27 / September
27 / September
Smoking Is Healthier Than Fascism

The Democrats know best. They value you your health and welfare more than you do. They know better than the voters in your community what the local laws on smoking should be. They know better than a bar owner what the rules of his establishment should be even though they've never stepped foot inside. They are that wise. At least this is what they want you to believe. The reality is they are on a massive power trip. They like telling people what to do.

Six of the eight presidential aspirants on the Democratic side told Tim Russert Wednesday night that they support a national ban on smoking in public places, which include privately-owned entities such as arenas, restaurants, and bars. Only Senators Clinton and Obama refrained from offering support to such an intrusive measure--for now. Senator Clinton affixed her favorite three words "at this point" to her statement opposing to a national smoking ban. Senator Obama, who actually seemed like a real person when spotted with a cigarette in flagrante delicto, explained in the New Hampshire presidential debate that he would like to see the progress that localities make in banning smoking before supporting a nationwide law. So oblivious to his own anti-smoking logic was Dennis Kucinich that, during the very next question about lowering the drinking age to eighteen, Kucinich supported the idea and admonished his debators: "We have to have confidence in young Americans."

How about trust in all Americans? Smoking is healthier than fascism.

Week Four: Are You Ready for Some Football?

Give props to Homer J. Fong, who won week three with a 10-5-1 record. DocMcG, Wayne Gro, and myself survived in the survivor pool. All picks are against the spread. Home teams are in caps. Here are my selections: DOLPHINS -4 over Raiders, Texans -3 over FALCONS, BROWNS +4.5 over Ravens, Bears -3 over LIONS, Packers -1.5 over VIKINGS, Rams +13 over COWBOYS, BILLS +3.5 over Jets, PANTHERS -3 over Bucs, Seahawks -2 over NINERS, Steelers -6 over CARDS, CHARGERS -12 over Chiefs, COLTS -9.5 over Broncos, Eagles -2.5 over GIANTS, and, on Monday Night Football, Patriots -7.5 over BENGALS. Make your picks in the comments section.


26 / September
26 / September
Worth Repeating #73

"With the notable exception of her husband's libidinous carelessness, the most egregious errors, strategic and tactical, of the Bill Clinton presidency, particularly in its infancy, were traceable to Hillary--not just her botched handling of their health care agenda, or the ethical cloud hovering like a pall over their administration, but so many of the stumbles and falls responsible for sweeping in the Congress led by Newt Gingrich in 1994 and ending the ambitious phase of their presidency, as well as what had seemed almost a permanent Democratic congressional majority, in place with irregular interruptions since FDR. The inept staffing of the White House, the disastrous serial search for an attorney general, the Travel Office fiasco, the Whitewater land deal, the so-called scandal over her commodities trading, the alienation of key senators and congressmen--all this can be traced in large measure to Hillary."
--Carl Bernstein, A Woman in Charge, 2007

25 / September
25 / September
We're All Gonna Freeze! No, Actually, We're All Gonna Burn!

Next to Al Gore, NASA's James Hansen may be the most oft-quoted proponent of the theory of man-made global warming. But thirty-five years ago, this celebrity scientist apparently touted another theory: a human-generated ice age.

The Septuagenarian Who Cried Wolf

In conjunction with the publicity campaign for Norman Podhoretz's latest book, "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism," (Why didn't anyone tell me about World War III?) comes word that President Bush and Karl Rove recently held a forty-five-minute meeting with Norman Podhoretz (I wonder who leaked?). Podhoretz, whose bad judgment while a leftist led him to facilitate the publication of Paul Goodman's "Growing Up Absurd," now exibits similar bad judgment in telling the president that we should bomb Iran. Why take counsel from people who have offered such bad advice in the past?

Don't get me wrong. Podhoretz's "Know-Nothing Bohemians" from Partisan Review's Spring 1958 issue is must reading for anyone interested in the Beats, and as a memoirist he provides readers with the flavor of the New York intellectual scene in the '50s and '60s. But since when did that guy become Norman Podhoretz, foreign policy advisor to presidents?

