< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://miltsfile.com" > Milt's File: 05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004

Milt's File

A file of links relating to Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg, a talk show on Chicago's WGN Radio.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Tonight on Extension 720, Milt discusses the films of Francis Ford Coppola with Father Gene Phillips and Michael Dawson. 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.
Milt's File now enables comments from all visitors. We welcome--indeed, we urge--that you chime in with your commentary whenever one or more of our items stirs some responsive thought or mere spasm of emotion.
WHY THE TUNNEL-BOMBING IS NECESSARY. According to this op-ed in today's Jerusalem Post they were bringing more than small-arms ammunition. Among other weapons, missiles have been coming through the tunnel system! This link requires a free registration.
THE TUNNELS OF GAZA. Yes, Virginia, they really are there and enable the smugling of arms to Hamas from Egypt. This BBC photo feature provides a glimpse of the tunnels and of the Israeli Army "take-them-out" operation.
THE MEANING OF THE MURDER OF NICK BERG. Russ Roberts of George Mason University contemplates the barbaric murder in this essay from today's Tech Central Station and this leads him--by a path of reasoning well worth your close examination--to the conclusion that "We fail to pay attention to (the Arab street) at our peril."
AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF THE SARIN MISSILE, WHAT? Granted it was only one missile (so far!) but, says this Federalist commentator, it transforms the whole "where-are-the-WMDs" debate and underlines the need to see things through in Iraq.
WHAT DO THE LEADERS OF EUROPE'S ARABS REALLY WANT? The answer, if Dyab Abou Jahjah is representative, will not make for easy, dreamless sleep at the Elysee Palace or in Whitehall. This interview is from the left-tilted journal, Open Democracy.
MR. CANDIDATE, WILL YOU WAGE THIS WAR TILL VICTORY? That, says Dan Henninger, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, is the paramount question that must be pressed upon Messrs. Kerry and Bush. Will anyone think to ask the same of whatsisname--you know, the guy who wrote "Unsafe at Any Speed?"
THE "RAPID" DISPERSION OF THE CONTINENTS. The slow shifting of tectonic plates may not, after all, be the final story on the shaping of the continents. New findings, reported in this article from Nature magazine, seem to indicate a more rapid (i.e. just a few million years!) casting off of the land masses from a "whirling" core.
SO WHAT ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE? Don Feder, formerly of the Boston Globe, follows a distinctive line of argument in this piece from today's Front Line: Modern liberalism, he says, has betrayed its traditional committment to "democratic principles" by embracing "judicially mandated" changes in marital law. Gay marriage, in his view, would be acceptable only if, in response to popular opinion, it was legislatively enacted.
THE STRUGGLE TO COMPREHEND NAZISM...continues--and continues to uncover further complexities--says Jean Bethke Elshtain in this illuminating essay/review from Christianity Today.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: BELLAMY'S UTOPIA, HUXLEY'S DYSTOPIA...and what really happened. This good try at a "big history" overview is from Dogma, a philosophical journal edited in France.
FIVE AUTHORS IN SEARCH OF A PRIZE. The reason for linking to this story from the Melbourne Age is not so much the news about the coming award of the Commonwealth Literary Prize as the priceless picture of five of the competitors.
NORMAN ROCKWELL WASN'T QUITE THAT SIMPLE. A new exhibit of his "Four Freedoms" paintings (which were truly "iconic" for Americans during World War II) has just opened in Washington. Katherine Mangu-Ward of the Weekly Standard casts some interesting historical light and summons up some thoughtful connections between then and now.
AND LO, A PORN PEDDLER SHALL LEAD THEM. Is there a "Howard Stern vote" and can that master of debasement exert a real influence upon the presidential election? This story from Smart Money makes it seem (ohmigod!) possible.
A GREAT PERFORMANCE OF DIE WALKURE. Birgit Nilsson, Regine Crespin, Hans Hotter and Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Tonight on Extension 720, Milt talks with Ron Rosenbaum, columnist for the New York Observer. 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.
Milt's File now enables comments from all visitors. We welcome--indeed, we urge--that you chime in with your commentary whenever one or more of our items stirs some responsive thought or mere spasm of emotion.
