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20 posts from October 2008

Link Roundup: Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, Recent Reviews

Scott Horton, in his always excellent blog at Harpers, skewers the "New McCarthyism" in a defense of Rashid Khalidi. More commentary in support of Khalidi, a respected scholar at Columbia University and author of the forthcoming Sowing Crisis: The Cold... Read more →

In the final presidential debate, the South American country of Colombia briefly became a central theme in the U.S. election campaign. Garry Leech, author of Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia, analyzes the presidential candidates' positions on Colombia and free trade. Read more →

Dating Jesus: link to Beacon Press page for the book When did Sarah Palin become a fundamentalist? I'd like to know, because I never once saw her in the pews of my own fundamentalist church in southwest Missouri, where I came to Jesus, taught Sunday school, and worked a church bus route. When precisely did Sarah join the Elect, for whom the media has the strangest reaction, like at any moment we're going to reach into our satchels and start handling snakes. Read more →

Averting Their Eyes from an Assault on Women’s Health

"Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes from the ultrasound images required to be provided to and reviewed with her." This is the "good news" of an egregious law recently passed in Oklahoma making ultrasounds mandatory for abortion patients. But though I read the law carefully (available here in its entirety), I couldn't find anything allowing women to also cover their ears during the ultrasound. This is unfortunate, because the law requires that those performing the ultrasound "provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting," and also "provide a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable." Even those women who are aborting a pregnancy caused by rape or incest are compelled to undergo such mandated ultrasounds. Read more →

Maybe the Wall Street bailout package is a good idea. But the only thing I know for sure is this: even if we avert a total economic meltdown, we will still be in a recession. Millions of Americans still will be without jobs -- or in real fear of losing their job. Worse, we will still be dependent on dirty fuels like oil and coal, which are draining our monetary resources and cooking the planet. Read more →

The Puck Stops Here: A Hockey Coach Analyzes Palin’s Brand

In case you haven't heard, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is an "average Alaskan hockey mom." For anyone who didn't grow up on skates, like I did, it's a relatively new colloquial term that plays off of the term "soccer moms," a moniker used extensively in the 1996 election season to neatly describe the type of white suburban woman who voted for Clinton (Bill, that is). Read more →

The Great True Faith of our times may have been badly shaken in recent days; but faith that is shaken remains, at its core, a matter of blind devotion. And while Merrill Lynch is gone forever, that big bronze bull still flares its massive horns down at Bowling Green Park, a few blocks south of Wall Street. The sculptor parked his four-ton creation right in front of the New York Stock Exchange immediately following the 1987 crash. He thought the symbol of a robust market might bring needed good luck, and to this day traders will sneak by and rub the behemoth's testicles to aid their fortunes. Read more →

I am standing in the exam room, in the Women's Health Center, listening to the rapid heartbeat of a four-month-old fetus on a Doppler. The patient, Carey McDonald, 17, a slim blond cheerleader, is alone today. Sometimes her mother, a single waitress, comes with her. The father of the baby, a star football player on the hometown team, denies paternity. "But it's his!" Carey told me. "It is! He's the only boy I've ever been with and even that was only two times." Carey and her mom will raise this baby together. Read more →

Nobel Prize – Is There an American Eligible?

The American literary establishment is crying foul. The comments of Swedish Academy permanent secretary Horace Engdahl suggesting that an American is unlikely to win the Nobel Prize in Literature this week have provoked great patriotic upswellings. Engdahl suggested that the U.S. literary establishment is "too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining." Read more →

The Shelter of Each Other: Comfort in a Crisis

I'm not a sky-is-falling kind of guy; I tend to see history as the story of progress, and I have a great deal of faith in the creativity, decency, and resilience of human beings. But the signs and portents are not good; it is now very likely that America is about to enter a full-blown crisis, one that will unfold on every level: spiritual, psychological, philosophical, financial, political, and military. Every institution will be affected, and so will every person. Am I being melodramatic? I really don't think so. America could plausibly pull out of its nosedive, but at a certain point you have to admit, if only to yourself, that we are going to crash. Read more →

A Mother’s Perspective on Palin, Disability Issues, and Reproductive Rights

I'm reminded of that now in the weeks since the Palin nomination--weeks when apparently even so-called liberal women with "special" children have to remind themselves of their political affiliation because of what I see as their weird identification with Ms. Palin, and Trig, her now-famous Down's syndrome son, displayed like a new brooch at the Republican convention and the Vice Presidential debate. Read more →

Link Roundup: Welcome to New Readers, Rev. Forrest Church, Divorce as a Health Care Strategy

In the run-up to tonight's Vice Presidential debate, which will be hosted by Gwen Ifill, we're seeing an slight uptick in traffic from conservative blogs linking to her cousin Sherrilyn Ifill's post on The Relevance of Nooses and Lynching in... Read more →

Weathering the Storm: Keeping Some Control in a Financial Crisis

These days, whether you're a college student or a retiree, it's pretty hard not to reside on the edge of a financial panic. After all, if mega-institutions like Lehman Brothers and AIG can't weather our current financial storm, how is one middle class individual or family, struggling even before the you-know-what hit the fan, supposed to scrape by? Read more →