Friday, April 16, 2004
Milt's File is taking the day off, but will return on Monday. Tonight on Extension 720, Milt talks with Zbigniew Brzezinski for the first hour and plays highlights from the archives during the second. More information on this and other program is available at our monthly program guide. You can listen to the program from 9 to 11 p.m. central time here.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
THE BILLET DOUX FROM UNCLE OSAMA. Here is the text (not quite complete) of the audio tape purportedly from Bin Laden. It was broadcast yesterday by various Arab television stations. He has apparently been reading a non-Islamic source (Caesar) on the "divide and conquer" strategy.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET CIA'S ATTENTION? This summary story about the 9/11 hearings from today's Washington Post forces the question upon us. The long-term inattentiveness of the spooks to the mounting evidence of Al Qaida's plots, plans and history cannot simply be "explained away."
NOVAK THINKS THE "PRESS CONFERENCE" WORKED. Among the many (and quite mixed) reactions to Tuesday's Bush performance, this one, from today's Chicago Sun-Times, strikes us as realistic and politically astute.
SHOULD GORELICK BE THE INVESTIGATED RATHER THAN THE INVESTIGATOR? This editorial from today's Wall Street Journal makes its point well and persuasively. After Ashcroft's revelation that a member of the 9/11 commission helped put in place the "wall" that impeded detection of the Al Qaida plot, that member should resign. It might also be asked: Why did she ever accept the appointment in the first place?
IS FRIEDMAN AN OPTIMIST, A POLLYANNA OR...could he be right about the good consequences that will follow from Israel's scheduled pullout from Gaza? And does it follow that the expected pacification of the Palestinians (we'll believe it when we see it!) prefigures what will happen in Iraq after June 30? The column is from today's New York Times.
THE GENOMIC DIFFERENCE BEWTEEN CHIMPS AND HUMANS. Though the shared genomic identity is as high as 99.2%, the differences (particularly genes related to hearing and smell) may have had great consequence for launching the two species in different developmental directions. This tantalizing research bulletin appeared recently in Nature magazine.
BLOGS, PRESENT AND FUTURE...as seen by a plugged-in reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. What most surprised us is that the average blogger does his thing only once a week...and that half are adolescents. Neither of which facts dampens the prospect that the blogosphere will exert evermore transformative influence in political and cultural life.
THROUGH OUR MOVIES (AND TECHNOLOGY) DID THEY KNOW US. At a great cultural and political distance from America, Soviet citizens remained fascinated by their adversary--and formed their ambivalent images of the U.S. as much through cinema as anything else. A scholarly examination of their perception-at-a-distance is reviewed here (less stiffly than usual) at the H-Net site.
BEHIND THE DA VINCI CODE--A RENEGADE PRIEST AND A CHARLATAN. This article from the Director of the Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions should tell you all you need to know about the contagious nonsense conveyed by Dan Brown.
GARBO PLAYED HER IN THE MOVIES...but that movie didn't do her justice. Who? Queen Christina of Sweden who has now been memorialized in what appears to be--if one trusts this enthusiastic reviewer in the UK Guardian--a wonderful romp of biography.
A CURIOUS BIT OF GIBSONIAN APOCRYPHA...or should this be called an urban legend? Either way, there is less reliablity to this story that is being spread by e-mail than is to be found in MG's version of the crucifixion.
HAYDN TAKES US THROUGH THE FIRST SEVEN DAYS...in his great oratorio, "The Creation." Two seperate and equally moving performances are available here.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
WHAT THE PREZ SAID, WHAT THE POST HEARD. Here's this morning's lead story from the Washington Post reporting on last night's press conference.
HOW THE WASHINGTON TIMES HEARD IT. The contrast between the two DC dailies stands out at a time like this. Here is the second paper's coverage of last night's mini-speech and press conference.
WE LAUGHED WHEN A COMMISSION MEMBER...complimented himself and his colleagues for their objectivity and non-partisan collegiality--and, thus, were pleased to find this editorial in this morning's New York Post.