TO THE PRESIDENT FROM TONY BLANKELY..."HOLD ON!" As usual, Blankley of the Washington Times speaks strongly--rather than softly--and wields a big stick of contempt at those who, as he sees it, "want the president's defeat more than America's victory."
THE BERG BEHEADING AND THE KORAN. Irshad Manji, a Muslim "modernist" who is both a college professor and TV personality in Canada, is the source of this op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal. Her argument is that Koranic exegesis can be turned toward justification of murderous and barbaric acts. But have not the sacred books of all religions, on occasion, been used in just that way?
THE ARAFATIAN PERSECUTION OF PALESTINIANS. A human rights surveillance organization has documented major terrorist activity against Palestinians by Al Aqsa and other groups serving the Arafat "regime." Devastating if true--and this group in the past has focussed on Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. Clearly, they are not engaged in a disinformation operation serving Israeli interests. The story is from today's issue of the Scotsman.
SONIA'S CHOICE. When she decided to pass on the premiership, the second Mrs. Ghandi essentially appointed this gentleman to the post. Here, then, a brief profile of the Mr. Clean of New Delhi, Manmohan Singh from yesterday's Times of India.
WHY IS THE LEFT SAYING SUCH BAD THINGS ABOUT THE PATRIOT ACT...and do they really worry about terrorism? Heather MacDonald (heard here on our program) and Joe Williams have contrasting answers to these and related questions. This debate was organized by Front Page magazine.
WHAT DID CLINTON KNOW, WHEN DID HE KNOW IT, AND WHY DIDN'T HE ACT ON IT? The evidence seems to be mounting that the al-Qaeda threat was known but not given proper weight in the Clinton White House. Among others who so assert is James Woolsey who headed the CIA during some years of the Clinton presidency. Then evidence and argument are laid out in a new book, reviewed here in the English language edition of Pravda's News Forum.
SOME FREE ADVICE FOR SENATOR KERRY...and in this instance it might be worth more than he paid for it. Robert Sam Anson of the New York Observer got a fund-raising letter from the candidate and that set him thinking...
IS THIS A "BREAKTHROUGH" IN THE SEARCH FOR EFFECTIVE AIDS THERAPY? Probably not--or not quite; but this research note from a group at Mayo Clinic does point to a new direction that may ultimately "pay off bigtime." This appeared in Medical Research News earlier this week.
DIDN'T SOMEBODY SAY THAT AI WAS IMPOSSIBLE? Or doesn't it take artificial intelligence for a computer to grade essay exams? This New York Times story fascinates us but leaves us in a state of residual uncertainty. If the machine's judgements can't be discriminated from the teacher's judgements--then hasn't the machine passed the "Turing Test?" And doesn't that qualify it as an "intelligent being?"
BUGGY COMPUTERS, VIRUSES, WORMS AND SPAM ARE BLIGHTS UP WITH WHICH WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PUT. And if these IT science people at Georgia Tech succeed we may be delivered from these evils. The report is from GT's Research Horizons magazine.
BISHOPS AND POLITICIANS CREATED HE THEM...and when Catholic doctrine on abortion is at issue, the nominally-Catholic pols, will not be influenced by the bishops. Why and how this has come to be and what--if anything--is to be done about it are the questions preoccupying John Leo in his most recent U.S. News column.
"THE SKY IS FALLING," CRIED CHICKEN EHRLICH. Our oldest-established permanent-doomsayer gets his comeuppance in this devastating review/essay published today in the Wall Street Journal.
WE ARE--AND SHOULD REMAIN--CULTURALLY "ENGLISH." So argues H. George Hahn II in this Baltimore Sun op-ed which is less than devoted to the value or feasibility of "cultural diversity."
WHEN EDMUND WILSON WAS STILL A MARXIST ENTHUSIAST...he wrote "To the Finland Station" and in the process learned a great deal about history and something about his own fallibility. This fine essay by Louis Menand, obviously prompted by a close re-reading of the book, appeared last year in the New Yorker.
