Friday, March 12, 2004
A recorded edition of Extension 720 will air tonight after the 8:00 Northwestern Wildcats Big 10 Tournament game. The complete Extension 720 schedule is available here.
ON THE MADRID BOMBING. Stephan Schwartz, in today's New York Post , offers a grim--but persuasive--interpretation of why and how Al Qaeda was involved.
PLEASE, PLEASE, HANDLE WITH CARE! Perhaps what we have here is a failure to communicate--or a failure to be properly worried when slinging nuclear missiles around. This story from yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer does suggest that things are getting a little sloppy where absolute care and precison are always essential.
WHAT WENT WRONG--AND IS WRONG--WITH AMERICAN STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE. The critique put forward in this essay by a major behind-the-scenes, former CIA analyst is a compelling one. If Russell is right much is terribly wrong. The article is from the current issue of Policy Review from the Hoover Institution.
SLEAZE RISES AS BIG MEDIA CONSOLIDATE. The correlation is statistically verifiable. Does it reflect "causation?" Does a Gresham's Law of Sleaze actually obtain? This article from today's Washington Post is not irrelevant.
SPAM YOU SHALL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU. That, it seems, is what the "experts" say in the face of the newest announcement of an "end to spam" campaign. Maybe the answer is a return to snail mail?
STILL POKING AROUND ON MARS. Both Spirit and Opportunity are still busily engaged in the exploration of Mars and are continuing to send truly important data. And now Spirit is also picturing Earth from the Martian surface! Exciting, yes?
THE PERSISTING CONSEQUENCES OF NAZISM. A rently published Festscrift for the great historian, Gerhard Weinberg, discusses--from many angles--the lasting consequences of the "Hitlerzeit." This review is from H-Net, a major resource for scholars in the humanities.
THE GIRL IN THE SKINNER BOX...says that the rumours (she says it in the UK Guardian) about her mishandling were vastly exaggerated. Her father, B.F. Skinner, the master behaviorist who really believed in "human engineering," was actually a quite benign fellow...or so it appeared to the proporietor who often heard him lecture to graduate students. By the way, after you read her refutation of the recent book about her father you can link to the Guardian's review of that book.
THE DEATH OF JESUS. Another camp is heard from, this time the self-designated "skeptics" who publish the magazine of the same name. Though the author is a "doubting Timothy," he has mastered a good deal of the available scholarly material which might be evoked as the Gibson debate continues.
DEWITT CLINTON CELEBRATED BY RICHARD BROOKHISER. Some of our best friends went to the New York High School named for Clinton--and some of our best radio programs have featured Richard Brookhiser. So here's a fine essay on the former by the latter as recently published in City Journal.
A PSYCHIC MEETS A MENTALIST IN AUSTRALIA. John Edwards makes a good living channeling dead relatives--and reading your life history through his psychic powers. Or does he? An Australian mentalist ("Everything I do is a trick and deception") attended a recent performance by Edwards--and here's his report.
WHEN THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH YOU...one of the best restoratives is Mozart. Here is one of his perfect compositions: the Piano Quartet in E Flat Major performed in 1998 at the Mostly Mozart Festival.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
A SHARP BACKGROUNDER ON HAITI. Helping to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys--and to comprehend the sources of the eternal trouble on the island--is this report from last week's Economist.
IS IRAN MOVING TOWARD "THE BOMB?" This story from today's New York Times is, to say the least, worrisome. Never known for their easy ingenuousness, the Mullahs may have been lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
MORE ADVICE TO THE CANDIDATES...this time from Peggy Noonan who is in top form when she lets her comic sense take over. However, along with the amusing Kerry-Stack analog, she dispenses some good media-wise advice to both candidates in this column from today's Wall Street Journal.
KONDRAKE ON "THE PASSION" AND THE ELECTION. Will the former affect the latter? The question hadn't occured to us but it did to our old friend--and frequent program guest--Mort Kondrake. Here are his clarifying thoughts as reprinted today at Real Clear Politics.com.
DOES AMBIVALENCE GENERATE WISDOM? If so, the mixed feelings that Dick Morris has long entertained toward the Clintons may have produced deep insight. In this column from the New York Post (reprinted in Front Page) he says that it is now or never for Hillary. If she wants to be president she must get the VP nomination now--and if Kerry wants to be president he must give it to her. Fanciful? Probably. Predictive? Possibly. Entertaining? Certainly.
ECCE ANDROID! Honda and Toyota seem to be racing toward the construction (and programming) of ever-more humanoid robots. Where it will all end knows God. Meanwhile much of the detail is to be found in this story from the BBC...and don't neglect the linked earlier reports.
