Saudi Intimidation
August 17, 2007

A secret correspondent of mine has just passed on her reflections on the behavior of an immensely distinguished academic press when its coffers were threatened by a Saudi financial bully who was a little antsy about his monetary links (and that of others) to Islamic terrorism. Contrast the difference between the American approach and timorous Europeans (including Brits). Namely, Cambridge University Press has just pulped the entire edition of its 2006 book by two respected writers on Saudi financing of terrorism, because it was intimidated by legal action of Saudi financier bin Mahfouz.

The Times On Thompson

Is it me, or does this NYT frontpager on Fred Thompson's "stealth campaign" read like it was written three months ago--or, better yet, written by Thompson himself? Yeah, yeah, he's got a good website and it's great that NBC can run his "Law & Order" re-runs without having to worry about other candidates demanding equal time.

Blood On The Track

The New York Times, reflecting on the recent day Eliot Spitzer spent at the racetrack, reveals that the New York governor comes by his NASCAR fandom honestly: Ever since he married his North Carolina-born wife, whose brother is a top engineer at Hendrick Motorsports, one of Nascar's top teams, Mr. Spitzer has followed stock car racing, and has made Jeff Gordon, a Hendrick driver, his favorite. Here's the problem, though.

Genetic Values
August 14, 2007

"All the vulgar issues of life were a matter of indifference to this lofty soul, to whom nothing had yet afforded a profound emotion."--Stendhal, "The Rose and The Green" (tr. Richard Howard) Only weeks after the first complete human genome, that of the great bio-chemist James Watson, was posted on the internet, we are getting reports of theories of transformation influenced by wondrous confidence in genetic determinism.

Global Warming Debunked! (or Not...)

A few days ago, a bunch of conservative bloggers had themselves a little uproar. Noel Sheppard wrote, "[A] government agency is actually participating in a fraud against the American people." Fraud! The culprit, it seems, was James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute. "[L]eftist hero James Hansen is behind this deliberate fraud," wrote The Ace. "He should be frog-marched out of his office." A different blogger, Ace of Spades, agreed: "Fire him.

Gays For Giuliani?

As we all know, liberals believe in the equality and dignity of gay people and conservatives don't. Which is why the video circulating on the internets, linked to here by Steve Miller of the Independent Gay Forum, "Gays for Giuliani," makes so much sense. A disingenuous attempt to scare Republican primary voters, it comes with this message: I made this ad to remind Rudy who he was when he was mayor and to let Republican primary voters have some idea on the man they're voting for. Never mind the awful grammar.

A Note
August 06, 2007

Marty Peretz is on vacation without Internet access in Lucca, Italy. Posting will resume once he's back online.

The Mystery Of Bush's Unpopularity

The Washington Post's Peter Baker has an article today on President Bush's massive unpopularity. Oddly, Baker treats the phenomenon as both hard to explain and largely unrelated to anything Bush has done: Yet Bush's political troubles seem to go beyond particular policies.

Bourne Or Bond?

The third Jason Bourne movie may be getting good reviews, but this Matt Damon interview is pretty dumb: Matt Damon's amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne shares initials with another notorious screen operative. But other than that, Damon doesn't see any similarities between Bourne and James Bond.Bond is "an imperialist and he's a misogynist. He kills people and laughs and sips martinis and wisecracks about it," Damon, 36, told The Associated Press in an interview."Bourne is this paranoid guy. He's on the run. He's not the government. The government is after him.

No Pains For Labour

Two interesting developments in Britain: The first is that authorities have decided they do not have enough evidence to charge anyone in the Labour Party's "Cash For Honours" scandal. The second is that Gordon Brown "passed his first test," as Labour won two big by-elections last night. In both cases, David Cameron's conservatives trailed the Liberal Democrats and wound up in third place. As The Daily Telegraph reports, this makes it more likely that Brown and Labour will call early elections. You can read David Goodhart's assessment of Brown in this week's TNR here. --Isaac Chotiner