Friday, October 31, 2003
CAN MUSLIM SUPPORT BE WON? IF SO, HOW? These questions, which surfaced through the leaked Rumsfeld memo, seem to be agitating the competing elites of Washington. The report is by one of the best-plugged-in reporters we know: Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT CAR BOMBS...in Iraq and wherever else terrorists try to use them to kill. This column by Charles Krauthammer--from today's Washington Post--features his usual combination of intelligent (and thus limited) optimism tempered by required realism.
THE CULTURE WAR IN THE ARAB WORLD. It seems to revolve around prancing chanteuses. Shades of Britneyish idiocy--and heightened at Ramadan!!
GOOD RIDDANCE! HOW DO WE CONTRIBUTE TO THE FUND FOR A NEW SYNAGOGUE IN KUALA LUMPUR? The departure of Mahathir Mohamad as reported in today's Washington Post.
THE TERRORISM OF THE CROSS. Before 9/11 shifted our attention away from it we worried about--and condemned--American right wing, "Christian" terrorism. In this important article from Christian Century magazine, Phillip Jenkins reviews a number of books on the other enemy within.
THEY SEARCH THEM HERE, THEY SEARCH THEM THERE, THEY SEARCH THOSE HACKERS EVERYWHERE. From a prominent Australian IT news-source, here's an update on the trouble the hackers make in the Antipodes.
IT'S A PHILOSOPHER'S LIFE...and that is, obviously, much better than that of a ditch digger. But does it give access to TRUTH? And if so, how? This fascinating "apologia pro vita sua" by a working philosopher has just appeared in the Britsh magazine, Prospect.
APPRECIATING WAUGH. We confess that he is a favorite writer. This encomium for him at his centenary hits just the right note and was published a few days ago in the U.K. Spectator.
ORSON WELLES, HALLOWEEN AND THE MARTIANS...SIXTY-FIVE YEARS AGO. This article which comes from the Transparency site reviews all that we now know about the strange happenings at Grovers Mill, New Jersey.
BECHET AT HIS PEAK. The master of the jazz soprano saxophone performs here with the band of Noble Sissle in some classic recordings from 1937-38. Don't miss Viper Mad and Sweet Patootie.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
SOMETHING ELSE THAT RUMSFELD SHOULD BE ASKING...is what nations are still supporting--and funding--terrorism. That's the main point of this well-pointed editorial from today's Jerusalem Post.
WHEN DOROTHY WENT TO THE CANDIDATES DEBATE. That's Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal--admittedly, writing from the right but with a fine jaundiced and doubting eye as she examines the Demo candidates, particularly the rather hapless General.
THE RIGHTS OF THE ILLEGALS. Virginia has just denied illegal immigrants the right to in-state college tuition. Bill Raspberry of the Washington Post takes that as a cue for a general discussion of public policy toward the "undocumented" among us.
THE PLAGUE OF "WHITE COLLAR" (I.E. CORPORATE) SPAM. The junk that is blotting out your real e-mail comes not only from pornographers and viagra-peddlers, but from many "respectable" corporations. This truly interesting--and somewhat infuriating--story is from the New York Times.
HOW THE BUTTERFLY'S FLAPPING WINGS WILL CAUSE A CHINESE EARTHQUAKE. The favorite "could happen" scenario from Chaos Theory--WILL HAPPEN! And here's how in a delightful item from the website of The University of the Bleeding Obvious.
A PUZZLER, PERHAPS. Are college students really more favorable to the Bush administration than is the general public? This poll was done by a quite reliable outfit within the Kennedy School at Harvard, so it can't be easily dismissed. The enigma is that the professors of these students are--according to other polls--on the anti-Bush side. Hmmmmm.
A YOUNG PROFESSOR CHOOSES LITERATURE OVER ITS POSTMODERNIST DEROGATION. But the temptation persists to play the sour game of grievance and get the big academic rewards. This great, but pseudonymous, article is from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
OF THE MAKING OF MAGAZINES (AND TIE-INS) THERE IS NO END. The new expedient (apparently rather desperate) is to do magazine spin-offs of TV programs. And to try to please Walmart which does "bestride the distribution world like a colossus." This informative article is from the current issue of USA Today.
AN INEXHAUSTIBLE SUBJECT:THE GREAT MOVIES. We were delighted by this enthusiastic foray into cineaste nostalgia. It is from the current issue of January magazine.
