Friday, February 06, 2004
THE IRAQ WAR OPENED UP THE SECRETS ABOUT NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION. So argues this editorial article from today's Wall Street Journal. Now that the proliferating actions of Pakistan are under scrutiny, who will make so bold as to raise comparable questions about that other favored ally, the Russian Federation?
IF MUSHARRAF IS INNOCENT, HE'S POWERLESS...but we are more inclined than our old friend Arnaud de Borgrave to suspect that the president of Pakistan has been playing both sides for some time. At any rate, de Borgrave's article today in the Washington Times is required reading.
THE END OF "THE END OF HISTORY" MAKES "WAR HERO" STATUS A GREAT POLIITICAL ASSET AGAIN! In consequence, argues Krauthammer in today's column, Kerry's chances to take the presidency are quite good...even though he wants to fight the war as a mere police action. As usual with Krauthammer, the analysis is sharp, the writing spare and precise and the analysis worth close consideration.
THE GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS AND HIS SUPREME COURT. Romney's reaction to the "legalization of gay marriage" decision seems to lay down the argument that will now proceed both in his state and nationally. This op-ed from yesterday's Wall Street Journal will be, we think, required reading as that debate gears up.
BUCKLEY ON KERRY, CIRCA 1971. Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committe (he was then a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War) prompted a condemning response from Bill Buckley. Those seperate documents from thirty-three years ago may receive considerable renewed attention in the campaign to come. The National Review has just reprinted Buckley's speech.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH PROUST...who is, of course, much easier than Joyce or Pynchon. This delightfully solemn article by A.N. Wilson is from the U.K. Telegraph.
AND ON ANOTHER LITERARY NOTE...how about the memoirs of Joe Eszterhas? The comparison with Henry James is an opening that grabs you. But beyond that there is much to learn (and perhaps something to mourn) in this review/essay from the current New Yorker.
WHERE MAD MAX FOUND A HOME. The early Mel Gibson anarchic hero comes inevitably to mind as one reads this stunning report on a gang town in the Northern Territories of Australia. The article appeared a few days ago in the Australian Newsweek.
AN AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR "REAL MEN." This exciting report from the frontier of psychoenergetic engineering might best be taken with a grain of tranquilizer considering its source.
LO, HOW THE MIGHTY ARE FALLEN (SOFT PORN DIVISION). We hadn't heard of the decline of Bob Guccione, but even if we had this article from New York magazine would have compelled our interest.
ANOTHER CHAMBER CONCERT FROM LUGANO. The fine rendering of Beethoven's Eigth Piano Sonata is especially noteworthy. But don't pass up the Bartok!
Thursday, February 05, 2004
IS SAUDI ARABIA LURCHING TOWARD REVOLUTION? This informed and informative article from the World Press Review suggests that the answer depends upon which faction of princes wins out in a continuiung struggle between reformers and authoritarian traditionalists. Could be...meanwhile the lurking threat is that the whole weird structure will be brought down by the still weirder Islamists.
THE ART OF DISSEMBLING...has not yet been mastered by the Pakistani military. As this story from today's New York Times reports, everybody doubts the transparently disingenuous cover-up story intended to absolve the Pak military (and Musharraf?) from complicity in the nuclear arming of Libya, Iran and North Korea--and possibly of their terrorist clients!!
DR. KHAN OF PAKISTAN...AND HIS MANY FRIENDS. Here, in tight summary from today's UK Guardian, is some further information about the real story behind Khan's "confession."
MORE ON THE POSSIBILITY OF THE PAKISTAN TO IRAN TO AL QAIDA CONNECTION. This AP story came in yesterday from Islamabad. Clearly there is much to worry about since the genie may have long since got out of the bottle.
AND SPEAKING OF IRAN...WERE THEY INVOLVED IN THE LEAD-UP TO 9/11? Kenneth Timmerman, an intelligence analyst of considerable skill (and a former guest on our radio program) thinks the connection is demonstrable. This article appeared today in Insight and Front Page magazines.
THE NEW BRITISH ESTABLISHMENT--AND THE DEATH OF THE OLD ONE. A high-ranking member of the London journalistic establishment takes off on the Hutton Report and suggests that Lord Hutton simply doesn't understand that lying has now replaced "honour." This article from the Spectator doesn't really persuade us but we admire its brio! You may have to register (it is quite simple) to get at the article.
WHAT "CAUSED" STALIN'S "GREAT TERROR?" That haunting historical question has been answered (but not too well, according to this review) by recourse to linguistic theory. i.e.the Bolshevik intellectuals spun a web of words and ideas which led them to accuse and convict themselves. Well...the more parsimonious view might be that as power tends to corrupt, absolute power tends to generate murderous paranoia. Either way, this review/essay from the Hoover Institution's magazine is worth some close and thoughtful examination.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A REPENTANT CAMBRIDGE SPY. This recent article from the UK Economist reviews the career of Michael Straight, once the editor of the New Republic and, long before that, a spy for the Soviet Union. Straight, who once appeared on our radio program, died a few weeks ago in Chicago.