NPR, ISRAEL, DR.BREWER AND THE JERUSALEM POST COLUMNIST. This column from the Jerusalem Post is worth some close perusal as it exposes a line of criticism often heard from NPR commentators.
A TRAGIC LIFE OF GREAT ACHIEVEMENT. This review, from the UK Spectator, of the last volume of Charlotte Bronte's letters is fascinating though rather too brief.
"GO INTERVIEW THE JEWISH ACTORS IN THE PASSION." One can easily imagine the assignment editor at JTA (the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) conveying that suggestion to their stringer in Rome. Here's the story she filed.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE OSCARS AND THE GEEKS. This essay from the British on-line journal Spiked views the great appeal of Tolkien's fantas --whether in print or in film--with mixed approval and dread. And it raises the specter (spectre, for the English) of "cultural stagnation." Why? How? Read on.
THE PRISTINE BEAUTY OF THE CELLO. Here Lynn Harrell performs J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. The famous prelude especially highlights the sonorous quality of the tenor voice in the string choir.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
POWELL, RUMSFELD, CHENEY, RICE AND WOLFOWITZ. These, according to James Mann, are the "Vulcans." He so labels them because they preside over an altered foreign policy that projects American military force forward and unilaterally if neccesary. This review of Mann's new book (which we will discuss with him on tonight's program) is from this morning's Wall Street Journal.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA PALESTINENSIS! The death of Abu Abbas has been reported all over the world since yesterday. Here's the story from the Sydney Morning Herald which gives some reaction from the family of the invalid that Abbas dumped overboard during the Achille Lauro hijacking.
A COUNTRY WHERE RELIGION REALLY MATTERS. One of the most surprising things about this Washington Post article on "clerical conservatism" in Saudi Arabia is that it was sent by a Saudi from Riyadh. Apparently the mullahs "ain't ready for reform."
THE GAY MARRIAGE-CIVIL RIGHTS ANALOGY...breaks down upon logical examination says Tom Sowell in this cliche-undermining column published yesterday.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MARTHA? AND WHY? From the New York Observer today comes this illuminating--and saddening--piece about the defeat of the domestic diva who was, it now appears, poorly served by her lawyers and perhaps by her own character.
A FORMER DEMOCRATIC SENATOR (FORMER ON BOTH COUNTS!) VIEWS HIS FORMER PARTY...and its presidential nominee. Jeremiah Denton came away somewhat aggrieved and, apparently, the results in the primaries have not assuaged his grievance.
THE CORPORATION AS PSYCHOPATH...is the basic perspective developed in a new book published in Canada and here reviewed for the Toronto Globe and Mail. Well, maybe that holds for BP, but surely not for Enron??
THE DIVERSITY FOLLIES IN ANN ARBOR. The president of the University of Michigan has urged the faculty to "celebrate diversity...day and night." Here, from the University Record, one professor differs and thereby adds to the diversity of opinion about diversity.
FIXING CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY...may be harder than these credentialed rebels estimate. But someone has got to do it--and has got to get the clinicians to understand how poorly many of their diagnostic and therapeutic techniques work. This report in the New York Times heartened the proprietor of this site, who is yet another former member of the American Psychological Association!
IRIS MURDOCH AS MORAL PHILOSOPHER. Her fame as a novelist worked to obscure her considerable writing in technical philosophy. This essay, by a young American phoilosopher, impressed us as an excellent introduction to Murdoch's scholarly contribution--and, of course, it deepens one's appreciation of her masterly fiction.
IF YOU ARE SPENDING THE WEEKEND IN MOSCOW...be sure to catch the "cartoon" production of Richard III. Or, better still, stay for a week or so and use the Moscow Times as your guide to theatre, film, dance and gossip.
MUSIC OF THE ANDES. This great collection is a source of much delight and constant surprise. Just ramble about in real audio. But be sure to listen to El Gavilan, Rosa Carmin and El Rio Blanqueno.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
AND AFTER OSAMA, WHAT? Dan Pipes raises and attempts to answer the question in his column in today's New York Sun. Clearly, Wahhabist terrorism will survice its current commander...so why is it important to "get" him?
HAMAS GOING INTERNATIONAL, BIG TIME! The international ambitions and achievements of the Gaza-based terrorist organization are reviewed here by an experienced Middle East intelligence specialist. This worrisome report was issued about a month ago by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
SECURITY AGAINST TERRORISM VS. CIVIL LIBERTY. This inevitable issue in a time of war seems now to be intensified by some novel uses of the military...or so says this important review story from the Wall Street Journal.
REMEMBER HER? Arianna is back. In fact, she never went away, though she has remade herself into a statesperson of the higher liberalism. Here, published yesterday, is her gameplan (or persona plan) for a Kerry victory.
