Friday, January 09, 2004
THE BRITS ON IMMIGRATION. A few days ago, President Bush announced that he plans to offer amnesty--but not citizenship--to immigrants who come into the United States to work. It has been cheered and jeered from both sides, but the question on everyone's lips is: what do the British think? Well, this article from the Economist lets us know.
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND. On this site, we have featured pictures from the Spirit's landing on Mars. Sending what is essentially a robot to Mars is one thing, but can humans do it too? President Bush says yes, and all the details are in this article from today's New York Times.
BUT IS IT EVEN OURS? Mars that is. We may want to colonize it, but the ethical picture may not be as clear cut as it seems at first. This thought-provoking article from the e-zine Slate examines the implications of space exploration.
VISION AND CONSCIOUSNESS. How does what we see affect who we are? Oliver Sacks, the eminent psychiatrist, attempts to explain it all in this excellent article from the New York Review of Books.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS...Going to the grocery store these days is almost mind-boggling. Even something as simple as milk has five different varieties, and that's without even considering the various soy and rice milks. But perhaps now there is too much choice. The book reviewed here in the Christian Science Monitor claims yes, and we are inclinced to believe it.
WHERE THE RATIONAL MEETS THE SPIRITUAL. This review of John Horgan's new book attempts to negotiate the Scylla and Charybdis of science and spirituality. Perhaps those dangerous waters can never be successfully navigated, but we applaud the attempt.
THE COLON AS CLICHE. The title: subtitle formula for academic paper titles has been so overworked that to see an essay, book or dissertation without it is a refreshing change. The next time we write a paper, it's title shall be "Colon-ization: Punctuation and Pretension in Academia"...sure to be a bestseller!
SO IT'S COME TO THIS. It's the year according to google.com, or as they (we shall hope ironically) put it: "The Google Zeitgeist." The fact that a certain Ms. Spears is the most-requested item in America speaks for itself.
LIEUTENANT KIJE. Prokofiev's dabbling in film scores produced the Lieutenant Kije Suite. Here is the Troika arranged for brass ensemble...sit back and enjoy the carriage ride.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
IT IS A "RELIGIOUS WAR"...says Tom Friedman in his non-puusyfooting column from today's New York Times. This first installment of a promised five-part series is bound to stir a good deal of discussion; and it will arouse the splenetic rage of the "paleo-conservatives" who will manage to not be unaware of the ethnic/religious connotation of the author's name.
THE WIDENING GULF...between the United States and most of the rest of the world comes under close and wise scrutiny in this essay by a leading figure at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
HOWARD AND PEGGY AND THE VISCISSITUDES OF THE "INSTRUCTED HEART." That last phrase was coined by a sociologist who studied the problems of flight personnel who are insructed to behave as if they like all the passengers. Peggy Noonan has instructed herself to like Governor Dean. But she is having a hard time of it as she explains today in the Wall Street Journal.
FROM THE HOME PAGE OF OUR NEW FRIEND MUAMMAR. You have to read this closely to persuade yourself that it is not a hoax. The payoff is that the Colonel puts his vast international prestige behind the idea of a "binational" state (to be called "Isratine"!!) in which the Jews would, of course, be demographically swamped within a decade or two.
IT'S A NICE PLACE TO VISIT BUT COULD YOU LIVE THERE? Here's what we know about Mars, so far. Follow through on all the linked articles and you will be ready for a brief sojourn--perhaps an extended weekend.
HOW ABOUT THE EARL BROWDER CHAIR IN DIALECTIC MATERIALISM? They do set interesting academic fashions at places like Bard College. And what places ARE like Bard? Or better question: these days what cushy eastern colleges are not?
WE ONCE MET THIS GUY AND LIKED HIM...when he appeared on our program to talk about an earlier book. But now David Denby may have given proof that the memoir as a genre is at the end of its tether. So says Adam Begly in this piece from the New York Observer--but somehow we still want to read this thing.
WHEN LEWIS CARROLL TOOK ON HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW...a masterpiece of the parodic art was given to eternity. And here it is--with many wonderful variants and additions as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson continued to doodle away.
THE VOICE OF THE SOPRANO IS HEARD (UNINTELLIGIBLY) IN THE LAND. This brief but choice item appeared today in the UK Guardian.
