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Archives from November 2013
Another Thanksgiving
All week, I’ve said, “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,” to friends and strangers, while being conflicted by disparate considerations and visuals. Here’s something that’s renting storage space in my head, streaming my consciousness, a stanza of mythology I learned ...
Inside the Largest Fracked Oil Spill Ever
Tesoro Logistics — the company whose pip...
The Surreal Story of My Brother’s Arrest
A Sister
Editor’s note: The grammatical mistake in the article’s first paragraph is entirely unlike the author, a normally punctilious writer and thinker, and is retained as evidence of how much the event that occasioned the piece upset her. On Tuesday my 19-year...
Interpreting Pakistan, Changing the World
Stop all the clocks  … let the mourners come.  - WH Auden December 1, marks the tenth death anniversary of the late Hamza Alavi. My reflections for this piece will chiefly consist of my memories of my lone meeti...
Saving Africans from African Savagery
The hunt for the infamous Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are back in the news.  Some even say ...
The Sophist Working Class
This essay is the first in a series of essays I am writing on the importance of sophism to politics, especially American working class politics. The essays will not be coming out any order or on any set date. Each essay will be numbered, allowing you to know which one...
Women, War, and the Working Class
In the previous installment in the Political Poetry series, Afaa Weaver described his urge, as an African American poet, “to touch the proletarian vernacular at its deepest point.” A few days after the feature on Weaver appeared in Counterpunch, I received an e...
Play This Film Loud!
It remains one of the most exquisite concerts ever filmed. My friend Rich and I fantasized about buying tickets when sales were announced in the early fall of 1976. We sat in his apartment near the University of Maryland’s College Park campus doing bong hits and running...
Video Games Normalize Animal Cruelty
Animal exploitation is all pervasive in video games. Not in itself a problem, this virtual exploitation is a reflection of speciesist reality. But by presenting exploitation uncritically, interactive media helps to normalize that reality. This is not to say that, a...
Thanksgiving Day to Mourn
On Thanksgiving Day this year we will need to mourn not celebrate this insane day of genocide the Pilgrims against the Pequot Indians in 1637 carried out the most gruesome manner, thus making a day similar to Holocaust Day to say never again. The slaughter of these indige...
Going Broke and Bonkers in Barcelona
“Wanna good shagging?” asked a voice from a doorway as I was leaving the road of my hostel, about to enter Barcelona’s main pedestrian street, Las Ramblas, one night a couple of weeks ago. I turned and looked at the inquiree, a short plump young Spanish brune...
Travels With Leila
I was sitting on a plane catching up on editions of my favorite BBC program, From Our Own Correspondent, and caught one about a reporter’s experience with trying to travel with her toddler, while working, doing interviews, filing stories, etc. For understand...
Reimagining Wuthering Heights
Here’s something different: shifting Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights to Japan with t...
Sonic Trash
Praised by some as the summation of Robert Redford’s distinguished acting career, his latest film begins without music, just the stillness of a calm sea at dawn, the wide-screen expanse bathed in myriad shades of blue reluctantly relinquishing the pink glow of a sun not...
Milanović, Pereira and Scully
Tripartition for Aleksinac (1999) by BRATISLAV MILANOVIĆ 1 Instead of basking in the grip of light, this morning he lies bathed in death, under April plum trees in bloom between tulips blown apart...
Activist Malpractice
“I will say it again: the marketing of hope and change Obama is THE most brilliant ad campaign ever perpetrated on USians. And, like in many other ‘campaigns,’ desperate people cling to an illusion…cuz the reality is so seriously effed up that...
Thanksgiving in Humboldt County
It’s Thanksgiving here in America, a day of infamy for turkeys. At my place in Humboldt County, northern California, turkeys learned their lesson a few years ago, when five fine specimens of Meleagris gallopavo—wild turkey to you—wandered onto my property. I...
Gaza is Flooded with Sewage and Conspiracies
The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing. This time, ...
Damning the Mekong?
The Khone Falls on the Mekong river in southern Laos, close to the Cambodian border, is “an ecologically unique area, so rare in nature that every effort should be made to preserve all of Khone Falls from any development”, according to a Mekong River Commissio...
Shake ‘Em Up at Harvard Law School Day
Those of us who worked with an energetic corps of Harvard Law students thought October 24, 2013 would be a galvanizing, historic day at that training ground for corporate law firms. The students left no stone unturned in promoting a full day of presentations by lea...
Obama’s Middle East Grand Strategy
President Obama is on a diplomatic offensive on several fronts in the Middle East. The six-month interim agreement between the major world powers, five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union, and Iran to restrain its nuclear program is being d...
A Pre-Conspiracy Theory
I’m going to engage here in a thought experiment which may make some readers a little queasy, but bear with me. It’s been half a century since the wrenching experience of having a charismatic young president cut down by bullets in what most Americans apparently...
Older Tactics Resurface to Stop Fur Business
The fur biz, like the ivory biz, is forgotten but hardly gone. Not too many Americans wear fur or buy ivory anymore–or beam at the photo of the hunter Melissa Bachman posing with her murdered lion. The problem is the bloodshed has gone overseas. Thanks to the...
Hiring Ex-Convicts
Anyone who clings to the belief that serving time in prison constitutes “paying one’s debt to society” has obviously never done time or tried to get a job after being released.  Even if your crime was non-violent and non-invasive (e.g., drug possession) and your ti...
The Real Purpose of International Aid to Haiti
Step one for everyone trying to make the world a better place should be listening to those they wish to help. This is certainly true in the case of Haiti, a longtime target of Canadian ‘aid’. But, while Haitians continue to criticize Ottawa’s role in thei...