Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

The View from the Core by E. L. Core
America's Small Town Webzine

 Volume 2.12 Front Page November 25, 2002 

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Columns, essays, and news articles (new at top)

A Letter From the Boss Contradicts Fox’s Creed (11/19/02) new
By Alessandra Stanley in The New York Times
“The revelation that Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, the self-proclaimed fair and balanced news channel, secretly gave advice to the White House after the Sept. 11 attacks was less shocking than it was liberating — a little like the moment in 1985 when an ailing Rock Hudson finally explained that he had AIDS. Ever since Mr. Ailes changed jobs from Republican strategist to news executive, he has demanded to be treated as an unbiased journalist, not a conservative spokesman. But the cable channel he controls has an undisguised ideological agenda, which has made his protestations a bit puzzling.”

Attack on Fox News reeks of hypocrisy (11/24/02) new
By Sterling Rome in The Boston Herald
“That the Times, the bastion of political correctness and diversity, would choose to print an analogy like this is proof of both its hypocrisy and its thinly veiled contempt. Never mind that the Times is comparing a political ideology to a deadly disease; it is doing so at the expense of a homosexual man who died a tragic death. Such an analogy by anyone else (most especially anyone from the right) would normally result in a flurry of op-eds and demands for termination from the Times.”

Empty victory for a hollow man: How Norm Coleman sold his soul for a Senate seat. (11/07/02) new
By Garrison Keillor at Salon via TCPUNK
“It was a dreadful low moment for the Minnesota voters. To choose Coleman over Walter Mondale is one of those dumb low-rent mistakes, like going to a great steakhouse and ordering the tuna sandwich. But I don’t envy someone who’s sold his soul. He’s condemned to a life of small arrangements. There will be no passion, no joy, no heroism, for him. He is a hollow man. The next six years are not going to be kind to Norm.”

Minnesota’s shame: Republicans don’t like my criticism? Too bad.... (11/13/02) new
By Garrison Keillor at Salon via Twin Cities Independent Media Center
“The hoots and cackles of Republicans reacting to my screed against Norman Coleman, the ex-radical, former Democratic, now compassionate conservative senator-elect from Minnesota, was all to be expected, given the state of the Republican Party today. Its entire ideology, top to bottom, is We-are-not-Democrats, We-are-the-unClinton, and if it can elect an empty suit like Coleman, on a campaign as cheap and cynical and unpatriotic as what he waged right up to the moment Paul Wellstone’s plane hit the ground, then Republicans are perfectly content. They are Republicans first and Americans second.”

Woebegone in Minnesota? (11/12/02) new
By Bruce C. Sanborn at The Claremont Institute
“Garrison Keillor grew up in small-town Minnesota. In the column he wrote for Salon (the one in which he shot those insults at Coleman and Minnesotans) Keillor engaged in a small-town practice he professes to hate. Keillor treated gossip as political commentary: ‘St. Paul is a small town and anybody who hangs around the St. Paul Grill knows about Norm’s habits. Everyone knows that his family situation is, shall we say, very interesting, but nobody bothered to ask about it, least of all the religious people in the Republican Party. They made their peace with hypocrisy long ago.’ In more than one way, Keillor’s gossip is hypocritical, and his behavior may well bother Minnesotans and fair-minded Democrats. Keillor also asserted Coleman won his Senate seat ‘because he was well-financed and well-packaged.’ To be sure, in his debate with Mondale, Coleman had President Bush’s arguments down pat. Against the backdrop of the Democrats’ jumbotron political frenzy at the memorial rally for Paul Wellstone, Coleman delivered those arguments impressively and respectfully, as Mondale presented the Democrats’ forcefully and a bit patronizingly.”

Sing Goddess of the Wrath of Garrison: The Limits of Leftist Humor Get Narrow (11/21/02) new
By Bruce C. Sanborn at The Claremont Institute
“Certainly, it’s possible Keillor wants to rally liberal Democrats after virtually nothing came up roses for them on election day. Keillor calculated that irony and humor would not rouse their passions the way a hot-blooded jeremiad would. He’d slam and damn Coleman — and the Republicans, too, for backing him all the way. He’d say the Republicans got in a car named Unpatriotic, cynically left Main Street, drove right past Fiscal Responsibility Avenue, and then, foul to the core, drove over the hearts of all the people who cared about America and about the Americans who died on 9/11 — and to their eternal shame, Minnesotans rewarded the Republicans with the election; that’s what he’d say; that’s what he said.... That then may explain what Keillor was up to in writing ‘Minnesota’s shame,’ but of course if it does, what must Keillor think of his fellow Democrats — I mean if he calculated that with them he should play the demagogue?”

Was Paul Wellstone Murdered? (10/28/02) new
By Michael I. Niman at AlterNet
“There is no indication today that Wellstone’s death was the result of foul play. What we do know, however, is that Wellstone emerged as the most visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone. For our government to maintain its credibility at this time, we need an open and accountable independent investigation involving international participation into the death of Paul Wellstone. Hopefully we will find out, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this was indeed an untimely accident. For the sake of our country, we need to know this.”

Hey, Roeper! I was right (11/24/02) new
By Mark Steyn in The Chicago Sun-Times
“Calling for an international inquiry into his [Wellstone’s] death, Niman does not directly accuse the president [Bush] but the only guys he seems to think would have any motive for offing Wellstone are those for whom the idealistic senator had ‘emerged as the most visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone.’ I don’t know why Niman is suddenly so sheepish. If he’s not implying that Wellstone was killed by forces linked to the ‘unelected government,’ perhaps he could enlighten us as to what precise point his column was making. Here’s the thing: Ted Rall, Barbra Streisand and Niman reckon there’s something fishy about the Wellstone crash for no other reason than that a left-wing man is dead and a right-wing government’s in power.”

