Saturday, July 31, 2004
THE NEWS FROM (AND ABOUT) DARFUR...as provided on the official website of the Sudanese government. As accustomed genocidal murderers they play the "game of state" rather transparently...assisted, one notes at a low level of surprise, by Les Francais!!
THE MISSING WARNING OF 9/11...should have come from the historians and "Middle East experts" of the academy argues Walid Phares in this article published yesterday. Note: do check out the linked material.
MUDDLED MILITARY MANTRAS...were, according to Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic, in full supply last night in Boston. This commentary seems to us one of the best produced at high speed last night after the Kerry speech.
IN BOSTON, ON THE LEFT...some tired reflexive grouching. There was a time when Navasky, the eternal editor/publisher of The Nation and the author of these convention ruminations, had something of substance to say. Now about all he can summon is the vague hope (borrowed from Studs Terkel!) that someday Barack Obama will be president.
AFTER NAVASKY ON THE LEFT, HERE'S NOVAK (MICHAEL, THAT IS) ON THE RIGHT...looking at the same convention and the same annointed candidate. This is one of the many convention commentaries at today's edition of National Review Online.
SOME BIG NEW YORKERS IN BOSTON. This is, we promise, our last convention piece. But who could resist this sprightly account--from the New York Observer--of the two Senators and the state's rising star seeking to advance their political fortunes on the Fleet floor?
MUSLIM CONVERTS AS POTENTIAL (OR ACTUAL) TERRORISTS. As Islamic missionary efforts thrive, western converts become fair game for Islamist recruiters...according to this interesting symposium posted today at Front Page.
GEORGE SOROS WROTE A BOOK...and here is Midge Decter responding to it in the Claremont Review. It is a matter of little surprise that she finds its thesis (American imperialism threatens the world) falling far short of veridicality. A title waiting for an author might well be "The Strange Case of the Hungarian Billionaire."
ALL HISTORY IS MODERN HISTORY...said Benedetto Croce, an Italian historian who exerted great influence upon an earlier generation of American historians and moved them, according to this probing article, toward the relativism and deconstructionism which have bedeviled many current practitioners of the discipline. Yes, this is academic stuff! But it is both readable and of considerable consequence for coming to know (or failing to know) "how we got here."
ARE CANDY BARS EXPLOSIVE? We really don't quite get this story reported by the AP from Washington yesterday. But please, don't anybody tell the ACLU or they will link it to the Patriot Act and sue. And please, someone else, tell the Metro police to cool it!
PRAVDA TURNS TO THE SCATOLOGY QUESTION. And you may get off a few expletives yourself when you try to read this...unless, of course, you have recently moved from Odessa to Brighton Beach. But just scroll down to the next entry.
SO HERE IT IS IN ENGLISH...of a sort. And we learn from the anonymous author that Catherine the Great did not favor curses with bodily referents but, in the new Russia, sexual liberation is somehow served by "foul language." Quelle surprise!
HOW GUSTAV MAHLER CONQUERED DEATH...through his great Second Symphony, performed here by the Orchestra (and some soloists) of the Kirov Opera and conducted by Valery Gergiev. If you have the time do read the appended program notes to get the full effect of this great work.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
THE PREDICTABLE (AND UNCONCSIONABLE) BACK-OFF FROM SANCTIONS AGAINST SUDAN. Apparently you can count on the UN Security Council to always avoid meaningful action against genocide. But this time (as, to be sure, in Rwanda) they are doing it without any serious opposition from the U.S. The Reuters bulletin makes it all dismally clear.
HE CAN'T STOP WATCHING. A veteran journalist (editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) is still drawn to the conventions though they now decide nothing and the rituals have become totally predictable. Here's why.
MIXED REVIEWS FOR TERESA. Howie Kurtz of the Washington Post reviews the reviews. We find that we disagreee with most of the critics. That the candidate's wife is a little uncomprehending of (or unresponsive to) political priorities is, after all, rather endearing--if, that is, you like "authenticity."
ABOUT TONIGHT'S KERRY FILM. Spielberg, Moll, Kerry, bullets in the water, etc. Maybe this story from the New York Observer will clear it up for you. Or...maybe not.
AND LEST WE FORGET, RALPH ALSO RUNS. Nader that is, still pursuing ballot position in Texas and many other states. Does anyone have a credible answer to the simple question: WHY?
THE GAP BETWEEN THE OFFICERS AND THE ENLISTED MEN OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY...is still there says David Broder in today's Washington Post, i.e. The delegates at the convention lean far lefter!
