30 / July
30 / July
Radio Kinks

I've blogged my appreciation for the underappreciated Kinks in the past. Original bassist Pete Quaife's recent death provides an excuse to do so again. Except this time, I will let the music of the Kinks, rather than my words, do the talking. There's Power-Chord Kinks, Quirky Kinks, Arena-Rock Kinks, New Wave Kinks--Kinks in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Enjoy....

God's Children
Rock n Roll Fantasy
Strangers
Come Dancing
Village Green Preservation Society
Some Mother's Son
Shangri-La
Waterloo Sunset
20th Century Man
Sleepwalker
A Well Respected Man
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Living on a Thin Line
Down All the Days
Better Things

28 / July
28 / July
Treason

"Whoever broke the confidentiality of the list obviously has no respect for some pretty basic journalistic norms," explained a poster on Journolist, the online discussion space for liberal journalists outed by The Daily Caller. But the suspected Wikileaks leaker, Bradley E. Manning, is a hero among journolists (as opposed to journalists). David Weigel got fired over the Journolist leaks. But nobody died. The Wikileaks material apparantly contains the names of Afghan sources for U.S. intelligence. "Someone inadvertently or on purpose gave the Taliban its new 'enemies list,'" California Rep. Jane Harman aptly explained. Last night on Larry King, Michael Moore dubbed leaker Bradley Smith, who may or may not have been the source in this latest leak, "brave" and deserving of a "Profiles in Courage" award. This says more about Moore than it does about Smith. When a soldier violates an oath, sells out his comrades, and hands over valuable information to the enemy, he is not a hero but a traitor. The Uniform Code of Military Justice authorizes capital punishment for servicemen guilty of treason. Whatever one thinks of the death penalty, it is hard to come up with a better instance of a crime deserving the most extreme punishment under law than this one.

27 / July
27 / July
The Media's Birthers

I heartily second Colorado Republican Ken Buck's observation that those questioning Obama's Hawaiian birth are "dumbasses." As I discussed last year in "The Meeting at the Grassy Knoll Behind WTC7 to Discuss Obama's Birth Certificate Is Called To Order," conspiracy theorists are often loyal to the idea of conspiracy rather than any particular ideology (see the followers of Lyndon LaRouche for an example of this). Not so with the Left's birthers, the ones less talked about, but equally idiotic, as the Right's birthers.

By invoking the Left Birther/Right Birther dichotomy, I hope to differentiate those who believe Sarah Palin faked the maternity of daughter (granddaughter!) Trig with those who believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya. They seem to be flip sides of stupid, but there is one big difference beyond the conflicting ideological motivations: Obama's birthers operate on the furthest recesses of the Internet, outside of establishment channels; Palin's birthers hold down influential jobs within the elite media.

The Daily Caller's publication of the raw threads from the Journolist website makes for a fascinating look inside the way journalists talk when they think nobody is listening. To be sure, only a handful of posters championed the idea that Sarah Palin faked her fifth pregnancy to shield her teenage daughter from the supposed shame that comes from a natural occurance dating back to the first teenagers. But a large number entertained the idea, and just a few rejected it outright. When Katha Pollit is the voice of reason, you know you are among screwballs.

Among those pushing the Palin-fake-pregnancy conspiracy theory were Talking Points Memo's Kathleen Geier, Harvard Crimson writer (and Washington Post researcher) Dylan Matthews, and The American Prospect's Paul Waldman. Most of the counterarguments on the thread involved political utility rather than truth, e.g., Mark Kleiman's remark, "I see no upside for our side here," and Lindsay Beyerstein's, "It wouldn't surprise me if the McCain campaign were to leak doctored evidence for the sole purpose of discrediting it and destroying the journalist who published it." In other words, even those arguing against this discredited story revealed their disturbing biases.

What is ideologically flattering isn't a good barometer of what is true. Journalists, whose raison d'etre should be digging out the truth, should be on guard against this delusion more vigilantly than most. As displayed by the Journolist threads, this isn't the case. Is anybody who reads the Washington Post or watches MSNBC surprised?

Mainline journalistic outfits would never (and should never) dare hire proponents of the Obama Birther conspiracy theory. Why do they still employ crackpots who bought into the Palin Birther conspiracy theory? Dumbasses.

26 / July
26 / July
A Racist Is Somebody Who Is Winning An Argument with a Liberal

"A racist is somebody who is winning an argument with a liberal," or so goes a popular bumpersticker slogan. The Tea Partiers and the backers of Arizona's new law curtailing illegal immigration can attest to the wisdom inherent within that bumpersticker philosophy. But as I explain in my column @ Human Events, the liberal tic of crying "racism" is backfiring on issue after issue.

The Profligate President

The Obama administration announced that this year's deficit will be larger than last year's record-breaking defict, and next year's deficit will be larger than this year's record-breaking one. To put this in perspective, more than 40 percent of this year's budget will be financed by borrowing. The worst part: we have saddled the future with enormous debt with nothing to show for it. The economy is still a basketcase after all this spending. Remember candidate Obama lecturing his Republican opponent? "So one of the things that I think we have to recognize is pursuing the same kinds of policies that we pursued over the last eight years is not going to bring down the deficit. And, frankly, Sen. McCain voted for four out of five of President Bush's budgets. We've got to take this in a new direction, that's what I propose as president." The new direction is no different from the old direction. It just takes us backward a whole lot faster.

22 / July
22 / July
You're Hired. You're Fired. You're Hired.

Barack Obama makes Hamlet look like a model of decisiveness by comparison. After engineering the resignation of Department of Agriculture worker Shirley Sherrod, the White House apologized and offered her a new job. Don't blame them. Blame Fox News. That's their line, and their acolytes are apparently buying it. Generals are accused of fighting the last war. Obama fought the last racial brouhaha--the Henry Louis Gates-Cambridge Cops kerfuffle. There, he alienated whites by siding too soon with the black professor. Here, in a desire not to again alienate those same whites, he jumped too soon by firing the government worker. Alas, despite his best efforts, Obama essentially made the same mistakes: acting too soon and vacillating. Sherrod's words were taken out of context. There was an injustice done to her. But viewing the entirety of her point doesn't make me look upon her a whole lot more sympathetically. The initial soundbyte conveyed the idea that she looks through the world through a bizarre racial prism. The full context shows how she overcame that constricting vision of the world by adopting another equally constricting vision. She traded in her racial prejudice for a class prejudice. Unfortunately, the latter prejudice isn't treated as such by the societal tastemakers. So, the Obama administration has offered Sherrod a new job. I hope she doesn't take it. The people are better served when their government servants see them as people instead of black people and white people, haves and have-nots.

20 / July
20 / July
Crossing a Rubicon

Amazon reports that it sold more eBooks than hardcovers in the last quarter. It's tempting to compare this to the moment in the late 1980s when CD sales outpaced traditional vinyl. But this is much bigger than that. Reading off a screen, as I discuss in my review of William Powers's Hamlet's Blackberry and my forthcoming review of Nicholas Carr's The Shallows, is very different from reading off a page. There are no links, pop-up ads, or email notifications taking your mind elsewhere when you read from a page. More importantly, online "readers" tend to skim rather than read. As the subtitle to Carr's book notes, the Internet is changing our brains. One day, not so far into the future, quizzical stares will greet book readers the way confusion greets the man in a monocle and top hat who spins 78 rpm records on his Victrola. This isn't a good thing.

Swatted

"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry (Bird), called up Magic (Johnson) and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Michael Jordan told NBC yesterday. The former Chicago Bull star explained that he wanted to beat Magic and Bird, not be teammates with them. The words were a jab at the Man Who Would Be Jordan--Lebron James. But to be Jordan, you have to win a champioship. Lebron seems ready to do that with his new team, but his inability to do it with a hapless NBA franchise--as Jordan won six with a previously hapless team--may dog King James's legacy. There is something Mr. Burnsish--stacking his softball team with Major League ringers--about Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh colluding to play on an NBA superteam. That said, the players just seem to be doing what certain owners--the late George Steinbrenner was famous for this--have been doing for years. And if Steinbrenner was willing to sacrifice money in pursuit of a championship team, what's wrong with players doing the same thing?

19 / July
19 / July
The NAACP's Racist

The NAACP has so promiscuously hurled charges of racism at political opponents, like the Tea Partiers, that it has devalued the term. But decades ago, when the NAACP really stood for fighting discrimination and not merely for pushing a political agenda, it had to purge its sole African American founder for many of the sins it currently ascribes to the Tea Partiers. Read that ironic story @ Human Events.

17 / July
17 / July
Green Retreat

Remember when Newsweek lambasted skeptics of man-made global warming as "the denial machine" in an infamous cover story that even their own writers ridiculed as propaganda? Well, just three summers later, the weekly has changed its tune. And as my column @ Human Events explains, this isn't the first time Newsweek has had an about-face on climate change. The golden age of the greens has faded to black.

16 / July
16 / July
Unplugged

The more connected we are through technology the less connected we are to other human beings. So argues William Powers in Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. Read my review @ City Journal.

Summer Music

Are you listening to any good new music? If so, I want to hear about it in the comments section. It's Friday, and here's the good new music that I am listening to:

Band of Horses--Compliments
Delta Spirit--Bushwick Blues
Brandon Flowers--Crossfire
The National--Bloodbuzz Ohio
Arcade Fire--Ready to Start

14 / July
14 / July
Over the Hills

I caught the final episode of the passe pop-culture phenomenon "The Hills" last night. Having not watched the MTV show in its six season run, my decision may seem a little confusing. But as a loyal viewer of "Laguna Beach," the reality show that gave rise to "The Hills," I felt it was my duty to tune in. The reappearance of "Laguna Beach" femme fetale Kristen Cavallari on "The Hills" helped make my decision. What's truly amazing is that such vapid and uninteresting people could anchor a show for six seasons. The mercurial Spencer Pratt, whose temper (or sanity) could go at any minute, demands attention--but in a car wreck kind of way. The rest, sans Kristen, are quite boring, which is especially evident after the advent of "Jersey Shore" (the season two premiere is in two weeks). Watching Ronnie get into fights, The Situation hook up with marginally good-looking girls, Snookie meltdown on the boardwalk--"The Jersey Shore" keeps it real. "The Hills"? Not so much. And in a great homage to its fakeness, the show's producers put an unforgettable coda on the series. After Brody said his goodbyes to Kristen, an artificial backdrop suddenly slides away, the camera pans back to reveal a studio set, and a shot of the iconic "Hollywood" sign closes the show. Reality TV is fake like everything else in Hollywood, the show's producers tell you in blunt visual language. Fake people on a fake show. Video killed the radio star. "The Jersey Shore" killed "The Hills."

13 / July
13 / July
No Confidence

Six in ten Americans lack confidence in their president to make the best decisions for their country. The news gets worse for the majority party in Congress: six in ten Americans profess an intention to vote against the incumbent this fall. Those most likely to vote on November 2 opt for the GOP over the Dems by a 56 to 41 margin. Barack Obama's job approval rating in this Washington Post-ABC News poll stands at 50 percent, the lowest mark in the survey for the Obama presidency. That may be the worst news of all for the president. Clearly, the poll is calibrated in the president's favor. Every other major poll that I can think of--Gallup, Rasmussen, Zogby, etc.--has Obama reaching a lower low. And in the current RealClearPolitics poll of polls, this ABC-Post poll gives Obama the highest approval rating of all the polls (despite 50 percent being the lowest approval rating for this particular poll). Do you follow me? Put another way, the bad news for the president in the ABC-Post poll is probably worse than it appears.

Big Announcement

I am now a regular columnist for Human Events.com. My articles will generally appear every Monday, but I urge the readers to visit the site on other days, too. If you are not familiar with Human Events, it is a venerable conservative weekly that in its print incarnation appears as a stodgy newspaper and in its online version is colorful and accessible, with blogs and video clips complementing a hearty fare of articles. Human Events is actually the oldest of the major conservative publications, with its 1944 start date anticipating National Review by more than a decade. Ronald Reagan remarked that it was his favorite publication. I have contributed articles to it sporadically for more than fifteen years, including one piece that was read into the Congressional Record or on the floor of the House (I forget which) by Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia. Leave it to me to have scooped myself on this major development: given that I have already linked to my first two HE colums, this news probably doesn't come as news to you. With the content I produce increasingly housed elsewhere, I encourage FlynnFiles readers to click on the links to my articles and to comment on them at Human Events (and back here at FlynnFiles, too). In other words, you may have to take the extra step of going through the FlynnFiles link to Human Events to read what I write. Please do so. At the suggestion of Jason Mattera, the young editor of Human Events, my column is called "Decoding the Left." As the name suggests, the column will focus on the American Left. As the author of such books as "A Conservative History of the American Left" and "Why the Left Hates America," I suppose I am the right man for the job. The first and second columns are up @ Human Events if you haven't read them already.

12 / July
12 / July
Spain Wins Euro-South America Cup

I have often thought that I would rather listen to a symphony of vuvuzellas than watch an actual soccer game. I got both on Sunday. I confess: I only watched the last thirty minutes. But that's okay. Nothing happened during the previous hour and a half. With a few minutes left, Spain scored on a shorthanded Holland (there will be none of that "Netherlands" around here!). Something about yellow and red cards put Holland in their undermanned situation. I am glad that someone put the ball in the net. Had the match lasted a few more minutes, the teams would have resorted to penalty kicks--which is like cancelling extra innings for a game-deciding home-run derby. Congratulations to Spain for winning the Euro-South America quadriennial soccer tournament. Some people call it the World Cup, but I don't since only nine teams--all from Western Europe or South America--out of almost 200 countries have actually won the contest. Like art aficianados, soccer fanatics are always telling Americans that they just don't get soccer. When we finally figure it out, they assure us, it will be bigger than baseballfootballbasketballhockeynascarwwe combined. After being forcefed this line since Pele's arrrival on our shores in the 1970s, I am at the point where I believe that soccer supremacy, should it ever occur, will only come about as one of the unhapper legacies of World War IX.

Black Panther Deja Vu All Over Again

For anyone who understands the history of the Black Panthers, New Black Panthers getting away with thuggish tactics does not surprise. Their forebears regularly got rewarded, rather than punished, for their criminal enterprises. But, as I detail in my column @ Human Events, in contrast to allegations of mere voter intimidation, the "old" Black Panthers were getting away with rape and murder.

08 / July
08 / July
Robert Byrd and the Party of Racism

Robert Byrd served in the Ku Klux Klan and filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So why are leading Democrats eulogizing him as a great American? Read my inaugural "Decoding the Left" column in Human Events to discover why being a Democrat means never having to say you're sorry. The dirty secret of the Democrats is that the party of Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson was once the party of George Wallace, Theodore Bilbo, and Bull Connor.

07 / July
07 / July
Beat the Heat

I may try to beat the heat today by reaching for the beach. This certainly beats yesterday's method: periodically sticking my head into the freezer.

U.S. v. Arizona

The federal government's lawsuit against Arizona is the textbook definition of adding insult to injury. By refusing to enforce immigration law, the federal government has injured Arizona in numerous ways. By suing Arizona because it dared to take steps to minimize its problems, the federal government insults the people of the Grand Canyon State.

06 / July
06 / July
Heat Wave

The mercury is expected to reach 95 in these parts. That's a rarity. I don't live in Death Valley or Tombstone. And because I don't, I never invested in an air conditioner. There are only about five or so days a year when the heat is so oppressive that I feel as though I need one. Those five days, unfortunately, will all happen this week. Buying that garden hose last month is looking more and more like a brilliant purchase.

'Let Him Eat! Let Him Eat!'

What a scam America's greatest athletic competition has become. Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest barred Takeru Kobayashi, the greatest competitive eater, from its 4th of July contest this year. Kobayashi's offense? He wouldn't sign a restraint-of-trade-sytle contract forbidding him from practicing his trade for outfits other than Major League Eating. Kobayashi gamely showed up to the event, and was naturally encouraged to take the stage by his many fans. In a vindictive, despicable move, Major League Eating's security put the man who put Major League Eating on the map under arrest. "I am very hungry," Kobayashi explained upon his release. "I wish there were hot dogs in jail."

04 / July
04 / July
All-American Holiday

The Fourth of July is when Americans watch Chinese fireworks while listening to a Russian tune as they eat German bologna sausages.

02 / July
02 / July
Pop Art Docs

I caught two interesting documentaries this past week: a PBS "American Masters" two-hour picture on Andy Warhol and a VH1 "Behind the Music" treatment of Courtney Love.

I've never been a fan of Mrs. Cobain, but I now find her extremely interesting. She appeared on a Grateful Dead album cover, was the subject of a parent-grandparent child custody battle that focused on allegations that her parents gave her LSD, and got ditched by her family. And all of that was by the time she was eight years old! Foster care, juvenile hall, stripping, and drug use predictably followed. Unpredictably, so did film roles, a subsequent music career, and celebrity. Her shabby treatment in childhood foreshadowed her childish antics in adulthood.

I have always find Andy Warhol's art visually appealling. Unlike most modern art, it's not abstract. Even a rube like me can get it. It's called pop-art, after all. Warhol seems a character of great contrasts and paradoxes. He came out of 1960s Greenwich Village, but he ultimately produced art that was commercial and as divorced from the hippie ethos, in style and marketing, as possible. Learning that his real name was "Warhola" and that he hailed from, of all places, Pittsburgh, makes me like him better. Most interesting of all was the in-depth discussion of the assassination attempt of Valerie Solanis, a psychopath founder of a one-woman feminist group called the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM), upon Warhol. A hanger-on at The Factory, Solanis shot Warhol after the artist failed to produce a crazed script Solanis had written. A bullet went through a slew of Warhol's major organs, and he really had no business surviving. But he did after five hours of surgery. Despite this, Warhol had an irrational fear of hospitals--vindicated when he died of water intoxication after lax medical staff didn't bother to monitor his I.V. after gall bladder surgery.

Love's nose job and outrageous antics, and Warhol's space-age look and space-alien personality demonstrate the importance of image over talent in gaining fame. Warhol's imprint on film (Midnight Cowboy), music (The Velvet Underground), and numerous other artistic ventures, and Love's success in acting (The People v. Larry Flynt, Syd and Nancy) in addition to her music career, go to show the degree to which pop-culture cross-pollination is key to extending fame beyond its fifteen minutes.