THE ETHEREAL MUSIC OF THOMAS TALLIS. This gorgeous choral piece from the sixteenth century is performed by the Chapelle du Roi.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
WHEN ILLEGAL ALIENS TRANSPORT MILITARY EQUIPMENT FOR THE U.S. ARMY...can sabotage and terrorism be far behind? This syndicated column by Michelle Malkin appeared today in papers around the country. She raises the question in the light of a recent arrest in Maine.
IS ARAFAT THE PROBLEM? This reexamination of his career and of his present purposes and strategies is, to say the least, "provacative." And--as well--of great and intrinsic interest. It comes from the current issue of Foreign Affairs, the official publication of the New York Council on Foreign Relations.
AN EXCELLENT NEW ARTICLE BY VICTOR DAVIS HANSON...who is the best "realist" analyst of foreign and military affairs known to us. This one takes on the Fukayama "end of history" goof and does something quite instructive with it. The article is from the new issue of City Journal.
THE SHOW BUSINESS TEMPTATION IN BRITISH POLITICS. This curious article from today's U.K. Guardian may be a harbinger of things to come as the British conservatives take a lesson from the latest episode of the Governator. Read it...and ponder...and remember it all began with Senator George Murphy! Who?
CAN A CORPORATION ONCE COMPLICIT IN THE HOLOCAUST NOW HELP TO MEMORIALIZE IT? The question is hot in Germany right now and Richard Bernstein gives a full account in this article from today's New York Times.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN, THE FOSSIL GAP AND THE STATUS OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY. Here's another fine article on the status of non-creationist assaults upon Darwinism. Mary Wakefield contributed this piece to the current edition of the U.K. Spectator.
CHRIS HITCHENS ON THE CONCORDE'S LAST FLIGHT. Well, why not...the editors of the London Mirror were paying for it! And here he is, finding delightfully cynical meanings in just about everything.
THE MODERN DEMOGRAPHIC COHORTS (ACCORDING TO YANKELOVICH PARTNERS). And as examined and interpreted by John Leo who wonders whether this way to segmentalize the consumer and political markets is not just the higher hokum. But he's a "millenial" so what would he know?
THE CORPORATION IN THE LAB IS RATHER LIKE THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM...but as the universities come more and more to depend on corporate sponsorship, unintended consequences proliferate. This extended item from Erin O'Connor's blog, Critical Mass, is a good entry into the complexity of it all.
A NEW LOOK FOR UNIVERSITIES? In this article from Tech Central Station, an economist-entrepreneur analyzes how universities are changing and argues that the next step is "inter-operablity." Wazzat? Read on...it's interesting and provacative.
NOTHING SO STUPID THAT SOME PROFESSOR WON'T SUPPORT IT! That maxim is more than borne out by the public musings of Ted Honderich of the University of London. This patient, if implicitly contemptuous, analysis of Honderich's thoughts on the defensibility of suicide bombing is by Richard Wolin and has just appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC FROM THE ARGERICH FESTIVAL IN LUGANO. We particularly recommend the Haydn piano trio "all'ongarese."
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
THE (GOVERNMENTAL) ACHIEVEMENTS OF BILL CLINTON. Apparently, Alan Colmes argues in a new book that they were considerable. Here, Rich Lowry of the National Review begs (or chortles) to differ.
THE NEW CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST FOR THE TIMES...makes it rather hot for the congressional Republicans! Particularly for Speaker Hastert and those others who favor a cynically cushy deal for Boeing. The column is from today's paper.
THE ETERNAL QUESTION: WHY ANTISEMITISM? It becomes particularly pertinent once again because all the data indicate that a new, almost worldwide, epidemic is now underway. This valuable article is from the new issue of Foreign Policy magazine.
ROMEO AND JULIET IN KENTUCKY...and soon, under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities, over much of the country. Here's a federally funded arts project which somehow appeals more than displaying the "erotic imagination" of Robert Motherwell. This account was published in today's Wall Street Journal.
MEANWHILE, ON THE LEFT COAST...they ran another "Peace Rally." But it looked and sounded far more like a "Jews Out of Israel" rally. Noteworthy was the sponsorship and the poor attendance. Here's a sharp report from Front Page magazine.
