On 30 April 1975, Saigon fell to the invading army of North Vietnam. Americans watched the last helicopters fly out of the city and then immediately got on with the task of forgetting their longest war.
Three books to combat the great forgetting.
[In the 1970s] assassination literature found its way increasingly into soft-core pornographic magazines….it is worth noting the appearance of numerous articles, both multipart series and forums, in magazines such as Penthouse, Playboy, Swank, Gallery, and Playgirl.
Art Simon Dangerous Knowledge: The JFK Assassination in Art and Film, 1996
I’ll tell you something. These conspiracy theorists that ignore that miserable, pathetic, self-aggrandizing egomaniac named Lee Harvey Oswald, or glorify him as a patsy and a hero, do so because deep down inside they realize something unpleasant about Lee Harvey Oswald and themselves.
They are Oswald.
So outstandingly authoritative and convincing is this material that it will take an honored place alongside the basic sources on Soviet espionage in the United States. Here, the heart of the KGB is laid out as never before.—Tennent Bagley, author of Spy Wars
Happily Divorced from Bill Maher’s ‘Reality’
Maher is the sort of stunted narcissist who cannot conceive that other people have needs, desires and feelings as legitimate as his own. In his puerile mind, there is no room for consideration of anything except What Bill Wants Right Now. To know such creatures — and most of us have, unfortunately, encountered at least one spoiled brat like Maher — is to loathe them. They tend to be unconscionably rude toward “little people” like waiters and store clerks, taking vicious pleasure in bossing around and humiliating people.
The Wail of the 1%
As the privileged class loses its privileges, a collective moan rises from the canyons of Wall Street
Meghan McCain Is Not, Strictly Speaking, Very Smart
She didn't become a Republican out of principle. She did it as a gift to her dad, which is honestly very sweet but hardly qualifies you to position yourself as the voice of young Republicans. Honestly the 'my daddy is the nominee' is a small cohort the party can do without winning over.
Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism awards an "I.F Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence." Ithaca College hosts an "Izzy Awards" for "independent media." The University of California-Berkeley's graduate school of journalism offers "I.F. Stone Fellowships." In 1999, New York University's journalism department, and a panel of prestigious scribes that included Jeff Greenfield, Mary McGrory, and Morley Safer, named I.F. Stone's Weekly as number 16 on its list of the 100 best works of U.S. journalism in the 20th century.
Don't expect the academic honors, or the media hosannas, to evaporate anytime soon. Stone took money from the KGB and not the CIA, after all. Izzy Stone was wrong about nearly everything he wrote about during the Cold War. It is only fitting that his admirers got him so wrong too.
Harvard prides itself on how many of its graduates make it to the executive suites. Learning how to present arguments in a classroom certainly helps. But how do these people perform once they get to those suites? Harvard does not ask. So we took a look.
Joseph Lampel and I found a list of Harvard Business School superstars, published in a 1990 book by a long-term insider. We tracked the performance of the 19 corporate chief executives on that list, many of them famous, across more than a decade. Ten were outright failures (the company went bankrupt, the CEO was fired, a major merger backfired etc.); another four had questionable records at best. Five out of the 19 seemed to do fine. These figures, limited as they were, sounded pretty damning. (When we published our results, there was nary a peep. No one really cared.)
How much discussion has there been at Harvard about the role it might have played in forming the management styles of graduates who, over the past eight years, have been running America and what used to be its largest company?
Only a few people warned that this supercharged financial system might come to a bad end. Perhaps the most notable Cassandra was Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, who argued at a 2005 conference that the rapid growth of finance had increased the risk of a “catastrophic meltdown.” But other participants in the conference, including Lawrence Summers, now the head of the National Economic Council, ridiculed Mr. Rajan’s concerns.James Surowiecki notes that companies always face two kinds of risk.
And the meltdown came.
Then again, the record is also full of forgotten companies that gambled and failed. The academics Peter Dickson and Joseph Giglierano have argued that companies have to worry about two kinds of failure: “sinking the boat” (wrecking the company by making a bad bet) or “missing the boat” (letting a great opportunity pass).
The Looting of America’s Coffers
Sixteen years ago, two economists published a research paper with a delightfully simple title: “Looting.”
