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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind
of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed
to that attack and a chilling string of other
terror plots during a military hearing at
Guantanamo Bay. Gen. Petraeus is linked to a
high-profile suicide in Iraq, Col. Ted
Westhusing: "Reevaluate yourselves....You are not what you think you are and I know
it". The Republican Party’s unwelcome
guests: The Feds say they were con men, and one may have tried to finance
terrorists. So how did they get so tight with the GOP?
Second wind for the Second Amendment: A federal appeals court revives the right to keep and bear arms.
Should Congressmen pack heat? Cass
Sunstein on the ruling that will bring back gun wars.
Politics as Usual: Dahlia Lithwick and Jack Goldsmith
on why the Justice Department will never be
apolitical. Fallguyology, A User's Guide: A
look at the role Alberto Gonzales was born to
play. Chief of Stiff: John Dickerson on why Bush aides keep their bosses out of the loop.
Hyper Hacks: Lincoln
Caplan on what's really wrong with the Bush Justice Department.
The DoJ's favorite crime: What's the deal with voter fraud?
Party of Defeat: Jacob
Weisberg on AEI's weird celebration.
A Debt of Gratitude: Why is Bush so obsessed with ungrateful foreigners? The president receives "lessons" from his neoconservative
tutors: A recent luncheon between Bush and some of the country's most influential neoconservatives reveals what they have been telling him for years
by Michael Novak).
From Brainwash, Ann Coulter's outrageous approach to politics has been widely
criticized, but what does it mean for conservatives? Rudy’s loveless
marriage to Conference conservatives: Republicans rally to him because they think he beats
Hillary: "He’s the best we can do". The McCain Record: Arizona's senior senator is not a consistent defender of individual freedom.
Raising funds for his run at the presidency, Bill Richardson has an unlikely role model -- Michael
It’s Dukakis Time! Why 2008
will be about competence. From The
Politico, nowadays, you need go no further afield than Congress to see
political backstabbing in action. Behind the scenes, intrigue remains much in
vogue, although the head chopping has become strictly figurative.
Conservative Bruce Bartlett says major newspapers are now fairly evenhanded in their news
coverage, but liberal
should stop whining about media bias. Take a page from the conservative handbook and go around it.
Media Attack: A look at how Democrats
are adopting a longtime GOP strategy. As the Walter Reed story shows,
in the solar system of
journalism, newspapers are the sun. And from
The New York Observer, this is Café Society? Why
is middle-aged magazine macher Graydon Carter
making a celebrity clubhouse downtown on Waverly?;
and India Inc.: A Bollypolitan elite is the newest creative class to kick into New York with art, fashion, literature
[Mar 14] From Open Democracy, questions of culture hindering women’s political participation don’t just arise around tradition, custom and religion. They go to the heart of the state; and how is the condition of women improved and thereby the world changed? Two intense weeks at the United Nations leave Solana Larsen with a few answers and more questions. Slaves among us: Nearly 400 years since the British ban, slavery still extends to all corners of the world -- developing and advanced. People don’t ignore mass killings because they lack compassion. Rather, it’s the horrific statistics of genocide and mass murder that may paralyze us into inaction. Those hoping that grim numbers alone will spur us to action in places like Darfur have no hope at all. Leonardo, diamonds and child soldiers: Children in the developing world remain vulnerable to recruitment and subsequent abuse — both by governments and rebels (and part 2). A review of Oil on the Brain: Adventures From the Pump to the Pipeline. Marc Lynch has an eye on Allawi: Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is back in the country, but it's in everyone's interest to make sure he doesn't get back into power. Nearly four years into the insurgency, U.S. forces are struggling to respond to a constantly adapting enemy, as the insurgents have just added a handful of new tactics to their playbook. On Iraq, Washington is all sound and no fury. The purse isn’t Congress’s only weapon: Walter Dellinger and Christopher Schroederon how whatever limits there are on Congressional power to determine particular tactical questions, decisions about the scope and goals of military action are easily within its authority. Don't Ask: An article on the increasing incoherence of the military's gay exclusion policy. From Legal Times, on the U.S. Attorney scandal, the Justice Department never seemed to get its act together as events overtook it. How much damage has been done? The Case for Patrick Fitzgerald: Jack Shafer on how the Libby prosecutor didn't savage the First Amendment. From TNR, can modern medicine explain Dick Cheney? Michelle Cottle investigates; and a cover story on Barack Obama's unlikely political education by Ryan Lizza. An interview with Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.: " America may not be ready for a black president". It’s Obamalot! Barack rhetoric in Selma suggests JFK as senator drives church crowd crazy, and the Harvard Law mafia led by Larry Tribe resurrects Obama ties. Obama and His Money: He was a bad investor. But that will make him a better president. John Edwards's Left-Hand Man: David Bonior isn't your typical campaign manager—a member of Congress for a quarter century, whose voting record lines up to the left of his candidate. Operation: Is New Mexico governor Bill Richardson fit to be president? John Judis on how nobody running in 2008 is qualified to be president. The Nevada showdown marks a noteworthy turning point in the party’s post-Clinton evolution: The liberal activists that Howard Dean rose to power with ultimately turn on him. And Rep. Pete Stark that he does not believe in a supreme being, making him the first member of Congress, and the highest-ranking elected official in the U.S., to publicly acknowledge not believing in God
[Mar 13] George Bush's State of the Union address reflected the current mood in the US: muted, sombre, and resigned. Is this new attitude suggestive of a change in the way the US is starting to look at itself? Spartan Pride: Matthew Yglesias on Bush, 300, and the folly of empire. If Prince Harry can do it, why not Barb and Jenna? Ralph Nader wants to send the Bush twins to Iraq. Noam Chomsky argues that saber-rattling with Iran is all about oil. But such arguments are nothing more than useful idiocy for the warmongers. The Goy Who Cried Wolf: The Israel lobby gives America's leading Christian right warmonger a warm welcome. Deadline Dilemmas: In the congressional debate over ending the war in Iraq, political interests and stated positions are oddly misaligned. Lost in Babylon: Radar has an Iraq war translator's inside take on America's failure to communicate. You think some lobbyists have got tough clients; imagine carrying water for members of the "axis of evil". Spy v. Spy: Ilana Ozernoy on how corporations are like cold war superpowers. The Corporate Crackdown: A little-know provision in the lobbying reform bill could hurt big business. Frank Rich on why Libby's pardon is a slam dunk. I Beg Your Pardon: Bush should go ahead and pardon Libby -- and Americans should focus their ire on the bigger fish and bigger outrages. Deadly when wounded: On any number of fronts, Dick Cheney may be down, but he's far from out. Cheney in Twilight: Bush made him one of history's most powerful Vice Presidents. But the Libby trial unmasked an aggressive, secretive style that has made him an Administration liability. Matthew Sanchez, a Reserve corporal whose star has been rising in conservative circles over the past few months, has acknowledged appearing in gay porn films; and Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he considers homosexuality to be immoral and the military should not condone it by allowing gay soldiers to serve openly. How pure does Rudy have to be? The Washington press corps think Rudy Giuliani is leading in the polls because of ignorance; but maybe Republican voters aren't that ignorant after all. How to Swift-boat Rudy Giuliani: Forget his messy personal life. Democrats should go right at his supposed strength -- 9/11 -- the same way Republicans attacked John Kerry's Vietnam service. The Coulterization of the American right: The "faggot" episode isn't about Ann Coulter. It's about the deal conservatism made with the devil -- a deal that has cost it its soul. Searching for Another Reagan: Conservative voters are feeling glum about the Republican Presidential front-runners. What they really should be lamenting is the collapse of their pet issue: national security. From National Journal, college-aged voters are ideologically diverse and voting in increasingly large numbers — meaning that the two major parties may be overlooking a vast source of political power (and a graphic). Fatter, for Starters: The New Republic is making its debut as a biweekly with a new design and a new owner. Liberal Values: Martin Peretz on three decades of The New Republic. And Franklin Foer walks readers through the new issue
[Mar 12] From Turkmenistan, there's little hope for change in this gas-rich central Asian state, despite the death last year of the dictator who called himself Turkmenbashi. In this country if you tell the truth you risk your life. One bullet away from what? Just how far can the United States push Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf? From Le Monde diplomatique, time for a bi-national state: Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas may have affirmed that they want a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but it may be more promising to return to a much older idea. Why does The Los Angeles Times recognize Israel's "right to exist"? The paper consistency adopts Israel's language, giving credence to an inaccurate, simplistic and dangerous cliche. Israel Revisited: Benny Morris, veteran "New Historian' of the modern Jewish state's founding, finds himself ideologically back where it all began. An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, free radical. From The Department of Human Behavior, disagree about Iraq? You're not just wrong -- you're evil. More on Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, From the Great War to the War on Terror by Michael Burleigh (and more by Tony Judt). Terror's Spanish Legacy: Three years after 3/11, the nation remains divided. This weekend Osama bin Laden turned 50, probably on the wild Pakistan border, while Madrid falls silent today to honour its 2004 bomb victims. But what of al-Qaeda? Jason Burke reveals it is evolving into a potent new threat (and a graphic). What is the most apt epithet for European governments caught in the act of colluding with a foreign agency in abducting suspects who were then transported to secret prisons and tortured? Invading Liechtenstein was admittedly a foolish thing to do, but at least the Swiss Army has shown it knows how to bring a failed military action to a happy conclusion. Robert Kagan on how the "surge" is succeeding--but looking down the road, policymakers must face four grim realities. There's only one way for Bush to dig himself out of this unpopular hole: He needs to become an ironic "re-imagined" version of himself. And here's how. A review of Frank Rich's The Greatest Story Ever Sold (and more). A review of Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy by Andrew Cockburn. More on the Scooter Libby verdict by Jeffrey Toobin. The American public may not mind if presidential hopefuls have personally checkered lives, but will they be able to stomach adultery? Jonathan Chait on how John McCain is like a fallen Jedi knight. History's against them: The Democrats' road to the White House in 2008 runs through Congress, and it is uphill all the way. And taking democracy seriously: We should make voting mandatory, give voters the option of "none of the above", make Election Day a national holiday, provide same day registration everywhere, and lower the voting age to 16
