Friday, May 07, 2004
DR. KRAUTHAMMER IS IN AND JUSTIFIABLY ALARMED...over the psychosexual side of the Abu Ghraib scandal. But, in fact, it doesn't take a "trained psychiatrist" to perceive the gross offense to Arab culture that was scored by our frolicksome military prison guards.
BEHIND THE CALLS FOR RUMSFELD'S RESIGNATION. We think that the anonymous editorialist at the Wall Street Journal has got this one exactly right: Fire the head of DOD and throw away the election!!
AND HEEEEERE'S LYNNDIE!! Another female Army reservist from West Virginia makes it big in press coverage of the Iraq war. The New York Times story gives a glimmer of a character sketch BUT, how about the guys who commanded little Lynndies unit?
WHAT WAS DONE WELL, WHAT WAS ILL DONE, IN IRAQ...and what must now be done. This wise appraisal is from the seer of Little Rock. That's not William J. Clinton but, of course, is Paul Greenberg, Editorial Director of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
DON'T NOBODY HERE KNOW HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME? That plaintive query came from Casey Stengel after the Mets lost 15-1. Similarly, the British publication, Spiked, asks: "Don't nobody know how to play the war-on-terror game?" And here is the final (corrected) story on the plot to blow up the Manchester United stadium.
THE "FRIENDS" OF LIEUTENANT KERRY. Human Events today has this follow-up on the press conference (did the RNC have a hand in staging it?) at which most of his Swift Boat colleagues expressed their views (ranging from disgruntlement to disdain) for the "putative Democratic candidate."
WELL, ACTUALLY, HISTORY DIDN'T END...but still the views of Francis Fukuyama are of some interest to Al-Ahram, particularly for his thoughts on the unending history yet to be made in the Middle East.
HOW TO SEPERATE HEREDITY FROM ENVIRONMENT? Through twin studies of course! Particularly through the study of identicals reared apart. That has been the conventional wisdom in devlopmemtal psychology. But it now turns out to be not quite that simple. This article from the newsletter of the American Psychological Association is a good assesment of how and what we can learn from twin studies about the sources (genetic and environmental) of aggression, intelligence and other important aspects of the human repertoire.
WHY THE BICYCLISTS? WHY THE JEWS? Cynthia Ozick--a distinguished writer if we have one these days--has written this searing essay on the revival of anti-Semitism for a forthcoming book. It appeared today as the lead item in the New York Observer.
A BRIEF BULLETIN FROM THE RADIO FRONT. Apparently, Air America (Franken and Friends) hasn't worked very well and it may now be on the steep slope to its demise. In the proprietor's opinion (and after all he has been doing a radio show for many years) their trouble was not their avowed "liberalism" but rather their unrelieved preference for snarling rather than smiling.
WELL, WE CAN AGREE ON "OVERPAID"...but are college presidents as a contempory class usually "hard-working and talented?" That is the assertion in this interesting but--we find--not fully persuasive article from today's issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
THE QUESTION THAT REQUIRES GOD AS THE ANSWER...is "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Unless it is all a mere linguistic muddle requiring a Wittgensteinian dismissal. Thomas Nagel takes up this great Philosophy 101 puzzler in this review from the current issue of the Times Literary Supplement.
IF YOU ENJOY A CONTEMPTUOUS, ACIDULOUS, UNSPARINGLY NEGATIVE REVIEW...but funny(!!) read on. This appeared a few days ago in the New Statesman and we think it rivals Macaulay in his most hilariously malicious temper.
BE SURE TO TRY THEIR "TURBO ALMONDINE"...but leave room for "desert." This charming note from Nation's Restaurant News surveys some strikingly malapropistic menus but leaves us still a bit unsettled about the difference between a Cesar salad and a Caesar salad.
BEETHOVEN FROM LUGANO. This musicianly performance of the Sonata #8 in G Major gave much plesasure--as did the Granados and Kreisler pieces that rounded out this concert at the Argerich Festival.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
WHAT THE HELL DID THEY THINK THEY WERE DOING? The official report of the Army's investigation of the misconduct at Abu Ghraib prison, as released yesterday.
THE FALLOUT FROM SHARON'S DEFEAT. Hillel Halkin is one of the best on-the-scene interpreters of Israeli life and politics. In this article from yesterday's New York Sun, he suggests that, among other consequences of the anti-withdrawal vote may be the forced exile of Yasser Arafat.
SO WHAT WILL SHARON DO? Bill Safire, in his column yesterday in ther New York Times, presumes to get into the prime minister's mind--and makes a pretty persuasive case about what Arik will do next. But when that plan is hoisted up on the flagpole will anyone in Ramallah salute?