PUT ASIDE TWO HOURS...for this great concert from the Lugano Festival. After you hear the fine rendering of the Brahm's Violin Concerto you have your choice of Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto or his Triple Concerto or--perhaps for dessert--Mozart's Overture to the Marriage of Figaro.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
THE MILITARY PROSPECT WITH SIX MONTHS TO GO. What must be accomplished by our forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the War on Terror before July 1st when the transitional government takes over in Baghdad. This realistic--and worrisome--assessment is from the senior military corrspondent for the Knight-Ridder newspapers.
WHAT IS THE GENERAL REALLY TRYING TO DO? If Clark has a real plan about achieving the presidency, the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette may have figured it out.
TOM BEVAN THINKS THE GENERAL MAY HAVE AQUIRED SOME "MOJO"...as he explains in today's editor's journal from the site he co-manages, Real Clear Politics.
AND ARE THERE GUIDELINES FOR UNITARIAN PRISONERS? The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is teaching American prison personnel (and American prisoners) the advantages due to incarcerated Muslims. How? Let us count the ways as enumerated by Matt Labash in the Weekly Standard.
ARE JUDGES REPLACING LEGISLATORS? Judge Robert Bork has, for some time, been arguing that the courts are prone to usurping powers that properly belong to other divisions of government. He elaborates and--we think--proves his case in a new book that is reviwed here by Father Richard Neuhaus, editor of the journal, First Things.
IF YOU NEED SOME CHEERING UP, DON'T READ THIS. Unless, of course, there are some lesser species that you would like to have disappear. This report from Nature magazine, released today, is getting deservedly heavy press.
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENDER. Can a great editorial cartoonist keep everybody happy? Quite the opposite: sooner or later he will make everyone angry. Doug Marlette provides this comic/tragic view of his travails with various publics in this article from the Columbia Journalism Review.
BY THEIR TABLE MANNERS SHALL YE KNOW THEM. Does the slurping fellow at the next table signify the decline of the American family? A columnist for the Pioneer Press makes a pretty persuasive case.
WHAT A REVOLTIN' DEVELOPMENT THIS IS!! So Jimmy Durante used to exclaim about the latest bad news to arrive. And so say we in response to this persuasive prediction of the coming death of the classical music sector of the recording industry. Yuchhh.
THE BUCK STOPS AT THE QUAI D'ORSEY. It was bound to come to this and obviously the fault is Villepin's--and/or Chirac's.
EARLY BEATLES. How to explain the continuing pleasure given by the Beatles? Nostalgia is not the explanation--so it must be their sheer rollicking musicality. Don't miss Twist and Shout, A Hard Day's Night and, of course, Eleanor Rigby.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
THE NEOCON "CABAL"...is a good deal less cabalish (or influential) than the practitioners of the new anti-semitism (from Buchanan to Chomsky is not so far after all!) crack it up to be. So says, David Brooks who is earning his keep as a thoughtful conservative marooned on the liberal tundra of the New York Times.
SARTOR RESARTUS: THE "NEW" ANTISEMITISM AND THE OLD. Nat Hentoff puts it in useful historical context in this recent article from the Chicago Sun-Times.
UNLESS IT IS THE UTAH DESERT! Some kook is bound to come up with that plot line. But here, in its vivid simplicity, is the first color photo taken by the Spirit Mars Lander earlier today.
THE REAL COST OF "CHEAP LABOR." To legalize the illegals puts the country in danger and unleashes forces that may be beyond effective control. A great deal is very wrong with the Bush administration's immigration policy says John O'Sullivan in this column from the current issue of the National Review.
THUCYDIDES, XENOPHON, KAGAN AND HANSON. All have recounted and analyzed the Peloponnesian War...and the latter two have been frequent guests on our radio program. (The audio of our conversation with Donald Kagan is available here.) In this essay from the current New Yorker, Daniel Mendelsohn examines their contrasting views and the continued relevance of the great conflicy between Athens and Sparta.
A BRAVE AND HONEST VOICE FROM THE SOVIET LABRYNTH. That was Victor Serge whose career and significant achievement as a "truth-teller" about Stalin's USSR was, according to Christopher Hitchens in this article from the current The Atlantic magazine, almost forgotten until the re-publication of two of his essential works.
