Grinnell's Shame
June 10, 2007

Has the academy gone berserk? Or maybe just Grinnell College in Iowa. We owe it to the New York Times that we are aware of the fact that, among other eminences who received honorary degrees and spoke for their plaudits, was one Angela Davis. Yes, Angela Davis. That Angela Davis. No, this is not a case of mistaken identity. And the Grinnell publicity for her--distorted though it is, as if she were a fighter for freedom rather than a fighter for totalitarianism--does report by and by that she was for many years a member of the Communist Party USA.

Cash For Reading
June 09, 2007

One fact is certain, and it is that there has been no truly successful program to overcome the academic gap between black kids and white. And between other educationally under-performing groups and Asians or Jews. Some people purport to have a solution. Like teaching Harlem kids to play chess. OK, maybe.

Shlomo Avineri Writes A Letter To The New York Review Of Books
June 08, 2007

Well, the June 28 issue of The New York Review of Books has just arrived, and it is not in this issue, either. This is something of a scandal. The "it" to which I refer is a long letter to the editor by Shlomo Avineri. The letter is a devastating rejoinder to an article by George Soros that appeared in the April, 12 issue of the New York Review. The title of Soros's article was "On Israel, America and AIPAC," and it was written partly in response to an article that I had published in TNR on February 12, about Soros and the Jews.

The College Cash Problem
June 08, 2007

Like healthcare, the cost of college tuition in America has been spiraling out of control in the past decade. And the current college loan scandal only makes that more evident. (My alma mater, Columbia -- which just happens to be at the center of said scandal -- costs around $45,000 for tuition and board; that's about $10,000 more than when I matriculated in 2000). It's terrible, first of all, to prey on financially uninformed young people. But even at good rates, the prospect of taking out tens, even hundreds of thousands in loans, particularly for undergraduate education, is terrifying.

Killing The Messengers
June 07, 2007

A few days ago, The Swords of Truth, a Gaza organization of Muslim holy men that had burned down Internet cafes and Christian book shops, threatened to slash the necks of female broadcasters. Behead them, that means. This is now something of an epidemic in the Muslim world. And, of course, George Bush is culpable for its spread. On Tuesday night, north of Kabul, a woman radio program host, Zakia Zaki, was shot dead as she slept beside her 10-month old child. Seven bullets were pumped into her, leaving six children orphans. All of this according to the Times's Abdul Waheed Wafa.

Mandate Mayhem
June 06, 2007

Do you remember those days in childhood, when you felt like everybody was out having fun while you were stuck inside doing your homework? That's how I felt yesterday. Everybody was blogging about health care reform and mandates. But there I was, holed up in university library, doing archival research for an upcoming article. Wait for me, guys! So let me try to make up for lost time. First, and most important, two folks who worked with Senator Obama on his health care plan -- David Cutler and Jacob Hacker -- have posted items clarifying the plan's virtues.

Right Said Fred
June 06, 2007

Uh oh. Now Fred Thompson has a website. Look out world! Last week, when I wrote that I thought Thompson was the Republican version of Wes Clark--i.e. an overhyped potential candidate who'll flame out once he actually gets in the race--a few people objected by pointing out that, unlike Clark, Thompson isn't a political novice. True. But is there anything in Thompson's political career that makes you think he's actually ready for a presidential campaign?

Conventional-wisdom Roundup
June 06, 2007

If one clear winner seemed to emerge from Sunday night's Democratic debate, last night's Republican gabfest produced no such consensus. That's perhaps to be expected, given the ideological divisions within the GOP. Still, McCain and Giuliani remain ahead of the pack, according to this survey of Internet opinion: Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post Winner: McCain "As is usually the case in a Republican debate, the big winner of the night was God. But John McCain finished a close second. This was vintage McCain.

Pray For George Bush's Health
June 05, 2007

by Sanford LevinsonThe latest CBS/New York Times poll conducted between May 18-23 shows the "favorable" rating of Vice President Dick Cheney at a record low. See here. Perhaps the White House takes heart that the "not favorable" rating has actually dropped because the "undecided"s and "haven't heard"s went up by a total 14 points.

What I Learned At "the Blogging Panel"
June 05, 2007

by Eric Rauchway A while back, my department hosted a panel officially titled "Historical Scholarship and the New Media," but everyone called it "the blogging panel" anyway.