Friday, July 23, 2004
Tonight on Extension 720, Milt welcomes phone calls from listeners after the 6:05 Cubs game. You can listen to the show after the game here.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Tonight on Extension 720, Milt and a panel of experts review twenty-one of the most interesting books we have received over the past few months as part of our Quarterly Book Review. More information on this and other programs is available at our monthly program guide. You can listen to the show from 9 to 11 p.m. central time here.
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT...is available everywhere today, including here. This is the 31-page executive summary and, on hurried perusal, it seems properly and prudentially focussed on catastrophic expectation.
THIS WISE COMMENTARY ON THE REPORT...comes from Christopher Cox, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security and was published this morning in the Wall Street Journal.
AN INTELLIGENCE SUPER-CZAR WON'T BE ENOUGH...says this intelligence-veteran in a strong opinion piece in today's New York Post. His further points: the intelligence culture needs to change--and, by the way, let's stop the obligatory references to a "great religion."
WHO WANTS TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD? Anthony Browne, in this week's UK Spectator, thinks the question has a clear answer ans he presents it here in an unmincing and strongly assertive article.
READING THE PRESIDENTIAL POLLS...when the candidates seem virtually tied is a tricky art and John McIntyre, of Real Clear Politics, does it as well as anyone we know. Here's his latest overview of the polls and the pundits and, as usual, he cuts through the murk with exemplary realism.
LET'S GET THE WILSON-NIGER-YELLOWCAKE STORY RIGHT. Bill Safire seems to have laid out the basic--and until now veiled--facts in this recent column in the New York Times.
THE SYRIANS IN THE SKY WERE NOT TERRORISTS...this time. But the saga reported here in an unusual National Review article ain't rally funny Magee! Rather, it seems to us to point up the continuing inadequacies of our airborne domestic intelligence operations.
GETTING OUT OF THE (BLACK) HOLE...now seems possible, even likely, according to Stephen Hawking according to this report from the CBC. Science fictioneers may have to find a new way to get to "other universes."
CAN SCIENTISTS BE DUPED? You bet! And, furthermore, they sometimes manage to dupe themselves. This excellent article on the subject has just come our way and we are happy to recommend it as important and, happily, quite readable even though written by another social psychologist.
THE VERY YOUNG EDMUND WILSON....comments (circa 1924!) on the poetry of Wallace Stevens and E.E. (i.e. before he became e.e.) Cummings. The New Republic has just republished this wonderful item from their vast literary archive.
ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER, CONTROVERSIAL AFTER ALL THESE YEARS? His centennial was last Sunday and some of the dwindling number of Yiddishists argue that he did not deserve the Nobel Prize. The author of this article from the Boston Globe was the editor of the new Library of America collection of Singer's stories.
OF THE MAKING OF MANY BOOKS THERE IS NO END...sayeth the preacher in Ecclesiastes. And so say the publishing types interviewed by these Chicago Sun-Times reporters who also remind us of the recent study showing a significant decline in American reading. Curious...hmmmmm.
THE FATTER WE GROW THE LESS WE READ! Well, the two are inversely correlated...but the other and more relevant factors are, of course, the further growth of TV and the coming of the internet. Here's the full study on the decline of reading in America recently released by the National Endowment for the Arts.
MORE CHAMBER MUSIC FROM LUGANO. Schumann, Schubert and Dvorak are featured in this excellent concert recorded last month.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Tonight on Extension 720, Milt explores the world of gospel music with Jerma A. Jackson, professor of history at the University of North Carolina. More information on this and other programs is available at our monthly program guide. You can listen to the program from 9 to 11 p.m. central time here.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
A CRI DE COEUR ABOUT THE GENOCIDE IN SUDAN. Mark Steyn puts aside his usual ironic stance and offers up, in this article from today's London Telegraph, a true and deeply-felt, "j'accuse" directed at the cynical murderers in Khartoum.
THE PALISTINIAN MELTDOWN. Dan Pipes, in this article from today's New York Sun, reviews the collapse into chaos after years of Arafatian duplicity and venality. A little serious democracy might go a long way toward producing a responsible "government" and, ultimately, the long overdue Palestinian state.
AN UPDATE ON BEATING THE BUSH. Rich Lowry, in the National Review today, reviews the perfected art of attacking Bush all ways, from all directions, all the time. The question does arise: Can civility and fairness ever be restored after this descent into pre-election defamation?
MEANWHILE, BACK HERE IN ILLINOIS...the senatorial "race" is actually a romp toward virtually unchallenged election. The facts and possibly some generalizable political wisdom are available in this coverage from the distant--but plugged in--Financial Times.
THE NEW MODES OF INSURGENCY...in Iraq now and likely to be encountered elsewhere in the future are intelligently examined in this article just published in The Atlantic.
