Friday, October 24, 2003
WAS THE IRAQI THREAT OVERESTIMATED? According to Dana Priest of the Washington Post (a fairly recent guest on Extension 720) the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is about to report that it was! And the designated fall guy will be Tenet of the CIA. Here's the story from this morning's paper.
THE MEANING OF SUICIDE ASSAULT IN FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAM. Michael Radu of the Foreign Policy Research Institute ponders the connection in this valuable, short essay published a few days ago.
DID EASTERBROOK COMMIT AN ANTISEMITIC SLUR? Krauthammer, in his column in today's Washington Post, thinks not and suggests that there are other opinionators far more worth worrying about. Both Krauthammer and Easterbrook have been guests on our program.
A FINE REPORT FROM THE BBC...about education at its best and almost worst in Iraq today. The human detail is striking.
SHOULD A HISTORIC LIAR BE DEPRIVED OF HIS PULITZER? Even if he worked for the New York Times? The recent independent evaluation of the career of Walter Duranty revals a distressing story behind the news as it was told in the Times in the 1930's. And here is the story in yesterday's New York Times about the whole mess.
HAS THE DEATH OF POSTMODERNISM BEEN EXAGGERATED? We hope not--and we take some reassurance from this interesting essay by the British philosopher Roger Caldwell who writes as if theory matters and as if effective communication (rather than academic gobbledeygook) matters just as much.
WHEN VLADIMIR WORKED FOR THE KGB IN DRESDEN. Bush's friend Putin was once just another Soviet spook and here--from the German magazine Der Spiegel--is a fascinating account of the man as he was then. The main source, Vladimir Ussolzev, was his KGB colleague in those days.
IS THE WEST RUNNING OUT OF REAL "ACHIEVERS?" That question, and the very meaning of "achievement" in the arts and sciences, are under examination in a new book by Charles Murray. Here's a brief and informative review of that book from the Wall Street Journal. Murray will be with us soon for a fuller discussion of his recent work.
AFTER ALL, METHUSELAH LIVED NINE HUNDRED YEARS! This story about life-extension achievements for a species of worms suggests that ultimately we may extend the human life span to about 500 years. Hmmmmmmm.
MORE ON PROKOFIEV. Recently we featured Terry Teachout's fine essay on the great Soviet composer. Now, prompted by the appearance of two new biographies, the Weekly Standard features another excellent essay about him.
GREAT TRADITIONAL JAZZ BY EDDIE CONDON AND HIS FRIENDS. Among those friends are Miff Mole, Pee Wee Russell, Mugsy Spanier, Bud Freeman and Joe Sullivan. All were masters of the jazz art.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
STATE MURDER WASN'T IRAQ'S ONLY PROBLEM! It was also organized along "socialist" lines and that will make its recovery all the more difficult. So says Robert Lane Greene in this valuable piece from the New Republic.
ANOTHER DELEGATE FROM SHOW BUSINESS? Dennis Miller as Republican Senator from California? Possibly, the process is "Apres Arnold, la deluge."
GENERAL CLARK SOLDIERS ON. Howie Kurtz, the media man for the Washington Post, has been checking out the Clark campaign and the General's way with the reporters. In this article from yesterday's paper Kurtz is, to understate it a bit, somewhat bemused.
CAN A NATION HAVE PSYCHOTIC DELUSIONS? This story about a widely-shared panic in Sudan is the newest wrinkle in the history of galloping antisemitism in the absence of Jews. The source is MEMRI, The Middle East Media Research Institute.
THEIR MAN IN CUBA. They are the Financial Times. Richard Lapper covers Latin America for them--and he has just provided this very informative and detailed, on-the-ground report on Cuba today.
DO THEY IGNORE YOU IN RESTAURANTS? Phil Vettel, of the Chicago Tribune and also an occasional guest on our radio program, has the solution. In this great article he also teaches you how to get well fed as well as well served when dining out.