WHILE THE 9/11 COMMISSION WORRIES ABOUT INTELLIGENCE...Max Boot of the New York Council on Foreign Relations points out what is truly needed: operatives who will sit around and drink tea with the locals for a few years. Only through them can we get plugged in on what's really happening and/or about to happen.
MEANWHILE THE MONEY CONTINUES TO FLOW FROM RIYADH...into terrorist coffers all the way from Baghdad to Ramallah. This informed commentary from the author of a book subtitled "How Terrorism Is Funded" appeared this morning on the National Review website.
THE GREATEST SUCCESS OF THE PLO...has been its propagandistic effectiveness with the college students (and faculty?) of the western world. The extent of that success is conveyed in this public opinion report from the Luntz Group, as reported today in Front Page magazine.
BAATHIST IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. Ideology matters a great deal in the Middle East--perhaps even more than elsewhere says Amatzia Baram in this historically informed analysis recently published in the Wilson Quarterly.
CHRISTIANS AND JEWS: A PASSOVER/EASTER CONTEMPLATION. Rather deeper and more subtle than one expects from a weekly newsmag, this article appeared last week in the UK Economist and is worthy of attentive consideration.
A GREAT, MODERN COMIC NOVEL...was published 50 years ago and, in commemoration and celebration, Roger Kimball (old friend and frequent guest on Extension 720) examines its lasting pertinence and bitter, comic delight in this essay for the New York Sun.
ON THE FAR FRONTIER OF "THEORY." "Theory" is what the gobbledegooky, humanities academics call their line of impenetrable analysis. As good a source as any is the journal called Critical Theory whose articles are always...ummmm, challenging. Here's a recent one for your delectation or stupefaction.
DIGITAL TELEVISION WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU! So asserts this writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. And he has his reasons...here enumerated in a sprightly (if not neccessarily undebatable) fashion.
CARUSO OR PINZA, ANYONE? This great site makes available recordings by a few dozen major opera singers of early years. And don't miss Tito Schipa!
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
WHAT FREEH WILL SAY TODAY...to the 9/11 commission he said yesterday in this op-ed from the Wall Street Journal.
EVAN THOMAS IS A SENSIBLE AND FAIRLY UNINFLECTED UBER-JOURNALIST...and here's what he sees and says (in the current issue of Newsweek) about our situation in Iraq. Worth a close but reflective reading...we think.
FROM THE NOBLE DENTIST OF BAGHDAD. Our admiration for Zayed continues at the highest level. He is an observant, brave, thoughtful man and capable of appropriately reactive--but not self-indulgent--feeling. His recent blogs have been somewhat despairing--but he still reports sharply and is, thus, a resource for anyone who tries to understand, from a large geographic and cultural distance, what is really happening in Iraq.
THE WEAKNESS OF ISLAM IN THE EUROPEAN WORLD...predicts its ultimate decline, but not without long-lasting violence. Just such a prediction is drawn from historical and theolgical considerations by Theodore Dalrymple in this striking essay from the City Journal.
GAD, SIR...SAFIRE IS RIGHT...about the shadiness and economic dysfunctionality of hedge funds. This piece from yesterday's New York Times should be read by everyone at the S.E.C. and then acted upon!
MICRO AND MACRO REALITY...are effectively explained by quantum mechanics and relativity, respectively. But so far, they can't be reconciled with one another. Brian Greene's surprisingly readable new book deals with that problem--as he did in a recent conversation on Extension 720. Here is a persceptive--and equally readble--review from Sunday's New York Times.
BY THE WAY, THE QUANTUM-RELATIVITY RECONCILIATION...may come from STRING THEORY! Greene is not the only intrepid soul who is trying to explain superstrings in non-mathematical terms. Here's another good attempt from Popular Science.
TEEN-AGED BEAUTY MAY BE THE ANSWER...to the otherwise intractable Israel/PLO conflict. We doubt it but it does make for a pleasant change from the news that one usually finds in the Jerusalem Post.
