An incomplete but still impressive list of 2007 publications and awards received by Guernica poetry advisers, contributors, guest editors, and interviewees.
Norman Solomon distills CNBC’s Suze Orman’s message: If you’re rich you’re a winner; if you’re not you’re a loser.
If Bill O’Reilly has, as he’s claimed, won the “war on Christmas,” it’s time for him to call his troops home.
Where should aid be directed to save homeowners at risk of drowning in mortgage debt?
And the winner is…
Norman Solomon goes on Glenn Beck’s TV show and talks corporate ownership of and advertising in media. He brings the discussion close to Mr. Beck’s home, much to the chagrin of the host.
People stationed at Guantanamo Bay may be changing information on the web to shine a more positive light on the U.S. detention facility.
It is easy to feel discouraged these days. But that statement can be made of any “these days” in history. Still, throughout history, people have retained hope, making remarkable changes as a result. Here, Rebecca Solnit, offers some of those stories in her “secret library of hope.”
Trickle-down economics don’t work, and still, Democratic presidential candidates are wedded to them. Robert Reich offers what he says should be the Democratic version of tough love.
As Human Rights Day (December 10) came and went with little coverage in the U.S. media, Norman Solomon points out that while “human rights” issues, when covered, are done so as faraway injustice and cruelty, the U.S. fails on many of those issues domestically.
In a speech given last week at San Francisco State University Sean Penn addressed the issue of electability among the Democratic presidential candidates, and what should make a them electable.
In February of this year, writing about the history of turning-point elections at Tomdispatch.com, Steve Fraser, author of an acclaimed history of Wall Street, Every Man a Speculator, asked a question, but didn’t answer it: In the wake of the 2006 Democratic take-over of House and Senate, would campaign 2008 turn out to be a rare presidential election of historic proportions? Now, he offers that answer loud and clear.
As Jewish Book Month comes to a close, poet-critic Stephen Burt recommends reading one of our nation’s most celebrated poets.
Having followed the trail of A. Q. Khan, the “father” of the “Pakistani” bomb, for the last four years, Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins use rare early letters Khan wrote to a friend and associate to make a simple but extremely powerful and original point, which they put this way: “Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal — as many as 120 weapons — is no more Pakistani than your television set is Japanese. Or is that American? It was a concept developed in one country and, for the most part, built in another. Its creation was an example of globalization before the term was even coined.” From TomDispatch.
Norman Solomon offers two essays on the media’s coverage of the workforce, and just how often that coverage misses the mark.
The last three months have brought a dramatic decline in violence in Iraq with both U.S. and Iraqi death totals falling drastically. Under this improved situation, argues Robert Dreyfuss, an opportunity finally exists for a deal to be struck between the Sunni and Shia communities. However, having lost all its credibility over the past years, the U.S. is not in a position to broker the deal.
What a picture can tell us about the world’s most stubborn democracy advocate
The CEO of Chevron defends his company’s right to profit off Burma’s bloodbaths
A new film on Burma demolishes the triangulations, rationalizations and hypocrisies of governments, corporate crooks and liars around the globe. It’s also a fine love story.
What poetry can tell us about really living.
The recent media coverage given to Blackwater misses the mark by calling for a “better war” in Iraq when there should be no war in Iraq. Guest blogger Norman Solomon argues that “Finding better poster boys who can be touted as humanitarians rather than mercenaries won’t change the basic roles of gun-toting Americans in a country that they have no right to occupy.”
The second part of Independent journalist David Morse’s report on his journey into Sudan.
Independent journalist David Morse takes a dramatic journey into the southern reaches of Sudan, which, in the not too distant future, may be the point of origin for the next disastrous oil war on this planet.
We support the ongoing struggle of the people of Burma for basic human rights, and we admire their expressions of compassion for all humanity. As fellow humans, we stand with them.
We are very saddened and disappointed that the U.N. continues to stay silent on the corruption that exists between its officials and Burma’s ruling regime.
Disdain for “science” is cause for political concern. Yet few Americans and no major political forces are “antiscience” across the board. The ongoing prerogative is to pick and choose.
“Order 17″: How a single document catches the essence of the sort of “freedom” the Bush administration brings to the planet, a freedom not seen since the heyday of European and Japanese colonialism.
When he spoke about Burma today at the UN, for the first time I can remember (and if only very briefly) I felt proud of this administration.