Podhoretz is one of the most vociferous supporters of war in Iraq among intellectuals. The conflict didn't turn out the way he envisioned it. He wrote in the summer of 2002, "When Saddam Hussein goes, the Iranian domino might also fall, toppled not by American military force but by the internal revolution already brewing there against the rule of the mullahs." It's a nice dream, but there was no "internal revolution already brewing" in Iran in 2002. Instead of Iraq influencing Iran, the invasion of Iraq has led to Iran influencing Iraq. Podhoretz's intentions were good but the results left something to be desired.

Podhoretz also pushed the baseless claim that Iraq was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He wrote that "smoking-gun evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11...existed, even if it might not have been enough to secure a conviction in an American court of law." Alas, he did not share the "smoking-gun evidence." Nor did he share on what basis he made the claim that Iraq was close to obtaining nuclear weapons. These were the kinds of falsehoods that scared people into supporting a foolish military campaign.

Regime change in Iraq was not enough. Podhoretz added the governments of Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Palestine as ones he wished to see toppled. Now he wants us to bomb Iran. On what grounds? Preemption, that doctrine that worked so horribly in Iraq. He writes: "Since a ground invasion of Iran must be ruled out for many different reasons, the job would have to be done, if it is to be done at all, by a campaign of air strikes. Furthermore, because Iran's nuclear facilities are dispersed, and because some of them are underground, many sorties and bunker-busting munitions would be required. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, and the will, let alone the courage, of any of our other allies, it could be carried out only by the United States. Even then, we would probably be unable to get at all the underground facilities, which means that, if Iran were still intent on going nuclear, it would not have to start over again from scratch. But a bombing campaign would without question set back its nuclear program for years to come, and might even lead to the overthrow of the mullahs."

More likely, given America's current unpopularity in the region, the strike would make the mullahs more popular. I wish mere airstrikes could set back Iran's nuclear program, but given our intelligence blunders in bombing an aspirin factory in the Sudan, the Chinese embassy in Serbia, and non-existent chemical weapons depots in Iraq, I don't share Podhoretz's confidence. I didn't share his confidence about Iraq either, but I wasn't privy to his "smoking-gun" information implicating Iraq in 9/11 or his intelligence that bombing Iraq would somehow lead to the overthrow of the Iranian theocracy.

Unfortunately for Podhoretz, and maybe for the rest of us as well, crying wolf dissipates fervor for going after real wolves.

24 / September
24 / September
Academia's Double Standard

It's interesting who is verboten and who is welcome on campus. Iranian president and nutcase of international repute Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University today. Larry Summers, who had the temerity to suggest that innate gender differences might explain the dearth of female scientists, won't be speaking at the University of California's regents meeting. The regents rescinded their invitation after professors demanded Summers be disinvited. Anti-American nutcases? You are welcome. Liberals harboring even one politically incorrect thought? There is the door.

Columbia's Hypocrisy

Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia, says that hosting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is just the latest in "Columbia's long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate." One of the school's deans says that Columbia would host Hitler, were he alive. But just nine years ago, Columbia University used scores of guards to barricade their campus from conservative speakers and their student audience. Some people are more vile than Hitler, I guess. They banned a conference I had organized, entitled "A Place at the Table: Conservative Ideas in Higher Education," after taking more than $10,000 to provide food and meeting space and contractually agreeing to the event four months in advance. After threatening to cancel the event on the day of the event should I not come up with $3,000 to pay their on-campus security, Columbia, after receiving the money, cancelled the two-day conference the next day. The school cited phony "security concerns." Terrorist-supporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Racist Khalid Muhammed? Communist Angela Davis? Columbia is all about free speech when their likes come to campus. Dinesh D'Souza? John Leo? Reginald Jones? Well, they get kicked off campus and are forced to speak in a public park to get heard.

20 / September
20 / September
Are You Ready For Some Football? Week Three

Has there ever been a better week for underdogs? Favorites went 3-12-1 last week, which means the gutsy picker got rewarded. Who had the most guts last week? Why that would be none other than DocMcG, who posted an 11-4-1 record. Pay homage. The survivor pool is suddenly down to three: DocMcG, myself, and Wayne Gro. Fong got burned by Carolina and Fudgie D got melted by Cincinatti. And latecomers, if you didn't pick in week one, well, you didn't survive, did you? Had Mike Shanahan not called timeout in Denver, the survivor pool would have been over in week two in a five-way tie! Home teams are in caps. All picks are against the spread. Here are my selections: Colts -6 over TEXANS, Chargers -5 over PACKERS, Vikings +2.5 over CHIEFS, Lions +6.5 over EAGLES, PATRIOTS -16 over Bills, JETS -3 over Dolphins, Niners +8.5 over STEELERS, RAVENS -7.5 over Cards, Rams +3.5 over BUCS, BRONCOS -3 Jaguars, SEAHAWKS -3.5 over Bengals, Browns +3 over RAIDERS, Panthers -4 over FALCONS, REDSKINS -4 over Giants, Cowboys +3 over BEARS, and, on Monday Night Football SAINTS -4.5 over Titans. Make your selections in the comments section.


'Don't Taze Me, Bro'

A mob of professors shouted during my speech at Florida International in 2003. At Berkeley in 2000, one student mooned me and attempted to rip the microphone cord out of the wall. Radicals shouted me down. A group of students stole copies of a booklet that I had written and burned them in a bonfire. At Connecticut College, a student stood during most of my speech to block the podium; he and other students screamed whenever I said something that they didn't like (which was quite often). At Swarthmore, one women dumped water on me while another held up her middle finger throughout the speech. There's a lot more where all that came from, but rather than bore with example after example I'd just like to point out that in no instance have campus security ever even thrown out people disrupting my speeches, throwing stuff on me, or exposing themselves to me. In several instances, however, universities, or their employees, have stopped me from speaking or attempted to stop me from speaking. At Berkeley, the security actually told a man to sit down and be quiet when he asked the hecklers to stop yelling at me. Alas, I'm not John Kerry. If I want John Kerry treatment, I'll have to adopt John Kerry politics. No thanks! All that I ask the security at Ohio University, where I kickoff speaking for this school year two weeks from now, is: "Don't taze me, bro."

19 / September
19 / September
Starring Hillary Clinton As Nurse Ratched

"In a country where the sole employer is the state," Leon Trotsky observed "[opposition] means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced with a new one: who does not obey shall not eat." On the one hand, these words, coming from a fanatic who did so much to ensure this situation in the Soviet Union, lack force. On the other hand, coming from one who knows this truth from experience, the words are packled with force.

Trotsky's observation came to mind when the subject of Hillary Clinton's paternalistic health-care scheme arose today. "At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed," Clinton says in one breath. And in another, she floats the idea of having "to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview--like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination." Not as good of a deceiver as her other half, Hillary Clinton's key words are "at this point." At the point she takes the oath of office, restraint goes out the window.

A talk-radio host in the Boston area described Hillary's plan as "communist." As I noted in an earlier post, I think the word is promiscuously used by conservatives to describe any big-government scheme they view as bad, destructive, and intrusive. It's bad, destructive, and intrusive, but that doesn't make it communist anymore than Western Europe's health-care plans or the proposed health-care plans of several U.S. presidents are communist. Alas, I get lost in semantics. It suffices to say that if you think the U.S. government has done a great job transforming Iraqi Muhammedans into New England-style town-meeting members, serving as a massive emergency-response team to the Katrina Hurricane, or providing quality medical care at veterans' hospitals, the you are going to love HillaryCare II.