THE YIDDISH THEATER: GONE BUT STILL WITH US...in the spirit and the performers that derive from it. That's the thesis of this nostalgic appreciation for the old Second Avenue Scene as recently offered by Stefan Kanfer in the City Journal.
MOZART'S PIANO QUARTET IN E FLAT MAJOR...was composed in alternation with his work on the Marriage of Figaro and it has some of the same "sunny bounce touched with sad undertones." It is beautifully performed here by Anne-Marie McDermott.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tonight on Extension 720, Milt talks with Ron Chernow--after at 6:05 Cubs game--about his new biography of Alexander Hamilton. 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.
Milt's File now enables comments from all visitors. We welcome--indeed, we urge--that you chime in with your commentary whenever one or more of our items stirs some responsive thought or mere spasm of emotion.
THE BERG BEHEADING: AN OVERVIEW FROM NEW ZEALAND. The article is from yesterday's New Zealand Herald and conveys the same sense of spoken "speechlessness" that one found in most American (and fewer European) accounts contemplating the horrific event.
THE BERG MURDER AND THE AMERICAN PRESS. Tom Sowell, who does not speak softly nor suffer fools gladly, examines the performance of that sector of the press that he would label--if he erred toward understatement--sensationalistic and irresponsible.
A PROFILE OF THE PROBABLE MURDERER. The BBC reviews the career of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who has been identified as the likely wielder of the decapitation knife. Shall we blame his mad enmity upon Rumsfeld, Bush or Satan?
NINE MISTAKEN IDEAS ABOUT AL QAEDA...according to a British journalist who is an old "Middle East hand." Jason Burke's contention is that we see them therough a western haze darkly. But, he says, the "real al Qaeda" is an activist ideology rather than an organization, and it will persist long after the death of Osama Bin Laden. This article from the new issue of Foreign Policy magazine, whether intrinsically correct or not, is in the category of essential reading.
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUSE GOES! We don't know of any site more valuable than Real Clear Politics--and we don't know of any political observers more keen of mind and more dedicated to spreading the best (and sometimes not quite the best) that has been said in political reportage and commentary. Now their site needs a little financial propping and we urge that all who linger here lend them a hand. So do read on--and develop the realclearpolitics.com-habit if you have not already done so.
SENATOR KENNEDY, LT. COLONEL KWIATKOWSKI AND LYNDON LaROUCHE. A little judgement about sources might help the senior Senator from Massachusetts organize his thoughts more competently. This tale just now told in the National Review is surely--in the terminology of Polonius--"tragical, comical."
CAN ANYTHING BE DONE ABOUT THIS GUY? From the current Economist: an informative and troubling article about Chavez, the "strong man of Venezuela."
AS TRADITION DIES...in Africa, Greenland and Here-at-Home: In the current New Criterion, John Derbyshire provides this wonderfully thoughtful review of what is, apparently, a wonderfully shocking "travel book" about decadence in Greenland; and that distant decadence, he suggests, may well be a parallel to cultural decay in the Anglophone (and surely also the Francophone) West.
TO SIGN OR NOT TO SIGN...THAT IS NO LONGER THE QUESTION. If the publisher sends an author out on the road to do programs like ours (tonight, Ron Chernow; tomorrow, Ron Rosenbaum) they will also be doing book-signing sessions at Border's or at Barnes and Noble. But what rules and limits are layed down? The dope on that aspect of "the tour" is found in this article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Nota Bene: we know all the book P.R. people quoted here and can attest that they do know the rules--because, in fact, they wrote them!
WHAT G.B.S. SAID TO THE FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. Quite a lot, actually! This fascinating article about a correspondence previously unknown to us was a recent accidental discovery. (Web surfing may be an idle pursuit but it sometimes pays off.) Read on for a fine sample of the private voice of a very public writer.
MORE LITERARY LETTERS. This time from Edmund Wilson to such friends as John Peale Bishop, Van Wyck Brooks and Vladimir Nabakov. This appeared in an earlier issue of the New York Review of Books and, happily, we stumbled upon it just yesterday.