WE HAVE BEEN SURPRISED AT...how little the press has responded to this event and to the news release issued by these various former military colleagues of Senator Kerry. Obviously, not all ther guys on his swift boat or in his squadron are for him!
TONIGHT'S GUEST ON EXTENSION 720...has written an innovative and thought-rearranging book about what happens in the minds of our kids. Here are some review excerpts which will plug you in and ready you for tonight's broadcast.
HOW WE STOPPED BEING FISH. Some colleagues from the home university have turned up some crucial bones demonstrating how the things that crawled out of the sea began evolving into something a bit more like us. This brief and enticing research note was posted by the university's PRniks.
THE ENEMIES OF GLOBALIZATION...are, usually, also enemies of the United States. So opines Jean-Francois Revel--qui est "un vrai chic type"--and is, as well, one of the few outspoken friends of the Americans to be found in the ranks of contemporary French "journalistes en haut."
KAREN ARMSTRONG'S APOLOGIA PRO VITA RELIGIO SUA...gets a thoughtful and empathic review in January Magazine and here it is--just a few weeks after she appeared on Extension 720.
WITH (CHESS) CHAMPIONS LIKE THIS...who needs enemies? Bobby Fischer represented the U.S. in the great international chess match and we still haven't quite recovered. Louis Menand, of the New Yorker, reviews the fine book on that strange, strange contest in Iceland which we recently discussed with author John Eidinow.
OH, 'TIS TRUE, 'TIS TRUE. What is reported here--in an article from Front Page magazine--could be easily confirmed on many (or most?) American campuses: leftist professors do manage to apply the "political test" to many of the candidates for junior positions even as they deny (often to themselves) that they are "reproducing in (political) kind."
FROM ANTI-PSYCHIC FRAUD CENTRAL...namely, the bulletin of the James Randi Educational Foundation which, this month, puts in his proper exposed place Mr. Gordon Smith, famed "psychic."
JOHNNY APPLE IS EATING AGAIN! And why not? After many years of political reporting he discovered that his trencherman interests would be indulged by the New York Times. So here he is, extending his epicurean range to the Basque country of Spain...and guiding you to the best restaurants of San Sebastian and environs.
A STIRRING AND BOUNCY PERFORMANCE OF BEETHOVEN'S MOZARTIAN SYMPHONY. That is the first, of course, here performed by the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and conducted by Norrington.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Tonight on the show, a recorded edition of Extension 720 will play after the 7:05 p.m. Cubs game. More information on the program is available at our monthly program guide.
THE SCANDAL AT ABU GHRAIB. How much further does it extend? And why and how? Worried senators want to know! Here's the updated news story from AP.
GEORGE WILL OPTS FOR (A NON NEO) CONSERVATISM...at least when it comes to accepting some unpleasant realities about the "culture" of the middle east. This column, from today's Washington Post will, we predict, stir significant discussion.
HOW STANDS THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE? Our old friend--and frequent program guest--Mort Kondracke knows how to count and how to interpret the polls. Here's his reading, as of today in Roll Call, about what works for and against Bush and Kerry respectively.
FROM THE GUY WHO TOOK OVER PCF-94 FROM LIEUTENANT KERRY. An old bitterness is reactivated by the prospect of a Kerry presidency. In fairness, it must be noted that others of his shipmates have endorsed the Kerry candidacy. This op-ed appeared this morning in the Wall Street Journal.
AS THE EUROPEAN UNION EXPANDS...the UK Economist examines the dangers and opportunities for bith the old members and the new. This usefully informative article appeared on the eve of the official enlargement of the EU membership roster.
IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE. A wily political plotter, that is. So here's the guy who plotted Clinton's succesful reelection now explaining how his former client is planning to undermine the present Democratic presidential aspirant. Dick Morris, in today's New York Post, continues to spin his always Medusa-like (and Machiavellian) vision.
AS BIN LADIN SAID TO GHANDI...and as the Mahatma answered the terrorist: Labour peer and Ghandian scholar, Bhikhu Parekh, imagines this dialog and thereby underlines the crucial dysfunctionality of terrorism itself.
CAN FREUD BE REHABILITATED? After a decade in which he has been shown to have faked much of his data and in which his therapeutic method has been demonstrated to be unproductive (and in which his ideas have been characterized as "confabulatory pseudo science") his defenders still proclaim his pioneering accomplishments. Here, one of those defenders is taken to task by one of the best known critics of "Freudian mythologies."
