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February 28, 2006

Up from the Memory Hole

Tim Blair recalls another recent example of Muslims resorting to violence to suppress images of Mohammad -- way back in 1977. (He's right that it's curious how no one has mentioned this incident before.)

February 28, 2006 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Enzo's Wild Ride

Today's LAT has more on Stefan Eriksson's Ferrari Enzo which was totaled while racing on the Pacific Coast Highway last week. For one thing, LA Sheriff's Deputies now believe the car was traveling at more than 160 MPH when it hit a bump in the road and became airborne. For another, the $1 million Enzo was one of two owned by Eriksson, who also owns a Mercedes SLR that had been reported stolen, at least according to the Scotland Yard. (Earlier reports had suggested that the Enzo lost control while racing a Mercedes SLR, which fled the scene.)

Meanwhile, the mysterious "Dietrich" remains at large. Stay tuned...

February 28, 2006 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2006

So, Where Are We?

Saratoga Springs-based author Jim Kunstler has a sobering assessment of where we stand in our struggle against Islamic extremism.

As the bombing of the Golden Dome in Samarra last week resolves into the Iraq civil war that everyone has feared, expect a more widespread uproar against western interests generally through the Islamic world, with Iran doing everything possible behind the scenes to incite the main actors: underemployed young men from Algiers to Jakarta.

The west and Islam have reached an inflection point. American influence in the eastern hemisphere may be the main object of Islam's wrath, but Europe can no longer pretend to be a disinterested bystander. The big issues are the perceived weakness of the west, the steady draining of the Islamic world's most precious resource, oil, and the hateful presence of western persons and culture in the Islamic ummah.

Read the whole thing.

February 27, 2006 at 04:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OOTW: Emilie Muse, 98, Daredevil Who Dared Not Discuss Past, Dies

A very interesting woman, and a superb headline from the ordinarily uninspired group at the NYT. Here are the main points from the NYT obit:

Emilie Neumann Muse, who as a young woman exemplified the crazy, flamboyant competitiveness of the 20's and 30's by swimming in treacherous waters, wrestling alligators, jumping out of airplanes and being buried alive, died on Jan. 23 in East Patchogue, N.Y. She was 98.

The cause was complications of a stroke, her granddaughter Loretta Muse Dill said.

In later decades, Mrs. Muse was a dedicated homemaker whose interests included beekeeping and gardening. Her husband, Fred, did not want their children to know of her daredevil past for fear it might prove overly inspirational, and she herself did not share her stories until they were adults.

A few minutes of googling unearthed some interesting additional details of Mrs. Muse' life, including some pictures. (Thank god for unusual names.) Ken Spooner, a Mastic Beach, Long Island amateur historian, had written extensively about the Muse's home, including many historical pictures. He also included a clipping of a more extensive obit for Mrs. Muse, including a rather fetching photo of Mr. and Mrs. Muse from the 1930s.

Incidentally, Spooner writes pretty well, and his website is full of interesting tidbits. I particularly enjoyed reading his story "The Mansion" about his childhood memories of visiting the former Knapp mansion during the 1950s.

February 27, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

Too Little Too Late?

Thomas E. Ricks has an excellent feature story in today's WaPo on how the 4th ID has developed new tactics for fighting against the insurgents around Baghdad. His conclusions are succinctly stated in his final two grafs:

"I would like to think that there are still possibilities here," Army Reserve Lt. Col. Joe Rice said in the coffee shop of the al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad's Green Zone. "We are finally getting around to doing the right things," said Rice, who is working on an Army "lessons learned" project here but who was expressing his personal opinion. "I think we're getting better, I do."

But, he continued, "is it too little too late?"

I bloody well hope not, both for our sake and for the Iraqi people.

February 26, 2006 at 04:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 25, 2006

Harvardiana

I am ashamed of my alma mater. Listen to Prof. Alan Dershowitz (at New England Republican via Vikingpundit):

In America, I am left-center, but certainly closer to the left. And on the Harvard arts and sciences faculty, I would be on the extreme right.

The students at Harvard supported President Larry Summers by a ratio of three to one. . .

As did the Harvard Crimson (the student newspaper) with editorials like "No Confidence in ‘No Confidence:' The Faculty needs to end its groundless campaign to oust the president" (published on February 13th) or "Harvard's Loss: Summers’ vision of a worldly university should serve as model for Harvard’s next chief" (published on February 22nd). . .