GETTING TO KNOW MUHAMMAD IBN ABD AL-WAHAB. A new book suggests that he was really a pretty decent fellow and, in point of fact, a SCHOLAR! This op-ed author in today's Wall Street Journal seems rather bemused and/or confused at how such a "purifying" religious nativist could have spawned so violent a movement. Ever heard of Savanarola or Torquemada?
CATHOLIC NO MORE? Jimmy Breslin's searing new book The Church that Forgot Christ is reviewed here in the Buffalo News by a dismayed Catholic layman. Breslin will be our guest tonight on Extension 720.
WOULD JOHN CALVIN HAVE APPROVED...of what the American branch of his church has just done to--and against--Israel? The dismaying facts are reviewed in this article from yesterday's issue of Front Page.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE NAACP? According to John McWhorter (whose latest appearance on our program can be heard here) the organization has "dissolved into posturing after the battles were largely won." And, like many black conservatives, he approves of Bush having turned down their invitation (four times!).
PRESIDENT ALEXANDER HAMILTON...might well have taken office after Jefferson's second term IF he had not been killed by Aaron Burr. This great counter-factual speculation appeared recently at the History News Network site. We ventured into that same hypothetical realm recently with Ron Chernow (listen here) author of the new major biography of Hamilton.
THERE WAS A NAZI VERSION OF PSYCHOANALYSIS...and, as this scholarly review of a recent work on the subject reveals, it played its part in the genocide program.
THE CASE OF GORE VIDAL...is examined in this not-unfriendly overview of his political/literary output. We long ago grew rather fatigued with his oracular certainty as it veered toward conspiratorialism and parlor-version anti-semitism...but here's what the guy at the Toronto Globe and Mail thinks.
SOME BACH TO CLEAR THE MIND...or, at least, lighten the spirit. The Second Orchestral Suite is beautifully performed here by the Berlin Baroque Soloists.
Monday, July 19, 2004
A recorded edition of Extension 720 will air tonight after the 7:05 Cubs game. You can listen to the show after the game here.
DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST: CAN THEY GET THERE FROM HERE? This article in Slate has the appeal of being informed, intelligent and appropriately skeptical.
CAN THE DARFUR GENOCIDE BE STOPPED? James Traub, in yesterday's New York Times, searches for parallels to Kosovo and comes up short. Not encouraging, but informative, this article suggests that the west is not up to disciplining the Sudanese sponsors of the massacre.
HOW DO YOU GET TO THE SWING VOTERS? Apparently by attaching your ads to their favorite TV programs. This article from yesterday's New York Times reports just how the two presidential campaigns differ in the placement of their TV ads. Surprise: they are after different demographic groups!
A PROPAGANDIST IN SCHOLAR'S CLOTHING? Rashid Khalidi was formerly a colleague at the University of Chicago and now occupies the Edward Said Chair in Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University. He and Said were once members of the Council that "advised" Arafat. His new book attacking U.S. Middle East policy is critically reviewed here by the editor of the Middle East Quarterly.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AN APE WASHING A POTATO...may well be that it shows them to be "just like us" except soemwhat slower of mind. Or, is it a mistake to attribute "consciousness" to them? Frans de Waal, probably the best "ape-man" in the American scientific establishment, and a fairly frequent guest on our program, examines the mentality of apes in this recent review/essay from Natural History Magazine.
HOW HANNAH ARENDT EXPLAINED EICHMANN AND FORGAVE HEIDEGGER. For the woman who presumed to understand the origins of "totalitarianism" as consumate modern evil, she was strangely "easy" on these two Nazis. Why and how are addressed in this fine essay from Dissent Magazine.
WHAT TO MAKE OF THE AMERICAN EVANGELICALS. That seems to be one of the main questions haunting an important new book by sociologist Alan Wolfe and reviewed here by another significant sociologue. Both have been guests on our program and we'd love to get them back and together for a continuation of the debate begun in this review/essay from Christianity Today.
HOW MUCH TV DID YOU WATCH AS A CHILD? The more time you spent in front of the screen, the more ill-health you may encounter as an adult. See this story from Reuters (based on a study reported in Lancet, the leading British medical journal) and then get your kid out in the fresh air!
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE LOOK UP "VALUES" IN THE DICTIONARY? We surfeited on the politically-misused word weeks ago. David Brooks of the New York Times has caught up--but he is somewhat more forgiving. Perhaps...tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner.
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS NOT HEAVEN...as disclosed in "near death experiences" but, rather, a physiological phenomenon fostered by oxygen deprivation and opthalmologic processes. Sorry! And here's the basic information in an article from the current issue of The Skeptical Inquirer.
YEAH! WE'VE BEEN WONDERING ABOUT THAT TOO...but the answer supplied here by the house expert at the Washington Post does not seem to us to be the final or authoritative word. What do you know or think about obligatory cheek bussing?
SHOSTAKOVICH'S FOURTH: THE PROGRAM NOTES. This time around with our musical selection of the day we commend these excellent comments to be read before you listen.