Commentary on Election 2002 (11/08/02)
By Bill Moyers at PBS
“And for the first time in the memory of anyone alive, the entire federal government — the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary — is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate. That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives. It includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich. It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable. And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine. Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life. If you liked the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what’s coming. And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don’t even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader say that the Almighty is using him to promote ’a Biblical worldview’ in American politics? So it is a heady time in Washington — a heady time for piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money.”

The Day After (11/06/02)
By Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive
“The landscape this November 6 is barren. The Democrats managed to lose the Senate, and now the Republicans will have their way. They will be able to clog the benches with rightwing judges, cement Bush’s retrograde tax cuts, and roll back environmental, labor, and a host of other protections.... If the Democrats are to give themselves a fighting chance to win, and if they are going to stand as the party of the people, they had better start appealing to the poor, people of color, and the majority of Americans who didn’t show up at the polls November 5. A huge majority of Americans want a raise in the minimum wage. A huge majority of Americans believe that corporations have too much power. A huge majority of Americans identify health care as one of their top concerns. A huge majority of Americans want the environment protected, and a decent, affordable education for their kids. The Democrats ought to be able to say: We’ll give you a big raise, we’ll give you free health care, we’ll give your kids a free college education, we’ll curb corporate power and take the money out of politics, and we’ll clean up the environment while we’re at it.”

A dark week for democracy (11/10/02)
By Will Hutton at Guardian Unlimited Observer
“Nor do the Conservatives’ ambitions stop there. Following the ideas of the high priest of ultra conservatism, Leo Strauss, they want to construct a republic of ‘moral’, god-fearing citizens who adhere to traditional virtues, rewarding the rich who can only have become rich through the virtue of hard work and penalising the poor who are only poor because of their own fecklessness. Above all, by now having the opportunity to pack the judiciary with extreme right-wing judges, they intend to do away with the famous Roe v Wade judgment that legalised abortion. This is the most fiercely reactionary programme to have emerged in any Western democracy since the war, and for which last Tuesday’s vote, argue Republicans, is an explicit mandate.... But the game isn’t up. America’s conservatives, blinded by their ideology and in control of every lever of government, will overreach themselves and the reality of what they plan will become evident to all, stirring the apathetic voter and reminding the best of America what it stands for. Last week represented the highwater mark of American conservatism and, although it looks bleak, the beginnings of the long-awaited liberal revival. Not just the United States, but the world, needs it badly. In the meantime, despite its flaws, give thanks to the European Union for partial shelter from the conservative storm.”

Oh Boy — More Fear And Gluttony: Darkness falls across the land, flowers wilt, the GOP takes full, and frightening, control (11/08/02)
By Mark Morford at The San Francisco Gate
“Feel that numbness? That strange slightly chilling shift deep in the heart, like a cold wind across the blood, an ice pick straight to the third eye, fingernails across the karmic chalkboard? Fear not — it’s just the dark storm clouds of sadness and savage spiritual pain that just settled in over the collective soul of the country and indeed much of the world recently, as the Republican Party snatched total control of the American government and really honestly promised to further its agenda of fear and war and intolerance and bad sex and more petroleum products forevermore.... Let us not also forget anti-choice misogyny, racism, gluttony, support for Big Agribiz and Big Tobacco and a general antipathy toward anyone who makes less than six figures or who really cares about the environment or enjoys true religious freedom or alternative viewpoints or authentic orgasms or honest laughter.”

Jackson sees rights eroding under GOP (11/14/02)
In The Washington Times by Steve Miller
“American blacks face the end of civil rights under the new Republican-controlled Congress, and need to force the Democratic Party further to the left as a remedy, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other liberal black leaders said yesterday at a voter-participation forum. Last week’s results ‘positions us to see the end of the second Reconstruction,’ said Mr. Jackson in a conference at the National Press Club. ‘Next year, the right wing is going to control the White House, the House, the Senate and the courts virtually every civil rights remedy will be made illegal next year,’ the two-time former Democratic presidential hopeful predicted.”

Dictatorship begins (11/08/02)
Letter to the Editor by Russell Rimovsky in The Lincoln Journal Star
“The dictatorship begins as the diabolical Republican party rises to power. We will see senior citizens shivering, begging for food, and dying a tortuous death after George W. Bush shoves them into the streets. Hospitals and care facilities will suffer neglect as the attention to health care is diverted by the worship of war. Calamity inevitably abounds. Terrorists will unleash horror as we’ve never seen before, because the warmongering dictator, George W. Bush, will now have his way, and the terrorists are really going to get mad at us now. Pollution will proliferate and thousands will perish by poisoning through our food, water and air. The delicate environment will deteriorate before our very eyes. Children, especially black children, will starve in our schools. Schools? What am I saying? There won’t be any schools.”

Absurd liberals (11/15/02)
Letter to the Editor by Russell Rimovsky in The Lincoln Journal Star
“I received a vast amount of feedback regarding my Nov. 8 letter, ‘Dictatorship begins.’ With that letter, I made foes of my friends, and friends of my foes, which was a risk I was willing to take in the pursuit of displaying the absurdity of the Liberal Democrat agenda. The summation of the column was, now that the Republicans have arisen to the distinct power they will soon enjoy while leading the House, Senate and White House, the nation will plummet into violent oblivion. The intent of the letter was to reveal the absurdity of the liberal perspective, by energetically portraying it. In other words, the letter was unapologetically sarcastic.”

Left-Wing Hates America, Says Author (11/07/02)
By Michael L. Betsch at Cybercast News Service
“‘The left talks a great deal about diversity, but the diversity that exists on college campuses is a diversity where you have a faculty that looks like the United Nations, but thinks like a San Francisco coffee house,’ Flynn said. For example, he said the Left hates Christianity’s influence in American society because it is an ‘intolerant’ religion. ‘But if you look at America, people of all faiths can practice their religion here,’ Flynn said. ‘You’re not going to be able to practice your faith in a lot of places outside of western civilization.’”

Failures of Nerve (November 2002)
By Roger Kimball in The New Criterion
“Orwell noted that pacifism was ‘objectively pro-Nazi’ because it inculcated an attitude that aided England’s enemies. Just so, anti-Americanism is objectively pro-terrorist. It was not surprising that the Nazis did all they could to encourage pacifism among the English (just as the Soviets actively aided the anti-War movement in America in the 1960s and 1970s). Similarly, anti-Americanism helps to create a climate where terrorism is excused, rationalized, explained — explained away. We deserved it; we had it coming; arrogance; poverty; the environment; root causes.... Pacifism was built around phrases that sounded pleasant (peace, love, non-violence) but that were essentially deceptive because they were unrealistic — that is, untrue to the nature of reality, to the way the world actually works (as distinct from the way we might wish that it did). ‘To abjure violence,’ Orwell noted, ‘it is necessary to have no experience of it.’”

Retreats into fantasy (November 2002)
By David Pryce-Jones in The New Criterion
“In the superficial sense that they seized power and initiated regimes, the nationalist leaders of the 1950s and 1960s succeeded. In some countries, for example in Indonesia, Malaysia, and sub-Saharan Africa, they seemed to have restored the rightful sense of dignity to their people. In the Arab countries, however, independence has brought neither freedom nor dignity but one-man rule secured by a single party and the military and secret police apparatus. The archetypal Arab leader remains Gamal Abdul Nasser, the undisputed leader of Egypt from 1953 till his death in 1970. What he claimed to be building was Arab socialism. What in fact he built was a second-hand totalitarian state with neither human rights, nor respect for life and property. Other Arab countries, even those that were nominally monarchies, imitated the model or deferred to it, also relying on the military and secret police apparatus.”

Yearning to be liked (November 2002)
By John Derbyshire in The New Criterion
“Try to imagine that your own notion of life in the United States was constructed entirely from American movies and TV programs. You would perceive my country as being inhabited by a mix of gigantic, steroid-enhanced basketball stars, exquisitely beautiful young people with perfect teeth and musculature, gangsters, detectives, lawyers, and freakish pop singers. We live in palatial apartments, do very little work, sleep around a lot, and get our way mainly by murdering each other. It is not much of a secret, I think, that a large proportion of American movies are made for export. The people of the Third World watch them with fascination. Unfortunately, fascination is not the same as admiration or fondness. It can coexist very happily with, for example, disgust.”

Behind the Veil: A Muslim Woman Speaks Out (11/09/02)
In The New York Times by Marlise Simons
“The theme of injustice toward women in Islamic countries has become common in the West, but it has gained fresh currency through Ms. Hirsi Ali’s European perspective, her study of Dutch immigrants and her own life. Born in Mogadishu, she grew up a typical Muslim girl in Somalia. When she was 5, she underwent the ‘cruel ritual,’ as she called it, of genital cutting. When her father, a Somali opposition politician, had to flee the country’s political troubles, the family went to Saudi Arabia, where, she said, she was kept veiled and, much of the time, indoors. At 22, her father forced her to marry a distant cousin, a man she had never seen. But a friend helped her to escape and she finally obtained political asylum in the Netherlands. She was shocked when, as a university student, she held a job as an interpreter for Dutch immigration and social workers and discovered hidden ‘suffering on a terrible scale’ among Muslim women even in the Netherlands. She entered safe houses for women and girls, most of them Turkish and Moroccan immigrants, who had run away from domestic violence or forced marriages. Many had secret abortions.”

The Reform Islam Needs (Autumn 2002)
By James Q. Wilson in City Journal
“Freedom of conscience has made the difference. In an old world where knowledge came from libraries, and scientific experiments were rare, freedom would not be so important. But in the new world, knowledge and all that it can produce come from the sharp challenge of competing ideas tested by standards of objective evidence. In Istanbul, Muslims printed no book until 1729, and thereafter only occasionally. By contrast, the West became a world in which books were published starting three centuries earlier and where doubt and self-criticism were important. Of course, doubt and self-criticism can become, as William Bennett has observed, a self-destructive fetish, but short of that calamity, they are the source of human progress. The central question is not why freedom of conscience failed to come to much of Islam but why it came at all to the West. Though Westerners will conventionally assign great weight to the arguments made by the defenders of freedom, I do not think that the ideas of Milton, Locke, Erasmus, and Spinoza — though important — were decisive. What made religious toleration and later freedom of conscience possible in England was not theoretical argument but political necessity. It was necessary, first in England and later in America and much of Europe, because rulers trying to govern nations could not do so without granting freedom to people of different faiths.”

This Is Serious: Dominance for Republicans. Vindication for the president. And a good showing from the American people. (11/06/02)
By David Brooks in The Weekly Standard
“The Republicans should not read a radical ideological mandate into the results tonight. But there is a trend here. The American people are fundamentally serious. They know that the most important problem facing the country right now is terrorism and security. They know that George W. Bush is basically right on how to approach this problem. They know it is important to send people to Washington to support the president. In key states, they are doing that.... Don’t underestimate the importance of the Wellstone memorial service/rally. The polls shifted in the last few days. One big event was that rally. People saw liberal self-righteousness and they remembered that they don't like it. People saw the future of the Democratic party and its name was Walter Mondale.”

Fallout from a Memorial: Did the memorial service for Paul Wellstone cost Democrats the election? (11/18/02)
In Time by Matthew Cooper
“A backlash against the politically charged service almost certainly helped Norm Coleman beat Walter Mondale for Wellstone’s Minnesota Senate seat. And a private poll by Bill Clinton’s former pollster, Mark Penn, suggests the service backfired on Democrats nationally as well. Penn found that 68% of voters knew about the service — a high awareness of an event broadcast live nationally only on C-SPAN. What’s more, 49% of voters said the service made them less likely to vote for a Democrat — and 67% of independents said they felt that way.”

The Gerrymander Scandal: Why bother voting for Congress? Redistricting has already determined the outcome. (11/10/01)
By the Editors of The Wall Street Journal
Americans will go to the polls a year from now in the quaint belief that they will be electing a new Congress. But the real story is that nearly all of those races have already been decided — by politicians in backrooms and long before anyone even votes. The reason is the bipartisan scandal known as redistricting, or more colorfully as the "gerrymander." That is the process by which state politicians sit down every 10 years to carve up Congressional districts. This time they’re doing it with an even more blatant mix than usual of partisanship and incumbent protection. The result is that perhaps only 30 of 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will even be competitive next year.“”

The Gerrymandered Democrats: Incumbency protection isn’t good for the minority party or democracy. (11/05/02)
By the Editors of The Wall Street Journal
“Gerrymanders are hardly new, but it used to be that politicians had to guess how to draw district lines every 10 years. Nowadays they use computer databases that can account for voter tendencies down to the city block. Nowadays, too, politicians tend to be careerists who prize incumbency above even partisanship. So rather than go for broke every decade by creating many competitive seats, their first priority is to protect themselves. This is the box canyon Democrats have walked into this year. In California, Texas, New York and Illinois, accounting for nearly one-third of all House seats, they conspired with GOP incumbents to freeze the status quo. The result is that in America’s largest state of California, which is increasingly Democratic, only one of 53 House races is even competitive, and that one only because Gary Condit became famous. Republicans in the state still can’t believe their good luck.”

Occasionally, some links are moved from this section into the Featured Webpages Trove.

Classic articles that are, or should be, famous (new at top)

The Role of Government in Education (1955)
By Milton Friedman in Economics and the Public Interest
“This re-examination of the role of government in education suggests that the growth of governmental responsibility in this area has been unbalanced. Government has appropriately financed general education for citizenship, but in the process it has been led also to administer most of the schools that provide such education. Yet, as we have seen, the administration of schools is neither required by the financing of education, nor justifiable in its own right in a predominantly free enterprise society. Government has appropriately been concerned with widening the opportunity of young men and women to get professional and technical training, but it has sought to further this objective by the inappropriate means of subsidizing such education, largely in the form of making it available free or at a low price at governmentally operated schools. The lack of balance in governmental activity reflects primarily the failure to separate sharply the question what activities it is appropriate for government to finance from the question what activities it is appropriate for government to administer — a distinction that is important in other areas of government activity as well. Because the financing of general education by government is widely accepted, the provision of general education directly by govern mental bodies has also been accepted. But institutions that provide general education are especially well suited also to provide some kinds of vocational and professional education, so the acceptance of direct government provision of general education has led to the direct provision of vocational education. To complete the circle, the provision of vocational education has, in turn, meant that it too was financed by government, since financing has been predominantly of educational institutions not of particular kinds of educational services.”

Advice to Graduates About Advice (06/06/1971)
By Edward C. Banfield at Claremont McKenna College
“Figures of speech, especially metaphors, are peculiarly serviceable to people who give advice about social problems. The use of them tends to create an emotional response in the listener that enhances the urgency of the ‘problem’ thus raising the value of the putative ‘solution’ that the advice-giver offers. I sometimes wonder if we could have an ‘urban crisis’ without a good supply of metaphors. Suppose that a writer could not speak of ‘decaying neighborhoods’ but instead had to say what he meant straight out — say that the well-off have moved away from aging unfashionable neighborhoods, that this has given the less well-off opportunities to move into housing better than they formerly had, and that they, for obvious reasons, are in most instances disposed to spend less on the repair and maintenance of houses than the former occupiers were. Or suppose that a United States Senator instead of saying, as one recently did, that ‘the cities are mortally sick and getting sicker’ and that the ‘states are in a state of chronic crisis’ had to speak plainly — in this instance, perhaps, to say that although in the last decade the cities and states have increased their revenues by a factor of three, there are nevertheless many voters who would like to have more spent, provided of course that the taxes are paid mainly by others.”

The End of History? (Summer 1989)
By Francis Fukuyama in The National Interest
“The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism. In the past decade, there have been unmistakable changes in the intellectual climate of the world’s two largest communist countries, and the beginnings of significant reform movements in both. But this phenomenon extends beyond high politics and it can be seen also in the ineluctable spread of consumerist Western culture in such diverse contexts as the peasants’ markets and color television sets now omnipresent throughout China, the cooperative restaurants and clothing stores opened in the past year in Moscow, the Beethoven piped into Japanese department stores, and the rock music enjoyed alike in Prague, Rangoon, and Tehran. What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to fill the pages of Foreign Affairs’s yearly summaries of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run.”

An Explosion of Green (Apr. 1995)
By Bill McKibben in The Atlantic
“In the early nineteenth century the cleric Timothy Dwight reported that the 240-mile journey from Boston to New York City passed through no more than twenty miles of forest. Surveying the changes wrought by farmers and loggers in New Hampshire, he wrote, ‘The forests are not only cut down, but there appears little reason to hope that they will ever grow again.’ Less than two centuries later, despite great increases in the state’s population, 90 percent of New Hampshire is covered by forest. Vermont was 35 percent woods in 1850 and is 80 percent today, and even Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have seen woodlands rebound to the point where they cover nearly three fifths of southern New England. This process, which began as farmers abandoned the cold and rocky pastures of the East for the fertile fields of the Midwest, has not yet run its course.... This unintentional and mostly unnoticed renewal of the rural and mountainous East — not the spotted owl, not the salvation of Alaska’s pristine ranges — represents the great environmental story of the United States, and in some ways of the whole world. Here, where ‘suburb’ and ‘megalopolis’ were added to the world’s vocabulary, an explosion of green is under way, one that could offer hope to much of the rest of the planet.”

The Doomslayer (Feb. 1997)
By Ed Regis in Wired
“The world is getting progressively poorer, and it’s all because of population, or more precisely, overpopulation. There’s a finite store of resources on our pale blue dot, spaceship Earth, our small and fragile tiny planet, and we’re fast approaching its ultimate carrying capacity. The limits to growth are finally upon us, and we’re living on borrowed time. The laws of population growth are inexorable. Unless we act decisively, the final result is written in stone: mass poverty, famine, starvation, and death. Time is short, and we have to act now. That’s the standard and canonical litany.... There’s just one problem with The Litany, just one slight little wee imperfection: every item in that dim and dreary recitation, each and every last claim, is false.... Thus saith The Doomslayer, one Julian L. Simon, a neither shy nor retiring nor particularly mild-mannered professor of business administration at a middling eastern-seaboard state university. Simon paints a somewhat different picture of the human condition circa 1997. ‘Our species is better off in just about every measurable material way,’ he says. ‘Just about every important long-run measure of human material welfare shows improvement over the decades and centuries, in the United States and the rest of the world. Raw materials — all of them — have become less scarce rather than more. The air in the US and in other rich countries is irrefutably safer to breathe. Water cleanliness has improved. The environment is increasingly healthy, with every prospect that this trend will continue.’”

A brilliant parody:

Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity (Spring/Summer 1996)
By Alan Sokal in Social Text
“There are many natural scientists, and especially physicists, who continue to reject the notion that the disciplines concerned with social and cultural criticism can have anything to contribute, except perhaps peripherally, to their research. Still less are they receptive to the idea that the very foundations of their worldview must be revised or rebuilt in the light of such criticism. Rather, they cling to the dogma imposed by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual outlook, which can be summarized briefly as follows: that there exists an external world, whose properties are independent of any individual human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are encoded in ‘eternal’ physical laws; and that human beings can obtain reliable, albeit imperfect and tentative, knowledge of these laws by hewing to the ‘objective’ procedures and epistemological strictures prescribed by the (so-called) scientific method.”

... and, in explanation, ...

A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies (May/June 1996)
By Alan Sokal in Lingua Franca
“For some years I’ve been troubled by an apparent decline in the standards of rigor in certain precincts of the academic humanities. But I’m a mere physicist: If I find myself unable to make heads or tails of jouissance and differance, perhaps that just reflects my own inadequacy. So, to test the prevailing intellectual standards, I decided to try a modest (though admittedly uncontrolled) experiment: Would a leading North American journal of cultural studies — whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross — publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.... What’s going on here? Could the editors really not have realized that my article was written as a parody?”

Networks Need a Reality Check: A firsthand account of liberal bias at CBS News. (02/13/1996)
By Bernard Goldbert in The Wall Street Journal
“There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news, and one of them, I’m more convinced than ever, is that our viewers simply don’t trust us. And for good reason. The old argument that the networks and other ‘media elites’ have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it’s hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don’t sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we’re going to slant the news. We don’t have to. It comes naturally to most reporters.”

There is No Time, There Will Be Time (11/18/1998)
By Peggy Noonan in Forbes ASAP
“When you consider who is gifted and crazed with rage... when you think of the terrorist places and the terrorist countries... who do they hate most? The Great Satan, the United States. What is its most important place? Some would say Washington. I would say the great city of the United States is the great city of the world, the dense 10-mile-long island called Manhattan, where the economic and media power of the nation resides, the city that is the psychological center of our modernity, our hedonism, our creativity, our hard-shouldered hipness, our unthinking arrogance.”

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News & Views — Papers & Commentary — Reviews & Discussion

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Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
From Oklahoma City to the Middle East — An Investigative Report

Jim Romenesko’s MediaNews

All the junk that’s fit to debunk

Lucianne’s News Forum
Latest Articles

The New Republic
Occasional Intelligence on the Left

America’s News Page

Notable Quotables Archive @ Media Research Center
“A bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.”

Wall Street Journal editorial page

US Army War College Quarterly

Philosphy & Literature
arts — ideas — debate

RealClear Politics
political commentary for the political junkie

Reason Online
Free Minds and Free Markets

The World’s Leading Provider of Financial Information and News

SciTech Daily Review
Features and Background — Books and Media — Analysis and Opinion

Statistical Assessment Service (STATS)
“A non-partisan, non-profit research organization... devoted to the accurate use of scientific and social research in public policy debate.”

Tech Central Station
Where Free Markets Meet Technology

United Press International
From the News Wire

The Wilson Quarterly
Surveying the world of ideas for the intellectually curious reader

A Free Press for a Free People

ZENIT News Agency
The World Seen from Rome

Reference, etc.

American Heritage Dictionary @
Fourth Edition

Columbia Encyclopedia @
Sixth Edition

The U.S. Constitution Online
Including Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and other fundamental documents of US history and law

Founder’s Library
Historical American documents

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature @
Eighteen volumes, originally published 1907-1921

Catholic Encyclopedia
“Actual work on the Encyclopedia was begun in January, 1905. It was completed in April, 1914.”

IntraText Digital Library
The missing link between text and hypertext

The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia Britannica
“This 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is filled with historical information that is still relevant today. It fills 29 volumes and contains over 44 million words. The articles are written by more than 1500 authors within their various fields of expertise.”

The Internet Archive
Building an “Internet Library”

Collections, etc.

Special Wayback Collections at The Internet Archive:

The September 11 Web Archive
“This collection of archived documents was commissioned by the Library of Congress to preserve digital materials covering the events of September 11, 2001.”

US Election 2000
“This collection was commissioned by the Library of Congress to archive digital materials covering the Election of 2000. It contains 800 gigabytes of data gathered from 8/1/2000 to 1/21/2001.”

Web Pioneers: The Early Years
“A special Wayback collection of websites that began the Internet revolution.”

A chronicle of high-level USA government actions in September 2001, at two websites:

Ten Days in September (WP)
“This series is based on interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney and many other key officials inside the administration and out. The interviews were supplemented by notes of National Security Council meetings made available to The Washington Post, along with notes taken by several participants.”

