## Tuesday, September 05, 2006

### The new blog of a group including Prof. Summers, Prof. Pinker

Prof. Lawrence Summers, his wife Prof. Elisa New, and Prof. Steven Pinker are among 20 or so distinguished bloggers who will contribute to a new group website called
They have a lot to say. Whenever they will feel that they are not getting a sufficiently fiery feedback, they could also be welcome at The Reference Frame - both under their real names of pseudonyms - although I feel that a separate blog is indeed more appropriate for serious scholars as they undoubtedly are.

Neither Prof. Summers nor Prof. Pinker have to be introduced to the world of stimulating ideas because they have always been key players in that world. Nevertheless, the open blogosphere is very happy to welcome them! ;-)

In the first contribution, Prof. Pinker links to Cuss Sunstein (although the TNR link is broken unlike mine) who observes groupthink on three-judge panels with either 3:0 or 2:1 composition of Democrats and Republicans - and to other sources about group polarization that has been studied by the psychologists since the 1950s.

Via The Crimson.

Khatami controversy

Incidentally, The Crimson also informs that Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts, called Harvard's invitation for Khatami “a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists” right before the 9/11 fifth anniversary and ordered all agencies of the state of Massachusetts to reject the requests to support Khatami's trip and his propaganda speech.

That means that Khatami will be given neither state police escort nor any VIP treatment. It's not such a big deal because the U.S. State Department will be responsible for Khatami's security. I think that it is up to the organizers who thought that Khatami's talk at Harvard was a good idea to provide him with the extra services that others often enjoy.

Romney, a potential 2008 G.O.P. presidential candidate who was today attacked by the Democrats for a 5% decrease of MA salaries in 2 years, believes that the taxpayers in Taxxachusetts shouldn't be paying for special treatment of a person who supports jihad against Israel and who supervised torture and murders of the dissidents as well as the Iranian nuclear program. At least one other Taxxachusetts payer kind of agrees with the governor although it's a subtle thing. Are we going to be proud if Khatami is killed? I won't. But still, I agree that it won't be primarily Romney's fault because he didn't invite Khatami to speak here.

If I were Romney, I would probably offer the organizers the usual additional services as long as they pay the full costs of such a special treatment.

The organizers should realize that there are no border patrols in between the People's Republic of Cambridge on one side and the U.S. on the other side and that the opinions of the U.S. about Khatami don't necessarily reflect - and, shockingly enough, don't have to reflect - the dominant opinion in the People's Republic.

The Harvard's spokespeople were not available to comment on Romney's decision which is not unexpected because Harvard has been without any adult supervision since July 1st. ;-) My guess is that the former Harvard administration would have mixed feelings in this situation. However, the former president would probably - in my opinion - disagree with Romney in his last week's battle against Harvard: Romney identified the kind of planned stem cell research at Harvard as "Orwellian embryo-farming". ;-) I have mixed feelings about this one...

The two parts of this posting are consistent because The New Republic has been pro-Israel for more than 30 years.