Friday, November 28, 2003
GAY MARRIAGE IS NOT (OR IS IT?) EQUIVALENT TO BLACK CIVIL RIGHTS: The question has arisen within the African-American world and it is clear, in this story from Fox News, that not all agree with the Sharpton-Braun response.
GENEVA, OSLO AND ISRAELI SURRENDER: That's what the "accord" to be signed in Geneva on Monday is all about--according to Krauthammer in today's Washington Post. Fortunately, it will be "private parties" rather than governments that will be doing the signing. Krauthammer asks--quite appropriately we think--why Jimmy Carter will be there and why Colin Powell has conveyed his endorsement.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT NORTH KOREA: Henry Rowen of the Hoover Institution looks at the last Stalinist nation through realpolitik lenses.
A PSYCHOMETRIC FOR SUBLIMINAL ANTI-AMERICANISM: This diagnostic questionnaire should be administered to any Brit friends who may be lurking around. It is supplied by this week's Spectator.
HOW THE MCGOVERN COMMISSION CHANGED AMERICA: Delegate selection was the key--and the constituencies of the two major parties were thereby changed. This fascinating--and improperly neglected-- chapter in American political history is insightfully examined in this essay from the Boston Globe.
IN WHAT WAYS WERE EINSTEIN AND PONCARE THE SAME...and in what crucial way did they differ? In response to a recent book about these two great figures in 20th century thought, Freeman Dyson illuminates the great ideational leap forward. This fine essay is from the current number of the New York Review of Books.
WHERE IS GOOGLE GOING...and what happens when it gets there? The question will become all the more urgent as the IPO looms on next spring's horizon. This valuable article is from the current issue of Fortune magazine.
AND NEVER, NEVER DO THE HOOKED FINGER GESTURE TO SIGNIFY THAT YOU ARE QUOTING!! This guy giving advice to academic lecturers (or any others who presume to address an audience) is right on the mark. Read this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education and memorize it or never speak publicly again!
IN WHAT WAY DO MEN AND WOMEN DIFFER? Dave Barry, in this recent column, reports yet another way. But the root of all wisdom on this eternal issue is given in the untranslatable French riddle: Quelle est la differance entre l'homme et la femme? La differance entre!
ALL BRASS--ALMOST. A fascinating musical find, this brass quintet by a French composer dates back to 1839 but was turned up in the British Library only eight years ago. The performance is by an ensemble at the Royal Academy of Music.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
WHAT TO MAKE OF SOROS? In a recent speech he blamed anti semitism on some Jews; namely, those in Israel or elsewhere who pursue a strong policy of aggressive confrontation with Israel's enemies. This mode of blaming the hated for being hated is as illogical as it is archaic. Here is one angry response from today's Jerusalem Post. But, curiously, the columnist indulges in a bit of standard Israeli condescension toward "old Jews" (i.e. making their way in the larger world) who are thereby not "new Jews." To be the latter one must, apparently, live in Israel and/or support the Sharon government.
BY THE WATERS OF THE OLENTANGY WE WEPT: That's the river that runs close to the campus of Ohio State University where the Student Conference on Palestine Solidarity had its annual anti-love in. You should know about such things and, once again, Front Page magazine provides an on-the-scene report.
THE UNINTELLIGENT RELIANCE UPON INTELLIGENCE: Seymour Hersh in a recent New Yorker article, faulted the administration for not relying as fully as it should upon "intelligence professionals." Stephen Gale of the Foreign Policy Research Institute argues here that the estimates that come from intelligence agencies are as often wrong as they are right. And, either way, where the buck stops is the place from which the decisions must come. And that's the president's desk!
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BOUDIN THE BOMBER, WEATHERPERSON: At about the time she was sprung from prison where she was serving a sentence for murder (second degree) a biographical study of Kathy Boudin and her family appeared. Dorothy Rabinowitz's reflection on that time and those people (Boudin's partner in bombing the U.S. Capitol was Bernardine Dohrn who is now a member of the law faculty at Northwestern University) appeared today in the Wall Street Journal.
LIFE WITH FATHER: Our old friend and frequent program guest, Joe Epstein, has just had published this affecting memoiristic note about his late father. It is done with Epstein's usual grace but without the light self-mockery that colors some of his confessional writing. Commentary magazine is the source.
IS THIS TRIP (TO MARS) NECCESSARY? The needed technology is already a reality, but NASA's will is weak. Still, in the opinion of the author of this article from Discover magazine, we will make the trip sooner or later. And sooner would be far better.
MARS IN THE OTHER SENSE: War, that is--and, more precisely, war movies. According to Martha Bayles' article from the Wilson Quarterly, they don't make them like they used to. At any rate, she does provide some fine critical commentary on films from Sergeant York to Black Hawk Down.
THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF GENERAL CLARK: Here, the second most Jewish Democratic presidential candidate, is lightly grilled on his "faith history." It is not exactly deep and probing--but it is, inevitably, an interesting interview as published at Beliefnet.
VICE PRESIDENTS DO MATTER! Sometimes they make all the difference in presidential elections--or so the historical record would seem to indicate according to this analysis published by the History News Network.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SUDDENLY RICH? A former friend who made a "killing" in finance (and quickly went off to live on the Cote D'Azur) was recently back in town and seemed quite altered. This essay by Dr. Johnson may explain what happened and why.
