Friday, December 12, 2003
HOWIE'S ON A ROLL. We always enjoy the media commentary of Kurtz of the Washington Post--and we have been pleased to have him on our program. In today's column he questions the conventional wisdom about Governor Dean and takes up the rather disgraceful performance by Ted Koppel at the last candidates debate.
PONDERING DEAN...AND THE POSSIBILITY OF HILLARY. Yesterday's column by Robert Novak is a counterpoint to the informed ruminations of Howard Kurtz. They may be read in either order.
AND NOW HE IS THE RULER OF THE NORTH COUNTREE. There was a changing of the guard today in Ottawa. Here, in the story from the Washington Post, is Chretien going out and Paul Martin coming in--and getting properly brushed with an eagle feather.
WHO HOLDS THE REAL POWER IN IRAQ? According to the on-site correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald it is the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Never heard of him? Get acquainted now.
IN UNION ALL ARE EQUAL...but, as Orwell noted,"some are more equal than others." Just who will be more equal is a crucial--and, of course, divisive-- question as the European Union sits down to forge a constitution. Much of the fascinating detail will be found in this report from today's issue of the UK Independent.
A REVIEW OF "IN DENIAL" BY HARVEY KLEHR...who is tonight's guest on Extension 720. The book is the third in a series by Klehr and Haynes who have for some years been studying the Soviet secret files and their revelations about communist activity in the U.S. during the cold war years.
HOW TO GET TO JUPITER...and what to look for when we get there. There is reason to think that traces of life may be found on Jupiter's moons.The plans for the mission that will seek such evidence have already been drawn--and here they are in a report from New Scientist.
WHO WAS FIRST IN THE AIR? It almost was Leonardo--but no one actually built his workable design. So, excepting French balloonists, the first powered flight was by the Wright brothers. Right? Well, for a long time the guys at the Smithsonian have argued otherwise. Now they may have conceded. It's all here in an article from Fox News.
SNIPPETS FROM A GREAT CORRESPONDENCE...between Edmund Wilson and Vladimir Nabokov. This is a classic piece from the Paris Review and is to be savored contemplatively.
ON BEING YOUNG, MALE AND AMERICAN. Whatever happened to Murphy Brown's son--the one without a father and with a career-pursuing mother? Terrence Moore imagines the answer--and examines the consequences of the "unchallenged life" led by boys today. This provocative article has just appeared in the Claremont Review.
A FINE PERFORMANCE OF DVORAK'S CELLO CONCERTO. The performer is Lynn Harrell. The orchestra is the Hong Kong Philharmonic, conducted by David Atherton.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
THE CONSEQUENCES IN ISRAEL OF THE IRAQ WAR. Tom Friedman, in today's New York Times column, points up an interesting connection and argues that the Iraq invasion has significantly weakened the position of the Israeli hard-liners.
HAVE WE SUFFERED AN INTELLIGENCE FAILURE? According to the two higher spooks who are opining here the answer is..well, yes, sort of. There is much that can be and should be rectified if we are to win the anti-terrorism war. For further detail go to this fairly brisk but probing analysis of the art of intelligence gathering and analysis in the latter day. The article is from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
A JOURNALIST WHO HELPED MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. That was Robert Bartley, the editorial director of the Wall Street Journal. Here he is impressively memorialized by Peggy Noonan in today's issue of the Journal.
NERO AS RATIONAL POLITICAL ACTOR. That is the thesis of a very readable new book (we have, in fact, been reading it) by Edward Champlin. Here is a well-turned and appreciative review from Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post.
THE HOUNDING OF ELIZABETH LOFTUS. She is one of the best research psychologists in the country. Her work on false memory helped to finally end the "recovered sexual abuse" panic that injured so may innocent people. And now she has been betrayed by her own university--or, rather, by its administrators worrying about possible litigation. The story is well-told, though too briefly, in this article from the Boston Globe.
WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF PLEASURE? Is pleasure the source of the good--or of truth? Or is truth the key to pleasure and goodness? If not, why not? And, after all, how should we live? Apparently Plato and Socrates sometimes had opposed (or at least contrasting) views--even though all we know of Socrates we get from Plato's dialogues. Modern philosophers are still trying to sort out these matters; and here is a report from a big recent session in which they went at that task yet once more.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER RECEIVED THE NOBEL PRIZE...and for their close relatives and hangers on: Here's the social side of the occassion you are missing as it was celebrated last night in Stockholm. The on-site report is from today's Baltimore Sun.
BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR? We recently gave you the 100 best as listed by the Economist. The people at the Village Voice (a quite different sort of publication) have zero'd in on a mere 25--and one of them is by Marcel Proust!
LOOKING JEWISH EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD. A few months ago we talked, on Extension 720, with Frederic Brenner, about his photographic survey of the Jews of the vast diaspora. Now our good friend and frequent program guest, Joseph Epstein, has reviewed that haunting book--and in his personalized style--for the Weekly Standard.
JENNY LEAVES THE INTERNET. Was she really the first blogger? Terry Teachout comments on the woman who took the world into her bedroom some seven years ago. And if there is a larger message to be derived from this story, he is the one to search it out. This amusing, but serious, reflection was put forward earlier today on the National Review site.
NOBODY DON'T LIKE TOM JONES! For vigor, rhythmic force and sheer musicality, who ever did better than this fellow? Don't miss items in this collection: What's New Pussycat, Green Grass of Home, Delilah, Detroit City.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
THE CANDIDATES DEBATE AS THE KOPPEL SHOW. We watched the debate from New Hampshire in replay this morning and thought that Ted Koppel was arrogant, condescending and irresponsible. But why did he play it that way? Howie Kurtz's piece in the Washington Post gives the real background story. Once again, show biz trumps responsible journalism.
HAVE THE CLINTONS, IN FACT, BEEN GORED? Here, a knowledgeable city-side reporter for the New York Daily News makes something of the fact that Gore did his endorsement in Harlem which is, these days, Bill Clinton's "base." And the interpretation agrees with Frum's that somehow Gore is readying himself for: 1. a Dean defeat in November 2004 and 2. a Gore candidacy in 2008. Go know!!!
STARWARS DEFENSE IS COMING ON! This fine article from the current issue of the Economist brings together the facts and the conjectures concerning anti-missile defense. An excellent primer for a dream (or nightmare?) that is becoming a reality.
WAS MALVO AN "ISLAMOFASCIST?" That is the assertion put forward today by columnist Michelle Malkin. The links she provides in this piece seem to make a rather strong case that there was an "ideological element" in the Beltway-area sniper murders.
THE BIGGER THEY ARE, THE MORE LIKELY TO FAIL. The architectural race to the sky was, and remains, an American obsession--though it has been matched in, of all places, Kuala Lumpur. This fine article from the current New Yorker provides an illuminating history and critique of massive verticality.
STRANGE THINGS AT OLD ALMA MATER. Brooklyn College IS, in fact, where I got my Bachelor's degree...but that was long ago and it has since become so politicized as to virtually kill off its once high reputation. Erin O'Connor, who has been a guest on our program, recounts the latest chapter of the sad story in this selection from her Critical Mass blogsite.
WHAT IS DON QUIXOTE REALLY ABOUT? A new translation of the Cervantes classic prompts a quite illuminating critical reevaluation.The author, Stephen Rupp, is professor of Spanish and Portugese at the University of Toronto and the review appeared last Friday in the Globe and Mail.
AN IRRESISTIBLE CHAMBER WORK. That's Johan Nepomuk Hummel's Military Septet. Try it. You'll like it!
A GREAT (GENRE) AMERICAN WRITER. The genre was "science fiction" (for lack of a more accurate category). And though his work generated some strong movies, Philip K. Dick made virtually nothing from the Hollywood transmutations of his brilliant and dark, dark novels. This informative and appreciative article appeared recently in Wired magazine.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
DR. KRAUTHAMMER'S MOST RECENT DIAGNOSIS. This time some properly critical judgemental comments on the "Geneva Accord." It is clear to C.K. and to us that, to use an idiom not in wide employment in Jerusalem or Ramallah, this dog won't hunt.
HITCH WEIGHS IN AGAIN. As some of the supporters of the Iraq war slink away, Christopher Hitchens holds them to account--and, once again, reviews the reasons why the Iraq action was, and remains, a desireable and justifiable undertaking. The article appeared yesterday in Slate and was reprinted at Front Page.
CAN WAHHABISM MAKE IT IN ALBANIA? They are surely trying and, as usual, the Saudis are footing the big bill. But Muslim Albanians are, apparently, not Pakistanis. This informative article by Stephen Schwartz is from the current Weekly Standard.