It was fifteen years ago this month when the body of Christopher Johnson McCandless, a 24-year-old honors student from a well-to-do Virginia family, was discovered by moose hunters in an abandoned bus deep in the Alaskan wilderness. In the years since he died, McCandless’s life has become the stuff of legend, inspiring visitors from around the world to the site where he perished, a slew of pop songs, a magazine article by Jon Krakauer that he turned into a best-selling book, a documentary film, and now Sean Penn’s “Into The Wild” — a sweeping, rapturously shot visual poem about the nature of identity.
McCandless’s story goes like this. Upon graduation from Emory University in 1990, he gave his $24,000 in savings to charity, jumped into his old Datsun and, without telling a soul, hit the road. His destination was always Alaska, but in the two years prior he embarked on the ultimate hippie road trip: he abandoned his car in the Mojave Desert; burned all of his cash and identification; met and traveled with countless ‘tramps’; bought a canoe and paddled down the Colorado river into the Gulf of California; lived in communes in Nilan, California and one near the …
Individual and group. Man and machine. Body and spirit. Strategy and instinct. Effort and luck. Etiquette and pluck. And pain. Exquisite pain. Sure, this year’s Tour de France was marred by shame and sanctimony. But really, so what? It’s still the best, most dramatic competition there is and dammit, I was missing it before it was even over.
TomDispatch: Is a Jewish Glasnost Coming to America? Despite a Backlash, Many Jews Are Questioning IsraelSeptember 13, 2007
Tony Karon, senior editor at TIME Magazine, discusses how he first arrived at the comparison of Israeli behavior on the occupied West Bank to apartheid South Africa and then plunges into the changing attitudes of American Jews and the critical opening of the present moment.
Though Thomas Friedman’s patience with the war in Iraq may be running out, he can’t seem to bring himself to renounce the war that he helped to launch and then blessed as the incarnation of virtue, which falls in line with his history of enthusiasm for war.
On August 22nd the President addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention, giving what is already known as his “Vietnam speech.” That day, George W. Bush took the full-frontal plunge into the still-flowing current of the Big Muddy, fervently embracing Vietnam analogy-land and offering the first official presidential body count of the Iraq War.
In 2004, “Bloody Sunday” director Paul Greengrass seemed an unlikely choice to helm the second and third films in the Bourne series. Three years and two sequels later, I take a look at his impact on the genre.
Liam Rector’s efforts to revitalize poetry were two-fold: both writing and encouraging great verse. Not every artist wants to work on the apparatus of his art—the less glamorous side of sitting on committees, founding programs, judging contests—but Liam seemed comfortable in the role of officiator.
The man who ran CNN news during the invasion of Iraq is now doing damage control in response to a new documentary’s evidence that he kowtowed to the Pentagon on behalf of the cable network. His denial says a lot about how “liberal media” outlets remain deeply embedded in the mindsets of pro-military conformity.
Someday, we will undoubtedly discover that, in the term “surge” — as in the President’s “surge” plan (or “new way forward”) announced to the nation in January — was the urge to avoid the language (and experience) of the Vietnam era.
If you’re cynical about politics, you need look no further than Aung San Suu Kyi for inspiration.
Aussie Rules Media
For one year, Suleiman Jamous has been confined to a hospital in Kadugli, South Kordofan. He is suffering from an abdominal complaint and needs urgent medical attention. Without this attention his condition is deteriorating.
Unless you’re 18 or older.
A faithful flock pulls the wool over its eyes.
For years, the U.S. military has been gobbling up large swaths of the planet and huge amounts of just about everything on (or in) it. So, with the latest Pentagon Iraq plans in mind, take a quick spin with TomDispatch’s Nick Turse around this Pentagon planet of ours.
Many of America’s most prominent journalists want us to forget what they were saying and writing more than four years ago to boost the invasion of Iraq. Now, they tiptoe around their own roles in hyping the war and banishing dissent to the media margins.
In a “dark corner of the American experiment,” when one door opens, another closes.
Every news outlet that I can think to check has published an obituary for Iraqi poet Nazik al-Malaika. While her significance in the Arab literary world is concrete, her poetry is little known in the United States. In fact, very few translations of her poems exist in English, making the outpouring of obits seem, to be callous, a day late and a dollar short.
As someone who’s always believed Ezra Pound’s claim that great poems must be written regardless of who writes them, I find it frustrating that the only poems I can find by al-Malaika are in an anthology (The Poetry of Arab Women, ed. Nathalie Handal). Certainly her story is remarkable—pioneering free verse in Iraqi poetry, studying at Princeton as the only female, fleeing to Kuwait and later Eqypt—but I want to read the poems. Not to play newspaper favorites, but the New York Times does excerpt two: “To Wash Disgrace” and “Lament of a Useless Woman.” In “To Wash Disgrace,” al-Malaika evokes the horror of an honor killing in this matter-of-fact way:
She left to wash the disgrace.
The brutal executioner returns
And meets people
“Disgrace!” He wipes his knife
“We’ve torn it apart.”
When a Literary Giant Doesn’t Know His Grass from his Elbow
Of night terrors and racism
A documentary about insomnia: part film essay, part cure.
Bullsh-t that is – the main ingredient in “obscenity” crackdowns.
Bill O’Reilly’s Invisible Hand Job
Reading at the kitchen table feels like homework, which is why I dislike the collected works of anyone who lived past thirty-five. If I can’t curl up with it, I don’t want it. Therefore I’m delighted that Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project is still available online, even if sparse compared to the three anthologies it has spawned: Poems to Read, America’s Favorite Poems, and An Invitation to Poetry. All poems contained in these collections (totaling 1,031 pages) and on the website were chosen by U. S. readers. If nothing else, the selections seem like a good barometer of what’s on our minds.
And what’s on our minds? Making do.
As a New York City resident, it’s easy to forget this very American idea of managing, of (as my mom always says) “doing the best you can.” Akin to “be all you can be” minus the expectations of heroism. There are too many Nobel Peace Prize winners and movie stars looking at Picassos with you at the Guggenheim. Too many friends founding magazines, opening music venues, writing novels. The local celebrity from my hometown in Tennessee was Strolling Jim.
Strolling Jim was a horse.
The dreams are more modest in …
No matter how many Democrats are in Congress, they won’t end this war unless an antiwar movement develops enough grassroots strength to compel them to do so.
If I could stop listening, I would. Nah, I wouldn’t.
Are you tired, yet, of the omnipotence of greenhouse gases? You can’t swing a dead polar bear without hitting a story in a newspaper or magazine about how GHG (the street name for this uncontrolled substance) is causing natural or political calamities.
We have to sober up from the past eight months when the environment and climate change became relevant again. It is time to discard the divisive rhetoric and move to solutions.
In just the past month we have been pelted with the following stories that have been attributed to GHG:
China and the United States don’t trust each other. Kansas was devastated by a huge tornado and flooding. France elected a guy who (hold on to your shorts) is pro-Israeli and likes the United States (query whether the Bush-Sarkozy love affair means it is p.c. or not p.c. to eat French Fries again) and wants to work with us on climate change. Georgia was hit with the worst fires in the State’s history. A rare spring Nor’easter caused Manville, New Jersey, to be under ten feet of water. Then there is the story that W’s grey matter was fried from actually believing CEI’s commercials …
Greetings from Paris where Sarkozy has just won the national election. I watched the returns come in (standing by the door) at a soccer hooligan bar and when Sarkozy’s victory was announced, the all-white, all-male crowd burst into applause and shouts.
Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism is on bookshelves now.
Catholics have their day — well, probably quite a few days — on the Supreme Court. Freak out! Eh hem, I mean, should we be freaking out?
It had taken much thought and planning that wartime May Day four years ago when George W. Bush co-piloted an S-3B Viking sub reconnaissance Naval jet onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
When I first made the discovery that living poets existed, John Ashbery was the reigning rock star. My well-meaning mentors hurried me away from his work and put W. S. Merwin in my hands. Pound for pound, it was a fair trade: both Pulitzer Prize winners; both born in 1927 (along with Galway Kinnell and James Wright). And I saw their point. I didn’t really fit in with the NYU hipsters, with their worn copies of Lyn Hejinian’s My Life and opinions on when exactly poetry had died. (“Died?,” I would inquire with same tone I would at a later date ask, “See other people?”) My head was filled with The Lice not Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, all “bowing not knowing to what” not “sucking the sherbets, crooning the tunes, naming the names.” And it would take me several years to form an equal attachment to Ashbery, partly because of his unfair reputation for being “difficult.” He is not.
