Friday, March 26, 2004
KRAUTHAMMER ON CLARKE AND THE "RESPONSIBILITY" FOR 9/11. Quite properly, we think, CK asks who was president during all those years when--according to Clarke--we could have done much more to destroy the bin Laden bunch. The column is from today's Washington Post.
A SARTORIAL VISIT? Unless he came for some on-site instruction on what the well-dressed killer/tyrant/madman is wearing this season, we can't imagine why Blair dropped in to visit with Qaddafi in his Tripoli Tent. Anyway, do check out old Muammar's duds.
ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL...said the Speaker of the House. He didn't know the half of it. For a proper lesson, look in, with the BBC, at Benares (half Muslim, half Hindu) as the next big election approaches.
IN BAGHDAD THE MAIN TOPIC IS--SADDAM. Where is he? In what condition of servitude? Who will try him? What would be appropriate punishment? How do we work off the spell he has left? These are the sorts of questions encountered by the Toronto Star's man in Baghdad who filed this gripping story yesterday.
ASSASSINATION AND ANTI-TERRORISM. Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation finds the assasination of Yassin a not irrelevant instance of how to fight terrorism. The article is from today's Tech Central Station.
WHAT PROPELLED HOMO TOWARDS SAPIENCE...or how come we are so much smarter than our anthropoid cousins? The answer, according to this report in Nature magazine, may lie in our "accidentally" diminished chewing capacity.
THE GREAT PEPPERED MOTH DEBATE...still rages in England, especially on Darwin Day. At issue is whether that one species is crucial in the argument between evolutionists and "scientific" creationists. Of course it isn't--but this item from an English site will, nonetheless, edify and/or amuse.
A GOOD MAN IS, INDEED, HARD TO FIND...probably even more so in these days of "sexual freedom." Reacting to the publication of "The Rules," this essayist in the Claremont Review, after describing some of the unworkable tactics, offers some uncommonly sensible advice.
THE MUSINGS OF LOGAN PEARSALL SMITH...were available once in Trivia, his slight book that gave great delight. Here are some of the best passages as available at the Bartelby site.
POUR LES MCDONALDS, CA NE FINERA MAL. Despite long protests against the Big Mac amd its American vendor, some French dietary researchers, according to the Washington Times, have just commended it as healthier than cassoulet or le canard a l'orange. Quelle Victoire!!
POSSIBLY THE GREATEST COMIC CARTOON CHARACTER...originated in Belgium 75 years ago. This appreciative celebration of Tintin et ses amis appeared in today's Melbourne Age.
THE BASSOON IS NOT FUNNY! That was probably Mozart's point when he composed his concerto for that instrument. Rollicking? Yes, in the first movement...but melancholy and melodic in the second. The fine performance here is by Jeremy Ward and the Haydn Festival Orchestra.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
CLARKE NOW, CLARKE THEN. Fox News provides this comparison of his views two years ago and now on the Bush state of readiness and concern over terrorist threats.
WHO AND WHAT WAS SHEIK AHMED YASSIN. An on-the-scene American observer is the source of this clear-eyed assessment oublished today in Slate. The links lead to valuable supplementary info.
HOROWITZ IS ON THE CASE! The outspoken proprietor of Front Page is responding here to the accusations levelled by Richard Clarke. As usual for him, the best defense is a good offense--and thus he highlights the weakness and evasiveness of the Clinton people as they confronted--or evaded--the terrorist threat.
OH WHAT A FALLING OFF WAS THERE! Howard Dean's pollster watched it all collapse--and he understood why and how things were coming apart. Here is his rather unsparing account from the coming issue of The Atlantic.
THE EDITOR JAYSON BLAIR TOPPLED STRIKES BACK...at the New York Times !! Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post has read Howell Rainses's apologia pro vita sua and here he summarizes it with a (more-or-less) straight face.
IS THERE A TROTSKYITE-NEOCONSERVATIVE CONNECTION? Self identified paleo-conservatives like Pat Buchanan have been spreading that defamatory accusation against the defense-policy troika of Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith. This article is the best commentary we have seen in response to that accusation. It comes from the valuable Enter Stage Right site.
OH KING, LIVE FOREVER...or almost. What would human existence really be like if longevity were ultimately doubled and senescent deterioration avoided? Diana Schaub finds some basis for serious speculation in the original Star Trek series. This fine essay was recently published in The New Atlantis, the journal of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY FALSE MESSIAH OF THE JEWS...was Shabbetai Tzevi. Tonight's Extension 720 program is based on a newly published history of that apocalyptic movement and its ecstatic and demented personnae. This brief encyclopedia entry introduces the subject.