GETTING BEYOND BLACKNESS. Debra Dickerson, in her important recent book, has argued that redress of grievance is by no means the most important matter on the African-American agenda. Here, in an intelligent interview in The Atlantic, she elaborates her argument with admirable force and candor.
HATH NARCISSISM WROUGHT ITS MASTERPIECE...in the novels, TV programs and advice columns whose one message is "you're OK" David Brooks in today's New York Times suggests that the works of Mitch Albom and Dr. Phil (what no Oprah?) tell us more about "faith" today than does Gibson's vision of the Passion.
AND TO EVERYTHING, ITS SEASON. Michael Kamen, a major scholar in American history, has a fascinating new angle on how to think about our past. It is previewed here (the full book will shortly appear) in an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
SOMETHING LESS THAN POLITICAL NEUTRALITY AT A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY. On first reading we wondered, doesn't funding this sort of thing from University coffers violate the law...even the law of North Carolina? Mike Adams, the author of this article from today's Front Page magazine, is a faculty member at UNC-Wilmington.
UNPARALLEL LIVES...Plutarch might have said, and Noemie Emerey does say as she examines the careers of the two presidential contenders. That she concludes that Kerry once was, but now Bush is, the better man is no surprise considering that this was just published in the Weekly Standard.
THE NEWEST LOOK IN DIETING...or, After Atkins, What? This exciting report will hearten "les gens qui ont du pois." But do be mindful of the source!
LOUIS ARMSTRONG FRONTS A "BIG BAND"...and records some near-perfect traditional jazz. Essential listening: Confessin, Peanut Vendor, Just a Gigolo.
Monday, March 08, 2004
STILL DESPERATELY SEEKING OSAMA. Is all the "we have him cornered" talk a strategic ploy to flush him out--or are we really close to pinning him down? Here, in an inevitably gripping story from Newsweek, is more on the hunt and the man who is heading it.
A.Q. KHAN, MUSHARRAF, THE CIA AND THE HUNT FOR BIN LADEN. To track down the head of Al Qaida requires that we accept the damage that Pakistan has done in fostering nuclear proliferation. And that, says Seymour Hersh in this important article from the New Yorker, is the deal that has already been cut.
A BRAVE DISSIDENT VOICE IN SAUDI ARABIA. Mansour Al-Nogaidan is not the only one, but he does stand out as a brave critic of Wahhabism and he has so far not been silenced by the regime. This article from yesterday's New York Times may, paradoxically, further stay the hands of his enemies---but, then again, it might have the opposite effect.
IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT HAPPENS...says George Will as he looks forward to the next election. He is, of course, right; events are in the saddle or--as the academic would say--the contingencies are likely to be determinative.
TWO FROM NEWSWEEK TODAY...which is against our general policy, but Allan Sloan, their Wall Street columnist, has it exactly right on the case of Martha Stewart!!
BY THEIR TEETH SHALL YE KNOW THEM. Some possible hominid dentures dating back about six million years have recetly turned up. What this all means for the geneology of homo sapiens sapiens is adressed in this new report from Scientific American.
THE DEEPEST RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE...is "mystical union" said William James in The Varities of Religious Experience. Now, various neuroscientists are trying to locate it in the human brain. Whether that is or is not possible is examined in this article from last week's Economist.
THE SAGE SPEAKS. Since he is the second richest man in the world it is just possible that Warren Buffet knows something about investing. Here's a report on his annual report to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.
THE PROVENANCE OF ARAMAIC...from 900 B.C. to yesterday afternoon at the Cineplex. We have just seen the film and will be discussing it on air tomorrow night, here from 9 to 11 p.m. central time. Meanwhile, some basic facts about the "language of Jesus" are available here in a recent article from the Palm Beach Post.
SPEAK THE SPEECH I PRAY YOU...say three different directors of New York productions of Shakespeare. All are interviewed here by Charles McNulty for the Village Voice--and we think that Jonathan Miller is the one most on the mark.
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL WAS A GREAT SPY NOVELIST. That's Lord Tweedsmuir, otherwise known as John Buchan. Christopher Hitchens provides this wonderful encomium/essay in the current issue of The Atlantic.
THE MEL GOSPEL ACCORDING TO STEVE. The New Yorker isn't linking to Steve Martin's "send up" piece on the Passion film. So here's the next best thing: an appreciative article with copious quotes from today's Sydney Morning Herald.
STAMITZ HELPS TO INVENT THE SYMPHONY. This four movement orchestral work from the 1750s may, say the scholars, have influenced Haydn and Mozart. Whether so or not, it is sprightly music and is here well performed by the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra conducted by David Atherton.