Before yesterday, I suspect most people outside Missouri had never heard of Representative Todd Akin. I barely recognized the name myself, even though I consider myself a bit of a political junkie and I currently live in the neighboring state. All I really knew is that he was beating Senator Claire McCaskill pretty handily in her re-election bid, and that the Democrats were likely to lose that seat come November....more
Posts Tagged: politics
Today in a Russian court, three members (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30) of the all-female Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism.”
(For those unfamiliar with the story, here is a round-up of links that we published last week.)
The trio had been facing up to seven years, but, after much deliberation, was sentenced to two years in prison for an anti-Putin song they performed in a church....more
Three women of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot are on trial in Russia for hooliganism, which carries a charge up to seven years in prison, following their arrest in March after a performance of what they’ve called a ‘punk prayer’ critical of Vladmir Putin in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the most famous Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow....more
A formerly freckle-faced pothead with a penchant for getting arrested, Prior admits she doesn’t hide emotions well and so to some, she can be a handful....more
Tom Barbash talks with author and reporter Hart Seely about winning ballgames from your couch, Donald Rumsfeld, faking sanity, and the fate of quality journalism in the online era of click chasing....more
“Why take to the streets when Stewart and Colbert are on the case? It’s a lot easier, and more fun, to experience the war as a passive form of entertainment than as a source of moral distress requiring citizen activism.”
At The Baffler, Rumpus columnist Steve Almond takes on comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, arguing that the comedians serve, largely, to mollify the public by staunching desire for active action against unjust power structures by engaging in acts of essentially harmless ridicule....more
At The American Interest, David Green issues “A Call To Linguistic Disobedience.”
In his essay, Green argues that some of the most basic linguistic techniques used to describe the state of American politics (or, to “define the situation”) – such as the use of a binary of left versus right, liberal versus conservative – create a system in which any substantive explanation or exploration of events becomes impossible, as actual dialog becomes shrouded behind and ultimately replaced by competitions over the definitions of fundamentally subjective labels:
“With no mutually acceptable vocabulary, communication between contending parties has all but been replaced by efforts to bypass opponents and communicate directly with two key constituencies: independent or swing voters, and the respective bases each side wishes to mobilize.”...more
Eurozine’s Mihir Bose lays out the development of modern athletics in connection with human rights, citing the political and ethical pressures involved in not-so-nice countries hosting major sports events.
He writes that the International Olympic Committee, among other major governing bodies of sport, has paid little attention to its founding rhetoric in the last 100 years....more
“On Sept. 11, 1948, my father, Khalilullah Nuristani, was born under the same burden of greatness. In retrospect, he must have believed that he could fulfill what had been his father’s unfulfilled destiny. My father became a tireless fighter for a free Afghanistan.”
Afghan writer Kakail Nuristani compiled photos, letters and documents from his father’s life, working with Adam Klein to tell a fascinating story that spans three-generations....more
“Québec has long been a holdout, but that era’s over. Which makes the students indisputedly right about one thing: the problem with ‘reforms’ like these is that they constitute an abandonment of that old saw, the projet de société.”...more
Harriet, the Poetry Foundation blog, reports that poet Joshua Clover and 11 students at UC Davis are potentially facing a $1 million fine and up to 11 years each in prison. Their crime? Peaceful protest.
A petition is circulating which demands that UC Davis drop all charges, and if I hear about any other plans to pressure the UC Davis administration, I’ll update this post to reflect them....more
“Just as women don’t hate Samantha Brick for being beautiful, and feminism hasn’t ruined anyone’s chances to be married, and no one thinks mothers don’t work, and there is no argument between working and stay-at-home mothers, there is no contradiction between the sexual imagination of some and sexual politics for all.”
At The Guardian, Hadley Freeman skewers the strategy–at play in both politics and media–that seeks to inspire in-fighting amongst women thereby distracting from actual policies or content....more
In the fall of 2008 I was chatting with a woman I know about the upcoming presidential election. She was in her 60s, single, a funky dresser, world traveler, and amateur artist—what my mom would have called a “free-spirited Auntie Mame type”— so I was surprised by what she had to say: She was voting Republican....more
While a 2003 report announced progress in the reduction of poverty, a new Brookings report has found that “between 2000 and 2005-09, the population in extremely poor neighborhoods climbed by more than one-third, from 6.6 million to 8.7 million.” The Atlantic breaks it down with maps revealing the concentration of poverty and analysis of the main trends that have contributed to the reversal....more
“…Substantial wealth inequality is so embedded in American political culture that, standing alone, it would not be sufficient to trigger citizen rage of the type we are finally witnessing.”
At Mother Jones, Glenn Greenwald looks back at the history of inequality, examining the founding fathers’ view of inequality as “not merely inevitable, but desirable,” as well as its lasting pervasiveness and acceptance....more
“The stimulus failed.” “The deficit is our biggest problem right now.” “Lower taxes are the best way to grow the economy.” “Regulatory uncertainty is clogging the economy.” “If you unshackle the rich, they’ll rev up the economy.”
According to Mother Jones, those are the six myths that “that must die for our economy to live.”...more
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the British phone hacking scandal is the lack of coverage in the US press.
Among the US newspapers, the NY Times is the only one I can find which has done significant reporting on the story, though the best work on the story comes from (no surprise) the Guardian....more
Al-Jazeera has started a new project–an online dictionary of words and phrases the mainstream media (which I–though not everyone–would argue they’re a part of) uses when writing/talking about whatever the news story of the day happens to be. It’s either darkly funny or painfully true, or perhaps a combination of both....more
There’s an awesome Mother Jones article on how we intake our science like lawyers and how our reasoning is inextricably linked to our emotional centers. We’re used to scientific evidence and opinion-based beliefs competing or being on opposite sides of our reality spectrum, but they do, indeed, inform each other....more
The founding editor of Bookslut offers an eclectic selection of books that might help us confront our own deeply American sense of political alienation.
One of them I especially want to read: Avoiding Politics: How Americans Produce Apathy in Everyday Life by Nina Eliasoph, a book title that speaks to the person inside of me who would prefer to stay home all day, read books and update my Facebook account instead of having to confront the brutalities that my privileged repose rests upon....more
This last year Ishmael Reed published a book of satirical essays targeting the current American media: Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers.
Despite being a MacArthur Fellow, a critically-acclaimed author of nine novels and numerous other volumes of poetry, essays and criticism, Reed, a long-time resident of Oakland, CA had to go to a Canadian publisher to publish this book. This morning I discovered a recent interview with him that was at once insightful and provocative....more
In 1968, the year I was born, Ronald Reagan was considered too extreme to be the Republican nominee for the presidency. Richard Nixon was the nominee and served a term and a half before resigning under threat of impeachment.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the presidency and subsequently became a god in conservative circles, even though his policies mostly didn’t match the rhetoric....more
“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....more
Joe Lieberman is introducing something he calls the Terrorist Expatriation Act–TEA Act for short, though the redundancy seems lost on them–which would make it possible for the State Department to strip the citizenship from anyone they determine is “involved with terrorist activities.”
Lieberman claims that he’s simply trying to update existing law....more
“All I really have to say about life is that for it to be regarded as valuable, it has to first be regarded as grievable. A life that is in some sense socially dead or already ‘lost’ cannot be grieved when it is actually destroyed....more