Monthly Archives:
April 2007

Tenet Book Builds Chorus of, ‘Wolfowitz, Perle & Feith’

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On “60 Minutes” last night, George Tenet fingered Richard Perle as the agonist behind the Iraq War. Tenet said he ran into the prince of darkness on Sept. 12, 2001, at the White House and Perle was already pushing for…

The Washington Post Identifies Iraq War as a Pro-Israel Cause

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Today’s Washington Post has two articles, showing that hawkish pro-Israel views about the Middle East are held in high places across party lines. The first piece is Robert Novak’s column on Chuck Hagel, in which Hagel attacks the neoconservatives and…

‘The Hoax’ Excuses Its Hero of Unglamorous Act, Plagiarism

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In reading on-line histories of the Clifford Irving hoax case, I note that an episode that the movie rushes through–Irving and his sidekick make a copy of a manuscript penned by a former Hughes aide named Noah Dietrich–played an important…

Writers Lead Quiet Lives (or Why ‘The Hoax’ is Boring)

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I saw “The Hoax” last night and generally enjoyed it, though I found my mind wandering. One of my friends fell asleep during the show. The problem is that writers tend to lead boring lives; when they’re working they’re sitting…

Columbia/Barnard Hillel Sponsors Israel’s Illegal Occupation

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The rightwing Israel lobby feeds on American youth. Young idealists must be recruited into the enterprise before they think to question Israeli policies. Columbia/Barnard Hillel is housed at the handsome, new Kraft Center on W. 115th Street in New York,…

Goy and Man at Yale

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Today I thought about a story Jewish boys told at Harvard in the ’70s. The great sculptor Chaim Gross was teaching an art history class at Yale. He showed a slide of the Venus de Milo and said, “That’s a…

Greed and the Holocaust

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Last night the Hungarian writer George Konrad spoke at Columbia U. about his new book, A Guest in My Own Country. Born in 1932, Konrad grew up in a small market town in eastern Hungary. In March 1944, the Nazis…

Richard Perle Projects Nazism on the Arab World

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The other night on Charlie Rose, the host asked the regrettable Richard Perle about Israel. Perle went on to liken Yasir Arafat to Hitler and asked, rhetorically, “would you have diplomacy with Hitler?” Perle’s comment should be filed with a…

The Times Disses Halberstam

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David Halberstam was unquestionably a great journalist. The Best and the Brightest was a hugely important book in establishing a new mode of serious, writerly investigation. His coverage of Vietnam for the Times in the 60s (inspired by Graham Greene)…

Israel in the News (by Implication)

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1. Iraqis’ protests over the 12-foot separation wall in Baghdad–that it will promote sectarian divisions and make normal life impossible–cause the American government to abandon the wall, which it had lately begun, to stop suicide bombers. (And the 30-foot separation…

Rattlesnake

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I live in the Hudson Highlands and over ten years have seen three live rattlesnakes in my walks. Today was my most dramatic sighting. I was bushwacking up a sharp incline at about 800 feet, through leaves and branches and…

Flyspecking Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam (With Amendment by My Wife)

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I’m an admirer of Ian McEwan because he is such a great storyteller. He knows story structure better than anyone. His books aren’t long. They suck you in, set a dark mood, give you a few quickly-sketched intriguing characters, take…

The Cornball Minister and St. Peter’s Queue

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Yesterday my wife and I went to the funeral of a great lady in her 90s, one of my Christian in-laws. In the eulogy, the minister said that he had visited her when she was dying and told her that…

NBC Seeks Profit From Va. Massacre

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NBC’s logo is everywhere today. The network is branding the Blacksburg, Va., killer’s posthumous documentation with its logo so we all know to whom the murderer sent the material in the mail. So the NBC peacock is right over Cho’s…

Isn’t the Iraqi Violence Anti-American?

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125 killed today in Baghdad (4 times the Virginia Tech numbers; how much therapy will the Iraqis get?) The term “civil war” was adopted last fall by journalists and politicians, to describe the violence. Replacing “insurgency.” But both those terms…

Why Saif Ammous Won’t Comment Till Next Week

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Saif Ammous has his comprehensive exam (a big deal, apparently) next Tuesday at Columbia. He’s told me he won’t respond to my comment on the big thread below, nor anyone else’s, till he gets that done. Good luck, Saif. I…

Humbled by Richard Witty and Saif Ammous

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Gosh. I feel real gratitude to Richard Witty and Saif Ammous for having it out on my blog, in the comments below. I’m humbled that such an open discussion is happening, right here. Thank you!

Fewer Blacks in Baseball: Maybe That’s a Good Thing?

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ESPN did a great job on Sunday night baseball with the Jackie Robinson story. Great interviews in the booth with an elegant Rachel Robinson, turbulent and dignified Hank Aaron, and always-edgy Frank Robinson. All these people, and Dave Winfield, too,…

Exalted Vonnegut (and My Theory About Slaughterhouse-5)

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For me there’s just one thing to say about Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five. It’s astonishing, it’s everything a novel could be. I keep it near my desk and can reread that opening chapter a zillion times and never get tired…