Posts Tagged: fbi

Periphery: Exploring Bombs, Boundaries, and Family History

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Have you ever seen a feathery shadow at the edge of your eye? Was it a figure? Did it cross into your vision, like a hummingbird there and gone? ...more

Unbridled Power in All Its Majestic Terror: Will Bardenwerper’s The Prisoner in His Palace

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As we begin our own Age of the Strongman, Hussein’s almost effortless manipulation—of soldiers expecting exactly that behavior—shows how susceptible we all might be to the sheer force of a big personality. ...more

Dispatches from the Swamp: I Watched the Comey Hearings in a DC Bar with a Face Full of Novocaine

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All of us, at some point over the last six months, have wished in one way or another that we could be anesthetized. That we could chemically numb the parts of our brains that flare out with anxiety every time our phones (those luminous portals of dread) vibrate with a news alert.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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A Buffalo bookstore owner was the target of an FBI investigation for more than two years, and now he wants to know why.

Can independent bookstores survive in the state that gave us Antonin Scalia and Tony Soprano?

San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood will not, after all, be a bookstore-free zone.

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The FBI’s James Baldwin Obsession

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Writing for Publishers Weekly, William J. Maxwell examines the 1,884-page FBI file on James Baldwin—the longest on record—as part of his effort to obtain surveillance information on African American authors through the Freedom of Information Act. Along with reports on literary giants like Lorraine Hansberry and Amiri Baraka, Baldwin’s file reveals a complex relationship between Hoover’s office and the authors, characterized by intermittent respect for the literary work and a healthy fear of the writers’ standing as leaders of the black community.

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Love in the Time of Terror Babies

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“My parents, with admirable foresight, had their first child while they were on fellowships in the United States. My mother was in public health, and my father in a library-science program. Having an American baby was, my mother once said, like putting money in the bank.”

So begins Daniel Alarcón (who is reading at the next Monthly Rumpus)’s recently published short story “Second Lives,” whose narrator is a Latin American man with a potent longing for a First World life.

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“The fringiest fringe in Fringeville?”

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Over at The Awl, Maud Newton asks how scared we should be of groups like the Hutaree militia, which was recently broken up by the FBI for planning attacks on law enforcement.

On the one hand, she says, “When the Tea Party kicks you out of its massive tent, and neighboring militias dismiss you as a cult, you might just be out there on the fringiest fringe in Fringeville.”

On the other hand, she provides a terrifying catalog of militia-tastic things that are so close to the heart of our government that it almost makes me want to start a conspiracy theory about the conspiracy theorists.

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Studs Terkel And The FBI

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“In the 1930s, Studs Terkel applied to the FBI to be a fingerprint guy — maybe if he’d gotten the job, we would have had “CSI: Studs Terkel.” But the FBI turned him away and in 1945 began surveillance that would last for more than four decades.”

At Jacket Copy, Carolynn Kellogg reports that the legendary oral historian’s concern for poor people made him a target of the Feds.

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Different Sorts of Rubbish: A Link list by Thomas Seely

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For some reason I’ve been getting the FBI’s email newsletter for about a year now. It is mostly bureaucratic drivel, but this week’s newsletter features some pretty interesting photographs of the Bureau’s inauguration security gadgets. Look for the Food Network and the Care Bears on the screen in the “Mobile Command Center.”

Also on the Inauguration front, check out artist Michael Waugh’s “The Inaugurals.” Waugh intersplices text from

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