The NHL needs good ideas to resurrect its product. Bringing back Stan Jonathan and Bob Probert to "teach" the European players how the game is played gets my vote. But another idea more amenable to the suits running the NHL is to stage outdoor games. You might remember Edmonton hosting Montreal in a surreal open-air contest a few years back. On New Year's Day, switch off the football and turn on the hockey. The Buffalo Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium, one of the larger NFL venues, in front of an expected 73,000 people--and millions more, warm at home, watching NBC. The event will be a vision to behold on the television. But it shouldn't be. Have you ever played pond hockey? It's the natural setting for a game. Hockey in a football staudium is merely pond hockey on a grander scale. The NHL jumped the shark when they removed teams from places that could actually host an outdoor game (Winnipeg, Quebec, Hartford) and added teams from places where the mercury almost never hits 32 (Phoenix, Tampa, Anaheim). I'm making a new rule: no beach volleyball teams in Saskatoon and no ice hockey in Miami.
It's cowardly and ungentlemanly for a man to hit a woman. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the first woman leader of an Islamic country, speaks volumes about the cultural handicaps faced by would-be Westernizers of the Middle and Near East. Honor killings, female genital mutilation, the veil, and dowry killings are among the barbarities that plague nations in the region. To go from all that to killing a woman armed merely with words is not so far a leap. To go from all that to religious tolerance, free speech, and equality under law is a very far leap.
DocMcG, posting an 11-5 record, is the winner of the week sixteen AYRFSF pool. It's the last week of the regular season. Who will show up? Who will mail it in? Home teams are in caps. All picks are against the spread. Here are my selections. Patriots -14 over GIANTS, EAGLES -7.5 over Bills, BUCS +2.5 over Panthers, Bengals -3 over DOLPHINS, REDSKINS -9 over Cowboys, PACKERS -4 over Lions, TEXANS -6.5 Jaguars, Saints -2 over BEARS, RAVENS +3.5 over Steelers, Seahawks +2.5 over FALCONS, Niners +10 over BROWNS, Titans -6 over COLTS, VIKINGS -3 over Broncos, Chargers -8 over RAIDERS, CARDS -6 over Rams, and Chiefs +6 over JETS. Make your picks in the comments section.
The fourth annual installment of the FlynnFiles top ten songs of the year has arrived. The list needed that extra push over the cliff, so it goes to eleven. This makes it one better than all the other year-end top-ten lists. Listen, watch, sing along, enjoy:
11. My Chemical Romance--Teenagers
10. Band of Horses--Is There a Ghost?
9. Arcade Fire--Keep the Car Running
8. Silversun Pickups--Well Thought Out Twinkles
7. Feist--1, 2, 3, 4
6. Wilco--On and On and On
5. The Shins--Phantom Limb
4. Jimmy Eat World--Big Casino
3. Paul McCartney--Ever Present Past
2. Modest Mouse--Missed the Boat
1. Editors--Smokers Outside the Hospital Door
Got a top ten? A top five? A top three? Let's see it in the comments section.
"I don't have a mobile phone, I don't have a computer or an iPod--I don't have any of that crap. I think it's much better to be like Amy Winehouse than to be aged 24 and stuck in front of a computer all day. If you are stuck in front of a computer you aren't actually living, you're living by proxy."
--Shane McGowan, The Daily Mirror, December 24, 2007
What is the best FlynnFiles post of 2007? Based on personal preference and reader response, I've selected ten worthy candidates for the much sought after "post of the year" designation, which, as always, carries with it a sash, a scepter, a serenade of the traditional "Post of the Year" song, and a jewel-encrusted tiara. And the nominees are...
57 Channels and Nothin' On, February 21, 2007
Just Say Yes to Dr. No, March 26, 2007
The Super Christians, March 30, 2007
In Search of the Climate-Controlled Planet, April 10, 2007
Where Are the GOP Wise Men?, May 10, 2007
Ron Paul and the New Third Rail of American Politics, May 17, 2007
Elephant Babies, May 18, 2007
The Labor Day, Beer-Nerd Fatwa, August 30, 2007
Robertson Raises the White Flag in the Culture War, November 9, 2007
A Tale of Two Miami Hurricanes, November 28, 2007
Tell us your favorite post from the past year in the comments section.
