William Katz:  Urgent Agenda








In this space we'll regularly recommend things we've discovered that may interest our readers.   



Right after the attacks of September 11, 2001, John Batchelor and his associate, Paul Alexander went on ABC radio and began an extraordinary series of nightly programs covering America and the world in this new age of terror.  Paul Alexander left the show, but John Batchelor carried on until he went off the air in late 2006.  He's now back in a three-hour program Sunday nights, 7 to10 Eastern time, on ABC radio in New York.  It can be picked up on streaming audio at http://www.wabcradio.com.  Batchelor then follows with an additional three hours on KFI (Los Angeles), streamed at http://kfiam640.com/main.html.  The KFI shows are archived on the site.

The John Batchelor Show is a remarkable exploration of foreign policy, the war on terror, finance, the space program, and almost anything else that's interesting and important.  The guests are knowledgeable and up-to-date, and Batchelor's questions are sharp, informed, and literate.  This is not entertainment posing as news.  The show is strongest when dealing with the reality of what we face in the world, and no punches are pulled.  If you like URGENT AGENDA and sites like POWER LINE, I suspect you'll like The John Batchelor Show.  I never miss it.  Highly recommended.    



I spent a number of years affiliated with the film industry, and generally found it
a blot on Western civilization.  However, there is occasional redemption.  "The Kite Runner," based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, is a memorable film that stays with you, and that you know you'll eventually want to see again.  It explores the reality of Afghanistan, but in the end affirms that there is life beyond the darkness of that country.

Don't be put off by the mixed reviews.  No, the film is not perfect.  Neither was "Casablanca," which was thrown together on the set.  I have a feeling, just a gut feeling, that some reviews were influenced by politics.  There seems to be a belief that anything that reveals the horror of the Taliban might "help Bush," and in some circles that's a sin punishable by taking away one's tofu.

This is a recommendation, not a review, so I won't go into much detail.  The child actors are superb, and the journey of one from meekness to his heroic moment toward the end reminded me of Grace Kelly's transformation, and her similar heroic moment, in "High Noon."

If you haven't seen "The Kite Runner," see it.  At a time when Hollywood insists on churning out one anti-military film after another, each one playing to six people, this film will remind you, if not what we are fighting for, than what we are fighting against.  Remember the beard patrol.



Change of pace.  I love technology.  I love devices.  Devices play an important role in a writer's life, providing wonderful reasons to avoid writing.  What would you rather do, write a political essay or explore an iPod?  I mean, come on.

For those of you who use a Mac computer, or plan to get one, or would like to give a gift to someone who has one, I call your attention to Apple's new
operating system, called Leopard.  It has one feature that simply sells it, and its
name is Time Machine.   It requires an external hard disk, but it's well worth it.
Time Machine is a perpetual backup system, backing up your entire computer every hour, and keeping backups for weeks.  If you've lost something, but think it was on your computer, say, three weeks ago, you can order Time Machine to go back those three weeks and show you what your computer looked like on a specific day.

So far I've had two emergencies.  Both involved files I accidentally deleted.
In both cases I went back in time, found the files quickly, and restored them.

Leopard has other innovations, but for Time Machine alone it is highly
recommended. The peace of mind is priceless.