The colonists who founded the United States Marine Corps in Tun Tavern 239 years ago certainly understood their demographic. The launch of the USMC in a Philadelphia bar makes sense in a way that the founding of NAMBLA in an old church does not. This weekend, I spoke as the guest of honor to Marines celebrating their birthday. Sure enough, there was a bar in the room--it is as it was. Read my column @ the American Spectator on one of the few good men who elevated the title "Marine."
I vote on whether stores should charge a deposit on Gatorade and water bottles next month. Couldn't I also vote to rescind the current bottle bill while we're at it? With curbside recycling, bottle deposits appear--like New Coke--as an idea whose time has past. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how never has so much waste gone into preventing waste.
Ebola, a disease especially contagious in its spread of panic, affects an overwhelming number of television journalists. Not since the associates of the Good Witch Glinda and Hermione Granger descended upon Salem has a scourge incited such mass hysterics. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how cable news does now for Ebola what Cotton Mather's Memorable Providence, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions did then for the vexing yet similarly elusive sorcerer problem.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority used eminent domain powers to declare some of the city's most valuable land "blight" and transfer it to the Red Sox in a no-bid process. Read my series on how the Red Sox suckered Boston into handing over public streets for private gain @ Breitbart Sports here, here, here, and here.
The for-free new U2 album Songs of Innocence, the band's thirteenth, may come to fans like none before it. It sounds like the group's twelfth, eleventh, and tenth LPs, which sounded like a mish-mash of their past. Read my article @ the American Spectator on why this is your parents' U2, which is another way of saying, given the band's penchant for reinvention, that this isn't your parents' U2 but a cover of them.
Google pursues a chip that promises to make machines more like humans. It’s about time they atoned for making humans more like machines. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on the ways computers have stunted intellectual, social, and even bodily development.
San Francisco is a city of Morlocks and Eloi. A recent trip there brought close encounters of the homeless kind. One man adjusts his suspenders in the library's bathroom mirror for seven hours. Others sell VHS tapes and bits of rope on Market Street. A woman offers me her body; a mute man offers me his coat. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the city's generosity with taxpayer dollars transforming a city into a cesspool.
Michael Brown lost his life after pursuing his unrestrained, but not unrequited, love for Swisher Sweets, which he heisted from a Ferguson, Missouri, shopkeeper. I despise his means but not his end. Swisher's are sweet, indeed. But the everyman's smoke has become an expensive taste since President Obama signed into law the largest tobacco tax increase in American history. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how the government has eliminated the possibility of a good five-cent cigar by becoming, ahead of the manufacturer and the retailer, the main profiteer.
The Washington Post editorial page, which generally speaks the Redskins name only to lecture others not to speak the Redskins name, announced this weekend that it would no longer print the term "Redskins" immediately after printing the term "Redskins." The team's hometown newspaper contends that "the matter seems clearer to us now than ever, and while we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves." Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports detailing how "thoughtful opinion" on the matter has yet to persuade national opinion, which remains overwhelmingly behind the nickname.
"Drugs are bad, mkay?" explains South Park's Mr. Mackey. Like Nancy Reagan, Joe Friday, and other tellers of this simple truth, Mr. Mackey plays the punchline. But too many former drug enthusiasts agree with Mr. Mackey from the grave to dismiss the elementary school teacher's elementary wisdom. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how a teller of simple truths isn't a simpleton but rather someone blessed with the ability to cut through sophistry.
San Francisco supervisor candidate George Davis strangely campaigned naked earlier this month. Even stranger, he did so in Times Square. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the San Francisco politician's crusade meshes well with a TMI age of YouTube confessionals, Twitter Tourette's syndrome, and such reality television fare as VH1's Dating Naked, TLC's Buying Naked, and Discovery's Naked and Afraid.
Halfway through Sharknado 2: The Second One, I glimpsed a tiger shark--indigenous to tropical waters quite unlike those encroaching upon New York City--attacking pedestrians in Manhattan. This bit of artistic license almost completely ruined it for me. Had the filmmakers done their homework they would have discovered that tiger sharks rarely navigate the Atlantic north of the 30th parallel--let alone north of the 40th parallel. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how such inattention to detail will unfortunately unleash the sharknado deniers.
An Oakland AFL-CIO "union of unions" has resolved to pressure the local schools to teach a curriculum comparing the assassin Mumia Abu-Jamal with the assassinated Martin Luther King. Read my piece @ Breitbart on how Mumia is guilty of murder; his votaries, self-delusion.
Smoking is healthier than fascism. The aphorism's latest affirmation comes via the death of a seller of cigarette singles at the hands of New York City police officers. Read my column @ the American Spectator on how politicians passing petty laws--such as prohibitions on selling loose cigarettes rather than packs--ultimately leads to disrespect for law enforcers.
Conservatives' discovery of Liberty Island comes at a good time. The online publisher of "right brain" fiction embraces conservatism in the best sense; not a series of policy prescriptions but a preservation of that worth keeping. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on the return of pulp fiction for a digital age.
Pink Floyd announced an October release for their first album in twenty years. I party to "Brown Sugar" and work out to "Baba O'Riley." I dream to "Echoes" and "Sheep." Read my article @ the American Spectator on why Pink Floyd puts me to sleep.
My public library leaves hundreds of titles--including the "great books"--for the taking on a bookshelf atop wheels in the lobby. I picked up Walker Percy's Lancelot, which I promptly read, and Rob Sheffield's enjoyable Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, which I had read four years ago. Free books at once read as blessing and curse. I value a good read. But when a library gives away a good read they confirm that the public by and large doesn't value a good read. Give a good read to my article @ the American Spectator on how the lazy machines have killed literacy.
The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. The numbness of a draw. Who prefers anesthetization to stimulation? Roughly one of every six 2014 World Cup matches has ended in a draw. It's the soccer way. It's not the American way. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on why a nation that came from too-certain Puritans and Cowboys not high on nuance detest draws.
Jack White owns the top spot on the Billboard albums chart in large part because of the sale of vinyl albums. White's "Lazaretto" sold more vinyl LPs in one week than any other act in the 23-year history of SoundScan. Consumers rejected new technology for old here because older, in this case, means better. Just as a landline operates as a more superior telephone than an iPhone, vinyl records sound better than compressed, tinny, digital music. They're not as convenient as digital, just as your landline can't take a picture like your iPhone. But if it's purely about the music, records sound better. Read my column @ the American Spectator on how the latest isn't always the greatest.
Demonstrative enthusiasm for European football stands as a popular passive-aggressive way that Americans announce their superiority vis-a-vis the rubes next door. Like smallpox, Nazism, and Cliff Richard, soccer is something that Europeans should have kept to themselves. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on how it's okay for Americans to play soccer--it's just not okay for them to play a European.
Rik Mayall died this week. The uninitiated get a sense of Mayall’s humor by reading his autobiography, or at least the title: Bigger than Hitler, Better than Christ. But anyone growing up in the 1980s likely knew him as that left-wing poseur "Rick" in The Young Ones. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how Rik's death leaves me feeling that we may not be the young ones very long.
When symbols on the "coexist" bumpersticker come to represent people who would rather you not exist, then it's time to rethink koexistieren, coesistere, and coexistir. The word, in any tongue, implies live and let live--not live and let murder me. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how Europe finds Islamic immigration so vexing because it doesn't know what it's supposed to be defending in response to the challenge of Europe's values.
Dr. Maya Angelou, an author more revered than read, passed away at 86 on Wednesday. She is survived by her seven autobiographies. Read my column @ the American Spectator on how the doctor without a doctorate lived the American Dream whose existence she sometimes doubted.
Dinesh D'Souza gave away his money to a political candidate. Now the state wants to take his freedom away. It's the law and not the lawbreaker that commits the crime here. Read my column @ the American Spectator on the attempt to lock up Dinesh D'Souza with mother-rapers, father-stabbers, father-rapers, and those guys on To Catch a Predator.
Commencement ceremonies now serve as an exclamation point to the horrible education received by students. Too ignorant to know that they don't know, graduating activists regard successful attempts to block speakers as triumphs instead of reflections on their failures to learn. Read my article @ the American Spectator on campus Jacobins pulling the plug on graduation speakers at Haverford, Smith, Brandeis, and points beyond.
America isn't as free as it used to be. The attitudinal evolution on speech has occurred in the last few years. The seeds of the transformation were planted several decades ago on America's campuses. Facing off with book burners, mobs shouting down my words, and bureaucrats pulling the plug on my talks, I can't say I didn't see the wider, societal censorship coming. So the heckler's veto preventing Condi Rice from speaking at Rutgers or the impuritans demanding HGTV pull a reality show off the air because of its stars' Christianity doesn't seem so surreal to me. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on the Left's Long March from Herbert Marcuse's "liberating tolerance" to cancelled television shows and speakers followed so predictable a path that current surprise should surprise.
Are rights a reward that the state bestows upon citizens for good behavior? I ask the question in my piece @ Breitbart Sports on disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Aside from freedom of speech, privacy, and private property issues, the case evokes slippery slope considerations. Should the NBA take Sterling's franchise, who is next? Extremists have a candidate already lined up, conservative Christian Rich DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic, who has donated causes defending traditional marriage. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports that posits that fascism, like the devil, masquerades as an angel of light. If Sterling's case exposes a racist underbelly of a majority-minority league, the what does it say about an NAACP set to honor the racist billionaire? Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization trading honors for a racist's cash.
Twenty five years ago today, The Cure unleashed Disintegration on the world. Haunting, dark, ethereal, the album plays as timeless rather than time capsule because it stood out rather than fit in with the sonic surroundings of 1989. It helped catapult alternative music into the mainstream and made blackhole Robert Smith into a strange superstar. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the best album of the last quarter century.
An interfaith advisory panel urges the National September 11 Memorial Museum to bowdlerize a six-plus-minute film of unflattering references to Islam for fear of sparking an international incident. If only Osama bin Laden had employed such a nonsectarian "coexist" council of elders prior to sparking international incident. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on why the filmmakers at the museam would have been better off making the villains in their short film Germans, Southerners, or German Southerners.
Turning the tables remains the first refuge of liars called on their mendacity. "I was hurt," Elizabeth Warren relays in her new autobiography about charges that she faked Indian ancestry, "and I was angry." What about the law professor she took a spot from? Does she get to be angry, too? Read my column @ the American Spectator that posits that if a blue-eyed blonde can convince herself that she belongs to Sequoia's tribe, then she can convince herself that her popularity at Harvard College will translate to popularity in the Electoral College.
Patriots' Day served as a sports holiday for me growing up: running an annual 5K, cheering on Bill Rogers from Chestnut Hill, and working at the unusual a.m. game at Fenway Park. Last year, when two jerks set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, patriots again defined the day. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports juxtaposing the patriots one year ago and the patriots 238 years before that.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, and others into its club on Thursday. Bands complain that they've been kept out. They should complain that rock's been kept behind display cases and velvet ropes as though it were an artifact rather than a living art form. Read my column @ the American Spectator on why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is as rock and roll as Up with People covering Air Supply.
Michael Sam prefers football; his defenders, mental gymnastics. When anonymous voices within the NFL suggested that the openly-gay football might present a culture clash with the locker room, Frank Bruni and Michelangelo Signorile cried "bigot." Now that Brendan Eich has been forced out of Mozilla for supporting a pro-traditional marriage ballot initiative several years ago, Signorile, Bruni, and others celebrate a victory for tolerance because the CEO beliefs clashed with those dominant in Silicon Valley. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on the self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and amoral ends-justify-the-means ethics of the bigots crusading against "bigotry."
My friend the Ultimate Warrior passed away last week. About ten years ago, we spent a memorable morning working out at Gold's Gym, where his voice and personality played louder than his in-ring persona. Unlike the bombast he generally projected, Warrior worked out with an emphasis on form and not flash. Rather than grunt through the repetitions by putting three plates on the barbell, the former WWF champion put one on and ensured that he performed the movement perfectly. Read my remembrance @ Breitbart Sports on how is obsession with weight-room form--doing things right rather than doing things for show--works as a metaphor for his too-short life.
Texans running back Arian Foster hates Caillou. So do I. If PBS played Faces of Death instead of Caillou it would be healthier for three-year-olds. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on how Caillou is a Canadian/PBS plot to slowly transform Americans into a nation of whiners.
Labor unions seek to organize Northwestern, Duke, and Stanford athletes the way they once organized Flint, Gary, and Paterson workers. Who could possibly object? Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on how the plan to formally professionalize amateur athletics through the formation of labor unions will kill college sports.
John Calipari tries to win his second NCAA basketball title tonight. John Wooden won ten. Wooden railed against passing where one wasn't looking, rarely traveled to recruit players, forbade water during practices, and largely refrained from coaching during games. Yet, a man whose physiognomy screamed anachronism ushered college basketball into the modern age. Read my review of Seth Davis's Wooden: A Coaches Life @ Breitbart Sports.
The esteemed philosopher and dental hygienist Johnny Rotten long ago asked, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" From David Ortiz's staged-spontaneity presidential selfie to the president's April Fool's claim that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for ObamaCare, manipulation plays as a sad staple of modern life. Read my column @ the American Spectator on how lies dehumanize their tellers and hearers.
Barack Obama invited the World Series champions to the White House Tuesday to generate positive press coverage. The MVP of the World Series instead used the visit to generate positive cash flow. It's too bad David Ortiz manipulated the president into a Samsung product endorsement. It's worse that politicians manipulate athletes into a sort of political endorsement by using them for photo ops when they win championships. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on how Ortiz's selfie photo-op reverses the traditional exploitation of athletes by politicians.
More than a decade after MTV effectively ditched music videos, and almost a quarter century since their last album, the Pixies have released the best music video of the post-MTV era for a song called "Snakes." What a very oddball, Pixies thing to have done. Read my column @ the American Spectator on YouTube picking up where MTV left off.
An article by ESPN's ombudsman asked, "Give Fans What They Want, or Should Have?" The sports behemoth's watchdog affirms that he favors the latter--more Michael Sam, Richie Incognito, debates over the N-word, and handwringing over sports concussions. It's merely boring that ESPN shifts from sports to essentially political debates. It's dishonest that ESPN deals with disputes as though they aren't. A controversy, by definition, doesn't elicit unanimity. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on how debate on ESPN plays more like a monologue.
John Dickinson remains famous, and infamous, for two brave acts. He refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. Then he fought in the War for Independence that he had sought to avert. Read my review of William Murchison's The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson @ the American Spectator.
The Big East's Creighton advanced in the NCAA tournament this weekend. How does a small school in Nebraska qualify as "Big East"? If you came of age during the 1980s--wore out an Atari 2600, watched Martha Quinn introduce Nena's "99 Luftballoons," rode in the back of the family station wagon--and displayed even a remote interest in sports, then Big East basketball played as a big deal. But it doesn't now, which is why ESPN's 30 for 30 aired "A Requiem for the Big East." Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on how a made-for-TV league became a TV casualty.
Two minor-league hockey fans bought a 16 ounce cup of beer for $4 and a 20 ounce cup for $7 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise Idaho. They proceeded to drink the 16-ounce beer and pour the contents of the "20-ounce" beer into the smaller cup, which somehow managed to fit without an overflow. Oh, and they recorded this and uploaded to YouTube. Read how sports venues swindle patrons at the beer stand in my piece @ Breitbart Sports.
Vitali Klitschko, who knocked out 41 of his 47 opponents, plays an unfamiliar role as Ukrainian political leader: underdog. Whether facing off with Ukraine’s Russian invaders, ejecting the president he once supported, or relinquishing his heavyweight championship to champion his people in government, Klitschko’s odds often longer in the political arena than they did in the sports arena. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on the puncher who would be president.
Lent came early. On December 7--a day that shall live in infamy--I took an alcohol hiatus. Vices operate much like Whac-a-Mole. When you knock one down, another pops up. I stopped drinking beer. I started smoking lots of cigars. Read my column @ the American Spectator on moderation in all things--including moderation.
Jason Collins says he wears number 98 to honor Matthew Shepard, the victim of what the Brooklyn Nets center calls "one of the most notorious antigay hate crimes" But Matthew Shepard's killers didn't murder him because they hated gays. They murdered him because they loved meth. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports that wonders how a murder committed by one of Shepard's sex partners could be labeled an "antigay hate crime."
Nick Saban says he's not necessarily for the "Saban" rule. LeBron looks like the Lone Ranger. The NBA donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization that funds seminars touting "fisting" to teens. The weird world of sports just got weirder. Let me help you figure it out in my weekly "Sports Hangover" column @ Breitbart.com.
Harold Ramis died last week. His kind of movie unfortunately died long before that. Ramis had his fingerprints on Animal House, Caddyshack, Vacation, Stripes, etc.--some of the most hilarious movies in Hollywood history. But those movies are history. Increasing social restrictions on who can and can't be made fun of make America a less fun place. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how our progressive society has adopted more taboos than the most primitive culture.
NFL great Darren Sharper helped write a book about how being a father to a little girl makes him mindful of abuses against women. He now stands accused of multiple rapes in five states. Aaron Hernandez won Pop Warner's Inspiration to Youth Award in May. Then he allegedly murdered his friend in June. Richie Incognito tormented younger teammates by ridiculing them as gays. Now he praises the courage of Michael Sam for coming out. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on Ray Rice, Darren Sharper, and the NFL Hypocrite Hall of Fame.
An Ivy League professor has withdrawn his tenure application after tweeting 30,000 times in a two-year span derailed an academic book project. His success in the Twitterverse has opened up a new career: online aphorist. The twentieth century's greatest aphorist could have fit his thoughts into 140 characters or less. But Eric Hoffer would have never tried to fit in by opening a Twitter account. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how Twitter gets the brevity of aphorisms right but doesn't much do the wisdom.
More than two centuries ago, Catherine the Great sought to revive the Olympic games by conquering Athens. Her armies failed to get to Greece, but they did conquer areas around the same Black Sea that Sochi overlooks. There, her advisor, enforcer, and lover Grigory Potemkin set up facades and scrubbed up villagers to present a fake picture of "New Russia" to his queen. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on how Vladimir Putin's winter games borrow from Potemkin's template.
Beware Cap'n Crunch, Hamburglar, and Aunt Jemima. Atticus Finch and Perry Mason, or at least their less scrupulous peers, come for their cut. A group of lawyers has lobbied state attorneys general to sue the food industry because of obesity-related health-care costs. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the suit stems less from the enormous appetites of big bellies than from the enormous appetite of big government.
A study by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association shows dramatic declines in baseball, basketball, and football participation among youths from 2008 to now. I caught up to coaches in each of those three sports to get a bead on the causes of the exodus from athletic fields. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on why kids who sit in the stands instead of compete on the gridiron, court, or diamond don't know what they're missing.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, an enormously gifted actor, overdosed last weekend. Strangers descended upon his Manhattan neighborhood with flowers and candles. Neighbors confessed that they didn't know that he lived on their block. The scene illustrates the upside-down moral universe in which we live. We extend sympathy and charity to those beyond our reach while we neglect those in front of us. Read my article @ the American Spectator on that paradoxical being, the stranger celebrity, and the pixels and projectors that make us believe he is our friend.
The opening ceremonies for the winter games occur today. How did the Miami Beach of Russia with many palm trees but little in the way of snow land the Winter Olympics? The same way a $36 million ski slope construction project became a $2.3 billion boondoggle, corruption. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports that asks: if the Olympics go to the highest briber, what's to stop the sale of gold medals?
"I'll break you in half," Congressman Michael Grimm informed a startled reporter after the State of the Union. "Like a boy." Kids hate bullies because they make them feel inferior; adults subconsciously love them because they make them feel superior. So, Michael Grimm, Richie Incognito, and any teenage girl who ever made a disparaging remark about a classmate who later killed herself become subjects of ever lengthening "two-minutes" hate. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how the anti-bullies have become what they despise.
I caught up with Dana White yesterday at a Madison Square Garden press conference on UFC 169 that takes place in Newark, New Jersey. The juxtaposition of venues led me to ask: Why does the Empire State still refuse to sanction mixed-martial arts. "Seriously, it's the unions." White's reference of an old-grudge harbored against his UFC co-owners by a culinary union was repeated by Frank Mir, Uriah Faber, and others I spoke to. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on how a labor union's grievance forces Empire State MMA fans to travel past state lines to watch their passion in live action.
Journalists have drawn many conclusions linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy to contact sports. Scientists haven't even conducted a study attempting to link the two. Researchers who have pointed out the journalists indicting football over CTE don't have actual scientific evidence to base their claims have been called liars and crazy by members of the Fourth Estate. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on the CTE junk science condemning football.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that "extreme conservatives have no place in New York." He defines this endangered species as people who "are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay." (Thank goodness I live over the border in Massachusetts.) Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how long before Cuomo encouraged citizens of his state to leave they beat him to the punch.
Rush Limbaugh discussed my NFL Suicide Epidemic Myth series extensively on his show this week. The series, which detailed how suicide among NFL players is actually a less common occurence than it is among men in society, had an impact. The organization responsible for disseminating the unsubstantiated statistic that NFL players kill themselves at six times the national average reached out to me and retracted the statistic. Read my series @ Breitbart Sports here, here, here, and here.
A federal judge put a hold on the settlement between the NFL and its former players earlier this week. She believes the $765 million agreement isn't large enough. I don't fault her math. I do fault her solution. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on how subtracting plaintiffs, rather than taking more cash from the NFL, more justly resolves the settlement's troubles.
Less than a quarter of the 2.2 million enrollees in ObamaCare hail from the 18-to-34 age bracket. More than half come from the 45-to-64 bracket. The crisis, which surely will set off a rate crisis, has pushed the administration into panic mode. From ridiculous ads appealing to young people as keg-party imbeciles and trashy sluts to enlisting grandad Magic Johnson to convince twentysomethings to sign up, the campaign to win over young people to ObamaCare reveals how out-of-touch the administration is with one of its core constituencies. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how the administration relates to young people as caricatures.
Articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Time all pushed the idea that NFL players kill themselves at extraordinary high rates. But an exhaustive study by federal researchers proved the opposite: the suicide rate among males in society dramatically exceeds the rate among NFL retirees. Read my investigative report @ Breitbart Sports.
The FBI has gone after ICP, so ICP has brought in the ACLU. Are all these acronyms confusing? The Insane Clown Posse has sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation for classifying their folllowers, the Juggalos, as a gang. ICP insists they're a "family." Like Mike Brady's or Charles Manson's? Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how possies, gangs, parties, movements, etc. have the tendency to give members purpose, an identity, and support, but at the price of individuality.
Paul McCartney, an entertainer whose creative peak came a few years before my birth, grossed four times as much touring income in 2013 than the next highest earner. "Dracula" and "Sleepy Hollow" reincarnated on the small screen. "The Great and Powerful Oz," "Star Trek into Darkness," and "The Man of Steel" were among the tops at the box office. Notice a trend here? Read my article @ the American Spectator on our culture's permanent vacation from now.
Crooks usually provide a window into what we value. An Italian politician in possession of several stolen rare books, and the indicted college-dropout librarian who "gave" them to him after getting help getting the job, tell us what we prize as a society--but it's not leather-bound classics. Real intellectuals read books; phony intellectuals display them. We seek to project erudition more than we seek to acquire it. Read my piece @ the American Spectator showing that people may no longer value books, but they still value the appearance of having read them.
Al Goldstein, the founder of Screw magazine who passed away yesterday, knew his audience because he was his audience. Before shops held dirty magazines captive in clean plastic, the "adult" aisle teemed with gawking Goldstein look-alikes--fat, sweaty, socially-awkward men leering at what laughed at them in life. Hugh Hefner placed women on a pedestal; Goldstein knocked them down into the gutter. Playboy did beautiful; Screw, ugly. Read my column @ the American Spectator on how a man enslaved to his appetites becomes a tyrant to everyone around him--including himself.
Ghoulish doctors exhumed the body of Jovan Belcher on Friday to examine his rotting and bullet-busted brain. If they find tau deposits in his brain, will it mean that Belcher is any less responsible for murdering his girlfriend and himself? The doctors performing the controversial, headline-grabbing autopsy won't reveal their identities. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on the latest rationalization for why the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker killed his daughter's mom.
Translator for the deaf Thamsanqa Jantjie, standing next to the president of the United States at Mandela's memorial service, treated the international audience to a series chopping gestures and finger flicks. What did it all mean? Read my article @ the American Spectator that wonders why people who regard every artistic or legal interpretation as equally valid condemn Jantjie's interpretation for the hearing impaired as egregiously wrong.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's season-ending MCL and ACL tears on a low hit by Browns safety T.J. Ward evokes the law of unintended consequences. NFL concussions are down. ACL injuries are up. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on how the contrasting trajectories may be connected rather than coincidental.