It's a special
Christmas holidays edition of open-thread Friday. Say what you want in the comments section below, and hopefully the internet goblins of political correctness won't get you like they got me.
John Seiler's article, "National Review's Weird Endorsement of Mitt Romney," is worth reading for the brief history lesson it provides, especially so for the editors of National Review, on National Review. Seiler quotes the magazine's endorsement of Mitt Romney: "Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate." The former Orange County Register editor responds, "But this is flatly wrong."
Seiler points to NR's ethusiastic endorsement of John Ashbrook, the conservative Ohio congressman who primaried President Richard Nixon, in 1972, and NR's tepid endorsement of Pat Buchanan, the onetime Nixon aide who primaried George H.W. Bush, in 1992. It was apparent to everyone, even diehards working those campaigns, that neither man would win. Put another way, NR routinely discarded viability as a criterion for support when the candidate sported impressive conservative credentials. Did NR's "viability" test occur to William F. Buckley when he decided to run for mayor of New York City in 1965?
Magazines change. The New Republic, a milquetoast liberal magazine, for instance, was once published by a man who had just served as a Soviet agent. National Review is now 52 years old. Just like any man that age, the magazine has understandably gone through changes. The wildly successful shift in emphasis from print to online is one such transformation. As the tenor of the magazine has diverted from intellectual conservatism toward political journalism over the last decade, no one regularly perusing the magazine or surfing over to The Corner could be caught by surprise by the endorsement of Massachusetts Mitt. But for any conservative who stopped reading NR in the days--not so long ago--when, say, Joe Sobran, Russell Kirk, and Florence King appeared in the magazine, the endorsement of Romney would come as a shock.
The question is: Did the person who wrote the words, "Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate," grow up reading the magazine when such writers graced the biweekly's pages and NR could be counted on as the scourge of liberal Republicans?
"Let's be clear: we have lost this war. We have lost because the initial, central goals of the invasion have all failed: we have not secured WMDS from terrorists because those WMDs did not exist. We have not stymied Islamist terror--at best we have finally stymied some of the terror we helped create. We have not constructed a democratic model for the Middle East--we have instead destroyed a totalitarian government and a phony country, only to create a permanently unstable, fractious, chaotic failed state, where the mere avoidance of genocide is a cause for celebration. We have, moreover, helped solder a new truth in the Arab mind: that democracy means chaos, anarchy, mass-murder, national disintegration and sectarian warfare. And we have also empowered the Iranian regime and made a wider Sunni-Shiite regional war more likely than it was in 2003. Apart from that, Mr Bush, how did you enjoy your presidency?"
--Andrew Sullivan, "Ron Paul for the Republican Nomination," December 17, 2007
What's with the collective delusion of Mitt Romney's supporters that he has a strong, socially-conservative record? This chimera is maintained to maintain another chimera: that his "pro-life" supporters care a whole lot about the abortion issue. Really, how can such people complain the next time a pro-life president nominates a judge to the Supreme Court with shaky pro-life credentials when they are willing to support a presidential candidate with a sterling pro-choice record? If activists and scribes can't have spine on the issue, don't expect politicians to, either.
The Boston Herald published this picture today of Mitt Romney attending a Planned Parenthood event in 1994. Do you know many pro-lifers who attend Planned Parenthood gatherings? Me neither. Sure, it was thirteen years ago. But for more than thirteen years that preceded that photo inopportunity, Romney, at least according to Romney, supported the cause of abortion. Perhaps Romney will flip-flop on that admission too.
Even after Romney's rhetoric shifted on abortion, his actions remained solidly in the pro-abortion camp. Just last year, Romney signed into law a statewide health-care plan that covers abortion. He's against abortion in his speeches, but Mitt Romney is so in favor of abortion in his policies that he signed a law that forces taxpayers to pay for them.