[Weekend 2e] From Dissent, an article on the Globe of Villages: Digital media and the rise of homegrown terrorism. Here's what Vaclav Havel fears about Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower: that for reasons of prestige they will build something even higher on the same spot, something that will spoil New York even more, that they will enter into some kind of absurd competition with the terrorists; and who will win in the end, the suicidal fanatics or an even higher Tower of Babel? From NYRB, a review of Palestine Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter and Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide by Jeffrey Goldberg. A Man of Security, not Peace If Shimon Peres is lucky, his new biography will be his legacy. A look at what Iraqis could learn from France's wars of religion. The first chapter from Echoes of Violence: Letters from a War Reporter by Carolin Emcke (and an interview). From Reason, the imaginary adventures of the U.S. Senate: An article on sorting fact from fiction in the Congressional Record. States are considering legislation this year to create a "do not mail" list for residents, similar to the feds' popular "do not call" registry. Enjoy fast food, like to light up while you watch the waves, forget to sock away money for your kids' education? Some California lawmakers want to change your ways with "nanny' bills. Billions and Billions: The seemingly astronomical sums we spend on politics look much smaller in context. The Katie Show: Does Couric's rocky start at CBS spell trouble for Hillary Clinton? Don't let Giuliani's widening lead over the GOP pack fool you. For a number of reasons, says Charlie Cook, the nomination may be out of his grasp. Can conservatives be funny? Apparently not--if the measure is Fox News' "The 1/2 Hour News Hour". Big profits in small packages: Little newspapers prosper with narrow focus on very local news. From CJR, Robert Kuttner learns that newspapers have a bright future as print-digital hybrids after all-- but they'd better hurry; and Trudy Lieberman discovers that the gee-whiz medical segment on your local TV news was produced and written by the very hospital it's touting. The Inevitable Data Crash of 2027: When we store all our personal, financial, and social information on other people's computers, we risk losing everything for reasons even stupider than the war on terror. And Space for everyone: Social networking websites, once purely teen territory, attract all ages
[Weekend] News from around the world: From Western Sahara, deadlock in the desert: Morocco's latest initiative is unlikely to end one of Africa's oldest conflicts. From Côte d'Ivoire, carving up the country: A new deal offers the best chance yet for ending a civil war. Ghana is celebrating its pioneering role as the first black African state to win freedom from colonial power. Godwin Nnanna, in Accra, reports. What is Ghana's secret? The West African nation, which turns fifty today, has managed to pull democracy and growth out of the most challenging circumstances. In the shadow of the volcano: Democracy and justice in Congo. A review of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Roméo Dallaire; The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide; Imagined Olympians: Body Culture and Colonial Representation in Rwanda; and Accomplice: The Untold Story of France's Role in Rwandan Genocide. The other African genocide: In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is slowly starving political opponents to death. From Foreign Policy, a different kind of Great Game: Are China and the United States heading for a showdown over Africa? Guns for Butter: Robert B. Reich on the real reason for China's military buildup. Caught between right and left, town and country: A new law on property rights defines the ideological struggle at the heart of China's economic reform, and though the law is a breakthrough, it raises hopes that one-party rule may dash. A review of Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform. Scarcely an Abe-rration: The Japanese prime minister's latest—and most offensive—gaffe is all too typical. A review of In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India and Planet India: How the Fastest-Growing Democracy Is Transforming America and the World. A review of The Evolution of an Ethnic Identity: The Tamils in Sri Lanka, C. 300 BCE to c. 1200 CE. The new battlefront: Rivalries between caste and ethnic groups threaten the peace process in Nepal. Form Power and Interest News Report, a look at the return of risk premiums in global financial markets. From the IMF's Finance & Development, a series of articles on the two faces of financial globalization; a master of theory and practice: An interview with Guillermo A. Calvo; a look at how aid effectiveness is getting better, even though it's tough to prove; a review of The European Economy Since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond; and to methods for measuring countries' contributions to global growth—the purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rate and market exchange rates—yield different results. Which one is better? And the Fairtrade label is increasingly common. But while shoppers seem keen to pay a little over the odds for fair trade products, some observers question how effective it really is in helping developing world farmers
[Mar 9] The Anglosphere, Europe and Islam: From Australia, an article on the case for conscription; and the unsung heroes who keep democracy alive: A review of The Worldly Art of Politics. From Canada, in their first year in power, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives managed to undo years of work that came before; you've heard of green cars, green tourism and green weddings. Now Canadians should ready themselves for green sex; and the friendly stranger: A new poll suggests that, unlike the US, Canada is universally popular - possibly because of its anonymity. From Great Britain, last week's surprising high court ruling on the Diana inquest could have implications that extend way beyond one case; and jobs for life no longer: A surprise vote should drag the House of Lords forward into the 18th century. Tiny island is a feudal time warp: Sark, in the English Channel, is under pressure to conform to Europe's rules. A United Kingdom? Maybe: Most of history aside, DNA evidence suggests that the British and the Irish have much more in common than they once thought (and a graphic). The English are descended from the Angles and the Saxons, right? Only if you ignore the DNA record, which shows that most share a heritage with the Basques. From The American Interest, an article on the myth of Russian resurgence: Fear of revived Russian power is exaggerated pdf. From The Raw Story, a investigation finds a Soviet-era compound in northern Poland was site of secret CIA interrogation and detentions. Serbian vampire hunters have acted to prevent the very remote possibility that former dictator Slobodan Milosevic might stage a come-back by driving a three-foot stake through his heart. A review of Travesty: the Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice. If good fences make good neighbours, then the world is experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of neighbourliness. They used to wall cities. Now they wall whole countries. From The Economist, the lie of the land: Europe is united only by its contradictions; how much does the European Union really encourage competition?; and hot and bothered: Overheating economies, slow reform and messy politics make a grim mixture Eastern Europe. A declaration criticizing Israeli territorial policies is roiling the German Jewish community and raising questions about the limits of open debate on matters in relation to the Middle East. The introduction to When Ways of Life Collide: Multiculturalism and Its Discontents in the Netherlands. From Sign and Sight, comparisons of Islam and communism like those drawn by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ulrike Ackermann are gross oversimplifications. But just as many factors played into the fall of communism, the Gordian knot of Islam and Europe needs "fundamentalist" as well as "culturalist" solutions. Waving Ataturk's flag: There has been a lethal upsurge in ultra-nationalist feeling in Turkey. If you want my opinion: It's just about possible to assess the attitudes of the world's Muslims—but much harder to interpret the results. And barking louder, biting less: Angry tub-thumpers in charge of oil-rich states do not always strike the most successful bargains with energy companies