GOING AFTER PIPES. When Dan Pipes, sometimes a guest on our program, goes out to the universities to lecture..unpleasant things happen. As at the University of Illinois according to this recent report in Front Page magazine. What does the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have to with this oft repeated phenomenon? Read on.
SADDAM HAS SLAIN HIS TENS OF THOUSANDS. The Gallup Organization has found a methodologically reasonable way to estimate how many people Saddam had murdered...in Baghdad. The estimates for the rest of the country remain to be developed. But from this account, as reported in The Australian yesterday, he has matched his great historical competitors: Saul, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler.
WHEN POLITICIANS TAKE TO BLOGGING...can the blogosphere itself survive? The phenomenon is becoming increasingly noteworthy according to this story from the U.K. Guardian.
WHY AND HOW ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH BECAME PORNOGRAPHERS...and what has finally stopped them. This well-informed article from Slate makes it clear, yet again, that failing commercial enterprises will readily throw all moral considerations to the winds as they try to restore their failing fortunes (i.e. market share).
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST...THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Elizabeth Loftus has been demonstraing for years that false memory can be easily implanted. The consequences for criminal prosecutions, psychoanalysis and even fond nostalgia are vast..and vastly disturbing. This account of some of her recent work is from yesterday's U.K. Guardian.
THE GOOD-LOOKING AND THE UGLY PROFESSOR. Which one gets the higher ratings for the quality of his (her) teaching? Youv'e got it. But are they, in fact, better teachers? This social psychological study is intrinsically interesting even if written in standard acadamese.
FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP TO UXMAL OR CHICHENITZA. You can now read the Mayan inscriptions...almost. Just bone up on the following material and click on the links. In five days (or is it months) you will be proto-fluent in Yucatec!!
BASIE, ARMSTRONG, GOODMAN, MILLER AND A FEW OTHERS. This great "swing site" is a delight. And the pleasure is not due to mere nostalgia. It was, and remains, great popular music.
Monday, December 08, 2003
A SERIOUS AND CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE BUSH FOREIGN POLICY. Daalder and Lindsay, whose new book is reviewed here in the journal of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, will be our guests tonight on Extension 720.
A TWO STATE SOLUTION? Absolutely not says Hamas and its founder/leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Just ship them all back to Europe! Fatah, in this story from the Jerusalem Post, comes off as virtually pacifisct by comparison.
AND THEN THERE ARE THE ARAB "REFORMERS"...who, surely, should be given far more attention than Sheik Yassin. But, as Robert Satloff interprets the second Arab Human Development Report (ADHR II) they are trying too hard to square themselves with the more hawkish elites. The article is from the new issue of Commentary magazine.
ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE "UNTERGANG DES ABENDLANDES?" Sharia is the real law in many European communities now. The extent of this development in the Islamic west has not yet been fully assessed but one might ask what system of law will prevail in Italy in 2050 when, according to demographic prediction, Muslims may be in the majority.
FROM FELLOW-TRAVELLING TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS...IN AUSTRALIA. This informative review of the stages through which the far left has passed in Australia was recently contributed by the former Governor General of the country. Inevitably, a fascinating account!
AND THEN HE WROTE....After Mein Kampf, Hitler still had a good deal on his mind, particularly how to get Italy to assist German eastward expansion (at the cost of giving them the Austrian Tyrol). Are you following this? The book, never published till now, reveals just what a geopolitical fantast he was when the Nazis were still pulling only 2% of the national vote!! This recent analysis of Hitler's second book is from the Times Literary Supplement.
OF THE MAKING OF BOOKLISTS THERE IS NO END...but we find that the end-of-the-year list from the Economist does usually reflect our enthusiasms. It also reflects our programming since a number of these authors appeared on Extension 720 in 2003.
A GREAT METASITE!! The staff at the National Journal have put together some fine website lists for people pursuing the news and its meaning in such areas as foreign affairs, defense, homeland security, the economy, politics, etc. You will probably want to list some of the sites turned up herein on your favorites-menu.
A SOUTHERN CHRISTMAS...assuming that's where Miami is located. At any rate that's where Dave Barry is located and his participant-observer, ethnographic reports are always of peculiar interest.
THEY HAVE DRAMATIZED THE WARREN COMMISSION REPORT! Did you know about this? We didn't until stumbling upon the news in Variety today. Will hix nix fix pix?