reading over the years include John Leo, Joe Sobran, Thomas Sowell, Nat Hentoff, Don Feder, and Paul Krugman. Okay, so I'm joking on that last one. Who's your favorite columnist?
More Americans believe going to war in Iraq was a mistake than believe it wasn't, according to a new USA Today poll. Public opinion of the war has soured, with just 41 percent of Americans holding that going to war was "worth it" and 57 percent maintaining it was "not worth it." When U.S. troops overthrew the Bathist regime, three in four Americans held that the war was "worth it."
Congratulations to Greg LaVoy of Kalamazoo College for winning Young America's Foundation's "Exposing Intellectual Morons Essay Contest." Greg chose to write on Noam Chomsky of all the intellectual morons discussed in my book by the same name. You can read his winning essay here. Among other prizes, Greg pocketed $2,500 and a won a trip to the Reagan Ranch.
Employees at each of U.S. News and World Report's top twenty-five national universities overwhelmingly favored John Kerry over George W. Bush in the 2004 election cycle. Giving ratios of employees at selected schools totaled 9-1 at Duke, 20-1 at Yale, 43-1 at MIT, 302-1 at Princeton, and infinity at Dartmouth, where not a single employee appeared on Federal Election Commission reports as donating to the Bush campaign. I've just completed a major study called Deep Blue Campuses (read it here) for the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. On campus, the talk is diversity. The reality is conformity.
Did you miss that part in the Constitution that authorizes the federal government to dictate laws on state driver's licenses? Yeah, me too. The Real ID Act would in effect establish a national identity card. Forgive my hyperbole, but it feels as if I've emigrated to Bulgaria without even moving.
What are the drawbacks to the plan? If your state refuses to abide by Congress's rules, you won't be allowed to board a commercial airplane using your driver's license. The bill institutes a national database on driving records and other information that is none of the federal government's, or another state's, business. Compliance with the intrusive law would mean the disappearance of sensible ideas saving you time and money, such as the "lifetime license" in Massachusetts. One provision calls for the refusal "to issue a driver's license or identification card to a person holding a driver's license issued by another State without confirmation that the person is terminating or has terminated the driver's license." If bureaucrats never made errors, such a provision might not inconvenience your life. Since they do make errors, this bill increases the probability that you'll experience an even greater hassle in your trips to the department of motor vehicles--where bureaucrats are known to make many errors.
Ostensibly, the bill aims to curb illegal immigration and enhance national security. The legislative and executive branches, which have abdicated their responsibility to secure our nation's borders, attempt through this bill to get the states to do what they themselves are unwilling to do. Real efforts to secure our nation's borders inconvenience illegal immigrants, not U.S. citizens.
I speak at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst tonight at 7 p.m. in room 163-C of the Campus Center. The speech will be on the themes addressed in Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas. A book signing will follow. On May 12, I speak at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and five days later I speak at the University of Oregon in Eugene. More information on times and room locations to follow. FlynnFiles readers in the areas of the lectures are encouraged to attend. All events are free, open to the public, and sponsored by Young America's Foundation.
The number of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq rose sharply in April after two months of declines. Fifty-one Americans died in Iraq during April, with terrorist attacks escalating in the last few days. These are the unfortunate costs of nation-building in a place that is not a nation, but a geographic construct put together by colonial meddlers many decades ago. It's two years and a day since President Bush made his "mission accomplished" speech atop an aircraft carrier. If we accomplished the mission, then what are we still doing in Iraq?
I caught two science-fiction movies this weekend: one great, one average. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (buy the Douglas Adams book here) is mildly entertaining, a poor man's Time Bandits. I feel as though I would have enjoyed the film more had I ingested a large quantity of hallucinogens upon entering the theater. In it a character called "the president" appears like our president, or at least like a caricature of our president done by Will Ferrell. The depiction is not subtle. On DVD I watched I, Robot (buy the Isaac Asimov book here), which turned out to be one of the best movies I've seen in a while. I, Robot explores the dangers of paternalism, conventional assumptions, and logic devoid of human insight. Plus, Will Smith beats up a lot of robots and leads them on a Steve McQueen-type car chase. It's entertaining and smart.
Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams, the men who authored the books that served as the basis for both films, are gods among nerds. Though I am no nerd (Can a nerd bench 300? Didn't think so, nerd.), I've come to appreciate science fiction of late. Asimov penned episodes of two old-time radio programs I own on MP3 discs, Dimension X and X-Minus One. Did you know he has an asteroid named after him? Adams could be the coolest nerd ever to walk the planet. He worked as a writer on Monty Python's Flying Circus, penned numerous Dr. Who episodes, and once played live with Pink Floyd--even picking the name of their post-Roger Waters effort, The Division Bell. The man climbed Mount Kilimanjaro dressed as a rhinoceros. Both writers are gone now. They have left a rich legacy.
Jonathan Bean, a professor of history at Southern Illinois University, is on the hot seat for listing an article from Frontpagemag.com as an optional reading in his class. The article details the story of the Zebra killings, in which a group of racist blacks slayed random white people in the early 1970s. Several of Professor Bean's colleagues took to the student newspaper to denounce him in a letter and an advertisement. The dean of the SIU College of Liberal Arts cancelled Bean's discussion sessions, instructed his teaching assistants that they needn't continue assisting him, and sent a letter reprimanding the professor for not understanding the "parameters of discussion." "I had two direct ancestors hung as witches at Salem," Bean told SIU's student paper. "I don't plan to be the third."
The academics trying to muffle Professor Bean have instead handed him a megaphone. They certainly have piqued interest in the decades-old murder case. And why not? Estimates range from fourteen to seventy-one lives taken in the racially-motivated murders, and we're not supposed to talk about them?
The Zebra Killings terrorized the Bay Area in the mid-1970s. James Lubinskas, the controversial author of the offending article, described the grisly nature of the crimes: "Vincent Wollin was shot in the back and killed on his 69th birthday. Mildred Hosler, an obese, older woman was shot while frantically trying to get away from her younger, faster attacker. Ilario Bertucci, a 135-pound, 81-year-old man, was killed while walking home from work. Marietta DiGirolamo, a 5’1" white woman was shot and killed on her way to a neighborhood bar. In none of these cases did the victims do anything to provoke the murderers. They simply had white skin and were in the wrong place at the wrong time."
When descriptions of the murderers surfaced, and it became clear that young black men were targeting whites, the San Francisco Police Department began interrogating black men that fit the profile. The SFPD's use of racial profiling ran afoul of the California's courts, and the police were ordered to cease and desist. Another police tactic, a $30,000 reward, proved more successful. A man working for a group called Black Self Help Moving and Storage, Anthony Harris, turned in his co-workers for the reward. Several of the murderers turned out to be Nation of Islam members who believed that killing white people would ensure them a spot in heaven. The group called themselves the Death Angels and devised a game that awarded points for killing whites. Ultimately, four men were convicted of murder in the Zebra Killing case, and are now serving life sentences.
If villains and victims switched places (i.e., races), would talking about this case cause such a fuss?