[Mar 8] From The Economist, Europe's high-priced life: Why living in Oslo, Paris or London is so costly. The Lost Youth of Europe: The continent's boomers are retiring, leaving a bitter legacy for the generation that comes next, which increasingly feels locked out of the European dream. From Sign and Sight, multiculturalism is not cultural relativism! Jesco Delorme defends Ian Buruma, Timothy Garton Ash and Stuart Sim against charges of cultural relativism. From Global Politician, an article on human rights fundamentalism, NGOistan and the multicultural industry. The introduction to The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam: Is it racist to condemn fanaticism? Phyllis Chesler wants to know. True Unbeliever: Infidel author Ayaan Hirsi Ali brings her incendiary views on Islam to Washington. A review of Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space. Not far inland from Croatia's tourism hotspots on the Adriatic coast, ethnic tensions run deep between Croats and the Serb minority now gradually returning 12 years after the end of the civil war. Canadian lessons on diversity: Canada is warily studying Europe's multicultural model. But it is teacher too. Religion and secularism in Israel: The majority of Israelis are secular Jews, but the religious Jews in the country wield enormous influence. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, designed it that way, inadvertently blueprinting a conflict that has yet to be resolved. From Counterpunch, what did Israel know in advance of the 9/11 attacks? A review of The Rhetoric of Conspiracy in Ancient Athens. The Apocalyptic Sting: Zionism as Messianism: The first chapter from The Question of Zion by Jacqueline Rose. There is a serious problem with this week's detailed negotiations on the nuclear cooperation agreement between India and the United States. Pepperdine's Roger Alford on the awful new arithmetic of the atomic bomb. The "War on Terror" is a bust: Patrick Cockburn on how Bush is Al-Qaeda's top recruiter. Terror porn: A review of Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them. The Four Unspeakable Truths: Jacob Weisberg on what politicians won't admit about Iraq. As the political class and the media establishment wake up to the nightmare in Iraq they are going to start looking for someone to scapegoat -- and it looks like they are going to blame the American people. It's not just Walter Reed: Fred Kaplan on still more ways Bush is screwing returning vets. Crime and Punishment: David Greenberg on the schadenfreude of Scooter Libby's conviction. As many wonder if Bush will pardon Lewis Libby, Time takes a look back at notorious presidential pardons in American history. After Scooter: Michael Tomasky on how deep the Democrats should dig into pre-war intelligence: Deep. And from GQ, The People v. Richard Cheney: Resolved, that Richard B. Cheney, vice president of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that these articles of impeachment be submitted to the American people
[Mar 7] From LRB, Mahmood Mamdani on the politics of naming: Genocide, civil war, insurgency; and a review of Planet of Slums and Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb by Mike Davis. A law providing legal amnesty for actions committed during the civil war that raged in Afghanistan during and after the Soviet occupation is good for Afghan democracy. From The Progressive, just because Bush is warming up to bomb Iran doesn’t mean we should go easy on Ahmedinejad. The guy’s a righwing creep. We shouldn’t fall into the crude trap of thinking that Bush’s enemy is our friend. An interview with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari: "America has taken a great step forward. Just how did the U.S. government lose so much cash in Iraq? Jeremy Kahn investigates. Declarative Sentences: Noah Feldman and Samuel Issacharoff on how Congress has the power to make and end war—not manage it (and a response). Does a terrorist care who’s in the White House? David Aaronovitch on Democrat fantasies about foreign policy. From The Washington Post, a special report on The Power Player: How the rise of one lobbying firm helped transform the way Washington works. Beyond Walter Reed: The Army Secretary has resigned over a veterans' healthcare scandal. But don't be fooled: most veterans get some of the best care around. The Libby Verdict's Long Shadow: The vice president's former chief of staff faces jail time. But his boss, Dick Cheney, becomes a political liability as never before, verdict will echo for 2008 Republicans. Is Libby taking a fall for the White House? Michael Novak on why conservatives should stop complaining about the president: Bush is effective and pioneering. Learn to love him: Ten reasons not to think wholly badly of George Bush. Pity Party: Matthew Yglesias on the GOP's sad, sad search for a nominee. The Great Do-Over: Conservatives gather to forget George W. Bush, and elect his clone. Does your candidate love Jesus? An atheist presidential hopeful might not have a prayer. Conservatism's Fresh Face: At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, activists were down—but a long way from out. Meet one of the reasons why. See seven minutes of raw, unexpurgated right-wing action from the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting in Washington over the weekend, courtesy of VideoNation. People like Cheney, Bush, and Coulter always present a problem to the societies they live in, because they are hair-trigger aggressive. Ann Coulter says John Edwards is a 'faggot'. Dinesh D'Souza blames liberals for 9/11. Why has the right reverted to its angry ways. Our Ann Coulter Problem: Jack Shafer on why the press can't ignore her. Is The Politico a GOP shill? Media Matters says yes. Politico editors respond. And the Time of their lives: The last three managing editors of Time were good friends, all members of an elite club. Now the newest one, Richard Stengel, has been charged with blowing up the clubhouse
[Mar 6] From France, prominent intellectuals rally to presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. Race has always been a provocative subject when the needs of science and statistics intersect with politics. Now that debate is once again heating up in France with the planned introduction of "ethnic statistics". Sarkozy seems cruelly to have forgotten the role played by Peter Mandelson, European Union trade chief, in setting up his political love match with Tony Blair. A new Edwardian age is dawning: As in the 1900s, London is making the error of breaking away from the rest of Britain. Not wellbeing, but wellbecoming: Pat Kane on why the role of the state should be to help us live interesting, surprising, memorable lives; and an essay on utopias and dystopias in Scottish life and politics doc. Tom Nairn reviews The Union: England, Scotland and the Treaty of 1707 by Michael Fry. The two most powerful figures in British media have long been rivals. Now Sky and Virgin have declared war. On the prime-time duel that neither tycoon can afford to lose. A review of The Culture of Property: The Crisis of Liberalism in Modern Britain. Andrew Roberts on why the English-speaking peoples should be proud of their history. The Fourth Great Assault on the Anglosphere: Whether the 21st Century extends the era of Anglosphere hegemony depends on whether the Anglosphere becomes a house divided against itself. The Anti-Deutschen: The LaRouche Youth Movement Investigative Team on how "right" meets "left" in the new attacks on German national sovereignty, which the Anti-Germans denounce as "anti-Semitism". The origins of this cult are not indigenous, but lie with Sir Bertrand Russell, the Frankfurt School, and their modern-day descendants. Taking politics out of the EU celebration: The European Union is to mark its 50th birthday with a sure fire, politics-free stunt: a soccer match featuring David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Lilian Thuram and Ronaldinho among others. Jonathan Yardley reviews Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America. From New York, a special issue on the Best of New York 2007. Going for Broke: A look at how big-city mayors are resurrecting the national anti-poverty agenda. Silicon Valley's immigration problem: If you could choose between starting a high-tech career in India or the U.S., which would you pick? Tyler Brûlé has come up with a new formula for judging a city's livability, attractiveness and general quality of life: rating its airport. Toronto is not alone among world cities facing endless obstacles to reviving its forsaken urban waterfront. After starting later, with less, Liverpool’s halfway there. And a majority of people believe that Israel and Iran have a mainly negative influence in the world, a poll suggests; Canada, Japan and the EU come out on top
[Mar 5] Southeast Asia, long known as an intermediate zone between the ancient civilisations of China and India, is also an area that scholars have long portrayed as historically subject to influences coming from its west, beginning with Indianisation, then islamisation and finally westernisation. But it would be far more insightful to treat Southeast Asia and southern China as part of one region, in the same way that Fernand Braudel approached the history of the Mediterranean. A review of The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression by James Mann (and more). The People’s Republic of Sex Kittens and Metrosexuals: China’s latest revolution is sexual: soft-core, online and the girls-next-door gone wild. Shanghai What-If: How a shock can become a shock wave. What happened with last week's financial turmoil -- and what may continue this week, too -- was that the divide between economic and political thinkers began, at last, to narrow. Buy Chimerican: Like a good marriage, U.S. and Chinese differences complement each other. From Asia Times, Al-Qaeda is in the process of moving its leadership from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas to Iraq, which it intends to turn into its "epicenter" of global operations (and part 2). Choosing a Sect: In the Sunni-Shiite struggle, does the U.S. have to take sides? A review of Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission. A review of The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. Samantha Power on how to stop genocide in Iraq: Offering the carrot of U.S. withdrawal may be the best way to end ethnic cleansing in Iraq. In international affairs, it's all action, no talk: The decay of diplomacy preoccupies this year's Gelber finalists. In wartime, who has the power? Congress has a crude tool for reining in President Bush on Iraq, experts say: Cut off spending. The Must-Do List: The New York Times offers a list of things that need to be done to reverse the unwise and lawless policies of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. From The New Yorker, the unthinkable: Can the United States be made safe from nuclear terrorism? From New Left Review, Robert Brenner reads the US mid-term results against deeper structural shifts in the American polity. The rise of the Republican right seen in the context of the long downturn and dismantling of the liberal compact: from New Deal and Great Society to the capitalist offensive under Reagan, Clinton and Bush; and the Democrats after November: With anti-war sentiment growing in the US, how will Democrats use their recapture of Congress? Mike Davis analyses likely outcomes on the questions that confront the party leadership. The role of First Lady varies hugely, from the assertive Hillary Clinton, to the loyal Laura Bush to the glamorous Jackie Kennedy. Gaby Wood looks at the current candidates (and Bill) to see who might have the winning hand
