University of Wisconsin

It has been fashionable in the wake of Wade Michael Page’s tragic acts in Wisconsin to speculate on whether the White Power music he listened to helped stoke him into the senseless murders he committed. Such speculations, however, are as incoherent as they are pointless—and they are marked, above all, by a cloying air of self-congratulation. A comparison with another musical genre helps put the debate into relief.

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Today’s special election in Wisconsin is definitely historic. The contest, which pits Republican governor Scott Walker against Democrat Tom Barrett, is the denouement of fierce backlash against Walker’s union-stomping policies, and it marks only the third time in U.S. history that a governor has been subject to a recall. But historical importance doesn’t automatically confer electoral importance, a fact few Beltway-dwellers seem to grasp.

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While some parts of the South are dealing with (or bracing for) record floods, others are anticipating another kind of flood: a flood of cicadas. A brood that emerges every 13 years started appearing late last month in southern Alabama, and the insects have since appeared in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and a number of other southeastern states. The cicadas will mate with each other en masse before dying, which frankly seems like a pretty hasty end after 13 years underground. But why every 13 years (or, with some other species, 17 years)?

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America needs to transform its energy system. The Great Lakes region possesses what may be the nation’s richest complex of innovation strengths--research universities, national and corporate research labs, and top-flight science and engineering talent. Is there a deal to be done?

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This is not my title. It's one that Ronald Radosh, a scrupulous and brave historian of the political culture of modern American history, has put on his Wall Street Journal essay about Oliver Stone's new venture in trashing our own past by ritual adoration of the iconic tyrants who bring unbelievable suffering to their subjects. The documentary--well, it's not really a documentary--is called "South of the Border," and its co-author, Tariq Ali, a Pakistani writer of agit-prop whom fools call a scholar, admits basically that it is propaganda.

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Debates about the costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions usually get conducted along very narrow lines. First you add up the amount people will have to pay in higher energy bills and then compare that with the benefits of avoiding big temperature increases. Et, voila. Except the problem with this approach is that it ignores many of the indirect benefits (and, yes, indirect costs) of shifting to cleaner forms of energy.

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Excessive Force

The New Yorkers driven to the brink of riot last week by the shooting of Patrick Dorismond claim that Mayor Rudy Giuliani's zero-tolerance policy against crime has turned their city into a police state. Giuliani's defenders respond, in effect, that you have to take the bitter with the sweet. Yes, the shootings of Dorismond and Amadou Diallo are regrettable; but they are the inevitable side effect of the aggressive policing that has sent crime rates plummeting in New York and around the nation.

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I. Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America Routledge, 319 pp. $19, $16.95 paper Race Matters Beacon Press, 105 pp. $15  Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism. Volume One: Prophetic Thought in Postmodern Times Common Cause Press, 205 pp. $14.95 paper  Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism. Volume Two: Prophetic Reflections: Notes on Race and Power in America Common Cause Press, 244 pp. $14.95 paper  Prophetic Fragments William Eerdmans Publishing Co., 294 pp. $14.99 paper  The American Evasion of Philosophy:A Genealogy of Pragmatism University of Wisconsin Press, 279 pp. $16.95 pap

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The recent Teamsters strike, The Los Angeles Times declared, "has served as a reminder of how much the union's influence has waned." The outcome, The New York Times wrote, showed how the union's "power has shrunk." There is some truth in these statements, but they reveal more about the national press's attitude toward labor than about the Teamsters union. During the twenty-four-day strike, the longest in Teamster history and the first since 1979, the union achieved almost 100 percent support from its rank and file, in spite of violent dissension in its upper ranks. In the provisional settlemen

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