Calling a Disaster a Disaster

Haiti-disaster

Robert Letcher: For decades until the recent economic “troubles”, middle classes readily bought into the elite-serving argument: if we don’t question the morality of—and possible connections between—extreme poverty and extreme wealth, elites will act to assure that most of us will never be as poor as those poor Haitians (best delivered with a Glenn Beck quiver).

The Upside of Hell

Tel Aviv

H. Scott Prosterman: I’m told by a fellow traveler that the upside of hell is knowing that all of your friends will be there. I can hardly wait. Such was the feeling I had when I saw my name among many more important people on the Masada 2000 website. They are an ultra-right Zionist organization, bent on destroying the reputations and careers of any Jew who dares to utter or publish a criticism of Israel . They call this the Self Hating and/or Israel Threatening (SHIT) List. And there are over 8,800 names.

Beyoncé’s Soulless Starbucking of Music Industry

beyonce grammys

Randy Shaw: Beyoncé has been a great star since childhood, and has gotten to the top through hard work, dedication, good looks and a powerful singing voice. But she seems to have gone through a corporate homogenization machine that has deprived her of real passion, real soul, and of the ability to express true feelings and emotions in her songs.

Emergency for LA’s Arts Community

The Price Arthur Miller

John Gallogly: There are always going to be those who say the arts are a luxury we can’t afford. The truth in Los Angeles — according to Jack Kyser, chief economist for LA, Inc, and author of the 2009 Otis Report — is that the arts are an economic engine that employ over 35,000 people directly and contribute at least that many jobs indirectly in tourism, restaurants, printing and ancillary businesses, not to mention the economic multiplyer at other local businesses where those employees shop like grocery stores.

Bhutto:The Film — Heartbreaking, Thought-Provoking History Lesson

Benazir Bhutto

Georgianne Nienaber: Bhutto: The Film presents the story of a woman whose strength of personality and conviction totally dominates the constraints of a fundamentalist religious society where women had no intrinsic value. The voice over of Bhutto describing her birth is the ghost in the room. Her extended family was in mourning that Benazir entered the world in a society where the only desire is that the firstborn be a boy. “Dogs and cats were giving birth to boys,” she narrates from the grave.

Howard Zinn And J. D. Salinger: Two Heroes

howard zinn jd salinger

Wendy Block: Both Zinn and Salinger remained true to themselves. Zinn maintained his radical stance when many of his contemporaries softened. Salinger rejected what he considered the phoniness of fame, and even stopped publishing (but maybe now, secreted works will go public). Though some of his rumored actions, if true, were eccentric, there’s nothing reclusive about wanting to live a life free from an obsessively attentive outside world.

At Home in the World Joyce Maynard

Salinger

Jules Siegel: Coming across as pompous, astoundingly unfeeling, deceptive and defiantly hypocritical, Salinger indoctrinates her with his homeopathically inspired theories about food, teaches her how to induce vomiting in order to avoid absorbing “toxins,” has her share a diet so austere that she stops menstruating, and generally makes himself the absolute center of not only her personal world but also life as we know it. In one scene, commenting scornfully on the Beatles and their Maharishi, he takes rueful credit for having created the Oriental philosophy fad, conveniently ignoring the Transcendentalists, Herman Hesse and Alan Watts, among others.

Howard Zinn

howardzinn

Joseph Palerrmo: I saw Howard speak in Ithaca and in Santa Cruz and his talks were always so emotionally powerful and sensitive to human suffering and injustice. But he could also be hilariously funny, with a comedian’s sense of timing. And he had the most developed sense of irony — and the ability to convey irony — of anyone I’ve ever seen or read.

Media Coverage of Haitian Earthquake Can’t Go There

haiti's lament

Joseph Palermo: When the television cameras stop whirring and the famous correspondents leave Haiti and move on to the next Tiger Woods scandal, we should take a hard look at the power relations between the United States and Haiti that not only tolerated but helped create the Western Hemisphere’s best known economic, medical, political, judicial, educational, and ecological disaster long before the natural disaster hit.

