Friday, April 09, 2004
THE RICE ROUNDUP: The Christian Science Monitor has put together a link-heavy review of press and public reaction to Rice's testimony yesterday. This "great confrontation" will rapidly recede from memory--but while you are thinking about it, this review should more than fill your requirements.
YEAH--BUT DID HE LIKE THE BOOK? Robert Sam Anson's review, in the NY Observer, of the Clarke book reveals that it has been misclassified. It belongs in the fiction section, next to Ludlum (OK) or Proust(??). Anyway, That's Entertainment!!
HANSON ON THIS WARTIME THAT TRIES MEN'S SOULS: We don't know any commentator on the proper and principled use of American military power who sees things with greater clarity than does Victor Davis Hanson. That's why we have him on our radio program rather frequently---and that's why we commend this article from the National Review to your attention.
WHAT (AND HOW) DO THEY (ISLAM) REALLY THINK ABOUT US? A strong thesis reflecting civilization incompatibility is advanced in this op-ed that appeared a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal.
THE KERRY/GORE DIFFERENCE ON FREE TRADE AND THE WAR AGAINST POVERTY: Once again, Krauthammer cuts through the disingenuous of present political rhetoric--and gets to the compelling truths that the campaigning Democrats once knew and now obscure.
THE "RACIALLY VICTIMIZED" COLLEGE PROFESSOR: Michelle Malkin provides the follow-up to the story of Kerri Dunn whom she ranks with Tawana Brawley. Interesting comparison--but, there is no Sharpton-like demagogue/mountebank to capitalize on the fraud.
MEMORIES AND (SEVERE) JUDGEMENT OF ALFRED KAZIN....from Hilton Kramer, the Editor of New Criterion. The resonating sound of friendships crashing is still heard in the reminiscences of the New York Intellectuals...as in this inevitably fascinating piece occasioned by the recent publication of Kazin's America.
WHAT BLOGS ARE DOING (AND WILL DO) TO JOURNALISM: The former editor of Digital Media gets off some strong predictions in this interview from Editor and Publisher.
WHAT PRICE RADIO DECENCY? The Reuters correspondent seems to think that dumping or curbing the likes of Stern will be bad for business. Hmmmm. Might one suggest that some things are, perhaps, more important than a few percentage points of profit? Naahh!
NEW FRONTIERS OF CARTOGRAPHY: Great new maps are being drawn--not of mere geography but of intellectual territory. Here, from the National Science Foundation, is an introduction to new material that should be of interest and utility to any working scientist and/or to any student of the sciences.
A GREAT ADVANCE IN SEARCH-ENGINE TECHNOLOGY....particularly for long-lost or recently-misplaced esprits. But, do always remember to consider the source of the good tidings that seem to brighten you life.
GOSPEL TOUCHED BY NASHVILLE: This fine collection features, among others, Patsy Cline, Red Foley, Kat Starr and Tennessee Ernie Ford. Not to be missed: Hank Williams' I Saw the Light.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
THE IRAQI UPRISING...SO FAR: This report from the NY Times this morning can only serve as an "update" since the game is still afoot. But the call for an end to violence from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani does make clear that al-Sadr is leading a breakaway Shiite movement.
GETTING TO KNOW MOQTADA: This useful primer on the stirrer-up of the week was provided by the Washington Post yesterday. For a more general account of Shiite history and credo, see the next item.
MORE THAN ALL YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE SHIA: This semi-official site can be explored for a year. A good and informative beginning is the section on Fundamentals of Islam.
AND MORE ON MOQTADA: The iraqo-cognoscenti have had their eyes on al-Sadr for a few years. This informative article from the Christian Science Monitor last October places him in the context of religious and political competition.
HE MAY BE RIGHT...UNFORTUNATELY: In this Newsweek piece Richard Wolffe argues that Iraq may tip the November presidential election. The adversarial tone of this morning's hearings at the 9/11 Commission and, more particularly, the Rice-Kerrey confrontation, suggest that it may well play out as he worriedly predicts.
IF DEMOGRAPHY IS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH....the decline and ultimate disappearance of European Christendom is probably predictable. And what will rise in it's place? Islamo-Europe! So says this challenging article by Niall Ferguson from last Sunday's NY Times Magazine.
OF THE FAKING OF "HATE CRIMES" THERE IS NO END! The latest one to be reported--or so the cops are saying--was done by a Professor of Psychology at a prestigious college in California. Go know!!
THE UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES OF "AFFIRMATIVE ACTION".....in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and the United States are examined in a new book by Tom Sowell. This cogent review from the current issue of Commentary raises the question (as, obviously, does the book) of whether the refusal to perceive "on-average" differences between social groups works against the real interests of their members.
THE STRANGE STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION....in the strange state of California. This is election material put out for a candidate seeking to be returned to the state senate--but, if the facts are as he says, they are crazier (or even more politically beholden to the hispanic sector of the electorate) than we ever suspected.
