March 2011

Libya and the End of the American Imperium

March 31, 2011

Watching the array of opinion on Libya play out over the screen of public pronouncement and positioning has been a marvel, a kind of international and inter-ideological performance art – the Western political mind CAT-scanned, back lit, and thrown onto a blotter. It looks a lot like a Pollack. We’ve got the neocon “freedom agenda,” [...]


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Jazz Is: 30 – My Funny Valentine

March 30, 2011

I periodically have to offer the disclaimer that while this series was conceived to offer interesting video of fine jazz performances, I do at times reserve the right and make the exception, under the Make the Exception clause, section 15, part B of the Reserve the Right rules of 2010, to be so bowled over [...]


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ALEC – Will the Real George Soros Please Stand Up?

March 28, 2011

It began with a March 15 blog post – University of Wisconsin Professor of History William Cronon’s fist blog post on his new blog, Scholar as Citizen – a blog post entitled “Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere? (Hint: It Didn’t Start Here) . It delivered on what the title offered. [...]


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CineFile – Movies, Music, Motion, Minimalism

March 27, 2011

As a youth riding buses and subway trains in New York City, and as a child in the backseat of the family car, I loved to stare out windows in silence, even if everyone around me was loud with conversation. I lived inside my head, not the world, and observation was a form of contentment. [...]


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How We Lived on It (36) – New York City

March 26, 2011

It’s remarkable (to me, anyway) that I reached number 36 of this series without having done New York City, though I did do a post on the Rockaways. If you never saw the seventeen and a half hour Ric Burns documentary on the history and meaning of New York, and even if you did, but [...]


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Centenaries and Memory

March 25, 2011

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the Triangle Shirt Factory fire in New York City, a signal event in the history of the American worker, and one that is drawing a remarkable degree of attention from a world so far from the one in which it occurred. This past December was my father’s hundredth birthday. [...]


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Libya and the Same Ol’ Same Ol’

March 24, 2011

I don’t mean to be glib about the situation and the stakes for human life. Sad to say, though, that it is the same ol’ same ol’ in that too, for this is the world and these are our works and days. What I do characterize are our arguments over intervention, our motivation, ends, and [...]


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Picture This: 5 – A Hollywood Premiere

March 23, 2011

Wasn’t it ever so – small-town girl with her big-time dreams moves to the City of Angeles, hits it big, goes Hollywood? And so it is again. Julia Dean, that’s right, that Julia Dean, and this Julia Dean, once of Broken Bow, Nebraska, sometimes of these parts, and always of The Julia Dean Photo Workshops, [...]


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Dishonest Argument: the Social Divider

March 21, 2011

The other day I mentioned the argumentative reversal in debate, when one party makes use of the argument against it to try to turn the tables, sort of the way in Aikido, one does not directly counter the opponent, but redirects his attacking force back against him. The party implicitly accepts an argument – without [...]


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CineFile – The Thin Red Line

March 20, 2011

“In this world, a man, himself, is nothin’. And there aint no world but this one.” If you’ve read the blog this past week, you’ll have some idea of why I’ve chosen Terrence Malick‘s The Think Red Line for this week’s CineFile post. There is that crushing illusion in which war between states and armed [...]


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Eating Poetry (XXXIII) – Everybody Who Is Dead

March 19, 2011

A poem that is so lean and so direct, digging deep, radiating out. Simply, profoundly perfection. Everybody Who is Dead Frank Stanford When a man knows another man Is looking for him He doesn’t hide. He doesn’t wait To spend another night With his wife Or put his children to sleep. He puts on a [...]


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Letter from Paris: a Lump in the Throat

March 17, 2011

Yesterday’s Jazz Is entry, a Dexter Gordon film rendition of “Body and Soul,” put me in mind, for a reason you will soon understand that number always now does, of an another experience of the jazz standard. It was September 2001, and I was beginning a sabbatical year with a month-long drive around Europe. Julia [...]


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The U.S. International Role: Conservative & Progressive

March 16, 2011

I offered my take on the current war of words and ideas over whether the U.S. should engage in more warlike action in Libya. Now, there are three essential considerations at The Atlantic. Substituting for James Fallows, Sam Roggeveen offers here and here, with more to come, two deeply considered  posts (beneath the common sturm [...]


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Jazz Is: 29 – Dexter Gordon, “Body and Soul”

March 16, 2011

While I was laboring over the Wisconsin labor crisis and neglecting my regular features, Dexter Gordon, much beloved sax man, had a birthday. Gordon, who died in 1990, was born on February 27, 1923. Here is how his Wikipedia entry introduces him: Gordon is one of the most influential and iconic figures in Jazz and [...]


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The Arab Revolution: a Case for Realism

March 14, 2011

If the oldest profession is prostitution, the second oldest pastime (the very oldest being left to the imagination) is heckling. There is, too, no more timeless heckle of the cautious leader than “Why don’t you do something!” Obama Seeks a Course of Pragmatism in the Middle East In the Middle East crisis, as on other [...]


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CineFile – Norma Rae

March 13, 2011

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to low wages, managerial mistreatment, and old age poverty. What kind of boss do you think the underhanded, contemptuous, and inflexible Scott Walker will be to work for? While Martin Ritt was not an exceptional film stylist, his origins in the 1930s Group Theater led to [...]


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How We Lived on It (35) – Photographer Lu Guang & the 2010 Dalian Oil Spill

March 12, 2011

On July 16, 2010 China suffered what has been called its biggest oil spill, perhaps as many as 365,000 barrels of crude oil. (The Exxon Valdez released 270,000 barrels.) The New York Times reported on questions about China’s official account. The Big Picture offers many stunning photos from AP and Jiang He, for Greenpeace. Here, [...]


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It’s Work, Being a Jew

March 10, 2011

Did you see that? Did you see what I did? I’ve been blogging obsessively on the subject of “labor” and workers ever since Scott “I’ve got a baseball bat in my office, Mr. Koch – it is Mr., isn’t it?” Walker started trying to roll back the twentieth century in Wisconsin. It’s developed into something [...]


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Hugo Chavez in Wisconsin

March 9, 2011

It is a core distinction between the American Left and Right that while liberals seek to expand rights in ways that conservatives often dislike and find offensive, conservatives simply seek to deprive citizens of rights and to take from them those they already have. You can find video of this historic travesty of democracy – [...]


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“Free Labor,” from Abraham Lincoln – in Wisconsin

March 7, 2011

Abraham Lincoln, in his so far unending prescience and wisdom, actually offered some thoughts on the nature of labor and capital in of all places Wisconsin – at the annual meting of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, in Milwaukee, on September 30, 1859. A brief passage from it, bolded below, is quoted often and can [...]


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Profiles in Anti-Unionism

March 6, 2011

I wrote on Friday, highlighted in the commentary at Texas Insider of former Reagan speech writer Clark S. Judge, about the kind of fundamental dishonesty on display in the arguments of those advocating a roll back of twentieth century social progress in worker’s rights and labor conditions. I expanded here on the comment I left [...]


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