The Magazine

Deutsche Oper, latest Kelo outrage, more.

Muhammad goes to the opera.

Oct 9, 2006, Vol. 12, No. 04 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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COURIC: When she defends her position, this former Stanford professor can at times sound like she's lecturing a class. . . . Is it really priority number one, in terms of philosophically and pragmatically, for the United States to be spreading democracy around the world?

RICE: Well, first of all, the United States is not spreading democracy. The United States is standing with those who want a democratic future. . . . What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?

COURIC: To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'

Well--seems to us that when the interviewer at times sounds like she's channeling a 10-year-old, the interviewee can be forgiven for sounding like she's lecturing a class.

Jewish Ancestors
in the Closet

A fascinating historical footnote to the story of Sen. George Allen's Jewish forebears appeared last week in Washington Jewish Week. Rafael Medoff reports on the discovery by Time magazine in 1939 that Secretary of State Cordell Hull's "entry in Who's Who wrongly stated that his wife's last name was Whitney, which was her married name from her first marriage." Hull's wife, Frances Witz, was the daughter of a Jewish immigrant from Austria--a fact he feared would doom his presidential hopes. Hull's boss, FDR, apparently agreed.

Writes Medoff: "The president told Sen. Burton Wheeler (D-Mont.) in August 1939 . . . [that] Mrs. Hull's Jewishness 'would be raised' by [Hull's] opponents. FDR added: 'Mrs. Hull is about one quarter Jewish. You and I, Burt, are old English and Dutch stock. . . . We know there is no Jewish blood in our veins, but a lot of these people do not know whether there is Jewish blood in their veins or not.'"

The political speculation was mooted, of course, by Roosevelt's decision to run for a third term. Hull served as secretary of state until 1944, and received a Nobel Peace Prize the following year.

Annals of Prisoner Abuse

"She was abused by guards who kept lights on in her cell until she would sign an autograph."

--from the obituary of Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino, aka "Tokyo Rose," Washington Post, September 28

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"Maybe I am so sick of self-importance because I am so given to it . . . "

--Leon Wieseltier,

New Republic, October 9, 2006