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Archives from January 2010
Dissent as Democracy
WAJAHAT ALI
A great titan of the progressive movement passed away this week. Howard Zinn died of a heart attack in California at the age of 87. The indefatigable Zinn maintained a prolific activist and academic jab fueled by his political and social activism nurtured dur...
He Fades Away
DAVID ROVICS
Today is my daughter Leila’s fourth birthday, and while this occasion brings my thoughts back to the day she was born, the past 24 hours have otherwise been full of fairly devastating news. If the left can admit to having icons, then two of them have just die...
SOTU Whoppers
DAVE LINDORFF
President Obama gives a good speech. He’s smooth, unruffled by audience response, good at a timely ad-lib remark, and knows how to win over a tough crowd–all skills that were in evidence at last night’s State of the Union address. But he’s also goo...
The New Pentagon Budget
WINSLOW T. WHEELER
The new budget now being trotted out for the Pentagon is a tired old document, bereft of the many significant changes needed to revive our decaying defenses. Worse, the Pentagon’s masters and its peanut galleries in Congress, the press, and think tanks opine delusio...
Dead Together, But Read Together?
WINDY COOLER
I have a few personal comments to make from afar on propinquity, solidarity and the deaths of two people: Howard Zinn and J.D Salinger. One of the things I like about Zinn was the very warm way in which he seemingly related with his partner. He always talked about ...
Changing History
WILLIAM LOREN KATZ
In less than a year the battle for truth has lost three of its most innovative and stalwart voices, historians John Hope Franklin, Ivan Van Sertima and Howard Zinn. Each challenged aspects of the cheerfully bigoted narrative that has passed for history in schools, college...
Sending in the Marines
JUDITH SCHERR
The French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet accused the U.S. of “occupying” Haiti rather than helping in the wake of the devastating January 12, 7.0 earthquake. Doctors Without Borders and officials from the Caribbean community expressed similar frustrations, as US...
The Oldest Game in Washington
ALEXANDER COCKBURN
You can see how seriously Obama is taking the hot populist temper of the American people and their eagerness to strangle every banker in the entrails of every insurance executive.  In an altogether welcome departure from past presidential form in State of the Union addre...
Stoic Soul
LORENZO WOLFF
Some people can put on a great show without moving at all. Roy Orbison could stand behind those sunglasses like a wax museum sculpture and command the attention of thousands.  Miles Davis didn’t even have to face forward when he was performing. But the king of stoicism...
Turning Sun Tzu on His Head
FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
In the opening line of Book 1 of Sun Tzu’s classic, The Art of War (circa 400 BC), the first ...
The Ordeal of Cameron Douglas
ANTHONY PAPA
Who benefits from Cameron Douglas getting at least 10 years in prison? No one does. But the government is hell bent on punishing him for the crime of being an addict. Cameron – the son of Academy Award winner Michael Douglas – took a guilty plea this we...
Ecuador’s Neo-Liberal Model
ROGER BURBACH
Quito, Ecuador. Beginning his fourth year as president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa confronts a major challenge from some of the very social actors that propelled him into office. In an address to the country in early January, Correa expressed his ire with a “co...
Why the Stimulus Falls Short
JOSHUA FRANK
Doug Henwood is the editor and publisher of Left Business Observer and is a contributing editor of The Nation. Henw...
Memories of Maharaj
P. SAINATH
The call came through about 2 a.m. Maharaj knew the work habits of his friends. “Do you think you can come to the U.S. and do a few talks on the 50th year of Indian Independence? There are a lot of nonsensical celebrations coming up around it here. And a generation ...
Defending the G-Spot
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK
I’m not surprised when politicians, religious leaders, military chiefs, mafia bosses, corporate CEOs or media pundits make ignorant, misleading statements with great and somber certainty.  But when people who call themselves “scientists” spout toxic stupidities wit...
The New Politics of Post-Katrina New Orleans
JORDAN FLAHERTY
On New Year’s Eve in 2004, nine months before Hurricane Katrina hit, bouncers in the Bourbon Street club Razzoo’s killed a Black college student named Levon Jones. The outrage led to near-daily protests outside the club, threats of a Black tourist boycott of the city ...
Human Rights and Haiti
KERRY KENNEDY And MONIKA KAIRA VARMA
Overwhelmed by sadness, empathy and disbelief, the world’s eyes and hearts are focused on the rescue and relief efforts resulting from the earthquake in Haiti. However, many who have worked inHaiti fear that a preventable and long term disaster lies on the horizon if in...
Hell and Hope in Haiti
BILL QUIGLEY
Port au Prince. Smoke and flames rose from the sidewalk. A white man took pictures. Slowing down, my breath left me.  The fire was a corpse.  Leg bones sticking out of the flames. Port au Prince police headquarters is gone, already bulldozed. A nearby coll...
Showdown in the Malheur Marshes
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Six hundred miles north of Tonopah, Nevada, in the high desert of central Oregon, lies Harney County, another site of intense confrontation between federal officials and the militant property rights movement. Here federal Fish and Wildlife Service agents sought to fence o...
A Man for All Seasons
DAVID MACARAY
What sustains you as a union president—what causes you to rejoice even when things look bleak—is knowing that you’re on the right side of a worthwhile cause and are making a contribution to the lives of working people who depend on you.  That knowledge makes all th...
Theaters of Death
MIKITA BROTTMAN
In August 2006, in a movie theater in Owings Mills, just outside Baltimore, a man stood up in the middle of X-Men: The Last Stand, turned and opened fire into the audience, killing a 62-year-old husband and father in the back row. It’s true that Baltimore—where I was ...
Chávez and Earthquakes
NIKOLAS KOZLOFF
Hugo Chávez has said a lot of wacky things over the years, but it may be that I erred in a recent column when I reported that the Venezuelan president had declared the U.S. guilty of causing the earthquake in Haiti through use of a secret weapon.  The story surfaced in ...
A Memory of Howard Zinn
DANIEL ELLSBERG
I just learned that my friend Howard Zinn died. Earlier this morning, I was being interviewed by the Boston Phoenix, in connection with the release in Boston in February of a documentary in which he is featured prominently. The interviewer asked me who my own heroes were,...
Police Perform Halftime Show at Zelaya Airport Farewell
BELEN FERNANDEZ
The most common calculation heard yesterday at Tegucigalpa’s Toncontin Airport was that the crowd that had gathered to see off outgoing Honduran President Mel Zelaya was larger than the crowd that had gathered at the same airport on July 5, 2009, when the forcibly expat...
Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
BRIAN M. DOWNING
Reports out of Pakistan and now London suggest that Afghanistan, NATO, and the Taliban will seek a negotiated settlement. Reliable confirmation, however, has not been forthcoming. If meaningful talks begin, it will be welcome news. If they do not, they should be. Both sid...