THE NEXT TIME YOU'RE IN TOLCSVA AND WANT A GOOD FRENCH MEAL...of the "cuisine bourgeoise" category, here's the place to go. Some of the best restaurant reviews east of the Oder are to be found in the Budapest Sun. And here's a recent one. Now, what's the best Hungarian restaurant in Paris?
A GREAT YOUNG BLUEGRASS BAND! The Lost Posse bunch don't modernize the traditional style; they sharpen it! Be sure to listen to Jerusalem Ridge and Banks of the Ohio.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

A recorded edition of Extension 720 will play tonight after the 7:05 Cubs game. More information on Extension 720 programs is available at our monthly program guide.
AN AUTHENTIC AL QAEDA VOICE. Canadian journalist Stewart Bell spoke to a Bin Laden associate in Islamabad the other day. In this article from the Canadian National Post, Khalid Khawaja explains why they are targeting the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Australia. But why not Norway?
A WORTHY MAN OF BAGHDAD. This profile of Kanan Makiya is a heartening augury of how the best may rise to influence in Iraq once the worst is over. The fine British journalist, David Pryce-Jones interviewed him for the National Review.
AN INTERESTING CHAT WITH "YOUNG KING ABDULLAH." It sounds to us as if he has enough mature and balanced understanding (and probably enough commitment to his American sponsors) to allow the abandonment of the juvenalizing modifier. Let's make it just plain "King Abdullah." And let's give some thought to the predictions he offers in this interview published yesterday in the Washington Post.
TELL IT TO THE HATEFUL, HATING HATERS AT AIR AMERICA. John Fund writing in the Wall Street Journal asserts that the hate beams focussed on Bush and company by many campaigning against them work, paradoxically, to illuminate the programmatic vacuity in the camp of the Dems.
INVESTIGATING THE INVESTIGATOR. Sy Hersh's stuff is always worth reading and, say some, often worth doubting. Now that he is caught in a mutual defamation showdown with the Pentagon, the National Review has thought it appropriate to trot out, once again, their critical profile, first published on December 3rd, 2001.
LIST SEARCH ENGINE PROGRAMMERS. Would that command given to the KnowItAll search engine (not yet quite on line) produce a list containing Oren Etzioni? And if he is related to our old friend Amitai Etzioni, would the print out reveal that possible fact? The search for better searching apparently has no end as witness this newsnote from New Scientist.
TERRORISM AS SEEN BY GEOGRAPHERS. Well, why not? All terrorist events happen SOMEPLACE and usually originate someplace else. This compendium sounds--despite the wooden, academic style of the reviewer--like a possible source of some new ideas and some new techniques for heading off and/or dealing with terrorist assaults.
HOW DO WE KEEP THIS FROM AL QAEDA? When it comes to compiling the latest file on "western decadence," this item may come directly after the bulletin from Cambridge.
IS RUSSIA A POST-MORAL SOCIETY? Behind the glitter of the new Moscow, David Satter (an old journalistic hand who covered USSR affairs) finds violence, corruption, criminality, depravity and despair. Otherwise, according to this startling report from the Hoover Digest, things are looking up.
FRANKLIN, WE HARDLY KNEW YE. Two recent biographies of FDR are reviewed here--in the Canadian magazine, Walrus--from a special angle: namely, that both biographers are "conservatives." Of course, it could be argued that so was "himself." After all, he did conserve corporate capitalism when it was in danger of collapse or state-takeover. The review is an exemplary instance of addressing the actual content of the books under consideration.
THE GREAT RORSCHACH BLOT AT THE END OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. The book of Revelation has been, to say the least, variably interpreted. Reading apocalypse into its heavily symbolic passages, the evangelicals have made it their own. But, of course, other readings are possible--and, indeed, required. Here's how Newsweek handles this theological hot potato in the current issue focussed on Christian eschatology.
THE CULTURE OF THE MAYA...fascianted the proprietor as a young "social scientist" working in Yucatan at the temple city of Uxmal and in the village of Pustanich. Here, a brief but informative overview of that classic Mesoamerican civilization which, as any traveler heading out from Merida can attest, still persists in the rural villages and markets.
ON AMERICA'S FIRST SUPER HIGHWAY. The Camino Real gets a loving appreciation in this travel article--one of the best we have read in years. The source is the new issue of American Heritage magazine.