Eighty years ago today, progressives woke up groggy after their fourteen-year bender in state-imposed sobriety. They had forgotten the cloudy night before, and the 5,065 nights before that. In the throes of a throbbing political hangover, they blamed the disaster on everybody but themselves. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the orphan reform of progressive parentage--and don't forget to drink to Utah at 5:32 p.m. Eastern time.
On Black Friday, Walmart wants its stores packed like a mosh pit. Tomorrow--surely it will be a Black Saturday at the White House if the revamped health care website hiccups--the president wants a manageable, mild, modest number of Americans to visit healthcare.gov. In this, and a thousand other ways, the private and public sectors differ. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on why you should be glad Jeff Bezos and not Barack Obama delivers your presents this Christmas.
Dr. Bennet Omalu and Dr. Julian Bailes were all over television screens this past month on PBS' "League of Denial" and touting their own alleged test for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the living. But they don't seem very eager to talk to me after I revealed that West Virginia government documents indicate that they own the company marketing the tests that they vouch for. Read my latest investigative report @ Breitbart Sports.
A Communist murdered the president of the United States fifty years ago today. This inconvenience has prompted any number of conspiracy theories. Everyone projects their hopes on the future. Read my article @ the American Spectator pointing out that the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John Kennedy suggest that we also impose our wishes on the past.
The scientists hyping the test that purported to diagnose Tony Dorsett with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) turn out to own the company. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News and nearly every major news outlet who reported this hoax as fact missed this conflict of interest. Read my investigative report @ Breitbart Sports that examines the line between a scientific assessment and a marketing pitch.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship turns 20 this month. I traveled to a local bar on Saturday to watch UFC 167, which, under the watchful eyes of Royce Gracie, demonstrated the evolution of mixed-martial arts. Read my piece @ Breitbart Sports on how George St. Pierre's controversial split-decision victory over Johnny Hendricks illustrates how the sport has made very big changes in a very short time.
Blockbuster rented its last movie this week. Unlike Circuit City or Eastern Airlines, the decline of Blockbuster had less to do with the flaws in the company than with trends in society. In this sense, its disappearance evokes the loss of Borders (illiteracy), Tower Records (online shoplifting), and KB Toys (abortion). The customer isn't always right. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the wave of the future has once again become a thing of the past.
No, Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett was not diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). ABCCBSNBCESPNNewYorkTimes fell for a hoax. Shouldn't they have sensed something was wrong when a major scientific discovery was announced not in an academic journal but on ESPN's "Outside the Lines"? As the company behind the magic test and the doctors administering it admit, CTE can only be diagnosed upon autopsy--not in the living. Read my article @ Breitbart Sports on how a massive portion of the Fourth Estate unwittingly became boosters for a shadowy for-profit venture.
I give fact checkers five Pinocchios. They invariably prove more dishonest than the worst political Joe Isuzus that they skewer. In their feigned, above-it-all objectivity, they lie every time they investigate whether the "facts" are factual. They surely did in Politifact's repeated assessment of Barack Obama's you-can-keep-your-health-insurance pledge as something other than false. Read my article @ the American Spectator on why the people most eager to assume the mantle of "fact checker" are the people least fit for such a job.
A new HBO Real Sports/Marist poll reports that a third of Americans say that concern over long-term brain issues would make them less likely to allow a son to play football. Growing numbers of parents steering kids away from the gridiron doesn't reflect growing dangers. It represents growing hysteria. Football is good for you. That's what federal scientists discovered when they looked at thousands of NFL retirees. Read my piece @ FoxNews.com that points out that science doesn't always confirm our suspicions, which is good reason to stop calling our suspicions "science" on football.
A specialist in retrieving lost television footage recovered 9 episodes of Doctor Who believed to have been lost to time and space. It turns out they were in a storeroom in Jos, Nigeria. Now they're on iTunes. Nearly a 100 episodes of Doctor Who remain missing. The culprits? Not Daleks, Cybermen, or the Master, but state television, an overblown bureaucracy, and a bullying union are to blame. Read my article @ the American Spectator on Doctor Who's most barbarous enemies.
Halloween, a holiday for children, has transformed into an unholy day for adults; its focus has shifted from gustatory appetites to sexual ones. It doesn't take a warlock to see that this is frightening. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how once again the most popular Halloween costume is "whore."
PBS outlets around the country have been airing a terrific documentary on football and concussions. But it's not the one that's getting all the attention. Whereas "League of Denial" inflames, "The Smartest Team" instructs. It demonstrates that through education, coaching, and equipment, football teams can dramatically reduce the number of concussions suffered over a season. Read my review of The Smartest Team @ the Daily Caller.
When the government acts like a banana republic, the people will behave as though they live in one. Juxtaposing the chaotic scene at a Louisiana Walmart of EBT cardholders conducting a legal looting with the constant cable-news-loop of politicians looting future generations surely affirms this. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how people not responsible for the money in their pocket are usually not very responsible in how they spend it. Attention Walmart shoppers: It is later than you think.
Bill Dwyre writes in the Los Angeles Times that "the NFL deserves to go away, to be banished from our sight forever." But the NFL isn't going anywhere. Youth football, which lost a sizable percentage of its players last season, is. From the oldest football league being put out of existence at Lawrenceville Prep to a Massachusetts principal banning a girls' "powderpuff" game, scolds have cracked down on gridiron fun this season. But much of the science backing their crusade turns out to be pseudoscience. Read my piece @ the Los Angeles Times that asks, what's the war on football's endgame? Checkers?
The "League of Denial" documentary running this week really puts the BS into PBS. From going Faces of Death on viewers by showing Mike Webster's corpse to refusing to put a critic of its thesis on camera until the 72nd minute, League of Denial suffers from the very intellectual intolerance it charges the NFL of harboring. Read my review @ National Review of an emotional argument masquerading as an intellectual one.
"I'm disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualised performances and videos," Annie Lennox noted this week, joining Sinead O'Connor in lamenting the phenomenon that is Miley Cyrus. Read my article @ the Spectator on how decadence isn't the primary problem. Stupidity is. Music, an inherently sonic medium, has somehow become primarily a visual one.
Frontline's League of Denial documentary asked "What the NFL knew and when they knew it." But most scientists studying CTE admit that no link has been established between CTE and football. How could the NFL have known something that scientists confess they don't know? Bad journalists follow the pack; good scientists follow the truth. Read my article at Breitbart.com that posits that rather than air a conspiracy theory hinting that the NFL long ago hid scientific discoveries of which neurologists today remain ignorant, Frontline's producers might want to come clean about what they don't know and when they knew that they didn't know it.
America could care less that the federal government has furloughed park rangers or has closed the Export-Import Bank. If Obama wanted the government shutdown to matter, he should have taken away The Beatles, Monty Python, football--something that people actually care about. Read my article @ the American Spectator that explains how the government shutdown demonstrates that bureaucrats are more dependent on taxpayers than taxpayers are on bureaucrats.
Amazon's former chief financial officer died in a bicycle accident last week. Because she was famous, we heard about her death. But the dozen other cyclists killed in America failed to make national news. If they had been wearing a Riddell or Schutt helmet when they passed, it assuredly would have made the Drudge Report. More Americans died in cycling collisions last week than have died in football collisions the past three years. Read my article @ National Review that contends that football makes us crazy--fans and critics alike.
The crudest show on television is also the smartest. South Park launched its seventeenth season earlier this week by taking on the surveillance state. Cartman, as a he tweets and posts every detail of his life, objects to the government snooping on him. The fat fourth grader represents schizophrenic America, at once TMI and MYOB. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how a nation of exhibitionists can't object to a government of voyeurs.
MTV's Kennedy has penned a tell-all autobiography, "The Kennedy Chronicles." Therein, she goes after everyone from Thom Yorke to Evander Holyfield to Puck to Tabitha Soren. As a VJ who entered our television sets when MTV was highly relevant and departed when evidence of its decline was everywhere on screen, Kennedy might be accurately termed "the last VJ." Read my review of The Kennedy Chronicles @ the American Spectator.
NFL week one witnessed fifteen hundred enormous men clashing and colliding. None of them died. One can't say the same thing for the men who watched them play. A fan in San Francisco died from a fall at Candlestick Park. In the 94-season history of the National Football League, not a single competitor has died from a hit. Read my article @ FoxNews.com on how the electricians, cops, and steelworkers watching the NFL work in more dangerous professions than the athletes playing in the NFL.
The unauthorized publication of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s diary reveals that he doesn't much like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Andrew Cuomo, and other liberals. In documenting his incessant sexual conquests awarding him temporary affirmation, the diary reveals that he doesn't much like himself, either. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how people bred with the sense of entitlement to run the lives of others so often can't run their own.
Rave music reincarnated as EDM (electronic dance music). Ecstasy similarly resurrected itself as Molly. Hundreds of young people have overdosed on the club drug this summer. A few have died. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how Molly, like the people that one inevitably encounters at discotheques, appears superficially appealing but eventually reveals a seedy side.
ESPN dropped its name from the upcoming Frontline documentary, "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis." Though the move appears petty, this doesn't mean the documentary won't be, too. Alarmists ignore the inconvenient reality that not a single randomized study has been conducted linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy to contact sports or even concussions. Instead of actual science, proponents of the CTE meme point to individual brains--believed to be damaged before their donation--of a few dozen deceased players out of many millions who have played the game. But autopsies focusing on brain-damaged players does not a randomized study make. Read my article @ the Daily Caller on how the NFL never should have pressured ESPN to drop its sponsorship of the documentary--and the documentarians should drop the pretense that their suspicions are science.
Concussions vex doctors, athletes, and their parents. Identifying the injury, let alone identifying what permanent damage results from an injury whose symptoms generally prove temporary, frustrates. So, quite naturally, quacks offer cures to what ails--for a price. Read my article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on how parents seeking answers on concussions would be better off looking back to the distant past rather than looking at futuristic elixirs and brain pills.
When I was born, about one in twenty teens were obese. Today, it's about one in five. Football, a game with special appeal to bigger boys, can be an effective tool in the fight against fatness. But with misplaced priorities, crusaders seek to ban or otherwise restrict the sport. Read my article @ FoxNews.com on why it's player bellies, not their brains, that should concern those concerned about health.
Football opens the 2013 season as an underdog. The headlines indicate the headwinds. "Is American Football Evil?" "Should Kids Play Football?" "Should We Ban Football?" America's Game desperately needs a pep rally, some cheerleaders, and a crowd's roar to uplift it. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how football surely can't suffer through too many more mean seasons and remain America's Game much longer.
How long before the hysteria that keeps kids away from football fields also keeps murderers out of prison? Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been used to explain the violent behavior of everyone from O.J. Simpson to Tamerlan Tsarnaev to Aaron Hernandez. But science doesn't yet fully know what causes CTE, how to diagnose it in the living, or why some who suffer heavy brain trauma escape it--let alone if any of the aforementioned bad guys suffered from it. Read my article at the Charleston Post and Courier on why football deserves the presumption of innocence at least as much as its least savory players.
In dissecting the world of dumb jocks, the eggheads have gone native. Merely because a thousand talking heads chatter every time a football player dies young or commits suicide doesn't mean that thousands of players kill themselves or depart before their time. In fact, football players live longer than their peers and kill themselves at a dramatically reduced rate. Read my piece @ Forbes on how the eggheads don't know as much as the athletes when it comes to football.
Football's ratings are the highest on television. Yet, the game faces an existential crisis. Partisans looking to rally the harried game might discover in its 144-year past the best reasons for it enjoying a future. Football presents the story of the counted out coming back. Read my article in the New York Post, and the discussion of it at Newsbusters, on why 2013 is the year of football's comeback.
The lawsuit against the NFL features more than 400 plaintiffs (of the more than 4,000 litigants) who never played a down in the league they're suing. One headline posits, "Concussion lawsuits could spell end of NFL." But the league that sells game-day parking spaces for $50 needn't worry about its survival. Leagues that sell candy bars for their survival do. Youth football participation was down six percent last season. Read my article in the Chicago Tribune (free registration available through "digital lite") that shows how the lawsuit against the NFL is hurting every league but the one it targets.
Barack Obama isn't very popular anymore. Gallup pegged his job approval rating over the weekend at 41 percent, twenty-seven points below his Inauguration Day numbers. Why doesn't Obama provoke the thrill up the leg that he once did? The answer can be found in a new book, Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Be Stopped?, by James Antle. Read my review @ FrontPageMag that posits that Obama isn't popular because his ideas don't work.
Michael Jackson created a Neverland for himself complete with a zoo, amusement park, and a candy store. In so many ways less innocent, the man behaved as a child. Whatever judgment the court issues in Jackson v. AEG, the court of public opinion's verdict is already in: Michael Jackson was fifty going on five. Read my article @ the American Spectator.
Football periodically faces extinction, but never has the game been enveloped in a crisis as odd as the current one. Just when the game plays safer than at any time in its 144-year history, its critics threaten to make the game history. Read my piece in the Los Angeles Times on how football, contrary to the contentions of its critics, isn't a troglodyte game. It's a game of evolution.
Fast-food workers across America have been partaking in lunchtime strikes. My lunchtime strike against fast food started long before the workers' industrial action did. People (over the age of 7) don't eat at McDonald's because it tastes good. They eat there because it's cheap. The price of food is tied into the price of labor. Just as people don't dine there because it serves the best burgers they don't work there because it pays the best. Read my article @ the American Spectator on why a worker who truly deserves higher pay creates a resume, not a ruckus.
A Detroit automaker rolls a car off the assembly line this year minus a taken-for-granted feature: AM radio. Just 11 percent of the top-ten rated stations in America's top-ten media markets reside on the AM band. Surely, the car company understands AM's sad reality. A visit through the dial's 106 stations reveals multiple Rush Limbaughs, George Noorys, and Sean Hannitys. The sameness is a turnoff. Read my cover story in the American Spectator that holds that efficiency, not competing technologies, is killing AM radio.
Art Bell returns to the airwaves this fall. Fittingly, he won't be broadcasting on terrestrial radio. The out-of-this-world host comes back on SiriusXM--extraterrestrial radio if you will. If you're Jonesing for a fix of the Anunnaki or Area 51 discussions, Bell is your pusher man. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the amazing talker who gets eager ears to listen on the public airwaves to the conversations that they run from in their private lives.
They don't make men like they used to. One can consult a Danish study that shows plummeting testosterone levels for scientific confirmation of this. Or, one could more easily turn on any cable news network's wall-to-wall coverage of the Zimmerman-Martin case, a tragedy involving two males fumbling in the dark on how to be men. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how neither responding to fists with a gun nor beating a man's head into the concrete are ways to act like a man.
It started by dropping an F-bomb. The prosecution's case went downhill from there. The state's ineptness permeates the entire trial of George Zimmerman, from the over-the-top second-degree-murder charge to the mumbling and contemptuous testimony of Rachel Jeantel to law enforcement witnesses that proved a boon for the defense. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the George Zimmerman trial has become the state on trial.
Richard Matheson, the I Am Legend author who wrote for Twilight Zone, Thriller, and Amazing Stories, died at 87 earlier this week. One of the saddest aspects of this loss is the sense in which there will never be another Richard Matheson. This isn't because Matheson's talent eclipsed his contemporaries--Charles Beaumont and Rod Serling's Twilight Zone stories generally surpassed his, and Roald Dahl and Ray Bradbury excelled more in the short-story genre--but because mass media no longer highlights good literature. One can still find it amidst the 600-channel wasteland. As my piece @ the American Spectator explains, Matheson's life recalls a time when it found you.
The NFL provided Aaron Hernandez a wake-up call three years ago when the first-round talent received fourth-round money because of his thug lifestyle. His first three years, and perhaps only years, in the league seemed to suggest that he had received the alarm loud and clear. But the events of the last week demonstrate that the tight end hit snooze way back when. The gangsta in him wasn't dead but only sleeping. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how the company you keep can really keep you down.
Every week, Cantabrigians hold a "Pardon Bradley Manning Stand Out." Nobody looks at them askance. A few years back, when the U.S. Army celebrated its birthday in the college town on the Charles, protestors heckled the eleven-year-old son of a deceased Medal of Honor winner as he led the Pledge of Allegiance. Police arrested seven. Read my article in the June 2013 issue of the American Spectator that holds: There's something about Cambridge.
I want my MTV! I keep getting Snooki's. The initialism that once stood for Music Television announced that it will revert to playing videos for twelve hours on the Fourth of July. The strange announcement comes on the heels of VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave, a memoir by the four surviving original video jockeys. Read my review @ the American Spectator of tales of cocaine, big hair, small salaries, and hooking up with MTV contest winners.
TV Guide and the Writers Guild of America released its "101 Best Written TV Series of All Time" earlier this week. Duck Dynasty, Amish Mafia, and Teen Mom 2 failed to make the list. It's strange that a list honoring writers comes at a time when television so dishonors them. Reality and talent shows are TV's way of outsourcing the jobs of writer and actor to cheaper workers. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the writers this list compiled by writers unjustly edited out of the final draft.
A handful of congressmen have demanded that the Washington Redskins change their name. I agree. Prefixing such a unique moniker with a geographic designation suggestive of corruption and parasitism surely sullies the team's good name. Now that they play in Landover, Maryland, and several prominent DC politicians have attacked their nickname, the Redskins should ditch the Washington prefix as they had earlier ditched the city as a stadium host. Read my article @ the American Spectator that stipulates that if New Yorkers don't mind being called "Yankees," and Vancouverites tolerate, nay, celebrate the name "Canucks," then we shouldn't be surprised to find Native Americans who embrace "Redskins."
The shopper in front of me in the supermarket line the other night paid with two peculiar checks with the letters "WIC" prominently inscribed on them. The acronym, which denotes a welfare food-assistance program, stands for "Women, Infants, and Children." He was none of the above. Read my article in the American Spectator on America's fastest growing demographic: the Welfarians.
New Jersey alcohol enforcers raided several dozen bars Wednesday on the suspicion that they pour generic well-drinks from premium bottles. TGI Friday's, Applebee's, and Ruby Tuesday's were among the establishments busted in Operation Swill. The barfly gets when the barkeep cheats him. He doesn't grasp when he cheats himself. In the case of vodka, America's favorite hard liquor, trading in the contents of cheaper brands for the more expensive ones isn't really cheating anyone. Strangely, booze connoisseurs pay more attention to the name on the bottle on the one bottle in which it doesn't really matter. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how vodka is vodka is vodka.
The 2012-2013 television season featured more gay characters than ever. The Big Four networks lost 7.5 percent of their viewer share. This resulted in the cancellation of numerous gay-themed programs earlier this week. Depictions of homosexuals on network television more closely resemble advertising than entertainment. Some viewers inevitably buy; most turn the channel. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the departing activist gay characters that America gladly wave goodbye to and the one departing gay character that activist gays happily see off the small screen.
Joe Louis couldn't defeat the Internal Revenue Service. Neither could Evander Holyfield. But Manny Pacquiao looks like a heavy favorite to defeat the most powerful three letters in boxing when he fights next in Macau. Why is Manny leaving Las Vegas? The U.S. top tax rate approaches 40 percent. In Macau, it's 12 percent. When tax rates rise, human capital flees. That's the short-sightedness of big-government liberals, chasing away the tax base with punitive rates. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the Pac Man v. the Tax Man.
The Rolling Stones launch their North American tour tonight in Los Angeles. If you have $600 to spare, plenty of seats remain for the asking. The steep prices may have something to do with the unsold tickets. In contrast, Kid Rock sells every seat on his summer tour for $20. And just about every seat is selling. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how musicians can make audiences feel like it's 1971. But they can't make their wallets feel like it's before 2008.
The NFL Draft starts tonight. To listen to football's growing chorus of critics, the soon-to-be millionaires would be better off turning down the money. By their logic, JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf weren't draft-day busts. They hit the jackpot by avoiding the bumps, bruises, and concussions of an NFL career. But chances are that Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, West Virginia's Geno Smith, and other first-round selections will lead healthier, wealthier, and wiser lives because of football. Read my piece @ Human Events on the myth of the broke and broken-down athlete.
The third Monday in April acts as the point on the calendar when a snowed-in Boston rejoices in its liberation from King Winter. It's as much a sports as a weather holiday, with the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics joining the Marathon to make the day a sports fan's dream. But Patriots' Day, as its name suggests, is primarily about people who put their country ahead of themselves. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the lesson--answering when duty calls--of the first Patriots' Day being the lesson of the most recent one.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that nearly one-fifth of high school-age boys have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors eventually medicate two-thirds of them. The diagnoses represent a 41 percent increase over the last decade. Drug pushers wear lab coats, too. Read my article @ the American Spectator on medical efforts to medicate away the societal plague known as boyhood.
Homeless shelters serve a purpose. So if a resident objected to my replacing his bed with stacks of books, I wouldn't respond: why do you hate reading? Similarly, my objection to the public library becoming a place where homeless people go when the shelter closes its doors during the day doesn't indicate a contempt for homeless people or shelters. It indicates a respect for the library's distinct mission. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the public library's mission creep invites creeps.
Until Sunday night, everybody pegged Michelle Shocked as an '80s-era lesbian superhero. In less than a week she has become the female version of the Reverend Fred Phelps. That's the power of bullies who pretend to be bullied. They can change the public's perception of a known public figure almost overnight. The folk-rock singer, in an armageddon-arrives-the-day-after-tomorrow fashion, voiced her opposition to homosexual marriage in San Francisco Sunday night. Her career was over by Monday morning. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how you can learn a lot about a society by its taboos.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, if you can afford it. Happier, still, if you can't. Getting ripped off induces a worse hangover than a fifth of Jameson. March 17 is when we collectively pretend that anti-social behavior is really social behavior. Projectile vomiting, impromptu impersonations of Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti, and a.m. inebriation rank as a few of the behaviors that the bourgeois share with the bums on the holiday. Read my article @ the American Spectator on drinking milk instead of beer this St. Patrick's Day.
When cage fighter Fallon Fox knocked out Ericka Newsome with a well-placed knee to the mug last week, the Marquis of Queensberry couldn't have approved. The Scotsman regarded knee strikes as ungentlemanly; fighting, unladylike. Alas, the marquis can rest easy. Ms. Fox isn't really a lady but a post-op transsexual nicknamed "the Queen of Swords." Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the politically correct applause for a man beating up on women signifies a return to barbarism by people regarding themselves as the height of civilized.
McCready became the fifth patient of Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab to transcend addiction through bodily transcendence. Physicians do wonders with broken legs. Their success rate on broken hearts ranks somewhere below Mario Mendoza's success with curveballs. Why focusing cameras on the addict would help their recovery isn't exactly clear. It does extend their fifteen minutes of fame--patients' and doctor's. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how Dr. Drew understands his patients because he shares their addiction: celebrity.
Christopher Dorner penned a manifesto, imagined that celebrities desired his affirmation, used the word "I" way too much, believed his reputation outweighed the lives of others, and held grudges against his high school vice principal all these years later. Before he became a murderer, Dorner became a narcissist. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how one that seeks to go out in a blaze of vainglory usually gets his wish.
Last week's Winter X Games killed more people than 90-plus years of National Football League play. Should anyone's conscience really bother them for watching the Super Bowl? The president of the United States envisions a kinder, gentler football, one that won't force us "to examine our consciences quite as much." Read my article @ the American Spectator on why I won't feel guilty watching the Ravens and 49ers play on Sunday.
"Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons," the president said Wednesday afternoon, "and a 10-round limit for magazines." But the guns Americans assault other Americans with aren't "military-style assault weapons." In Obama's Illinois, for instance, FBI statistics show 377 gun murders for 2011. Just one of those 377 gun murders involved a rifle of any kind, let alon an assault rifle. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how the guns that receive the most attention are the ones that do the least killing.
Ten days from now Anheuser-Busch InBev unleashes a new beer, Budweiser Black Crown, with a deeper flavor and more alcohol than traditional Bud. The shrinking beer giant shouldn't expect to win back that six percent (and growing) craft-beer snob segment of the market that would sooner bedizen themselves in the fashions of K-Mart than publicly imbibe a Budweiser. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how beer is the new wine.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who leads the Washington Redskins on Sunday to their first home playoff game in more than a decade, isn't an ordinary rookie, according to teammate DeAngelo Hall. According to ESPN commentator Rob Parker, Griffin isn't an ordinary African American. "Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?" Parker infamously asked last month. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on the irony of a black quarterback on the NFL's last integrated team enduring flak from an African American journalist for failing to live down to stereotypes.
My father died a few months ago. Then, as he is wont to do, he resurrected himself later the same day. The nursing home that disseminated bad news before they disseminated good news had played grim reaper to the wrong man. There are worse, if not weirder, situations than calling off a funeral. "I'm sorry, sir, he's no longer deceased" is a real conversation killer. Read my back-of-the-mag piece @ the American Spectator on the indestructibility of fathers.
Babel, Mumford & Sons' foot-stomping, banjo-infused second album better suited for the local EnormoDome than a front porch in Appalachia, outsold all but two other albums on iTunes in 2012. It's up for four Grammy awards. The cool kids aren't happy. Mr. Mumford apparently believes in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. You can sing about killing cops and shooting heroin. But faith is forbidden. Read my piece @ the American Spectator that posits that in a world without taboos the only taboo is God.
Showtime claims that its ten-part Oliver Stone documentary The Untold History of the United States "demands to be watched again and again." The question is: how should it be "watched again and again"? Strapped into a Ludovico technique apparatus? The documentary imagines Stalin as a "liberator" and Harry Truman as the tool of "wealthy international bankers." Read my article @ FrontPageMag about Oliver Stone's cinematic conspiracy theory.
Jack Webb, who created Dragnet and played its lead, died thirty years ago this weekend. In the forties and fifties, Joe Friday stepped into the right time. In the 1960s, when Webb revived his creation for another television run, Joe Friday's popularity stemmed from clashing rather than meshing with his surroundings. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the culture clash between fifties cops and sixties criminals that took place every Thursday night on NBC.
Reality television personality David Hester has sued Storage Wars for wrongful termination alleging that the A&E program rigs auctions and plants curios in lockers. Will they next tell us that Santa Claus isn't real? Storage Wars is as real as Star Wars. But it's hardly the lone deceiver. Read my article @ the American Spectator on broadcasting's long history of rigging reality.
The Mayan 2012 prophecy came true for labor bosses Tuesday night. Rick Snyder, the governor of a state known for its powerful industrial trade unions, signed right-to-work legislation into law. Frustrate a racket at the risk of inflaming the racketeers. Protestors at the state capitol punched a Fox News personality in the face and slashed an Americans for Prosperity tent with knives. Surly the union bosses preaching doomsday misinterpreted the eschatological signs. The endtimes weren't in the state capital of Lansing, where a businessman politician affixed his signature to legislation inviting business back into Michigan, but, as my article at FrontPageMag outlines, in postapocalyptic Detroit.
'Tis the season for holiday music that intrudes, annoys, and entraps. Making a song about Christmas is a good way to get a bad song on heavy rotation. The good ones, strangely, rarely get airplays. Take The Kinks' "Father Christmas." Strangely, a song about robbing Santa Claus embodies the reason for the season better than most. But like so much of The Kinks' oeurve, it's too quirky for mainstream radio. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how "Father Christmas" is not only a 45 with a sense of humor. It's a 45 with a sense of the Beatitudes.
The Democrats' desired deal is no deal. The fiscal cliff, as their former chairman Howard Dean candidly admits, is the best deal they can get. Why would they negotiate themselves, at least from their perspective, into a worse deal by cutting government and jettisoning scheduled tax hikes? The fiscal cliff gives them, more or less, what they have been calling for. This is why the president's demands to avoid going off the fiscal cliff include such non-starters as increased stimulus spending and new unconstitutional powers to unilaterally increase the debt limit. They want to go off the fiscal cliff and their price for not doing so will prove greater than the fiscal cliff itself. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why John Boehner finds himself in an unenviable bargaining position because he bargained himself into it.
Stiffed waitresses know there's no such thing as a free lunch. They may soon learn there's no such thing as free health care, either. Restaurateurs, faced with door-closing costs from ObamaCare, have begun limiting workers to 28 hours per week to avoid paying onerous health-insurance costs. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on waiters and waitresses being left with ObamaCare's check.
My state has laws against discriminating against women born in men's bodies. Why don't they also forbid discrimination against animals born in human bodies? Transanimal Dennis "Stalking Cat" Avner, who held the Guinness Book of World Records mark for body modifications -- including a bifurcated lip, extensive tiger-stripe facial tattooing, surgically pointed ears, and silicone injections in the cheeks, chin, and forehead -- passed away this month. Society never accepted his transformation from man to feline. Read my article @ the American Spectator on why we will become as sane as transanimals only when we finally see them as they see themselves.
The downside of joining the elite group of Medal of Honor recipients is that the currency to gain admission is generally one's life. You can win the medal. You can stay alive. You can't do both. Dakota Meyer, an exception to this rule, is the only Marine in the last four decades to win the Medal of Honor and live to tell the tale. Read my book review @ the American Spectator of Meyer's Into the Fire to discover what an amazing tale it is.
MSNBC didn't run a single negative story on Barack Obama during the final week of the presidential campaign. MSNBC didn't run a single positive story on Mitt Romney during the final week of the presidential campaign. The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzed the campaign's press coverage and discovered that during the final week it went overwhelmingly negative for Romney and overwhelmingly positive for Obama. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why so many in a profession that prides itself on speaking truth to power so suck up to power.
General David Petraeus commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But what man is really in command when face-to-face with a determined Paula Broadwell? The author of the appropriately titled "All In" conquered Petraeus in a way that neither the Taliban nor al Qaeda could. Read my article @ the American Spectator that contends that looking at the pictures rather than reading the news reports will give you a better feel for why the director of the Central Intelligence Agency acted with so little intelligence.
"I hope and intend to be an even better president in the second term than I was in the first," Barack Obama announced on Wednesday. John Wilkes Booth, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Monica Lewinsky bet otherwise. History shows presidents suffer from the second-term blues. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how its never the same the second time around.
Tuesday was the Who Moved My Cheese?-election. Even a mouse could figure out which party adapted to the new nation and which one was trapped in the United States of Yesterday. Circumstances force Republicans to adapt--or remain mired in the maze. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how Obama didn't bring change--change brought Obama.
To read Nate Silver of the New York Times, one would think Barack Obama has the election wrapped up. But Mitt Romney leads among independents in every poll. His base appears more motivated to vote. And the economy, the race's leading issue, favors Romney. Several pollsters have resorted to juicing Democrat numbers to show a close race in battleground states. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why Mitt Romney will win the presidency next Tuesday.
What happens when people stop being politie and start getting really invasive with a toothbrush? The answer for a longtime MTV reality-television star was to sue. The alleged assault on Real World veteran Tonya Cooley, and the settlement reached this week between her and Viacom, isn't the kind of reality that makes it on reality television. Read my article @ the American Spectator that finds that there's plenty of room on television for sex--but not much room for consequences.
Pop Warner games don't usually make it into the New York Times and USA Today. But youth football games generally don't end 52-0. That happened between two teams for 11-year-olds in Massachusetts recently. Southbridge hurt Tantasqua's pride. They also hurt their heads. Five Tantasqua players suffered concussions in the blowout. Read my article @ the American Spectator why youth football, despite the proclamations of headlines, is safer than ever.
This summer, as the Republican National Convention urged a crackdown on pornography, a porn star, ironically enough, shut down skin-flick shoots in Southern California. A few small germs can have that effect on a multibillion-dollar industry. Sixteen summers earlier, a producer-pornographer offered a young Marine a chance at ladies and lucre. Read my back-of-the-magazine article from the American Spectator on my response to that acting opportunity--and how the penalties for bedding celluloid hookers devised by nature far outweigh any that man can devise.
Detroit, which was named America's most liberal city several years ago, has been named America's most dangerous city for the fourth straight year. But its baseball team is in the World Series, so it's a wash, right? Mitt Romney was born in the wealthiest city in U.S. But the Detroit he now talks about has become the poorest big city in the U.S. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how the Motor City is a cautionary tale for America. The mighty do fall.
Two years ago, Sidney Harman bought Newsweek for $1. He got ripped off. The weekly, which had become untrustworthy to a huge segment of its target audience, bled money. Newsweek outliving its nonagenarian owner startled the actuarial tables. News that it won't outlive 2012 didn't startle anyone. Editor Tina Brown announced the demise of Newsweek this week. From the phony story that American interrogators flushed a Koran down a toilet to the demeaning cover photo of Sarah Palin in running shorts to spiking the political sex scandal of the century, Newsweek dug its own grave. Read my article @ the American Spectator that points out that Newsweek has been dead for years. Tina Brown's announcement, like the backdated "current" events reported in the magazine, is just a belated recognition of what everybody already knows.
There is something admirable in a journalist striving for objectivity. There is something arrogant in a journalist imagining himself as embodying objectivity. Starting with Candy Crowley, the fact checkers have rushed to correct, scold, and lecture the candidate they will be voting against in three weeks. But the errors of the fact checkers seem to have gone largely unchecked. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that wonders: who will fact check the fact checkers?
President Obama's supporters want a more aggressive champion in tonight's debate. I hope they get their wish. The format, a townhall-style debate in which audience members ask questions, doesn't reward aggression. Al Gore, who bowed up to George W. Bush in the style of a seventh-grade bully, learned this the hard way twelve years ago. It's not as though Obama is likely to repeat that faux pas. Though he might interrupt in the style of his runningmate or call his opponent a liar. That may fire up the base. It will alienate undecided voters, who, by virtue of being undecided at this late stage, clearly don't vote on the issues but on matters such as who behaves better or who has the better haircut. A president sniping at his opponent destroys the advantages of office by making himself look undignified. Should Obama make the case for a second term aggressively, he may negate some of the ground gained by Romney since the last debate. But as any football tackler can tell you, when you drag opponents down you usually go down with them.
If Alex Karras played baseball, his obituary would have been a diatribe against gambling. Thankfully, he played footbal (quite well), so eulogists got to remember Karras punching out a horse in "Blazing Saddles," sitting next to Howard Cosell on "Monday Night Football," and rescuing a poor black orphan on a "Diff'rent Strokes" rip-off. Karras, like Pete Rose, bet on his sport. Karras, unlike Pete Rose, became popular rather than pariah. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how there's no crying in baseball--and no "Say it ain't so, Art Schlichter" in football.
Cesar Chavez was once an icon of the religious Left. Now the religious Left, and Chavez, are no more. Earlier this week, Barack Obama nationalized more than 100 acres of the United Farm Workers leader's retreat. The president referred to Chavez's Central Valley sanctuary as "La Paz." But its full name is Nuestra Senora Reina de La Paz--Our Lady Queen of Peace. Read my piece @ FrontPageMage on how turning a religious retreat named in honor of Jesus's mother into a national monument irritates one constituency as it courts another.
Datsun, extinct for nearly three decades, returns late next year--but not in the U.S. The $3,000 car the Nissan brand markets will be sold in India, Russia, and Indonesia. But in America, the price of doing business is too high to allow poor people off the bus and into their own cars. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how regulations, and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses standard features, make a car in every garage an exhaust pipe dream.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist, Pew, and CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac are among the high-profile polls that anticipate Democrats to vote more heavily than they did in 2008. The pollsters' enthusiasm about Democratic voters seems more enthusiastic than the Democratic voters' enthusiasm for President Obama. The internals of these polls seem preposterous. But Republicans would be unwise to ignore their direction. They uniformly show the president gaining momentum. That part is not rigged. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why stopping the president, rather than exposing the unfairness of partisan pollsters, should be the Republican focus.
Chuck Thompson proclaims in his book "Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession," "It's too bad we didn't just let the South secede when we had the chance." Unlike the initial sectional conflict, this proposal has nothing to to with freeing blacks. Whether the author cares to admit it or not, the manifesto--Southerners are too fat, too prone to violence, too quick to drop out of school--is really a racist tirade on the folkways of African Americans, roughly 60 percent of whom live in the South. Read my take on Chuck Thompson's Better Off Without 'Em @ the American Spectator.
"No other American city has undergone such an earth-shaking cultural shift in such a short span," Salon.com editor David Talbot writes of San Francisco in his new book. Indeed, the period between 1967 and 1982 witnessed Charles Manson start his Family in the Haight, Jim Jones become part of the city's power structure, an attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, the Symbionese Liberation Army abduct Patty Hearst in Berkeley and muder the superintendent of schools in Oakland, the Zodiac, Zebra, and Milk-Moscone murders, and, of course, the AIDS outbreak. The sixties had a hangover and called it San Francisco. Read my book review @ City Journal of Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love that wonders why 45 years after the "summer of love" some still see San Francisco through a hallucinogenic haze.
Forty years after Watergate, we celebrate rather than prosecute the peepers, the buggers, and the creeps. Mitt Romney knows this after a hidden camera publicized his private remarks. Paris Hilton, who is being called a homophobe after she counselled a gay friend to steer clear of anonymous semi-public hook-ups, knows this too after a taxi driver secretly taped her conversation and put it on blast. The future Queen of England unwittingly becoming a Page 3 Girl because of a paparazzi's intrusion into her sunbathing seclusion. Is privacy passe in a world of Facebook, cell-phone cameras, and telephoto lenses? Read my piece @ the American Spectator that points to the anonymity of Kate's stalker photographer, Paris's eavesdropping cabbie, and Mitt's candid cameraman as proof that privacy is anything but antiquated.
WIC Chicks and Handout Harrys are furious. The rest of the country, save for the class-war Hessians in the Fourth Estate, don't see what the fuss is all about. Mitt Romney's remarks that a huge chunk of the populace doesn't pay taxes and does receive enormous benefits from the government seems more a statement of fact than a provocation. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why the media accusing Romney of being out of touch because of his candid assessment of freeloaders shows how out of touch journalists are.
The music press loved Frank Turner before they despised him. Getting outed as a right-winger tends to have that effect. Before scribblers stumbled across old interviews in which Turner remarked, among other aphorisms, that "socialism's retarded," the punk-folk singer was having a great 2012. He rocked the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. His song "I Still Believe" has become the national anthem for people who pledge allegience to rock n roll. And "England Keep My Bones," an album fit for audiophiles and Anglophiles, is the best of the young decade. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how music for some is pathetically more about politics than performance.
In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy isn't necessarily our friend. Before he gave his life evacuating the consulate in Benghazi, Chris Stevens risked his life to help Libyans overthrow the regime of the brutal dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The ingratitude extended to Stevens by the beneficiaries of his diplomatic work should serve as a cautionary tale about the futility of extending good deeds to bad people. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that wonders more than a year after Arab Spring: Why did we pick a winner in a contest of losers?
"A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future" is a 69-page, Department of Education-commissioned report on higher learning. For a moment, "A Crucible Moment" gets it right. It rejects colleges and universities as narrow job-training centers. What it embraces--education as political indoctrination and prod for activism--is unfortunately what prompts unenlightened people to push for a more utilitarian approach to higher education. Read my article @ Academic Questions on why a government-sponsored report on higher learning that mentions "service learning" 59 times but "liberal arts" twice is part of the problem, not the solution.
A study conducted by scientists at Stanford and the Palo Alto VA found no difference between the nutritional value of organic and conventional store-bought food. But there's a huge contrast in price. People don't pay for better-for-you. They pay for better-than-you. It turns out that the food snobs and the food fascists are one in the same. Read my column @ the American Spectator detailing my discovery of a medical condition acquired by people who purchase their edibles at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, farmer's markets, and from other merchants marketing the "organic" label.
Democrats gathering in Charlotte may have initially neglected to mention God in their platform. They didn't forget to include the devil. The document namedrops Mitt Romney 22 times. Elsewhere it endorses the Equal Rights Amendment (Is it 2012 or 1976?), boasts of a State Department program funding foreign gay rights organizations, and makes an obligatory condemnation of Joseph Kony. Oh, yeah. Abortion. What would a Democratic platform be without a strident plank affirming abortion as so positive a good that it deserves public subsidy and protection from even the most minimal regulation? Read my article at FrontPageMag in which I read the Democratic Party Platform so that you don't have to.
Prince Harry got naked in Vegas. It didn't stay in Vegas. Englishmen, perhaps as a clever ploy to divert eyes from their teeth, love to publicly remove their garments. From Page Three Girl Samantha Fox to organ-playing Python Terry Jones, Brits just seem more comfortable in the buff. Americans understand neither naked nor royalty. But they do understand Shakespeare. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how we have seen this play before, and its lead is also called Prince Hal.
Artur Davis quipped Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, "Democrats used to have a night when they presented a film of their presidential legends: if they do it in Charlotte, the theme song should be this year's hit, 'Somebody That I Used to Know.'" Democratic presidents, the former Democratic cogressman explained, gained success by reaching across the party line. Obama reaches out to Republicans only with a slap. The men who seek to unseat him by necessity made careers on persuading the other side. How else does a Republican win election in a Blue States? Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why the post-partisan president became the most partisan, or post-post-partisan, president.
NFL great Junior Seau's autopsy showed no signs of brain damage. What's wrong with the brains of journalists linking every untimely death of a former player with the game they once played? Football might not make teenage boys smarter. It does make them more fit. Yet, it's not video games, ear buds blasted to "11," or treating Skittles as one of the four food groups that public health crusaders inveigh against. It's football. Read my article @ the American Spectator on why football is the new cigarettes.
What if Joe Biden had an "R" next to his name? Last week, after informing a Virginia audience that "with you we can win North Carolina again," the vice president told a predominantly black audience that the Republicans plan to "put y'all back in chains." The former served as 2012's "Hello, Cleveland" Spinal Tap moment; the latter; its Ross Perot "You people" gaffe. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why in reaffirming Joe Biden's place on the ticket, Barack Obama has doubled down on dumb.
Mitt Romney selected Ayn Rand as his runningmate last weekend--at least that's the story some scribes are sticking too. Alas, sunny and smiling Paul Ryan isn't the dark and dour Ayn Rand. They differ substantively on religion, policy, and ethics. But the greatest chasm between the pair involves style. The congressman seeks to convert his adversaries; the novelist seeks to mock them. Read Read my article @ FrontPageMag on the Left marrying this odd couple of American politics.
Before girls ripped his clothes off and boys started dressing like him, Elvis got bullied, rejected, and told to get a haircut. The long-haired fop playing black music in the white South was a pariah before becoming popular. Elvis, who died thirty-five-years ago today, didn't fit in. He stood out. This is a lesson to anyone wanting to be great. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how originals flee rather than follow the crowd.
Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi sued the state of Massachusetts, using the law firm in which the Democratic governor's wife is a partner, to promote voter registration to welfare recipients. Massachusetts--shocker--didn't even bother to contest the suit, so, on the taxpayer dime, the Bay State will send out more than a half-million mailings to encourage welfare recipients to vote. This election-year malfeasance clearly benefits Warren, but her daughter and the governor claim it had nothing to do with her. Sure. Read my column @ Human Events on why in Massachusetts the fix is always in.
When the dating world offers guys addicted to role-playing video games, imaginary internet sex, and delusion-inducing chemicals, the romance genre can't help but again romanticize the silver-back billionaire--even one who believes choke chains, rather than diamonds, are a girl's best friend. Christian Grey is an exaggerated male in a world of weakling males. Read my review of Fifty Shades of Grey @ the American Spectator that wonders how a book that so antagonizes feminists so attracts women.
Another white supremacist rebuts his beliefs by demonstrating that the depth of human depravity knows all colors. Wade Page, who murdered six people at a Wisconsin house of worship on Sunday, overdosed on bad ideas. Overlooked among his many mental tics is a fetishization of action. He named his band "End Apathy," which is code for people to abandon their families, jobs, health--all things Wade Page did--to fixate on abstract ideology. Page's white supremacist beliefs may be unusual. His contempt for "apathy" certainly isn't. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on America's underappreciation of apathy.
The sagacious English philosopher Eric Idle once counseled, "Always look at the bright side of life." But too many glass-half-full Americans accentuate the negative, particularly when it comes to our president. Barack Obama's policies have strengthened families by bringing thirtysomething children back under their parents' roofs and reversed the migration flow over the Mexican border by making jobs scarce. Mitt Romney promises to erase all these gains by creating 12 million new jobs. Do we really want to go back to that America? Read my column @ Human Events on how the secret to Obama's success is killing the economy.
Michael Phelps won his record-setting twentieth Olympic medal yesterday. If Michael Phelps has been successful, he didn't get there on his own. There was a great coach somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to pay for your swimming lessons that have allowed you to thrive. Somebody built the pool. If you've got a medal--you didn't win that. Somebody else made that happen. Read my modest proposal @ the American Spectator to counteract Olympic elitism.
A novelist more famous as a character than for his characters, Vidal feuded physically with Norman Mailer, and feuded famously with Anais Nin, Bobby Kennedy, and William F. Buckley. His hatreds were legendary. He despised his literary peers, his country, and even his family. He did so because he despised himself. There was so much to dislike. The featured speaker at the founding event of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, Vidal practiced what he preached. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on the passing of Gore Vidal, a man whose fiction relied on history and whose history relied on fictions.
Milton Friedman argued to end federal controls on rents, wages, and prices. He sought to abolish the draft, cut taxes, and legalize the private ownership of gold. And all of this became so. Friedman forced us to rethink assumptions, such as the Phillips Curve's presumption of a trade-off between unemployment and inflation, and became a guide for fledgling market economies around the world. How did such a tiny man have such a giant impact? Read my article @ City Journal on how the best salesmen of great ideas is a good man.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has warned Chik-fil-A to stay out of Beantown. From hanging witches to cutting off the ears of Quakers to burning down convents to "Banned in Boston," Menino's metropolis has a history of religious intolerance unrivaled in America. Hizzoner's attack on a business run by an evangelical Christian is just the latest instance of backward bigotry by paragons of progress. Read my article @ Human Events on why the hub of American liberalism is also the hub of American intolerance.
Nielsen's Soundscan reports that albums classified as "catalogue," indicating a release date at least 18 months ago, outsold "recent" albums for the first half of 2012. Back catalog moved 76.6 million units to 73.9 million recent units sold. This marks the first time in Nielsen Soundscan's 21-year history that the past has outperformed the present. Thanks to iTunes, YouTube, Hulu, and DVDs, America is stuck on rewind. Might that be an apt metaphor for a glory-days-behind-us nation? Read my article @ the American Spectator on technology isn't the wave of the future but the undertow that drags us back into our past.
Coloradans reacted to the Aurora moviehouse tragedy by buying more guns. New York's mayor reacted by arguing that we should take away more guns. America is not like Manhattan. New York City has about 120 police officers per square mile. In the rest of the United States, there is about a law enforcement officer--using the loosest definition possible--every five square miles. It's harder to get a gun in New York City than it is in the nation that surrounds. It's also easier to get murdered in New York City than it is in the nation that surrounds. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on why the public's response to grisly gun crimes isn't to call for more gun control but to buy more guns.
Boston is abuzz that a local off-duty cop may have hurled a racial epithet at the centerfielder for the Red Sox. The policeman has been suspended and faces a possible termination. For almost a week, I struggled to find the precise word used by the cop. It turns out the policeman is alleged to have called Carl Crawford a "Monday." What on earth is a Monday? I queried other Bostonians. None had ever heard the term used in that manner. Read my article @ the American Conservative on the bizarre transformation of a day of the week into a term of derision.
Friday's movie-house mass murder that killed a dozen people added another casualty: truth. ABC News' Brian Ross pushed the idea on-air that the shooter was a Tea Party member. A number of "citizen journalist" bloggers reported that the shooter toiled for Occupy Wall Street. None of this was true. All of it is what the reporter wanted to be true. Read my column @ Human Events on how journalists often tell us more about themselves in their reporting than the story covered.
Jonathan Haidt The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion makes a well-reasoned case against reason. It persuades that the power of persuasion is overrated. It opens minds to the near universality of closed minds. Read my review of this provocative book @ The American Conservative.
Boston's WFNX fn ends tonight. The sound of a venerable rock station signing off is by now a familiar one. New York's K-Rock, Baltimore-Washington's WHFS, Chicago's Q101, and Los Angeles' Indie 103 are a few of the more celebrated stations silenced in recent years. Just as radio said goodbye to drama in the late 1950s, the medium says goodbye to rock today. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the decline of rock radio has as much to do with rock as with radio.
President Obama confiscates the profits of businessmen in taxes to build roads and bridges, where large government signs identify his administration as responsible for the construction. In fact, the president won't even give the businessman credit for his own businesses. "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," the president told an audience in Roanoke, Virginia last Friday. "There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business--you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Read my article @ FrontPageMag on off-teleprompter Obama.
