by Daniel DreznerFormer Iranian president Mohammad Khatami is scheduled to speak at the Kennedy School of Government on September 10th. Marcella Bombardieri and Maria Sacchetti have a front-pager in the Boston Globe on the minor controversy this is causing in the state of Massachusetts: The dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government yesterday defended the decision to invite Mohammad Khatami to speak on the eve of Sept. 11, saying the United States needs dialogue with its enemies.
by Alan WolfeNancy Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston is "offended" by Harvard's decision to let Mohammad Khatami, Iran's former president, speak there. Dan Drezner, in my opinion, is right to believe that Khatami should not be barred from speaking. For me, though, Kaufman's position raises another issue. I am always disappointed when public figures do not realize the importance of free speech and open debate, especially at universities.
In late July, news surfaced that Iran had executed two gay teenagers--ostensibly for sexual assault, but most likely for the crime of being gay.
It took only a few sentences on Wednesday for Donald Rumsfeld to demonstrate why he is both morally and strategically unfit to serve as secretary of defense. In a townhall-style meeting at a staging area in Kuwait, Rumsfeld was asked by Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard why soldiers were forced "to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic [i.e., bulletproof] glass to uparmor our vehicles?" There was a short pause, and then many of the 2,300 troops in attendance erupted in cheers and applause.
I suspect I am not the only person who was a bit surprised when it was first announced that Alfonso Cuarón had been signed to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's (deservedly) ubiquitous novels. Yes, the Mexican-born director had helmed A Little Princess, a movie featuring a young protagonist who, like Harry, had lost her parents. But he had more recently (and more famously) directed Y Tu Mama Tambien, a sexually explicit film about the relationship between two teenage boys and an older woman.
Jerusalem, Israel--The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists.
I'd hoped to write about The Passion of the Christ this week but, as with its theatrical release, the film's appearance on video is shrouded in anticipation-enhancing secrecy. Its distributor, Fox--who else?--sent out only a very small number of specially marked review copies, and remarkably enough Home Movies did not make the list. Fox also took the highly unusual step of requiring reviewers to return the DVDs after 5 days.
Well before he officially launched his candidacy in mid-September, Wesley Clark was hailed as the Democrats' savior. Party strategists, convinced that the front-running Howard Dean would flame out against George W. Bush, saw in Clark not only a sensible political alternative but, just as important, an electable one.