Sunday, 30 August 2015
The World is Collapsing Around Our Ears: Some Thoughts of the Decline of Popular Music
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by John Broening (September 2015)


Consider two songs, both of them titled “Just the Way You Are”: the first was released in 1977 and was one of the best-selling records of the following year; the second was released in 2010 and was one of the best-selling records of 2010 and 2011.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 1:19 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
“Environmental Racism” Divides and Diverts Activists
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by Lorna Salzman (September 2015)


In East Liverpool, Ohio, a hazardous waste incinerator has been operating since 1993, with uncontrolled emissions - over three thousand tons of toxics annually including lead and benzene - that threaten the health of the entire town. Residents of the black community closest to the plant have been trying to get the EPA to declare the plant an example of “environmental racism,” claiming that they, as opposed to the rest of the town, suffer disproportionately from these emissions. In 2005 the EPA did in fact designate it as such, based on the fact that the black population closest to the plant contained twice as many minority residents as other minority communities in the EPA region. But what the community did not realize is that no specific EPA action is required for such designations, which are, according to the EPA, simply to acknowledge such cases as “environmental justice” examples for use in internal government reviews.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 1:15 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Revisiting Hydra Post-Chernobyl
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by David Solway (September 2015)


Revisiting the Greek island Hydra, after the passage of more years than it’s good for me to count, not from choice but because the use of my friend Chris McLinton’s house enables me to repair the vast trench in my budget caused by three days in Athens. Emotionally, it is unwise for me to be here. I recognize too many aging faces, pass too many houses in which I was young, happy, productive and unfaithful. Every path I saunter down takes me deep into some region of my past when I knew that I was immortal and poetically privileged, and gives me the disorienting sensation of living stratigraphically, on two different time levels at once. Which means that I am not only in Greece but in some miasmic internal realm of which the island is merely the external configuration.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 1:10 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Rosie, Megyn, Carly and Hillary
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by G. Murphy Donovan (September 2015)


“I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” – Winston Churchill

Donald Trump may not make it to the big show in 2016 but Megyn Kelly will still be a network doxy and Rosie O’Donnell will still be large and unloved the morning after. Such are the vicissitudes of American feminist politics, especially among some daughters of Sappho. Too many media sisters seem to roll that way; first play the bull dog, spew invective, attack a high-profile male, and then hide behind the victim’s mantel of political correctness or take refuge under gender or identity immunities. Never mind that doublespeak often validates stereotypes about insecure or weak women. Having it both ways is a time-honored American double standard, a kind of behavioral Title IX for politics. Hat tip to Orwell!  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 1:05 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Plato and the Scotsmen
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by Bradford Tuckfield (September 2015)


I have loved logical fallacies ever since I took a deductive logic class in college. To be more accurate, I don’t love the fallacies themselves, but I love learning and knowing about them. I find that familiarity with the most common fallacies, together with some other logical principles, gives one power to quickly understand, deconstruct, and cut through even the most formidable opponent’s arguments. It can mean the difference between “that doesn’t sound quite right, but I can’t put my finger on why” and “you’re using argument X, and it’s fallacious, and here’s why.” Of course, the latter response can make one an unpopular conversationalist, but that is a separate issue.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 1:00 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Shadowplay: Plato’s Cave and Political Spin
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by Mark Gullick (September 2015)


Much sport has been made recently concerning the career path of the average British politician. Travel smoothly from graduation to internship, from SpAd (or special adviser) to policy adviser, possibly with a brief sojourn in advertising, PR, publishing or journalism, and Westminster is your oyster. The route is bland, anodyne and lacking in anything but mastery of the managerial and technocratic arts, and gives us a political class to match. There is nothing of substance, nothing which could remotely be called life experience. There is one rite of passage for the elites, however, which may hold the key to this world of artifice and salesmanship.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:56 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Enigmatic Lebanon
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a review by Jerry Gordon (September 2015)


To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Lebanon is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Unraveling the Lebanese enigma is the objective of a new book by Dr. Mordechai Nisan, Politics and War in Lebanon. Nisan is an accomplished Israeli political scientist and retired Hebrew University lecturer. His  body of work covers Zionism, Islam, Arab history, minority peoples, Lebanon, US Middle East policy and the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is rare that a book achieves its objective of unraveling the complex nuances of the Lebanon puzzle in both an astute and yet literate manner.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:52 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
The Danish Historical Television Drama 1864
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by Norman Berdichevsky (September 2015)


I looked forward with much anticipation to the largest ever and most expensive (170 million kroner, or $30 million) televised dramatic series entitled “1864” dealing with the Second Dano-German War. It premiered on Danish state television in October 2014 and has since been shown in English translation by the BBC. What a disappointment!  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:48 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Silencing the Past
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by Joe David (September 2015)


Exactly one hundred years ago several million Christians were brutally murdered. Among those were about 250,000 to 300,000 Assyrians. According to a statement by the Earl of Listow in 1933, the Ottoman Turks, while cleansing Turkey of religious impurities, wiped out almost two-thirds of the Assyrian Christian population.1 No one knows how many Christians were totally martyred during World War I – and no one probably ever will.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:44 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
An Israeli Defender of Threatened Minorities in the Muslim Middle East
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an interview with Dr. Mordechai Nisan
by Jerry Gordon
(September 2015)


Religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are threatened by the rise of Sunni and Shia supremacists. A major threat is the mushrooming growth and barbarity of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State. Another is a nuclear enabled hegemon, the Islamic Republic of Iran.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:40 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Antisemitism in France
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by Michael Curtis (September 2015)


On January 5, 1895 the ceremony of degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the French Jewish artillery officer who was falsely convicted of treason, took place in the courtyard of the Military School in Paris. The event was greeted with pamphlets, articles, and street mobs crying “Death to the Jews.” A hundred and twenty years later, on August 13, 2015, at the one-day celebration at a beach event in Paris called “Tel Aviv Sur Seine,” pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted slogans, “Jews out of France.”  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:37 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Denouement Looms for Congressional Action on the Iran Nuclear Pact
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by Jerry Gordon (September 2015)


While the Congress is on summer recess until it reconvenes just after Labor Day, the President, his White House staff and loyal Congressional supporters are engaged in briefings and discussions with 15 undecided Senators and 30 House Members endeavoring to gain their support for the Iran nuclear pact. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was announced in Vienna on July 14, 2015. A week later on July 22nd, the Iran nuclear pact was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council. The President is seeking to buttress the vote count under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. Congressional rejection of the JCPOA might trigger a Presidential veto.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:33 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Farewell Andalucia
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (September 2015)
 

A Forty-Year Wait

Forty years ago, I drove with a bunch of friends from Fez in Morocco, through Spain to Paris. It was the hottest part of the summer and after taking the ferry from Tangier to Algeciras we drove along the Spanish coast, up into the eastern desert of Almeria, famous venue for the filming of Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, down to Torremolinos, where the uglification of the Costa del Sol was well underway, up to Barcelona and over the border into France and onwards to Paris.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:26 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Cuckoo about Cuckoos
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by Theodore Dalrymple (September 2015)


When I was a boy I used to collect wild birds’ eggs, but I think I always knew that I had no serious purpose in doing so and that the passion would not last. I had not the patience of a real ornithologist; rather I was beguiled by the joys of the chase, the beauty of the eggs and pleasures of possession. Luckily I never took the eggs of any but the commonest birds, so that my contribution to the decline of bird populations was very minor. I suppose that for every hundred boys who go bird-nesting, only one becomes a true nature-lover.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:05 PM by NER
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Sunday, 30 August 2015
Primo Levi Now
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by Peter Graham (September 2015)


On the morning of December 15, 1943, in the tiny alpine village of Amay, south of the Swiss border, an Italian Jew by the name of Primo Levi awoke to the sound of troops bursting into the mountain inn where he was staying. The soldiers brandished rifles and machine guns and shouted, “Nobody move!” Levi had a gun, a revolver that he shared with a friend, but managed to slip it secretly into a wood stove, hoping that none of the bullets would discharge in the embers.  more>>>

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Posted on 08/30/2015 12:00 PM by NER
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