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Archives from February 2010
From God to Gaia to Obama’s Nuclear Apocalypse
Thirty years ago, driving across the hill country in the South, every 50 miles  I’d pick up a new Pentecostal radio station with the preacher screaming in tongues in  a torrent of ecstatic drivel – “Miki taki meka keena ko-o-ola ka&rd...
The Fog of War
I n the sparsest of stories, a young filmmaker arranges to visit Richard Elster, somewhere in the desert of the Southwest (the Sonoran or the Mojave, possibly) in order to interview the seventy-three-year-old man who was one of the architects of the Iraq war. Both me...
A New Round of National Monuments?
The Obama Administration’s short list of potential new national monuments was leaked to the media this week. I had heard rumors that this was being considered as early as November when I had a private conversation with a top BLM administor, so I was not surpris...
The Lonely Sport
World champion (1994-96) and Olympic silver medalist (1994 and 98) Elvis Stojko has taken exception to the awarding of the Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating to Evan Lysacek (“...
Jailed Taliban Leader Still a Pakistani Asset
Contrary to initial U.S. suggestions that it signals reduced Pakistani support for the Taliban, the detention of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the operational leader of the Afghan Taliban, represents a shift by Pakistan to more open support for the Taliban in preparati...
The Austin Kamikaze
God still looks out for the little guy. For months now, I’ve been collecting unemployment, working occasional odd theatricals hither and yon, and despairing over finding an issue or an event that I could bring some unique perspective to in the face of the ever-...
Iraq’s Labor Unions
Given that unions in the United States and Europe continue to be co-opted, usurped, assaulted, demonized, marginalized, and traumatized—pick your poison—it seems both ironic and fantastic that organized labor could be on the ascendancy in a country as tro...
Trial Balloons for War
With the dreadful threat of yet another Israeli war in the Middle East looming, Israeli propaganda machine is likely to go into full gear. In fact, trial balloons have already been sent out bearing supposedly unrehearsed comments by former Israeli Army genera...
The Wal-Mart Counter-Revolution
"The commitment to stay union-free must exist at all levels of management–from the chairperson of the ‘Board’ down to the front-line manager. Therefore, no one in management is immune from carrying his or her ‘own weight’...
Dead Man Walking in California
First stop was the near north woods, Humboldt County USA, to wheedle the medicos into granting me a clean bill of health before I hit the road. A year ago this February, my doctor who has poked and probed my old broken cadaver for nearly 20 years pronounced me dead. ...
The Halal Question
Let us not confuse matters. France’s problem with the veil is different from its problems with restaurants serving only halal meat. The veil is being banned on grounds of not being part of the mainstream and carving a separate niche. The argument against the re...
The Natural Gas Game
While Western attention was focused on Saudi Arabia’s possible provision of energy guarantees to China in return for a "yes" vote on Iran sanctions, Iran was working to leverage its natural gas reserves into economic alliances with China, India and Pa...
Grumpy, White Terrorists in Cars and Planes
The deliberate suicide crash bombing by a domestic terrorist pilot of a small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas has exposed a grave failure of the Homeland Security Department to protect us Americans from the threat posed by the virtually unregulated use in...
Voices of Haiti’s Homeless
The United Nations reported there are 1.2 million people living in “spontaneous settlements” or homeless camps around Port au Prince.  Three people living in the camps spoke with this author this week, before the hard rains hit. Jean Dora, 71...
An Intimate Look at Ordinary Life
Clair Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum is a small, intimate and beautiful film that gets bigger the more we think about it. While bombastic Hollywood vehicles like Avatar glut movie theater screens across the globe, the French independent film 35 Shots of Rum has played ...
The Sacrifice of Haiti
Haiti’s history has been cursed by white nationalism and associated political and economic domination and not by rebelling slaves’ “pact to the devil,” as televangelist Pat Robertson “prophesized” after the fact of the 7.0 earthqua...
Cheney’s Baby
I watch very little television these days, so I didn’t see ABC News’ broadcast of the Dick Cheney declaration: “I was a big supporter of waterboading. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques…” Later, I read the tr...
Bases of Empire
Despite United States economic weakness, although not unrelated to it, our military casts a heavy shadow everywhere on earth, far beyond the major and minor wars it is now conducting. The geographical and functional scope of the US military is cosmic. Formal alliance...
The Night of the Living Deadheads
One of my college friends was a Deadhead. He had crates of cassette tapes with labels like “Bucknell, 1971”, Stanford 1973”; “Fillmore East 1970.”  Of an evening he would navigate through these hundreds of cassettes and pull out &ld...
The Defense Elephant in America’s Living Room
History quiz: Name the greatest robbery committed in the last 100 years.             A: Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme            B: Nazi t...
Music, Lyrics and the Void Between Us
I spent this Valentine’s Day driving south on I-95 from New York to DC to perform in the backing band for a burlesque troop. Everyone in the van spent some time behind the controls of the stereo, and we all heard a lot of music that was new to us. Occasionally ...
Passing the "Riot Test" in Haiti
It is finally official; Haiti’s earthquake is the most expensive in recent memory, even more than the 2004 tsunami. Conservative estimates are $16 billion. This is no surprise given the human causes, the vulnerability, of this earthquake. Meanwhile there is a m...
The Decade of the Victory for Freedom and Justice in Palestine
Two decades after Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, this fighter for freedom and justice has become a living example of the fact that those who become immortal are freedom fighters not their jailers.  Who remembers today the names of ...
Dysfunctional Democracy
Those outside the United States may be surprised how the loss of a Senate seat in the state of Massachusetts in a special election can paralyze the Obama Administration. After all, it was just over a year ago that President Obama was elected by the largest margin for...
King Obesity
King Obesity sat grandly on a huge hassock atop a throne composed of solidified animal fat surveying his domain. The last thirty years have been bullish for Obesity, during which the number of seriously overweight children in America tripled. Eating fat, sugary and s...