Friday, February 27, 2004
IF TUESDAY COMES CAN EDWARDS BE FAR BEHIND? The ten primaries next Tuesday will either wrap it up for Kerry or give some resuscitation to the Edwards campaign. Here's the useful roundup story from Associated Press.
KRAUTHAMMER CHECKS IN ON GAY MARRIAGE...and, as usual, draws some important distinctions, points up some lessons from recent history and comes to a clear, and not hyper-ventilated, judgement about the mistaken tactics of the "marriage revolutionaries."
THE RACE AGAINST EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHY MAY HAVE BEGUN. Europe, by all predictions, will become increasingly Muslim. Given the low birth rate among native Italians, French, Dutch and Scandinavians--and the ever increasing presence of Muslim immigrants (who have a much higher birth rate)--much depends on whether cultural assimilation is fostered or prevented. This country-by-country review from today's Front Page magazine reports that some of those countries leader's are "waking up" to the problem.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE? SOMEWHERE? NOWHERE? The two Mars rovers are sending the data--but the analysis may take quite a while. This latest, informative update story was posted this morning by Yahoo News.
HOW TO READ THE MEDICAL NEWS. The British magazine, Spiked, has a useful feature that we have just discovered. The latest bulletins, hot from the medical researchers, often need to be qualified (in the "yes, but" sense) though they rarely are. Here are four such bulletins and the grain of salt with which each needs to be taken--and, appropriately, the first is about salt itself.
A MEDITITAION ON GIBSON'S JESUS. Eschewing all the pro-con clamor about the film, the Wall Street Journal contributes a culturally informed examination of the changing images of Jesus both preceding and including the one now on a thousand screens.
THE PARIS REVIEW INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL FRAYN. After the recent passing of George Plimpton it is good to see that the magazine he founded continues to do serious--and usually surprising--interviews with writers worth reading. Here Michael Frayn talks, most engagingly, about his life and highly varied literary work.
THE LONELINESS OF THE STUDENT REPUBLICAN. This tragicomedy of errors transpired at an otherwise rather well-managed college in Maine. It comes in the form of an epistolary narrative provided by the excellent blog, Critical Mass.
CAN CLEAR CHANNEL BECOME CLEAN CHANNEL? With a little help from its congressional critics the radio syndication giant has dropped Bubba the Love Sponge and a guy named Stern. A heavier fine schedule may (or, quite possibly, may not) hold John Hogan to his promise. For the game in play see this coverage from the Hollywood Reporter.
ONE OF THE TEN PLAGUES OF MODERNITY...namely, POP-UP ads. A British market research firm now reports a study showing that everybody hates them and that, in consequence, the advertisers may lose money. Let us hope.
A CATALOG OF BILLIONAIRES. Forbes has just released its annual list of the ten richest--and of various others who posses more than a thousand million dollars. Note that this year five of the top ten have the same name! And do check out the many fascinating links provided here.
BEETHOVEN WALKS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. The great Pastoral Symphony is a source of endless delight...and here it is in a rollicking performance by the Orchestra of the Enlightenment conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
MEANWHILE BACK IN THE FORMER USSR. Russia, which still dominates many of the other former Soviet republics, is commonly viewed as disordered, anti-democratic and in decline. The truth, says this convincing article from the current issue of Foreign Affairs, is far more complex and also far more encouraging.
PEGGY NOONAN TAKES ON THE RECEIVED JOURNALISTIC WISDOM...about Kerry and Edwards and goes on to the president's endorsement of a "protection of marriage" amendment. As is usual, in her weekly Wall Street Journal column, she easily dismantles the prevailing tropes of "liberal" commentators but does so with a light and almost smiling grace. She has been, as one might guess, a welcome guest on our program.
THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE AMENDMENT. The president said that he endorsed "Marilyn's language" when he came out for a constitutional "defense of marriage amendment." Heeeere's Marilyn! The profile article is from the Weekly Standard.
AN ISRAELI TAKE ON GIBSON'S "PASSION." How does the finally-released film bear upon the endangered situation of Israel? A columnist for the Jerusalem Report draws some interesting, if arguable, connections---and derives a warning about some of his nations "friends."