THE LANGUAGES OF THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST....Apparently, Gibson and his advisors got their Aramaic wrong and, furthermore, the Roman soldiers did not speak Latin! This note by a scholar in ancient middle-eastern languages is from an e-mail bulletin issued by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
THE PAGLIA IS HEARD IN THE LAND ONCE AGAIN....and here she notes and complains that the contemporary young "have become unmoored from the mother ship of culture." The further explication of this aggrieved judgment leads her, in this surprising but well-aimed article from Arion, to--of all things--Byzantine icons and Aztec skulls.
DOCTOR DALRYMPLE'S ENCOUNTERS WITH BURGLARS AND PROSTITUTES......in literature and in "real life." T.D. is one of our favorite modern essayists and has been a welcome guest on our program. This latest piece has just appeared in the New Criterion.
MORE GREAT CHAMBER MUSIC FROM THE ARGERICH FESTIVAL IN LUGANO: All beautifully performed, but the outstanding item is the Beethoven Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
THE LATEST WAR REPORT AS WE GO TO PRESS...is from Channel News Asia (based in Singapore) and suggests that "Vigilant Resolve" will, indeed, require a lot of resolve.
THE "SHIA REVOLT" IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: This article from BBC adds a bit of clarity to the nature of the Sadr/Sistani split..and thus to the motivation for the current uprising.
AN IRAQI GAME PLAN THAT "CONFRONTS THE QUAKING QUAGMIRISTS:" This realistic--and heartening--appraisal of the situation comes from the almost-always level-headed Bill Safire of the NY Times.
A MESSAGE TO GEORGE AND JOHN: TUNE IN TO CALVIN! The Executive Editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette directs the candidates' attention to the wisdom of the taciturn president of the twenties.
THERE ARE (AND WILL BE) MORE JOBS....but can American education and parental responsibility rise to produce young people capable of filling those jobs? The data are reviewed and the questions strongly stated in this op-ed from today's Seattle Times.
ALGER HISS WAS GUILTY--UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY....but the myth of his innocence still persists. Why? And how was it fabricated and maintained? These questions are persuasively answered in this fine review, from Commentary, of the newest in the long line of studies of the case.
WHAT IS A "LAST-GO-TRADE?" And how is it connected to an "Alaskan trade?" This is one of the many oddities of American speech as clarified in the latest volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English. Something of the story and achievement of the DARE is recounted here in this illuminating article from the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
CHESS, PLATO, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE COSMOS: Yes, this is an essay that makes the big try--but, at the same time, is unforced, entertaining and provocative of serious thought...in fact, a good example of what, at its best, is sometimes to be found at Jim Glassman's Tech Station.
GOOGLE IS NOT THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN....and may not be the best. Some wisdom in search of the best searcher and based on empirical investigation is summarized here in an article from First Monday magazine.
WHAT DOES TV DO TO KIDS' BRAINS? Perhaps nothing...but there is increasing research-based evidence that some "rewiring" may be the main effect of sustained TV watching during the early years. Here's some reliable--rather than sensational--coverage from today's Boston Globe.
SIR ISAIAH BERLIN LOOKS AT THE "GREATS" OF SOVIET CULTURE: A new collection of his essays on people like Akhmatova, Pasternak and Shcherbakov has recently appeared and is here reviewed for the Moscow Times by the redoubtable Walter Laqueur.
POLITICIANS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PECULIAR PERSONS....as Aristophanes established at a high level of risibility a long time ago. Sometimes scholarly articles are more fun (and closer to truth) than feverish journalism...as witness this fine essay on the treatment in classic Greek comedy of men of public prominence. The author is a Canadian professor and his article was published a few years ago in Classics Ireland.
DINNER AT THE RITZ.....even for vegetarians? This wonderfully artless (but not clueless) profile of the restaurant of the Ritz Hotel in London should be kept on file for whenever they are all booked up at Simpsons on the Strand.
MOZART'S FOURTEENTH PIANO CONCERTO....is performed here not with full orchestra but with a chamber group. The result is a shimmering reading that discloses the "deep structure" of the composition.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
THE NEW OPPOSITION IN IRAQ. Considering the source, this BBC report is not grossly anti-American and it does provide some useful information about the "militia" now shooting at our guys on the streets of Baghdad and Fallujah. Do also check out the linked profile of Moqtada al Sadr.
WHAT, REALLY, HAS GONE WRONG IN IRAQ? There are many views out there in the op-ed-osphere today. This one by John O'Sullivan, in today's Chicago Sun-Times, seems to us to be as accurate a diagnosis as is now available.
A TOUR OF THE IRAQI HORIZON. This is the sort of thing The Economist of London does quite well--a quick but sophisticated review of the problems, the players, the strategies and the possible outcomes and, always, tempered by the sense that human society is and will remain radically imperfectible.