THE LAST OF THE BRANDENBURGS: This spirited performance of the last of Bach's Brandenburg concertos (the one without violins!) features a glorious viola "duet."
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
HOW LONG, OH LORD, HOW LONG? These Democratic Party presidential debates have become unendurable. If there were nine Republican candidates those debates would probably be just as bad. Polling, grievance-group pandering and TV have, in combination, reduced political campaigning to an imbecile form of ideational prostitution. And we think that Byron York of the National Review agrees.
NOT SEEING COMMUNISM FOR WHAT IT WAS--AND IS. Soviet apologetics are no longer practiced in Moscow but that dying art persists in the American academic world. How and why? These questions are strongly addresed by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr in this interview from today's edition of Front Page magazine. Klehr will be appearing on our program on December 12.
ONE OF THE BOOKS ABOUT THE USSR THAT AMERICAN ACADEMICS SHOULD HAVE READ...but didn't. Here, with his usual rush of enthusiasm and well-focussed disdain, Christopher Hitchens examines the life and work of the Soviet emigre, Victor Serge. Hitch is quite up to par in this article just published in The Atlantic.
THE FUTURE OF MARRIAGE...after the Massachussetts decision and as seen by Maggie Gallagher, the president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. The article comes from the current issue of the Weekly Standard.
ONE OF THE BEST THINGS AT THE BBC. That would be Alistair Cooke who at 95(!!!) still writes and broadcasts with an easy grace about the things that interest him. In this installment from a few weeks ago he recounts one of the great murder stories...the shooting of architect Stanford White by Mr. Harry Thaw.
THE LOSS OF CULTURAL MEMORY? Or perhaps the problem is that the history of our "culture" is simply not imparted in contemporary American schools. Either way, the consequences are more than worrisome. In this Wall Street Journal op-ed, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities paints the problem more effectively than he supplies a solution.
WIRED MAGAZINE EXAMINES THE WIRING IN THE HEADS OF AUTISTIC SAVANTS. Current investigations suggest that the brilliant but "concretistic" performances of such people is more a matter of the software than the hard-wiring. Some exciting prospects are opening up in this area of neuroscience.
ANTIANGIOGENESIS IS COMING...and it may be a true "cure" for cancer. That is the opinion of the well-known science reporter, Michael Fumento who shared the news with us recently at Extension 720. In this article from American Outlook magazine he reviews the research that he sees as most promising.
NOUS AVONS BEAUCOUP DU POIS. Francophones know that "avoir du pois" is a gentle euphemism for being fat. We are, as by now everyone has heard, the fattest nation in the world!! But why? This extended essay from the Boston Globe does shed some new light on the whole dismal matter.
TWENTY REASONS TO TURN OFF THE TV...or perhaps move to Tierra Del Fuego. There seems no other way to protect the kids from the unbearable and omnipresent coverage of Scott Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Al Sharpton, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. So opines Mona Charen in this cry of disgust from Townhall.
MENDELSSOHN'S PIANO TRIO #2. This fine chamber work is among the few major non-orchestral compositions that he completed before his far-too-early death. It is performed here by members of the Orchestra of the Teatro Communale of Bologna.
Monday, November 24, 2003
THE NEXT BIG THREAT: IRANIAN NUKES! But, according to this story from yesterday's Scotsman, the Israelis are likely to preempt as they did years ago in Iraq.
AL QAEDA HATES MOST MUSLIMS TOO. So says Paul Marshall of the Center for Religious Freedom. Well, maybe--but what about the Saudi princes now known to have contributed heavily to Osama and his crew?
WHY THE NEW ANTISEMITISM? The question is being widely asked and variably answered. Here is a plausible analysis by one of the editors of Foreign Policy magazine.
END OF THE SPAM PLAGUE? Probably not, but it is good to know that somebody cares. One does wonder about how many times a day congressmen get advice about enlarging their members?
IS BLOGGING BOGGING DOWN? A knowledgable article from PC Magazine suggests that a great corporate takeover is already rolling along--and that lots of bloggers are pooping out. We hope not but...?
THE GOVERNMENT IS SPONSORING MEDICAL FRAUD! That is the argument in this strong essay from the Skeptical Inquirer which is the journal of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. (Declaration of interest: the proprietor of this site is a member of their advisory board.)
SO WHAT ABOUT JESUS, THE OTHER MARY, DA VINCI...and Dan Brown and cynical publishers? Charles McGrath, editor of the New York Times Book Review (and a former guest on our program) examines the fuss about the novel with a somewhat skeptical and amused eye.
ANOTHER NOVELIST HEARD FROM! As far as we know no other American president has had a novel published. But in Britain a popular novelist became Prime Minister back in the 19th century. Whodat? Anyway, here is the assesment of Jimmy Carter's latest, as it appeared in the Books section of the New York Times yesterday.
THE MAN BEHIND MASTER AND COMMANDER. Patrick O'Brian was not quite the person he represented himself to be. But then, neither was C.S Forester, the other great novelist of Admiralty adventures. The article is from today's Canadian National Post.
A CORNUCOPIA OF MUSIC FROM THE FIFTIES. There's some early, still tuneful, rock 'n' roll in this generous collection. And lots of other stuff whose appeal is far more than nostalgic. Must listen performers: Al Hibbler, Peggy Lee, Chuck Berry, The Mills Brothers, Fats Domino and Little Richard.