"The great man has no seed." Jesse Jackson Jr. and Robert Kennedy Jr. live as if to validate this ancient Japanese axiom. The former has absconded to "treatment," as politicians are wont to do, as his former fundraiser, who allegedly offered Rod Blagojevich upwards of a million for a senate seat, has been arrested on fraud charges. The latter has moved the burial plot of the wife he sought to divorce after feuding with her family to bury her with his family rather than theirs. Read my column @ Human Events on how Jackson and Kennedy demonstrate the decadence of dynasties.
DirecTV and Viacom want you to want them. But the disappearance of MTVBETVH1 from DirecTV idiot boxes inspires one big national yawn. This isn't the reaction that DirecTV and Viacom desired or expected. The ostensible adversaries want you to want your MTV--to paraphrase a marketing slogan from cable's golden age. But after Snooki, Big Ang, The Situation, and Kurt Angle leave your living room, you don't clamor for them to come back. In fact, viewers might become doers by venturing out of the living rooms. Read my piece @ American Spectator on how sometimes you don't know what you weren't missing until it's taken away.
The French Revolution proved a dry-run for the twentieth century. Fanatics systematically liquidated internal enemies. They exported revolution to those unlucky enough to share their borders. They ignored all of history and believed all of posterity would see them as the starting point. Words, such as "Committee of Public Safety," conveyed the very opposite of their meanings. The inability to attain the glorious ends that rationalized their terrible means left just the terror. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that holds that July 14, 2012 is worth celebrating only because we don't call it du Quintidi, 25 Messidor, CCXX.
Barry Obama played an if-you-got-the weed-I-got-the-papers teenager in Hawaii's real-life Dazed and Confused Choom Gang. Now that the high-school stoner has graduated to the White House, he rolls his eyes at those who roll their own--at least when it comes to cigarettes. The president signed a bill that will effectively put roll-your-own businesses out of business by increasing taxes on them by about 2500 percent. Taxes are bad for business. They're worse for freedom. Read my column @ Human Events pn the greatest threat to an individual's health: an overbearing government.
Congress may be divided between a Republican House and Democrat Senate. The Library of Congress boasts liberal uniformity. The institution's 88 "Books That Shaped America" exhibit features Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, Cesar Chavez, W.E.B. Du Bois, Betty Friedan, and just about every other leftist icon. There isn't a single explicitly conservative book on the list. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how lists tell us more about the compilers than the compiled.
When the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged "to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor," they made no empty boast. Today, politicians occasionally lose their offices for actions they take. But they don't lose their homes. Public service often leads to private wealth. It doesn't demand the private wealth of public servants. The old men who vote young men into battle generally don't take up arms alongside them. The signers were a special group. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why the Fourth of July is worth all the fireworks.
Logic 101: "A" is "A." Lawyer 101: "A" is whatever a judge says it is. Chief Justice John Roberts's classification of the individual mandate as a tax in one section of his opinion and then as not a tax in another section reveals the sky-is-green quality of the whole pronouncement. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why words that sentence a speaker to the loony bin become commands to be obeyed when the speaker possesses power but not rationality.
How many times must Lucy pull the football away from Charlie Brown before he stops playing the chump? Rich Lowry said there was "no downside" to nominating John Roberts, a judge the National Review editor compared to Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. "I feel like a little kid who got a puppy, a BB gun, and a bike for Christmas when he was just expecting another sweater," blogged RightWingNews's John Hawkins in reaction to Roberts' nomination. Erick Ericson claimed that conservative leaders wanted to bear George W. Bush children because of the Roberts pick. After landing on their asses so many times after Lucy had yanked the pigskin away, the Charlie Brown-conservatives should have figured it out by now. Read my column @ Human Events on the conservatives who once wrote love notes to the chief justice now penning "Dear John" letters in the wake of NFIB v. Sebelius.
Party conservatives called John Roberts a "home run" and a "bulletproof conservative" when George W. Bush nominated him to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor. But he turned out to be one in a long line of disappointments. National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius joins Miranda v. Arizona, Lemon v. Kurtzman, Roe v. Wade, and Kelo v. New London as bad decisions authored by Republican-appointed jurists. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how Thursday's affirmation of ObamaCare helps shape not only the legacy of the current president, but his predecessor, too.
Bruce Springsteen has an unwanted groupie. Obese, temperamental, pushing fifty, and even possessing the wrong downstairs equipment, the infatuated fanatic has gone to more than 100 shows with the dream of one day having a backstage moment, alone, with the Boss. It's not the groupie's weight, explosive personality, or even exaggerated manliness that prevents him from getting a backstage pass. It's his politics. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the Boss's rebuff of Chris Christie acting as a microcosm of our fractured times.
"Yeah, f!<# Reagan," Matty Hart, photographed flipping the bird to a White House portrait of the 40th president, taunted. "Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool." Ronald Reagan didn't sue to stop the first HIV test or protest to keep the bathhouses open. Gays did. Read my column @ Human Events on the mythology surrounding Reagan and AIDS.
Pay television lost 6.9 million paying customers last year. They blame the economic recession. I blame the creativity recession. The E! Channel plays 34 hours of Keeping up with the Kardashians this week. MTV devotes even more time to programs featuring Rob Dyrdek. Yesterday A&E ran twenty straight episodes of Parking Wars. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on basic cable's basic problem: repeating ad nauseam what it never should have aired in the first place.
The paternalistic style in American politics loses its causes but never its condescension. After crafting a byzantine law in secret that tells doctors, insurance companies, and citizens what they must do, Democrats now maintain that if Americans only knew ObamaCare they would be for it. At every stage, the supporters of the president's health-care law have exhibited an off-putting arrogance that has not-so-subtly regarded everyone else as stupid. On the cusp of an historic Supreme Court decision, my piece @ FrontPageMag finds that the people who operate as though they possess a superior intelligence usually prove the foolishness of this assumption.
Warren Harding sought a return to "normalcy." George H.W. Bush lacked that "vision" thing. Barack Obama feels "headwinds." That buzzword has become a punchline, putting the exclamation point on the president's campaign of excuses. Obama again invoked his favorite word this weekend, claiming that "we're facing some pretty serious headwinds" from Europe. But he did so while strangely advocating policies that led to the very crisis in Europe that he repeatedly blames for holding the American economy back. Read my column @ Human Events on how a man who has lost hope will blame his problems on the headwinds.
A Manson cultist has sued to stop the LAPD from obtaining tapes of his discussions with his since-deceased attorney. More than four decades later, the media's interest in unsolved Manson murders hasn't waned--despite the group's main players residing in jail. Another cult, which also started on campus, prophesied race war, lived communally, and used sex and narcotics to control members, has escaped the media search for truth despite its leaders' freedom. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on Weatherman's unsolved murder and the journalists who believe some mysteries are better left alone.
The Egyptian government has pulled television adverts warning citizens about conversing with foreigners. Foreigners don't need a public service announcement to warn them about Egyptians. From Mohammed Atta to Ayman al Zawahiri, Egyptians have proved bad guests abroad. Might their propaganda campaign be an instance of projection? Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how Egypt exporting terrorism is killing tourism--a major Mediterranean industry that this commercial undermines.
Ray Bradbury's six hundred or so short stories display more interest in preservation than progress. He was a conservative in the most literal sense of the word. The fact that late in life he watched Fox News or called Michael Moore an "a--hole" is insignificant next to what stories the storyteller spun. Those tales favored yesterday over tomorrow, hometowns over the big city, and the individual over the state. Read my column @ Human Events on Ray Bradbury's stories being at once quite apolitical and profoundly conservative.
Radiohead, which played the massive Bonnoroo festival this weekend, prompts Washington Post critic Chris Richards to observe: "No other rock band in history has asked us to shush and pay attention quite like Radiohead." Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly had a different audience reaction in mind when they invented rock 'n' roll. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on rock's pretentions undermining rock's popularity.
In a strange week in which a gay porn star from Canada, a Miami bath-salt enthusiast, and a Maryland college student grabbed headlines by indulging their culinary passion for human meat, political liberals subconsciously imitated the news by devouring one another. Wisconsin's public-sector labor unions wanted the White House's support for their attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker. The White House never wanted the recall attempt, at least not in their reelection year. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how the recriminations, and party cannibalism, grows among Democrats in the wake of Tuesday's recall.
John Edwards is free from the United States Department of Justice. Thankfully, the United States Department of Justice (and State, Defense, and Interior for that matter) is also free from John Edwards. John Kerry wanted Edwards a heartbeat away from the presidency. From Henry Wallace to Joe Biden, Democrat running mates have put the 'vice' in the vice presidency. Read my column @ Human Events on how the liberal preoccupation with Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, and Dan Quayle masks their appalling record of pushing con men and cranks to the first in line of presidential succession.
Facebook's stock has lost more than 25 percent of its value since its May 18 initial public offering. It's hard not to see FB's Wall Street woes as a metaphor for the product it pushes. People may never get bored posting pictures of themselves and sharing the mundane matters of their Tuesday. But everybody eventually gets bored viewing the trite affairs of the lives of Facebook friends (read: strangers). The decline of the social network hopefully means the rise of people socializing with people rather than with machines. Read my article @ the American Spectator noting that the glare of the screen indicating the computer is on also tells us that the person is off.
The recall of Wisconsin Governmor Scott Walker was supposed to be a preview of this year's presidential election--until Walker demonstrated a comfortable lead in the polls. The unions that engineered this debacle should have known better. One of America's most celebrated labor leaders laid down four strike preconditions that could have proved instructive here: righteousness, the collapse of other honorable options, the possession of the cash to adequately fight, and at least an equal chance of becoming victors as vanquished. Wisconsin's public-employee unions didn't fulfill one of these standards in their ill-advised adventurism. Read my column @ Human Events on why the Left should have recalled their history before they tried to recall Wisconsin's governor.
In the same way that "Decoration Day" conveys something very specific, "Memorial Day" announces its generic blahness. When we hear "Memorial Bridge," "Memorial Stadium," or "Memorial Boulevard," we're not even likely to wonder, "Memorial to whom?" Memorial Day fits this pattern. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how a day designed to prompt us to remember instead induces us to forget.
Shin Dong-Hyuk is the only person born into a North Korean political prison to escape to the West. His story, told by Blaine Harden in Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West, is as much about food as it is about freedom. Eating corn and cabbage every day of his life, Shin dreamed of a full-belly beyond the fences of his work camp. Read my review @ City Journal.
"We're pretty well stuck for life in the class we're raised in," Paul Fussell wrote in his 1983 book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. Surely Fussell, who died Wednesday, would have applauded Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit character Montague Tigg, an amusing petty street chisler who morphs into Tigg Montague upon becoming an obnoxiously wealthy insurance swindler. We are who we are. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on why people let where they come from rather than what they do define them.
Elizabeth Warren's supporters believe. They believe the snow-white professor is Cherokee and that the mansion-dwelling one percenter is the people's champion. "Warren's claim to be 'part Indian' is correct in mythical terms," Bernie Quigley rationalizes at The Hill. "Every old-school white Oklahoman is in this regard even if this [is] nominally not true. But it is not a lie to want to be Indian and to imagine your ancestors were. It is to be free of Europeanism." Read my article @ FrontPageMag on Elizabeth Warren and her true believers.
Where did the supposedly Bronx-born Eric Hoffer pick up that thick German accent? Did a bout with blindness really unleash a mania for the printed word? Who is the son he secretly sired? The Stevedore Socrates is as much mystery as man. I tried to solve the puzzle in a chapter in Blue Collar Intellectuals. Tom Bethell shines more light on this obscure subject in his long-awaited biography. Read my review of Tom Bethell's Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher @ the University Bookman.
The G8 isn't what it used to be. Though the Group of Six has added two members (Canada and Russia) since its 1975 founding, its share of the world's economic pie has diminished. What were the wealthiest countries are now just the snobbiest. All aristocracies eventually evolve into cliques. And at the G8 meeting this weekend, the cool kids tried to exert peer pressure on Angela Merkel to spend like they do. Read my column @ Human Events on how doing what's right (restraint) rarely amounts to doing what's cool (profligacy).
Football is out of season. Junior Seau's suicide, the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, and other bad publicity have made banning football the public health crusade du jour. But football itself is a public health crusade. It's players run and jump and throw and catch and push and pull. Read my column @ the American Spectator that shows that football players live longer, healthier lives. Football is good for you.
A film collector recently discovered two Doctor Who episodes not seen in over forty years. How on Gallifrey could the BBC have lost episodes of science fiction's longest-running television program, eh, programme? In this preservation tale, the villains appear more ominous, and the heroes more colorful, than those on Doctor Who. The amazing story of Doctor Who v. the BBC--involving the perils of government enterprise, the power of unions, and tomorrow's technology fostering a cult of yesterday--speak profoundly to the here and now. Read my article @ the American Conservative on how Doctor Who's greatest foes aren't the Daleks, the Cybermen, or the Master, but state television and closed-shop labor guilds.
From Mitt Romney allegedly bullying a classmate in the 1960s to a symbolic announcement in support of gay marriage, Barack Obama is all about change--changing the subject. Get used to distractions, diversions, and distortions. They will be a staple of President Obama's reelection rhetoric for the next six months. Read my column @ Human Events on how the president seeks to divert attention away from the economy by, in Mitt Romney's words, waving "shiny objects."
North Carolina voted on Tuesday to affirm marriage as a man-woman institution. That night, Hollywood cast ballots on Twitter to banish the Tar Heel state from the civilized world. Roseanne Barr tweeted, for instance, "[H]ollywood withdraw your productions from NC!" Given the state's generous subsidies to "The Hunger Games," "Eastbound & Down," and even the WWE, North Carolina would be better off withdrawing from Hollywood. Read my column @ the American Spectator.
France inaugurates a new president in Francois Hollande, supposedly ushering in a new era. The word "austerity" is oft spoken in Europe but little applied. This is especially true in France. Hollande promised change from these last lean years. But without exception government spending increased annually during Nicolas Sarkozy's five-year presidency. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how real change would mean implementing austerity, not jettisoning the mere suggestion of it.
Just five of nearly one hundred full and assistant professors employed by Harvard Law hail from institutions in the bottom half of the top-ten ranked schools. Almost all of the rest received degrees from Harvard or Yale Law. The exception to elite schooling is Elizabeth Warren, Rutgers Law class of '76, who insists that her scholarship and teaching--rather than her sketchy claims of Native American ancestry--resulted in her hiring. Read my article @ Human Events that asks: How much peyote does one have to smoke to believe that?
Americans used to ask advice from bluestockings named Prudence. Now we seek guidance from an unbalanced guy named Savage. Only a barbarian would miss the symbolism. Advice columnist Dan Savage telling a captive audience of high school students that the Bible is like animal excrement is the tolerance crusader's most recent burst of intolerance. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how from bully to preacher, Dan Savage is what he hates.
Did Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's imagination run amok after watching "Soul Man" a quarter century ago? Therein, a white man pretends to be a black man to win a scholarship to Harvarvd Law. Just a few years later, Warren identified herself as a minority in seeking a job at Harvard Law. She stopped calling herself an Indian in professional literature after she landed tenure. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how affirmative action is a program more geared to make white liberals (like Elizabeth Warren) feel good about themselves than it is to advance the careers of racial minorities.
"Mr. President, remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow?" comedian Jimmy Kimmel asked at the White House correspondents dinner. "That was hilarious." The president wasn't in on the joke. He continues to tout hope and change, as though he doesn't realize that he's the incumbent rather than the upstart this time around. Read my column @ Human Events on how a president who talks of tomorrow strangely governs as though that day will never arrive.
Hell hath no fury like an adult rectifying the injustices inflicted in childhood. The bullies leading the anti-bullying crusade no doubt find their mission cathartic. We, if not they, would be better off if they had taken their therapy in a doctor's office rather than in state capitols, on the silver screen, and at PTA meetings. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how bullies, as they are wont to do, have forced their way into everybody's head.
The Pew Hispanic Center determines that "the trend lines within this latest five-year period suggest that return flow to Mexico probably exceeded the inflow from Mexico during the past year or two." Obama didn't slow the rise of the oceans or heal the planet. But he may have accomplished something even more miraculous: reversing the migration stream toward America from Mexico into a migration stream from America toward Mexico. Read my article @ FrontPageMag, which explains that while Americans may express their disapproval of the policies which led the nation here this November, Mexicans have already voted with their feet.
When a graying authority figure preys upon a naif, he occasionally wins something but in the process of doing so always loses dignity. This is the dilemma facing the president, who goes trolling for the twentysomething vote on Jimmy Fallon's couch on Tuesday. Read my column @ Human Events on how record youth unemployment, ObamaCare's generational theft, and debt as far as the eye can see makes the Obama's election pitch to the rising generation far more difficult than the one he made four years back.
Sunday is Earth Day. Somebody forgot to tell the Earthlings. People remain indifferent to Earth Day because Earth Day remains hostile to people. The pseudo-holiday's founder best exemplified the anti-human impulse of humanitarians. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson devoted much of his public life to the idea that the world would be better off without so many inhabitants. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why celebrating the planet means celebrating its people.
First they came for the soccer-mom station wagons, and I did not speak out--because I did not drive a soccer-mom station wagon. Then they came for the pimp-pink stretch Cadillacs, and I did not speak out--because I did not drive a pimp-pink stretch Cadillac. Then they came for the Al Cowlings SUVs, and I did not speak out--because I did not drive an Al Cowlings SUV. Then they came for my Mustang, and nobody spoke out--because they all pedaled bicycles. Read my column @ the American Spectator on how Ford transforming a muscle-car into a 98-pound weakling is yet another sign that Washington owns Detroit.
Tax Day doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. Just 54 percent of Americans will pay income taxes to the federal government this year. Nearly half of Americans not paying federal income taxes isn't an injustice. It's a start. Read my column @ Human Events on why conservatives should be fighting to abolish, not expand, the income tax.
Madonna bested Lionel Richie to claim the top spot on Billboard's album charts last week. Only she didn't. Richie sold more albums. Madonna gave more away. Read my column @ the American Spectator on why the dodgy marketing gimmick might be best seen as a metaphor for the Material Girl's career.
The headlines--"Gender Gap Daunting for GOP" (Christian Science Monitor), "Republicans Brought the Gender Gap on Themselves" (US News and World Report), "Obama Opens Big Gender Gap in Swing States" (USA Today)--highlight the advantage the president currently enjoys among women voters. But the permanent shift in American politics has been men moving away from the Democratic Party. Barack Obama's party hasn't won a majority of male votes in any of the last eight presidential elections. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how the Democrats suffer from a gender gap, too.
Bubba Watson won The Masters. Feminists won the attention. Augusta National hasn't extended an invitation to IBM Ginni Rommety to join--as it has done for past male IBM CEOs. Feminists are outraged. May I be forgiven for refusing to regard the millionaire CEO as a 21st-century Rosa Parks? Private clubs are, well, private. Why do outsiders demand to determine membership? Read my column @ Human Events on how protesting a clique by seeking to join it is another way of endorsing snobbery--just not when it's directed at you.
The number one song in America is a rock 'n' roll tune. This hasn't happened in almost four years. Rock has fallen on such, well, hard times that within the last decade only two of its songs have topped Billboard's Hot 100. How did rock reclaim the singles chart? In a word, "fun." The bestselling song of 2012 is fun.'s "We Are Young," a sing-songy ode to the springtime of life. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how rock music could use less dark and depressing and more fun.
"When even five minutes of class time is used to promote an instructor's political beliefs, public property has essentially been converted to a private use," the California Association of Scholars maintains. A syllabus at UC-Santa Cruz asks: "How did Bush and Cheney build the fiction that Al Qaeda was a participant in the 9/11 attacks?" At UCLA, 58 percent the faculty want their students "to become agents of social change." At Berkeley, Democrat faculty outnumbered Republican faculty by 31-1 in history, 29-1 in English, and 17-0 in sociology. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on "A Crisis of Confidence," a new report documenting activism masquerading as scholarship at America's largest state university system.
Keith Olbermann and Al Gore now find each other unbearable. It was only a matter of time before the Current TV host and the Current TV executive came to the same conclusion about the other that the rest of America has. From the founder of Planned Parenthood ditching parenthood to an evangelist for free love spreading the gospel according to gonorrhea to his wife, the Left overflows with humanitarians who aren't very good to the humans around them. Read my column @ Human Events on how the Gore-Olbermann imbroglio is just the last in the long line of liberal epiphanies about other liberals.
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman used to be people. Now they're cliches. The former wore gold teeth and tattoos, referred to his friends as "n-ggas" and girlfriends as "b-tches," and vandalized the lockers of others and used his own locker to store a cache of jewelry and a burglar's implement. The latter speed-dialed the cops for such mundane matters as the presence of an unfamiliar Audi in his neighborhood, trash in the road, potholes, and open garage doors. Their passionate followers implore us not to stereotype them. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on why a person who doesn't like being stereotyped shouldn't behave as one.
Barack Obama told a Russian leader one thing on the security of Eastern Europe and told the American people something else. This isn't the first time an American president's private and public positions on Eastern Europe clashed. Franklin Roosevelt's did at Tehran and Yalta--just not into a hot mic. Roosevelt's betrayal of Eastern Europe at Tehran is the climactic point of Herbert Hoover's posthumous Freedom Betrayed. The former president turns World War II upside-down. Rather than celebrate the victories over Japan and Germany, he laments the war's multiplication of one Communist nation into several dozen. Published 48 years after its author's death, the president's book about another president's policies is something unique in American history. Read my review of Freedom Betrayed @ FrontPageMag.
George Zimmerman and his condemners have a lot in common. They both jump to conclusions. They both respond to a violent conflict with disproportionate force. And now activists incensed at Zimmerman's vigilantism call for a private posse to apprehend the unindicted neighborhood Cerberus. Read my column @ Human Events on how the national media reports on African American crime victims when their assailants are white lacrosse players or Hispanic neighborhood watch captains--but not when they're other blacks.
There is something Rod Serling-strange about Peyton Manning wearing the Orange and Blue of the Broncos. Mile-High Manning is Coy and Vance on The Dukes of Hazzard. It's Guns N Roses without Cousin It under a top hat playing lead guitar. It's Bizarro Superman. It's unsettling, as though we're living in the alternate reality. It's the Football Twilight Zone, where a softer, slower Franco Harris runs through the Seahawk line and an arthritic Joe Namath slings the pigskin for the Los Angeles Rams. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the NFL's greatest old-age quarterback giving $96 million to a 36-year-old passer is more about John Elway living in his past than it is about Peyton Manning being the Broncos' future.
Some people just won't take an apology. The activists who so recently urged Americans to "move on" from a Democratic president's abuse of women can't seem to let go of a conservative radio host's abusive comments toward a woman. The phony "war against women" charged against the GOP is very real elsewhere in the world. Yet, the activists alleging a "war on women" at home ignore it abroad. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how not all villains come straight from PC central casting. Poor, tribal Muslims--not fat, rich, white men--are the greatest purveyors of sexism in the world. It just doesn't flatter liberal sensibilities to acknowledge it.
Gasoline is $3.84 a gallon. Expensive petrol is a rational reaction to cheap money. During his weekend radio address, President Obama, in full campaign mode, blasted "big oil companies...making more money than ever" and "traders" who "game the energy markets" for our service-station woes. What about the loose-money policies of a Federal Reserve, whose board is almost entirely made up of Obama apointees? Read my column @ Human Events on flooding the market with dollars resulting in it taking more dollars to buy staples such as gasoline.
Professor Peter Singer has taken time away from his advocacy of murdering handicapped people and small babies as ethically kosher to write a piece arguing that heavy people should pay more to fly. As though nude-ray-vision scanners and grope-downs weren't intrusive enough, Singer wants scales set up at airports to base ticket prices on passenger weight. Why does an Ivy League philosopher presume to run the airlines? Airline executives don't dare try to run his classroom. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how gluttony is a sin of bellies and brains.
Barack Obama refuses to return Bill Maher's "c-nt" money. The HBO host, who called Sarah Palin that and many other ugly names, is oh-so much different than Rush Limbaugh, who the White House has crusaded against for calling a birth-control crusading law student a "slut." That's their story and they're sticking to it. One could fill a book with such double standards, and indeed Jason Mattera has done that in "Hollywood Hypocrites: The Devastating Truth About Obama's Backers." Read my review @ the American Spectator outlining the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mentality of Bruce Springsteen, Laurie David, Arianna Huffington, and other celebrities.
Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan want the FCC to pull Rush Limbaugh off the air. One of the great ironies of American politics is that the extremists who rely on First Amendment protections the most are the first to deprive them from voices they oppose. Read my column @ Human Events on how advocates of "women's rights" who reject the most basic rights to speak and worship freely while inventing rights to birth-control pills and not to be called foul names are a threat to everybody's rights.
One likes to believe in the freedom of music, but Rush (the power trio) has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Rush (the radio talker) for playing "Spirit of the Radio" after insulting a woman who lobbied the government to force her Catholic law school to pay for her birth control. This PR stunt echoes with the sounds of salesmen. Boycotting Rush (the Canadians) for their musical boycott of Rush (the Missourian) is a wrong not making another wrong right. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how conservatives can't defeat liberals by becoming them.
Forty years ago, the Democratic Party stopped being a democratic party. Race and sex, rather than votes, determined who determined the party's nominee at its 1972 convention. Like George McGovern, Barack Obama won his party's nomination but lost its popular vote. The delegate quotas that McGovern instituted in Miami in 1972 will reign in Charlotte in 2012. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag that explains that this is not your grandfather's Democratic Party; this is George McGovern's Democratic Party.
The 'unforeseen' bad consequences from good intentions are often quite foreseeable. From Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke blaming the Iranian crisis for prices at the pump caused by his priming the pump to Senator Dick Durbin blasting Bank of America for raising checking fees brought about by legislation he authored, there is a disconnect between wishes and results among policymakers. Read my column @ Human Events on how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Critics lambasted the Oscars for its old host, old voting academy members, and its best picture award to a film from an old genre. Don't blame the show. Blame the show business. For the first time in its history, Hollywood's annual top-ten list at the box office were remakes, sequels, and based on old comic-book characters for 2011. Hollywood lives on Sunset Blvd. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how it's lamer than you think.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.72. This is more than double what Americans paid for it on Barack Obama's inauguration day. Democrats blame speculators. That's not what candidate Obama blamed high fuel prices on when George W. Bush was president. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how supply and demand has everything to do with high prices at the pump--just not in the way you may imagine it.
Syria is 5,000 miles away and represents less than one-tenth of one percent of America's trade. Why are American politicians calling for the U.S. military to intervene in this faraway nation's civil war? Read my column @ Human Events that explains why Syria evokes a classic Reaganism: Don't just do something, stand there!"
Power forward Charles Barkely said that athletes should not be role models. Point guard Jeremy Lin begs to differ. Though the Knicks got burnt by the Heat last night, Lin is turning around the beleagured franchise in America's largest media market. And he is doing so without tattoos, baby mamas, or a bad attitude. He's linspiring people halfway around the globe. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the Tim Tebow of the NBA.
The New York Times reports that 53 percent of babies delivered to women under 30--the prime motherhood demographic--enter the world without parents married to one another. Feminist single-mom Katie Roiphe is outraged at the paper's tone suggesting that this is a bad thing. Roiphe argues that society's scorn, represented by cruel terms such as "bastard," is the real handicap for the children of illegitimacy. But as a I write @ FrontPageMag, a trove of social-science studies, and an authority closer to Roiphe's home, indicate that the pitfalls of single-parenthood are far more dangerous than nasty names.
We celebrate George Washington today, not all presidents. With due respect to Zachary Taylor and Rutherford B. Hayes, a "President's Day" denigrates the father of our country by misconstruing the presidency as his chief accomplishment and by placing him alongside lesser men. One of those mediocrities currently holding the job Washington once held would be wise to examine why America celebrates a holiday dedicated to him. Read my column @ Human Events on the advice the first president offers the forty fourth. What would George Washington do?
"This mark of the beast has to go," Cambridge, Massachusetts activist Daniel DeGuglielmo explained to me. "It's white supremacy." The demonic insignia he speaks of is my state's official seal. The interfaith minister is suing to get the state flag taken down--and to get $24 million to promote Indian art. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on the suit's potential stumbling block: he wasn't born a Native American; he became one. "They're my people."
Whitney Houston died in a bathtub surrounded by pharmaceuticals on Saturday. Her fans found symbolism in her expiration on the eve of the Grammys. But the real symbolism involved the death of a singer at the end of a week that began with effusive praise for a Super Bowl halftime performance by a singer who didn't sing. Read my article @ the American Spectator on the death of this female singer--and of the female singer.
Many people who find music boring find U2 exciting. They imagine the Dublin quartet as everything from political conscience to church to charity to marketing brand to Irish cultural ambassadors. They're ultimately just a rock band. Read my review @ The University Bookman of Exploring U2: Is This Rock 'n' Roll?, which wonders what made U2, well, U2.
There is no such thing as a free lunch--or a free tubal ligation. The Obama Administration's "compromise" over its "preventative services" bureaucratic edict still forces religious organizations to fund contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients. The supposed accomodation is a three-card monty sleight of hand. Read my column @ Human Events on how the president has made himself pope.
Greece's political leaders agreed on an "austerity" plan after much handwringing. But EU's leaders judged that the much-touted "harsh" cuts were anything but. Government spending in Greece increased by six percent last year. But to hear journalists talk, draconian slashes to the state are cutting government to the bone. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how from free child care to free university educations, there is plenty still left to cut.
America's largest breast cancer charity announced last week that it was cutting ties with America's largest abortionist. It ended the week apologizing. Just when Susan G. Komen for the Cure thought it was out, Planned Parenthood pulled it back in. Read my column @ Human Events on Planned Parenthood is a lot like the mafia--the shakedown, the front group, the very public acts of charity, and, oh yeah, the killing.
If the government had force-fed al Qaeda operatives bacon sandwiches, everyone would get the injustice. But forcing Catholic institutions to pay for the birth control, contraceptives, and abortifacients of their employees somehow doesn't set of all sorts of alarms. The Catholic bishops promulgated an objection, and call to civil disobedience, toward the Obama administration's bureaucratic fiat that private institutions pay for birth control. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how the bishops would have stronger standing if they hadn't for so long advocated a phony "right" to health care at other people's expense.
The Fuehrer supposedly took the sterilization debate with him to the grave. A Massachusetts judge, who earlier this month ordered that a bipolar and schizophrenic woman be "coaxed, bribed, or even enticed...by ruse" to abort her pregnancy and undergo sterilization, proves this isn't so. Though citizens of Massachusetts never approved of state sterilization, its elites served as the most fervent evangelists for eugenics--particularly for the "feeble minded." Read my article @ the American Spectator that wonders if "our bodies, our choice" still applies when we are not in our right minds?
What comes up must come down. The Newt Gingrich who emerged triumphant in South Carolina will likely depart Florida a loser tomorrow. Gingrich enthusiast Sarah Palin blames his decline on the "politics of personal destruction." If this is so, it is fitting. A politician who made his career attempting to collect the scalps of the likes of Gerry Studds and Jim Wright now is the victim of the "politics by other means" that he so masterfully practiced. Read my column @ Human Events on how Gingrich supporters have confused their candidate's penchant for attacking scandal-embroiled Democrats for conservatism.
President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that he wants an America where everyone gets "a fair shot" and "everyone does their fair share." We all agree that fair is, well, fair. We all disagree on what's fair. But the president imagines himself as the detached arbiter of economic justice. His fair is fairer than fair. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how "fairness" is one of those words that tells us more about the speaker than about what is spoken.
Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina presidential primary. So did Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, and any other disgraced pol jonesing for a comeback. Who says cheaters never win? A vote for the former House Speaker is a vote for "defining deviancy down," shifting the parameters of acceptable behavior. Ditching one wife after a cancer diagnosis, and another one suffering from multiple sclerosis, Newt isn't your garden-variety family values candidate. Read my column @ Human Events on how giving Newt forgiveness shouldn't require giving him votes.
Senator Scott Brown officially kicked off his campaign for reelection last night. Despite the senator from Massachusetts' iconic pick-up truck and barn coat, Brown is not the one running as a populist in this race. Elizabeth Warren, salt of the earth of Harvard Yard, has cast herself as a woman of the people. But as I write @ FrontPageMag, a millionaire Ivy League law professor fresh from the DC bureaucracy claiming the mantle of "populism" is a tough one to carry off.
Mercedes Benz expropriated Che Guevara iconography last week to sell cars at a trade show in Las Vegas. What happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas. Infuriated Cubans demanded an apology. Read my column @ Human Events that wonders if the people demanding an apology should have been Che Guevara's cultists appalled with their Communist hero shilling cars for capitalist Mercedes Benz.
A North Carolina task force endorsed $50,000 reparations for victims of its 20th century eugenics program. Progressives once imagined eugenics as cutting-edge science, the wave of the future even. Now everybody realizes how backward it really was. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how the liberal press that now inveighs against the eugenics past once played a central role in making that past.
As Americans preferred digital to physical music in 2011, I said goodbye to CDs and hello to an iPod. When wax gave way to magnetic tape, and later when magnetic tape yielded to polycarbonate plastic, the album reigned supreme. For myriad reasons, the album can't survive the digitized tomorrow. Read my article @ the American Spectator on how the iPod triumph of the song over the album brings us back to the future.
The worst bullies are those who imagine themselves as bullied. Professional homosexual Dan Savage fits that mold. Boasting of attempting to infect 2000 presidential candidate Gary Bauer with the flu, and orchestrating an internet campaign to transform Rick Santorum's last name into a word for something disgusting, the sex-advice columnist is a hate-filled crusader against hate. Read my column @ Human Events on knowing Rick Santorum by his enemies.
Eric Hoffer is often dubbed a Jewish intellectual. He was neither. But he did take up his pen in defense of Israel when it was under attack. "Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world," he wrote, for instance, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on Eric Hoffer & Israel.
Ray Bradbury was a Depression-era, four-eyed, zit-faced, bully bull's-eye gliding through Los Angeles on steel-wheeled rollerskates forcefully demanding autographs from Hollywood's most glamorous stars. Nobody told the uncouth teenaged transplant from the Midwest that he was staring at his opposites when he cornered Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, and Judy Garland. Ray Bradbury was once a nerd. Now he rebels against nerds--tech-obsessed geeks to be more precise. Read my piece @ the American Conservative on how this "Luddite from outerspace" (in the words of TAC's editors) transformed from pulp scribbler to one of America's great short-story writers, from ultimate outsider to in with the "in" crowd.
Ron Paul has a way of bringing out the liberal in conservatives. They speak liberal--"racist," "extremist," "crazy"--when talking about the Texas Congressman. It's because Ron Paul makes so many conservatives look like liberals in comparison that they talk like liberals. The exposed are insecure. Attitudinal pressure passes for intellectual persuasion among the feverishly anti-Ron Paul pundits. Read my column @ Human Events on how Ron Paul makes some conservatives uncomfortable, particularly the ones uncomfortable with conservatism.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Last week, thousands of Americans camped out in protest of corporate greed. Occupy Wall Street? Not quite. Try Occupy Best Buy. Occupy Wal-Mart. Occupy Nordstrom's. Read my column @ Human Events on why this holiday weekend's nationwide demonstrations against high prices succeeded in its objectives whereas another tent-friendly movement hasn't even succeeded in articulating its objectives.
Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy forty-eight-years ago today. But to hear Frank Rich tell it in the New York Times Magazine, the real culprits--right-wingers--got away scot-free. The scribe imagining his political enemies behind the assassination tells us much about his obsessions but nothing about the actual event. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how for some the pull of ideology is actually greater than the pull of reality.
Haters gonna hate. After winning four of five starts, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has turned around a franchise. He hasn't won over his critics. Tebow's story of survival in the womb, his home-schooled background, and his public religiousity rubs some the wrong way. But what's really at work here is that good people make bad people uncomfortable. Read my column @ Human Events on how player hating doesn't stop at the playing field's sidelines.
Jim Jones killed more African Americans than the Ku Klux Klan. Julia Scheeres, in her book, "A Thousand Lives," juxtaposes the preacher with Rosa Parks and the students who held a lunch-counter sit-in at the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth's. Thirty-three years ago today, the people of Peoples Temple committed "revolutionary suicide" by drinking fruit-flavored poison. On November 18, 2011, some people are still drinking the Peoples Temple's Kool-Aid. Read my book review @ the American Conservative of Julia Scheeres' "A Thousand Lives" on the anniversary of America's worst pre-9/11 loss of civilian life.
Students collected care packages for deployed troops at Suffolk University. A law professor then announced how little he cared for care packages. "I think it is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings," Michael Avery wrote in a mass email. He explained that "sympathy" for such people is "not particularly rational." Read my article @ FrontPageMag.
The Colorado affiliate of the American Association of University Professors advises its members to take a job at the University of Colorado only as a "last resort." The warning comes in part in the wake of the school's dismissal of Phil Mitchell, an adjunct history professor who is also an evangelical Christian and political conservative. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that raises issues not only of political correctness but also the rights of, and wrongs inflicted upon, overused campus adjuncts.
Sterilization has a Nazi Germany ring to it. Yet progressives in the United States beat socialists in the Third Reich to the punch. Read my column @ Human Events on how one U.S. state debates the proper way to make amends for its eugenics policy.
Don't call him the Teflon don. Call him the Teflon godfather. Anonymous women accused former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Then his popularity went up. Read my column @ Human Events on how the polls say less about presidential candidate Herman Cain than they do the public's skepticism of sexual harassment claims--and the media reporting them.
Occupy Wall Street shares more in common with the wealthiest one percent they inveigh against than the bottom one percent that they claim to be fighting for. Don't trust the ubiquitous iPhones or REI ski jackets? Then check out their arrest records, which reveal affluent homes and apartments. Read my article @ FrontPageMag details how movements speaking for the poor have always been led by the rich.
Barack Obama camaigns against a do-nothing Congress. But what ails America is a do-everything president. From running an automobile company to taxing health care to make it more affordable, President Obama efforts to make things better have only made things worse. Read my column @ Human Events on how do-everything presidents make the public long for do-nothing politicians.
Muslim fundamentalists won Tunisia's weekend elections, lift the ban on polygamy in Libya, and invade the Israeli embassy in Egypt. The Arab Spring has become an Islamist Winter. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how the reality of Middle Eastern democracy doesn't resemble the dreams of its Western cheerleaders.
One demonstrator was arrested for aggressively smelling a woman's feet and attempting to pass off his urine as an energy drink. Another scaled a public sculpture and demanded the police below set-aside fifteen percent of jobs for bisexuals. Yet, these outliers aren't what makes the protests so crazy. Read my column @ Human Events on how the optionally homeless clashing with the chronically homeless expose the ideas underlying the protests as delusions making a chaos out of the OWS camps.
Bassist Duff McKagan established his credentials for Guns N' Roses by dropping acid in sixth grade, contracting gonorrhea in ninth grade, and dropping out long before graduation. Then he went ahead and messed up his autobiography by going sober, raising a family, and returning to his education. Read my review of Duff McKagan's "It's So Easy" @ the American Spectator on how bad living makes a good book.
Washington, DC replacing Silicon Valley as the wealtiest area of the country speaks volumes. There is a historic shift underway from market entrepreneurs toward political entrepreneurs. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why Occupy Wall Street's call for more power in Washington will just make the rich get richer.
This is socialism's worst year since the Berlin Wall fell. From Tunis to Damascus, people around the Mediterranean are partying like it is 1989. Chaos in Greece, an uprising in Syria, and revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt have targeted socialist governments. Read my column @ Human Events on how we call the rulers of the basketcase and oppressive nations surrounding the Mediterranean all sorts of names, but none dare call them socialists.
How could Greece's leaders have known their country would become a basketcase? By paying attention in school. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou attended foreign private schools at a time when his homeland barred private universities and guaranteed free educations. If Papandreou paid elsewhere for what socialism offered for free at home, why did he think what failed for him would work for others? Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why the lessons imparted by state-run education aren't the ones intended.
Starship's "We Built This City" has been named the worst of the worst--again. This time, Rolling Stone readers have deemed the #1 hit from 1985 the worst song of the '80s. It's just a song. Why the visceral hatred? Is it really more horrible than Ohio Express's "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" or Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry"? There is something more off-putting at work here than over-commercialized music. "We Built This City" is the painful mirror into the baby boomer soul. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how Starship's schlocky hit reminded listeners that it wasn't just the hippie-chick icon singing that had sold out, but a generation of conformist rebels.
I enjoyed watching Ken Burns' new "Prohibition" documentary on PBS last week. Burns is a fine storyteller and useful fount of useless information (such as the derivation of the terms "bootlegger" and "teetotaler"). What entertained me most about "Prohibition" was watching progressives label earlier progressives reactionaries. Read my column @ Human Events on prohibition's progressive origins.
When the California Federation of Teachers demanded the release of convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal earlier this year, I thought of Daniel DeLeon. Reorienting organized labor for projects ancillary to the interests of workers was the life's work of the leader of America's Socialist Labor Party. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how the fingerprints of this fanatic's fanatic are all over today's labor movement--to the detriment of actual laborers.
Democrats wonder how African American businessman Herman Cain could seek the presidential nomination of the Republican Party. But Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson, and Bull Connor wonder how African Americans could pledge allegiance to their party? Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how the party of Jim Crow, the KKK, and "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" wants us to forget all that and blame their political adversaries.
A study by researchers at the University of Virginia concludes that cognitive function in children after watching nine minutes of SpongeBob SquarePants suffers vis-a-vis cognitive function in children who have watched that dreadful whiner Caillou. I don't disagree with the study's conclusions; I disagree with the study. Determining what cartoon makes you smart is like asking what grape soda makes you fit. Read my article @ the American Spectator that posits that even someone who lives in a pineapple under the sea wouldn't fall for such academic nonsense.
Senator Dick Durbin didn't intend for his amendment to last year's financial reform legislation to result in new debit-card fees. But it did. The Affordable Care Act, as its name suggests, intended to make care more affordable. It did the opposite. Family premiums are up 10 percent this year. Read my column @ Human Events on how political control freaks can't control the consequences of their meddling.
Greece is DTF--down to freeload. After Europe bailed it out to avoid default, Greece seems poised to bail on Europe--and its creditors. Socialism happens. Read my column @ Human Events on the resemblances between an incontinent, irresponsible, and lazy reality television star and a basketcase nation betwixt the Aegean and Ionian Seas.
Like Greece, the U.S. has seen its debt eclipse its gross domestic product. Like Greece, the United States has seen its credit downgraded. Like Greece, the United States has seen its president vaguely talk budget cuts, but offer concrete tax hikes. And like Greece, the United States has de facto defaulted: the former by depending upon others to service its debts; the latter, by devaluing its money through currency creation to purchase its own debt. Earlier this week the Greek prime minister turned back from a planned trip to the United States. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag that asks: when will the United States turn back from its trip to Greece?
The robber barons are back. The liberals who warned us against the crony capitalists in history books are the crony capitalists in front of us. Solyndra, declaring bankruptcy after taking more than a half-billion in tax dollars, demonstrates the degree to which saying "green jobs" acts to obscure the designs of robber barons. As I write in my column @ Human Events, the green in "green jobs" always referred to cash, not the environment.
Unearthed tapes of Jacqueline Kennedy reveal a rift between the first families of sixties liberalism. The former First Lady labelled Martin Luther King as a "terrible sex pest," among other unflattering descriptives. But the media isn't exploring Jackie O's accusations, or blaming her for slandering an iconic figure. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag to see how, once again, J. Edgar Hoover made them do it.
Beware of politicians bearing programs: they usually have been programmed. The stimulus failed. Rather than readjust, the president has repeated. His jobs plan is a scaled down stimulus sequel. Who hasn't heard "stupid" defined as doing the same thing but expecting a different result? Read my column @ Human Events on a programmed president who just can't seem to think outside of the teleprompter.
UPDATE: RealClearPolitics featured this article on Tuesday, September 13. It is currently their "most read" piece of the last 24 hours.
It is odd, if not invalidating, that conspiracy theories always place one's political enemies, but never one's allies, behind nefarious deeds. The devil figure for the Truthers generally turns out to be George W. Bush; for the Birthers, his successor. Read my review in the American Conservative of Jonathan Kay's Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Conspiracist Underground, a book that explains that "all successful conspiracy theories" have been "a lie that people wanted to hear."
Martin Luther King died supporting a strike of Memphis garbagemen. He is immortalized in granite by unpaid, nonunion, foreign labor. What's wrong with this picture? A lot more than that, as I write in my column @ Human Events. From rewriting Martin Luther King's words to employing slave labor to construct the memorial, the overseers of the new DC shrine to the civil rights leader miss the point.
Organized labor isn't what it used to be. Less than twelve percent of the workforce belongs to a union. But this hasn't stopped union leaders from talking to the president as if they were his boss, too. They suffer from a political hallucination that imagines their power as it was sixty years ago. Their calls for infrastructure "investments," a federal jobs program, and other boondoggles makes sense once one realizes that Washington's spending spree that has killed private sector jobs has been a boon for unions--whose dues payers are mostly government employees now. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how Big Labor needs Big Government now more than ever.
From Hawaii Five-O in primetime to Arthur on the silver screen, everything new is old again. "Instead of being the threshold to the future, the first ten years of the twenty-first century turned out to be the 'Re' Decade," Simon Reynolds writes in his new book, as in "revivals," "reissues," and "remakes." Read my review @ the American Spectator of Reynolds' Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past. We're lamer than you think.
The chairman has spoken. At the Federal Reserve meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday, Ben Bernanke stated that despite fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy remains in the doldrums. Does he ever consider that perhaps continually pumping money into a stagnant economy has perpetuated the crisis? Read my column @ Human Events on how the printing press forever tempts politicians to spend money that they don't have and unnaturally jumpstart the economy.
A record number of freshmen will descend upon campuses in the coming days. Just in time for the first day of classes, but too late for the application process, is the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Choosing the Right College. But as I write @ FrontPageMag, choosing the right college for many of the 3.5-million-plus freshmen would have meant choosing no college at all.
The bluest town in the bluest state is on Martha's Vineyard. Think it's a coincidence that Barack Obama vacations there? The president, like everybody else in America, wants insulation from the consequences of his policies. An island of wealthy liberals gives him that. Read my column @ Human Events about how the president's trip to Martha's Vineyard is a vacation from reality.
Barack Obama isn't so good at creating jobs. But government bureaus, agencies, and offices? At this, he is unmatched. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on the Obama administration's unintentionally ironic idea that a new government department will alleviate the jobs crisis. When a president bandies around a cause of the problem as a potential solution, you know you are in serious trouble.
The folkways of tribe Rolling Stone include suspicion of contacts beyond the village, the pack constantly knocking down the alpha male, and a survival-of-the-fittest callousness that leaves a trail of broken band mates, producers, girlfriends, fans, and children. The autobiography of the band's celebrated guitarist reads as a justification for appalling conduct toward other human beings. That's rock 'n' roll, we are supposed to think, and he is a Glimmer Twin. But, as we learn in my review of Keith Richards' Life @ the American Conservative, consequences hit rock stars, too.
The stimulus proved to be a sedative. That hasn't stopped Washington's spending junkies from calling for more, more, more. Read my column @ Human Events that explores the similarities between drug addiction and government addiction.
Words are a lot like money. When misused, they lose their value. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how before the president damaged America's credit, he damaged his credibility with Americans.
Standard and Poor's downgraded the federal government's credit rating three days after the president signed legislation raising the debt limit. Isn't that what the president warned us would happen if we didn't lift the debt ceiling? From the stock market losing ten percent of its value in two weeks to the debt reaching parity with economic output, Barack Obama, as I write in my column @ Human Events, is the catalyst of so much bad news these days.
The president labeled the debt-ceiling compromise "an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default." It will do neither. It enables the government to borrow more atop its massive debt. And as I write @ FrontPageMag, it's not a phantom default but more borrowing that jeopardizes America's AAA-rating, a downgrade of which will make the cost of doing business-as-usual more costly.
Thirty years ago today, MTV was born. Its first offering, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," proved especially prophetic. It's not just that the scenic now trumps the sonic at the music-less Music Television. But the lip-synching, synthetic instruments, and plastic clothes of MTV's first video suggested an artificial future. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how a current repository of reality television has always kept it fake.
The New York Times labels Anders Breivik "Christian," fighting words in the media lexicon. One would have thought that "murderer" would have served as a sufficient epithet. But that just accurately describes the Norwegian terrorist. It doesn't make a political point. Read my column @ Human Events on how Anders Breivik isn't the first mass murderer converted to Christianity by the Church of the Holy Left.
The NCAA has ordered the University of North Dakota to change its nickname. The state legislature has made it illegal to do so. The University of North Dakota is between a rock and a hard place. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that wonders why Fighting Sioux but not Fighting Irish.
