a blog full of magic

Nobel in headline construction

I award it to Glenn Greenwald. See here.


It’s been a long time since I deleted everything in my blog and started over.

You know you’re doing something right when…

…the military bans its employees from visiting your site!

One of these things doesn’t belong

Which one of these things is incommensurately worse than the others?

There aren’t too many worse things you can suggest about an author than that his or her work is plagiarized. It’s the book-world equivalent of spreading the word that a financial adviser has cooked the books or that the parish priest has designs on the altar boys. By its nature, even the suggestion is tarnishing.

From the New York Times’ public editor, here.

(As a person who loves berating others for misunderstanding the limited ambitions of analogies, I recognize that I’m being a little unfair – but I think it’s still an ill-chosen comparison.)

Greenwald and Fishman on NPR’s recent NSA report

Here is Greenwald’s/Fishman’s long, well-documented reply to NPR’s recent story on how Al-Qaeda allegedly benefits from the Snowden documents. Interestingly, Greenwald has interacted with NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston before, on a related theme, both in print and, most entertainingly, in person:

William R. Polk on the historical background of Israel/Palestine

Here are the first and second parts of an extremely interesting series of posts by William R. Polk on Juan Cole’s blog. Here is William Polk’s bio:

William R. Polk, MA (Oxford) PhD (Harvard) was teaching at Harvard when President Kennedy invited him to become a Member of the Policy Planning Council, responsible for North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia He served for 4 years under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, During that time he was a member of the three-men Crisis Management Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis and head of the interdepartmental task force that helped to end the Franco-Algerian war. Later he was Professor of History at the University of Chicago, founding director of the Middle Eastern Studies Center and Founder and President of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs. At the request of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, he negotiated with Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser the cease fire that ended Israeli-Egyptian fighting on the Suez Canal in 1970. He was called back into the White House by the President’s special representative, McGeorge Bundy, as his strategic adviser to write a possible treaty of peace. (He has written three — abortive –peace treaties.) He is the author of some 17 books on world affairs, including Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine; The United States and the Arab World; The Elusive Peace, the Middle East in the Twentieth Century; Understanding Iraq; Understanding Iran; Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency and Terrorism; Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs and numerous articles in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Harpers, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Le Monde Diplomatique . He has lectured at many universities and at the Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, Sciences Po, the Soviet Academy of Sciences and has appeared frequently on NPR, the BBC, CBS and other networks. His most recent books, available on Amazon, are Distant Thunder: Reflections on the Dangers of Our Times and Humpty Dumpty: The Fate of Regime Change.


U.S. involvement in Middle East

At The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald offers a lovely series of headlines from the past, along with some commentary.

Two articles about anti-Semitism

Here is a thorough, informative article in The Guardian, tracking its development independent of Israeli politics and carefully distinguishing it from criticism thereof. And here is a more personal article in The Boston Review‘s blog by philosopher Jason Stanley. Stanley’s piece is a revised version of an article he first wrote for a German publication, here.

Wine tasting debunked?


Gnome and GG on Israel/Gaza

Here is Chomsky’s cheerful romp on the current crisis, and here is Greenwald with some interesting, more general context about the U.S./Israel relationship provided by the Snowden documents.

I can’t emphasize enough how cheery the Chomsky piece is. And it’s full of encouraging information in response to popular anti-Palestinian rhetoric. E.g.,

The (unrevised) 1999 platform of Israel’s governing party, Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud, “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” And for those who like to obsess about meaningless charters, the core component of Likud, Menahem Begin’s Herut, has yet to abandon its founding doctrine that the territory on both sides of the Jordan is part of the Land of Israel.



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