Steven Davies – cricket’s big society will treat a brave cricketer with respect

Until talented young wicket-keeper Steven Davies ‘came out’ recently, no professional male player had ever admitted to being homosexual, at least during his career.

Backlash — Arianna Huffington’s AOL deal sparks a controversy

‘The Huffington Post website made her the heroine of America’s left, but critics say she failed to pay bloggers and used items generated by other news organisations.’

Solved – the mystery of the Telegraph’s Libyan reporter, Arthur Henderson

From the Greenslade Blog,

‘I understand the need to protect brave people who file in such circumstances, of course, but I wonder if there should be a footnote on stories to explain the use of a fake name. It’s about transparency. Readers have a right to know. Moreover, if, by a quirk of fate, there is a real Arthur Henderson among the expats still trying to exit Libya his life could well be in danger.’

The (Ex) Voice of the Village —

An Original: For Wayne Barrett, ‘the unrivaled master of long, dense stories about the unsavory side of New York’s political culture…the digging for dirt hasn’t stopped.’

Treasure Islands

This is no miskeying of the singular title of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 classic. It’s a book by Nicholas Shaxson (The Bodley Head, UK, 2011) available in paperback as well as in a Kindle edition.

Book description:

‘Most people regard tax havens as being relevant only to celebrities, crooks and spivs, and mistakenly believe that the main offshore problems are money laundering and terrorist financing. Those are only small parts of the whole picture. The offshore system has been…responsible for the greatest ever shift of wealth from poor to rich. It also undermines our democracies.’

Very relevant to rising India.

(via Vidya Ram)

Ways of the world — journalism as fiction

This piece ‘from Tripoli’ was made up on the editorial desk in London; the correspondent Henderson is a fiction, and like everyone else, The Telegraph does not have anyone in Tripoli:

Valery Gergiev on being the world’s most prolific maestro

Post-Soviet Russia’s greatest success story,Valery Gergiev, on being busy, the Mariinsky, Mahler’s 9th, Vladimir Putin, and state support for music (especially his).

Amy Chua and the “Tiger Mother” Craze — The New Yorker

Amy Chua and the “Tiger Mother” Craze — The New Yorker America’s Top Parent: What’s behind the ‘Tiger Mother’ craze?

‘Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,’ excerpt from the book in WSJ

Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?

Shuttle Discovery sets out on last voyage

The US shuttle Discovery blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center for the last time. Around 40,000 guests gathered to watch the launch, carrying six astronauts and the first humanoid robot into space. Wish them well.

Was there an Indian renaissance?

Was there a renaissance?


FRONTLINE – Volume 28 – Issue 05 :: Feb. 26-Mar. 11, 2011

”Although the renaissance brought about a qualitative change in perspectives and practices, its impact was limited to a very small section of society. Yet, it did generate a cultural and intellectual break without which the later movements would not have been possible. In this sense, the regeneration of the 19th century was a precursor to modernity in India. Notwithstanding this positive contribution, the renaissance promoted by the colonial intelligentsia was not powerful enough to overcome the cultural backwardness of society. Many of the ills of contemporary Indian society can be traced to the unfinished agenda of the renaissance.”

“If one thinker left a major indelible mark on the 20th century, it was he.”

Hobsbawm on Marx.

Eagleton on Hobsbawm on Marx:

“Most of the pieces collected in this book have been published before, though about two-thirds of them have not appeared in English. Those without Italian can therefore now read a number of important essays by Hobsbawm which first appeared in that language, not least three substantial surveys of the history of Marxism from 1880 to 1983. These alone would make the volume uniquely valuable; but they are flanked by other chapters, on such topics as pre-Marxian socialism, Marx on pre-capitalist formations, Gramsci, Marx and labour, which broaden its scope significantly. How to Change the World is the work of a man who has reached an age at which most of us would be happy to be able to raise ourselves from our armchairs without the aid of three nurses and a hoist, let alone carry out historical research. It will surely not be the last volume we shall be granted by this indomitable spirit.”

The whole review is at

What’s The King’s Speech’s secret weapon of mass adulation? Guardian

Tom Hooper’s film will be a legend, with or without the Oscars, because it is about the political leadership we crave

new historical volume released

The second volume of the new official History of the Communist Party of China has been released. It covers the period from the revolution in 1949 to the third plenum of the 11th Central Committee held in December 1978.

This link is to a rather interesting interview with Zhang Baijia, a leading functionary of the Beijing-based Party History Research Centre of the CPC Central Committee, and deals with the entire historical period.

There’s also an interesting bit at the end, where Zhang Baijia is asked: “Does Part 2 offer an authoritative death toll from the three-year hardship (1959-61)?” The numbers in the answer are far from clear – somewhat through a glass darkly – but it does indicate recognition of excess mortality in that period.

More at:

indian television coverage of the workers’ rally in delhi, february 23

via Prasenjit Bose, at 1530 hrs Indian Standard Time:

“There was a huge workers’ rally organised by 9 central trade unions in delhi today, protesting against price rise, violation of labour laws, unemployment, social insecurity etc… [It was] one of the biggest witnessed in Delhi in recent times. However, none of the major TV channels have shown even a glimpse of the rally so far. Interestingly, major foreign news agencies such as Reuters and AFP as well as the BBC have already covered the rally, noted its political significance and highlighted the issues being raised by the workers (see links below). Why are the Indian media persons so insensitive to the voice of lakhs of workers from their own country?”

100 Years Later, the Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire Is Complete

March 25, 2011 is the Centennial of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire which took the lives of 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, and galvanized a movement for social justice. It also led to the founding of the American Society of Safety Engineers.