Impoverished times offer valuable lessons. Unfortunately, the Great Recession isn't about what we've learned. It’s about what we've unlearned. Read my column @ Human Events on how the economic downturn has made the staid establishment sound like a nuthouse.
Elizabeth Warren's rabid supporters should have learned their lesson. After demanding that the Senate confirm their hero, they were shellshocked to discover that the president wouldn't even nominate her to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on how Warren's booster's now openly dream of her presidency after she performs the perfunctory task of unseating Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Greece on Sunday. America arrives in a few years. The United States' debt-to-GDP ratio is where Greece's was just seven years ago. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how recent Greek history, and ancient Greek history, offers profound lessons for the United States.
Kennedys used to battle with the likes of Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Now that the family no longer has an officeholder in Washington, they fight each other. Two iconic family landmarks--the Cape Cod compound and the John F. Kennedy Library--serve as the catalysts for the internecine squabbles. Read my article @ the American Spectator for the back story.
Washington is hooked on spending. Like other addicts, politicians tell lies to get their fix. Jonesing for more money, they insist that raising the debt limit is the best way to limit America's debt. What the debt debate needs is an injection of honesty, not more debt. In that spirit, I outline in my column @ Human Events five falsehoods of the debt debate.
If the 9.2 unemployment rate or the dubious record of deficits for every month of the Obama presidency isn't persuasive of the administration's ineptitude, then Monday's presidential press conference provided damning proof of it. Therein, the president mouthed several economic cliches that underscore that he lacks a fundamental understanding of how markets work. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag (registration may be required) exposing three myths mouthed by the president during his press conference yesterday.
The Golden State has forbidden derogatory references to homosexuality in its textbooks and mandated classroom instruction on the "role and contributions" of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders. Read my column @ Human Events on how the thought police's greatest accomplishment is getting people to believe that censorship is really tolerance.
The four surviving top leaders of the Khmer Rouge stand trial in Cambodia for genocide, crimes against humanity, murder, and other offenses. It should have been the trial of the century--the 20th century. As I write @ FrontPageMag, the bizarre decades-too-late court case conducted by the UN and Cambodia is in a sick sense a fitting coda for the most bizarre period in human history.
Professors at Harvard University surmise in a study that the Fourth of July is a Republican holiday. Read my column @ Human Events that posits that while Independence Day is a holiday for all Americans, the pair of Ivy League academics squeamish about a celebration of independence, freedom, and patriotism tell us much about the misplaced allegiances of some of our fellow countrymen.
Al Gore is global warming's rock star. So it's appropriate that the former vice president took to the pages of Rolling Stone to resuscitate his dying issue. Read my article @ FrontPageMag (be sure to click to page 2) on how a crusade draped in science uses base scare tactics to persuade.
Whitey Bulger's miraculous streak of staying ahead of his pursuers wasn't an act of God. It was an act of government. With bribed law enforcement, a
speak truth suck-up-to-power press, and his brother effectively running the state government, the Boston mobster executed a one-man crime wave with impunity for decades. As I write in my column @ Human Events, one-party government, in Libya and in Massachusetts, kills.
Euphemisms have consequences. Months after terming the bombing of Libya "kinetic military action," the Obama administration rationalizes its disregard of the War Powers Act by claiming that its war in Libya isn't a war at all. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag on how the abuse of language is just one of many peculiarities in the Obama administration's report to Congress on Operation Unified Protector.
Six weeks ago, partisan pundits dubbed the president "invincible" in his quest for a second term. Now, he looks quite beatable. Read my column @ Human Events on the top 10 reasons Obama will lose next November.
The Constitution, the more timid War Powers Act, and the even more timid John Boehner-sponsored resolution last Friday remind the president that the representatives of the people and the states, not one man, retains the power to declare war. Yet, as I write in my article @ FrontPageMag, President Obama continues his unauthorized war in Libya 80 days after he, and not Congress, launched it.
Congressman Anthony Weiner used to like cameras. Former Senator John Edwards once adored courtrooms. Now they dread them. Read my column @ Human Events about the seedy rise and ironic fall of two embodiments of the very worst--celebrity worship and litigiousness run amok--that American culture has to offer.
Every picture tells a thousand words. But Anthony Weiner's graphic graphic Tweeted to the Twitterverse last Friday night befits the abbreviated world of 140 characters or less. Weiner says the excited male in underwear wasn't him. We don't know who occupied those gray briefs. We do know that we can categorically rule out Peter North. Read my article @ FrontPageMag (make sure to click to part 2) on how every exhibitionist's dream of a voyeur comes true as a nightmare.
Barney Frank has boy troubles--again. A New York Times reporter revealed that the Massachusetts lawmaker had lobbied Fannie Mae to hire his boyfriend two decades ago. Frank sits on the House committee that oversees the governmental banking behemoth. Read my column @ Human Events that examines how Barney Frank returned much quo for Fannie Mae's quid.
When race-obsessed Cornel West invokes race in his takedowns of black conservatives, the Left cheers. Now that he has questioned the president's status as a real black man, the Left is shocked, shocked. my article @ FrontPagemag (be sure to continue to second page) on the showdown between the big man on campus and the big man in America.
Cesar Chavez gave Barack Obama his "Yes we can" slogan. Barack Obama is giving Cesar Chavez a ship. Read my column @ Human Events on how the Obama administration naming a navy vessel after a union icon won't save the sinking labor movement.
The International Criminal Court's prosecutor is seeking an indictment of Muammar Qaddafi. At first glance, the move seems justified. After all, Qaddafi has engaged in criminal acts and no court in Libya will try him. But dig a little deeper, as I do in my FrontPageMag article (make sure to click on to the second half of the piece), and there is something quite nefarious about the ICC's effort.
The Cars haven't released an album since 1987. Bin Laden, email, cell phones smaller than footballs, and much else has come to pass in the quarter century so in between records. So how is it that a band that hasn't put out new music since the Reagan presidency sounds so 2011? Read my review of The Cars "Move Like This @ the American Spectator.
Noam Chomsky doesn't buy that Osama bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. So, he naturally doesn't like that the United States killed bin Laden without attempting to arrest him--Chomsky labels bin Laden a "victim." Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how Chomsky's take on the U.S. raid that killed the head of al Qaeda isn't the first time the MIT linguist got his facts wildly wrong.
The death of Osama bin Laden prompted Michael Moore to tweet that the terrorist had "won." Is anybody surprised? The ballcapped filmmaker blames America when we're attacked. He blames America when we kill our assailant. Read my column @ Human Events discussing why ideology makes Michael Moore as predictable as a cliche.
Killing nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11 was the crime. Killing one Arab on 5/1 who orchestrated the deaths of those 3,000 Americans wasn't a crime. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on the Left's whining and crying over the death of a dealer in death.
Once upon a time, 51 percent of Democrats said that they believed that George W. Bush had either foreknowledge of, or directly caused, 9/11. Do they still believe that the man complicit in the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history was not holed up in a compound in Abbottobad, Pakistan, but in Dallas, Texas? Read my article @ FrontPageMag that shows how partisanship can twist reality to make you believe a partisan enemy is really a national enemy behind nefarious deeds such as mass murder.
Law firm King & Spalding has defended terrorists and the makers of OxyContin. But the U.S. House of Representatives? Some clients are beyond the pale, apparently. The firm's decision to ditch its client at the behest of homosexual pressure groups highlights the willingness of those pressure groups to ride roughshod over such principles as the right to legal representation and democracy in pursuit of its ends. Read my column @ Human Events that shows that King & Spalding's cowardly attorneys weren't the first to cowar in the face of intimidation tactics over gay marriage.
Muammar Gaddafi wrote a book thirty-six years ago that goes along way to shedding light onto the Libyan leader's narcissism and socialism--and how the two go together. Like the ideology he touts, Gaddafi is a survivor--outlasting the many proclamations of his imminent demise. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how Gaddafi's little green book, unlike him, does not endure with the passage of time.
Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. This simple truth is anathema to a growing number of partisan Republicans. As I write in my column @ Human Events, the people most repulsed by the people who accused George W. Bush of masterminding 9/11 and stealing an election have become those people. This is bad for America. It may be worse for the GOP.
Atlas Shrugged has escaped its binding to make it to Hollywood. Rather than 54-years late, Ayn Rand's magnum opus's appearance on movie screens is perfect timing. As I write in my piece @ FrontPageMag, bailouts, ObamaCare, and Government Motors make ours an Ayn Rand moment.
The California Federation of Teachers have resolved that convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal should be freed. What do they know that a dozen jurors and more than a dozen appellate judges do not? Read my column @ Human Events explaining why the teachers championing this evil resolution are scarier than the cop killer they lionize.
Energy prices skyrocketing? Check. Inflation worsening? Check. A president abandoning allies in the Middle East? Check. Do you ever get the feeling that you're really living in a television program? As I write @ FrontPageMag, the rerun we are collectively forced to act in is That '70s Show. Barack Obama stars as Jimmy Carter.
What's the difference between capitulation to the Left and a conservative triumph? Just $5.5 billion, apparently. In the context of a $3.8 trillion budget, the $5.5 billion disagreement between Democrats and Republicans doesn't seem like a very big chasm to bridge. Read my column @ Human Events on how conservative celebrations over the deal to avert a government shutdown have more to do with winning a public relations war than winning a public policy battle.
Hugh Hefner turns 85 this weekend. One in a long line of preachy perverts, the Playboy founder preaches sexual liberation but keeps the playmates on a curfew and pays them an allowance. As I write @ the American Spectator, the idea of an authoritarian libertine is not as strange as it sounds.
The Nation magazine was for Muammar Gaddafi before it was against him. Back in 1970, the magazine claimed that Gaddafi's Libya boasted equality before the law and a society devoid of racism. As I write @ FrontPageMag, The Nation's premature celebration of Gaddafi fits the publication's template of mistaking despots for democrats.
What is it about socialism that attracts so many thugs, madmen, and murderers? Muammar Gaddafi is the latest in a long line of socialists to unleash the violence of the state upon his own people. As I write in my column @ Human Events, it's okay to call Gaddafi "crazy," "evil," "megalomaniacal." Just don't call him a "socialist."
The enemey of our enemy isn't always our friend. Case in point? Libya. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on how some of our ostensible allies in Operation Odyssey Dawn are our sworn enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and points beyond.
This is not the change for which Obama voters enthusiastically cast ballots. So, in the wake of the Libya campaign, many Obama supporters have changed their minds. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that asks why so many who once said "war is not the answer" are now saying "war is the answer."
Red-diaper baby David Horowitz famously walked away from the Left. Now he's walking away from his neoconservative illusions. The Right, which largely backed George W. Bush's nation-building efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East, would be wise to follow Horowitz's lead. Read my column @ Human Events on why admitting mistakes is a sign of strength, not weakness.
In his first month in office, Eric Holder told Department of Justice employees that Americans are a "nation of cowards" on race and that the DoJ had a "special responsibility" on racial issues. From ordering Dayton, Ohio to redefine failure on a police test because too many blacks had flunked to a bizarre new proclamation that the DoJ go after bullies provided that their victims meet certain racial classifications, Eric Holder's Justice Department has an unhealthy obsession with race. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag that shows that Justice, at least Eric Holder's, isn't blind.
Frederic Bastiat laid out the Broken Window Fallacy more than a century-and-a-half ago. But from FDR paying farmers to uproot crops to Barack Obama subsidizing the destruction of functioning automobiles, Bastiat hasn't convinced everybody that production, not destruction, fuels our economy. Read my column @ Human Events that wonders why, even after disasters break not just windows but people, economists still don't get the Broken Window Fallacy.
The Japanese earthquake and tsunami have killed upwards of 10,000 people. The problems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant? They've killed just one person, who died in a crane accident, thus far. Read my piece @ FrontPageMag, where I wonder if there is something terribly obtuse about the media obsession with one nuclear power plant when there are thousands dead from a one-in-a-lifetime natural disaster.
Republicans should abandon the president-emeritus route that they have taken with George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain. This is because their starting line-up--Romney, Gingrich, Palin, etc.--is so flawed. This is because their bench--Rubio, Christie, Ryun, etc.--is so strong. Read my column @ Human Events, which argues that the GOP would be better off treating its vice presidential options as its presidential options.
NPR executive Ron Schiller mouthed anti-Semitic canards, called the Tea Party "scary," "racist," people, and bashed Republicans in a James O'Keefe-directed YouTube movie. As I write @ FrontPageMag, Ron Schiller's lines were too perfect and his character too despicable for this not to be a satire, right?
"If the problem was the White Citizens Council," Congressman Peter King recently explained, "it wouldn't make any sense to investigate African Americans." But the Homeland Security Committee chairman's inquiry into the radicalization into American Muslims, but not--Does anybody wonder why?--Methodists, Zoroastrians, and Jehovah Witnesses, has elicited cries of intolerance, bigotry, and fascism. Read my article @ FrontPageMag about why a hearing on Islamic radicalization has done so much to bring out the radicals.
After a forty-plus-year war, Harvard and the military have called a truce. The Cambridge, Massachusetts school is the first of what is expected to be many elite institutions welcoming the Reserve Officer Training Corps campus. Read my article @ FrontPageMag to see why Harvard's move is more face-saving gesture than anything else.
More than sixty years ago, Judith Coplon got caught red-handed spying for the reds. She just died, but she passed on her illusions to her children. The descendents of Cold War spies no longer maintain parental innocence. Instead, they hold that the Americans who pledged fealty to Joseph Stalin were guilty of saving the world. Read my column @ Human Events that posits that the Left's collective hallucination about the Rosenbergs, Ms. Coplon, and Alger Hiss didn't go to the grave with them.
I delivered newspapers between 1982 and 1987. A quarter century later, kids don't have paper routes. Adults do. That's too bad. Paper routes intill good habits in children. Not the least of which, as I note in my article @ the American Spectator, is a passion for current events.
Earlier this week at the governors' meeting, the president announced flexibility in implementation of ObamaCare at the state level. That same day, the White House told liberal allies this flexibility pertained to single-payer and government-run state plans. Why two different messages from the same White House? As I write @ FrontPageMag, a Gallup poll showing conservatives outnumbering liberals in every U.S. state demonstrates why Barack Obama so often speaks with a forked tongue.
In 1996, the Democratic backbenchers who make up nearly the entire Democratic Congressional leadership voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, fifteen years later, the Obama administration won't even defend this U.S. law in a U.S. court. What happened? As I write in my column @ Human Events, the Democratic Party not only became further radicalized, it became the Undemocratic Party.
Anthony Maschek got shot eleven times fighting bad guys in Iraq. Then he came home and got heckled while speaking out for the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Columbia. If he hasn't earned the right to speak freely, who has? Despite Congress lifting its ban on gays in the military, elite colleges are inventing new reasons to continue the ban on the ROTC. Read my article @ FrontPageMag, which shows that just as gays in the military replaced Vietnam as the rationale to kick the military off campus, the military's exclusion of transgendered people is replacing gays in the military as the justification for the prohibition of ROTC.
From Cairo to Madison, 2011 is shaping up as the year of the mob. That is bad news for people who value representative government and the rule of law. We don't know where the mobs in Egypt and Wisconsin are taking the people because mobs don't know where they are going. As I write in my column @ Human Events, mobs follow. They don't lead.
What comes the day after the revolution? Much hope, but little thought, has gone into answering this question. Like Charlie Brown perpetually trying to kick the football, Americans are constantly seeing in foreign revolutions 1776 instead of 1789, 1917, or 1979. Read my column @ Human Events, which shows how past revolutions have much to say about the one just experienced in Egypt.
Despite the Muslim Brotherhood's 80-plus-year record of assassinations, terrorism, and bigotry, Brookings Institution scholars talk as though the group remains an enigma. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on why the very people who regard the mixture of religion and politics in America as incipient fascism reflexively dismiss warnings about an Islamic takeover in Egypt.
Ice at the Super Bowl? Freezing in Tucson? Snowy roofs collapsing in Massachusetts? These are the times that try a man's faith, particularly if that faith is in the Holy Church of Global Warming. Read my column @ Human Events, which explains how even anecdotal evidence against global warming has been twisted by proponents of global warming to buttress the theory.
He eclipsed his predecessors. His successors live in his shadow. In their accomplishments, George H.W. Bush (Kuwait's liberation), Bill Clinton (NAFTA), and George W. Bush (tax cuts), Ronald Reagan's successors seem mere stewards of his legacy. After all, it was his military that defeated the Iraqis, his free trade agreement adopted in 1993, and his tax-cut cause made the Republican cause. Even in Bushclintonbush's most memorable lines--"Read my lips: no new taxes," "The era of big government is over," "axis of evil"--the president derided as a dummy played the ventriloquist. Read my article @ FrontPageMag celebrating the 100th anniversary of birth of Ronald Reagan, the greatest president of my lifetime.
Hundreds dead, violent street demonstrations, a repressive autocratic regime nearing its third decade, new technology fueling the protests, and the threat of Islamic fundamentalists filling the void--one could be talking about Egypt today or Iran in 1979. More than thirty years ago, leftists imagined the Islamic revolutionaries as Persian versions of themselves. Read my article @ FrontPageMag that notes the warnings Iran issues us about Egypt.
Chris Matthews is obsessed with Michele Bachmann. Fixating upon the Minnesota Congresswoman in his broadcasts last week, the MSNBC yakker took Bachmann to task for inflating the role the Founding Fathers had in ending slavery. Fair enough, but in highlighting Bachmann's errors, as I write in my column @ Human Events, Matthews made several of his own. Ridicule Michele Bachmann? Okay. Mock the Founding Fathers? No thanks.
What made Keith Olbermann's Countdown so unintentionally special? The Special Comment, of course. The Special Comment was bad television, but so unlike the bad television that surrounded on MSNBC. Whereas, say, The Ed Show is as mediocre as its name implies, Special Comment imagined itself as grandiose only to come off as embarrassingly amateurish. It failed memorably because it failed with pretensions. Read my FrontPageMag special comment on The Special Comment.
Peter Singer writes in Time that America's incivility may have been a possible impetus for Jared Lee Loughner's killing spree. I write in Human Events that Peter Singer's intellectual defense of infanticide is a far more likely intellectual antecedent for an accused serial killer in Philadelphia than any Tea Partier was for Jared Lee Loughner's mass murder in Tucson.
Following November's debacle, the president has announced in the Wall Street Journal a review of regulations that impede growth, compromised with Republicans on maintaining current tax rates, and delivered a measured response to the Tucson tragedy. Quietly, he's injected federally-funded end-of-life counselling into the Federal Register, imposed "net neutrality" through the FCC, and circumvented Congress's rejection of cap-and-trade through EPA regulation. As I write @ FrontPageMag, the lesson the president seems to have learned from November 2 is to loudly make symbolic gestures toward the center while quietly imposing the same left-wing agenda by any means, fair or foul, available.
How might Sarah Palin's reputation have fared if she had compared Jared Lee Loughner to Martin Luther King and described him as "a man of the highest character"? Probably not as well as the reputations of the liberal politicians who heaped these superlatives upon Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones. Read my column @ Human Events on the who's who of the American Left who aided and abetted the rise of the murderer of an American Congressman.
Capitalism and racism can't long peacefully coexist. Businessmen motivated by racial solidarity rather than profits won't stay in business. Read my Martin Luther King Day column @ Human Events on how the free market undermines racial discrimination.
Terrorist Mohamed Atta's driver's license headshot became one of the world's most viewed images. The picture showed a hard, steely-eyed, malevolent figure. Jared Lee Loughner's mug shot has been nearly as ubiquitous. It reveals a vacant-eyed, awkwardly-smiling killer, whose eyebrows and hair have, a la The Wall's 'Pink,' gone missing along with his mind. The former is the face of evil; the latter, the picture of crazy. Yet, as I write in my article @ FrontPageMag, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton equated the act of a lunatic with the decades-long campaign of jihadists on Arab television.
The easiest way to become a left-wing hero is to kill somebody. It worked for John Brown, Joe Hill, Huey Newton, and Leonard Peltier. The Left's history of venerating murderers makes its current stand against "violent rhetoric" comically self-serving. As I ask in my column @ Human Events, where's the Right's Sacco and Vanzetti?
Don't let the facts get in the way of your narrative, Sherriff Clarence Dupnik. In the wake of the horrific mass murder in Tucson, Arizona, Pima County's top lawman set off a wave of wild speculation blaming the tragedy on conservative rhetoric. As I write @ FrontPageMag.com, accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner not only is described as a left-wing radical by people who knew him, but, far more importantly, is crazy.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has offended the guardians of PC once again. This time, his reading that the 14th Amendment does not grant protections against discrimination to women has sent his critics into a fit. But as I write in my column @ Human Events, the feminist heroes of Scalia's critics shared his interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
Why do funnymen lead such sad lives? Is political correctness a gift to or the death of comedy? Do jokes have sell-by-dates? Read my review of Paul Johnson's Humorists @ City Journal that tackles these and other questions.
"Don't ask, don't tell" is history. So the ROTC ban should follow, right? Wrong. As I write in my article @ FrontPageMag, academia's war on students serving their country predated the controversy over gays in the military. At some campuses, that war will continue.
The 112th Congress opens today with a reading of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. Members should pay special attention to Article 1, which outlines the powers entrusted to Congress that Congress has outsourced. From the Fed to the EPA to the FCC, the Obama Administration has bypassed Congress, and the Constitution, to impose its increasingly unpopular agenda. But as I write in my column @ Human Events, the powers a lazy and masochistic Congress has given away were not theirs to give.
It was a bad December for the Kennedys and their former political playground. From the Temple of Ted losing its battle to gain $30 million in earmarks to Patrick Kennedy's departure from political office marking the first Congress without a Kennedy in a half century, the political dynasty had a rough month. Massachusetts, the Kennedys' longtime political base, lost a House seat--their fifth in as many decades--due to Census reapportionment. Read my article @ FrontPageMag on the decay of the Kingdom of Kennedy.
'Tis the season--for bombs delivered in underwear and shoes. Does such a threat call for a human rights-based or national interest-based foreign policy? Read my column @ Human Events on Jamie Glazov's Showdown with Terror: Our Struggle against Tyranny and Terror.
"Conservative" is so popular that many people who share very few of the underlying principles flock to the label. "Liberal," on the other hand, has become an insult. Even liberals don't like being called "liberal." Today, liberals prefer "progressive"; tomorrow, they will recycle some other label once the current one, too, becomes an insult. Read my article at FrontPageMag on how liberalism became a political 4-letter word.
In the wake of a federal judge ruling ObamaCare's individual mandate unconstitutional, the Obama administration is invoking failed New Deal-era legal challenges to Social Security as a historical parallel. But as I write in my column @ Human Events, the successful cases invalidating the National Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act seem more germane. The federal government's powers aren't boundless; they are limited by the Constitution. And the idea that the government can punish an individual for economic inactivity, e.g., not purchasing health insurance, doesn't appear in that document.
John Boehner cried on Election Night. He cried on 60 Minutes. And he's not the only one bawling. From Glenn Beck to Tim Tebow, famous men have reduced themselves to blubbering children. The limelight has become a reason to, rather than a reason not to, cry. Read my article @ the American Spectator that gawks at how America has gone from a society that cringes at grown men crying to one that rewards it--all in my lifetime.
The day before boycotting last week's presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize for China's Liu Xiaobo, the Kremlin suggested that the Norwegian Nobel Committee might want to consider Julian Assange as an honoree. If Russia really wishes to influence the committee, it should ditch the boycotts and smart-aleck suggestions. Instead, as I argue in my piece @ FrontPageMag, Russia should drop the human-rights pretensions and resuscitate its Stalin Peace Prize.
Obama did not raise taxes, and now the noisy minority talks of running a primary challenger against the president. I never knew they liked the outcome of Ted Kennedy's challenge to Jimmy Carter as much as I did. Read my column @ Human Events on the cannibalistic Left, always hungry to eat one of their own.
Move over Joe Hill, Tom Mooney, and Mumia Abu-Jamal. The Left has a new folk hero in Bradley Manning, the Army private who transferred his country's secrets to a clique of Euro-based America haters. As my article @ FrontPageMag details, Bradley Manning is just the latest in a long line of goats America haters have confused for heroes.
Thirty years ago today, Mark David Chapman murdered John Lennon. Whereas during the ten years prior to Lennon's assassination fans obsessed over his past by demanding a Beatles reunion, for the thirty years since they have mourned his unrealized future. Read my article @ the American Spectator that celebrates that unlike Elvis or Michael Jackson, John Lennon enjoyed life's encore.