HOW TO BE CHARITABLE...was a question that concerned the great Jewish sage, Rambam. In this article from Moment magazine, the well-known biblical archeologist, Hershel Shanks, examines, the special problems of modern "giving" in the light of the Rambam's twelfth century treatise on the subject.
"MIND READING" MAY ACTUALLY BECOME POSSIBLE...though one should approach with some skepticism the easy projections of enthusiastic researchers and science writers. Still...MRI scanning of the brain, as this coverage in the Los Angeles Times makes clear, is beginning to pay off "big time."
HOW TO READ MINDS...this time, not through MRI technology but through sheer fakery. Andy Leviss is a well known "mentalist" performer and here he is giving some advice to other members of the mountebank profession.
A QUIET SUNDAY IN BOZEMAN, MONTANA. The human condition is still messy--but apparently less inimical--in the Big Sky country. Or so one gathers from this rather gentle police report published yesterday in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
THE MASTER OF THE BLUES AND HIS FRIENDS. B.B. King in some great duet performances. Don't miss B.B. with John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton and Etta James.
Monday, May 03, 2004
THE HUNTING OF THE LADEN...seems to be more difficult than the hunting of the snark--but according to this well-detailed account in the new issue of U.S. News, there is some good hope that he may yet be "brought to justice."
WHO IS SMEARING WHOM? This interesting media research note was filed today by Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard. The Republican National Committee, he says, need not issue a "mea maxima culpa" apology to Senator Kerry.
ISLAM AS VIEWED FROM A LONDON HOSPITAL. This insightful and disturbing portrait of Islamic life in the west is by the brilliant psychiatrist/essayist, Theodore Dalrymple and was published last week in the City Journal.
IS DEPTH PSYCHOLOGY RELEVANT TO UNDERSTANDING TERRORISM? The proprietor has had a long career as professor of social psychology--and, as such, views psychological explanation as usually useless in understanding political extremism. This article from today's Front Page magazine--and by an old friend, Phyllis Chesler--tests the outer limits of that methodological stricture but does, at any rate, deserve a thoughtful reading.
HOW ABOUT A THIRD SET OF REAL TEETH? Research has been reported that stem cells may be able to get you growing a replacement tooth--or teeth, as many as you need! Here's the story from the stem-cell group at London University.
INTELLECTUAL/SCIENTIFIC GLOBALIZATION...is apparently progressing at a rapid pace. Projecting from this story in today's New York Times, we predict that in the year 2083 there will be only one Nobel award to an American scientist--and he will be the offspring of Chinese and Polish immigrant grandparents.
A GREAT AND SOMETIMES INFURIATING HISTORIAN...as viewed by one of those he influenced and fascinated. The former is A.J.P. Taylor and the latter is Paul Kennedy who wrote this very readable essay for The Atlantic a few years ago.
A LITERARY NOTE FROM SOMEPLACE IN IRAQ. A practiced and successful novelist has taken up his pen once again. The world will be waiting for the "non-fiction" novel upon which he is presently working.
OF THE MAKING OF BOOKS ABOUT NAPOLEON...there is no end. This one sounds worth the price--or at least its topic is. Just play through the counterfactual thought: What would have happened in 19th and 20th century history if Napoleon had caught a fever and died during the Egyptian campaign?
THE GREATEST MINOR WRITER IN ENGLISH LITERATURE. Max Beerbohm has been so described thogu others might argue that he was the least of the great writers of his period. Here, at any rate, is an analysis and appreciation of a few of his lasting essays.
THE WEATHERMEN'S GIFT TO THE COMMENCEMENT CIRCUIT. Bernadine Dohrn's presence at the Northwestern University Law School still infuriates a few of her academic colleagues. Her scheduled appearance at one of the Claremont colleges should spark a similar reaction in that "stronghold" of conservative thought. What this article leaves out is her husband's bragging reference, in his recent book, to the time he and his colleagues set off a bomb inside the U.S. Capitol.
HEIFETZ, MILSTEIN AND KAUFMAN. Three great fiddlers are memorialized and appreciated in this engaging essay by Terry Teachout. It is the latest in a wonderful series that he has been doing for Commentary magazine.
AND A GOOD TIME (PRESUMABLY) WAS HAD BY ALL. Fun, games, gossip and rancor at the White House Correspondents' Dinner as reported today in Advertising Age.
THE ROMEO AND JULIET OF HECTOR BERLIOZ...was conceived not as an opera but as a "dramatic symphony." Either way, it is a powerful work and is movingly rendered here in a live performance conducted by Valery Gergiev.