As did enlightened elements of the faculty, like economics professor David Laibson, in this OpEd in the Crimson: "Summers and the Students."

Summers had his faults: he was arrogant and boorish. But he was one of the smartest guys around as well as intellectually honest and willing to listen to new ideas or rethink his opinions. Most importantly, he recognized Harvard's responsibility as one of the world's leading universities to help make the world a better place. He took seriously the job of guiding that university into the 21st century, forcefully advocating major investments in life sciences and engineering, as well as introducing a requirement for every undergraduate to have a study abroad experience during their years at Harvard.

During his five year tenure, he tried (unlike most university Presidents) to actually manage the university; to allocate resources towards important areas for research and education, and require faculty members to adhere to high standards of teaching and scholarship. The tragedy for Harvard is that if a man with Larry Summer's talents -- youngest full professor at Harvard, former Secretary of the Treasury, prodigious intellect, robust ego -- is unable to effectively govern the university, who can?

The out of touch, tenured leftists on the FAS faculty should be ashamed of themselves. But this was not primarily a battle of ideology. While Summers was more of a political centrist in many ways (he was forceful in advocating the return of ROTC to Harvard's campus and was the first University President to address the ROTC commissioning ceremony in many, many years), he was, after all, a liberal: a card-carrying friend of Bill's and a loyal member of Clinton's cabinet. What was at stake here was not politics but faculty privilege: would tenured academics be left alone to work (or not) as they saw fit, without executive oversight or criticism.

Again, I am very disappointed in Harvard. It should have done better; and easily could have. If only the seven members of the Corporation who hired Summers (and were the only people who had the power to accept or request Summers' resignation) had shown more backbone.

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February 25, 2006 at 09:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

Islam, Religion of Peace, Part XXIV

Tony Auth, from today's Slate:

Take this for Mohammed

February 24, 2006 at 01:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We've Come A Long Way, Baby

Obituaries are not just windows into the lives of others, but also upon our society and recent history. For example, this obituary from today's LAT surprised the hell out of me:

Joel Dorius, 87; Educator Convicted, Exonerated in '60s Gay Pornography Case
By Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer
February 23 2006

Joel Dorius was teaching Shakespeare, classic English literature and poetry at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., when his quiet life as an academic was shattered in 1960.

The victim of a federal crackdown on obscenity in the mails, he was arrested, dismissed from his job at the elite women's college and left feeling like a "criminal" for decades.

Dorius, one of three teachers at Smith College who lost their jobs after being convicted of possessing gay pornography but were later exonerated in the headline-making case, died Feb. 14 at his home in San Francisco after a battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 87.

I was shocked that this kind of thing had gone on, in Northampton, of all places, as recently as 1960. (Now Northampton, for those who don't know, is considered to be the lesbian capital of North America.) Of course, this was back in the day when Lenny Bruce was arrested for using language on stage that today would probably not raise an eyebrow on late night television, but still, it is amazing the degree to which societal attitudes have changed over the last 50 years.

Perhaps Professor Dorius would be cheered to know that even in death, he continues to teach us all.

February 24, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Crash and Burn

Crashing your million dollar Ferrari under dubious circumstances appears to be a metaphor for this dude's life. (And I thought Swedes were supposed to be boring?)

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February 24, 2006 at 06:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2006

Winter in America

Columnist Gerard Baker, writing in today's UK Times, sees broader significance in Harvard President Larry Summers having been run out of office:

TWENTY YEARS AGO the American philosopher, Allan Bloom, published a book called The Closing of the American Mind, a devastating indictment of the nation’s universities and, more broadly, of its cultural elites.

Its premise was that the spirit of openness, a willingness to consider ideas freely, the great virtue of American life and the guiding ethos of a university had been perverted into a cultural relativism. From the 1960s liberal philosophy had taken hold, defiantly asserting that truth was in the eye of the beholder, and that notions of absolute ideals or virtues were anachronistic. In this new world, liberal democracy was no better than totalitarian theocracy, Plato’s philosophy was no more valid than Marianne Faithfull’s and Mozart should be considered on the same terms as the Monkees.

The resignation of Larry Summers as President of Harvard University this week indicates that the closing of the American mind is a continuing process, remorselessly squeezing the light out of its academic enlightenment

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February 23, 2006 at 11:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack