— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) April 9, 2016
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are living through history…”
For The Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby writes: The Pew Research Center last week released a new survey of American attitudes in the Middle East. The results weren’t surprising. In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, 51 percent of Americans say they sympathize more with Israel. Only 14 percent feel greater affinity for the Palestinians.
Sympathy Toward Israel Has Never Been Higher
Pew’s findings demonstrate the strength of pro-Israel feeling in the United States. The poll was conducted amid the current fighting with Hamas, but the bottom line hardly changed from Pew’s last survey in April, when it reported that in the 36 years it has been sampling public opinion, “sympathy toward Israel has never been higher.”
[Check out the book “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel” at Amazon.com]
But below the surface, America’s Israel-friendly consensus is splitting along the same left-vs.-right fault line that has polarized so many other issues. While support for Israel is overwhelming among Republicans and conservatives, it has been shrinking among Democrats and liberals. “The partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider,” reports Pew, with 73 percent of Republicans sympathetic to Israel in the ongoing conflict, but just 44 percent of Democrats. Respondents identifying as liberal Democrats were five times as likely as conservative Republicans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.
Thus is the Democratic Party losing its way on one of the great moral issues of our time.
For roughly the first third of Israel’s existence, Democrats tended to support the Jewish state more strongly than Republicans did. In a compelling new book, ““Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel”, foreign-affairs thinker Joshua Muravchik writes that during the run-up to the Six Day War in 1967, “Israel was above all a cause championed by liberals.” So heartfelt was this support that even ardent Democratic opponents of the Vietnam War, such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene McCarthy, advocated US military action on Israel’s behalf. Read the rest of this entry »
Robert Shibley writes: Wellesley College near Boston is suffering through a bout of controversy over, of all things, a sculpture. Artist Tony Matelli’s very realistic The Sleepwalker, whichdepicts a balding, slightly pudgy man in briefs sleepwalking outdoors, is evidently causing a stir on the elite women’s college campus. It’s even produced a Change.org petition (signed by more than 700 people as of this writing) asking the Wellesley administration to remove the sculpture on the basis that it is “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for some members of our campus community.”
“the responses that this statue is invoking are largely ones of discomfort, anxiety, shock and disgust.”
As far as sexualized images on campus go, The Sleepwalker rates pretty close to the bottom of the pile. The University of Tennessee is about to host a Sex Week, and Harvard University (not far from Wellesley) has one too. Sex magazines featuring not-safe-for-work photos of college students have been present for years on campuses like Wesleyan, Harvard, Vassar, and Boston University. Northwestern University had an incident in which a professor invited his human sexuality class to stay after the scheduled time in order to watch a couple use a sexual device fashioned from an electric reciprocating saw on one another.
After purchasing the Boston Globe in 1993 for a then-record $1.1 billion, the financially troubled New York Times just announced that it sold the 141-year-old paper to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for a mere $70 million. That’s a straight 93% loss. Figuring in two decades of inflation would only make it worse — as does the fact that the Times retains the Globe’s pension liabilities, estimated at over $100 million.
The Times announced in February that it was putting the Globe up for sale. News reports claimed that bids had been as high as $100 million. What might have sweetened the lower offer for the Times is that Henry offered a straight cash deal, which is expected to close sometime in September or October.
In 2011, the Times turned down a $300 million offer from Aaron Kushner, CEO of Freedom Communications, Inc., publisher of the Orange County Register and other newspapers in California. This offer even included the assumption of pension liabilities, which are currently estimated at $110 million.
By Steve Kolowich
Less than three months after Harvard University administrators admitted to signing off on secret searches in the e-mail accounts of more than a dozen resident deans as part of a cheating investigation, one leader implicated in those controversial searches is stepping down.
Evelynn M. Hammonds, dean of Harvard College, the university’s main undergraduate division, will leave her post at beginning of July, the university announced on Tuesday.
Ms. Hammonds, who has led Harvard College for five years, found herself at the center of a scandal-within-a-scandal after trying to plug a leak in a university inquiry into a cheating debacle that prompted dozens of undergraduates to withdraw from the college.
Ms. Hammonds and Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, last fall authorized searches of the e-mail accounts of 16 resident deans without informing them first.
The resident deans, faculty members who reside in undergraduate housing and oversee the students who also live there, sit on a committee charged with investigating the cheating scandal. Ms. Hammond and Mr. Smith suspected that one resident dean had leaked confidential information about the investigation to the news media, according to The Boston Globe.
Those suspicions turned out to be correct. But Ms. Hammonds and Mr. Smith failed to inform most of the deans—namely, the ones whom the searches had exonerated—that any search had occurred until much later. That delay was a violation of Harvard’s e-mail policy, which requires that faculty members be informed immediately if their accounts have been searched.
Complicating matters, it came out later that Ms. Hammonds herself had authorized additional searches of e-mail accounts of the dean who had leaked the confidential information. That step escalated tensions with faculty members over privacy rights.
Ms. Hammonds said repeatedly that her only intention had been to protect the privacy of the students being investigated for cheating. She nonetheless apologized to the professors for overstepping their own privacy boundaries in the process.
Ms. Hammonds, who is a professor of the history of science and of African-American studies, will return to her faculty post following a sabbatical, Harvard officials said on Tuesday in a news release, which enumerated Ms. Hammonds’s achievements as dean and made no mention of the e-mail scandal.
When she returns, officials said, Ms. Hammonds will head a new program at Harvard to study the intersection of race, science, and medicine.
Even as the police and doctors treat the wounded, the forensic investigation into the explosions at the Boston Marathon will begin.
“The forensics start as soon as people realize there’s been an explosion,” says Tom Thurman, of Eastern Kentucky University.
Thurman knows a lot about bomb investigations. Before his retirement from the FBI in 1998, Thurman was the chief of the FBI Bomb Data Center; he also worked Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland; the bombing deaths of a federal judge in Alabama and an attorney in Georgia, both in 1989; and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.
The first thing to do is to determine if the explosions were intentional. “What’s there that could spark an accidental explosion?” Thurman asks. If no likely sources for an accidental detonation are found—like a buildup of flammable vapors—the investigators start looking at other evidence.
The Boston Globe is reporting via Twitter that a third device was found, unexploded, that police are detonating intentionally. So the fact that the scene in Boston is a mass homicide is now obvious.
Video will be crucial to determining what happened in Boston, much more than the laboratory analysis, Thurmon says. “They will be looking at how the bomb got there: who deposited it and when.”
Even the video of the blast can help identify what kind of bomb it is—or in the case of Boston, confirm that the bombs that detonated were the same that went off. “Generally, white smoke means a commercial explosion or improvised device,” he says. A common chemical used in these bombs, in the United States and abroad, is acetone peroxide (TATP). It comes in a white powder and blooms in a white cloud when it explodes. In Boston, the initial images seem to show white smoke blossoming at the moment of explosion.
Industrial and military explosives emit black smoke, Thurman says.
If the video proves inconclusive, there are other ways to figure out what happened. One main question is whether it was a suicide bombing or a remote-control device. “There is a very discernible difference between the injuries of a suicide carrier than of other victims,” Thurman says.
Re-creating the injuries will help determine the direction of the shrapnel, and help locate the epicenters of the devices—and that means detailing injuries to living victims and examining the deceased, he says. Human bodies that are hit by shrapnel have evidence in their bodies. All that information should be chronicled by investigators, on the scene, in the hospital and morgue. Residue of explosions needs to be collected and sent to the lab—devices can be tested in the field for their composition, but residue cannot, Thurman says.