It's important for pro-lifers to embrace people who have had legitimate changes of heart on this issue. Norma McCorvey, the Roe of Roe v. Wade fame, and Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist, are two assets to the pro-life cause who once served the abortion cause so effectively. Their actions spoke louder than their words, so pro-lifers took their conversions as acts of good faith. Romney's ostensibly pro-life supporters want other pro-lifers to hear Romney's current words and ignore his past actions. It was a heartening that Romney vetoed a measure seeking to legalize an abortion pill as governor, but his second thoughts on abortion came at the eleventh hour of his governorship. Put another way, Romney lacks credibility with legitimate pro lifers because he changed his mind on the issue at around the time he decided to run for president.
Perhaps Mitt Romney will one day serve the pro-life cause. But today, all Mitt Romney seeks is for pro-lifers to serve him.
"If the 'surge' is really working in Iraq, all my fellow Democrats should rejoice, because it's one more step toward getting U.S. troops the hell out of there. Let Bush have his face-saving claims of victory--who cares? Just bring this stupid, wasteful war to an end. Our brave soldiers and their families have suffered enough. And the toll in death, mutilation and trauma among hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqis is obscenely high and will never be fully documented. I remain skeptical about long-term political prospects in Iraq, whose nationhood was a convenient British fiction after World War I and whose border territory may eventually be devoured by its neighbors, including Turkey and Iran."
--Camille Paglia, "Dogma Days," December 12, 2007
I am the winner of the week fifteen AYRFSF pool with a 10-6 record. All hail. Home teams are in caps. All picks are against the spread. Here are my selections: In the THURSDAY NIGHT GAME, Steelers -7.5 over RAMS; on Saturday night, PANTHERS +11 over Cowboys; on Sunday, Browns -3 over BENGALS, Packers -7 over BEARS, COLTS -7 over Texans, LIONS -4.5 over Chiefs, PATRIOTS -21.5 over Dolphins, BILLS +3 over Giants, Raiders +13 over JAGUARS, SAINTS -3.5 over Eagles, VIKINGS -7 over Redskins, CARDS -10 over Falcons, SEAHAWKS -10 over Ravens, Jets +9 over TITANS, Bucs -7 over NINERS; and, on a Christmas Eve Monday Night Football, CHARGERS -9 over Broncos. Make your selections in the comments section.
Two years ago, in those pre-YouTube dark ages, I posted my ten best rock Christmas songs. Now, with the benefit of technological advances, I re-present my ten best rock Christmas songs.
10. Simon and Garfunkel, "Silent Night/7 O'Clock News"--Brilliant. Juxtaposing the serene and mellow sounds of Simon and Garfunkel singing the best known Christmas song to the reading of the nightly news--murder, war, racism, drug overdoses, etc.
9. Greg Lake, "I Believe in Father Christmas"--Atheists sing Christmas songs too, just with bitterness and contempt. The reason is the season.
8. The Ronettes, "Frosty the Snowman"--This appeared on Phil Spector's 1963 Christmas album (buy it here), where most of the memorable Christmas songs of the 1960s appear.
7. U2, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"--A cover of a song from Phil Spector's Christmas album, "Baby Please Come Home" proves that U2 can do Christmas in addition to New Year's Day.
6. The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping"--A quirky, new-wave Christmas song that chronicles a busy year of an English lass who meets her lad at a grocery store on Christmas eve. "You mean you forgot cranberries too?"
5. John Lennon, "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"--The two biggest Beatles each released a famous Christmas song, and, at least in this instance, preachy beat silly (Paul McCartney's "A Wonderful Christmas Time").
4. The Pretenders, "2000 Miles"--Chrissie Hynde, who bore a child to the man who sings the top song on this list, sang an awesome version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in addition to this original contribution.