Who came up with the current policy banning practicing homosexuals from serving in the military? The media doesn't want to ask, the Democrats don't want to tell. The Democrats shouldn't be ashamed of the Clinton-era compromise. As I write in my column @ Human Events, the prudential law affirms that what we do in our bedrooms is a matter neither to ask nor tell about.
The institutional arrogance that characterized the New York Times' decision to publish secret U.S. diplomatic cables is by now familiar to its readers. It's certainly familiar to readers of William McGowan's new book, Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America. Read my column @ Human Events on Gray Lady Down, which depicts a newsroom drenched in "subtle and not-so-subtle anti-Americanism, anti-bourgeois hauteur, hypersensitivity toward 'victim' groups, double standards, historical shallowness, intellectual dishonesty, cultural relativism, moral righteousness and sanctimony."
When North Korea said they killed four South Koreans in self defense last week, nobody outside of the prison state believed it. But sixty years ago, when North Korea claimed that its southern neighbor had started the Korean War, numerous American intellectuals uncritically repeated the canard. As I write in my column @ Human Events, North Korea's American flunkeys have strangely morphed from political droolers into thinkers of great repute--at least on campus.
The Pilgrims who launched Plymouth Colony overcame religious persecution, a trip across the Atlantic, a harsh winter, disease, and the threat of hostile natives. As my column @ Human Events demonstrates, they also overcame socialism. Just don't tell this to The New York Times.
Never-satisfied radicals believe that President Obama hasn't governed far enough from the Left. Unrealistic hopes leading to demoralization is nothing new for American leftists. From New Harmony to Jonestown, leftists envisioned Eden only to experience a hell on earth. That's the danger of living in a world of ideas instead of living in the world. Read my column @ Human Events that explains why the hope and change rhetoric that propelled Obama's campaign undermines his presidency.
I am pro-choice on Four Loko. I want Four Loko to be safe, legal, and rare. The zealots among us wish to dictate what we can and can't put into our bodies. Keep your morals off my Four Loko! Read my article @ the American Spectator about my quest to drink the mythic and soon-to-be-extinct libation sensation.
You can't print your way to prosperity. You can print a dollar into a dime. The Fed's $600 billion influx of dollars into the economy will make the dollars in your pocket less valuable. Read my column @ Human Events to understand how the Fed is taking America back to the future--the 1970s.
Libraries and video games go together like Lady Di and Flavor Flav. But to hear librarians tell it, video games are high-church, intellectual endeavors. Today, nearly 2,000 libraries across America will host National Gaming Day, a massive video game tournament and celebration. Tomorrow, The Jersey Shore on a loop in the main reading room and Lady GaGa played on the intercom? Read my article @ City Journal to understand that when the ostensible defenders of culture bow to the vulgar, is later than you think.
They're called the dumbest generation. But the young essayists in the Jonah Goldberg-edited Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation do not exhibit the signs of Xbox overload or text-message grammar. Read my review of the book in The American Conservative, where I discuss whether "professional conservatives" have imposed conformity on conservatives or the success of the Right has ensured a cacaphony of conservatisms.
Time called Republicans "endangered species." Newsweek proclaimed "the end of conservatism." Somebody forgot to tell conservative Republicans that they had gone extinct less than two years ago. As I write in my column @ Human Events, liberal journalists who mistook wish for reality in incessantly proclaiming the death of conservatism have the most egg on their faces in the aftermath of the Democratic Party's Black Tuesday.
Democrats are blaming big money, even though they have raised more of it than Republicans. Democrats are blaming fearful voters, even though they need those voters to win tomorrow. As I write in my column @ Human Events, the series of excuses offered in advance of Election Day is the strongest indicator that Democrats are in for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Tuesday night.
From one state possibly changing its official name to several states seeking to hit back at ObamaCare's health-insurance mandate, the ballot questions (all 155 of them) before voters this fall range from the bizarre to the consequential. Yet, aside from California's bid to legalize pot, any talk about the initiatives and referenda gets drowned out by the chatter over neck-and-neck political races. Many of the ballot questions will have repurcussions beyond state borders--with quite a few of them taking direct aim at the president's policies. The ballot propositions represent a populist conservatism on the offensive. As my column @ Human Events suggests, liberals have the wrong answers for ballot questions.
Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg are aghast that Bill O'Reilly noticed the presumed coincidence that all of the 9/11 hijackers happened to have been practitioners of the Muslim faith. Knowing that liberals can so quickly forget that Muslims killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11 makes their poor memory regarding much of the last century easier to understand. From eugenics to spying on Martin Luther King, from the internment of Japanese to dropping the bomb on them, liberals forget that the American history they are ashamed of today was liberal policy yesterday. Read my column @ Human Events on why liberals are constantly undergoing self-serving fits of amnesia and projecting their embarrassments upon political enemies.
Christopher Columbus discovered two continents. Any assessment of the Genoese seafarer that doesn't begin with that fact misses the forest for the trees. Yet, 518 years after Columbus first stepped foot on land in the Bahamas, the navigator's detractors call him a slaver, a murderer, and worse. A more apt label, as I demonstrate in my column @ Human Events, is hero.
The magic of dupery alchemizes Stalinists into civil libertarians, war-mongering worshippers of Che, Mao, and Ho into peace activists, and Communists into civil-rights activists. Paul Kengor has written a whole book on the phenomenon: "Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century." Read my column @ Human Events, which wonders if the real dupes aren't misguided liberals apologizing for totalitarians but the conservatives who believe that they act in good faith.
To compound the beating Democrats take on November 2, redistricting for 2012 will mark an 18-seat House of Representatives shift from Blue States toward Red States. Why are right-to-work, no-income-tax, red states gaining seats through reapportionment at the expense of closed-shop, tax-heavy blue states? Read my article @ the American Spectator to understand why Americans are voting with their moving vans.
Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell has been called a gaffe-prone liar who fudged her educational background. Such seeming impediments to elected office never stopped Joe Biden, the man whose Senate seat O'Donnell seeks. Read my column @ Human Events to see why journalists who ignored Joe Biden's lies are engaged in a feeding frenzy over Christine O'Donnell.
Before his election to the United States Senate, Ted Kennedy never even bothered to vote for Democrats--save when his brother's name appeared on the ballot. So Jimmy Carter's accusation on "60 Minutes" that Ted Kennedy sabotaged the 39th president's health-care bill for political gain shouldn't come as a surprise. As I write @ the American Spectator, Ted Kennedy was a party cannibal who regularly devoured fellow Democrats for personal gain. And the worse he treated Democrats, the more Democrats loved him.
If Republicans had listened to liberals in 1980, they would have never nominated Ronald Reagan. Thirty years later, liberals scoffed at the slate of tea-party influenced candidates capturing Republican nominations. Read my article @ Human Events explaining why the candidates you want to face on the ballot in November aren't the ones you want to see in Congress in January.
Barack Obama told the world that he is for the planned Ground Zero mosque and against the threatened Florida Koran burning at Friday's press conference. Is there a subject upon which the Talker-in-Chief hasn't offered an opinion? Two years ago, Obama had America hanging on his every word. Now even his supporters wish he would hit his internal mute button occasionally. Read my column @ Human Events explaining that Silent Cal has a lot to teach Wordy Barry.
The future of organized labor looks bleak this Labor Day. Read my column @ Human Events about how labor unions, organizations founded to protect workers, have priced their members out of jobs.
On Wednesday, James Lee took three Discovery Channel employees hostage at corporate headquarters. On Monday, Discovery's Animal Planet airs a marathon of "Whale Wars," a reality television show starring Paul Watson in which environmentalists ram whaling ships and otherwise endanger people in their workplace. In my column @ Human Events, I ask just what is the difference between the gunman in Discovery's lobby ("Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around") and the lunatic starring on its hit reality show ("Don't bring any more humans into being").
Album sales experienced their worst week ever in August. The music industry blames their customers. Their customers blame the music industry. As I write @ the American Spectator, years of pushing horrible music on the public has resulted in terrible consequences for the recording industry.
Saul Alinsky's methods have impressed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and, strangest of all, numerous tea party activists. Nearly four decades after his death, the community organizer is hotter than ever--despite the fact that nobody really knows what a community organizer does. Read my column @ Human Events to discover why the Rules for Radicals author didn't follow any rules.
For Democrats up for reelection this fall, there's no time like the past. Don't talk about Barack Obama. Talk about George Bush. Don't address concerns about building a mosque at Ground Zero. Dismiss the objections as "McCarthyism." Opponents of gay marriage? They're the same people who unleashed dogs and fire hoses upon black people in the South. That's the Hot Tub Time Machine School of American Politics, which I dissect in my column @ Human Events.
When Ray Bradbury was a boy, a magician informed him that he would live forever. This Sunday America's most popular and prolific short story writer turns 90--old by human standards, just getting started by the standards of immortals. When Bradbury was young, he cared too much about what critics thought of him, seeking to erase the pulp origins of his stories, running from the sci-fi label, and writing a few tales that flattered the political leanings of the literati. Now that he is an old man (by mortal standards), he could not care any less what anyone thinks of him. Read my celebration of Bradbury's birthday @ the American Spectator.
I didn't need a massive FBI file to convince me that Howard Zinn was a Communist. The massive tome he wrote was fairly persuasive on that point. For those who remain unconvinced, why would numerous unconnected people tell the FBI that Howard Zinn, then an unknown, was a member of the Communist Party? Read my piece @ City Journal that posits that like Zinn's A People's History of the United States, his '50s responses to questions from the FBI just don't add up.
The 1980s had a good 1990s and a better 2000s. More than two decades after its demise, the 1980s are more popular than ever. The decade lives in that Madness song on your iPod, during incessant cable-television airings of Sixteen Candles, and on eBay through a constant auction Atari 2600s. And it lives in Rob Sheffield's "Talking to Girls about Duran Duran: One Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut." Read my review @ The American Spectator.
Calling the president "Hitler" used to be a beloved avocation for the American Left. But the rules have changed now that a Democrat is president. Read my column @ Human Events that explains how yesterday's Bush Haters have hilariously become today's O-bots lecturing the rest of us on the proper rhetorical decorum when addressing Mr. President.
The internet stimulates our brains but anesthetizes our minds. A combination of psychology, pop culture, technology, education, and myriad other fields, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains is an important book about a timely subject. Read it. But before you do, read my review of it @ the American Spectator.
True believers did not stop insisting that former State Department official Alger Hiss and journalist I.F. Stone were completely innocent of being Soviet spies once the evidence piled to Everest levels. Howard Zinn's FBI file, then, is not going to convince the Left that the "people's historian" was really the Kremlin's historian. Read my column @ Human Events that demonstrates that the Left is too heavily invested in the group lie on postwar domestic subversion to bail out now.
From honoring Van Jones with an Image Award to hosting Leonard Jeffries at a "unity summit," the NAACP has compiled an embarrassing track record of extremism in recent years. So why does anybody take seriously a group that has hosted Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan as keynote speakers when it lectures the Tea Parties about its extremists? Read my top-10 list of NAACP extremism @ Human Events.
"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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Hugh Hefner, a man who has been stuck in an adolescent male fantasy for more than five decades, heralds something as an advance for women, people might want to take his praise with a grain of salt. Fifty years ago, the FDA gave its imprimatur to The Pill. A half-century later, Hefner, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Swank, and others have celebrated The Pill's birthday as a crucial step in the liberation of women. But, as I write in my article @ the American Spectator, The Pill counter-intuitively opened the floodgates of abortion and illegitimacy--which, a study by the Pew Research Center demonstrates, has skyrocketed since The Pill's initial availability.
The Manson Family, Heaven's Gate's Hale Boppers, and Leopold and Loeb all lack academic defenders. But not Jim Jones' Peoples Temple. Rebecca Moore has made a career as an apologist for the political cult whose 1978 act of "revolutionary suicide" resulted in the deaths of more than 900 people. My article @ City Journal exposes the San Francisco politicians who fawned over Peoples Temple--and the academic who follows in their footsteps more than three decades later.
The federal government has already allocated almost $40 million to fund an Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston. Massachusetts representatives seek about $30 million more in the next budget. Read my piece @ the American Spectator, which asks why, with all of the money the Kennedys have and all of the money the Kennedys can rave, must the votaries of the late senator take from the taxpayer.
There are trendy movements and there are transformational movements. Two new books, Jason Mattera's Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation and Michael Graham's That's No Angry Mob, That's My Mom: Team Obama's Assault on Tea-Party, Talk-Radio Americans, discuss the potentially transformational, and certainly conflicting, major mass-movements of our times. Read my review @ the American Spectator.
In the late 1970s, the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart was the domain of Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and Chic. Then The Knack's "My Sharona" came along and became the top song of 1979. It conquered disco and rescued rock 'n' roll. Doug Fieger, the man who co-wrote and sang "My Sharona," died earlier this week. Read my piece @ the American Spectator on the rise, fall, and curious contemporary relevance of The Knack's "My Sharona."
Patrick Kennedy has labeled the man who now sits in the senate seat his father held for 47 years a "joke." Does not that designation fit the eight-term Congressman better than it does Scott Brown? Read my piece @ the American Spectator and discover why Rhode Islanders don't find the joke of sending a mentally-ill recovering drug addict to Congress very funny anymore.
Scott Brown didn't just beat Martha Coakley. He erased Ted Kennedy's imprint on the Bay State, used the bluest state to flash a red light at ObamaCare, embarrassed the president of the United States, and sent Democrats running scared around the country. If Democrats aren't safe in Massachusetts, they aren't safe anywhere. Republicans winning in Massachusetts is the political equivalent of "When a Stranger Calls": "Yeah, Mr. President. We've traced the call. It's coming from inside of your house." Read my article @ City Journal explaining why Republican victory in Massachusetts will either serve as harbinger or alarm bell for Democrats. Wake up, or get a rude awakening in November.
Tomorrow, the History Channel airs "The People Speak," a series based on Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." Today, Big Hollywood features Howard Zinn, Intellectual Moron, an evisceration of said book based on my longer piece in "Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas." Read the piece here.
Do not adjust your television set. The teams gracing your big screen this weekend sporting odd color schemes and unfamiliar uniforms are NFL franchises, not high school clubs. The first time I watched teams play with throwback uniforms I thought it was cool. By the time the experience had reached the triple digits, the novelty had worn off. Read my article @ the American Spectator explaining that, while nine times out of ten a throwback conjures up tradition, the NFL's marketing gimmick undermines it.
Ayn Rand's detractors saw horns emerging from her head. Her acolytes saw a halo. Titles aside, two new biographies--Anne C. Heller's "Ayn Rand and the World She Made" and Jennifer Burns's "Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right"--depict a mere mortal whose life was more complex than an angel or devil. Read my book review @ City Journal that demonstrates why readers of this pair of biographies can be grateful that Ayn Rand was more human than the characters she created.
Twenty years ago this Monday, the greatest political development of my lifetime occurred: the opening (which precipitated the closing) of the Berlin Wall. For Westerners, the Berlin Wall served as the symbol of Communist oppression. In the Communist Bloc, the Berlin Wall functioned effectively as the survival mechanism of the German Democratic Republic. Twenty percent of the East German populace--more than three million people--had escaped in the decade or so preceding the Wall's construction. Had the rate of exodus continued, East Germany would have ceased to exist by about 1989. Read my contribution to City Journal's symposium celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, alongside remembrances by Claire Berlinski, Judith Miller, Roger Scruton, and Guy Sorman.
Since the issue of gay marriage arose in the 1990s, the Senate voted 85-14, and the House voted 342-67, for the Defense of Marriage Act that President Bill Clinton signed into law. Gay marriage has been before the voters in 31 states and 31 states have rejected it. Strangely, proponents of same-sex marriage, who have yet to win a single popular vote on the matter, insist that opposition to gay marriage is a losing position. Read my piece @ the American Spectator that explains why gay marriage isn't divisive but rather the most unifying major issue in American politics.
Twenty-eight-years ago, I saw Captain Lou Albano along with the Moondogs wrestle Tony Garea, Rick Martel, and Pedro Morales in a half-empty Boston Garden. A few years later, Albano teamed up with Cyndi Lauper and Vince McMahon to defeat wrestling's pop-culture reputation as a vestige of 19th-century carnival barkers and travelling sideshows. The "Rock and Wrestling Connection," the bizarre pop-culture cross-pollination that still leaves me scratching my head, strangely catapulted, rather than killed, the careers of those involved. Read my piece @ the American Spectator celebrating Captain Lou Albano, who died yesterday, and remembering professional wrestling, which died for me a long time ago.
A choked-up Nancy Pelosi suggested that Joe Wilson's interruption of the president is the type of rhetoric that may lead to violence because she saw such rhetoric lead to violence in San Francisco in the 1970s. But it wasn't conservative rhetoric fueling the violence of Jim Jones, the Black Panthers, Sara Jane Moore, and the multitude of political thugs who unleashed chaos upon the Bay Area in the 1970s. Read my piece @ the American Spectator to get the history that Nancy Pelosi leaves out.
Eighty years ago, Will Durant started writing The Story of Civilization. About 65 years later, I started reading it. This seemed right. If a man could devote 45 years of his life to writing the history of the world, I could devote two years of my life to reading it. More than a decade after finishing the eleven-volume Story of Civilization, I have finally gotten around to writing about it. The October 5, 2009 issue of National Review, available now to those with a digital subscription, features my lengthy article on Will and Ariel Durant, the apostate historians. Read it here @ National Review if you have a digital subscription. Get with the program, or just buy it at your local newstand, if you aren't digitally subscribed.
When Massachusetts public opinion drifted left, Ted Kennedy followed--on the Vietnam War, taxes, abortion, and a whole host of issues. Where Ted Kennedy walked, Democrats followed. What ensured Ted Kennedy's political longevity in Massachusetts undermined the Democrats' ambitions as a national party. Read my piece @ City Journal the Democratic Party's long, strange trip tagging along with Ted Kennedy.
"I used her, she used me, but neither one cared," Bob Seger sang in Night Moves. His lyric could also describe the awkward convergence of Catholicism and Ted Kennedy on display this weekend. Once synonymous with the Church, the Kennedys--through personal scandal and the embrace of political issues such as abortion--have transformed themselves into the first family of the Church of Liberalism. Read my article @ the American Spectator on why the Church's role in Ted Kennedy's funeral has liberal and conservative Catholics crying foul for very different reasons.
Why was Ted Kennedy so long the man conservatives loved to hate? Because the rules didn't apply to Ted Kennedy. He got Cs and gained admission to Harvard. He never bothered, save for his brief time in the Army, to get a proper job before he won election to the Senate. He feverishly attempted to cover up drunk driving a woman to her death, and his dronish followers sought to make him president. Read my piece @ the American Spectator to discover why the late Massachusetts senator "need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life."
Towering political figures are remembered in one line. George Washington was the father of his country. Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot. Ted Kennedy? Read my piece @ Human Events to discover how America's third-longest-serving senator should be remembered.
Guess who trades on his famous name to make millions from interests with business before his father's powerful senate committee? Ted Kennedy Jr.'s "consulting" businesses have pocketed almost $400,000 from Bristol Myers Squibb--and millions more from other health-care and union interests. Ted Kennedy, Sr. is the chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Ask not what you can do for your name; ask what your name can do for you. Read my piece in the City Journal about the power of a last name.
Ted Kennedy helped engineer a change in Massachusetts law that stripped the governor of the power to fill senate vacancies. That was five years ago, when a Republican served as governor. Now that a Democrat is governor, Kennedy wants a redo--lest a Republican win election to the seat that he wishes to bequeath to one of his Kennedy heirs--just as it got left to him by his brother Jack. Read my piece @ the American Spectator, detailing how Kennedy's drive to empower Governor Deval Patrick to name his successor is just the lastest unprincipled about-face by the Bay State's senior senator.
Ted Kennedy's face is on the cover of Newsweek, his words propel the HBO documentary "Teddy: In His Own Words," and his name is on the lips of every Democrat seeking to enact a state-run health care plan. The senior senator from Massachusetts is seemingly everywhere--everywhere but the United States Senate. Read my piece in the American Spectator explaining how absentee senator Ted Kennedy risks undermining his political legacy by treating his senate seat as a family legacy.
Thirty years ago, Western intellectuals, inebriated by the anti-Americanism of the revolutionaries, looked upon the Iranian Revolution and saw themselves. When something quite different from responsive democracy, oil socialism, and commitment to peace materialized in Iran, the cognoscenti emerged with egg on their faces. Read my article @ City Journal to understand why those aghast at the anti-Americanism of the Persian theocracy risk making the same mistake by projecting their values upon today's revolutionaries rebelling against the Iranian old guard.
Mark Rudd led the 1968 takeover of Columbia University, rioted at 1969's Days of Rage in Chicago, participated in a bombing campaign that took the life of his best friend in 1970, and spent the better part of the '70s evading the FBI. Then he grew up. Read my review @ First Principles of Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen, which details Mark Rudd's 1960s and the hangover that followed.
The feds indicted the Speaker of Massachusetts's not-so Great and General Court earlier this week on corruption charges. Following Speaker Felony Tax Evasion and Speaker Obstruction of Justice, Speaker Kickbacks is the third speaker in a row of Massachusetts's house of representatives indicted by the feds. Read my article @ the American Spectator demonstrating that Massachusetts's corruption problem has much to do with Massachusetts's competitive elections problem.
Slain San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk abused his political office by aiding and abetting Jim Jones's kidnapping, and subsequent murder, of a six-year-old boy. He purportedly staged a hate crime to enhance his victim status in the eyes of San Francisco voters. He routinely called political opponents "Nazis." So why has the California senate passed a bill seeking to name today as "Harvey Milk Day" in the Golden State? My article @ City Journal juxtaposes Sean Penn's Academy Award-winning portrayal with history's Harvey Milk, finding the celluloid hero quite different than the real-life goat.
Five years to the week that it forced gay marriage upon the Bay State, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments in a case that could be as much the bane to economic conservatives as Goodrich has been to social conservatives. Town Fair Tire v. Massachusetts, if upheld, will nullify the commerce clause--the Constitution's provision making the United States a giant free-trade zone--and throw prosperity out the window. Read my article @ the American Spectator demonstrating how the greedy tentacles of Taxachusetts have reached across state lines for taxdollars.
Think legalizing marijuana will make America more free? Not quite, as proposals before state legislatures aim to double the price of marijuana through onerous taxes, create a bud bureaucracy, burden dealers and growers with paperwork and exorbitant licensing fees, and threaten unlicensed dealers with excessive jail time. Read my article at TakiMag that points out that decriminalization, that happy limbo where stoners need fear neither lawmen nor taxmen, is the best that marijuana enthusiasts can realistically hope for.
The late anchorman Peter Jennings eulogized I.F. Stone as "a journalist's journalist" upon his 1989 passing. From Harvard to Berkeley, journalism programs have named fellowships and awards for I.F. Stone. This week's revelation from scholars Alexander Vassiliev, John Earl Haynes, and Harvey Klehr that the archives of Soviet intelligence (atop past incriminating evidence from a KGB general and the Venona intercepts) identify this "journalist's journalist" as an agent of the Soviet Union puts Stone, and his fan club, in another light. Read my piece @ the American Spectator to learn why the exposure of liberal icon Izzy Stone as a Communist agent tarnishes not only Izzy Stone, but his media admirers as well.
Massachusetts has become its Taxachusetts caricature in the Town Fair Tire case. The case revolves around the state's presumptuous presentation of a $108,947 tax bill to three Town Fair Tire stores in New Hampshire for failing to collect and remit sales taxes on its Massachusetts customers. The brash move violates the Constitution's equal protection and commerce clauses, not to mention Massachusetts statutes. But it will put a lot of money in Massachusetts's coffers, which, I suppose, is why the frustrated Bay State politicos have gone after merchants in sales-tax-free New Hampshire. Read my article on this absolutely jaw-dropping case at Forbes.com (or in the Spring issue of City Journal).
It is difficult to discern what Alex Beam's A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books objects to most about the Great Books: the rejection of relativism that deems some books truly great, or the marketing of great books to mediocre minds. In a smug, condescending book that often sneers but rarely speaks, Alex Beam looks down on autodidact Mort Adler, University of Chicago President Robert Hutchins, and Encyclopedia Britannica publisher William Benton from below. Read my review at ISI's First Principles.
Ayn Rand's been dead for more than a quarter century, but her books are more alive than ever. Whether one judges by the booming sales of Atlas Shrugged, libertarian weird beards "gulching" to avoid taxation, or corporations relocating to the real-life Galt's Gulch of Zug, Switzerland, the Russian-born novelist's ideas have proven amazingly resilient. Five years after dubbing Rand an "intellectual moron," I, alongside the likes of Joseph Bottum and Burt Folsom, explore the relevance of Ayn Rand in the age of Obama in a symposium @ NRO.