HOW LEFTIST ARE THE "SPIN SISTERS" OF THE MEDIA. Not particularly says Myra MacPherson as she reviews two recent books and savages the one that asserts that the answer is "plenty." And in this review which appeared a few days ago in the Washington Post, she takes direct aim at the Independent Womens Forum.
THE IWF ANSWERS BACK...in the form of a post to their Inkwell blog. Some of the other blog contributions are also worthy of note and consideration.
HAVE YOU BEEN WONDERING ABOUT NOWAL AL-ZOGHBI? Well...she's back! And her interview in Arab News has a bit more dignity than what we get from the leading pop-vocalists of the western world.
GREAT ROCK FROM THE FIFTIES...when melody still mattered as much as beat. Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" are not to be missed.
Monday, April 12, 2004
IS KERREY DOING KERRY'S WORK? As a member of the 9/11 commission he might have held back his judgements until the commission had completed its hearings and its deliberations. But as a possible point man for the campaign of the other senator of almost the same name he put this prejudgement forward yesterday in the New York Times.
ON THE IRAQ WAR, ANOTHER VIEW...from Bill Bennett who, not unexpectedly, sees the Iraq imbroglio in un-Kerreyish perspective. This from yesterday's New York Post.
UPON READING THE APRIL 6 MEMO. Another counter-Kerrey conclusion: this time about who should be embarrased by what the CIA sent to the president a month before the Al Qaida assault. Orrin is a regular columnist for the New York Post.
THE IRAQIS WILL GO WITH THE WINNING SIDE...says Mark Steyn in this column from the Sunday Chicago Sun-Times. As usual, his refreshing, non-establishment good sense--like his buoyant good humor and frolicsome wit--are a valuable resource in hard times.
VIVE LA FRANCE--BUT FOR HOW LONG? A French observer of his country's politicians knows that by now "ils sont tous socialistes" and that the game is almost up: i.e. if the Muslims don't get them, the constantly expanding welfare costs for an aging population certainly will. This bit of lyrical despair (a French journalistic speciality) appeared a few days ago in Tech Central Station.
FINANCIAL FUN AT THE TWO-FACED FUND FIRM. Yes, that would be Janus who have just rewarded the guy who is supposed to repair their reputation (so far the New York State Attorney general is not impressed) with a bonus of 3,000,000!! This Bloomberg article is from the Denver Post.
THE ACLU COULD ACTUALLY BE WRONG? Though we are shocked (yes, of course, shocked, shocked do you hear?) by this revelation from Timothy Noah of Slate, we thought it would be a service to frazzled travellers if we passed it on.
HITCHENS (VIA BURKE) TAKES ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION...and finds that it fell short of its ideals. But, of course, the Terror and Bonapartism were not its only consequences. That the moving finger often writes badly, but moves on is, perhaps, the ultimate import of this engaging essay from the current The Atlantic.
TAKE HIM ALL FOR ALL...and George Santayana remains something of a mystery. Perhaps because, as he says of himself, his was a "cold blooded psychology." A new volume of his letters has just appeared and is here reviewed thoughtfully and stylishly for the journal, Essays in Philosophy.
THE LIBRARY OF AMERICA HAS ADDED (YECH!) EZRA POUND. Most of one's literary friends would, of course, question the "yech." Guy Davenport, who knew Pound and visited him when he was incarcerated in the Saint Elizabeth's puzzle factory, is the author of this review/essay prompted by the new volume.
ET POUR DINER, LE SANDWICH ANGLAIS! Is this new preference for sandwich a la mode d'Angleterre a sign of the afore-mentioned decline of the French nation--or is it, rather, a harbinger of a restoration of fisdcal realism? Or neither? Or both? Whatever...it makes a good sidebar story from the BBC.
JELLY ROLL MORTON IN THE TWENTIES. We hear two piano solos and some six band pieces with, among others, Omar Simeon and Johnny Saint-Cyr. Great playing from the man who is usually classed as the second most important figure (after Armstrong) in "traditional jazz."