THE WISE DENTIST OF BAGHDAD. Here's the latest blog from Zayed who excels in giving better "on the ground" reports than most of the conventional journalists. Who exactly is Moqtada al Sadir and who (and how many) are his followers? Read on...
ANOTHER BAGHDADI BLOGS...and gives a differently nuanced picture of the current "uprising" in Baghdad. We know less about this unofficial reporter than about Zayed...but she, too, is young, sharp-eyed and obviously has some experience of the West.
ARE PURGE-TRIAL CONFESSIONS COMING BACK? This report from Moscow--and published in the Moscow Times--carries the scary implication (or reasoned inference) that the Putin bunch have not forgotten their KGB methods--and that some may still secretly enetertain some reverence for Stalin--or at least for his way of handling "opposition."
THE EXECUTIONERS' TALES. A Romanian newspaper has recently published an account of the execution of the Ceaucescus. What stands out is the haplessness of the three soldiers who did the shooting. One does wonder why, so many years after the fact, this is still given coverage in a national newspaper. Is someone still working off some guilt or remorse?
ON THE DECONSTRUCTION OF AMERICAN SOCIAL SOLIDARITY. Samuel Huntington of Harvard is worried about how our national identity may be growing more ambiguous and less unifying. And if that is happening (or might begin to happen) says he in this strongly-stated essay from the new issue of The National Interest, here's how and why.
THE UNRULY AMERICAN SCHOLAR. When Anne Fadiman replaced our friend Joe Epstein as editor we were "shocked, do you hear?" Now she has been rather unceremoniously dumped as well. What's going on? The Chronicle of Higher Education gathers the pieces together in this story.
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES...likes Italian cooking! Actually, he and the "Italian" chef in this dialogue do have some quite interesting ideas about the connections between cuisine and culture.
WE ONCE FROLICKED THERE...that is, on Times Square where a high school student could see a French classic film at the Apollo for just two dollars--and get a good hot dog for fifty cents in the seedy place next door. A new book recounts how everything has changed and this nostalgic review in the New Yorker adds some evocative further detail.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE STAR DIES BEFORE THE RELEASE (OR COMPLETION!) OF THE FILM. This truly informative article from USA Today Magazine tells the story behind many srories of post-mortem crisis.
BECHET AT HIS BEST. The jazzmaster of the soprano saxophone is heard here in some perfect and distinctively punctuated performances in which he is backed by the band of Noble Sissle.
Monday, April 05, 2004
WHEN THE SOUND OF WAR BLASTS IN OUR EARS. As we "go to press" this is the latest story from Baghdad as reported in the Financial Times of London.
AND HOW ABOUT BEEFING UP THE TROOP LEVELS? Both Senators Lugar and Biden agree that the "handover" in Iraq will have to be delayed. Right! But what do we do to defuse the rebellion that is now killing Americans in ever- escalating numbers? We will be asking that of some true "experts" Wednesday night on Extension 720.
THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE BEGAN TEN YEARS AGO. Has anything been learned about how to prevent the recurrent (through all history) lapses into sytematic state murder? Two ranking people at the Brookings Institution have some useful (if not particularly optimistic) things to say in this article from Yale Global Online.
THE WAR-FOSTERED EMERGENCE OF THE BLOGOSPHERE. There are now hundreds of blogs up in the sphere that originate from Iraq, Iran and from members of our military. How and why this has happened and what consequences will follow in the reshaping of journalism are examined in this well-informed account from the new issue of The National Interest.
INSOURCING EXCEEDS OUTSOURCING...by a considerable degree of magnitude. Has anyone yet conveyed this news to the Kerry campaign or--for that matter--to Ms. Garafalo? This interesting bulletin of some corrective value came from Bloomberg News over the weekend but has not yet been noted at campaign central.
WE STILL LOVE YOU, CHAIRMAN MAO! From Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency comes this charming collection of panegyrics for the man who presided over the "state killing" of some 70-80 million Chinese. Is China ready for democracy? For press freedom? For serious political education? Or should their government and press perhaps be turned over to Taiwan?
THIS IS HOW THE WORLD BEGINS...according to the latest quantum theoretic thinking. This great article from American Scientist creates the sense--or at least the illusion--that one understands how EVERYTHING followed from a random quantum fluctuation.
IF WE REALLY TOOK COLLEGE TEACHING SERIOUSLY...here's how we would go about it. As a veteran academic, the proprietor welcomes--and strongly endorses--these wise, and quite practical, comments by the former provost of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
FRAUD, SCAM AND MURDER IN THE RARE BOOK TRADE. It isn't all bemused bookmen in somewhat crumpled tweeds trading notes on errata in the first edition of Johnson's Rasselas. This startling examination of the underside of the antiquarian books world appeared recently in Maisonneuve magazine.
AN AUSTRALIAN DECODES AMERICAN FOOD VOCABULARY...and gets it all wrong which is, of course, the point of the gag. Actually, we too have wondered why they are called "Clark Bars."