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Archives from August 2012
There’s Politics and There’s Grace(land)
Sometime in the first half of the 1980s, diminutive white New York Jewish boy Paul Simon, already an iconic music figure rarely out of the charts or the limelight throughout the 1960s and 1970s, placed a wobbly tape featuring some can’t-keep-still South African popu...
Beat Knowledge
When it comes to giving the US empire a bad rap, few can be more qualified than radical rapper Marcel Cartier. “I was born in 1984 in Heidelberg, West Germany, to a Finnish mother and American father, who was at that time working for the US Army,” says ...
Dylan’s Whistle
Silly, narcissistic cutie pie gets his ass kicked, and so be it, says the visual track on Dylan’s new single, “Duquesne Whistle.”  Meanwhile the music track calls to mind a concert-induced rhythmic euphoria such that I saw the Dylan gang stoke up when t...
New Novels of the London Year
Martin Amis’s protagonist in his most recent novel, Lionel Asbo, changed his last name ...
The Political Lyre
Many have been the political leaders who have sought to bolster a flagging popularity through public music making. Tacitus relates how Nero took to the stage on one memorable occasion with his lyre and sweet voice. Insulating himself from failure, Nero packed the audience...
Anderson and Adams
Rachel’s Song         by KEMMER ANDERSON             for Rachel Corrie A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and lamenting, Rachel weeping for her children ...
An Ex-Mormon Woman Looks Back at the Church
Editor’s Note: Tonight Mitt Romney will accept the Republican nomination for president and publicly embrace his Mormon faith. For the first time, a Mormon stands a very good a chance of being the president. But what is Mormonism? What is it like to be a ...
Imagine No Republicans
Biologists sometimes do thought experiments in which they reflect on the consequences of imaginary catastrophic events wiping out particular populations.  For a day or two, one could hope that a natural experiment of a similar type would soon transpire: that Hurricane Is...
Arms Sales: Obama’s Only Growth Industry?
The dry dollar numbers in the latest Congressional Research Service annual arms sales report  paint an...
Harry Kelber Challenges the AFL-CIO
“Why should I listen to anything Harry Kelber says?” exclaimed a visibly indignant Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. Maybe because Kelber, 98 years young, has been honestly fighting for labor rights as a worker, union organizer, pamphleteer, author, pro...
Romney’s China-Bashing
Awkwardness seems to be a defining characteristic of the Mitt Romney campaign to be the next United States president and of his China policy, as well as of the candidate himself. Certainly, Romney does not have an easy row to hoe. A moderate Mormon plutocrat who se...
The Republican Co-option of Frank Lloyd Wright
Virtually every media outlet has reported that the stage for the Republican convention is “inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright,” seemingly all reading off the same RNC press release. The claim is quite a stretch by any account. Christopher Hawthorne, architectura...
When Obama Whitewashed Rape
Hello friends! Have you heard the terrific news? President Obama stands up for women, and speaks out against rape! “Rape is rape!” Except when the U.S. Military is doing the raping, of course, in which case political expediency requires Barack Obama to whitewash and c...
The Poisoning of Yasser Arafat
“It sounds to me like Arabian Tales from One Thousand and One Nights.” Moshe Yaalon, Israeli Vice Premier, Aug 29, 2012 It is the language ...
Hitchhiker Finds Drivers Suddenly More Willing to Give a Lift
Sometimes a journalist just has to go with the story, even if it’s going all wrong. I had set out to stand up for the rights of hitchhikers everywhere, and against abusive policing, when I left the house yesterday afternoon and walked up the road to an intersecti...
The Gas Bath Riot and Other Tales of Mexican-American Resistance
If you haven’t read David Dorado Romo’s “Ringside Seat To a Revolution: An Underground Cultural H...
A Bold New Call for a Maximum Wage
How about taking a moment this Labor Day to reflect about those Americans who earn the least for their labor? These Americans — workers paid the federal minimum wage — are now making $7.25 an hour. On paper, they’re making the same wage they made in July ...
The Pentagon is Like the Vatican
“Only 17 percent of the all-volunteer force serves for more than 20 years, and they are endowed with a lifetime benefit. The current US military retirement system does not compensate for those in high risk situations or extenuating circumstances (e....
Parting With Sister Anne Montgomery
Anne Montgomery died yesterday. I remember her words to me and to our young Iraqi friend Eva, sitting in the Al Monzer hotel in Amman, Jordan. This was in 2006, and she’d waited three weeks for a visa to enter Iraq as a peace witness. Anne had crossed into zones of conf...
The New Deal Illusion
What was the New Deal of the 1930s?  There are so many myths surrounding it, and to a large extent the Democratic Party’s credibility today is based on the assumption they were fundamental social innovators, progressive if you will, during the New Deal. But the ...
Kafkaesque Parole Practices Ruin Lives
The perplexing predicament confronting Daryl Brooks could confound writers Albert Camus and Franz Kafka, two authors acclaimed for their works about individuals subjected to surreal forms of injustice. Brooks, a community activist in Trenton, New Jersey, is facing ...
The Western Onslaught on International Law
A new film, “Compliance,” examines “the human desire to follow and obey autho...
Learning to Hate Longhorn Football
I have never much liked football. But after 20 years as a professor at the University of Texas, I have learned to hate football, and really hate Longhorn football. I’ve also learned that some players hate the football machine as much as I do. As a child, I...
Is It the Drones or the Killings We Oppose?
US drone strikes make news every day, fostering worldwide outrage and public scrutiny. The drone has become an icon of US lethality and dominance, and it has understandably become a principal focus of our antiwar effort. But recent controversial revelations about p...
Rupert Murdoch’s Fukushima Flim-Flam
With every atomic reactor disaster comes the inevitable whitewash. And Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal ...