Human Events TV features a multi-part discussion between Jason Mattera and myself on my new book, Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America. The freewheeling conversation touches upon Milton Friedman, Cornel West, and the evolution of public libraries. Watch Part 1 here. Watch Part 2 here.
A charge that you had fathered Occupy Wall Street would send you rushing to a paternity test for a Maury Povich-style exculpation. Strangely, as protesters head for park exits, academics crowd in to claim credit. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on the conceit of intellectuals in maintaining that their thoughts are the father to another's deeds. In this case, they believe their obscure words motivated people who chant, play bongos, and wear sandwich boards but don't read.
"Humankind's Greatest Musical Genius," aka Kim Jong Il, passed in 2011. None of his tracks made my year-end top-ten list. But I found ten offerings from musical geniuses outside of the Hermit Kingdom to spotlight before 2011 passes. This is an annual FlynnFiles tradition. Here are my top-ten songs from 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004. And here are my top songs from 2011....
10. Adele Rolling in the Deep
9. My Morning Jacket Victory Dance
8. Cage the Elephant Right Before My Eyes
7. Bon Iver Calgary
6. Blink 182 Up All Night
5. Wilco The Whole Love
4. Bell X 1 Velcro
3. The Strokes Under Cover of Darkness
2. Coldplay Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
1. Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues/Grown Ocean (Tie)
Got a top ten? A top three? A top one? Shout it loud and proud in the comments section.
Protestors in the Middle East demonstrated against the power and control of their governments. Protestors in the United States demonstrated to make their government more powerful and controlling. Yet Time magazine's "year of the protestor" imagines the activists fighting against socialist big-governments around the Middle East as the same as the socialist activists fighting for big government in the United States. Read my column @ Human Events on how it may be the year of the protestor in Tahrir Square, but in Zuccotti Park it is the year of the fauxtestor.
Some reviews you get the impression that the reviewer has merely read the dust jacket--not so with this extremely thorough piece from Arnold Ahlert at FrontPageMag. If you want to get a better idea on some of the figures covered by my book before you buy my book, read Alhert's piece. And I hope you will buy the book--if not for yourself then for someone on your Christmas list. Buy Blue Collar Intellectuals here now.
"If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth," Vaclav Havel wrote. "This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else." For writing such words, Havel ended up in a jail cell. From the very same Prague jail cell, I read those words, which had the power to transform a Communist secret police dungeon into a hostel catering to tourists. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how a vibrant Prague stands as one of many legacies of one of the towering figures of the twentieth century.
Our economy suffers from experts without experience. Milton Friedman, one of the twentieth century's great economists, knew the economy in part because he had worked in it. He scooped ice cream in his parents parlor and sold fireworks at a road stand. He waited tables for a meal during the Depression and hatched door-to-door schemes as a scholarship student at Rutgers. Read my column @ Human Events on how economists who haven't worked in the economy tout theories that don't work.
Saul Alinsky never joined the Communist Party during the Red Decade and never grew his hair during the sixties. Despite going against the leftist grain during two of the Left's big decades of the 20th Century, man-of-action Saul Alinsky has strangely emerged in the 21st Century as the Left's idea man. Read my article at FrontPageMag on how a amoral community organizer influenced by the mob and union thugs became an influence on our president, secretary of state, and a whole generation of ends-justify-the-means activists and politicians.
Promotion for Blue Collar Intellectuals has commenced. I've appeared on a half dozen radio programs in all corners of the country talking about the book over the last couple of days. Online attention comes from Campus Report's review by Mal Kline, Coffee & Markets' interview podcast, and an excerpt from ISI Books. Unlike my previous books, which generally work well as insult presents--"Merry Christmas nutjob! Here's your copy of 'Why the Left Hates America'!--Blue Collar Intellectuals is more in the spirit of the season. Most would be flattered to be called a "blue collar intellectual"; and the rest are just snobs. So please support my work by supplying the blue-collar intellectual in your life with a copy of my new book (buy it here). Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Before I do anything, I ask myself one simple five-word question: What would Gary Busey do? Then I do the opposite. When it comes to presidential politics, Gary Busey will be voting for Newt Gingrich. Mr. Busey played a good Buddy Holly. Might he be a secret Romney supporter playing a Gingrich supporter and therefore playing us all? That endorsement would be an ingenius political dirty trick that only a master thespian could pull off. Nancy Pelosi, not known for her acting skills, attacked Gingrich several weeks back. This rallied conservatives to the former Mr. Speaker, which is what the former Madam Speaker wanted. Who, other than Newt Gingrich, could the hapless Barack Obama win a popularity contest against? Certainly not Gary Busey.
From Boston to Los Angeles, Occupy encampments are empty. Stressed-out cities have evicted their tenting tenants. The occupiers sought to change America. They should have started with changing their underwear. The stink, narcotics use, and violence within the camps displayed the America that the Occupy activists wished to bring about. Read my column @ Human Events on the end of the occupation.
Thirty years ago today, Mumia Abu-Jamal shot Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner in the back and then shot the wounded cop in the face. Earlier this week, Philadelphia's district attorney gave the former Black Panther an anniversary present by announcing he would not seek to reinstate his death sentence. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag, which notes that while the Mumiacs have moved on to other injustices Mumia has remained in the same place.
The wait is over. Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America (buy it here now) is finally available. It makes a great Christmas gift for the blue-collar intellectual in your life. Reviews are in at the Washington Times and the American Spectator. For a thumbnail sketch of the book, please listen to John J. Miller's podcast @ National Review Online. It's worth nine minutes of your time. And Blue Collar Intellectuals, so readable at less than 200 pages, is definitely worth the few sittings it will take to finish. Take it from me: I wrote it!
Have you devoured a Subway meatball sub for $2 yet? I have. It was delicious. Cheap edibles can have that psychological affect on a man. My taste buds are located in my wallet. You have 26 days to eat as many $2 meatball subs as you care to. In addition to my $2 sandwich, I enjoyed eating from Denny's 2-4-6-8 value meal deals this weekend. The atmosphere, which included passionate arguments about the history of professional wrestling (from a woman no less), proved too colorful. The service was, in a word, awful. But it's Denny's and not Ruth's Chris Steak House. One of the managers, noticing the 50-minute wait between the order and the food, kindly subtracted the drinks, which made breakfast for four for fifteen bucks. Can you beat that? And there was no extra charge for the too-audible Great Khali v. Andre the Giant debate. But it wasn't just the food that flattered my bank book. My local package store featured a bizarre $9.99 per case sale of Alexander Keith's pale ale. I bought a case for Friday night. Finding it to my liking--it's lighter than other pale ales--I returned Saturday to rescue as many cases (four more) as I could fit in a carriage. I informed the cashier that I planned to drink all four cases that night. She pled with me not to. I heeded her wisdom. What up with the price? She explained that the cases hadn't sold as well as the distributor had anticipated. That all changed after my trip to the package store. After all this, I am still hungry (and thirsty) for deals. Do you know of any?
Two years ago, President Obama made headlines by meeting with Cambridge cop James Crowley in the Rose Garden. The "beer summit" seemed stiff, unnatural, and cold. Forty-four years ago, President Johnson made headlines by meeting with San Francisco longshoreman Eric Hoffer on the South Lawn. The pair hit it off like brothers from different mothers. The ability of the Democratic presidents to socialize with the common man approximates their party's appeal to the working class. So news of the Obama campaign's decision to bypass competing for the votes of blue-collar whites seems to merely affirm the direction the Democrats have taken in recent decades. Read my column @ Human Events on how the phrase "blue-collar Democrat" has gone from almost a redundancy to almost an oxymoron.
Something called BabyCenter has revealed its top-ten most popular 2011 baby names for boys and girls. Thankfully, my kids' names don't appear. For girls, "Sophia" is tops; for boys, "Aiden." A peculiarity of the lists is that nine of the top ten girl names end in a vowel while nine of the top ten boy names end in a hard consonant sound. Name your girl "Jennifer," or your boy "Joshua," at your own risk.
Many books can change the way you think. Few books can change the law. Peter Schweizer's Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison is one such book. You may have seen it on television when 60 Minutes confronted Nancy Pelosi. Now read about it in my FrontPageMag review.
One might think that the tabloidish revelations of Barney Frank's abuse of office in helping his hooker-housemate Stephen Gobie would have humbled the Massachusetts lawmaker. It emboldened him, and the cantankerous congressman found himself immersed in more scandals with more boyfriends. Rather than own up Barney lashed out. More than thirty years after his election to Congress, Barney Frank has decided to call it quits. His constituents should have quit him years ago. Read my piece @ City Journal on how a fawning constituency only fuels a narcisisstic politician.