HOW ABOUT SOME GOOD, TRADITIONAL LENINGRAD JAZZ? These Russian jazzmen don't call their group the St. Petersburg Jazz Band--so we will go along with their nomenclature. Whatever you call them they do some pretty close duplications of classic American performance. To us they sound rather close to Eddie Condon's Chicagoans of the late twenties. Don't miss: Basin Street and Sunnyside.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Tonight on Extension 720, Milt talks with Jim Merriner and Jay Stewart about the history corruption in Chicago. 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.
DOES SY HERSH KNOW WHAT RUMSFELD KNEW...AND HOW DOES HE KNOW IT? Here is the article that popped on Friday in the New Yorker. Hersh asserts that the Abu Ghraib scandal began much "higher up." The Pentagon has issued a strong denial. We would bet that NEITHER will turn out to have been mired in clear disingenuousness...but that the Geneva convention will get a lot of renewed close reading and "explication du texte."
THE PENTAGON RESPONSE. This should be taken seriously and weighed in the balance. Easy dismissal on the grounds that they are merely invoking the deniability option (i.e. that they are lying) forces the issue into a far too rigid frame. Effective adjudication of these conflicting claims requires asking: Who said what to whom? What was meant thereby? What was understood? What evaluative and supervisory oversight was undertaken? If none, then for Godsake, why not?
THE ZARQAWI BOOMERANG EFFECT. Charles Paul Freund is onto something as important as it is obvious in this article from the Reason magazine website.
THE TOLL RISES IN SUDAN: WHAT IS THE UN DOING ABOUT IT? Far too little as this article from Front Page makes clear--for the umpteenth time. Another Rwanda is shaping up--and it is worth remembering that the signal that set the Hutu into full genocidal mode against the Tutsi ten years ago was the withdrawal of UN troops ordered by Kofi Annan.
THE ELECTION WILL OR WONT BE CLOSE; EITHER BUSH OR KERRY WILL WIN!! We offer this as the most "faux-profound" article of the week. Prognosticating the presidential election, the Christian Sciene Monitor touches every likely base. It rather reminds one of the a mentalist's art of "cold reading" (i.e. you are bothered by low back pain or you will be or else someone in your family or...).
WHAT HATH JAYSON BLAIR AND THE OTHER JOURNALISTIC FAKERS WROUGHT? Possibly, according to this slightly brilliant piece in yesterday's Washington Post, a new concern for full attribution--illustrated here by a truly "reliably sourced" rewrite of the Gettysburg Address.
MONEY CAN'T BUY YOU HAPPINESS BUT...the unasked question in this research review article is: Does happiness facilitate the making of money? This popped up yesterday in--of all places--the Business Times.
THUS DID HE REFUTE BISHOP USHER...AND LORD KELVIN, TOO. The young New Zealander who did all that by establishing the approximate real age of the earth was Ernest Rutherford whose achievement is celebrated here, on its one hundreth anniversary, by the hometown newspaper, the New Zealand Herald.
BEFORE (AND AFTER) NIETZSCHE WENT MAD. This fine interpretive/biographical essay from the great American humanist, Paul Elmer More is as valuable as when it was first published in 1913.
WE BID TEN THOUSAND POUNDS...for the letter to Sherlock Holmes from Irene Adler. At any rate we would like to be at the auction at Christie's on Wednesday. Here's the rundown from the BBC.
PERHAPS THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE THE ODYSSEY INSTEAD. Brit film reviewers, on average, have had better classical education than their American colleagues. This review from the UK Telegraph suggests to us that the new film of the Iliad won't work for anyone who has actually read it. But we did enjoy the ungrudging contempt that Tim Robey bestows upon the film.
THE BARRY RULES FOR COURTEOUS LIVING...or, how to not be an absolute plonk. We found these strictures and admonitions of considerable value and promise to try to live up to them--if you will do the same. This link requires registration.
SOME FINE MARIACHI FROM A BAND WE CAN'T IDENTIFY...but they do swing their pasa dobles, particularly: el Mariachi Loco and Mexico Lindo.