Unless you think poetry in general is difficult, in which case, I say (sincerely), you just haven’t met the right poet, yet.
Ashbery’s Wednesday reading at The Poetry Project in one key way solidified my view of him as …
A big muchos gracias to the Supreme Court for upholding the Federal Abortion Ban last week—at least now women know where we stand in this country. We don’t.
The Journal-Constitution kills its book reviews section
Under orders from the top, American soldiers routinely continue to inflict, or serve as a catalyst for, violence far more extensive than the shooting sprees that turned a placid Virginia campus into a slaughterhouse.
“…and as for Auden in his bar on 39th Street or whichever New York street he was on, brooding on ‘the low, dishonest decade’ &mdash decades can’t be low or dishonest, it’s a crap historian’s or journalist’s phrase, OK between blinks but falling apart the moment you bring a spot of attention to it, ask a few questions — how does he rate himself in terms of lowness and dishonesty, as he sits in his bar on 39th Street, that’s a question, a real poet’s question… ”
— Simon Gray
A Few Belated Thoughts on Imus
A benevolent fashion photographer and a quiet film about Carthusian monks have got me thinking about reverence.
A thinly disguised handout to the industry forbids the government from negotiating prices—which means drug companies can charge whatever the hell they want…
Did you know that making less money than men is a good thing? Oh, you like paying the bills and feeding your kids? Well don’t fret, Carrie Lukas is here to set you straight!
Could the U.S.’s secret plans to invade Iran start World War III? Noam Chomsky puts the Iran crisis in context.
The hoo-ha over the question of Barack Obama’s blackness has quieted as the country inwardly deliberates. We’ll hear more soon enough. In the meantime, I’m really confused.
It appears the Supreme Court is also drinking the Kool-aide with yesterday’s landmark decision Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. In short, the Supreme Court decimated the primary legal argument supporting Dick & Company’s strategy for refusing to stem the tide of global warming here in the United States — greenhouse gas emissions do not constitute air pollution under the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court clearly and unequivocally stated that the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., carbon dioxide).
The current administration derides the effect of the Court’s decision by mockingly stating that it will take the two years left of W’s term for the EPA to promulgate regulations effectuating the Court’s decision. But the victory is much greater than a set of regulations. It is a moral and legal boost for an environmental issue that should not be mired in partisan politics.
In my last column I referenced the power of imagery to the nascent environmental movement. But the environmental movement would not have made the tremendous strides in the 1970′s and 1980′s if it were not for the boost it received by landmark judicial decisions by another set …
The antiwar movement shouldn’t pander to jingo-narcissism. If we argue that the war is bad because of what it is doing to Americans, what happens when the Pentagon finds ways to cut American losses?
Can Kids Say No to Drug Wars?
Protest now—in a few years, you’ll be too much of a prick to care. In a few years, you’ll have your lawn and your job and whatever’s on TV tonight—everything wil seem much more important. Protest now while you still have a shred of values—the real thing to protect.
Washington’s commitment to Maliki’s government undermines U.S. diplomatic and military leverage with almost every relevant party in the country and the region, argues James Fearon in Foreign Affairs.
Iran-Contra schemers met 2 years ago to discuss “lessons learned” from the 80s scandal. It would have worked far better, they decided, if the CIA and the military had been kept out of the loop. That’s how they’re doing it this time in Iraq.
Will whiz-bang internet campaigning leave the digitally disadvantaged behind?
No sex please, we’re American.
The environmental movement arguably started with the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, serialized in the New Yorker in June 1962. By the time she died in 1964 from breast cancer, Ms. Carson shook up the American public, not to mention the chemical industry, and began the long march toward government mandated controls on the release of toxins into the environment. Her contributions as a scientist and writer were recognized by Time Magazine when it named her as one of the Most Important People of the 20th Century. She predicted in Silent Spring that the continued indiscriminate use of pesticides would have an unintended collateral effect on other species, “On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of scores of bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh.” By evoking the image of a silent spring, Ms. Carson was the first “environmentalist” to use imagery to motivate public opinion. The next time the environmental movement effectively used imagery to influence public opinion was not until the second annual Earth Day in 1971 – when Keep America Beautiful aired a sixty second video of an actor …
Calls for impeachment have come from unlikely corners this week, including the Republican camp itself. Should Democrats get this issue back on the table?