A STRIKING DISCOURSE ON LEFTIST ANTI-SEMITISM. This interpretive essay from the Christian Science Monitor makes a good case for the proposition that disdain for "affluent" minorities is endemic to serious (socialistic and derivative) leftism.
HOW "BLACK AUTHENTICITY" RAVAGES YOUNG BLACKS...particularly, teenage girls. This column by Clarence Page of the Washington bureau of the Chicago Tribune (and an old friend of our program) does, indeed, "tell it like it is."
OF THE MAKING OF MANY BOOK REVIEWS...there may be an end. A veteran reviewer (and an always interesting one!) examines how publishing, writing and reviewing have gobe through related (and not particularly beneficial) changes over the last three decades. This engaging and somewhat embittered essay has just appeared in Book Forum.
EARL (FATHAH) HINES...who, according to Leonard Feather, invented modern jazz piano, usually played in small combos. But in the years from 1929-35 he fronted his own larger band. Here they are doing some standards and some undeservedly forgotten tunes.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
AFTER YASSIN, WHAT? Abdel Aziz Rantisi is the successor and, according to HaAretz today, he too will be an implacable enemy. Here is their brief, but informative, profile of the new leader of Hamas.
THE INDEFATIGUABLE DENNIS ROSS...still discerns a path toward peace in the Middle East and is not much dissuaded by the assassination of Sheikh Yassin. This op-ed is from today's New York Times.
A REPUBLICAN REPLY TO RICHARD CLARKE. This comes, to be sure, from a partisan GOP media consultant--but, all the same, Bryant's "what if" scenario does clarify the rather cynical campaign now being run from the DNC.
PINKERTON PONDERS CLARKE. Just what lies behind the book and behind today's performance before the investigative commission? A sharp--and appropriately cynical--old Washington hand examines the possibilities in this article from this morning's Newsday.
WE ARE NOW COLONIZING MARS! If, that is, you count microbial, unicellular entities as "life." The fate of these interplanetary hitchhikers remains uncertain but, according to this scientific report, it is certain that they got there on the Mars rovers.
HOW THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENED. Historian Christopher Browning--who has discussed these matters with us on Extension 720--has now done his major volume on the causes and management of the Nazi extermination program. This review/essay by Joshua Rubenstein appeared yesterday in the Wall Street Journal.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH MARKET RESEARCH AND OPINION POLLS? Just about everything according to the insiders--particularly when they have retired and write their confessional treatises--as Leo Bogart did last year. Here is a good (i.e. informative) review of his book from Reason magazine.
DISILLUSIONED WITH PSYCHOANALYSIS? Maybe you should try "philosophical counselling." Or maybe not! The works, ways, problems and ambitions of Professor Lou Marinoff are all on display in this vivid feature story from the New York Times.
WAS PHILLIP LARKIN A GREAT POET...or merely an articulate thug? This critical essay from Walrus, the fine new literary journal, examines him whole. And one comes away wanting to read all of his collected poems.
AN APPRECIATION OF A GREAT "GENRE WRITER." We share Brooke Allen's enthusiasm for the novels of Alan Furst and thus, happily, pass along her article about him from the current issue of New Criterion.
PIOTR IL'YICH ZINGS IT TO US. His Romeo and Juliet Overture pulls out all the stops in late-romantic fashion and--despite some attempted resistance against the obvious--still moves us mightily. This Russian performance from 1993 seems perfect in every note.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
FROM THE DEMOTER OF THE OTHER DICK CLARKE. That's Condoleezza Rice who took the denunciatory Mr. Clarke off the National Security Council staff and now suffers his criticism less than gladly. This op-ed appeared yesterday in the Washington Post.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ASSASINATION OF YASSIN. In this article from yesterday's Jerusalem Post, an Israeli expert on Palestinian terrorism says, "I can't see anything good coming out of it."
BUT THE EDITORIAL BOARD DOES NOT AGREE! From the same issue of the Jerusalem Post comes this unsigned editorial avowing the neccessity and desireability of the killing of Yassin.
THE VIEW FROM SAUDI ARABIA...is just what one would have predicted--and, interestingly, accords somewhat with the columnist in the Jerusalem Post. But, as curious as it is meaningful, the Saudi editorialist makes no mention of the hundreds of murders for which Sheik Yassin was responsible.
IS ISLAMIST TERRORISM TAKING A NEW SHAPE? The early findings in Madrid suggest that a transformation or evoltion has already occured. This story from the Christian Science Monitor reviews the data and summarizes the thinking of some of the well-placed counter-terrorism specialists.