WHEN SHAKESPEARE WROTE BADLY IT WAS GREAT BAD WRITING. That is part of the argument in this wonderful essay by Frank Kermode. Though it appeared only four years ago in the London Review of Books, it has become one of the most often cited essays in the bardosphere.
WHEN YOU TEACH PHILOSOPHY, DON'T PHILOSOPHISE. That, apparently, is what the administrators at one Ohio community college think they can require of a teacher of moral philosophy. This little scandal reflects mere stupidity in the Dean's office as much as the persistence of a perverse version of political correctness. But FIRE, fortunately, is on the case.
EISENHOWER WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE SONGS WERE SINGABLE! This generous collection of pop music from the first post-war decade features, among many others, Johnnie Ray, The Mills Brothers, Frankie Laine, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. Try it, you'll like it.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
THE REAL ISSUE IS BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WARFARE...as the ricin scare reminds us. Tony Blakely is right on target in suggesting, in this column from the Washington Times, that the Dems who are making hay over the WMD issue may be deflecting attention from the real dangers we face and the real utility of the Bush counter-terrorism policy.
AMONG THE POLITICAL "INSIDE-DOPESTERS"...William Saletan of Slate is getting a lot of attention these days. This day he focusses on the difficulties that now face Kerry in his dash for the nomination. Interesting, if true...
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT KERRY. That's what Douglas Brinkley (a former guest on our program) has tried to do. Andy Ferguson (another former guest) here tries to figure out both Kerry and his biographer---and the former comes off somewhat better than the latter. At any rate, if you want to know about the candidate's military career, this will get you started.
THE STRANGE CASE OF ABDUL KHADEER KHAN. Do you believe that the transfer of nuclear technology to terrorist-sponsoring states was his doing--and his alone? We don't. Nor do we think that Musharraf can long contain the Islamist intentions and loyalties of his military. The story is from BBC.
AND THEN THERE'S THE CASE OF ABDURAHMAN ALAMOUDI. As he sits in jail awaiting trial for money-laundering for Islamist terrorists, the founder of the American Muslim Council finds himself abandoned by his former associates. Is he being persecuted or is justice catching up--or is there a possible "middle position?" Here's some good coverage from the American Spectator.
WHAT DOES GRASSLEY KNOW AND HOW DOES HE KNOW IT? The posssible capture of bin Laden is put into political context by the Iowa senator. The other items in this column from The Hill are unexceptional--except Ventura as a fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Public Affairs.
CAN THE BEEB RECOVER AFTER THE HUTTON REPORT? It will have to but, says the Economist this week, there is a great deal to recover from.
YOU ONLY THINK YOU'VE GOT CHOICES--BUT THAT THOUGHT ITSELF IS FULLY "DETERMINED." In other words, according to the philosopher who "chose" to write the book that the editors of Psyche "chose" to have reviewed, our freedom is a total illusion. We would have thought that this sort of "primitive materialist-determinism" had been abandoned long ago...but our thought, mistaken or otherwise, had some cause or causes unrelated to what we mistakenly take to be our own consciousness. Do you follow all this? Do you see how easy--if stupefying--it is to be a "philosopher of mind?"
HOW MEDIA TRAINERS PROTECT US FROM THE TRUTH. This article from the Columbia Journalism Review will help you to understand why a major interview leaves you mumbling...whadeesay? huh?
THE LORD OF THE PRESS...is, of course, Rupert Murdoch who used to be easier to figure out (and to commend or denounce) than he now is. Reviewing some recent books about him, John Lanchester makes an amusing try in this essay from the current issue of the London Review of Books.
BEETHOVEN'S KREUTZER SONATA...superbly performed here by Ivry Gitlis and Martha Argerich. This, plus Brahms, in live performance from the Argerich Festival in Lugano.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
THIS WILL BE PROPHETIC OR SILLY TOMORROW...OR MAYBE NOT. Here, from the publisher of the Weekly Standard, is an estimate of the chances and the intentions of the second ranking Democratic candidate. We will be interpreting the primary results tonight, from 9 to 11 p.m. central time, with Dan Drezner and Tom Bevan. The program can be heard from anywhere on the internet.
"GOOD SOLDIER" POWELL (SORT OF) ENDORSES THE WAR. Doing this interview with the Washington Post could not have been an easy thing for the Secretary of State...but he does remain diplomatic and, as ever, steers his way down the middle path.
MORRIS GIVES PAUSE FOR THOUGHT...AND APPREHENSION. He used to advise her husband and now, in today's New York Post, Dick Morris is contemplating the reasons why Hillary might be offered--and might accept--the vice presidential nomination this year. Gad, sir you gave me a fright!
