"To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?" -- C.S. Lewis

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Intolerance: I've read a few stories on the controversy swirling around Harvard president Lawrence Summers; and, unless there's something I've missed, I really don't understand the outrage. Summers seems to have qualified all of his statements rather thoroughly, and, really, he doesn't seem to be married to any of the theories he forwarded. From the actual speech to his statements in the days following it, he doesn't come across as the least bit dogmatic. I refer you to a sober response from The Washington Post.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Deep Twist: Most assume that Deep Throat is an old friend of Woodward's. Well, this particular theory places Throat in Bernstein's past. That means Ben Stein.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

More & More Deep Secrets II: Timothy Noah attempts to shoot down the Rhenquist as Deep Throat theory in today's Slate. For the most part I think Noah has identified the proper holes in the theory. I wonder, though, if John Dean's account contains a key mistake. Maybe he mislabeled the title of the person to whom Woodward reported that Deep Throat was/is sick. That would account for Leonard Downie's denial that Woodward has approached him with that news.

More & More Deep Secrets: Former Nixon aide John Ehrlichman, who died in 1999, is said to have been "absolutely convinced" that Henry Kissinger is Deep Throat. Walter Anderson, the chairman and CEO of Parade magazine, recalls the time he asked his friend Ehrlichman's opinion on the identity of Deep Throat:

Without missing a beat ... he said, Henry Kissinger. He believed it very strongly. I was taken aback that he answered so quickly and so assuredly. I didn’t expect that.

I was always struck by the anecdote reported by Woodward & Bernstein that, during the most intense days of the Watergate scandal, Nixon had curled up on the floor in the fetal position and cried. The only witness to that event? Kissinger. Is that evidence of Kissinger being Deep Throat? Of course not. But it certainly reveals his willingness to disclose information that more loyal members of the Nixon Administration might not.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Life On Mars?: NASA is pointing to evidence that could represent indirect proof of life on Mars. A big day, to be sure.

It was in an undergraduate aerospace history class in 1992 that I first became aware of how seriously mainstream science took the question of whether life exists (or ever existed) on Mars. My professor, Dr. Hans Mark, explained to us that one of the important—and stated—goals of manned space flight to Mars would be the search for fossils. At the time, that was certainly news to me. According to the lay conventional wisdom of the time, the possibility of life on Mars was zero—it was the stuff of science fiction. Proposing that notion in a high school science class would have likely evoked a condescending chuckle from the teacher.  

But real scientists were indeed taking the question really seriously.

A big day, an exciting day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Iraqi Election Fallout: As the results of Iraq’s elections are weighed and scrutinized by the various interested parties, the main story seems to be the rather broad make-up of the newly elected parliament.

The Washington Post reckons that there’s “greater danger that Iraq’s new regime will collapse than that it will lurch toward extremes.” The new parliament’s members have been placed in a political environment where they will be forced to seek compromises, and that can only be a good thing. The sooner a young nation acquires for itself the skills for internal compromise, the better.

It’s also interesting that Ahmed Chalabi’s comeback continues. Christopher Hitchens has stood by him from the beginning, and now the Wall Street Journal has acknowledged the Bush Administration’s ham handling of Chalabi:

For his part, Mr. Chalabi has maneuvered remarkably well given how he had been dismissed by much of the Western press as a corrupt Pentagon stooge with zero local support. The fact that the CIA, the State Department, the National Security Council, and L. Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority went out of their way to thwart and discredit him should now serve as a cautionary tale to U.S. policy makers about how not to make friends and influence people.

When it has come to misreading all things Iraq, no one’s held a monopoly—though some will claim otherwise.  Enter Paul Krugman:

Even on Iraq, many moderates, including moderate Republicans, quietly shared [Howard] Dean’s misgivings – which have been fully vindicated – about the march to war.

Fully vindicated, eh? Dean thought that, even if Iraq harbored every WMD Colin Powell said it did, Iraq was no threat to the U.S. (a minority view, to say the least). That’s a far cry from being anti-war, because you doubted Iraq was hiding WMD stores. But such is the cocoon-like reality Krugman weaves for himself and his readers.

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