Worth Repeating #72

"But they held their peace, for in the way they had disputed among themselves, which of them should be the greatest. And sitting down, he called the twelve and saith to them: if any man desire to be first, he shall be the last of all and the minister of all."
--Mark 9:34-35

18 / September
18 / September
The Many Voices of Al Gore

I almost veered off the side of Route 2 in Concord, Massachusetts on Sunday after pulling behind a large, state-owned pick-up truck that advertised "ENVIRONMENTAL POLICE" on its tailgate. Was I in a dystopian novel? Environmental police? What is that? Halt! Don't even think about throwing away that Coke can, son. Put it in the recycling bin or we will shoot to kill! On Monday, a family member asked for paper and plastic at the supermarket, which prompted the woman in the back of the line to intone, "Paper only for me. Save the Earth!" And then there is Al Gore's documentary/filmed lecture An Inconvenient Truth, which I got around to watching last week.

I find it hard to believe that seven years after South Park's Getting Gay with Kids episode--the one in which children get carted off to the rainforest to save it by singing a song--this film could have been made. In the post-GGWK world, An Inconvenient Truth was not supposed to happen. Co-produced by Larry David's wife, offering tips to save the earth in the credits, and closing with a "Getting Gay with Kids"-style song--"I Need to Wake Up"--by Melissa Etheridge, the film, at least in this closing sequence, views as a parody. The confluence of celebrities, feel-good nonsense advice about saving the planet, and the politically correct song just sent the film over the edge into "Getting Gay with Kids" Territory. Perhaps that is why it won an Oscar.

More annoying is the poseur phoniness of Al Gore, which you might remember from his gentle earth tones wardrobe, his metrosexual beard, or his Fake Angry Southern Populist Voice (FASPV) from the 2000 campaign. In An Inconvenient Truth, he has added to his already impressive arsenal of Al Gore personalities in the invention of the Candid Soft I Am Your Friend Voice (CSIAYFV). CSIAYFV is to FASPV what Blue Steel is to Magnum. Gore has one voice on the lecture circuit and on the phone. I call that, despite not truly knowing which one is really the genuine article, the Al Gore Voice (AGV). When he talks about personal tragedy or wants to underscore the seriousness of an issue, he dispenses with the AGV and adopts the CSIAYFV. He slows down the cadence, speaks softly, and generally acts like the guy at the hospital who tells you that your grandfather is dead. Acting doesn't belong in a documentary.

Perhaps one has to be an actor to peddle the scare scenarios Gore highlights. The former vice president envisions South Florida immersed in water, a snowless Mt. Kilimangaro, and a Glacier National Park without glaciers. Of course, like so many problems outlined by the Left, America is to blame. He explains, "We are still, by far, the worst contributor to the problem." But we can do something about it: "We can make choices to bring our individual carbon emissions to zero." Sure we can. And we can all defecate in the woods, drive foot-powered Flintstones cars, and eat roots and grubs. Get real.

"I've seen scientists," Gore notes in An Inconvenient Truth, "who were persecuted, ridiculed, deprived of jobs, income, simply because the facts they discovered led them to an inconvenient truth that they insisted on telling." Virtually every scientist who fits that description questions some aspect of man-made climate change theory. That's the inconvenient truth.

17 / September
17 / September
The One-Size-Fits-All Terrorism Explanation

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles," went Marx's single-bullet theory of the past. The German crackpot's inheritors continue to project economic determinism upon matters having little to do with economics. Take Desmond Tutu, who blames terrorism on poverty. "You can never win a war against terror as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate -- poverty, disease, ignorance, et cetera," the South African clergyman claims. But Osama bin Laden hails from one of the most prosperous families in Saudi Arabia, Muhammed Atta's father was a doctor, and most of the 9/11 terrorists came from relatively comfortable backgrounds. It's easy to blame "oil" greed for wars or poverty for terrorism. It's generally not correct.

13 / September
13 / September
Week Two: Are You Ready for Some Football?