Response to Terror (Austin American Stateman)
“This is an eight-part series by The Washington Post describing the response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the highest levels of government.”

Coverage of September 11 and the aftermath:

Fighting Terrorism: America Retaliates (BG)
“Archive stories from the Boston Globe: Tuesday Sept. 11 – Sunday Sept. 16”

Attack on America (Guardian Unlimited)
Special Report with continuing coverage

9-11 A Year Later (USA Today)
Special Investigations, etc.

9/11: One year later (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The Attack on America

NRO 911 Archive (National Review Online)
Collected writings from the early aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001

Complete coverage of 9/11/02 (New York Daily News)
The Daily News’ coverage of the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks

9-11: One Year Later (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Coverage of the first anniversary of the Sep. 11 attacks

September 11th One Year Later (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Coverage of events marking September 11, 2002

Miscellaneous Collections:

Historic Documents (CNSNews)
“ is pleased to present this library of important documents as a public service”

Jonathan & Reginald Carr on Trial (Wichita Eagle)
Local newspaper coverage of the trial of two brothers who went on a robbery/murder rampage, December 2000, in Kansas

Bali Blasts (Sydney Morning Herald)
Special coverage of the terrorist bombings in Bali

Sniper Shootings (The Washington Post)
Full Coverage of the Beltway Sniper

Sniper shootings coverage (The Baltimore Sun)
Full Coverage of the Beltway Sniper

Abortion Bias Seeps Into the News (Los Angeles Times)
“A four-part 1990 study of major newspaper, television and newsmagazine coverage over 18 months, including more than 100 interviews with journalists and with activists on both sides of the abortion debate, confirms that this bias often exists.”

“All Nine Alive!” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The story of the Quecreek Mine rescue

“I was a Negro in the South for 30 days” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“Fifty years ago [1948], Ray Sprigle of the Post-Gazette posed as a black man to experience firsthand what life was like for 10 million people living under the system of legal segregation known as Jim Crow.”

Catholic Poets (ELCore.Net)
Joyce Kilmer, Alice Meynell, Joseph Mary Plunkett

Verse (
Public-domain Anthologies and Individual Volumes

HTI American Verse Project
“The American Verse Project is a collaborative project between the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative (HTI) and the University of Michigan Press. The project is assembling an electronic archive of volumes of American poetry prior to 1920.”

Newman Reader (ed. Bob Elder)
Life and Works of Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

What We Think of America (Granta)
“In this issue twenty-four writers drawn from many countries describe the part America has played in their lives — for better or worse — and deliver their estimate of the good and the bad it has done as the world’s supreme political, military, economic and cultural power.”

Hot Issues: Persecution (Christianity Today)
Reports of contemporary persecution of Christians world-wide

Gay Activism in Schools (Teachers in Focus)
“A single-themed issue on homosexual activism in the schools”

Skepticism Toward The Skeptical Environmentalist (Scientific American)
The Great Debate between Lomborg and Anti-Lomborgs

Document Archive in English (ZENIT)
The World Seen from Rome

Archives: Fallout of September 11 (ZENIT)
The World Seen from Rome

STATS Spotlight (Statistical Assessment Service)
“Here are pieces of more extensive unpublished STATS research.”

Legacy of Shame (New Times LA)
News and opinion about Roger Cardinal Mahony

A Trust Betrayed:
Sexual Abuse by Teachers (Education Week)

“This three-part series on child sex abuse by school employees is the result of a six-month project by Education Week involving scores of interviews with state and local education and law-enforcement officials, other experts, teachers, principals, parents, and victims, as well as an extensive review of court documents, journal articles, and public-policy records.”

Catholic Church Abuse Scandal (Yahoo! News)
U.S. Full Coverage

The Crusades (Catholic Dossier)
“It is difficult for one who lives in an increasingly secularized society not to be influenced by its prejudices. One of the great misunderstandings in the West, even among Catholics, has to do with the Crusades. This issue of Catholic Dossier provides fundamental and irrefutable historical information about what actually happened and why.”

Pope Pius XII (Catholic Dossier)
“The accomplishments of the Vatican diplomatic corps in the various countries occupied by the Germans, over which the sinister Eichmann preyed, had received the plaudits of all free men, not least those in the new country of Israel. There groves were planted in honor of the Pope and of many of his nuncios, not least Cardinal Roncalli who, as nuncio in Istanbul, had been the good right arm of Pius in rescuing Jews. Pius XII escaped martyrdom during his lifetime, but he has been subjected to the martyrdom of vilification, defamation and incredible falsification after his death.”

The New Rise of Islam (Catholic World Report)
“Late in the 20th century, the renewed vigor of Islam has become one of the most important developments on the world scene. By dint of their energetic proselytism, their migration to new lands, and their high birth rate, Muslims are rapidly gaining attention and influence in many countries where their faith has heretofore been virtually unknown. CWR aims to make readers better acquainted with Islam, with a primer on the religious principles, and public practices of that faith.”

Christianity and Islam, Terrorism and War (Catholic World Report)
“Why have thousands of Muslims joined in anti-American protests in Pakistan, Kenya, and Indonesia since the start of the US air strikes on terrorist bases in Afghanistan? These demonstrators are not all supporters of al-Qaeda, thirsting for American blood; they are not Arabs, caught up in the political turmoil of the Middle East. They are united only by the Muslim faith. Is it Islam, then, that prods them toward violence?”

The Cross and the Crescent (Catholic World Report)
“To a remarkable degree, America has united behind President Bush in the war on terrorism. For the first time since World War II there is an overwhelming consensus that we are fighting a necessary battle, for a just cause. That national unity is a clear sign of strength, and a clear warning to our enemies. Nevertheless, beneath the surface of that consensus the careful observer can still detect signs of the fault lines within American society. We are united against terrorists, but divided among ourselves.”

A Call for “Holy War” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Pittsburgh-area connections to radical Islamists

Roe vs. Wade (no violence period.)
“Background information” and “unconventional analyses”

Other columnists (alphabetical)

Diane Alden

Ann Coulter
Town Hall

Bill Dunn
Faith and Funnies

Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post

Michael Kelly
Washington Post

Jonah Goldberg
National Review Online

Jonah Goldberg
Town Hall

Nat Hentoff
The Village Voice

John Mallon

Michelle Malkin
Jewish World Review

Steve Milloy
Fox News

Peggy Noonan
Opinion Journal

Fred Reed
Commentary with Moxie

Mark Steyn
Chicago Sun-Times

Deb Weiss
A View from Here

George F. Will
Washington Post

Diana West
Town Hall

Series and multi-part articles of news or opinion (new at top)

A three-part series “At the Gates, Again” by Brink Lindsey at National Review Online:

new A New Barbarism (11/19/02)
“Here is the gist of it: We find ourselves, once more, in that paradoxical vulnerability that our forebears suffered for more than 20 centuries. The old menace, long vanquished, has returned in new guise. We are threatened again by an enemy whose weaknesses in peace become strengths in war. Our civilization is exposed to ruin by the very sources of its greatness. After a long respite, the barbarians are at the gate again.”

new Terrorism & Trust (11/20/02)
“The civilized world’s exposure to barbarian assault arises today, as it did in the past, out of the very sources of our prosperity and power. Most obviously, Western technological prowess can now be turned and used against us. The logic of technological progress is that it democratizes power over the elements. As we continue to innovate and grow richer, more and more people have ever-greater access to increasingly potent capabilities. Since the capabilities themselves are morally neutral, the consequence is this dark irony: The more technological dynamism unleashes the creative energies of the best among us, the more widely available are destructive energies to the worst among us.”

new War & the Battle of Ideas (11/21/02)
“The new barbarian threat, like that of old, grows out of civilizational backwardness. Specifically, the Islamist radicals who now plot against us are a product of the political, economic, and cultural failures of the underdeveloped world. Brooding resentment of those failures has mixed with fundamentalist Islam to produce a totalitarian ideology bent on an apocalyptic showdown with the West. ”

“The Ideology of Jihad, Dhimmitude and Human Rights”: two lectures at Georgetown University, Oct. 22, 2002:

By Bat Ye’or (11/12/02)
“Jihad, therefore, was an ongoing historical process that brought vast Christian territories, with their population and civilization, under the rule of Islamic law, transforming them from a Christian civilization into an Islamic civilization, as we know them today in Turkey, the Middle East and in North Africa. If jihad has been pursued century after century, it is because jihad, which means ‘to strive in the path of Allah,’ embodied an ideology and a jurisdiction. Both were conceived by Muslim jurists consults from the eighth to ninth centuries onward. Briefly presented, the ideology of jihad separates the world into two irreconcilable entities: dar al-Islam (the land of Islam) and dar al-Harb (the land of war), controlled by the infidels. The duty of the Muslims is to impose the Islamic law on the whole world, either by persuasion or by war, and those efforts which imply sacrifices represent the fight in the path of Allah.’ For Muslim theologians, jihad is a religious duty that unites the Muslim community together, imposing on individual different obligations, according to circumstances.”

By David Littman (11/12/02)
“The barbaric terror jihad-war that struck New York and Washington — stunning the American people, free peoples of the world’s democracies and all those who cherish freedom, liberty and universal human rights — occurred over a year ago. It is time, it is high time, for all Muslim leaders, both religious and political, to speak out unequivocally in their countries, making it crystal clear to all — to Muslims and non-Muslims alike — that this ‘jihad ideology,’ this religious interpretation of the jihad-genocidal war, is no longer accepted by the international community and by the free peoples of the world. Jihad leads to slavery (in Sudan, and elsewhere), to dhimmitude, and to ‘toleration,’ which is not the same as inherent human rights, that are guaranteed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights — and in what is called the International Bill of Human Rights.”

A classic series in The Los Angeles Times documenting the pro-abortion bias of mainstream media, especially newspapers:

Abortion Bias Seeps into the News (07/01/90)
“When reporter Susan Okie wrote on Page 1 of the Washington Post last year that advances in the treatment of premature babies could undermine support for the abortion-rights movement, she quickly heard from someone in the movement. ‘Her message was clear,’ Okie recalled recently. ‘I felt that they were... (saying) ‘You’re hurting the cause’... that I was... being herded back into line.’ Okie says she was ‘shocked’ by the ‘disquieting’ assumption implicit in the complaint — that reporters, especially women reporters, are expected to write only stories that support abortion rights.”

Abortion Foes Stereotyped, Some in the Media Believe (07/02/90)
“When abortion opponents picketed Turner Broadcasting System last summer to protest the showing of a film promoting abortion rights, TBS Chairman Ted Turner called the demonstrators ‘bozos’ and ‘idiots.’ Many in the anti- abortion movement say Turner was simply giving public voice to what many in the media privately think of their movement. Some reporters agree. Journalists tend to regard opponents of abortion as ‘religious fanatics’ and ‘bug-eyed zealots,’ says Ethan Bronner, legal affairs reporter for the Boston Globe, who spent much of last year writing about abortion. ‘Opposing abortion, in the eyes of most journalists... is not a legitimate, civilized position in our society,’ Bronner says. Many journalists vigorously deny having this view.”

“Rally for Life” Coverage Evokes an Editor’s Anger (07/03/90)
“The event that triggered Downie’s anger was the [Washington] Post’s coverage of a massive ‘Rally for Life’ April 28 at the Washington Monument. The rally, sponsored by the National Right to Life Committee, was intended as both a demonstration of the strength of the anti- abortion movement and as a response to the enormously successful pro-abortion-rights rally in Washington in April, 1989. Abortion protesters insisted that the Post (and other media) greatly understated the turnout for the rally, but such charges are common when the media cover virtually any political demonstration. Far more important, critics complained — and the Post conceded — the paper vastly underplayed the rally, ‘trivialized’ it, as Harwood later wrote.”

“Abortion Hype” Pervaded Media After Webster Case (07/04/90)
“Last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its controversial Webster abortion decision, the media responded with a barrage of apocalyptic stories predicting political and legislative revolution. Even before the court ruling — which ultimately gave states greater latitude in regulating abortion — the Boston Globe said in a Page 1 story that ‘a majority of states’ would be expected to ‘ban abortion in all but extreme circumstances’ if the court made such a ruling. ‘No more than five states would retain the liberal guidelines’ existing before the Webster decision, the Globe said. The Globe was not alone in what Colleen O’Connor, director of public education for the American Civil Liberties Union, calls the media ‘hysteria’ that accompanied the Webster decision.”

“America in the Dock”: a five-part series by David Frum in the London Daily Telegraph:

Myth I: America is totally in hock to the Jewish lobby (10/21/02)
“There’s a joke from the 1960s about the social worker who witnesses a brutal mugging. The victim crumples to the ground, the mugger administers a final kick and then runs away with the victim’s wallet. The social worker rushes over, checks the victim’s pulse, and murmurs: ‘That poor man! Imagine how much he must have suffered to want to beat you like that!’ Americans had little sympathy with that social worker; they have less sympathy for her foreign policy equivalents today. And it is for that reason, and not because of some kosher conspiracy, that America stands by Israel and confronts Iraq.”

Myth II: America wants war with Saddam because of oil (10/22/02)
“Those who mistrust America’s good faith in the Middle East can accurately point to the country’s long willingness to tolerate local despots, so long as they kept quiet and kept pumping. Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran was by no means the worst, although he was bad enough. Perhaps America was wrong then; perhaps it was making the best of a difficult situation not originally of its own making. Either way, the despots of today are much more dangerous than those of 30 years ago. Who seriously believes that Saddam and the mullahs of Iran will keep quiet and keep pumping once they have the nuclear weapons they seek?... It is the weapons and ambitions of the regimes and terror groups which make up the axis of evil that fuel American policy in the Middle East today. Not the price of petrol.”

Myth III: Bush wants war with Iraq because of a family vendetta (10/23/02)
“Here, for example, is Senator Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore’s running-mate in the 2000 election, in a speech delivered last year: America, he said, must be ‘unflinching in our determination to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq before he, emboldened by September 11, strikes at us with weapons of mass destruction’. And here is Bush’s one-time rival, Senator John McCain, after the Iraq resolution debate earlier this month: ‘Saddam Hussein’s regime cannot be contained, deterred or accommodated.’ At bottom, the idea that Bush’s Iraq policy is inspired by personal psychological issues is based on a failure to understand how American foreign policy is made. The American government is a gigantic, messy organisation. The line between where the government stops and where the rest of society begins is never entirely clear.”

Myth IV: America couldn’t care less what the rest of the world thinks (10/24/02)
“Before I came to Britain, I had supposed it was the Tories who hated Tony Blair. I stand corrected: it’s the core of his own party that most detests him. Over my eight days in Britain, I talked to three or four Old Labourites. They all wanted to know the same thing: ‘George Bush doesn’t pay the slightest attention to Blair, does he?’ I hate being the bearer of bad news, but there was no denying the facts: ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Blair’s opinion is hugely important in America — in fact, Blair’s voice was a decisive one in persuading Bush to take America’s case against Iraq to the United Nations. Bush’s UN speech has clearly swayed British public opinion. And when your closest ally tells you that he needs something, you give it to him.’ This news disheartened them horribly, but we all have to bear the truth as best we can.”

The truth: America is indeed subverting the Middle East (10/25/02)
“The full cost of maintaining the old order in the Middle East did not, however, become apparent until September 11. The Middle East is now a region of overpopulation and underemployment, where tens of millions of young men waste their lives in economic and sexual frustration. The region’s oppressive regimes stifle their people’s complaints about every local grievance, and direct their rage outward instead: to Israel, to America, to the infidel West, until one day that rage devoured 3,000 lives in New York in a single morning. And on that morning, the old order became unsustainable.”

A five-day series in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “This week, the focus is on how the family structure is breaking down to the point of becoming not just a critical public policy issue, but a threat to the community’s future.”

Community’s fate tied to strength of families: Weak homes, economics hurt children’s chances (06/30/02)
“A war is on, across the metropolitan area, but especially in impoverished neighborhoods, to improve the lives of children and to strengthen families.”

Stopping cycle of kids having kids: Culture of acceptance may be boosting city’s teen pregnancy rate (07/01/02)
“More and more people wonder if the accepting attitude toward teen pregnancy that evolved in the last quarter century is actually contributing to the phenomenon.”

Remembering forgotten fathers: Year-old program drives home lessons that teen dads need to help their children (07/02/02)
“A small number of programs are targeting the side of teen pregnancy people don't usually pay any attention to: the guys. And why do some of those guys feel obligated to become fathers?”

Kids may pay for city’s high rate of single moms: Where 60% of mothers are single, children are left with a murky future (07/03/02)
“Few factors have more influence on a child’s healthy development than a strong, loving, two-parent family. So says a recent report by a nationally known organization devoted to children’s issues. And yet fewer and fewer children grow up in such a family.”

In fight for families, small wins add up: Though not a substitute for solid homes, city programs try to fill in parenting gaps (07/04/02)
“David beat Goliath in the Bible story, but all the would-be Davids, armed with their good programs, have seemed to make only some dents in the Goliath of a tattered social fabric in large sections of Milwaukee. Still, there are victories, and they should be celebrated.”

Occasionally, some links are moved from this section into the Featured Webseries Trove.

Up to Sources Reference Collections Columnists Series

 Volume 2.12 Front Page November 25, 2002 

The View from the Core, and all original material, © 2002 E. L. Core. All rights reserved.

Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”