February 2011

Kicking the Tires on Democracy: Wisconsin & Labor

February 28, 2011

The surface of conservative arguments for ending collective bargaining in Wisconsin and other states is as deep as  a worn tread. GOP politicians all over the country, including Scott Walker, have been peddling the “pre-owned automobile” of a utilitarian argument in a crisis. “We need the tools,” they keep repeating like a FOX News talking […]

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The American Dream Labor Rallies in Pictures

February 27, 2011

February 26, 2011, in cities across the United States. Related articles Wisconsin Protests: Labor Protests Draw Thousands Across The Country (huffingtonpost.com) Labor protests beyond Wisconsin draw thousands (reuters.com) San Francisco Rally for the American Dream Draws Thousands, Demanding Economic Rights and Opportunity (alternet.org) Wisconsin Labor Union Fight Sparks New York City Hall Rally (newyork.cbslocal.com) Political […]

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Why We Need Unions #351

February 26, 2011

I’m in activist mode this week. Later, next week, I’ll offer some deeper reflections. But a curious result of all the activist tweeting I’ve been doing through the week has been the response from conservatives. Mostly, my tweets are retweeted by the generally liberal like-minded. My tweets on the Wisconsin labor standoff, though, making their […]

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Nationwide Rally in Support of Wisconsin Labor

February 25, 2011

From MoveOn.org: click this link to find a rally near you. Rally to Save the American Dream In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich—and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital […]

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The Death of Organized Labor, or its Rebirth?

February 24, 2011

Update: Also read the microblog twitter stream further down to the right with many links to relevant current and breaking news and information. A popular Chinese curse of questionable authenticity is “May you live in interesting times.” A contrary blessing for those who seek invigorating and engaged lives might be “May you live in momentous […]

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Political Action: 50-State Mobilization to Save the American Dream

February 23, 2011

This from Moveon.org.  If you care about labor rights in the U.S. If you know what workers’ lives were like before organized labor, before the widespread middle-class life so many Americans came to enjoy during the twentieth century – events in Wisconsin, now Illinois, Indiana and more, are the reactionary Right’s final assault on workers’ […]

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James Madison and Madison, Wisconsin

February 21, 2011

Conservative deification of the Founders regularly overlooks their choice, in a constitutional, federal government over the prior confederation, of stronger, more centralized national government. In argumentative recourse to the Federalist Papers, conservatives neglect, as history does, the Anti-Federalist Papers. The Federalists won the day. It was their constitution, with the addition of a Bill of […]

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CineFile – Basquiat

February 20, 2011

“My mom told me this story – or was it a dream?” It makes sense that it might take another painter to make a masterly, even painterly film about a painter. In both of these scenes from the 1996 film, director Julian Schnabel conveys an idiosyncratic ingenuousness in Jeffrey Wright‘s Jean-Michel Basquiat that mixes with […]

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Eating Poetry (XXXII) – The Colonel

February 19, 2011

At Voice Alpha, they’re concerned with the art of reading poetry aloud for an audience (h/t Writing Without Paper). A little while back the discussion centered around the choice between reading or reciting one’s poetry. I offered the following thought about my own choice. I don’t write my poetry to be performed, but to be […]

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JBS Then = GOP Today

February 18, 2011

Glenn Beck? He’d have to be more histrionic. Rush Limbaugh? More the buffoon. What about Ron Paul, then, who came in first in last week’s CPAC Presidential Straw Poll, with 30%. Here, in 1974, is Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society, which once was synonymous with right wing extremism and rejected by respectable […]

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The Republican War on Workers Heats Up

February 17, 2011

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that if Republican efforts to cut federal spending resulted in the loss of government jobs, “so be it.” Ah, but you know – they’re government jobs, government workers, union workers, government employee union workers, barely workers, you know how they are, drawing salaries when I’m out of work, […]

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Jazz Is: 28 – The Grammys’ “Best New Artist”

February 16, 2011

If you came of age watching the Academy Awards play all hail Hollywood while the most innovative filmmaking was ignored, or the Grammy’s spend the 60s and 70s honoring mainstream bland while rock was busting out all over, Sunday night’s Grammy Awards delivered the pleasure of the voting membership delivering up its Best New Artist […]

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Truth or Objectivity in Journalism

February 15, 2011

When I find myself agreeing with Glenn Greenwald, I check myself in the mirror. I have done so, and I am happy to report that I’m looking pretty good (just by the way) and that Greenwald is not staring back at me, but in the mirror just over. Yesterday, Greenwald took his customary strong issue, […]

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Politics and Art

February 14, 2011

Vladimir Nabokov did not like the novel of ideas. Artists often have their idiosyncratic dislikes, contrary expressions of the unique aesthetic vision that drives their own work. Particularly, Nabokov did not like the work of those monuments of great-idea novels, Dostoyevsky and Mann, though there is no reason his distaste should have excluded the novels […]

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CineFile: Mothers, Sons, & Political Paranoia

February 13, 2011

In the 1950s there really was a communist threat. It just wasn’t in the United States, even though there were surely many more American communist supporters and sympathizers then than there are Americans today who are supporters of any form of Islamism. Even then Joe McCarthy claimed that there were communists in the Pentagon, and […]

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How We Lived on It (34) – Pierre Gleizes and Greenpeace

February 12, 2011

Photographer Pierre Gleizes has worked for Greepeace for three of the four decades the environmental campaigning organization has been in existence. He has shot some of the organization’s most striking and well-known images. This year, Greenpeace turns forty. This video offers the photographer’s thoughts on his long career as journalist and activist. Follow Greenpeace Video […]

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The Guardian Left

February 10, 2011

Either it was right—or it was wrong to sacrifice Richard, Arlova and Little Loewy. But what had Richard’s stutter, the shape of Arlova’s breast or Bogrov’s whimpering to do with the objective rightness or wrongness of the measure itself? Rubashov, Darkness at Noon Overwhelmed in news coverage and commentary by events in North Africa, the […]

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Jazz Is: 27 – In the Shape of Mood to Come

February 9, 2011

Only twenty years separate these two numbers. Glenn Miller‘s “In the Mood,” recorded in 1939, is one of the most famous pieces of the Swing, big band era. Here it is in a rendition led by Tex Beneke, who took charge of Miller’s orchestra in the immediate post-War years, after Miller disappeared in a flight […]

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Darkness at Noon, Today

February 7, 2011

The challenges to Enlightenment Humanism come from all sides. In the U.S., on the Right, a fundamentalist rejection of modernity has led to an increasing, unreasoned disbelief in the scientific method and the process of rational inference from its results. It rejects any conception of the human without GOD, even as it rationalizes varied forms […]

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CineFile – The Film Music of John Barry

February 6, 2011

John Barry, who died last week at the age of 77, was one of the greatest and most successful scorers ever of film scores. His twelve James Bond soundtracks are just an easy highlight, with memorable, moving scores ranging from Midnight Cowboy to Out of Africa. One could take the scores omitted from a greatest […]

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Eating Poetry (XXXI) – Neruda’s Memoirs

February 5, 2011

Maureen Doallas, a friend of this blog – of many blogs, writers, and artists – proof positive that Twitter and Facebook are a benefaction, and a blogger herself at Writing Without Paper, is among her varied talents also a poet, whose collection Neruda’s Memoirs, if not written, at least published on paper, is just out […]

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