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Posts Tagged: politics

Longing for Peace

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“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.

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Straw Man

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“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.

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Politics in the Exam Room

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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.

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Our Broken Legal System

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“…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.

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British Hacking Scandal Roundup

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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.

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Books For The Politically Alienated

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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.

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Ishmael Reed On The “Jim Crow Media”

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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.

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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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Foreign Until Proven Innocent

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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.

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Hate’s Ugly Revival

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“Over the last decade Hispanic immigrants have become the main focus of American hate groups. According to Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, after September 11, 2001, the conservative media began discussing immigration as a national security issue, often using terms like “illegals,” “invaders,” even “potential terrorists” to describe undocumented immigrants.

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Totalitarian Kitsch

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“It is the official art of authoritarian governments, aimed at extending state control through propaganda. Totalitarian kitsch exists to glorify the state, foster a personality cult surrounding the dictator and celebrate ceaseless and irrevocable social and economic progress through images of churning factories and happy, exultant workers.”

I have long pondered the boundless evil of all things kitsch but now thanks to this article (via Bookforum) I have new reasons to fear it.

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Lobbying for Loans

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Desperate to save their businesses, the private companies who sell loans to college students have been heavily lobbying the government to keep subsidizing their loan programs. A bill that will overhaul the private loan industry recently passed in Congress with clear support from President Obama, who stated in his recent State of the Union Address “no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.”

The new proposal would retract government subsidies to private lending companies and cap the amount students have to pay back every month to 10% of their salary if they make more than $16,245 a year, reports Bryan Gerhart in his article for the California News Service.  Loans that hadn’t been paid back after 10 years would even be forgiven if that student worked for a nonprofit or government organization.

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What Buildings Would You Ban?

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“Fear, on one side, of watching Europe turn into “Eurabia“  —even if the demographics don’t justify such worries—and, on the other, of seeing centuries’ worth of social liberalization—including women’s suffrage and gay rights—fall apart in the face of religious conservatism, has led to the illegalization of an architectural form.

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Water Causes Cancer And Other Truths

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Time Magazine has already called it “The Decade From Hell.”

(Couldn’t have been worse than the 1940′s?! Could it? I mean the 40′s had Hitler AND Stalin.)

And if you have survived the “aughts” reasonably intact as we caterwaul our way into 2010 with a health care package being vigorously stripped of all its progressive promises, an escalating war(s) and the seemingly insurmountable problems of mass poverty, financial instability and ecological meltdown, you might find yourself like me going head to head with an even heartier enemy: belief.

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