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE SOVIET UNION...and what IS wrong with Cuba is, essentially, the fault of the United States!! One hopes that a decline into dotage is not the source of this strange article by Arthur Miller, as he reports in The Nation, on a recent visit with Fidel Castro who, in conversation with his American visitors, manages to convey "deep-delving sagacity"!!
HAROLD BLOOM WAS NOT AMUSED...when Stephen King got the National Book Award last year. Now, the best-selling novelist in America offers his Apologia Pro Vita Sua in this wonderful article by Linton Weeks of the Washington Post.
THE LITERARY SCHOLARS STRAIGHTEN OUT THE FOREIGN POLICY ESTABLISHMENT...at the annual MLA circus. This somewhat skeptical--but understated--and rather bemused report appeared in the Boston Globe.
THE MURPHY OF MURPHY'S LAW. Everything you ever wanted to know--and more--about this most broadly applicable of all epigramatized rules is to be found here! This wonderful feature from the Annals of Improbable Research should be followed through all of the provided links.
THE CULTURE OF THE PERSONALS--LOOK AT ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE. This article from the Sydney Morning Herald is journalistic sociology at its best and, possibly, at its most hilarious.
MOZART'S THIRTY-NINTH SYMPHONY...in a particularly lilting performance by the English Chamber orchestra as conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
Monday, January 05, 2004
IF MCAULIFFE/CARVILLE IS PYGMALION--THAT MAKES DEAN GALATEA? John Fund, one of our favorite radio guests is that because he is also one of our favorite political "inside-dopesters." This column from today's Wall Street Journal is required reading.
THE EMBATTLED DAN PIPES TAKES ON SENATOR HARKIN...and pursues the difficult question of what functional and dysfunctional consequences might follow from the increasing Muslim presence in western countries.
THE WOMAN WHO INVENTED IRAQ. This truly fascinating article has just appeared in the journal History Today. Gertrude Bell may not have done it alone. But the counterfactual question is: Would Iraq have come into existence without her?
DO YOU MISS LARRY KING'S COLUMN? We are informed that it has been gone for over two years, but a column written then by one of our favorite journalists (and program guests) has just now come to our attention...and it rather makes us eager to dig up some archival copies of USA Today.
AN OLD FRIEND OF OURS MISSES AN OLD FRIEND OF HIS. David Broder, who has been on our program a number of times, heads out on the campaign trail without a treasured colleague. This piece from yesterday's Washington Post is an authentic evocation of the secret joys of journalism.
WE LOVE THIS STUFF!! i.e., the Mars landing operation successfully completed by NASA over the weekend. The color photos should be available later today and, it is predictable, that we will post them here tomorrow.
LITERARY SECLUSION IN UPPER NEW HAMPSHIRE. Yes, Virginia, there is a J.D. Salinger and he does still live (very quietly) near Cornish, New Hampshire...with some help from his laconic neighbors. The story is from last Friday's Concord Monitor.
YASIR'S NOT OUR BABY!! There are, of course, two Arafats. One speaks English, the other Arabic...and it is the latter who requires close scrutiny. Just that is privided in the two new--and important--books reviewed here by David Pryce Jones in Commentary magazine.
TO UNDERSTAND THE ENGLISH, READ SHAKESPEARE; TO UNDERSATND THE RUSSIANS, READ PUSHKIN. So said a professor of Slavic languages and literature in our college days. This illuminating essay, from a recent issue of the Hudson Review, clarifies why Dostoevsky, Bulgakov and Nabokov would agree.
A THEOLOGIAN WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE, While today practitioners of that craft get little attention beyond the seminary, Reinhold Niebuhr, in his time, affected the public process profoundly...and always for the better. This fine remembrance of him appeared a few weeks ago in the Boston Globe.
EVERYTHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT INDIAN NEWSPAPERS. This sprightly article from a new journal run by and for the Indian intelligentsia is as amusing as it is informative.
STALIN WOULD HAVE LIKED THESE TUNES FROM THE SIXTIES. His basic standard, as he explained to Shostakovich, was that the song should be hummable. Highly hummable (and even musical!) in this collection of sixties hits are: The Twist, I Left My Heart In San Francisco, By The Time I Get To Phoenix--and just about everything else.