[Weekend 2e] From Nepal, a look at how the interim constitution places the country in the forefront of the best recent experiments in non-revolutionary democratic transformations, starting in Spain and culminating in South Africa. Happy Together: A look at how tradition meets modernity in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Easterners, unlike Westerners, don't expect ecstasy. East and West differ when it comes to predicting how much happiness the future will bring; why are millions of Japanese youths hiding from friends and family?; and Finnish people are defined by silence. Is that healthy? Beginning as a routine training exercise, Switzerland accidentally invades Liechtenstein. An elder statesman of French literature who fought for the Resistance in World War II is gearing up to do battle again: Maurice Druon is campaigning to make French the supreme language of legal documents in the European Union. Bad news for billionaires and other boaters: The price of pleasure is going up, and Brussels can be blamed. Former Muslims in Germany publicly launch a group with the provocative name National Council of Ex-Muslims, and say they would be a voice for non-religious people of Islamic cultural origin. Benjamin Barber and Anthony Giddens politely -- sometimes deferentially - - pressed the man known in Libya as "Brother Leader" on the need for reform. Pakistan's Ishtiaq Ahmed on the age of rights. The key to understanding Iran's contemporary role in the middle east is less its millennia of statehood or its Shi'a identity than its political dynamic as a revolutionary state, says Fred Halliday. A review of Hamas: A Beginner's Guide by Khaled Hroub. Cheney threatens to sick Nancy Pelosi on foreign dictators: A look at how divided government helps fight terrorism. Iraq without war: Would things be better, or worse, in Baghdad four years later if the United States had not invaded? Mention the US Embassy in Baghdad to Lawrence Eagleburger and he explodes. "I defy anyone to tell me how you can use that many people. It is nuts". What if Iraq isn't the biggest campaign issue by the time the presidential election rolls around? From National Journal, here's the latest congressional vote ratings for 2006, which demonstrate that plenty of ammunition will be available during the presidential campaign (and more on the diverse views at the top). Be afraid of President McCain: A look at the frightening mind of an authoritarian maverick. A better way on presidential succession: Norman Ornstein on how having congressional leaders in the presidential line of succession is wrong for more than constitutional reasons. The Kosher Resolution: Even critics of the earmarking process say Democrats have done a decent job reducing pork. And Reader of the Free World: Irwin M. Stelzer writes of a literary luncheon with the president
[Weekend] From Ecuador, one area where President Rafael Correa may depart from the failed and corruption-ridden policies of his predecessors is in the extraction industries of oil, gas, and mining. Pentecostal ministers in Latin America are luring increasing numbers of Roman Catholics away from their faith with modern marketing tactics, and the "services" on offer even extends to exorcisms. An explosive political crisis is subsiding. But Guinea is still caught between an ailing autocrat, a desperate people and an uncertain future. Nairobi Blues: A brave band of reformers is taking on Kenya’s endemic culture of corruption. The long journey of a young democracy: Africa's richest country, not yet free of demons, is facing a year of decision. A review of Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose. Australia: the new 51st state? John Howard's servility to the US is even greater than Tony Blair's and has earned him the nickname Bush's deputy sheriff. Statehood for Puerto Rico? Passage in Congress of the Puerto Rico Democracy Act would lead to the first congressionally authorized referendum on statehood in the territory's history. And a review of The Insular Cases and the Emergence of American Empire
[Mar 2] From Canada, the Liberals accuse the Conservatives of being conservative, the Conservatives seem unmoved. A review of Radical Tories: The Conservative Tradition in Canada. Whatever happened to Britain's conservatives? Christopher Hitchens on a kindler, gentler Tory Party. Britain's new cultural divide is not between Christian and Muslim, Hindu and Jew. It is between those who have faith and those who do not. Stuart Jeffries reports on the vicious and uncompromising battle between believers and non-believers (and a response from Caspar Melville, editor of New Humanist: "I respect your ignorance".) From Eurozine, with Siberia and the Urals close on the heels of Moscow in mobile phone ownership, Russia's expanses are rapidly seeming less vast. How the latest technology is challenging the monopoly of state-owned media. A cool peace: The Baltic Sea region is feeling the pain from Europe's awkward relationship with Russia. Where the past is another country: An article on three big decisions about Bosnia's past and future. Timid Justice: A look at why the ICJ should have been harder on Serbia. From Newsweek, bound to fail: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has taken on "mission impossible". Everything about the United Nations conspires against him. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that climate change poses as much of a danger to the world as war. The Climate-Change Precipice: Eco systems could quickly pass the tipping point and drag their inhabitants over the line that separates civilized society and anarchy. People across the country are facing a frightening and mysterious situation: the disappearance of millions of bees. Where the lights aren't bright: How two booming cities have tried, and failed, to revive their centres. Everyone knows that Rudy Giuliani transformed the Big Apple from a haven for crime into a place where you can walk the streets after dark. But New York is not the only city to emerge from a dark past. A look at other cities around the world that have risen from the ashes. K Street's Favorite Democrat: Ari Berman looks at the cozy relationship between Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and the tasseled-loafer set. Bad news for Republicans: Leading conservatives are embracing former Swift Boaters. Why do journalists suddenly love Al Gore? After they tempt him into the presidential race, they'll probably try to destroy him again. And he knows it. From The Nation, no matter what you think of The New Republic's politics, the public sphere will suffer if the magazine becomes homogenized by its new corporate owner. YouTube doesn't want to be just a goof-off destination anymore. It just went a little C-SPAN. Blogging Every Minute of It: If you hate newsy holiday letters, brace yourself for the live blog. People are now documenting the most mundane and private aspects of their lives the instant they happen. From birth to death, no experience is too personal to be shared. My Death Space: Is the Web's most ghoulish site cursed? On the 75th anniversary of the Lindbergh kidnapping, Time looks back at the notorious crimes of the past hundred years. And now it's twinkie time: Expect quite a few political stories that are light, synthetic, tasty and strangely unfilling to pass the time
[Mar 1] From Economic and Political Weekly, a consensus has developed that the International Monetary Fund is not fulfilling its role prompting multiple proposals for reform. However, the focus on reform should be complemented with an exploration of alternatives outside the IMF that would give developing countries greater bargaining leverage pdf. A review of The Debt Threat: How Debt Is Destroying the Developing World. Janet Yellen on lessons of the Asian financial crisis 10 years later. More on The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism. An interview with Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World. For some countries, America's popular culture is resistible: Tyler Cowen on how the growing relevance of local economic connections suggests that "cultural imperialism" won't be a dominant trend. Myths of the Global Market: The Economist reveals an Achilles heel of economics: It has no way of telling the universal needs of human beings from junk commodities for the masses, or gold toilet-seats for the rich. From Der Spiegel, China is securing an ever-bigger share of the world market with the methods of a planned economy. The development has left many wondering: Does communism work after all? The three futures of China: Despite economic liberalization, it's likely the communist regime will endure well into the future. Mumbai is at the heart of India's growing economic power. But it is also the place where many of the subcontinent's paradoxes can be found in close quarters. An excerpt from In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India. From The Globalist, how has the nature of U.S. world leadership fundamentally changed in the 21st century? (and part 2 and part 3). A post-Bush vision of the United States role in the world needs clear principles to guide it: Here's ten maxims for a liberal foreign policy for the US. Why our enemies and friends hate us: Niall Ferguson on how provoking dislike throughout the world is part of being an empire. If we're engaged in a "fight for the future of civilization" against Islam, can we be sure we're on the pro-civilization side? That's the question raised by a new poll, which concludes that "Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria". A review of Western Imperialism in the Middle East, 1914–1958. Immanuel Wallerstein on the United States-North Korea Agreement: Charade of first step? The War Nerd gives you the bottom lines on the Korean deal and the Surge, then moves on to the way better story of the Modocs. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.) reveals why Bush thinks he can win a war with Iran, why few politicians are serious about withdrawal and why "when they call Iraq a success, they mean it". The new flip-floppers in town: After rejecting the idea, the US is now planning talks with Syria and Iran. A change of heart, or the inevitable result of an incoherent policy? And forget the debate over apologizing for past support of the Iraq war. What have Democratic candidates actually learned from the disaster?
From Power and Interest News Report, a
look at the
implications of strategic withdrawal from Iraq.
Michael Tomasky on how two
important numbers, 62 and eight, explain why
House Democrats won't, and can't, do what
anti-war activists want them to. A review
of The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy
is Failing by Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke.
A Manifesto For the Next President: David
Zbigniew Brzezinski's Second Chance.
Ronald Radosh reviews
Michael Oren's Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.
From Democracy Journal, for 60 years,
Republican presidents have waged war in the
Middle East, and Democratic ones have sought
Yet neither has been
successful. Why the next president needs neo-regionalism; Strategic
The neoconservative approach to nonproliferation has been a
disaster. Why Bush can’t disarm Iran; The Humiliation Myth: Humiliation
doesn’t explain terrorism; the spread of
Political Islam does. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
responds to Peter Bergen and Michael Lind; and
why Dearborn isn’t Paris: A review
of American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion.
From In These Times, an article on preaching
revolution: A new evangelical movement
offers lessons for the left. Designing Dissent: Nick Gillespie
on protest posters and the blind spots of the modern left.
Damn right, we're angry: Paul Waldman on why progressives don't need to apologize for raging against conservative evils. Frank Furedi grumbles about the fashion for labelling
cultural critics who are dissatisfied with the present (such as himself) as
"grumpy old men". Addictive
television: Sacha Zimmerman on the $400 billion disease plaguing America.
From Economic Principals, the issues of
growth accounting are hugely complicated
enough to make understanding the determinants of
climate change look relatively straightforward.
In some sense, the productivity perplex is even more fundamental than are the problems of global warming
since solutions to the latter depend on the
former, that is, on the growth of knowledge
(including, of course, self-knowledge). We face enormous challenges in using our natural resources
And there is one clear measure of how we perform at that
task: extinction rates. Climate change
dominates the agenda now, but
what happened to the environmental cause
celebres of the 1970s, 80s and 90s - have
these all been resolved now? Greener pastors:
Bradford Plumer goes inside the evangelical war over climate change.
6.5 billion and counting, Or a Christian case
for small families: A review
of Fractured Generations: Crafting a Family Policy for Twenty-First Century
America. 80 is the new 65: How our expectations of the aging population
must change to cope with longer life spans. And
from IEET, is it important to
have a body to be human?; an essay on utilitarianism, “total-view” thinking, and human life extension;
and what if the Singularity
does not happen?
[Mar 15] Born of Canada's
two solitudes, Charles Taylor is awarded the 2007
Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about
Spiritual Realities, and more
gentle giant of philosophy (and a Forbes column "outside
the box" by Taylor). Scott McLemee takes a look back at Jean
Baudrillard, the postmodern thinker and intellectual playboy who
inspired "The Matrix" (and more
by Michael Agger). From Mother Jones, an interview with
intellectual impresario Henry
Louis Gates Jr., on slavery, his quest to make "Roots for the
21st century," and the need for "moral revolution within the
African American community". From The Century Foundation, Peter
Osnos on the future of book reviews. Stop the presses, boys! To
help get more women’s voices on the nation’s op-ed pages,
Catherine Orenstein has been training women to write essays and get them
published. Sam Tanenhaus on some of the most important books to understand the evolution of modern American conservatism.
of Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts by Clive James.
Introducing The Clive James Show: Britain's greatest
interviewer, live on Slate (and an interview).
The Atlantic is nominated in three categories for National
Magazine Awards for editorial excellence. Read the nominated
articles. Can it be stopped? Or then again, can it be started? Everyone
copies The Economist, but does anyone translate it? The story
of Conrad Black, the former chairman of The Telegraph, is a
surreal tale of hubris and looming nemesis. On the T-shirt he has
commissioned with uncharacteristic tongue-in-cheek, Lord
Black of Crossharbour is sanguine about how his trial is going to
turn out. Wired magazine and NewAssignment.Net invite you to join
an open-ended experiment in distributed
journalism. Project leader Jay Rosen explains all. I Write Camille Paglia’s Next Column so She Doesn’t Have To, Vol. 1: The
For those who still don’t grasp the
subtext, reifications of Anna Nicole, Ultimate Fighting, and Eddie Murphy.
The battle of Thermopylae was real, but how real is 300? Ephraim
Lytle, Assistant Professor of Hellenistic History at the University
of Toronto, offers his view. A review
of A History of Exile in the Roman Republic. The "history war" in Northeast
Asia: Who owns the legacy of the Kingdom of
Koguryo/Gaogouli? China, Korea or Wikipedia? Sex, Drugs, and the
anonymity breed nastiness in the online world? Jaron Lanier
investigates. Ever heard of podthrusting? The newest creations of the Interwebs
range from the creative, to the bizarre, to the truly "wtf?"
The Seven Wonders Reconsidered: An
internet campaign draws millions of votes, both predictable and
puzzling. The Usual Suspects: A new list of America's most popular
buildings. The Man Who Remade New York: Three
new shows try to renovate Robert Moses' reputation. And a review
of A Philosophy of Gardens
[Mar 14] From The Chronicle, " American Idol" demonstrates a hunger for expertise and honest critical judgment -- a combination otherwise known as pedagogy; and hemlock available in the faculty lounge: Teaching evaluations have become a permanent fixture in the academic environment. What would students say if they had Socrates as a professor? A review of History, Historicity and Science. History Lessons: For Americans, Herodotus has better ones to offer than Thucydides. A review of Thucydides' War: Accounting for the Faces of Battle. Members of the American Historical Association have overwhelmingly voted to condemn the war in Iraq and to seek its "speedy conclusion". From HNN, a symposium on Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., a historian for the people. The House of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.: A mentor’s wisdom with Martinis Van Buren. Sean Wilentz on Citizen Schlesinger: The last liberal? It doesn’t look that way. From The Weekly Standard, The Theologian and the Historian: When Barth met Schlesinger. George Lives! Eccentric economists toast the single-tax solution: It’s more than a century since Henry George’s Progress and Poverty was a best-seller, but his memory lingers on. In a classroom you can hear all sorts of made-up theories about economics, Georgist Fred Foldvary offers an explanation of how the economy really works, starting with some careful definitions. What Milton Friedman can teach progressives: Brad Delong reviews Milton Friedman: A Biography. A reply to Diane Coyle: Economists concerned about their discipline's public reputation should focus on its core competence rather than on making grand claims that are hard to sustain, says Tony Curzon Price. What's new, pussycat? Could it be that a cat parasite has had as great an impact on human history as the most exalted products of art, science, faith or politics? The Truth about Beauty: A look at how aesthetics inform our everyday judgments. Beauty is back! Christopher Benfey on what really makes art beautiful. How beauty shapes up takes more than a good build: New research argues that shapeliness and other typical measures don't cut it on their own. It is possibly the most famous literary feud of modern times: Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa have refused to talk to each other for three decades. Two pictures have appeared in which a youthful García Márquez shows off a black eye. Not surprisingly, perhaps, it involves a woman. More on Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both. An interview with Lynn Peril, author of College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Co-Eds, Then and Now. Homosexual kings, lesbian mothers and gay penguins -- these are the protagonists of a new type of schoolbook for British children. A pilot scheme run at elementary schools aims to raise sexually-tolerant students -- their parents are not amused. Iranian authorities continue to suppress student activism, utilizing various forms of intimidation such as the denial of university admission, expulsion, and the banning of student journals. And what's next? No one can see the future. But there's no harm in some enlightened and educated guessing. Time presents a thinking person's guide to the year to come
[Mar 13] From The American Scholar, 2+2=5: Can we begin to think about unexplained religious experiences in ways that acknowledge their existence?; and a new theory of the universe: Biocentrism builds on quantum physics by putting life into the equation (and more). A review of The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions. A review of The Veil of Isis: An Essay on the History of the Idea of Nature. Charting the path of our geometric knowledge: A review of The Poincare Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe. Out There: Dark energy, an invisible, undetectable force that seems to break all the rules of physics, may be about to redefine the universe. Trying to Meet the Neighbors: Are we alone in the universe? Seth Shostak suspects we will know the answer by 2025. A $35bn ego trip: A review of Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest by Gerard DeGroot. From Newsweek, beyond stones & bones: A cover story on the new science of human evolution. Why are our eyes always moving? Do we all see the same colours? A review of The Eye: A Natural History. Whatever! Hormonal reversal during puberty keeps teens totally anxious: A mechanism that calms nerve cells in adults and children, has the opposite effect on teenagers; finding could lead to new treatments for teen angst and depression. Sport, sex and racial tension: Academics' response to a rape charge at Duke has unleashed a furious backlash. The Body Parts Bandits? UCLA's Willed Body Program was rocked by charges that its leader participated in a scheme to slice up cadavers and sell off the body parts. Inside the scandal—and how the program is putting itself back together. The University of Nebraska sues Michael Chertoff over Bolivian scholar Waskar Ari and his paperwork needed for his visa. Howard's Unyielding Intellectual: The obituary of Frank M. Snowden Jr. noted his pioneering scholarship on blacks in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Mommy Tracked: A look at how the tenure process discriminates against female professors. From Business Week, five smart moves for liberal arts grads: Your path to the perfect career might not be obvious. Consider filling your competence gap and defining your "hook". What does the intellectual climate of today forecast for the writers and scholars of tomorrow? Thomas Mallon poses 10 questions about the future of the humanities in America. Chattering classes: Modern languages are increasingly becoming an elite subject, dominated by the middle classes and concentrated at the top universities. Pulped fiction: Publishing is booming. So why are writers struggling? The great unread: Books by Rushdie, Clinton and Beckham are among those most often left unfinished. Our Books, Ourselves: Baby boomers and their books—it's a love story where nobody ever said he was sorry. Except, perhaps, for Love Story itself. Is Wikipedia the new town hall? The input of many is a powerful tool in today's DIY media. Fact or fiction? Why Wikipedia's variety of contributors is not only a strength. And Wiki Watchee: For 27 hours, Gene Weingarten was a much more interesting guy