DOES EVOLUTION FEATURE "DESIGN?" If not, how did all those complicated organs develop? That's the shape of evolutionary discourse now that mere "creationism" has been largely put to rest. So the argument tends to revolve around the works of Richard Dawkins. Here, from the new issue of American Scientist, is a brisk and somewhat contrary (but respectful) review of his latest book.
THE SHAME OF PUBLIC EDUCATION...is, according to the Thernstroms, the large gap in the achievement scores of blacks (and hispanics) as compared to other students. To reduce the gap we must first understand its causes. That's what they attempt in an important new book whose main argument is summarized in this op-ed from the Boston Globe.
CHECKING IN WITH FIRE. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (on whose Board of Advisers the proprietor of this place serves) has taken up the issue of "speech codes" as they work to repress and/or inhibit free advocacy and debate within many American colleges and universities. FIRE's legal director will testify this Wednesday before a major Senate committee. Here's the story from their website. And once you have read it you may want to check out some of the other important stories posted earlier.
WHAT DO WOMEN REALLY WANT? It was Freud who asked the question, though he did not stay for an answer. More recently certain feminist pioneers have changed their answers to that same question. This truly interesting article from the New York Times Magazine of last Sunday does demonstrate a shift toward "enlightened domesticity." At least until all the kids are in school!
A DEEPER AND DARKER LOOK AT PINATAS. It takes a man of reflective temperamnent and moral seriousness (like our recent guest, Dave Barry) to claify the dark side of children's parties--as he does here in this moving column published today in the Miami Herald.
SCHUMANN'S SYMPHONIC FANTASY. Or, if you prefer, his Fourth Symphony--as it was later called--is heard here in a stirring performance. Norrington conducts the Camerata Salzburg.
Monday, October 27, 2003
THE OTHER 9/11 TARGET...was the Capitol in Washington. This, supposedly, has been revealed by the two top Al Qaeda leaders now in custody. The report is from yesterday's Washington Post.
THERE ARE VISIBLE LINKS BETWEEN SADDAM HUSSEIN AND AL QAEDA! These very significant revelations appear in the forthcoming issue of Weekly Standard. We wonder how much "pick-up" they will get from the general press.
THE PERVASIVENESS OF RADICAL ISLAM. Despite the typical New York Times attempt to lean away from Administration concerns, this report has enough in it to justify a very dark reading of the threat posed to the U.S. by world-wide Islam. The article is from the yesterday's Week in Review section.
HOW DO YOU KNOCK DOWN AN INCOMING NUCLEAR MISSILE? Possibly with another--and smaller--nuclear missile! That old, and once rejected, idea is being trotted out again. Here is a definitive article, from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on what "they" are thinking about doing and whether it makes any sense.
A FINE NEW BOOK EXPLAINS THE RISE AND FALL OF MILITARISTIC JAPAN. Actually, we haven't read it yet--but we know the author (who has performed brilliantly on Extension 720) and we believe this enthusiastic review from the U.K. Spectator.
THE NEW NOVEL BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO'S LATEST NOBEL LAUREATE. J.M. Coetzee of South Africa has recently won the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is a part-time professor at the U of C in the Committee on Social Thought but spends much of his time lecturing around the world. And that seems to have prompted his new novel which was reviewed yesterday in the New York Times.
A NEW UNIVERSAL (AND ETERNAL?) LIBRARY IS BEING PLANNED. And Amazon has everything to do with it. This story from the forthcoming issue of Wired magazine is hard to summarize but must be read.
LIVING ALONE. A great demographic shift is underway. 26% of all Americans now live alone. In 1940 it was only 8%. What's really happening and why--and with what consequences? This article from the Christian Science Monitor is, inevitably, of great interest.
RELIGION IS, AT LAST, "EXPLAINED." Or is it? The try was made by a leading cognitive psychologist and his book has just been reviewed in an interesting on-line essay from an Australian university.
THE GREAT DUNNINGER. We remember the dazzling performances he did when we (i.e. I and all the other kids on the block in Brooklyn) would listen with complete astonishment to his radio programs. This article is from the major magazine for professional magicians.
ARE WE SERIOUS ABOUT DIVERSITY? Here's the ultimate test--and even though it was published a few years ago (in The Onion!) the questions and problems confronted here are still pertinent...or, at least, what?