Latest News

Special Report

Let’s Buy That Kurdish Oil

By 8.1.14

There’s a situation going on down in Texas right now that deserves everyone’s attention, even though it hasn’t received much notice in the press.

The Kurds are a gritty minority in the Middle East, surviving in a barren swathe of land across northern Iraq and eastern Turkey. They are Muslims but not too fanatical about their religion. They don’t practice much polygamy — the driving force in Muslim aggression — and only want to govern themselves. You won’t find any Kurdish terrorists hijacking planes or blowing themselves up on crowded subways around the world.

As a minority in both Iraq and Turkey, however, they have been subject to endless persecution. Saddam Hussein tried to exterminate them and the Turks have long harassed them for their desires for autonomy.

Send to Kindle

Freedom Watch

The Evil Mind of John Kerry

By 8.1.14

John Kerry sees no evil. The Israeli media is catching on.

Last night, the news arrived that Secretary of State Kerry and UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon had issued a joint statement announcing a 72-hour truce between Israel and Hamas. Reported the Washington Post

GAZA CITY — Israel and Hamas have agreed to an unconditional, 72-hour humanitarian truce to begin Friday morning, diplomats from the United States and the United Nations announced Thursday, potentially paving the way for an end to the 24-day-old conflict.

Got that? John Kerry has brokered a truce that will be “paving the way for an end to the 24-day-old conflict” between Israel and Hamas, the latter who has openly sworn to “eliminate” Israel. If you believe that this is “the end” of a conflict that is a mere 24 days olds (???), there is always that bridge in Brooklyn for sale (these days waving a white surrender flag). John Kerry has brought peace in the Middle East? Really?

Send to Kindle

Campaign Crawlers

Two Thumbs Down

By 7.31.14

Harry Enten, an analyst with FiveThirtyEight, a political website owned by ESPN, claims he can prove with charts and graphs that Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist are the most unpopular pair to face each other in a governor’s race for at least the last decade. Without even consulting the charts and graphs, few Floridians outside of Scott’s or Crist’s camp would argue with Enten.

Send to Kindle

Special Report

From Boob Jokes to Ukraine: A Talk With Robert Evans of Cracked.Com

By 7.31.14

Gallows humor is one of the most traditional and least savory elements of esprit de corps. For cops, doctors, soldiers, social workers—anybody whose job site is the miserable human heart—gallows humor puts the “against the world” into us-against-the-world. In a Venn diagram of “jokes cops post in online forums” and “civil rights violations,” a lot of material would fall in the overlap area. Emergency-room abbreviations like CTD (Circling the Drain) or FDGB (Fall Down Go Boom) cauterize the emotions, triaging competence at the expense of empathy. When gallows humor enters journalism it’s often dehumanizing without the excuse of necessity: I’ll always love the tabloid style, but one day I realized that HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR describes the death of some mother’s child. 

In this hard-bitten landscape, the journalistic experiment in empathy Cracked.com has embarked on is an outlier. Cracked, which started out as MAD Magazine’s kid brother, now looks more like a punk version of the Washington Post.

Send to Kindle

Special Report

Weber’s ‘Euryanthe’ Gets a Rare U.S. Performance

By 7.31.14

Once again, the Bard Summer Music Festival has lived up to its reputation for giving classical music lovers a chance to hear lesser known or underperformed gems of the operatic repertory. This summer it has taken on one of German romantic opera’s most controversial masterpieces—Carl Maria von Weber’s Euryanthe (1823).

In introducing the work to opening night dinner guests, Conductor Leon Botstein characterized it as “the most talked about and studied opera that’s never performed” in the U.S. According to program notes, it hasn’t received a full professional staging in this country since the 1914-15 Metropolitan Opera season. Botstein declined to elaborate why, preferring to let the audience figure it out for themselves, which wasn’t difficult.