Reinventing Journalism: The Emerging New World Order of News

Balloon News

Ron Kaye: If you’re reading this, you know what a revolution is taking place in how we get our news and information because of the Internet. It’s energizing and liberating to play a small part in it on TV, on my blog and on my community-based news site OurLA.org which brings together citizen and professional journalism to tell the story of LA’s political and civic culture.

Farewell 00’s, Welcome 10’s! Top Story of 2009? Bringing Paula Home

paula-leaving-spalding

Denis Campbell: And yet despite all their media noise about birthers, death panels and socialism, there was only one story that really mattered to this journalist, Bringing Paula Home. Paula Persechini-Petitti is a remarkable woman who travelled the globe for 17 years bringing medical supplies and healthcare to third or fourth world nations around the globe.

Rethink Reform

RR_Stacked_Square

So, I ask you, who really paid for this “Rethink Reform” ad? If we’re going to exercise our right to free speech (yes, we all believe in it), is there at least an ethical responsibility to stand up and say it publicly, without hiding your identity?

It’s Morning in Reagan Studies

The argument of The Reagan Revolution belies its title: according to Troy, there was no Reagan revolution. This is not to say Reagan was an inconsequential president: Troy portrays him as a man who changed the nation’s political climate even if he never changed its topography.

Bah Humbug! Holiday Movies So Cute I Could Puke

Catherine Deneuve in Un Conte de Noël

I turn on television and the words “John Hughes,” “Chevy Chase,” “Tim Allen” and “Dan Aykroyd” pop up on the screen, my blood runs cold, my temples throb and I switch over to Fat Boy Hackeysack on ESPN2, or faux history shows like Ancestors in the Attic and Ice Road Truckers. I’d rather watch more bad news from Afghanistan on BBC World, or even Céline Dion on Ice.

Teflon Dick: How Cheney Uses Media for Protection

Obam-and-Cheney

Last week, Cheney’s Machiavellian strategy reached a whole new level when his daughter Liz raised his status from political adversary to political opponent by floating the prospect of candidate Cheney in 2012. Brilliant! Behold Dick’s calculating progeny doing his bidding on Fox TV:

Love’s Lessons from Loss

Sorrow

My little boy has taught me a great deal about life, about love for my wife and my family, about empathy and caring for others. Never a religious person, I have become far more spiritual over these past months.

Laughing So Hard

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as "The Count"

So, right, it’s a wonderful movie, and as much as the LA Progressive does such things, we give it four stars, a kiss and a hug and a pat on the behind, and recommend that you see it. But I think we were touched with something more that night.

Like Leaves, Life Always Drifts Back To Earth

golden retriever

Sorry to tell you this Chuck Grassley and Sarah Palin and Virginia Fox and Glenn Beck and the rest of the Teabaggers and people who think the richest nation on earth is doing just fine having one-third of its population uninsured or underinsured: The only death panel is the one inside each of us.

Blues In L.A.

Zola-Moon

The stories of Blues music tell of hard times we can relate to with driving chord changes to cure all loneliness. We begin to realize we aren’t alone with our blues, as we enjoy the Blues in L.A.

Reviewing Goofy Sarah’s Goofy Book

sarah's-wink

Sadly, the book only increases her appeal to that very base of the shrinking GOP while leaving moderate Republicans, independents and anyone else who actually thinks about things out in the Alaskan cold.

RedState.com’s Erick Erickson’s Head Officially Explodes

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Uhm, I remember seeing video of Osama bin Laden and several al-Qaeda spokesmen publicly stating after September 11 that the group wants to destroy everything America stands for. Well, it seems Erickson is all in favour of letting the terrorists have their way, going so far as to demand Washington finish the job those four groups of highjackers started by destroying the rule of law.

“He Knows When to Turn the Light Sabre On:” Obama and Washington One Year Later

Jedi

Washington DC is so stuck in its traditions it is literally the land that time and technology forgot. Press galleries off the House and Senate floors are musty old museum chambers lined with musty leather couches, antiquated black wall telephones and 1940s era phone booths. One could envision reporters of that age bursting from the floor vote to call or Telex in their copy to the National desk then retire to a local tavern.

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