AND SPEAKING OF JESUS, WHAT ABOUT THE DA VINCI CODE? This excellent demystification of the recent bestseller and of the con-game operation which inspired it was published in last Sunday's New York Times Book Review. Incidentally, one of the authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" taped a program with us many years ago--and we thought it such obvious malarky that we never put it on the air.
THE KGB AND THE ANTI-VIETNAM WAR MOVEMENT. This stunning article, by a former head of Romanian intelligence, appeared today in the National Review.
GET YOUR HOT HAND OFF MY THIGH...is the beginning of an old blues lyric. Naomi Wolf has sounded that refrain retroactively (i.e. more than twenty years later) and has thus prompted this interesting commentary from Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post. Both Applebaum and the deservedly revered Yale professor have been guests on our program.
OH HOW THE FEMTOSECONDS FLY! Tempis does indeed fugit when measured in units of 10 to the 15th portions of a single second. But they have just taken the time scale down that far in advanced chemical research. The report is from Nature magazine.
HANGING OUT WITH VILLIANS, MEANDERING WITH MURDERERS. That's what Riccardio Orizio, an inventive Italian journalist, did as he tracked down Amin and Bokassa and Madames Hoxha and Milosevic. We read and "enjoyed" the book and have just now come accross this review published last year.
WOULD IMMANUEL KANT VOTE FOR BUSH? Probably yes---particularly if the Iraq war were the primary issue. This view-- which is opposite to the one expressed by various German political persons-- is persuasively argued here by Roger Scruton the professional philosopher who founded the influential conservative journal, The Salisbury Review. This contribution appeared recently at the online site, Open Democracy.
THE LADY IN THE TRICORNERED HAT. Was Marriane Moore engaged in a great put-on, orr was she an authentic eccentric. And does it really matter when she was, in serious critical estimation, among the very best of modern major poets? This fine critical appreciation appeared in the most recent issue of the New Criterion.
MORE GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LUGANO. In this concert at the Argerich Festival the outstanding piece is the Mozart Piano Quartet, but the works by Bartok and Beethoven will also give great pleasure.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Milt's file is taking the day off, but we will return tomorrow with more interesting links for your perusal.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
THE PRESIDENT COMMITS TO THE "DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE" AMENDMENT. Here is an early story on today's announcement. The ball is now in Kerry's court. This may--in addition to Iraq and the economy--become a major issue in the election. However, the opinion percentages reported in this story suggest that the Democratic response may be to waffle rather than commit to "gay marriage."
NEITHER RUMSFELD NOR POWELL ARE WHO WE (OR THE EUROPEANS) THINK THEY ARE. This rather startling--but persuasive--essay by a major figure at the Heritage Foundation--was issued yesterday by Open Democracy, a novel discussion site in the U.K.
THE PEOPLE SIDE OF POLITICS. This story from the New York Times is, inevitably, of considerable interest in that it profiles a rather striking new presence of whom we are likely to hear a good deal more as the presidential campaign progresses.
THE LEFT-LIBERAL INTELLECTUALS DON'T LIKE SAM HUNTINGTON...who is, you will remember, the father of the "clash of civilizations" thesis. Still, at a recent conference, as reported in the Boston Globe, they had to acknowledge that Islamist radicalism threatens the west and that the rest of Islam remains unready to actively oppose the Jihadists.
NATAN SHARANSKY REFLECTS ON THE NEW SHAPE OF ANTI-SEMITISM. This carefully formulated analysis by the Israeli cabinet minister who was for many years an imprisoned dissident in the Soviet Union has just been published in the Jerusalem Post.
FALSE MEMORY, LEGAL INJUSTICE AND THE MYTH OF THE UNCONSCIOUS. What Freud did has been partially undone by later researchers who have demonstrated that "repressed" and "recoverable" memory of traumatic events is largely imagined or--still worse--fostered by foolish "therapists." Frederick Crews appeared on our program a few years ago to discuss the book in which he reports this sad chapter in the psychiatric sciences. In this article, from the current issue of the New York Review of Books, he reports on two important new works that carry the story forward.
ON BEING A "CONSERVATIVE" IN A "LIBERAL" ACADEMIC ENCLAVE. This tale from real life (if being a graduate student is that) is too nuanced to summarize. But it is written with understanding and solemn wit--and it does illuminate something of the complexity of university life these days. It comes from a fine blog site that we have recently discovered.