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives, almost two million have fled to other countries, and possibly millions more have been displaced in ethnic-cleansing campaigns. An estimated 4.5 million Iraqi children are malnourished; children are dying of preventable diseases. The Iraqi economy is in ruins; its oil industry functioning at levels below Saddam’s day — and there is no end in sight for any of this.
Is the Bush administration falsely blaming Iran for its impotence in Iraq?
Prince Charles disses the Clan McDonalds.
Judith Miller’s co-author on her now discredited “aluminum tubes” article is at it again–this time helping the Bushies make the case to invade Iran.
Tony is no longer playing fetch. He clearly left the reservation (or at least the ranch) on the issue of global warming. It was bad enough that the British government published that holier-than-though-pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later report last November. Then he sent Sir Nicholas Stern, his chief economic advisor to the W’s alma mater last week to defend his thesis. My guess is that Tony is banking on the fact that Dick is preoccupied with feeding Scooter to the Big Man (by the way, did Ted Wells really belt out a couple of choruses of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out during his closing?) to pay attention to the fact that the British government is taking the position that we either tax carbon emissions as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions or face economic ruin.
The 700-page Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change makes the Inconvenient Truth look like a puff piece. The thesis underlying the Stern Review is that if global warming goes unchecked it will wreak global economic havoc on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression. The lesson of the report is clear: endure some short term economic pain to bring greenhouse gasses under control to avoid …
I suspect that Cartoon Network was trying to “break through the noise.” They were trying to be rebellious, suit-wearing bad boys. I mean, we live in a world where advertising is everywhere. We also live in a world where freaks have moved away from such contained spaces as Coney Island to your TV.
A TRAIN WRECK
When I was maybe six or seven, my grandfather took me in his truck somewhere far out into the Carolina countryside to see a train wreck. I remember the chrome of the Amtrak cars all twisted up. A huge crane was being used to untangle the seemingly endless mess that threaded into the distance; that sleek and shiny thing was as broken as a used-up toy.
My grandfather and I licked ice cream cones as we looked on. Then, we went home, ate, and watched TV.
If my Grandfather were still alive, I suppose that he and I would have headed up to Boston with some ice cream because everyone …
Banishing underweight models becomes the latest fashion craze.
Sex-related anti-feminism generally falls in two categories: the argument that feminists are anti-sex (and by proxy anti-porn and anti-male) or, more recently, the idea that feminists are responsible for all the girls gone wild.
The Nanny State tries to set curbs on crosswalking.
Global warming rallies and unites scientists, diplomats, politicians, economists and lawyers from almost every country around the world. Except the United States. We spent six long years running in the opposite direction. Why?
It is almost too embarrassing to admit that the United States official position on climate change is (1) the science of global warming is not settled and more time is necessary to study the matter, (2) if there is evidence of global warming, it is not caused by man’s emission of greenhouse gasses, or (3) if man caused or contributed to global warming, the United States will not agree to any remedy that negatively impacts our economy. As an environmental lawyer, closely following this issue since Al Gore was its champion on the Senate floor in the late 1980s, I am out of excuses to tell my European friends why the United States continues to pretend the issue does not exist.
Lately, I resort to the last straw of a desperate man: humor. Oh, and it came easy with the freakish warm weather in New York City. Yes, harken back to last month when we could sit outside eating brunch and I could make you laugh about …
“I don’t fuck much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the future”—Patti Smith
Atheism gets mean.
Then you march, which means that you promenade toward the capitol, then around its back, ending up where you’d started in the first place.
An AIDS advocacy org claims Viagra is marketed to spread VD rather than cure ED.
We often hear that the Pentagon exists to defend our freedoms. But the Pentagon is moving against press freedom.
Today–on the 34th anniversary of Roe v Wade–I have a request. Instead of writing about the legislation, the rhetoric, or the politics surrounding reproductive rights and justice, let’s keep it simple. Let’s just trust women.
Much of that Presidential power comes from proper use of words: “We have nothing to fear but ____ (finish the sentence).” “The buck stops ____” “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this ___.”
Some Democrats in Congress want to hand the president his head and some don’t. But, as a practical matter, the distinction is moot. He’s in the thrall of what you might call a repetition compulsion disorder that manifests as digging in his heels.
Right up there with man-hating and bra-burning is the idea that feminists want to destroy romance.