IF NOT NOW WHEN? This traditional conservative complaint about the deficit is well argued in its own way. But the Reagan quote that Murchison revives has a far older souce than he suspects. Namely, the Pirke Aboth section of the Talmud which asks: "If I am not for myself, who is? If I am only for myself, what am I? And, if not now, when?"
ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT NEOCONSERVATISM...is addressed in this informative, well-wrought and calm article by Adam Wolfson, the editor of The Public Interest. Yes, that magazine was founded by Irving Kristol, one of the "fathers" of neocon.
ANGER MAY NOT BE GOOD FOR YOU, BUT IT MAY BE GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY! This proposition is argued in the new issue of The Atlantic--and in a peculiary persuasive way-- by Paul Starobin, recently returned from four years in Moscow as bureau chief for Business Week.
WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR HIGH HUMAN ACCOMPLISHMENT? That was the question raised by Charles Murray in his fascinating book of last year. And here is a properly critical, but appreciative, review/essay of that book from the current issue of New Criterion. The full audio of our discussion with Murray is available here.
FALSE MEMORY AND THE PERSECUTION OF PARENTS IN CHRISTCHURCH AND SASKATOON. The plague of induced false memories that accuse parents and other adults of "sexual abuse" has be no means been subdued. This article from the New Zealand Herald is illustrative of the malign persistence of troubles stirred up by "therapists" who lack training, understanding of the nature of memory and/or intelligence.
BUT ISN'T GOURMETISM A SIGN OF CIVILIZATIONAL DECLINE? Polybius, Spengler and Toynbee thought it might be. With that in mind ENJOY this article about the rise of the food writers from the new issue of the American Journalism Review.
LOUIS SPOHR'S SEPTET IN A MINOR...is a fine mid-period romantic work that is beautifully performed here in a live recording from 1981.
Monday, February 02, 2004
WHO'S MINDING THE NUKES IN PAKISTAN? Two of their top nuclear weapons developers are now found to have bootlegged that technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea. Do we have a rational (and properly prudent) policy toward this rather unstable allied nation? The story was broken yesterday in this from the Malay Times.
KERRY, EDWARDS AND THE "SPECIAL INTERESTS." The New York Times and the Washington Post led with this story on Saturday. On Sunday, this appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and, as an AP story, in hundreds of other papers. Does this trace back to the Dean campaign? Just asking.
WHAT UNDID THE DEAN BOOM? The question will be asked for some time by politics mavens. Here's a fair early try with some good insights--considering that the source is the New York Times, which, until now, has been rather favorable to the Governor/Doctor.
IT WAS GOD'S WILL...said Hajj Minister Iyad Madani in reference to the death of 250 people in a "stampede" at a pilgrimage ceremony in Saudi Arabia in which various agents of Satan were stoned. Among the stonees, a column symbolizing the "greatest Satan, USA."
WHAT HATH MEL GIBSON WROUGHT? Whatever the final edited version of his "Passion of Christ" looks like--it is clear that it will generate continuing and rather embittered controversy. The shape of things to come is suggested by this story from the Jewish national newspaper, Forward.
WHO KILLED PISO AND WHY? For Mary Beard, a distinguished Cambridge classicist, that nagging question persists after perusing Tacitus. Of course, that was only one of the many deaths in the "Year of the Four Emperors," 69 AD. This review/essay from the current issue of the London Review of Books reminds one of the delights and horrors to be found in both the "Annals" and the "Histories."
THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS IS ACTUALLY GETTING BACK TO THE ARTS. The good news in conveyed by our friend and frequent program guest, Roger Kimball, in this article from the National Review. What, no more Hamlet in Drag?
THE PRINCE OF SERENDIP...was the sociologist, Robert Merton. He was, as well, a great discerner of the "unexpected functionalities" of "social pathology." Translation by example: he did some classic papers on how the Mafia crime syndicates provided required services that could not otherwise be legally obtained. This appreciation of the man and of his previously unpublished book on "serendipity" in science is from yesterday's Boston Globe.
THE DEATH OF "THEORY" HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT EXAGGERATED. That's our judgement when we read, in this article from yesterday's Christian Science Monitor, that Eagelton, Fish and Bhabha (no, it is not a law firm) now reject (sort of) the brand of obscurantism (featuring Derrida, Marxism and lots of parentheses!!) that they once peddled so profitably. These over-rewarded contributors to the decline of the American university would do well to examine their past foolishness in SILENCE--at least for a year. How about it, fellas?
THE FAST FOODIES CASH IN ON THE LOW-CARB MADNESS. We did a program about nutrition recently and all of our guests (professionals in nutrition) thought that galloping Atkinsism does not serve the health of those who have become its fanatic practitioners. But, as this story from yesterday's Washington Post makes clear, buns are disappearing from hamburgers all over town.
THE GREAT DOLOUKHANOVA! She was one of the leading operatic artists in the Soviet Union--and one of the few allowed to perform in the West in the immediate post-war years. She is heard here in a number of Russian art songs and, as well, in a spirited rendering of an aria from Rossini's Semiramide.