[Mar 12] A French intellectual--in the worst sense of the term: Jean Baudrillard could make any subject more obscure just by briefly visiting it. More and more and more on Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind by Julian Baggini. Simon Jenkins reviews Terry Eagleton's The Meaning of Life. From The New Yorker, a review of The Last Duel: A True Story of Death and Honor; and what was Nixon’s trip to China all about? Louis Menand investigates. From The Moscow Times, Alice's New Adventures: The story of how Lewis Carroll's masterpiece came to the Soviet Union is almost as strange as the book itself. A review of The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts by Milan Kundera (and more and more). A review of At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches by Susan Sontag. A recent New Yorker article claimed that the Poetry Foundation in Chicago treats poetry less as an art than as a business. But doesn’t the magazine treat it that way, too? A review of When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse and The Fight for English: How Language Pundits Ate, Shot, and Left. Here's the week's best invented words. In praise of libraries: The idea that the library could be a great place of discovery, of serendipitous connection, is unfortunately not promoted by academic orthodoxy. Come for the Xbox, stay for the books: As young adult author, should Lauren Mechling be happy or worried that libraries across America are using video games, music, and movies to capture the attention of teens? Research shoes more than half the country buys books for coffee table decoration with no intention of reading them. How Green Were the Nazis? You can vote online for oddest book title. After decades of chic postmodernist cynicism, corevalues in art and aesthetics are returning: A review of Only a Promise of Happiness: the place of beauty in a world of art. Swingers: Upon its release, "Performance" was awarded the ultimate '60s accolade: probably the heaviest movie ever made. Different stars in Tinseltown: Artists have long been attracted to LA for its space, light and lifestyle and the city is emerging from the shadow of New York as a base for serious artists, collectors and museums. A review of The Kings of New York: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Geniuses Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team. Sarah Lawrence president Michele Tolela Myers on the cost of bucking college rankings. MIT intends to reach an epic milestone soon: By the end of the year, its entire curriculum should be available online for free. And Metaweb Technologies is setting out to create a vast public database intended to be read by computers rather than people, paving the way for a more automated Internet in which machines will routinely share information
[Weekend 2e] Gürcan Koçan (ITU): High-life, Low-life and Common-life: The Role of Affections and Love in Citizenship doc. A review of Democracy and the Judiciary. A review of Principles of Constitutional Design. From World History Connected, a series of articles on teaching religion in World History. Development aide Linda Nordling discovers Harvard professor Calestous Juma has never been more engaged with his Kenyan homeland. From The New York Review of Books, scandals of higher education: Andrew Delbanco reviews Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education; The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges—and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates; The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality by Walter Benn Michaels; Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education; Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More by Derek Bok; and Powers of the Mind: The Reinvention of Liberal Learning in America by Donald N. Levine; what did he really think about race? James M. McPherson reviews The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics; a review of That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present; and a review of The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups by Ron Rosenbaum. The power of Orfeo: As the world's first great opera celebrates its 400th birthday, its new-found popularity may signal a welcome expansion of opera companies' repertoires. Is classical making a comeback? An article on the hottest musical genre of 2006. A review of U2 and Philosophy: How to Decipher an Atomic Band. A review of Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey. From Literary Review, the allure of Otherness: A review of The Hottentot Venus: The Life and Death of Saartjje Baartman, Born 1789 – Buried 2002. The other woman became, like Plath, a suicide: A review of Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's Rival and Ted Hughes's Doomed Love. And Michael Dirda reviews The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh
[Weekend] Neil Richards (Washington U.): and Daniel Solove (GWU): Privacy's Other Path: Recovering the Law of Confidentiality. A review of Challenging Liberalism: Feminism as Political Critique. A review of At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches by Susan Sontag. Did the epistolary novel inspire the idea of human rights? A review of Inventing Human Rights: A History. Isaiah Berlin believed that humans make their own destiny. But his encounter with Adam von Trott, Hitler's would-be assassin, suggests otherwise: John Gray reviews The Song Before It Is Sung. A review of Inferno: the Devastation of Hamburg. From Scientific American, is your memory erased while you sleep? Scientists have a new theory about what happens in the brain when you snooze. From Edge, here are four major accomplishments in neuroscience in the past year. Will biology solve the universe? An interview with Robert Lanza, famous for stem-cell and cloning research, who believes his ideas will lead to a unified theory of the universe. Astronomers have developed a unifying principle to describe all galaxies, from orderly spirals to chaotic mergers, with mathematical precision. Mock theta mystery solved: Mathematicians have solved a legendary Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan's final problem. From New Scientist, here are 13 things that do not make sense. Believing is Seeing: Joel Achenbach on Hoaxes, Myths and Manias and the problem with putting truth to a vote. "Faccidents", bad assumptions and the Jesus Tomb debacle: History that is disrespectful of logic and facts deserves to be known by a new name. An interview with Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy. The first chapter from Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece. A review of Rome & Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilisations. Early Christianity's martyrdom debate: An interview with Elaine Pagels on Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. An interview with Victor J. Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis. From PublicSquare, Richard Taylor on the conventional basis for morality, and a response on the problems with naturalistic morality. Not as happy as you thought you’d be? A study shows that disappointment has more impact than unexpected enjoyment. The experience of children and their capacity for friendship raises philosophical questions about how the good life can be realised. From the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Maurice Blanchot on Friendship, Death and Thought’s Profound Grief, and more and more on Jean Baudrillard. More on Arthur Schlesinger Jr. by Eric Alterman and Victor Navasky. And historians fight Bush on access to papers: Scholars are hoping to lift a directive issued by the White House in 2001 that has severely slowed or prevented the release of important presidential papers
[Mar 9] Academia, the internet and books: From the American Historical Review, how do we understand the distinctiveness of transnational history and its relevance to the practice of history today? A conversation with C. A. Bayly, Sven Beckert, Matthew Connelly, Isabel Hofmeyr, Wendy Kozol, and Patricia Seed. From Reason, the impact of academic bias: Professors do lean to the left -- but are students listening? A review of Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. More on The Trouble with Diversity by Walter Benn Michaels. Alarmed by recent reports of student depression and fearing malpractice lawsuits, colleges are struggling with ways to treat suicidal students, including expelling them. Moral panic: More on Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both. Emily Yoffe is unfriendly, solitary, and 30 years older than everyone else on Facebook. But could social networking work for her anyway? Harsh words die hard on the web: Law students feel lasting effects of anonymous attacks. Getting from academe to the publishing world isn’t easy, but Scott McLemee finds some grad students who just might make it. Wikipedia - banned by some academics as a source for student essays - has been made compulsory reading (and writing) for a new course at the University of East Anglia. Following revelations that a high-ranking member of its bureaucracy used his cloak of anonymity to lie about being a professor of religion, Wikipedia plans to ask contributors who claim such credentials to identify themselves. Cybersociology: An interview with Marc Smith, a research sociologist at Microsoft who wants to understand how people interact in online communities. How pocket positioning will change daily life: Mobile phones, cameras and wristwatches are all being equipped with GPS technology. In this brave new world, data will not only tell us where we are, but also where we can shop, eat and sleep. Where Am I?: Today’s Global Positioning System combines nearly half a century of insights, dating back to the dawn of the space age. No hiding place: If it flies, a proposed space-based animal-tracking system could observe almost anything on Earth. From Seed, here's a map constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 published papers into 776 different scientific paradigms based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. They are not the kind of titles that are likely to top the books bestseller charts. But half a dozen bizarre tomes, including a guide to stray shopping trolleys and a history of a Coventry ice-cream business, may win their 15 minutes of fame as contenders for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. The best self-help books offer considered, useful solutions to life's problems, presented in an accessible, entertaining format. Let's examine a few, shall we? From Skeptic, an article on the secret behind The Secret: What is attracting millions to the Law of Attraction? And by continuing to hawk The Secret, a mishmash of offensive self-help cliches, Oprah Winfrey is squandering her goodwill and influence, and preaching to the world that mammon is queen