Make oblations to Week One Champion ASDF, who wasted the competition by going 12-2-2. Survivor Pool participants Fudgie D, Wayne Gro, Homer J. Fong, DocMcG, and myself survived. AB, DF11, Ralph: better luck next year. Everyone is invited to participate in the AYRFSF pool. All picks are against the spread. Home teams are in caps. Here are my selections: STEELERS -9.5 over Bills, Bengals -7 over BROWNS, Colts -7 over TITANS, PANTHERS -6.5 over Texans, RAMS -3 over Niners, GIANTS -1 over Packers, JAGUARS -10.5 over Falcons, Saints -4 over BUCS, Vikings +3 over LIONS, Cowboys -4 over DOLPHINS, Seahawks -3 over CARDS, Jets +9.5 over Ravens, BRONCOS -10 over Raiders, BEARS -12.5 over Chiefs, PATRIOTS -4 over Chargers, and, on Monday Night Football, EAGLES -7 over Redskins. Make your picks in the comments section.


Led Zeppelin Returns

Sometimes reporting rumours, or wishes even, pays off. Led Zeppelin will reunite in late November for a one-night-only engagement in London. On the off chance that you can't get tickets, be satisfied with my top-ten greatest Led Zeppelin songs of all time. On second thought, rather than go back three years for a music post without the benefit of Youtube, I repost, for your auditory pleasure, my September 2005 piece in its entirety, only now I do so with links to the actual songs. Enjoy!

(Originally posted September 25, 2005) Twenty-five-years ago today, Led Zeppelin was no more. Drummer John Bonham, who imbibed too much alcohol after a rehearsal for an upcoming tour, was found dead on September 25, 1980. He was 32.

Led Zeppelin was the best-selling act of the 1970s. Were they a proto-metal band? A 12th-century minstrel show? White, English bluesmen? They were all of these things and more. Here are their ten best songs.

10. Whole Lotta Love--Before Stairway to Heaven, this was Led Zeppelin's signature song. After eight albums, this stands as the band's only top-ten single. When fans say John Bonham played tree trunks, you believe it after hearing this song. Led Zeppelin II (buy it here) was actually the band's second album to appear in 1969.

9. Going to California--Copied by Pearl Jam in "Given to Fly," nothing beats the original. GTC appears on the fourth best-selling album (buy it here) of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

8. All of My Love--Led Zeppelin find the synthesizer.

7. Achilles Last Stand--I'm ready to go to battle against some ancient hoplites, how about you? At 10:26, this stands as the third longest Zeppelin song.

6. In the Light--A John Paul Jones song off Physical Graffiti (buy it here) that was never played live.

5. Tangerine--A pre-Zeppelin song that finally appeared on Led Zeppelin III (buy it here).

4. No Quarter--The riffmaster offers my all-time favorite Zeppelin riff. When people say Led Zeppelin sold their souls to the devil (save JPJ), I don't believe it. When I hear No Quarter, I do. This song is spooky.

3. The Rain Song--At LAV School at Camp Pendleton in 1996, I played this song on the 52-area bar's jukebox non-stop. It's mellow, but not mellow. Crank up the mellotron. Houses of the Holy (buy it here) stands as the creative height of Led Zeppelin.

2. Ten Years Gone--Quiet to loud to quiet to loud. The most underrated Zeppelin song.

1. Stairway to Heaven--At 5:56 you begin to hear something you've never heard before. At 6:42 you hear something better. The Memorial Day top-500 songs countdown that your local classic-rock station does every year always ends the same way: "And she's buying...a stairway to...hea...ven." Sometimes everyone agrees on something for a reason: because it's the best.

12 / September
12 / September
Worth Repeating #71

"The argument now that the spread of pop culture and consumer goods around the world represents the triumph of Western civilization trivializes Western culture. The essence of Western civilization is the Magna Carta, not the Magna Mac. The fact that non-Westerners may bite into the latter has no implications for their accepting the former."
--Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, 1996

11 / September
11 / September

Six years gone, but 9/11 is still fresh and painful. Three years ago, I read the 9/11 commission's report, and reported back to FlynnFiles readers what stood out. Here's Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Share any 9/11 related comments in the thread.