The economists were George Akerlof, who would later win a Nobel Prize, and Paul Romer, the renowned expert on economic growth. In the paper, they argued that several financial crises in the 1980s, like the Texas real estate bust, had been the result of private investors taking advantage of the government. The investors had borrowed huge amounts of money, made big profits when times were good and then left the government holding the bag for their eventual (and predictable) losses.
In a word, the investors looted. Someone trying to make an honest profit, Professors Akerlof and Romer said, would have operated in a completely different manner. The investors displayed a “total disregard for even the most basic principles of lending,” failing to verify standard information about their borrowers or, in some cases, even to ask for that information.
The investors “acted as if future losses were somebody else’s problem,” the economists wrote. “They were right.”
On Tuesday morning in Washington, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave a speech that read like a sad coda to the “Looting” paper. Because the government is unwilling to let big, interconnected financial firms fail — and because people at those firms knew it — they engaged in what Mr. Bernanke called “excessive risk-taking.”
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands, which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
'The Whole Meeting Was Really Kind of Creepy'
THE top suits and some of the on-air talent at CNBC were recently ordered to a top-secret meeting with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to discuss whether they've turned into the President Obama-bashing network, Page Six has learned.
Weinberg tells us, in effect, that he and the rest of the world were duped by the media coverage of Columbine (it's not so much that the media got it wrong intentionally, but in the end, they got it wrong). So Weinberg picks up a single book, and it tells him everything we know about Columbine is wrong. Suddenly, Weinberg assumes everything in this new book is right. To boot, Cullen was one of the reporters covering Columbine in the first place. So now we can trust him to get it right?
Steve Sailer looks at Ground Zero of the Mortgage Meltdown
Critical Mass looks at Ward Churchill and his career
Kosovo is still a killing field. Only now it is Albanians (the people we put in power) who are doing the killing.
One more reason to oppose Harold Koh
God raised Jesus from the dead to the end that we should be clear-once and for all-that there is nothing more important than being human. Our lives have eternal significance. And no one-absolutely no one-is expendable.
Some human beings are fortunate enough to be able to color eggs on Easter. If you have a pair of hands to hold the eggs, or if you are fortunate enough to be able to see the brilliant colors, then you are twice blessed.
This Easter some of us cannot hold the eggs, others of us cannot see the colors, many of us are unable to move at alland so it will be necessary to color the eggs in our hearts.
This Easter there is a hydrocephalic child lying very still in a hospital bed nearby with a head the size of his pillow and vacant, unmoving eyes, and he will not be able to color Easter eggs, and he will not be able to color Easter eggs in his heart, and so God will have to color eggs for him.
And God will color eggs for him. You can bet your life and the life of the created universe on that.
At the cross of Calvary God reconsecrated and sanctified wood and nails and absurdity and helplessness to be continuing vehicles of his love. And then he simply raised Jesus from the dead. And they both went home and colored eggs.
I’VE MENTIONED THE LEFTY COUNTERPOINT TO THE TEA PARTIES, Joe Trippi & Zephyr Teachout’s A New Way Forward. They’ll be marching this weekend to urge that banks that are “too big to fail” be broken up. This makes sense to me; I’ve said the same thing myself, as has Jerry Pournelle.
For a great majority of Denby’s years as a professional writer, he was effectively firewalled from his critics. In the Age of the Internet, hipster bloggers are baying for the fusty critic’s blood.
• They strike “stunned, defenseless innocents via surprise ambush. On a level playing field, the typical active killer would be a no-contest against anyone reasonably capable of defending themselves.”
• They generally try to avoid police, do not hide or lie in wait for officers and “typically fold quickly upon armed confrontation.”
If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am), reading Krugman makes you uneasy. You hope he's wrong, and you sense he's being a little harsh (especially about Geithner), but you have a creeping feeling that he knows something that others cannot, or will not, see. By definition, establishments believe in propping up the existing order. Members of the ruling class have a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are. Safeguarding the status quo, protecting traditional institutions, can be healthy and useful, stabilizing and reassuring. But sometimes, beneath the pleasant murmur and tinkle of cocktails, the old guard cannot hear the sound of ice cracking. The in crowd of any age can be deceived by self-confidence, as Liaquat Ahamed has shown in "Lords of Finance," his new book about the folly of central bankers before the Great Depression, and David Halberstam revealed in his Vietnam War classic, "The Best and the Brightest."