[Mar 8] From The Philosophers' Magazine, Ophelia Benson looks at the rise of the philosophy blogger; how to be agnostic: Mark Vernon argues against atheism and belief; Julian Baggini interviews Guillermo Martinez, the novelist with maths on his mind; a review of Is Democracy Possible Here? by Ronald Dworkin; a look at why "know thyself” might apply to robots too; the return of Xenophon: Robin Waterfield argues for the philosophical credentials of a neglected chronicler of Socrates; and check out Talking Philosophy, The Philosophers' Magazine blog. A review of Epistemology Futures. A review of Deleuze and Guattari's Philosophy of History. Jean Baudrillard, the French philosopher who told us that everything is mere simulacrum, is dead. But his ideas have a life of their own; he made us feel so hyperreal: The spirit of Jean Baudrillard lives on, as both George Bush and Osama bin Laden continue to trade in empty symbols; and Jean sees dead people. From TLS, not for neocons: A review of Edmund Burke: Volume Two, 1784–1797; and a review of The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and essential writings, 1947–2005. A review of By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey by János Kornai. A review of Charisma: The Gift of Grace, and How It Has Been Taken Away From Us by Philip Rieff (and an excerpt), and more on Rieff's My Life Among the Deathworks. Plato or Schopenhauer?: The first chapter from Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art. A review of The End of Art: Readings in a Rumor after Hegel. Was Flaubert bored by Madame Bovary? Was Proust's Albertine a man? Did Tolstoy kill off Anna Karenina too soon? Milan Kundera reflects on the history, secrets and future of his craft. Think you know how to read, do you? A new throng of authors wants to save literature from our nefarious English departments and teach us how to read their way. Now, class, pay attention. The English Professor's Tale: A review of The Yale Companion to Chaucer. An interview with Tony D'Souza on beginnings, books and why Cormac McCarthy should get the Nobel. A review of The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life. A review of The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture pdf. From Seed, novelist Jonathan Lethem and cosmologist Janna Levin meet up to talk about reality. The argument between teleologists and scientist may, after all, be merely semantic: Where one claims an ontological, real status for mental states (reasons), one is a teleologist. Where one denies this and assigns the mental to the unreal department, one is a scientist. From Commonweal, what Darwin’s champions won’t mention: Peter Quinn on selling and sanitizing the father of evolution. Darwin today: Have culture and technology replaced Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection? From The Scientist, what if humans were designed to last? Experts across fields imagine a new way to solve the problems of human aging. A toast to evolvability and its promise of surprise: If not for evolutionary innovation we might still be so many daubs of blue-green algae decorating a rock. And unintelligent design: A look at how birds got to fly
[Mar 7] From the latest issue of Post-Autistic Economics Review, Richard Parker (Harvard): Does John Kenneth Galbraith Have a Legacy?; Robert McMaster (Aberdeen): On the Need for a Heterodox Health Economics; David A. Bainbridge (Alliant)): True Cost Environmental Accounting for a Post-Autistic Economy; Peter T. Manicas (Hawaii): Endogenous Growth Theory: The Most Recent “Revolution” in Economics; and what would post-autistic trade policy be? pdf. From Character to Identity: Daniel Klein on the Smith-Hayek economist. Atlas Shrugged, 50 years later: At a time of rampant collectivism, Ayn Rand renewed the promise of liberty. But her ethics are dangerous. A review of Descartes and the Passionate Mind. A review of Reason's Grief: An Essay on Tragedy and Value. A review of The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect, and Accountability by Stephen Darwall. A review of Ethics and the A Priori: Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics by Michael Smith. A review of The Psychology of Stereotyping. From n+1, why don’t Republicans write fiction? Benjamin Nugent investigates. The Lord's Encyclopedia: Christian fundamentalists in the US have launched two online encyclopedias modelled on the Wikipedia format, Conservapedia and CreationWiki. They make entertaining reading. Three Ohioans who have spent more than a decade and $1.3 million in private and public cash to edit The American Midwest, An Interpretive Encyclopedia. From US News, the measure of learning: Can you test what colleges teach? Academics are appalled that the government wants to try; colleges may despise the idea of standardization, but for years they have essentially embraced it anyway; an overview of the tests used to measure the value of college; and a look at The Most Overrated Careers. Teaching Without Textbooks: They aren’t only too expensive, they are boring and your students will learn more without them. The scarcity of ads is endangering standalone book-review sections in major metro newspapers. Book publishers have moved away from buying ads in favor of paying to stack mounds of books in the front of chain bookstores. With book prices often exceeding $100, an advisory group considers solutions such as using the Internet more as a free resource. Binding trust: Books, newspapers, and other printed media have enduring advantages, even in the digital age, writes Edward Tenner. To mark World Book Day Stephen Page, president of the Publishers Association, argues that in our digital age the relationship between editors and writers is more important than ever. A new study that estimates how much digital information is zipping around (hint: a lot) finds that for the first time, there's not enough storage space to hold it all. In the rapidly growing infosphere, has the wisdom of crowds left no room for the sagacity of experts? Peter J.M. Nicholson on the intellectual in the infosphere. And an obituary: Jean Baudrillard
[Mar 6] From New Left Review (Google caches; links might not be available after a while), radical social theory in a post-communist world: Göran Therborn offers a panoramic survey of left social theory since the fall of Communism. The vicissitudes of modernity as contested temporal narrative, and the divergent thematic paths—religion, Utopia, class, sexuality, networks, world-systems—that are emerging in the new landscape; can emancipatory social science provide a framework for rethinking paths forward from capitalism? Erik Olin Wright on the navigational tools that might orient a route towards a non-statist socialism and on the necessary preconditions for transformative theory; the hollowing of democracies, as ruling elites retreat and voters abstain from mass electoral politics. Peter Mair on the paradoxes of its ‘third wave’ triumph and emergence of a governing class bereft of legitimacy, as parties become appendages of the state; a review of French Intellectuals Against the Left: The Antitotalitarian Moment of the 1970s by Michael Scott Christofferson; Immanuel Wallerstein on The Curve of American Power; Sven Lutticken on the lessons from Hitchcock, Conrad and Benjamin on the poetics of suspense and possibilities for a rehistoricization of the attentat; and Terry Eagleton on Political Beckett. Eagleton dares to ponder the philosophical question that others have shied away from in The Meaning of Life. So what's it all about, Terry? John Gray wants to know. Do the humanities need a New Humanism? Diana Brydon investigates. Should the US be rethinking the college and university system? A review of What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?: Classroom Politics and 'Bias' in Higher Education and In Pursuit of Knowledge: Scholars, Status, and Academic Culture. What do students want? Seth Roberts on how the economics teachings of Jane Jacobs explain why diversity in learning works; and more on the trouble with college. A review of Understanding Affirmative Action: Politics, Discrimination, and the Search for Justice. In diversity push, top universities enrolling more black immigrants, critics say effort favors elite foreigners, leaves out Americans. American University graduate Allyson Jaffe makes a serious career out of laughter. Capitalists Prefer Blondes: Alexandra Robbins on how today's sororities are run like businesses. A growing number of faculty are moving into dorms as colleges seek to revitalize campus life. Campus exposure: A new crop of college sex magazines shows students baring it all. In the age of MySpace and confessional blogs, is this the ultimate in self-revelation? And like many of his friends, SK Ramnandan used to find mathematics "rather mechanical and unattractive" and a bit of a chore. This was before HeyMath happened to him
[Mar 5] From Axess, established by Hegel, the principle that reason could predict the future became dominant in 20th century ideological development, not least for Nazism and Communism. But there was also a philosophical countermovement from the 19th century onwards: Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer and Popper saw that reason could offer mere unreliable glimpses; the future’s not what it was: Our longing for meaning and stability does not seem to have been allayed, either by capitalism or science. Is the future-oriented individual on the retreat?; even if it is complicated, we have to make forecasts—and to act on them. But climate change is perhaps the best example of our inability to deal with the future before it becomes reality; and human beings have always tried to ascertain what the future will be like in order to be able to prepare themselves for what is to come, but provocative catastrophe scenarios of the type used by Al Gore risk being dismissed with tired resignation. Sam Tanenhaus on how Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote with an authority not easily found among younger historians and thinkers. From The Hindu, between imagination and reality: An interview with Salman Rushdie. An interview with Jonathan Lethem: "I'm suggesting [originality] is an overrated virtue". Contrarian Jonathan Goodwin reviews Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative pdf. Someone who knows the general plot and ideas of "The Aeneid" or "Beowulf" is better off than someone without a clue. From Esquire, first impressions are usually wrong. Unfortunately, says Chuck Klosterman, they usually turn into stereotypes, which then turn into the truth; and you can't judge a country by its book covers, but let's try! On the translations of Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story. Confessions of a Book Abuser: It is the content of books that counts, not the books themselves, no matter how well they furnish a room. Authors find their voice, and audience, in podcasts: Writers struggling to find a publisher are taking the high-tech, grass-roots approach. In the ever-changing anteroom of the Great American Novel, young just got younger, and what it means to be an American broadened significantly: A list of young writers to keep an eye on. Mightier than the pen? Will today's children grow up to write anything much longer than a Post-It note? And is anything lost if they don't? Learning a Language: It is harder for adults to learn a new language, but there is no simple answer as to why that is the case. From The Toronto Star, here are four invented words of the week. Who left the Wags out? "Chav" is in so why no "Wag"? As the Oxford English Dictionary is completely revised for the first time, its editors tell how they decide which words deserve an entry. And n Julian Baggini's Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind the quest to discover real English values leads to a six-month stay in Yorkshire