3. Band Aid, "Do They Know It's Christmas?"--The first and best of the massive '80s charity singles, Bono's "Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you" still sends chills down the spine. The extended version with Paul McCartney, David Bowie, and others talking is really cool.
2. The Pogues, "A Fairytale of New York"--In probably the only Christmas song that gets heavy airplay on St. Patrick's Day, the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl explore the negative emotions the holiday season can evoke. "You scumbag, you maggot/You cheap lousy faggot/Happy Christmas your arse/I pray God it's our last." Tell me how you really feel. Check out a Matt Dillon cameo as one of NYC's finest in the video.
1. The Kinks, "Father Christmas"--A class-conscious, heart-tugging holiday song about robbing Santa Claus. "Have yourself a merry merry christmas/Have yourself a good time/But remember the kids who got nothin'/While you’re drinkin' down your wine."
Ron Paul's presidential campaign raised more than six-million dollars yesterday, setting the single-day record for donations in American politics. Republican hacks have sought to ban him from presidential debates, blocked his supporters from participating in online polls, and even suggested that he be kicked out of the Republican Party. It seems an awful lot of Republicans, from Barry Goldwater, Jr. to Andrew Sullivan (Is he a Republican?) to the 58,000 people who donated yesterday, disagree.
Mike Huckabee deserves criticism, just not of the kind he's getting. Huckabee's compassionate conservatism is heavy on compassion and light on conservatism. His support of a fascistic national health law banning smoking in public places is all any conservative needs to know to disqualify him from the "acceptable" list of candidates. Yet, it's generally not Huckabee's big-government "conservatism" that has raised the ire of Republican scribes (Bush's economic liberalism never seemed to bother party conservatives, so why should the economic liberalism of his ideological heir, Huckabee?). It's his mild rebuke of the Bush Administration's disastrous foreign policy and his conservative stand on social issues.
Huckabee bravely, and quite rightly, criticized the Bush White House for its "arrogant" foreign policy, to which Mitt Romney charged that Huckabee was running for the wrong party's nomination. For such common-sense criticism of the president, who should be a pariah to anyone wanting to win the presidency, Huckabee earned the designation of "the Republican Jimmy Carter" from Ann Coulter. No, Ann, George W. Bush is the Republican Jimmy Carter. "Not that what one blogger thinks matters that much," the Ace of Spades blog notes, "but if Huckabee gets the nomination, I'm voting Democratic." The reason cited? Huckabee's foreign policy departures from the Bush Administration, including his call for diplomatic overtures to Iran.
Rich Lowry oddly points to Huckabee's social conservatism, which seems the most creditable thing about the former governor of Arkansas: "[N]ominating a Southern Baptist pastor running on his religiosity would be rather overdoing it. Social conservatism has to be part of the Republican message, but it can't be the message in its entirety." Does Lowry know the candidate his magazine just endorsed held a high position within the LDS church?
Conservatism has changed so dramatically during the Bush presidency that many so-called conservatives are more apt to vote for a candidate based on whether he wants to talk to the leaders of Iran than on whether a candidate wishes to allow the slaughter of the unborn to go on unimpeded. Many of Mike Huckabee's critics, like Mike Huckabee, aren't very conservative--at least if we are conserving the definition of "conservatism" that has reigned for all of my lifetime.
Mike Huckabee's surge in support can be explained by the vaccum on social issues among the major candidates for president. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney governed as social liberals, John McCain, despite a stellar pro-life voting record, is despised by the religious right, and Fred Thompson's record is as sketchy as his campaign. No candidate carried the banner of the religious right. Huckabee filled that void--and a huge void it was. He leads in key states because of the power of social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. Republicans wanted to act as though those issues no longer existed. Reality check. They do.
When Democratic frontrunner Ed Muskie appeared to cry in the snows of New Hampshire in 1972, he sent his presidential campaign off the rails. Yesterday, when Republican Mitt Romney cried on Meet the Press discussing the Church of Latter Day Saints' 1978 decision to allow black people into its priesthood, it appeared, if not a calculated move, then a politically beneficial move. The diverse reactions, just 36 years apart, to public displays of tears in an applicant for the job of commander in chief speaks volumes in American attitudinal changes.
The Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball comes out later today. The 300-plus-page study promises to name upwards of fifty names. Former Senator George Mitchell apparently runs a tight ship. As of just a few hours before the report's release time, no names have been leaked. If your favorite player makes the ignominous list, will you think less of him? With Major League Baseball tacitly approving steroid use for more than a decade, and reaping millions off its promotion of the steroid-aided Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire home run chase, it strikes as hypocritical and slimy for MLB to attaint all these players who really just did what MLB allowed them to do. If there's no punishment to a rule violation, as was the case with steroid use in baseball for a long, long time, one can't really surmise that the rulemakers cared so much about the rule. This is a bombshell of a baseball story, the kind that excites people who never seem to get excited about the games on the field. The official punishment that offending players eluded while on the juice or on growth will be amplified tenfold by the public scorn that will now follow their names.
Republicans such as Phil Gramm opposed Hillarycare out of principal in the early 1990s. No Republican legislator voted for the First Lady's socialized-medicine scheme. Now Republicans rush to copy her. Like Mitt Romney, who mandated universal coverage in Massachusetts, the GOP candidates for president on the whole accept as a starting point the idea that taxpayers should pay for the health-care costs of lower-income Americans. "[W]e can and must provide access to health care for all our citizens," John McCain, for example, contends.
It figures that the only medical doctor in the race for the presidency stands athwart the creeping statism on health care within the Republican Party. Congressman Ron Paul has a new ad on health care that rightfully indicts government as the cause, and not the solution, to America's health-care woes. "The federal government will not suddenly become efficient managers if universal health care is instituted," Dr. Paul notes in his campaign statement on health care. "Government health care only means long waiting periods, lack of choice, poor quality, and frustration." Eliminating the health-care bureaucracy on small businesses, making all health care costs tax deductible, and allowing doctors to bargain collectively with insurance companies are a few of the ideas Congressman Paul proposes.
Ron Paul isn't such a throwback that one needs to go back to the 1950s to find Republicans airing free-market ideas on health care. In the 1990s--yeah, the decade before this one--Republicans unanimously opposed the bureaucratized mess that was the Clinton health plan. Even President Bush, Mr. Prescription Drug Giveaway, vetoed a federally-funded health program for poor children yesterday because it "moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction."
Too many in the party seem to think that a federal health-insurance policy covering everyone is a fait accompli. And since this is the case, their logic goes, it's best to make such a system as friendly to market concerns as possible. Ron Paul, loudly, rejects this and recognizes that the problems with federally-managed or federally-funded universal health care would be, as it is with veterans hospitals, systemic. In other words, no amount of tinkering would make a positive out of something so wholly negative.
If "conservatives" can't even conserve the ideas of conservatism that triumphed just a few short years ago, what makes them at all conservative?
"Absolutely no truth to that whatsoever," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum responded to media inquiries earlier this season regarding rumors of the Jets filming the Patriots last season in Gillette Stadium. "Completely false." But, as New York Newsday reported Wednesday and Jets coach Eric Mangini confirmed, the Jets did videotape. NFL rules state that taping must be done off the field, not in the coaches' booth, and in an area "enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead." The Jets taping outside from the mezzanine level above the endzones clearly broke this rule, just as the Pats taping on the sideline clearly broke it. Not only did the Pats refuse to play this trump card when the Jets tattled to the league, but the Pats refused to tattle to the league in the first place. They just asked the Jets employee to leave and left it at that. So, when does the New York Post begin to place the "caught cheating" asterisk next to the Jets' 3-10 record?
'Eloquence, which persuades by sweetness, not by authority; as a tyrant, not as a king."
--Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 1669
Democratic Party officials regard Mike Huckabee as a candidate with a "glass jaw" and an "easy kill." Huckabee is probably more flavor of the month than the next presidential nominee of the Republican Party, but it's worth noting that the Democrats salivated over the prospect of facing Ronald Reagan in 1980's election in a manner akin to how they react to Huckabee now. Be careful what you wish for. Democrats habitually underestimate just how socially conservative American voters are. The Baptist minister Huckabee's upfront beliefs that America is a Christian nation and his opposition to homosexual "marriage" and abortion, such Democrats think, is an albatross upon the good ship Huckabee. In the Republican primaries, and even in the general election, such stances will alienate voters in the blue bantustans. But in that giant red sea that is America, Huckabee's politically incorrect views on God and gays, and AIDS and abortion, would be controversial but no albatross. Pushing to release rapists, seeking a national ban on smoking in public places, and unveiling a federal "Weapons of Mass Instruction" plan on the arts in local schools? That oxymoronic big-government conservatism, on the other hand, will be Huckabee's albatross.
Ralph is the week fourteen champion with a 12-4 record. Bow down, plebes. Home teams are in caps. All picks are against the spread. Here are my selections: On THURSDAY NIGHT, TEXANS even over Broncos; on SATURDAY NIGHT, Bengals -8.5 over NINERS; on SUNDAY, SAINTS -3.5 over Cards, BUCS -13 over Falcons, DOLPHINS +3.5 over Ravens, BROWNS -5.5 over Bills, RAMS +10 over Packers, Jaguars +3.5 over STEELERS, PATRIOTS -23.5 over Jets, Seahawks -7 over PANTHERS, CHIEFS +4 over Titans, RAIDERS +10.5 over Colts, CHARGERS -10 over Lions, Eagles +10.5 over COWBOYS, Redskins +4.5 over Giants, and, on MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, VIKINGS -10 over Bears. Make your selections in the comments section.
National Review's endorsement of Mitt Romney for president devotes little space to the virtues of their candidate and much space to a rationalization of their pick on conservative grounds. A bit defensive?
"Each of the men running for the Republican nomination has strengths, and none has everything..." "It is true that [Romney] has reversed some of his positions..." "It is true that [Romney] has less foreign-policy experience than Thompson and (especially) McCain..." "Whatever the process by which [Romney] got to where he is on marriage, judges, and life, we’re glad he is now on our side — and we trust him to stay there..." The piece reads more of a defense of National Review's decision than an endorsement of Romney. It's an endorsement that enhances the conservative credibility of a non conservative at the expense of the conservative credibility of National Review.
Mitt Romney is not a conservative. He instituted a Hillaryesque health-care plan that subsidizes insurance companies for the costs of health costs of individuals making as much as $30,000 a year, mandates employers to provide health care to employees, and fines and penalizes individuals who, for whatever reason, choose no health insurance. It's socialistic, inimical to freedom, and a recipe for inflating health-care costs. Mitt Romney is not "a supporter of free-market economics," as National Review claims, because supporters of free-market economics don't mandate socialistic health-care schemes that burden taxpayers and employers. This is what the Republican Party unanimously fought against in the first years of the Clinton presidency. They now boast about accomplishing what Hillary Clinton couldn't accomplish. It's not just the party that has strayed. But house intellectual organs of the conservative movement seem tethered to few permanent principles too. It's later than you think.
Romney's credentials on social issues are at least as weak as his credentials on free-market economics. He supported the assault weapons ban. He bragged that his support for the pro-choice position antedated Roe v. Wade. And, yeah, the health care plan which he boasts about pays for abortions with taxdollars. He supported gay rights. Romney initially supported amnesty for illegal aliens. It was under his watch, and by the edict of judges appointed by his Massachusetts Republican Party, that the Bay State became the Gay State on marriage. As anyone living in Massachusetts can tell you, he did very little to uproot the judges' illegal decision.
Mitt Romney is a politician, not a conservative. I think that if he thinks pushing conservative policies will win him votes, he will do so. I know that if he thinks pushing liberal policies will win him votes, he will do so. I know this because this is what he did while serving as governor of Massachusetts.
"Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate," the editors of National Review write. Mitt Romney, running ahead in New Hampshire and a top-tier contender in other states, is certainly "viable." The problem is that he's not conservative. The greater problem than that is that a large number of conservatives now define "viable" in such a way as to exclude principled conservatives.
Led Zeppelin played their big concert in London last night. "Big," of course, understates matters, but I just can't come up with a word that does a Led Zeppelin reunion justice. Here's the set list:
Good Times Bad Times / Ramble On / Black Dog / In My Time Of Dying / Your Life / Trampled Under Foot / Nobody's Fault But Mine / No Quarter / Since I've Been Loving You / Dazed and Confused / Stairway to Heaven / The Song Remains the Same / Misty Mountain Hop / Kashmir / Whole Lotta Love / Rock and Roll
Here's my ultimate Led Zeppelin set list. What's yours? What were last night's cruel omissions? What shouldn't have been included?
Mike Huckabee's suggestion, issued fifteen years ago, that the interests of health might be served if AIDS sufferers were quarantined, was certainly alarmist. AIDS had entered into its second decade as a public disease by the time Huckabee opened his mouth, so it's not as though the idea of getting the disease from a handshake or a kiss still held any currency. Christian conservatives and gay activists, two groups so diametrically opposed on so many issues concerning AIDS, were united in irresponsibly pushing the notion of an AIDS "plague" in America. For different reasons both groups had cause to scare America about AIDS, a disease whose reality is scary enough.
More than a quarter century after AIDS first made headlines, the mythology has it that yahoos like Mike Huckabee somehow facilitated the spread of AIDS by needless worrying about catching the AIDS virus from sharing a Coke. A story less told involves the hysterical reaction of gay activists, which, unlike the paranoia surrounding, say, public toilet seats, actually contributed to the body count. In 1985, to cite one example, the Lambda Legal Defense Fund and the National Gay Task Force actually sued the federal government to block the release of the AIDS test. Hypothetical concerns over privacy fueled their courtroom hysteria. Gay activists were so successful in harming gay people in New York that they convinced the city's health czar to ban the test in the Big Apple.
One might also look back in disbelief upon the ignorance of gay groups uniformly fighting to keep open the bathhouses that incubated the virus, or upon the miasma of a homosexual Left that saw efforts blocking homosexual blood donors as something akin to the holocaust. The media doesn't remind us about that political idiocy. The golden-oldie alarmism of Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, follows him to this day.
In effect, the media have instituted a quarantine on AIDS idiocy. Christian conservatives who exaggerated the disease's impact, which led to draconian "solutions" such as quarantines, make news years after the fact. The gay Left, and the plain old Left for that matter, made dire predictions of billions of deaths, stoked fears of a heterosexual epidemic in America, and fought against common sense measures such as the AIDS test. Yet, there is a media blackout on the embarrassing, and deadly, ignorance on the Left regarding AIDS.
Huckabee showed bad judgment and contempt for civil liberties. But how many people did his foolishness kill?
It's open-thread Friday. Say it loud. Say it proud. Say it in the comments section. Input your two cents on any subject. The world of FlynnFiles awaits your wisdom.
President Bush will unveil a scheme today to provide "homeowner assistance" to people paying mortgages (or not paying mortgages) that have floating rates. Why should taxpayers, or lenders, reward the mistakes of people who took out adjustable-rate mortgages? It's not as if the fledgling homeowners were defrauded. They're called adjustable-rate mortgages, after all. Why should taxpayers bail out lenders who gave good money to people with bad credit? They knew the risk and took it, after all.
The specifics of the plan will be detailed this afternoon at a White House press conference. If the government forces lenders to artificially keep rates low, then everyone else will suffer because of the resultant inflated rates on other loans. If the government forces taxpayers to make up the difference between the initial "teaser" rate and the current adjusted rate, then not only will taxpayers suffer because of the errors of others, but those errors will likely be repeated as the cost of making them will be nil. Those making the errors include the lendees, and especially, the lenders. They loaned money to people they had no business loaning money to. But when government makes a habit out of bailing out business, business makes it its business to practice bad business. Bush's plan rewards bad judgment.