SENATOR KERRY AS OUTSOURCER...or, at least, his wife--whose fortune depends on the 57 foreign factories in which the 57 varieties of Heinz products are fabricated. This perverse little item is from the The Times of India.
WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE? Harry Harlow got a reductionist answer from a pack of Rhesus Macaque monkeys. He was, of course, more intersting than the creatures onto whom he "projected" his rather cynical--but, possibly brilliant--ideas as to "What's it all about, Harry." Confessional point: once upon a distant time the proprietor was one of his graduate students.
STUDENT CHEATERS YOU SHALL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU...seems to be the attitude conveyed in this article from the official magazine of Stanford University. But the governing rationalizations have changed as have, perhaps, the basic statistics. Then there is the not unrelated question of plagiarizers and data-fakers on the faculty...
FUN AND (REICHSTAG) GAMES AT THE CLAREMOST COLLEGES. This is not the first time that a "hate crime" has been faked--but it is one of the more outrageous and instructive instances of guerilla acadmics. The report comes from Front Page magazine.
LARRY MCMURTRY ON MARK TWAIN. What a fine combo! And what an illuminating and appreciative examination of a great American literary master by a more recent writer who is, himself, considerably beyond slouchdom! This fine review/essay is from the current issue of the New York Review of Books.
YOU'VE GOT TO PICK A POCKET OR TWO....sings Fagan in the musical version of Oliver Twist. Here are the rudiments of that street art. And do please understand that this selection is offered for your defense rather than your enrichment!!
MUSIC OF THE ANDES AND MORE: A wonderful--and rather eclectic--collection of music from various regions. Particularly worth a hearing: Bailecito, La Bandenita, Mi Partida and Chaya de la Soledad.
Monday, March 22, 2004
THE LESSONS OF THE TWO WARS...Afghanistan and Iraq, that is. This thoughtful appraisal--based on extensive interviewing with a few real experts--appeared a few days ago in the Christian Science Monitor.
THE INTERMINABLE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM. These remarks by a leading security specialist from the Heritage Foundation suggest that stoicism will be required over the long haul--and that information iechnology may lighten the burden considerably. Carafano talks straight and is a master of modern realpolitik.
WHAT'S WRONG BETWEEN THE U.S. AND RUSSIA? A significant "values gap" persists...and this has many dysfunctional consequences says Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations in this testimony given last week before the House Committee on International Relations. We found this a thorough-going, though brief, review of the problems that continue to plague the "amicable relationship."
INDIAN POLITICS GOES BOLLYWOOD. From Reagan to Arnold the Governator, California has provided a model that is now transforming the politics of the largest democracy in the world. Here, a Bollywood reporter for the Times of India gushingly reports the latest developments.
THIS WON'T CHANGE OUR RADIO PROGRAM...nor, do we think, will it seriously change the performances of the over-rewarded bottom feeders. There are a thousand ways to vulgarize and to serve the "nyet kulturny" portion of the radio audience. Still, the FCC may be on the right track if, that is, they are not quickly derailed by the campaign contributions of the big broadcasters.
MOVE OVER JAYSON BLAIR...a new challenger for the journaliastic sociopathy title has just emerged. The question that this story raises is: just how endemic has this sort of corruption become?
THE MAN "BEHIND THE WHEEL" ON MARS...is John R. Wright and here's how he spends his unusual work day. This account, from the Saturday edition of the New York Times, won't teach you much about negotiating through city traffic. But sooner or later a human will occupy the real driver's seat on a Martian vehicle.
AN ALMOST PERFECT SPY. The one defect in the spycraft of Alger Hiss was that he got caught. A new book shows how he operated and how he conned the left. This review of that book is by an old friend, Ron Radosh. It appeared last week in Outlook Today, a publication of the Hudson Institute.
A HAUNTING MEMORY OF A SPAULDING GRAY ENCOUNTER. This article, from the Village Voice, arrested our attention and set us brooding about the sad passing of a very engaging man.
PARAPSYCHOLOGY, ANYONE? Do you know a telepath, clairvoyant or spoon-bender? Curiously, they don't hold up in lab performance--or do they. Here's a recent and fair minded article on this eternal question from Reason magazine.
WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO COCA COLA....both the product and the corporation? Their "pure bottled water"--as marketed in England--comes from the Thames and is doctored in a way that makes it carcinogenic!! This curious and disturbing tale was recently told by the U.K. Guardian.