It Is the Video Music Awards, After All

Britney Spears lip-synched her comeback performance but it's her looks that have the vultures picking at her career's corpse. This speaks volumes about the superficiality of the pop-music culture that Rolling Stone, MTV, and top-40 radio have cultivated. Spears says she is embarrassed. She should be, but not for gaining a few pounds after having two kids. She should be embarrassed about lip-synching for a live audience. Alas, unlike pop-divas Christina Aguilera and Amy Whinehouse, Britney never really had any real singing talent. Live by the figure die by the figure, I guess.

10 / September
10 / September
Bin Laden Tape

Osama bin Laden notes in his latest video that "burning living beings is forbidden in our religion," and then admits that he has no "innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th." The transcript, particularly the hypocrisy of condemning the burning of people in the abstract while waxing nostalgically about a real instance of this, is rambling and confusing. His understanding of U.S. history is superficial, repeating, as he does, myths about President Kennedy--an escalator of the conflict in Vietnam--being assassinated for trying to stop a war in which he introduced American troops--em, advisors. Praising Noam Chomsky and lambasting "neoconservatives," bin Laden elevates those he seeks to damn and debases those he seeks to elevate. Embracing a crude Marxism that sees profits behind every war, paying salaams to trendy causes such as global warming, and blaming global capitalism for poverty, bin Laden sounds--and I never thought I'd say this--like a leftist.

07 / September
07 / September
Open Thread

The thread is open. Discuss the amazing Rick Ankiel, the late great Pavarotti, your upcoming camping trip with Larry Craig, or any other topic you wish to address. Speak up!

05 / September
05 / September
Worth Repeating #70

"Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end. The people who try to hold an optimistic view of this world would become pessimists: the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic."
--C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

Week One: Are You Ready for Some Football?

The football pool is back. I encourage all readers, especially ones who have never participated, to join in this autumnal FlynnFiles tradition. Home teams are in caps. All picks are against the spread, which means if you have a "-" next to your pick then your teams needs to win by at least that number, and if you have a "+" next to your pick your team can lose and you can still win but not if the team loses by more than that number. Get it? Here are my picks: Saints +5.5 over COLTS, TEXANS -3 over Chiefs, BILLS +3.5 over Broncos, BROWNS +4.5 over Steelers, Titans +6.5 over JAGUARS, RAMS even over Panthers, Eagles -3 over PACKERS, VIKINGS -3 over Falcons, Dolphins +3 over REDSKINS, Patriots -6.5 over JETS, SEAHAWKS -6 over Bucs, CHARGERS -6 over Bears, Lions +2 over RAIDERS, COWBOYS -5.5 over Giants, and, in the Monday Night Games--that's right, plural-- BENGALS -3 over Ravens and NINERS -3 over Cardinals. Make your picks--before Thursday's kickoff--in the comments section.

SURVIVAL POOL UPDATE: Reader Ralph asks, "No Survivor this season?" My bad. The survival pool, for the uninitiated, involves selecting a team each week to win the game outright (no spreads). Once you've selected a team, you can never select them again, so this takes some strategy. My first week's survival pool pick is the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS. Feel free to make your survival pool picks after Thursday's games (so long as you don't pick a team that has already played). Preferably, make them right now so that you don't forget.

04 / September
04 / September
Super Bowl Predictions

The National Football League returns on Thursday, and in anticipation of the kickoff, the AYRFSF FlynnFiles weekly pool returns tomorrow. But before all that, stand up and be counted. Let the world know your Super Bowl prediction before the season starts. Mine?

New England Patriots over Seattle Seahawks.

Issue your forecast in the comments section below. Note: Appalachian State is not an NFL team, so they are ineligible to play in the Super Bowl.

