31 / December
31 / December
Best Songs of 2008

The calendar's ten best songs is a FlynnFiles tradition. See how the fifth annual installment ranks with past lists. See how it holds up next to your list.

10. Saints of Los Angeles, Motley Crue
9. Cobwebs, Ryan Adams
8. In the New Year, The Walkmen
7. This Is Your Life, The Killers
6. Time to Pretend, MGMT
5. Strange Overtones, David Byrne/Brian Eno
4. Supernatural Superserious, REM
3. Missing Cleveland, Scott Weiland
2. Viva la Vida, Coldplay
1. Sex on Fire, Kings of Leon

What's missing? Share your "best songs of 2008" with the readership in the comments section.

Worth Repeating #107

"In the cosmopolitan alternative, the world reshapes America. In the imperial alternative, America remakes the world. The end of the Cold War eliminated communism as the overriding factor shaping America's role in the world. It thus enabled liberals to pursue their foreign policy goals without having to confront the charge that those goals compromised national security and hence to promote nation building, humanitarian intervention, and 'foreign policy as social work.' The emergence of the United States as the world's only superpower had a parallel impact on American conservatives. During the Cold War America's enemies denounced it as an imperial power. At the start of the new millenium conservatives accepted and endorsed the idea of an American empire and the use of American power to reshape the world according to American values."
--Samuel Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity, 2004

30 / December
30 / December
University Bookman Reviews ACHOTAL

Gerald J. Russello accuses me of being a "journalist" in his University Bookman review of A Conservative History of the American Left, but makes up for the insult by labeling my book "wildly popular." Read the review here.

29 / December
29 / December
Best Post of 2008

What is the best post on FlynnFiles from the year past? I've selected ten worthy candidates for the "post of the year" designation. I need your help, loyal reader, determining the post that stood above the rest in 2008. Make your choice in the comments section. And the nominees are...

Global Cooling, Courtesy of the Fiery Globe 93 Million Miles Away, February 27
Acute Viral Nasopharyngitis, You Don't Stand a Chance, April 19
Ticketmaster Math, May 2
25 Conservative Critics of the Iraq War, June 4
The Day the Keg Went Dry, July 14
Protection Money, September 23
This Is Barack Obama Speaking, October 30
Get a Life, November 6
Damm Intallekshuals, November 12
Don't Drink the Kool-Aid on Jonestown, November 18

Cast your vote in the comments thread.

26 / December
26 / December
Guest Hosting on Boston's 96.9 WTKK

I will be guest hosting for Michele McPhee on Boston's Talk Evolution 96.9 WTKK from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 26 and Wednesday, December 31. If WTKK's strong FM signal does not reach you, please listen live online.

19 / December
19 / December
Radio Radio

Listen to me on the radio this weekend on Boston's Talk Evolution 96.9 WTKK. I will be filling-in for Michele McPhee tonight (Friday) from 7-10 p.m. and again tomorrow (Saturday) from 8-10 a.m. To quote Elvis, not the King but the one from England with oversized glasses, you had better do as you are told, you better listen to the radio. If WTKK's strong FM signal does not reach you, listen live here.

17 / December
17 / December
Birthright Senator

For Kennedys, working your way to the top is the route for suckers; starting at the top, that is more like it--the Kennedy Way. The Kennedy Way allowed Ted Kennedy to avoid gainful employment, save for a stint in the U.S. Army, before becoming a U.S. senator. Now it pushes Caroline Kennedy to cut the line of public servants in her power grab to become a U.S. senator from New York. Read my article at the American Spectator on why a hereditary claim to a political office in New York should offend democratic sensibilities as much as a monetary claim to a political office in Illinois.

No Citations Without Representation

I voted to reduce the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana to a $100 fine in November's elections in Massachusetts. Nobody voted for the Boston Public Health Commission, but it devised a penalty of $200 for cigarette smokers who dare light up in Boston's hotel rooms. Yes, that's right. Smoking tobacco in the wrong place within the city of Boston gets you a heftier fine than smoking marijuana any place within the city of Boston.

Democrats v. the Democratic Process

The Democrats in Illinois would rather the corrupt governor retain the power to appoint the state's next senator than allow the people of Illlinois decide on Barack Obama's replacement in the senate. That's right, Democrats won't strip Rod Blogojevich, caught on tape stating that he wants something of personal value in exchange for the senate appointment, of the power to choose the state's next senator. All power to the people, except when the party loses power--then all power to the party.

16 / December
16 / December
Election Day

Yesterday was election day. November 4th? That was just the day we voted on the electors. The electors we voted for, the Electoral College, gathered in the 50 state capitols yesterday and elected Barack Obama the next president of the United States. The Associated Press dubbed the vote "a largely ceremonial procedure, but one mandated by the Constitution." Isn't that the case these days with just about everything in the Constitution, "largely symbolic"?

One might just as easily say that November 4th's vote was "largely symbolic" in that it merely symbolized to most Americans that they were choosing their next president. Instead, they actually chose who would vote for the next president. The Electoral College gets the silent treatment in the press because it offends leftist sensibilities in various ways.

First, a majority of voters in the United States does not elect the president. As Americans rediscovered in 2000, a candidate need not even receive a plurality of the popular vote to win the presidency. As the examples of George Bush, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, and John Quincy Adams attest, a candidate can lose the popular vote and win the presidency because--surprise--the popular vote doesn't matter very much in our system. A candidate need only win a majority of votes in any combination of states that make a majority of the Electoral College, and not a single popular vote in any other state, and that candidate, barring the possibility of unfaithful electors, will find himself or herself in the White House. The vote that matters is the Electoral College vote, the one that took place yesterday, and not the vote that took place on November 4.

Second, there is the annoyance of unfaithful electors. Every few years an elector freelances. In 1988, for instance, an elector flipped the Democratic ticket by voting for Lloyd Bentsen for president and Michael Dukakis for vice president. By allowing electors the leeway to buck the choice of the voters who selected them, the Founders put multiple buffers between the people and the president. Unfaithful electors are another way of the Founders reminding us that we live in a republic, not a democracy.

Third, the electoral college is a reminder that ours is a federal government. The states, more so than the people, elect the president. Just as it is the states rather than the people that are represented in the Senate, the states rather than the people vote in the Electoral College. The body votes in each state capitol, rather than in the Capitol in Washington. It is crucial that the state legislatures determine the manner of appointing the electors.

Leftists prefer a simplistic narrative of the people electing the leader. Buying into this notion romanticizes strongmen presidents as representing the will of the people rather than their own will. Reality is more complicated than that, and thwarts the rationalizations of sycophants to unchecked power in the hands of one man.

15 / December
15 / December
Why Didn't He Throw His Shoes at Saddam?

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist whose bias is about as subtle as his American counterparts', never hurled his footwear at Saddam Hussein. Think about that.

A Loser's Advice

John McCain prefers the love of his enemies to victory, which is why he isn't president of the United States, which is why his enemies love him again. Downplaying of the scandal of Obama's political ally Rod Blagojevich allegedly attempting to sell an Illinois's senate seat to the highest bidder, McCain chided fellow Republicans on ABC's This Week by saying that "we should try to be working constructively together" rather than criticize the Obama administration, whose chief of staff finds himself knee-deep in the scandal. Should we work constructively with Blagojevich, too? Should Republicans stop asking questions of Jesse Jackson Jr., who held a fundraiser for Governor Blagojevich two days before he met with the governor about the vacant senate seat and three days before the criminal complaint quoted Blagojevich as stating that Jackson had offered to "pay to play"? Should we not bother asking for the identity of Obama Advisor B, who gives his imprimatur to a pay-for-play scheme involving the vacant senate seat? Does Rahm Emanuel wish to work constructively with Republicans, and should journalists ignore a man who has never ignored them until now?

13 / December
13 / December
Conservatism's Cash Cows

Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement, a book by Ron Robinson and Nicole Hoplin, is a story of how lone men with big wallets can change the world. Books chronicling the history of the conservative movement focus on academics, activists, and men of action. Here, for the first time, is a history of the money behind The Consience of a Conservative, Ronald Reagan, Regnery Books, the Heritage Foundation, and other iconic institutions, books, and leaders of the conservative movement. Read my City Journal review here.

11 / December
11 / December
Mysteries of the Blagojevich Scandal

After reading the indictment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, I am left with more questions than answers. These lingering mysteries fuel the media buzz, and ensure that America is in for a scandal that keeps on giving. Drip. Drip. Drip. The information will flow until the public is satiated.

1. What did Obama know and when did he know it? It seems to stretch the limits of credulity to believe the president had no discussions, or his team had no discussions, with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich about the fate of the senate seat Obama vacated last month. Did Obama meet with Blagojevich, as David Axelrod claimed and a Chicago television station reported, or didn't he, as Obama and Axelrod now claim.

2. If it is a crime for the governor of Illinois to sell a senate seat, isn't it a crime for Senate Candidate 5, or his emissaries, to offer cash for the seat? Senate Candidate 5, as we know now, is Jesse Jackson, Jr. Who represented him in meetings with the Blagojevich? Either that person represented Jackson's interests, and Jackson should go down, or he was freelancing, and he should go down. It's possible that there just isn't enough evidence to take either down, as it may be just Blagojevich on tape putting words into other people's mouths. But if Senate Candidate 5, or one of his emissaries, is on tape seeking to buy a senate seat, then they should go down too.

3. Who is Advisor B? This is important because he seems to represent the president's interests in meetings, telephonic and otherwise, with team Blagojevich. He expresses approval for a corrupt plan that would deliver the senate seat to an Obama favorite, Valerie Jarrett, in exchange for a high-paying, made-up union job for Blagojevich. Many are speculating that Advisor B is none other than the man who suceeded Rod Blagojevich in Congress, Rahm Emanuel. If so, the scandal may extend its tentacles into the White House, or at least the Office of President-Elect.

First Lady Toilet Mouth

Like Ron Burgundy's downfall in San Diego, Richard Nixon's political implosion came in part because his private profanity was broadcast to the world. He lost the old ladies not because of the cover up, but because of the F-bombs. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's Chicago vernacular may not have caused his indictment, but it certainly reinforces the point that though he plays a respectable person on television he suffers from toilet mouth when he thinks nobody's listening. Worse still is his less than charming wife, whose vocabulary has evidently been enhanced by listening to 2 Live Crew records. Referring to withholding state aid for the Tribune Corporation until it fired newspaper critics of her husband, Patricia Blagojevich, daughter of a Chicago city councilor, barks on the FBI's tapes: "[H]old up that f---ing Cubs s--t.... F--- them."

10 / December
10 / December
Paradise City Lost

Axl Rose, you had me at "I see your sister in her Sunday dress." Then you had to go ahead and ruin it with piano ballads, dictatorial purges, lavish videos, and delays, delays, delays. Read my Paradise City Lost at the American Spectator to understand why to love Guns N' Roses is to hate it in its present form.

Spidey Sense

Before an earthquake or a big storms hits, animals are said to act quite strangely. Politicians must share this premonitory gene with our friends in the animal kingdom. On Monday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich got his face all over national newscasts as part of a union's occupation of a Chicago factory that had apparently gone under. Dressed in proletarian costume, Blagojevich boasted that Bank of America would not get any state business until they extended the beleaguered factory's line of credit. Tuesday, after having wrapped himself in laid off workers (read: props) and posed against the big evil bankers, Blagojevich again finds himself on national newscasts--accused of numerous acts of corruption, including an attempt to sell the vacant Illinois senate seat to the highest bidder. The chain of events bears a curious resemblance to the downfall of Blagojevich's predecessor, Governor George Ryan, who now resides in a federal prison camp in Indiana. Before his downfall, Ryan issued a moratorium on capital punishment. One of his last acts before the ax fell was to clear death row of all its inhabitants through his power of commutation. This made him appear noble in some circles, but thankfully did not save him from a guilty verdict on corruption charges. Trent Lott's spidey sense kicked in after he opined that America would have been better served had former segregationist Strom Thurmond been elected president. The Senate Majority Leader immediately offered to rethink his stance on affirmative action as an act of contrition. This political spidey sense is probably just another way of throwing oneself upon the mercy of the court of public opinion, which is generally ruled by liberals who despise bankers and the death penalty, but love unemployed union workers and affirmative action. It's a healthy sign that such acts of desparation rarely work.

09 / December
09 / December
Illinois Governor Busted

Aspiring U.S. senators have to raise and spend millions of dollars to win election. Should it surprise us that aspiring U.S. senators who hope to win appointment to that allegedly august body have to do the same? The allegations that the governor of Illinois attempted to sell Barack Obama's vacant senate seat are nevertheless shocking. The seat "is a f---ing valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing," the hirsute governor allegedly explained. Other charges include putting a pricetag on official state business and seeking to subsidize a Chicago Tribune construction project in exchange for the World's Greatest Newspaper firing employees unfavorable to the governor.

Listen To Me on 96.9 WTKK

I will be guest hosting for the talented and wonderful Michelle McPhee later this week on Boston's Talk Evolution 96.9 WTKK. Readers will get a chance to listen on Thursday, December 11 from 7-10 p.m., on Friday, December 12 from 7-10 p.m., and on Saturday, December 13 from 8-10 a.m. As always, I welcome reader suggestions on what subjects I should cover. I also invite, nay, encourage Boston-area readers to tune in to 96.9 WTKK and direct readers outside of WTKK's strong signal to listen live on WTKK's website.

08 / December
08 / December
I Believe Hillary's Cardboard Cutout

"I Believe Hillary's Cardboard Cutout." The title of Andrew Breitbart's hilarious article on the Obama speechwriter spotted on Facebook groping a life-sized poster of erstwhile enemy Hillary Clinton compels skimming eyes to read the rest. Skewering the double standards of political correctness, Breitbart notes: "Fraternities have been closed for less." It could be worse. If not for a double standard, the lords of political correctness might have a strict standard.

Oscar De La Over

I sadly watched Oscar De La Hoya age eight years in eight rounds on Saturday night. It reminded me of seeing Mike Tyson quit on the stool against Kevin McBride in the MCI Center three years ago. Older fans probably recall Larry Holmes using Muhammed Ali as a punching bag. As my stunned brother put it, Oscar appeared "listless." Fans always expect the same guy who expertly vanquished the competition for years to forever climb through the ropes. But everyone gets old. In basketball, baseball, and football, it's painful for fans to see their favorites hang on past their primes. In boxing, it's painful for boxers to hang on past their primes. If Oscar didn't get that memo by way of Manny Pacquiao's left hand, all he needed to do was catch a glimpse of his opponent's cornerman, Freddie Roach, who won as many bouts as De La Hoya did as a pro and has Parkinsons to show for it.

Manny Pacquiao, widely regarded as the sport's pound-for-pound best, destroyed a fighter who less than two years ago came within a round of defeating Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Starting his career as a 106 lbs. boxer, Pacquiao had no business defeating a fighter who has held titles at 147, 154, and 160, among other weight classes. Yet, he made it his business to do so. In the process, he probably put the Golden Boy out of business--as a fighter at least. That's bad for boxing, as there is no pugilist who transcends the sport as Ali, Tyson, and De La Hoya did. Boxing fans may eat up the Pac Man, but the average person on the street has no idea who he is, and, because of his inability to communicate effectively in English, probably never will. To be the man you must first beat the man. Pac Man beat the man but he can never be the golden boy. Alas, I am a boxing fan and not the average man on the street so I am wild with anticipation about a fight between Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton. It's just a little harder to sell such fights to the wider public without a marquee name upon the marquee. Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and, now, Oscar DeLaHoya--they don't call Pacquiao the Mexicutioner for nothing.

05 / December
05 / December
Baby on Board

Want to know just how bureaucratic and officious the Bay State is? When John Davis spottted a state policeman as he rushed his pregnant, laboring wife to Cambridge's Mount Auburn hospital in the emergency lane of Route 2, he thought his problems were solved. He asked the Massachusetts state trooper if he could get an escort to the maternity ward. The officer balked, and instead gave the couple a $100 ticket.

Abortion Industry: Abortions Don't Cause Depression. The Media: It's Science.

"Abortion Myth About Depression Falls Before Science," triumphantly claims a U.S. News and World Report blogger. "Abortion Is NOT linked to Depression, Scientists Say," screams the headline in the UK's Daily Mail. "No high-quality study done to date can document that having an abortion causes psychological distress, or a 'post-abortion syndrome,' and efforts to show it does occur appear to be politically motivated, U.S. researchers said on Thursday," reads a Reuters news story. Forgive me for mistaking this news lead for an advocay group's press release. Post-partum depression? Sure. Post-abortion depression? No way. It just doesn't make sense that a woman who has killed the life that she has created could possibly be in any way depressed in the aftermath. At least that's the uncommon sense this "scientific" study seeks to impart.

The Johns Hopkins study on studies claims that past "studies with the most flawed methodology consistently found negative mental health consequences of abortion," suggesting that political motivations led to such conclusions. Couldn't one more justifiably make the same claim about the Johns Hopkins study? A clue leading one to that conclusion is the fact that a journal called "Contraception" published the study. And who publishes that? Well, it's the official journal of the abortion industry, specifically the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, an outgrowth of Planned Parenthood, and the Society of Family Planning, which holds its meetings concurrently with Planned Parenthood. And what of the JHU study's lead researcher, Dr. Robert Blum, who once served as the chairman of the board of Planned Parenthood's research arm and whose position as the William H. Gates Sr. Chair of the Department of Population, Family & Reproductive Health at JHU is funded by a pro-abortion misanthropist? Mr. Blum doesn't have an ax to grind does he? It's all those other studies that are politicized, not his. C'mon, who, other than fools, do you fools think you're fooling?

Three other studies released in the last month all came to the conclusion that abortion raises the risk for future mental health problems. Somehow, they escaped notice by Reuters.

If the JHU study isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is. It was produced by pro-abortion activists bankrolled by the abortion industry. Why didn't the Reuters piece touting the study mention the abortion industry's involvement in funding and publicizing it? Because noting these inconvenient truths not only disqualifies the JHU broadside from the category of objective, disinterested science, but invalidates the decision to devote a "news" article to it. What's next, Reuters touting studies by the tobacco industry proclaiming that its product doesn't cause cancer?

04 / December
04 / December
Washington, DC, Motor City

I harbor a perverse admiration for the Big Three CEOs who, upon getting rejected in their request for $25 billion in federal funds to subsidize the American auto industry, returned to Congress today to ask for $34 billion. But hey, they flew into Washington in private jets last time around. This time, they drove there. That's worth $9 billion more, right? If they get rejected today, perhaps they should bicycle from Michigan to DC and up the demand to $100 billion. The depressing reality is that this state subsidy of private business will probably happen because each side possesses something wanted by the other side. Detroit wants Washington's money. In return, Washington wants power (they diplomatically call it "conditions" on Capitol Hill) over Detroit. Washington doesn't know how to run a business, and the mere fact that Detroit is in DC hat-in-hand shows that they don't know how to run a business, either. They were made for each other.

03 / December
03 / December
Happiness Isn't a Warm Gun for Plaxico Burress

I didn't need Mike Celzic to tell me Plaxico Burress is a knucklehead. I knew it since his rookie year, when he spiked the ball after a routine catch--only to discover that unlike in college a play isn't over in the NFL when the ball carrier merely hits the deck; an opposing player must also contact him. What I didn't know is that sports writer Mike Celzic is more of a knucklehead than Burress.

The Giants wide receiver, in case you haven't heard, accidentally shot himself in the leg at a nightclub in New York City last weekend. He's a fool for not holstering his weapon. He's a fool for not keeping his weapon on safe. He's paying for his foolishness. He has a bullet wound, has received a four-game suspension, faces jail time, and may have the remainder of a $35 million contract voided. He shouldn't have to pay for Celzic's idiocy, too.

"In the NFL, players point to Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskin who was shot and killed by intruders in his Florida home last year," Celzic writes. "I heard a player talking about it on ESPN today: If Sean Taylor had a gun, he'd be alive today. But that's an argument that can't be proved. Five men were involved in the burglary and shooting. Apparently, the shooter fired when accosted by Taylor." Leaving aside Celzic's heartless (and mindless) blaming of the victim--Taylor accosted his murderer???--there is the ideologically-driven illogic that dismisses the possibility of an armed Taylor fending off, or even scaring off, his home's invaders with a gun.

Unfortunately for Sean Taylor, a court ordered him not to carry a gun. Judicial do-gooderism turned into a death sentence. Celzic ignorantly writes, "What should stand out to athletes is that you never read about a jock whose life or property are saved because he had a gun. I'm sure it's happened, but I canít find a reference or remember an incident." How about Taylor's teammate in the University of Miami's defensive backfield, Brandon Meriweather? Perhaps the reason why Celzic is "sure it's happened" but can't find "reference" to it is that he knows that instances of athletes using guns to fend off ne'er-do-wells are politically inconvenient for the Fourth Estate's gun-grabber contingent. Thus, stories of citizens brandishing, or even firing, weapons in self-defense are found in National Rifle Association publications, but not on MSNBC.com.

Here's what I wrote in A Tale of Two Miami Hurricanes in response to Sean Taylor's murder: "Meriweather played on the same team, played the same position, and was involved in an almost identical situation with a burglar firing a gun. When a shooter opened fire on Meriweather and a teammate, shooting the friend in the buttocks, Meriweather shot back. The assailant fled. Good job Brandon, right? One scribe wondered, 'why in the world a college student would be packing heat on the regular.' A CBS Sportsline writer, for instance, noting Meriweather's unsportsmanlike stomp of an opposition player in a brawl and his discharging a weapon at a criminal, joked: 'If the Patriots' new pick could have only thrown in a little armed robbery during his Miami Hurricanes days, he would be the ideal NFL triple threat.' But why group the legitimate use of a firearm with a thuggish on-field assault? The writer continued: 'A teammate being shot in the ass, and another returning fire, was met with casualness from fellow Hurricanes at the time. Former Meriweather teammate Kyle Wright told the media that at least Meriweather didn't 'bring a knife to a gunfight.' CBS mocks Wright's statement, but in light of the tragic loss of Sean Taylor, the writer's words mock himself.

For Celzic, guns are about "fear and twisted concepts of manhood and being a real bad expletive." No they're not. They're about protecting yourself in a dangerous world--a world even more dangerous for athletes whose journey from Section 8 to MTV Cribs is monitored by envious predators. Just ask Burress's fellow Giant wide receiver Steve Smith, who was robbed at gun point just days before Burress's friendly-fire incident occurred. Your Second Amendment rights aren't revoked on NFL draft day.

Darrent Williams. Sean Taylor. Fred Lane. Plaxico Burress never wanted to be on that list. I don't blame him.

02 / December
02 / December
Increase Mather Would Not Approve

Fifty-seven-years ago, Harvard expelled Ted Kennedy for paying a friend to take a Spanish exam. Yesterday, Harvard awarded him an honorary degree.

The Biggest Letdown Since Geraldo Opened Al Capone's Vault

If addict Steven Adler had shared half of his drugs with psychopath Axl Rose, they would both be healthier today. Despite publicity you can't put a pricetag on from Dr. Pepper and the Chinese government, Axl Rose's Chinese Democracy has failed to reach the number one spot in America and England. The album, the payoff to GNR fans who have waited seventeen years for an LP of original material, has wildly underperformed expectations. I'm glad. No doubt Axl and the Hired Guns will blame the poor economy or the antiquated CD format. But this didn't prevent AC/DC, a similar act, from doing monster sales of its new disc Black Ice. The Chinese Democracy tracks that I have heard on the radio are horrible. The excesses of the over-produced Use Your Illusions albums seem mild in comparison. At least back then, we could watch Stephanie Seymour if we didn't quite like the song. Now we're stuck listening to a guy born in the early 1960s miming music that was stale by the late 1990s. And that's just in his attempt at rockers. On the rest of the tracks, with pianos, strings, and Spanish guitars, the music sounds like Elton John with hard rock layered above. Axl apparently spent much of the last seventeen years listening to Operation Mindcrime, as his voice sounds less like a prime Robert Plant and more like that guy from Queensryche. Whatever it is, it's not Guns n Roses. The absence of all of Axl's classic GNR bandmates (but pretty much everyone else who plays an instrument appears in the album's credits) should have been a clue suggesting a fraud. But the ballad-heavy shlock on Chinese Democracy confirms it. If Axl really believed GNR to be a Chinese Democracy with him playing Dear Leader, then the joke's on him as his faux-GNR is about as successful as the real Chinese Democracy. To love Guns n Roses is to hate it in its current state.

Bombay in Boise?

John Lott points out in More Guns, Less Crime that multiple victim public shootings tend to take place where victims are most likely to be unarmed. Schools and churches are two popular venues for human target practice. Gun ranges, despite the widespread availability of firearms, somehow manage to avoid multiple victim public shootings. I use the term "despite" sarcastically; it is, of course, the widespread availability of firearms that makes a gun range such an unlikely scene for a shooting spree. Pundits rush to explain that the slaughter that occurred in Bombay could easily be replicated in New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Maybe so, but this says more about the local ordinances of these cities than it does about security in the United States generally. How would armed gunmen fare in an assault on Tulsa, Dallas, or Boise? Methinks they would go out of business within a few minutes.

01 / December
01 / December
Bombay Slaughter

Would you rather be a Muslim in a Hindu society or a Hindu in a Muslim society? I posed the question to a Muslim talk-radio caller this weekend. He claimed the Hindus have it better among Muslims. I guess he has never heard of Bangladesh. Afterwards, I wondered if I had posed the right question. More to the point is the query: Would you feel freer as a Muslim in a Muslim society or a Muslim in a Hindu society?

The massacre in India by Pakistani terrorists, who clearly weren't satisfied by the partition of India sixty-one-years ago to create a separate state for Muslims, is unparalelled by examples of Christians, Jews, or Hindus committing mass slaughter against Muslims in any Muslim nation. Where do Muslims get along with others? When in the minority--in Israel, in India, in Nigeria--Muslims, with some regularity, murder people of differing faiths. When in the majority--in Sudan, in Egypt, in Afghanistan--they murder people of differing faiths. The tolerance Muslims demand when in the minority is rarely extended to religious minorities once Muslims are in the majority.

What makes the bold Bombay attacks on unarmed civilians perhaps more significant than other similar attacks is that they involved an organization believed to be sponsored in the past by Pakistani intelligence and that the parties involved--Pakistan and India--both possess nuclear weapons. Add to this the fact that Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid. Naturally, when one engages in a war on terror--or a war on the mafia, or a war on communism, or a war on fascism--one necessarily crosses paths with unsavory people. But at what point does buying off criminal elements become a crime itself? In other words, when money used to prevent terrorism shows no progress on that front, and when there are questions about whether the recipient of that money actually funds terrorism, it may be time to rethink the foreign aid policy.

The Church of XBox

What happens when you strip a religious holiday of its spiritural message? It necessarily becomes a material holiday. Worshippers at the Church of Flat Screen Television reverse the Christmas message of giving, charity, and sacrifice to the XMas message of gimme, gimme, gimme. A holy day about giving becomes a holiday about taking. Bombarded with colorful missalettes displaying consumer goods alongside numbers and dollar signs, Americans aren't allowed discussions in public places of God sacrificing his Son to save humanity. This has consequences for Christmastime behavior. The fruits of a materialist holy day were on display on Black Friday at a WalMart outside of New York City, where a stampede of barbarians killed a seasonal employee and knocked a pregnant woman to the ground. Stand between a mob of pilgrims, in Mecca or WalMart, and the objects they worship at your own risk.