For David Frum, it's not the failed president he dubbed "the right man," or the far-fetched utopian military crusades he advocated as "an end to evil," but Rush Limbaugh who is to blame for the Republican Party's sorry state. Read my article @ the American Spectator detailing how the Robespierre who once attempted to drive "Unpatriotic Conservatives" (read: Iraq war opponents) out of the conservative movement now laments conservative intolerance of "squishes" (read: him).
Lemon, Furman, Roe, and other legal bizarreries caught conservatives off guard in the early '70s. Then the Right organized. Read how it happened in my review in First Principles of Steven M. Teles's The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement.
You can be a rock star. You can be a world saver. You can't be both, as Bono proves on U2's latest underwhelming effort No Line on the Horizon. Read my piece at the American Spectator detailing how the release of U2's much-hyped No Line on the Horizon confirms the Irish foursome's jump from relevant it band to greatest hits act.
Last week, the Washington Post revealed that Lyndon Johnson instructed the FBI to investigate aide Jack Valenti's sex life. It's just that they didn't spin it that way. Read my American Spectator piece to understand why, from Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman to John Kennedy, you can't blame liberal presidents for civil liberties abuses. The devil made them do it.
Conservatives aren't as skilled at reading books out loud as their liberal counterparts. Don't believe me? Just ask the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, or better yet, read my article at the American Spectator noting that before Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth won a Grammy on Sunday, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, Christopher Reeve, and Jane Fonda took home "spoken word" Grammys, too.
Fifty years ago today, paperboy Don McLean delivered "bad news on the door step." Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3, 1959. It would never be the same again. Before Jimi Hendrix, or Sid Vicious, or Kurt Cobain, '50s teenagers experienced it first with Buddy Holly. Read my article @ the American Spectator that explores the history and meaning of this giant cultural demarcation point.
The New Deal didn't end the Great Depression. It exacerbated it. Only a masochist would want to repeat the New Deal. Yet, that's just what a chorus of liberal journalists sing for--a 'new' New Deal. Roosevelt couldn't spend America out of the doldrums in the 1930s. Obama won't be able to do so today. Read my article at TakiMag that compares the Hoover-Roosevelt New Deal to the Bush-Obama 'new' New Deal, bolstering the maxim that everything old is eventually new again.
Governor David Paterson has made his choice. Now he has to live with it--and the Kennedys. For four generations, the political dynasty has refused to play nice with fellow Democrats who don't do their bidding. From experiencing primary challenges to discovering secret support of their Republican opponents, Democrats can attest best the vengeful nature of the first family of Massachusetts politics. Read my article at The American Spectator to find out what awaits the New York governor who dared bypass Caroline Kennedy.
Dynastic politics at its worst? Check. Inarticulateness that makes Britney Spears sound like Winston Churchill in comparison? Check. Voting-booth apathy by a wannabe senator? Check. Like Uncle, Like Niece, my piece at CityJournalOnline, explores the eery similarities between Ted Kennedy's rookie run for the Senate in 1962 and Caroline Kennedy's neophyte bid for a Senate seat in 2009. Read it, and weep.
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.
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.
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.
FlynnFiles is generating much buzz this week, particularly regarding my piece on the Jonestown cultists whose devotion to fantasy and contept for reality was so great that they killed themselves rather than their socialist ideas. Later today, in the third hour I am told, I will appear on The Savage Nation to discuss intellectual morons and other assorted poseurs. Tune in if you don't already. The Corner, MichaelSavage.com, and TakiMag linked to the Jonestown piece, Glenn Beck seized on it for a monologue, and the article appeared in full at FrontPageMag.com (read it here).
Barack Obama holds his victory celebration in Grant Park tonight. Two of his earliest political supporters held a celebration of violence and nihilism in Grant Park thirty-nine-years ago. Read my special Election Day article in City Journal on the long, strange trip of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who have gone from children of privilege in the 1950s, to Weatherman rioters in Grant Park in 1969, to Grant Park celebrants of their friend's winning of the highest office in the land in 2008. Even in victory Obama can't escape his loser friends who have dogged him the whole campaign.
Bay State voters decide this November whether to retire the "Taxachusetts" moniker permanently through Question 1, a ballot initiative that abolishes--not cuts, or tweaks, or trims, but abolishes--the state's income tax. My piece at Forbes.com notes the singular direction of taxes in Massachusetts over the last century, arguing that with the introduction of an income tax, gasoline tax, sales tax, lottery, and cigarette sin-tax to add to the ancient property tax, it's time for Bay Staters to go in the opposite direction and vote goodbye to just one of its many onerous taxes.
From Nevada to Michigan to Ohio to Missouri to points beyond, Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) workers are running afoul of the law by registering phony voters. This year, Barack Obama's campaign funded the number one force for electoral fraud to the tune of more than $800,000. In the 1990s, Obama ran ACORN's Project Vote outfit in Illinois. In the U.S. Senate, he's been the mighty oak which grew from ACORN, remembering his roots by championing ACORN's agenda. Read my City Journal review of John Fund's timely Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, which details how some activists want to count every vote--again, and again, and again.
Forty years ago this week, Tom Hayden implored activists outside of the Democratic National Convention: "Make sure that if blood is going to flow, it will flow all over this city." It did. Yesterday, during another Democratic National Convention, Hayden's mouth once again inadvertantly aided Republicans. "I have met and like John McCain, but he bombed, and presumably killed, many people in a war I opposed," Hayden offered. "If I can set all that aside, I would hope that Americans will accept" that Obama's Weatherman friend Bill Ayers has changed, too. Outside of the 2008 Democratic National Convention activists hope to "Recreate 68." That's the last thing Barack Obama wants. Read my City Journal article wondering why anyone, particularly left-wing activists, would want to "Recreate 68."
When did the Constitution start saying that the president got to declare war? Where does the commerce clause give all three branches of the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce, let alone intrastate commerce? Why did federal judges read specific legal prohibitions on busing as empowering them to command busing? Such questions are tackled in Thomas Woods and Kevin R.C. Gutzman's Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush, which I review today at the American Spectator.
Once an African American secured a major party's presidential nomination, did you think religion and not race would dominate the national conversation? From Reverend Wright to a "What He Believes" Newsweek cover to crude rumors of a Muslim upbringing to an upcoming appearance with John McCain at Rick Warren's megachurch, Barack Obama's run for the presidency has been chased by religion at every turn. I'm a believer, Obama professes. But a believer in what? In my article featured on TakiMag (read it: articles > blog posts), I show how the presumptive Democratic nominee's belief in the social gospel, federalizing local charitable initiatives, and, yes, immanentizing the eschaton makes his faith as much a political as a religious creed.
In 1968, the New Left cost the Democrats the presidency by rioting at their convention and urging young people to shun voting. In 2008, the not-so-new Left may cost Barack Obama the presidency by their vocal support. Read my piece in City Journal online about the '68 rioters, Communist schismatics, and Weatherman terrorists who give Barack Obama the the type of support every candidate wishes for their opponent.
The racism of the American past that the Left uncourageously crusades against from the present is the Left's history as well. Robert Owen's New Harmony commune that effectively launched the American Left banned African Americans. The Communist Party ejected Japanese Americans from its rolls after Pearl Harbor. The Democratic Party countenanced the Theodore Bilbos and John Rankins, but just one black member of Congress before World War II. In my National Review Online article on the Left, racism, and the historic Barack Obama campaign (click and read), I tackle the Left's version of American Exceptionalism that posits that leftists have always held superior attitudes on race vis-a-vis their fellow countrymen.
Republicans appointed six of the seven judges that found in California's constitution a right to same-sex marriage. Roe, Kelo, and so many other outrageous U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the last forty years were authored by Republican appointees. Read my article in TakiMag that wonders if automatically rewarding the GOP with votes to curb the judicial activism of the courts they have shaped does not in fact invite such courthouse affronts against the people and the constitution.
I wrote A Conservative History of the American Left in part to conserve the history the Left would rather discard. With that in mind, I produced for FrontPageMag.com the Top Ten Skeletons in the Left's Closet. From the assassination of three U.S. presidents by communists to leading Democrats fawning over the pre-Jonestown Jim Jones, the list details the history that the American Left wants you to forget.
Jack Reed and Louise Bryant passionately argued for free love. Their diseased genitals offered a convincing rebuttal. In the American Spectator Online, I break a story more than ninety years in the making--how historians and Hollywood whitewashed the consequences of two left-wing icons practicing the liberal principles that they preached. Eighty-eight years ago, the Bolsheviks buried Jack Reed in the shadows of the Kremlin. For nearly that long, American admirers of Reed's have buried evidence--open to the world at Harvard University's Houghton Library--that demonstrates not only the pitfalls of free love, but the mendacity of one of the most nominated films in the history of the Academy Awards.
In 1964, Carl Oglesby was married with children, living in what he calls a "see-Spot-run" neighborhood, and working a white-collar job in the defense industry. In 1965, he was the president of Students for a Democratic Society, trading bourgeois tranquility for a life of protesting the Vietnam War, bedding movement sex symbols, cutting folk albums, and quixotically trying to forge an alliance between the New Left and the Old Right. Read my review of Carl Oglesby's Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement in the City Journal's online edition.
Senator Joseph McCarthy did not correctly finger a single Communist, but a multitude of them, writes Stan Evans in his explosive book about the most controversial senator in the history of that august body. Read my review of M. Stanton Evans's Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies on ISI's new web journal, First Principles, and discover why Cold Warriors who took on domestic subversives in fact instead of in books fare poorly in the books written about the period.
Barack Obama's "Change We Can Believe In" is a euphemism for more of the same--the same big government, identity politics, paternalism, and anti-Americanism that the Left has been pushing for more than a century. Read my lengthy article on TakiMag, which explores the paralells between the biography of the man who would be president and the history of the movement that he represents. To perpetuate the man and the movement, much forgetting is in order.
Three years after its advisory vote to bar military recruiters from the city's public schools and colleges, San Francisco has finally come around to honoring the military--Stalin's, not America's. Last weekend, the city unveiled a monument venerating the so-called Abraham Lincoln Brigade who shipped out in the 1930s to inflict Communism on the Spanish. Read my piece at The American Spectator's website detailing the American Left's continued obsession with honoring the dishonorables who served Stalin.
When Congressmen David Bonior, Mike Thompson, and Jim McDermott travelled to Iraq in 2002, Saddam Hussein's intelligence operatives picked up the tab, the federal government alleges. Read my piece on National Review Online on how the trio's ideological tourism carried on a shameful tradition of junkets to totalitarian nations by leftists willing to excuse the misdeeds of America's enemies.
Thirty-eight years ago, Cathy Wilkerson and her friends plotted to blow up soldiers at a dance at Fort Dix. Instead of killing servicemen and their dates, the Weathermen blew up Wilkerson's father's Greenwich Village townhouse. How did the sons and daughters of privilege become amateur revolutionaries? Read my review of Cathy Wilkerson's memoir Flying to Close to the Sun at First Principles, ISI's new webzine.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of my interview with Howard Phillips are now online. The Conservative Caucus chairman discusses Republican misses on the Supreme Court, the state of the conservative movement, the sharp left turn of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, pulling Fidel Castro's beard, the George W. Bush presidency, schooldays at Boston Latin and Harvard, and much, much more. Read the entire can't-miss interview with this principled conservative here.
What contemporary history of America highlights that just seven percent of Africans brought to the New World were enslaved in the United States? Or that as Standard Oil’s prices dropped their market share rose to a monopoly level? Or that Joseph McCarthy underestimated the scope of Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government? None that I know of, other than Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen's A Patriot's History of the United States, which I review on FrontPageMag.com.
Employees at each of U.S. News and World Report's top twenty-five national universities overwhelmingly favored John Kerry over George W. Bush in the 2004 election cycle. Giving ratios of employees at selected schools totaled 9-1 at Duke, 20-1 at Yale, 43-1 at MIT, 302-1 at Princeton, and infinity at Dartmouth, where not a single employee appeared on Federal Election Commission reports as donating to the Bush campaign. I've just completed a major study called Deep Blue Campuses (read it here) for the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. On campus, the talk is diversity. The reality is conformity.
W.E.B. Du Bois declared in 1920, "Absolutely segregate the races and sections of the world." Thirteen years later, the NAACP would eject him from the organization he helped found because of such statements as "I fight Segregation with Segregation." After traveling to Nazi Germany in 1937, he returned to America with largely glowing reports, penning an article called "The German Case Against the Jews" that excused anti-Semitism in the Third Reich by labeling it "a reasoned prejudice." At mid-century Du Bois propagandized that North Korea was attacked to launch the Korean War, that "Harry Truman ranks with Adolf Hitler as one of the greatest killers of our day," and that Stalin was a "great" and "courageous" man. In the early 1960s, Du Bois renounced his American citizenship and formally joined the Communist Party, declaring communism "the only way of human life." Why, in 2005, would John Kerry push the United States Senate to honor this man? Read my Human Events article that broke this story today to learn more about the extremist John Kerry seeks to honor.
Did William Rehnquist swear in the wrong man on Inauguration Day? That's what many protesting the start of George W. Bush's second term believe. Pre-election taunts of "accidental president" and "re-defeat Bush" allowed Bush-haters to benefit from the illusion that they represented the majority. November 2, one might think, would have shattered that illusion. It didn’t. In my piece on National Review Online, I discuss the Left's dismissal of the painful truth in favor of a comforting myth.
In the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse argued that true tolerance meant censoring the Right, while Noam Chomsky preached that to engage in debate with the Right on certain issues was to lose one's humanity. Ideas have consequences. The post-sixties Left currently dominating the campuses has put the words of these intellectual morons into action in a recent round of newspaper thefts and acts of intimidation. Read about the current state of free speech in academia, and what can be done to defend against campus assaults on free speech, in my article on NewsMax today.
The military is one of the most popular institutions in America but one of the least popular on campus. This is a direct consequence of stacking faculties with people politically alienated from the society that surrounds them. If the campus repulsion to the armed forces seems so foreign to us it is because we are so foreign to the people teaching at these institutions. Read my NewsMax article detailing how two of the institutions most corrupted by the Left--academia and the courts--have combined to kick military recruiters off of law school campuses.
Hamilton College has hired Susan Rosenberg, an advocate of "collective violence" against the U.S. government, to teach a writing class next semester. Caught with several hundred pounds of explosives in 1984, Rosenberg was serving a fifty-eight year prison sentence until President Clinton pardoned her on his last day in office. The hiring of the unrepentant Rosenberg, unfortunately, is not an isolated example of a college bringing on board a faculty member largely because of the faculty member's criminal past. My NewsMax article explains why setting off bombs, aiding terrorists, kidnapping, and even murder are no obstacle to steady employment at a number of U.S. academic institutions.
The biopic Kinsey fails both as biography and motion picture. Against a backdrop of strawmen and stereotypes, Bill Condon's Kinsey emerges to slay ignorance. The real Kinsey did more to perpetuate sexual ignorance than any other figure of the past century. Perhaps in tribute, this fawning movie adopts Alfred Kinsey's dishonesty in telling the Indiana University professor's story. "Artistic license" whitewashes Kinsey's extreme masochism, tolerance of pedophilia, and stacking his sample group with prison inmates and homosexuals, but it fails to make the movie interesting or entertaining. Read what the film starring Liam Neeson leaves out in my review of Kinsey on Accuracy in Media's site.
The U.S. map is red but America's campuses are deep blue. I examined Federal Election Commission records and found donations to John Kerry wildly outpaced donations to George W. Bush. My amateur inspection found that Harvard employees gave 32 times more money to Kerry than to Bush. The disparity was 270-1 at Princeton, 32-1 at Cornell, 22-1 at Penn, 11-1 at Yale, 7-1 at Brown, and 5-1 at Columbia. Get this: because I could find no Dartmouth employee that had donated to President Bush's reelection efforts, John Kerry received an infinite amount more from the faculty and administrators at the Hanover, New Hampshire school than his opponent. I detail my findings, and why a politically alienated academia is bad for education, on NewsMax.com.
Alfred Kinsey circumcised himself with a pocketknife, compulsively pierced his genitals, and partook in peculiar activities involving a noose and his groin. But the Indiana University professor's unsettling personal behavior is not why his mid-century reports on human sexuality are so controversial today. My piece on TownHall.com explains why Kinsey's dishonest scholarship, rather than the bedroom behavior that motivated that scholarship, serves as the primary basis for objecting to Kinsey and the hagiographic film by the same name that hits theaters across the nation on Friday.
On 9/11, nineteen young men sharing the same Islamic faith and Arab heritage hijacked four planes and killed nearly 3,000 people. To prevent future hijackings, the federal government demands that its airport security forget past hijackings. Specifically, government rules dictate that airport screeners treat elderly black women the same as twenty-five year old Muslim men. My review of Michael Smerconish's Flying Blind wonders if the government's indulgence of political correctness in favor of some passengers' convenience comes at the expense of other passengers' safety.
If there's one thing that short-circuits the mental wiring of leftists, it is the name George W. Bush. For the last four year's, George W. Bush's enemies, by their immoderation, have succeeded driving Americans into the president's arms. On November 2, the Bush-haters have the opportunity to turn passion into votes. My article on TownHall.com explores the strange world of the Bush-haters, wondering if the president could have been handed a better set of enemies had he the opportunity to invent his opposition.
English animal-rights leaders have given their imprimatur to protests targeting the children of biomedical scientists. Where did they get such ideas? One inspiration for animal-rights extremism, my article on TownHall explains, is Princeton University Professor Peter Singer, who gives his okay to parents killing their newborns but objects to schoolchildren lunching on turkey sandwiches.
The most dangerous delusion is the idea that man is perfectible. The goal is unattainable, but the crimes committed to achieve it are very real. The belief in heaven on earth led to the horrors of the gas chamber, the gulag, and the killing fields. Today, it leads to theocratic screwballs randomly beheading Westerners in hopes of creating Allah's earthly kingdom. If you really believe that the ideology you follow will bring utopia, I write today on TownHall, then all is justified in its advancement. That's scary.
Communism is dead in Bucharest, Phnom Penh, and Managua. It lives in Madison, Berkeley, and Chapel Hill. My article at NewsMax.com explains how American colleges and universities are honoring prominent Communists by naming scholarships, academic chairs, and buildings in their honor.
Are pedophiles a persecuted group deserving society's tolerance and protection? A small, but growing, number of college professors say yes. Pro-pedophile academics are attempting to give their vile beliefs a scientific air by invoking famed researcher Alfred Kinsey as the source of their "scholarship." But as I discuss in my article on NewsMax, Kinsey, like his present-day admirers, is a frightening example of how much harm intellectual morons can unleash with a lie.
Dan Rather still doesn't believe the Texas Air National Guard documents disparaging President Bush that he broadcast are forgeries. So why, and to whom, did he apologize? Rather's lame act of contrition Monday night didn't kill the Rathergate story. My NewsMax article shows that it's only just begun.
Employees of America's oldest college, Harvard, have given 97 percent of their donations this presidential election cycle to the Kerry campaign and about three percent to the reelection effort of George W. Bush. At America's second oldest college, William & Mary, employees have given 100 percent of their donations to John Kerry. The uniform support of John Kerry by college professors and administrators, as my article on NewsMax demonstrates, evokes the lopsided vote tallies in Castro's Cuba or Hussein's Iraq. Folks, where's the diversity?
When scientist Stephen Hawking was confronted with proof that his theory was wrong, he sided with truth over self-interest. When the facts went against the assertions of environmentalist Paul Ehrlich, leftist guru Noam Chomsky, and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, they simply ignored the facts. TownHall.com features my article comparing a real scholar with numerous pseudo-scholars.
Dan Rather is giving Dans a bad name. I'm fighting back to redeem the pride of Dans everywhere. Read my take on the Rathergate affair on TownHall.com.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of my ultimate interview of the Ultimate Warrior is now online. Read Warrior's behind-the-scenes take on Hulk Hogan, Sting, Vince McMahon, and other wrestling heavyweights. Plus, Warrior talks politics, gives one of the best definitions of conservatism I've read ("preserving those things that have worked throughout time"), and dishes out weight-training advice.
Lady Margaret Thatcher, Vice President Richard Cheney, and over 800 dignitaries paid tribute to President Reagan at a state funeral inside the Capitol. Outside, a twenty-one gun salute, formations of jets screeching above, and companies of marching soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines honored the 40th U.S. President. Perhaps Reagan's greatest adulation came from the everyday Americans lining the route of his funeral procession. Read my article at FrontPageMag.
The nation mourns President Reagan's death. The hardcore Left cheers. On the day of Ronald Reagan's passing, activists at an International ANSWER rally outside the White House celebrated the death of America's 40th President. Read the article at National Review Online.
My take on the Million Mom March appears on National Review Online today. Click here to read the article.
Howard Dean had the organization, the passion, the volunteers, key endorsements, saturation media coverage and even the money. Yet he still lost Monday's Iowa caucuses. Why? Full article published at Newsmax.com.
A review of The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values by Tammy Bruce. Originally published in the American Enterprise online.
Who is the most influential historian among young people? Filmmaker Ken Burns? Could it be the Democrats’ court historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.? Biographer David McCullough? How about the late Stephen Ambrose, whose triumphant view of American history has brought alive such colorful characters as Meriwether Lewis, Crazy Horse, and George Custer? Full article published at FrontPageMag.
The 2002 Republican sweep was historic. For the first time since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, a first-term president’s party increased its numbers in Congress during an off-year election.
Why did the Democrats fare so poorly? Full article published on Newsmax.com.
Despite the intellectual pretensions of those who practice it, anti-Americanism is reflexive and mindless. Patriotism, despite its bad reputation amongst the intelligentsia, is a rational sentiment for an American to hold. This is the thesis I prove in my new book, Why the Left Hates America. Full article published in Front Page Mag.
Roughly 100,000 people crammed 20 city blocks in New York City this Saturday. Bearing signs proclaiming "Bush Is a Terrorist," "Oil Is Murder," and "Change Regimes in the U.S.," demonstrators blocks away from the base of the rally strained to listen to the amplified remarks of Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, and other familiar activist luminaries.
While this demonstration and hundreds of others garnered page-one coverage across the globe, the attitudes and beliefs of the actual protestors received scant attention. Full article published at Newsmax.com.
DAVID HOROWITZ’S INSTINCTS were right in attempting to take out an ad in the Daily Californian. If you’re a conservative, paying for your right to speak is just about the only way for your ideas to reach a large audience on a campus as inhospitable to free thought as the University of California-Berkeley. Conservative views, after all, are scarcely to be found amongst the faculty, officially invited guest lecturers, or on the op-ed page of the Daily Cal. When conservatives do speak out at Berkeley, they are shouted down and threatened. Full article published on Front Page Mag.
WHAT HAPPENED to David Horowitz at Berkeley was an aberration. No, the censoring of his ideas was not out of the ordinary. As evidenced by last semester's student-mob action to prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking in the city of Berkeley and the shouting down of a talk given by this writer and the subsequent book-burning of a booklet that I had authored, censorship is quite common at Berkeley. Full article published at Front Page Mag.
One of the more controversial, and powerful, figures of the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt was Harry Hopkins. FDR Biographer Robert Sherwood noted that even partisans of the President "disliked Hopkins intensely and resented the extraordinary position of influence and authority which he held...According to Herb Romerstein and Eric Breindel, authors of The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors...Hopkins, arguably the man with the greatest sway over our 32nd President, was an agent of the Soviet Union. Full article published in Accuracy in Academia's Campus Report.
On Saturday, April 29, more than 500 people converged upon the sleepy town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Their purpose was to protest Antioch College, which was honoring convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal at its commencement. Full article published on National Review Online.
When searching for examples of state-sponsored barbarities, intellectuals are quick to point to the Spanish Inquisition or its Protestant imitation, the Witchhunt. How could anyone, modern academics wonder, persecute another for their beliefs? These same intellectuals, ironically, are often the very people who served as cheerleaders for political persecution and mass murder on a scale unmatched in human history. Full article originally published in Accuracy in Academia's Campus Report.
Intellectuals are often hesitant to provide a truthful presentation of society, people, or events becuase doing so often undermines their preconceived ideological notions about how the world works. Because of this, elites often shy away from presenting their ideas in a non-fiction format. Instead, they opt for the stage, the silver screen, television, or novels. The Leftist worldview that fails miserably in practice works remarkably well on Broadway and in Hollywood. Full article originally published in Campus Watch.