INTOLERANCE IN THE NAME OF TOLERANCE...or anti-diversity in the name of diversity? Either way, traditional conservative and Christian groups are still being hounded, according to this columnist, at more than one American university.
MEANWHILE, ON ANOTHER CAMPUS...a repressive speech code has been repealed. And, as usual, the mover has been the Foundation for Individual rights in Education (FIRE) on whose board the proprietor serves. Here is the account released today from Fire Central.
AN AMBIVALENT ESSAY ABOUT SUPERFLUOUS AND/OR REBARBITIVE ADJECTIVES. The overuse and misuse of the qualifier/characterizer part of speech is examined in this delightful essay from the Chronicle of Higher Education. To adjectivize or not to adjectivize--that is the question and Ben Yagoda has the properly discriminating (adjective!) answer.
MEL BROOKS, THE COMPOSER! Who knew? Apparently he has tunes in his head and other people orchestrate them and that's how The Producers got to the musical stage. This amusing and informative interview appeared recently in the Canadian publication, La Scena Musicale.
THE BRAHMS VIOLIN CONCERTO, BEETHOVEN'S SECOND PIANO CONCERTO...and yet other great works in another concert from the Martha Argerich Festival held last year in Lugano.
Monday, February 23, 2004
THEY SEARCH HIM HERE, THEY SEARCH HIM THERE...those special forces search him everywhere. But, so far bin Laden has been as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel. This story from the Singapore Straits Times suggests that we may be closing in...still, one Osama in the hand would be worth a hundred stories like this in the bush.
MORE ON THE "BOXING IN" OF BIN LADEN. Interesting if true--and even if it isn't! This story appeared late yesterday in Arab Times, the English language newspaper of Kuwait.
THE RISE OF SHIITE POWER...may be our way to getting a stable (sort-of) government in place in Iraq. Newsweek, with this story, adds considerable depth to the once-over-quickly newspaper coverage of the course of Iraqi politics--and, as usual, the links are well worth the clicking.
DOES CHICKEN LITTLE RESIDE IN THE PENTAGON? Or is this "sky is falling" report exaggerated, distorted by the editors at the UK Guardian or "on the mark." Stay tuned.
WHAT HATH THE MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO WROUGHT? Quite possibly, says John Fund in today's Wall Street Journal, a serious problem for Democratic Party candidates, up to and including he who would aspire to the presidency.
THE UNIVERSE IS STILL YOUNG! According to new data the end is much further away than we once thought. Thirty billion more years! Whew, what a relief--we thought it was only ten billion. This informative account of the measure of ultimate things is from Space.com.
WHEN IT COMES TO AFRICAN TYRANTS...the champion, Idi Amin, died just a few months ago. His (un)worthy successor reached eighty the other day and here is how the UK Independent memorialized the occasion.
ERSKINE CHILDERS, THE PUTATIVE FATHER OF ESPIONAGE FICTION...was also one of the great Irish rebels. This wonderful essay from the Richmond Review summarizes his exceptional life, his death by execution, his importance in the development of a literary genre...but it neglects to mention that his son later served as President of Ireland.
A GOOD, SLIGHTLY CONTEMPTUOUS BOOK REVIEW. The New Republic has just reprinted a review (from 1919!) in which the young Rebecca West assails William Butler Yeats for living in a "state of chronic mental inflammation." This is still great sport eigthy-five years later.
A BRIT ACADEMIC WRITES KNOWINGLY ABOUT AMERICAN BASEBALL. David Runcimen is a political theorist (Cambridge University) who seems to be fully caught up in the mystique of baseball...and obviously the essays of Stephen Jay Gould are the source of his inspiration.
EXFILTRATING FROM HONESTY. John Leo should be appointed chief of the Neologistic Prevarication Police. Here is his latest report on new achievements in euphemistic evasion. The master of this art was Joseph Goebbels who worked for "the former legally selected leader of the Third Reich."
Y'ALL TALK SORTA FUNNY! We recently stumbled upon this charming exercize in comparative linguistics. Take the test and see whether there is anything southern (whether by legitimate derivation or not) about your mode of speech.