[Weekend 2e] Will Kymlicka and Keith Banting (Queen's): Immigration, Multiculturalism, and the Welfare State pdf. What on earth, you might wonder, could philosophy have to do with ethnic conflict? Can Aristotle's four causes be applied to the analysis of ethnic conflicts? From The Forum (a special kind of subscription is required), Jonathan Bernstein (UTexas- San Antonio), Rebecca E. Bromley (MSU), and Krystle T. Meyer (SAC): Republicans and Golf, Democrats and Outkast: Or, Party Political Culture from the Top Down; and a review of Todd Gitlin's Intellectuals and the Flag and Eric Lott's The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual. A review of Hatred of Democracy by Jacques Rancière. A review of Dante and Derrida: Face to Face by Francis Ambrosio. A new issue of Shibboleths is out, including a review of The Philosophy of Need pdf. From The Harvard Crimson, a look at how wine and academics prove to be a good mix. A fighter for colleges that have everything but status: As an independent college counselor, Loren Pope’s passion lies in promoting the virtues of small, little-known liberal arts colleges. In 1968 a group of black kids enrolled in the College of the Holy Cross, a small Massachusetts college. Many went on to become stars in law, literature, and finance -- thanks to far-sighted mentor Reverend John E. Brooks. Can Catholic schools be saved? Lacking nuns and often students, a shrinking system looks for answers. Like most movie critics, Phil Boatwright assesses a film's artistic merit. Unlike most movie critics, he also keeps score for the Lord. From Scientific American, a special report: Has James Cameron found Jesus's tomb or is it just a statistical error? Should you accept the 600-to-one odds that the Talpiot tomb belonged to Jesus? A review of Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray. Why is the new wave of books on atheism getting such a drubbing from atheists themselves? Peter Steinfels investigates. Edmund Standing on how the "Blasphemy Challenge" follows the unfortunate approach of many Christian fundamentalists. More than two dozen evangelical leaders, including James Dobson, are seeking the ouster of the Rev. Richard Cizik from the National Association of Evangelicals because of his "relentless campaign" against global warming. From Mongabay, a philosophical shift in conservation reintegrates humans in nature: Not all conservation is wilderness conservation: A review of Demything "wilderness". A Terrible Thing to Waste: Convicted as an ecoterrorist, brilliant young scholar Billy Cottrell nose-dives in prison (with excerpts from letters). And one bite at a time: An article on how to become vegetarian (and help save the environment) in six easy steps
[Weekend] From Scientific American, a prediction from string theory, with strings attached: Mathematical trickery borrowed from string theory raises hopes of understanding the densest stuff in the universe. Equations as icons: Why is it that particular equations, formulas and expressions become icons? A review of The Knowability Paradox (and more pdf). A review of Value, Reality and Desire. A review of The Stoics on Determinism and Compatibilism. Evolutionary psychologist Kevin McDonald argues Jews evolved to triumph over Gentiles. Is he right? From IEET, an article on Michael Sandel’s contribution to the burgeoning bioconservative canon. The Thinking Machine: Jeff Hawkins created the Palm Pilot and the Treo. Now he says he’s got the ultimate invention: software that mimics the human brain. A review of The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do. Second Life, the four-million-strong online community, is turning more and more into a pixelated copy of reality and its institutions, complete with rampant consumerism, political candidates and lawsuits. Whatever happened to the brave new virtual world? And a review of Welcome to Everytown by Julian Baggini
[Mar 2] From Fronesis, politics begins when inequality is challenged, according to Jacques Rancière. But if the political subject is by definition the subject of a wrong, how can politics operate outside a victim discourse? From the Canadian Journal of Sociology, a review of Early Writings and The Court Society by Norbert Elias; a review of Exit-Voice Dynamics and the Collapse of East Germany: The Crisis of Leninism and the Revolution of 1989; a review of Spirit and System: Media, Intellectuals, and the Dialectic in Modern German Culture; a review of Saskia Sassen's Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages; a review of Science and Social Inequality: Feminist and Postcolonial Issues by Sandra Harding; a review of Panic Diaries: A Genealogy of Panic Disorder; and a review of Dancing for Dollars and Paying for Love: The Relationships between Exotic Dancers and Their Regulars. Martin Kramer reviews Dangerous Knowledge by Robert Irwin. From The Chronicle, Carlin Romano on Russian literature in the Age of Putin. How did a socially concerned architecture come to be condemned, 50 years later, as soulless, bureaucratic and inhuman?: A review of From a Cause to a Style by Nathan Glazer. Terry Teachout on all that jazz: Why has it been so difficult to produce a satisfying full-scale survey of this quintessentially American music? More and more and more on Arthur Schlesinger Jr. An article on remembering Seymour Martin Lipset. From Inside Higher Ed, the Duke case in perspective: A scholar of gang rape on campuses writes that even if no assault took place, the lacrosse party is part of a disturbing pattern and the athletes aren’t heroes. Will the real Gen Y please stand up? Is the narcissism of young people a fearsome national problem? Absolutely, but not all Gen Y'ers are spoiled brats: What the study on narcissistic twentysomethings really reveals. Party like a Mexican! Forget political correctness. Parties that lampoon ethnic groups are as American as nachos. A review of They Call Me Naughty Lola: The London Review of Books Personal Ads -- A Reader. The Guinness Book of the Ancient World: There was no annually published Guinness Book of Records to keep track, but the ancient Greeks and Romans were crazy about setting and breaking records. Now two Swedish archaeologists have compiled a selection. Fact or Fiction? Living people outnumber the dead: Booming population growth among the living, according to one rumor, outpaces the dead. From Slate, a slide-show essay about an effort to save the endangered species that got hit with the ugly stick. Conservation à la carte: How seal penises, elephant dung and smashed ivory are helping geneticists pinpoint the poaching of protected species. Form New Scientist, an article on the Higgs boson and glimpses of the God particle. From The Scientist, here's Your Guide to Retraction and Non-Retraction Retractions. Out of the dusty labs: Technology firms have left the big corporate R&D laboratory behind, shifting the emphasis from research to development. Does it matter? And from Technology Review, will the mouse go away? A user interface that tracks eye movement may provide an alternate way to use a computer
[Mar 1] Tom G. Palmer (Cato): Twenty Myths about Markets pdf. Chris Jay Hoofnagle (Samuelson): The Denialists' Deck of Cards: An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts. From the latest issue of Economic Sociology, Lawrence P. King (Cambridge): Does Neoliberalism Work? Comparing Economic and Sociological Explanations of Postcommunist Performance; Dirk Baecker (Witten/Herdecke): A Note on Max Weber’s Unfinished Theory of Economy and Society; and a review of An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets pdf. Here's the latest issue of Economic Principals. Outsourced Boredom: Technology isn't ending mind-numbing work—it's moving it across the world. From Foreign Affairs, JHU President William Brody on how the ivory tower goes global, but the era of the global "megaversity" may not quite be at hand. From Inside Higher Ed, motivation and its discontents: Will bringing in an inspirational speaker cure the faculty blues? Scott McLemee describes a skirmish in the culture wars; and a time for casting away: As her academic career evolves, Amy L. Wink reconsiders the books she needs to have, and those she can give up. From California Literary Review, the relativism that relishes diversity for diversity's sake is one that eschews aesthetic judgment or choice. Both however are necessary. The Meaning of Metaphor: Jaron Lanier on a new theory that may illuminate the nature of meaning. From Edge, the first chapter from The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind by Marvin Minsky. A review of Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement. How the plastic brain rewires itself: Researchers determine how juvenile and adult brains respond to environmental change. One blockbuster drug, many uses: That's not a side effect, it's another $100 million in sales. A study shows a diminished sense of moral outrage is key to holding the view that the world is fair. A review of Rights: A Critical Introduction by Tom Campbell. Obituary: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (and more). Sean Wilentz on how Schlesinger wrote history: A review of A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1940. From The New York Observer, here's some news on The New Republic and The Wall Street Journal. If there's one bookstore in D.C. you want to read in, Politics and Prose is obviously the place. A review of The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving. From Bryn Mawr Classical Review, a review of Measuring Heaven: Pythagoras and his Influence on Thought and Art in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. A review of Explaining the Cosmos: The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy. The end of days: Mayans, psychics and serious scientists all foresee disaster in 2012. An interview with Jon D. Levenson, author of Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life. And blood libels are back: A review of Pasque di Sangue: Ebrei d’Europa e omicidi rituali by Ariel Toaff