THE JIHADISTS RETURN TO COLUMBUS (OHIO!). Arab students in American universities are scheduled to do a reprise of last year's hate fest--and once again Ohio State University is providing the stage. This report is from today's Front Page magazine.
THE WAR IN THE BLOGOSPHERE. There are pro-Iraq war bloggers and antis--and apparently the antis have attempted a major technological assault to muffle the pros. Here is a full and somewhat disorderly account of the drama that was played out in the blogosphere on Wednesday. And, of course, the account comes from a blogsource.
A LINGUISTIC CURMUDGEON AFTER OUR OWN HEART! We fully endorse these observations by John Humphrys as delivered in yesterday's U.K. Guardian. They come from the introduction to Between You and I: A Little Book of Bad English.
ONE OF THE GREAT THIEVES WHO HELPED FILL THE BRITISH MUSEUM. Sir Auriel Stein is memorialized here in a wonderful account provided by the BBC. This is fascinating reading--and do check the picture link.
A LITTLE MORE BACH! Speaking of his perfect music, as we were doing yesterday, we follow on with the shimmering Brandenburg, Number 3.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
SO WHERE ARE WE IN THE WAR ON TERROR? That seems to be the question that Rumsfeld is asking of Wolfowitz and company. The memo about which everyone is talking today is available as a link with this story from USA Today.
THE ISRAELI LEFT AND THE "PALESTINIAN LEFT" KEEP TRYING. Among them, Amos Oz, the Israeli novelist, who gives this account of their most recent major meeting in a continuing attempt to outline a plausible (to whom?) peace agreement. The article is from the U.K. Guardian.
IF NO WMDs, WHY WAR? The question deserves to be asked and to be forthrightly answered. Here, from the National Review, is Jonathan Goldberg's attempt to sort it all out. Pretty persuasive, we think.
MEMORIES OF (AND ANALYTIC THOUGHTS ABOUT) THE IRON LADY. A second volume of the ambitious biography of Margaret Thatcher has recently appeared. Here it is thoughtfully appraised by Douglas Hurd in the New Statesman.
AND WHERE DO YOU STAND ON FOX HUNTING? The debate persists in England..and if you were not aware of the issues and the intensity of the discussion, this report from Spiked will "fill you in, as it were."
THE PSYCHO-HUSTLE CONTINUES. But, according to this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, some research verification of claims for therapies is now, occasionally, sought. Do check out the links, particularly the article titled "Nightmare Scenarios."
THE REBIRTH OF THE SAT. The proprietor of this place once served on a committee that composed SAT items and has long since been concerned about how the "renorming" has made it a less honest instrument. The planned makeover, as described in this article from the current issue of Time, seems to be a reversal in the right direction.
WHY DON'T THEY TEACH THE CHILDREN TO READ? "They" being the mayor of New York and his education commissioner. All research shows that phonics is the effective method, but New York resists. Why? Sol Stern, the author of this important article from the New York Post, has been a guest on our program.
"YOU CAN'T SAY THAT" SAY THE ADMINISTRATORS TO THE STUDENTS. It happens at least once a week: a major eruption of thought control on campus. This latest incident, ironically, occured at a university named for one of the early American advocates of religious freedom. The account is from Front Page magazine.
A LEXICON OF P.C. SPEAK. This wonderful compendium of words to protect the modern leftist from thought has been worked up by the people at the British jounal, Butterflies and Wheels.
PURE AND PERFECT MUSIC. The solo cello suites of Bach are thrilling in their musical perfection. Here is the fourth as performed by Lynn Harrell.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
MALATHIR OF MALAYSIA AS ANTISEMITE OF THE MONTH. His speech at the Islamic leadership Conference seems to have set a new record in viciousness. This coverage from Slate provides the speech, a commentary and some quite interesting additional links.
IT ONLY GETS WORSE! Bin Laden's latest, according to Walid Phares, represents absolute intransigence and murderous intent. Quelle surprise!