This is the logical consequence of the president's "compassionate conservative" ideology. President Bush, no doubt, hopes to gain in popularity for his "compassion" towards those at risk of losing their homes (or, more accurately, getting evicted from the banks' homes). But "homeowner assistance" could just as accurately be called "banker assistance." Alas, it's impolitic to advertise a plan as corporate welfare. So, Bush styles it as a program to help the middle class.
The president could have learned from No Child Left Behind, the "amnesty" for illegal aliens scheme, or the prescription-drug giveaway that no liberal deed done by a Republican president goes unpunished by liberals. Democrats have already blasted the plan as too meager, and will soon paint Bush, if they haven't already, as the villain responsible for the troubles of so many unfortunate people mixed up in bad loans. These people deserve our sympathy, not our money.
Turning left is not just bad policy for Republicans. It's bad politics.
DocMcG, AB, and, FlynnFiler #1--that's me!--won week thirteen with 10-6 records. Give big ups to your betters. All picks are against the spread. Home teams are in caps. Here are my selections. In the THURSDAY NIGHT GAME, Bears +3 over REDSKINS; for Sunday, Panthers +10.5 over JAGUARS, LIONS +11 over Cowboys, BILLS -7 over Dolphins, EAGLES -3 over Giants, PACKERS -10 over Raiders, PATRIOTS -10.5 over Steelers, Chargers -1 over TITANS, BENGALS -6.5 over Rams, TEXANS +3 over Bucs, Cards +7 over SEAHAWKS, Vikings -9 over NINERS, Browns -3.5 over JETS, BRONCOS -6.5 over Chiefs, RAVENS +9.5 over Colts, and; on Monday Night Football, FALCONS +4.5 over Saints.
I speak tonight at Connecticut College at 8 p.m. in the 1941 Room of the Crozier Williams Student Union. If you're in the area, drop by. The last time I spoke at Connecticut College, a mob of students began shouting whenever I said something that they objected to, which happened quite frequently. One student stood to obstruct the podium for the duration of the speech. I hope for a more civil reception tonight.
From purely a spectator's point of view, primary season is shaping up to be a lot of fun. On the Democratic side, one sees the possibility of the frontrunner toppled. On the Republican side, there really is no frontrunner. Surprises make for entertaining politics, and 2008 promises a few surprises.
Since 1964, the GOP candidate everybody thought would win the nomination won the nomination. Boring stuff. Rudy Giuliani leads nationally, but the schedule of early states does not favor him. Thompson, should he stick around, figures to score well in the South. Romney, boasting more home states than any candidate since George H.W. Bush, not only will win in Michigan, Utah, and Massachusetts but generally posts leads in Iowa and New Hamphshire. John McCain, who won New Hampshire in 2000, stands poised to shake things up by earning the important endorsement of the Manchester Union Leader. To confuse matters further, Mike Huckabee, with a committed base of religious conservatives, now leads in Iowa, and Ron Paul, with millions in the campaign coffers, seems the prototypical candidate who stubbornly and consistently pulls his share of primary voters to the very end. When the dust clears, it's possible that the winner will not be clear. The political gods wouldn't be so kind as to bless us with a fractured convention, would they?
Hillary Clinton has been the Democratic frontrunner in the 2008 presidential race since she won her senate seat in 2000. Now Barack Obama bests her in polls of likely Iowa caucus goers. John Edwards is competitive too. In several hypothetical head-to-head matchups with Republicans, Clinton now loses. With removal of her aura of invincibility--the single greatest attraction her candidacy offers--will Clinton's numbers continue to drop?
Enjoy the spectacle of primary season. When the elections are over, and governing begins, it won't be so enjoyable. Hearing "I, Rudolph William Louis Giuliani, do solemnly swear..." or "I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, do solemnly swear..." is not my idea of a good time.