Gotta Serve Somebody

"Millions of Americans want to help their community, their country, their world," the cover of Time magazine informs. "Here's a plan to put those ideals into action." Leaving aside, temporarily, the question of why a news magazine is advocating a "plan" for a political program, Time's cover seems to suggest that without such a plan Americans are impotent to "help their community, their country, their world." In fact, the accompanying article admits that "volunteerism and civic participation since the '70s are near all-time highs." What's the point, then? Well, those volunteers serve society. Time wants them to serve government.

"Today the two central acts of democratic citizenship are voting and paying taxes," Time complains. "That's basically it." But is it? People run for office, donate to charity, protest, write letters to newspapers, etc. That they do this outside the purview of a government program, for Time, is tantamount to not doing it at all. Partisans of the total state are greedy, desirous of all charity, volunteerism, and funds to benefit leviathan.

Among the magazine's grandiose designs are a cabinet-level bureaucracy for national and community service, a "summer of service" for rising high-school freshmen, a "green corps" to "combat climate change," and a national-service academy, an idea whose originators, Time notes, "wanted to create a new generation of people who were idealistic about government." So did Hitler, which is probably why he created the Hitler Youth--to indoctrinate young people into the state-worshipping religion. Rather than impart idealism in the already naive, why not instill cynicism? It would certainly give them a clearer picture of the state than a government indoctrination center.

Glaring are the excessive direct costs and the propagandistic, self-serving element of a government program to instill idealism for the state. But also damaging is the program's intent to extract hundreds of thousands of young adults from the natural economy to insert them into the artificial, government supported economy. Removing presumably talented twentysomethings from the hiring pool for jobs the free market supports, i.e., necessary jobs, the program would burn the economy at both ends. At one end, able workers would waste time as camp councillors, as environmentalist activists, and in other inane, nonsense-work tasks. At the other end, jobs that would have contributed to the economy won't, because the people who might have filled them are off planting a bush, picking up trash in a playground, or doing some other make-work now performed by men in orange jumpsuits.

So why is Time, a news magazine, manufacturing demand for this idiocy? Because it's an important part of Hillary Clinton's platform, and when she highlights it on the stump she won't look like a fool demanding something that there is so little demand for. Better than enact what Time wants, why not subtract the Peace Corps, Americorps, and other such unconstitutional welfare programs for do-gooders from the ledgers of the federal government? You won't see a Time cover piece calling for that. Nor should you, and that's perhaps Time's main sin--not pushing this program or that program, but pushing an agenda behind the guise of news. Like Newsweek's hysteric global-warming cover story last month, Time's piece on national service reads like a poorly written speech by a small-town politician. Advocacy journalism makes for amateurish journalism.

For example, one imagines the author--so taken by his words--orating in the mirror, arms waving histrionically, American flag behind him, the following lines: "But at this moment in our history, 220 years after the Constitutional Convention, the way to get citizens involved in civic life, the way to create a common culture that will make a virtue of our diversity, the way to give us that more capacious sense of 'we'--finally, the way to keep the Republic--is universal national service. No, not mandatory or compulsory service but service that is in our enlightened self-interest as a nation."

But what is universal service but another name for compulsory service? Certainly the subsidy for such high-priced "volunteerism" would be compulsory. No thanks. I declare myself a conscientious objector.

03 / September
03 / September
FlynnFiles Radio

It's the Labor Day edition of FlynnFiles radio. Labor Day honors women who have given birth (I read it on Wikipedia). So in honor of women everywhere (With Mother's Day just a few months back, isn't this Labor Day quite redundant?), I give you an all-ladies edition of FlynnFiles radio, complete with offerings from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's cousin, a Russian songstress, and the multitalented woman who gave birth to the Simpsons. Enjoy!

Joanna Newsom--Peach, Plum, Pear
Feist--1, 2, 3, 4
Regina Spektor--Samson
Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs--Down Boy
Tracy Ullman--They Don't Know