We just got the facts wrong. The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong.Here most of us plebes thought getting the facts right was Job #1 for journalists. Apparently we were naive.
"We fell into a stereotype of the Duke lacrosse players," says Newsweek's Evan Thomas. "It's complicated because there is a strong stereotype [that] lacrosse players can be loutish, and there's evidence to back that up. There's even some evidence that that the Duke lacrosse players were loutish, and we were too quick to connect those dots."
But he adds: "It was about race. Nifong's motivations clearly were rooted in his need to win black votes. There were tensions between town and gown, that part was true. The narrative was properly about race, sex and class... We went a beat too fast in assuming that a rape took place... We just got the facts wrong. The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong."
If the facts are wrong, though, why explore the narrative at all? Is it fair to use the Duke lacrosse players to tell a larger story of athletes run wild--a theme that appeared not only on sports pages but also was splashed, repeatedly, on the front pages of major newspapers and amplified on cable shoutfests? Says Johnson: Once the facts are "proven not to be true, you certainly have to consider whether the narrative is relevant."
But seriously, folks. Do I believe that Barack Obama genuinely doesn't know that they speak German in Austria, and that he'd make this same mistake in an unstressed setting with a moment to reflect upon it? No, I don't believe that. This was a silly and innocent mistake — like the "57 states" comment during the campaign — and any human being, no matter how well educated and genuinely knowledgeable, will be caught making this sort of mistake from time to time if subjected to constant and intense scrutiny.The minor mistakes are not meaningful. The disparate treatment of the mistakes are very meaningful. They tell us nothing about the President's ability. They tell us a great deal about the MSM
I grew sick to death of those who seized upon every verbal misstep of George W. Bush's or Sarah Palin's and treated those missteps as if they were meaningful, as if they were worthy of anything more than mild mockery for purposes of amusement. They weren't. This isn't either.
Editors as Curators: What's Taking So Long?
With all the resources of the Internet at their fingertips, editors should be able to use their expertise on a subject or geography to sift through multiple sources of news and information and use links and other tools to assemble a comprehensive, edited collection of information for their readers.
The buzzword for that is "aggregation." And the big surprise is that it doesn't seem to be happening at most mainstream news Web sites. Instead, newspaper and TV sites still generally are trapped in their walled gardens, putting together their daily reports only from the sources they pay for: their own reporters, maybe some wire and syndicated copy and photos, and that's about it.
"I Love You Man"
The idea here is perhaps that a man needs a friend to supply him with an excuse to stop being a man and regress to adolescence. That's why, at one level, the film is all about manhood. But it is a freelancer's manhood -- manhood cut loose from its social dimension and the honor culture that goes with it and, therefore, something that kids are free to make up as they go along. "I'm a man, Peter. I have an ocean of testosterone flowing through my veins," says Sydney on one occasion when he is confronted by a man who has stepped in his dog's feces, which he leaves to foul the public footways on principle. Turning on the man aggressively and scaring him away, he blames "society" for trying to arrest his aggressive impulses. "The truth is we are animals, and we have to let it out sometimes."
Later, after a similar confrontation with a bodybuilder, Sydney turns tail and runs for his life. So much for his lovingly tended aggressive impulses. There's not even any attempt to hide the fact that his various rationalizations for bad behavior are merely nonsensical excuses for an adolescent delight in bad manners as a token of personal authenticity.
‘Taken’: Patriarchal Porn
Again, I was taken with “Taken,” but you can be sure that some post-modern, critical-whatever-studies types will hate this movie, what with the not-too-subtle “Death Wishy” attacks on non-Americans and the patriarchal revenge fantasy of it all. This is “Thelma and Louise” for fathers.
"He's phenomenally good at surrounding himself with a team," Brooks said. "I disagree with them on most issues, but I am given a lot of comfort by the fact that the people he's chosen are exactly the people I think most of us would want to choose if we were in his shoes. So again, I have doubts about him just because he was such a mediocre senator, but his capacity to pick staff is impressive."