- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 30, 2007

Norman Podhoretz, neocon par excellence and three years shy of his 80th birthday, has lost nothing of his fire and passion. If he has nothing but contempt for Europeans — “no readier to lift a finger to prevent a second Holocaust than they were the first time around” — he is filled with nothing but hope and praise for George W. Bush.

Mr. Podhoretz expresses his feeling for Mr. Bush with a rare intensity in the lead article in the June issue of Commentary, where for a long time he served as editor in chief. “It now remains to be seen whether this President, battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other in living memory, and weakened politically by the enemies of his policy in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular, will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel,” he writes in “The Case for Bombing Iran.”

In short, Mr. Podhoretz states emphatically that his guess is that Mr. Bush “intends within the next 21 months, to order air strikes against the Iranian nuclear facilities from the three U.S. aircraft carriers already sitting nearby.” Surely no other American pundit or editor has been calling for such radical action. Mr. Podhoretz develops this plea in his new book, “World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism,” scheduled for publication Sept. 11.

{bullet}{bullet}{bullet}It remains to be seen whether Rupert Murdoch will buy the Wall Street Journal, but the

New Yorker looks ahead In its July 2 issue by assigning Ken Auletta who profiled Mr. Murdoch for the magazine back in 1995 — to examine the Journal’s possible fate in the story “Promises, Promises—added from mage Wall Street Journal become if Rupert Murdoch owned it?”

Mr. Auletta recalls asking Mr. Murdoch, “Of all the things in your business empire, what gives you the most pleasure?” He cites Mr. Murdoch’s instant reply: “Being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign. Trying to influence people.”

Mr. Auletta reports that he portrayed Mr. Murdoch “as a visionary who could make a large company move with the speed of a small one.” He also saw Mr. Murdoch as a “modern pirate.” He notes that Mr. Murdoch wasn’t happy with the article and, although “he is unfailingly polite in person,” has steadfastly refused to sit for more interviews with Mr. Auletta.

Nonetheless, Mr. Auletta’s article is rich in fascinating detail about Mr. Murdoch’s modus operandi. Well worth a read.


The lead article in the July Smithsonian is fascinating. Its very title, “Come With Us to the Casbah (before it’s too late)” is intriguing. Actually, a friend of mine was just transferred to Algiers and thought he would check out the renowned romantic quarter — only to learn it was out of bounds for U.S. government folk except for special guided tours.

Joshua Hammer, author of the feature, announces in his opening paragraph that he was warned to keep his guard up and noted many “an idle youth casting suspicious gazes at outsiders.” Nonetheless, he and photographer Eric Sander captured a vivid and intimate portrait of this “mazelike quarter” of Algiers “spilling down precipitous hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.” Alas, he quotes an inhabitant and guide as saying, “The Casbah has lost its soul. The question is whether we can ever get it back.”


The IPhone, Steve Jobs’ latest innovation, went on sale yesterday amid massive media coverage. Without a doubt, IPhone looks like an item everyone who has a spare $500 or so would like to acquire. In the June 25 issue of New York, John Heilemann endeavors to analyze Mr. Jobs — a god of design and seer of the digital-media future who has turned himself into a megabillionaire. Will he stay atop this remarkable empire of his, or is he due for a fall? It’s quite a story and can hardly be more topical.


Discover in its July issue examines the role of science and the world of Islam. Todd Pitock went to Cairo; Tunis, Tunisia; and Amman, Jordan, to talk with leading Islamic scientists. There was a time, of course, when Western Europe was barely beyond the Stone Age. The golden age of Islam can be traced to A.D. 751, when Chinese invaders were captured by the people of Samarkand, held prisoner and forced to build and operate a paper mill. Samarkand became the paper-making capital of the Arabic world. Thousands of books were produced, and Greek, Chinese and Hebrew texts were translated.

Alas, as Islam became ever more conservative, advances in science — as known in the West — gradually faded away. Still, Mr. Pitock found some interesting advances in genetics being made in Tunisia by Habiba Bouhamed Chaabouni. “Like many Arab and Muslim countries,” he writes, “Tunisia has a high incidence of congenital diseases, including adrenal and blood disorders, that Chaabouni has traced to consanguinity.”

“It’s a custom here, and in the rest of the Arab world,” she says, “to marry cousins, even first cousins. … Of course, that means they share a lot of genes from common sets of grandparents.” (This also was true centuries ago of members of Western European aristocracy, who frequently married first cousins over generations.)


Making a giant segue from Islam to women on the golf course, we arrive at the July issue of Golf for Women , which details the 50 best courses for women and recounts how St. Andrews in Scotland, known as the birthplace of golf, will be opening its courses to women’s professional golf Aug. 2 through 5 with the historic staging of the 2007 Ricoh Women’s British Open on the Old Course — where fairways are said to be the oldest anywhere.

For the first time in the club’s 253-year history, women will be allowed into both the clubhouse and the locker room for the duration of the tournament. As Lauren St. John says in her article, the move “will doubtless have scores of past members spinning in their graves.”



Click to Read More

Click to Hide