AND NOVAK SEES IT THE SAME WAY AS BRODER. But, in today's column in the Chicago Sun-Times, he forsees trouble beyond the convention when the "rank and file" act up to push the program "leftwards."
THE FRIENDS OF STEPHEN BING...may be a source of some embarrassment for the Democrats...if Mafia connections matter any more. The details are to be found in this story carried by ABC News last night.
IS HE OR IS HE NOT A "LANDZMAN?" The history of the Jewish Kerrys is layed out in this informative and resourceful article published last year in Reform Judaism magazine. He and Madeline Albright do, indeed, have much in common.
EXCLUSIVITY AND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE...seem not to go together like a horse and carriage. The consequences of this fact for heterosexual marriage, if (or when) same-sex marriage becomes routine, are examined in this article from the current issue of City Journal.
BIG BROTHER'S MAGIC BOOT IS EVERYWHERE...or so say the people at U.K. Privacy International. They have just given their annual awards for those persons and organizations who have done most "to devastate privacy and civil liberties." Follow the links down into the many sectors of the abyss.
SIXTY YEARS AGO: THE WARSAW UPRISING. This terrible chapter in the history of World War II began on August 1st, 1944 and ended tragically while the Russians looked on from across the river. This commemorative site contains movie clips, songs and a large amount of vivid archival material.
THREE YOUNG WOMEN OF WARSAW...who fought in the uprising and survived are interviewed here by a Polish historian writing for the U.K. Telegraph.
WOODY GUTHRIE!! We have just found this fine collection of original Guthrie recordings. Essential choices: Talking Hard Work, Great Historical Bum and Dusty Old Dust.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
A recorded edition of Extension 720 will air after the 7:05pm Cubs game. You can listen to the show at approximately 10pm Central Time here.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Tonight after the 7:05 Cubs game, Milt analyzes Barack Obama's keynote address at the Democratic Convention with Paul Green, WGN Radio's political analyst in Boston, and Eric Zorn, columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
BEHIND THE DARFUR GENOCIDE. The UK Observer published this valuable backgrounder over the weekend. It bears close reading, but to explain all is not (as the French say it is) to forgive all.
AFTER ARAFAT: POLICY CHANGE OR CHAOTIC BREAKDOWN? The question is well asked by the author of a recent Oxford University Pess biography of the Palestinian leader. The projected answer, though persuasively argued in this article from the Middle East Quarterly, is not particularly cheering.
ALTERNATIVE COVERAGE OF THE CONVENTION. The alternative here is the Media Research Center with their avowedly critical "media watch" operation. Our favorite comes at the end of the menu: Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Your Convention Speech is Boring."
THE POLL THEY WILL ALL BE TALKING ABOUT TODAY...is the one just reported by (and done for) ABC. The overall interpretation is that there is no "convention bounce" yet and that Kerry has not "made the sale" on most of the issues.
KERRY'S SECRET STRENGTH...is that he's booooring. So says David Brooks in the New York Times today; and he proceeds to make a fair case for the proposition that that's what the Dems need this year. Note: we said a "fair case," not necessarily a convincing one.
THE MAN BEHIND THE STAFF BEHIND KERRY...has been around for quite a while and has yet to engineer a Democratic presidential win. But then, asks Frankiln Foer in this article from the current New Republic, "who has?"
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN. A little gardening, a few verses dashed off and then some milk and (American) cookies. CNN brings us this account of the now quiet life of the onetime "President for Life" of Iraq. And you may want to check out some of the interesting links.
A STEP TOWARD STEM CELL THERAPY FOR STROKE? That's the most optimistic meaning that can be put upon these research findings from Stanford University as reported here by the BBC.
HOW LONG BEFORE OUR FIRST EXTRATERRESTRIAL CONTACT? Much less than you might think: e.g. How about twenty years from now? So says the senior astronomer at the SETI Institute. But the estimate is premised on the Drake equation and on the actual presence of life elsewhere in the galaxy. This enticing article has just appeared in New Scientist.
A FAKE TRAGEDY BECLOUDS MANY REAL ONES...in Jordan where an "indiscreet" contact bewteen a man and a woman may lead to the murder of the latter by members of her own family. This account of the falsified Forbidden Love has just appeared in the U.K. Guardian.
IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES...was the title of a great book of fifty years ago. What ideas will dominate fifty years hence? The New Statesman has asked the question of six "big thinkers" and here are their answers.
WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE DECLINE IN CLASSICAL CONCERT ATTENDANCE? THE WALKMAN!! Does that sound specious or luddite/paranoid? Well, consider the facts and interpretations put forward quite convincingly, we think, in La Scena Musicale's "Lebrecht Weekly."
BI-ACCENTISM IN SINGAPORE...is a neccessary skill when entertaining friends from New York, according to this linguistically ambidextrous (yes, we know--that refers to hands) informant writing in the Singapore Straits-Times.
AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THAT RARE VINTAGE FROM MILLOU DE GRENOUILLE/SAINTE CYR? There's a big change coming in French wines and all that wine snobs will have left is the taste of the stuff. This article from the U.K. Observer predicts the coming seismic shift in nomenclature.
A MASTERWORK BY BRAHMS. The Piano Quartet No. 3 is movingly performed here by four master musicians.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Tonight on Extension 720, after the 7:05 Cubs game, Milt talks with Tom Mockaitis of DePaul University and Richard Friedman of the National Strategy Forum about the findings of the 9/11 Commission. You can listen to the program at approximately 10 p.m. central time here.
KEEPING THE SUDAN SAFE FOR GENOCIDE. This bulletin from VOA makes it all too clear that the elite of the Murder State based in Khartoum will not be dissuaded. If NATO or the UN or the African National Congress had any will to oppose consumate evil they would act now----BUT THEY WON'T!
ON THE GROUND--AND IN THE POLITICS--OF IRAQ. Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics has done a fine two-part interview with one of the most clear-headed observers of contemporary Iraq, Karl Zinsmeister, author the book Dawn Over Baghdad. It is high-priority reading and here it is.
GET OUT OR WE'LL KILL YOU...is now the basic message from Al Qaeda to all nations (and major companies) assisting the pacification and rebuilding of Iraq. Spain and the Philippines have already turned tail. Australia, as reported here in one of their national newspapers, faces a similar decisional crisis--but so far the government is standing firm.
WHAT WILL THE BLOGGERS DO TO (OR WITH) THE BOSTON CONVENTION? According to John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, many of the leading political bloggers are on scene and have press credentials. The general cynicism/skepticism of the leading purveyors of blogopinion may "frame" the convention in a way that will influence some of the standard "journalists."
THE U.K.ECONOMIST PROFILES KERRY...and does a better job of it than any of our newsmags. Our favorite sentence: "He expresses simple ideas in weird, circumlocutory ways, showing a special fondness for multiple negatives." But this is not a merely condemning or condescending piece. Rather, it seems to us the sort of intelliegnt journalism that is now in rather short supply over here.
BY THEIR FATHERS SHALL YE KNOW THEM. John Kerry's father was an anti-cold warrior within the State Department who thought that the U.S. was "as guilty" as the USSR in the Cold War and who urged that we not try to impose our values (and democracy) upon other nations. Hmmmm.
THE KERRY MILLIONS. We will instantly grant that this article from the current Weekly Standard is somewhat...ahh, "bitchy" might be the right word. But it does fill out one side of the Kerry story that has not been fully developed by the news magazines or the newspaper of record.
SHOULD THE CIA BE TALKING ABOUT THIS? Probably in response to the 9/11 Commission's critique they are now revealing (bragging?) that they have penetrated Al-Qaeda...well, sort of. This report, based upon a briefing in Washington, is from the Singapore Straits-Times.
WHAT WOULD JOHN CALVIN SAY...about the anti-Israel actions of the American branch of his church? The facts about what has happened and some strong judgements therof are supplied in this passionately-written column fromn the San Francisco Chronicle.
JAMES BALDWIN REMEMBERED...by his publisher and high school friend, Sol Stein. This affecting excerpt from a forthcoming book appeared recently in Poets and Writers magazine.
WHAT DO J.K. ROWLING AND CHARLES DICKENS HAVE IN COMMON? Hint: it has nothing to do with plot or style. Il s'agit d'argent! Read on in this informative (though, at one crucial point, grossly ungrammatical) account from American Heritage magazine.
THE GOURMET PUSHCART...has arrived on the streets of Manhattan and may herald the next big thing for young, well-trained chefs and restaurateurs. New York magazine spots the trend and presents one of its pioneers in this article.
ENTER "HARLEY STREET" ON GOOGLE AND MOTORCYCLE ADS MAY POP UP. WHY? This article from the current issue of Reason magazine explains a good deal about internet marketing and also informs--we are happy to note--that some of this stuff is now being challenged in court. But not for the right reasons!