Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Night Main Event

Silversun Pickups perform

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

This week: Attack of the pirate bankers!

American has water problems - and no plan to fix them.

In economics this week: A nightmare on Wall Street. E.Coli Conservatives are shrinking government to death - our economy has become socialism for the rich. America's middle class can't take much more punishment; Wall Street has already wrecked our retirements.

Can Congress fight the Supreme Court's anti-consumer ideology?

Finally, and most importantly this week,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recommended Reading

The Earth in the Attic - Poems by Fady Joudah

We (and by "we" I mean "me") love the saying "All poetry is political," but for Joudah, a Palestinian-American and a member of Doctors Without Borders, that notion pervades his manuscript as an ocean keeping the many boats of verse afloat. This is not to categorize Joudah's work as strictly political or bland rhetoric, but rather to suggest that for some, their lives and inseparable from their artistic self, their being always a part of their object.

From the first stanza, the depth of Joudah's experience hits us as a sudden rain storm, and we are some of us ill-dressed. Joudah strings the image of wheat reaching into the sky with a helicopter crashing to Earth. In his poetry, Joudah combines the best of western Modernism (H.D.'s Imagism, Eliot's scope and Zukofsky's lyric) with the great Arabic tradition of Darwish and Youssef.

Joudah's poetry is powerful for its scope, but builds that scope with a small and focused lens - a landscape photo built of a thousand polaroids. He captures those smaller moments - people in markets, camel traders, day laborers, a boy gathering water in a bucket. The everyday tragedy of a people suffering in the oppressive throes of the last great colonial war then paired with a western eye. It is startling how Joudah switches between the two, blends them so skillfully. He tells a parable of ants leaving their shelters after the earth has been bombed with rain, before painting a portrait of a child whose skin is "like spandex on the bone" and whose father has been killed. Amazingly, the facts of that death are unimportant in a scenescape where hunger, rape and violent deaths are a constant hum, a dust that seems ever present on the skin.

Joudah's poetry is a poetry of people, but a poetry from a physician's eye. The people in his work becoming more alive somehow when viewed with his diagnostic, unemotional eye. A bus-load of dead children, a girl dying of malnutrition, and Joudah's own father passing through an airport. The objects stand for themselves within his poetic gaze. Joudah's line follows this, recalls Creeley and Oppen as a bass stutter that flows one line into the next as a back beat, a wave ebbing and flowing on his ocean elevating the boats of verse.

His poems are drawn from life, organic you might say, from sand and pain and blood. Unfiltered in an affected journalism, there are moments when we flinch, moments we turn away from the image, from the reality in the verse. Morning coffee is finished before a pig is bled to death. The goats, we learn, are later bled in a different fashion.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Night Main Event

Great Lake Swimmers perform

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

Congratulations America! the "terror watch list" topped one million Americans this week!

in economics this week, oil brings America closer to OPEC debtor dependence, taxpayers are being stuck with Wall Street's mistakes, and the national debt is $455,000 per household. This is the death of Reaganomics. And George W. Bush is OK with that (everything but the Reagonomics part).

And speaking of our flagship Republican economy, a charity founded to help people in remote areas get basic medical care has set up shop in the good ol' US of A.

The Nation reports on Disaster Capitalism and our stretched resources.

Finally, Salon says good bye Budweiser.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

One day late this week - there was a minor accident involving red wine, poor sidewalk conditions, and my ankle, knee and back.

This week we star with the end of the Reagan era.

In These Times talks about the coming fight over food.

The American Prospect suggests how the left can avoid a war over liberal education reform.

In economics this week, is the GOP cooking the books until after election day?. There's a record drop in private sector jobs, forclosures up 53% and billionaires are gouging are grandparents.

Finally this week, a blog post over cycling that spurred an angry debate over cycling in cities. See if you can find my comment! One poster suggested bicycles should be illegal, as roads were made only for cars. I wanted to remind him that the League of American Wheelmen, the U.S.'s first bicycle advocacy group, was largely responsible for us having paved roads at all.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday Morning (Journalism) Quarterback

The top five stories worth reading from this past week in worth-reading stories:

In honor of Independence Day, we need to fix voting - the lifeblood of democracy.

The New York Times reports this week on Hundreds of billions of our taxpayer dollars, thousands of lives, and our national infrastructure crumbling, all to subsidize the profiteering of the Bush/Cheney oil swindlers. Alternet revisits the 10 most awesomely-bad moments of the Bush presidency, and Common Dreams reminds us that Iran-Contra's lost chapter helped sow the seeds of today.

Just how stupid are we?

In economics this week - the dollar has dropped 41% under George Bush and conservative government; the mortgage meltdown stole some of black America's hard won wealth; and hard times are hitting for student borrowers. Greater globalization requires a greater safety net.

Lastly, and most importantly this week, coffee!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

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