THE AUTONOMY OF "INTELLIGENCE." The intelligence services of the former East-European communist states are not neccesarily as trustworthy as NATO requires. This interesting and somewhat troubling article comes from Tchasa, a Bulgrian "independent" weekly.
TO LIBERAL, CONSERVATIVE, NEOCONSERVATIVE--NOW ADD NEO-NEOCONSRVATIVE. This essay by our old friend and program guest, James Atlas, does indeed add an appropriate new species to the atlas of American political types. It was published in the New York Times on Sunday.
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS GOOD, BAD ACADEMIC WRITING? That's the question raised, if not answered to your satisfaction, in this interesting foray by two academics from Cornell.The source is the Chronicle of Higher Education.
THE DEGRADATION OF LANGUAGE AND MUSIC. That's what John McWhorter's new book is about and that's what we will discuss with him tonight on Extension 720. The review linked here (with warts and all) is by Jonathan Yardley from the Washington Post.
AND AYERS AND DOHRN ARE "HONORED" PROFESSORS. Other postscripts to the history of the Weathermen bombers could be inscribed. And, in fact, this essay from the Boston Globe conveys a good deal about the hubris with which some of these veteran American terrorists still strut their stuff.
DOESN'T IT LOOK A LITTLE LIKE LATE RODIN? The discoverer claims that this is the oldest sculpture ever found. In fact it predates the appearance of homo sapiens! But what a lovable face--at least to its mother, Mrs. Erectus, maybe.
ITS NOT OUR SORT OF THING, BUT...this story from yesterday's London Mirror is pure soap opera and it becomes clear that Princess Diana construed the world around her in just such melodramatic terms. Or, would any reponsible observer want to argue that she was on to something?
ANDEAN MUSIC AT ITS MOST AUTHENTIC. The great Urubamba album is available here. Don't miss Fugitivo En El Altiplano or Kacharpari.
Monday, October 20, 2003
THIS JUST IN...and we thought you should see it. Apart from other problems of degredation in American higher education we now seem to be facing Jihadist penetration of "Middle East Studies" programs. Dan Pipes, the source of this article, has been a rather frequent guest on Extension 720.
THE COSTS OF ARAB NATIVIST-FUNDAMENTALISM. That's what this important piece by Tom Friedman in yesterday's New York Times is really about. We will post the the second Arab Human Development Report to which he refers as soon as it becomes available.
A FRENCH "AMERICANIST" VIEWS OUR ELECTION POLITICS...as through three recent books, darkly. This interesting review/essay comes from a French journal that describes itself as "un revue interdiscipliaire du monde anglophone." It is, be assured, in English!
THE VARIETIES OF IRISH "ANTI-ZIONISM." This column from the most recent issue of Forward does, indeed, recall the enemies lists that they used to work up for Richard Nixon.
HOW PROFESSORS GET GOOD RATINGS. Apparently it depends, among other things, upon their good looks. Is this the time and place to report that in my academic career I have usually had good ratings? (Though probably not as good as Rocky Kolb, frequent guest on our radio program). The story comes from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR YOU...if you are traditionalist, committed to a particular religious faith or critical of any group other than your own. According to a new book, discussed here, that is pretty much the prevailing, administration-enforced norm at many American colleges and universities.
THE JOURNAL OF AN EXTRAORDINARY, ORDINARY MAN. Samuel Pepys, the first great diarist, was biographized some months ago by Claire Tomalin. We enjoyed the book--and this recently discovered review from the Yale Review of Books.
DO YOU WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING REALLY BIG DISAPPEAR? Here's the man who is the master of the art and who once "vanished" the Statue of Liberty. This fascinating profile is from Magic, a trade journal for the people who mystify us.
CHECKING IN WITH OLD AMAZING. That's the Amazing Randi, old friend, frequent program guest and, by far, the best commentator on frauds, psychic swindles and parapsychological confusions. Here's his latest online report.