Send to Kindle

The Current Crisis

Why Exposés of the Clintons Fail

By 7.31.14

In dipping into Daniel Halper’s interesting new book about the Clintons’ return from the grave that they had dug for themselves during their White House years (from an approval rating of 66 percent after his impeachment he plummeted to 39 percent upon leaving the White House to a chorus of pardon-induced Bronx cheers), a thought occurs: We have been reading these exposés about the malfeasance of the most corrupt presidential family in American history for over two decades! For some reason the scandals that these books reveal never sinks into the American mind. Today, despite Bill Clinton’s public record of shoddy financial deals, brutal politics, and endless abuse of women, he is the most beloved of recent presidents.

Send to Kindle

A Further Perspective

Obama’s Part-Time Nation

By 7.31.14

Vice President Joe Biden recently declared that America's jobs picture is outstanding — historically exceptional, on the plus side.

“Businesses are hiring at historic rates,” Biden stated, “with 52 consecutive months of net private sector job growth."

President Obama reiterated the same point in a recent speech in Delaware. “Our businesses have now added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months,” he declared.

“By almost every economic measure,” Obama continued, “we’re doing a whole lot better now than we were when I came into office.”

These upbeat assessments about jobs and the performance of the U.S. economy, regrettably, aren’t backed up by the facts or shared by the American public.

A recent Gallup survey, for instance, shows 56 percent of Americans saying the economy is getting worse while 39 percent said the economy is improving.

In his July 13 article, “Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America,” U.S. News & World Report editor in chief Mortimer Zuckerman provided a more realistic portrayal than Biden and Obama of the actual state of the U.S. economy.

Send to Kindle

Ben Stein's Diary

More Than We Bargained For

By From the July/August 2014 issue

MondayHere I am in New York City. The weather is perfect. Last night I had a fine flight up on a tiny little U.S. Air regional jet. Its air conditioning was broken and it was an oven, but I slept most of the time anyway.I checked into my usual room at the Marriott Essex House on Central Park South. For decades it was a Marriott, and then an Arab hotel firm bought it, spruced it up, and ran it for about ten years. Now it’s a Marriott again and it’s just great. The doormen, bellhops, and desk people are all kind and remember me from stays over many years. It feels like home.I met up with the college-age daughter of a close friend from Los Angeles. She’s a student at the Jewish Theological Seminary at Columbia University and also takes many courses at the School of General Studies at Columbia. She was right on time and we went out for a walk in the balmy evening of New York in spring. The girl and I discussed President Obama’s concerns about rape on campus. She was extremely concerned about the situation, too.
Send to Kindle

Ben Stein's Diary

We’re Going in the Wrong Direction

By 7.30.14

Tuesday–July 29, 2014
It is all happening again. Wild anti-Jewish mobs shouting, “Death to the Jews” in Berlin, threats against Jews wearing yarmulkes all across Europe, homes of prominent Jews attacked. “Celebrities” in Spain denouncing Israeli “fascism” for Israel defending itself.

Europe. And now that Europe is fast becoming a Muslim and Arab continent, there will be no turning back. The illness of Islamist hatred and fundamentalism is loosed upon once mighty Europe from within and the organism has no defense mechanism. Europe as a home of liberal ideas about the dignity of the individual will be only a memory by the time my 26-year-old son is middle aged. It is a catastrophe of historic, world-ending dimensions.

Send to Kindle

Lit Crit

‘Arts & Entertainments’ Is Accomplished, Frustrating

By 7.30.14

Arts & Entertainments
By Christopher Beha
(Ecco, 288 pages, $14.99)

Eddie Hartley is a failure. His acting career barely extends beyond a handful of bit parts in Law & Order. He’s a high school drama teacher, but the best he can muster toward his students is apathy. He and his wife Susan have been trying (unsuccessfully) to have children, and expensive fertility treatments have left them deep in debt. Meanwhile, Eddie’s talented and beautiful ex-girlfriend Martha, who dumped him when her own acting career took off, has enjoyed nothing but success. She’s got everything and he’s got nothing.

Send to Kindle

Pages