Tuesday, December 23, 2003
THE IRAQ WAR HAS MADE DESIREABLE WAVES: That is the argument developed by Christopher Hitchens in this article from today's issue of Front Page magazine. And the most immediately visible of those secondary effects is the renunciation of WMDs by Gadhafi. Well, yes..but he remains an unpunished mass murderer, doesn't he?
MORE ON MOAMMAR: We couldn't agree more with Bill Safire on what made Gadhafi do his imitation of a reasonable statesman--and on what we should remember about him and his despicable history.
HOW TO SPIN THE POSITVE INTO A NEGATIVE: Janet Daley, in the UK Telegraph a few days ago, predicted what the critics of the war would do with the capture of Saddam. Her predictions have largely been borne out already!
HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN TERRORISM IS DEFEATED? With the recent elevation of the threat level the question forces itself forward. This important article suggests that the answer may be unknowable until the distant end of the threat. It was published in The Public Interest a few months ago.
BY THEIR BOOK SALES SHALL YE KNOW THEM: A publisher examines the comparative sales figures for the books by seven of the Democratic presidential candidates..and lo, Dean leads all the rest. Does that mean he has the nomination in the (book)bag? This op-ed is from today's NY Times.
POLLING AND MARKET RESEARCH: EVIL, INCOMPETENT OR MERELY SILLY? This amusing--and properly skeptical--article was prompted by the publication of a book by one of the master-mavens of the industry. The article is from Reason magazine--and the lingering question of greatest import is whether polling and "focus grouping" corrupt our politics by making them into panderers.
ARE YOU READY FOR 'PERVASIVE COMPUTING'? This article from the BBC is both exciting and rather scary. It projects forward to the time--probably not very far away--when every object we use is "computerized' so that those to whom the computers report know more about us than we know they know. Dystopia, thy name is microchip!
LORD HAW HAW REMEMBERED: William Joyce was the leading British traitor during World War II. His broadcasts from Berlin led, ultimately, to his trial and execution. A new biography of this leading member of Sir Oswald Mosely's British Union of Fascists has just appeared. Here is an informative and thoughtful review from the current issue of The Spectator.
THE KUDZU IS COMING, THE KUDZU IS COMING! The vine that ate the south grows a foot a day and may be heading north. This could be worse than the Eggplant That Ate Chicago..or maybe not. Much of what you need to know is to be found here, courtesy of the University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio.
BEAGLE, SPIRIT AND OPPORTUNITY ARE ABOUT TO ARRIVE....on Mars! And possibly, the data they collect will increase the estimated likelihood that life--which requires the water they will be seeking--did exist (or even that it may still exist?) on the neighboring planet. The Washington Post covers it well today.
THE KING OF JAZZ PIANO: Many music historians classify Hines (together with Jelly Roll Morton) as the source of jazz piano style. Here he is in a number of great solos, all but one recorded in 1928.
Monday, December 22, 2003
DESPERATELY SEEKING OSAMA: Newsweek has again been in contact with people who know people who guard Osama bin Laden--and here's the story from the issue out today.
ARAFATIANA! A former Israeli diplomat presents some interesting side notes on the comportment of the chief PLOnik. This guest column appeared in the National Review on Monday.
PAKISTAN AS NUCLEAR SUPPLIER? The 'intelligence community' seems to be piling up evidence that Pakistan has aided both the Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons programs. Is the Pakistani government the culprit or merely failing to control its weapons scientists? This story from the Christian Science Monitor reviews the multi-sided story and provides some valuable links.
IRAQ: A BEST CASE ANALYSIS. We find this article which appeared last year in The Atlantic to be possibly prophetic. At least, after the capture of Saddam it does seem more plausible.
MORE ON THE FUTURE OF IRAQ: This thoughtful and apparently well-informed article from The Economist is a companion piece to the one from The Atlantic. And, like it, it does make the best case that realism allows.
AMONG THE IDENTITY THIEVES: If ever there was a 'caveat emptor' story, this is it. This worrying article appeared in Sunday's New York Times Magazine.
OUR FORMER GOVERNOR MAY GO TO PRISON BUT THE BIGGEST ILLINOIS ISSUE IS CHIEF ILLINIWEK...and the NY Times covered the controversy in almost more detail than the story has. Incidentally, the proprietor used to teach at Dartmouth which has an Indian head on its official crest and where all the teams are called "Indians."
THE BEAGLE APPROACHES MARS! On Christmas day--if all goes well--the second Beagle will, like the ship that carried Darwin to the Galapagos, arrive at another place that holds many secrets: Mars. And if the capsule opens and functions properly we may shortly have confirmation of a water table under the Martian surface, that being a necessary condition for life! This account is from the Age of Australia.
BUREAUSPEAK AS AN AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC PLAGUE: Aussie administrators--whether of corporations, government offices or universities--are as guilty of passive case, noun heavy and hyphen-laden turgid language as their opposite numbers over here. So says--and demonstrates--the author of the new book, Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language.
AND WHEN HE FINISHED THE TRACTATUS HE DESIGNED A HOUSE! That's Ludwig Wittgensteirn, the most influential--and most forbidding--of the 20th century Oxbridge philosophers. We stumbled upon this fascinating article (from the Guardian, two years ago) while looking for something else. Wittgenstein remains endearingly enigmatic.
EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK: Once you get beyond the too-familiar opening bars, it is (and remains) wonderfully melodic, inventive and--in the andante--deeply moving music. This fine performance was done live at the Mostly Mozart Festival in 1998.