Leave your dagger at the door, &c.


Have you been following the story of George Wright, the American radical who murdered and hijacked, then proceeded to a new life in Portugal? For 41 years he eluded justice. Now he has been nabbed. Highly interesting story. His wife is saying that she knew nothing about his criminal past. To read an article, go here.

In addition to telling us about the wife, the article says that “a former acquaintance,” Curtiss Reed, was “floored” when learning about Wright’s past. Mr. Reed is the executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity.

I was thinking, “Did he vote for Governor Dean? How about Bernie Sanders? And how about Obama? Did he vote for Obama, or did he pull the lever for McCain-Palin?”

The Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity — beautiful.

This is really beautiful: Surfing is to be an official high-school sport in Hawaii. Just as it should be. For a news story, go here. You have your doubts about surfing as a high-school sport, even in Hawaii? Well, better than soccer, I say. (Sorry, sorry, sorry — I had closed this subject, a long while ago . . .)

Does President Obama have a surfing past? I have never heard about it. All Hawaii kids surf, don’t they? (But we know that Charlie don’t surf.)

I haven’t heard about that birth-certificate thing in ages. That issue was killed off immediately. The second Obama released the “long form” — the issue was dead. He could have released it months and years before (is my understanding).

Think the Democrats miss it? The issue, I mean?

You know who else grew up in Hawaii, or did part of his growing up there? National Review Online’s own Michael Walsh. He went to a rival high school to Obama’s, I believe. And I wonder: Did Michael surf, like a good Hawaii kid? Or did he read everything under the sun and study music, making him the world-beater he is today? Or all of the above?

Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who won the 2004 Nobel peace prize, has died. I’m going to say a little about her now, and much more about her later. For now, let me just tell you a little about her and America.

In 1960, when she was 20, she came here for college. She was part of the same study program as her countryman Barack Obama — the man who would soon become Barack Obama Sr., father of the future president (and Nobel peace laureate). Obama had flown to Hawaii in 1959. He and Maathai were among the hundreds of young Africans who were taking advantage of American scholarships.

Maathai flew to New York — she had never been on a plane before — then took a Greyhound bus out to Atchison, Kan. She attended Mount St. Scholastica College, graduating in 1964 with a degree in biology. She then went to the University of Pittsburgh, for a master’s degree in the same subject.

For her doctoral studies, she went back home, to the University of Nairobi. According to legend, she was the first woman in either East Africa or Central Africa to earn a Ph.D.

There’s good and bad to say about Maathai. What’s bad? Well, she did her part to spread the myth that the U.S. government cooked up the AIDS virus. She later said, in effect, “I take it back.”

In any case, I liked her, on balance — a woman who accomplished much good. I’ll have more to say about her, and a hundred-some other laureates, in my history of the Nobel peace prize, to be published in March.

By the way, the United States has educated millions and millions of people from around the world, often at no charge to the students. An incredibly generous country, America has been, with its money, its knowledge, and its opportunities. (Not to mention its military.)

Speaking of American help, I loved this headline, from earlier this week: “With Arizona help, fabled Arab antelope lives anew.” Story here.

A little music? My “Salzburg Chronicle,” in the current New Criterion, is here. I discuss Anna Netrebko, Antonio Pappano, Grigory Sokolov, Christian Thielemann, András Schiff, Riccardo Muti, Arcadi Volodos, Mariss Jansons, and a host of others.

I learned that phrase, “a host of others,” from golf commentary. A TV announcer would say, “Nicklaus leads, followed by Weiskopf, Miller, Watson, Kite, and a host of others.”

I know I’ve never mentioned this before — ever — but I’m from Ann Arbor, Mich., and Ann Arbor is a left-wing town. A local publication, The Ann, has published an article entitled “Has Ann Arbor lost its liberal mojo?” I am quoted (which is about the least significant thing about the article). If interested, go here.

Heard about the advertising promises of a Texas exterminator: “You got ’em, we’ll get ’em. They come back, we come back.”

I’ll come back too, eventually. Thanks so much for joining me, and catch you soon.