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The Strange Death of Malachi Ritscher…

By on Nov 15, 2006 in Featured, Politics | 4 comments

I came across the following news item on Harpers.org – To protest the Iraq war, a man named Malachi Ritscher committed suicide in Chicago by setting himself on fire next to a 25-foot-tall sculpture called “Flame of the Millennium.” Along with a self-penned obituary, the 52-year-old Ritscher posted a farewell message on his website in which he described the “deep shame” of a day in 2002 when he stood, knife in hand, next to Donald Rumsfeld, but was unable to bring himself to slash the defense secretary’s throat. “I too love God and country,” wrote Ritscher, “and feel called upon to serve.” After googling around a bit – I found Malachi’s farewell note. You can, if you’re so inclined, read the whole thing right here. For the less adventurous, here are some excerpts: “My actions should be self-explanatory, and since in our self-obsessed culture words...

Open Letter To Nancy Pelosi…

By on Nov 9, 2006 in Politics | 7 comments

My name is Omar Kamel, and I am Egyptian. I’m not a big fan of watching the news, but I couldn’t help notice all the coverage regarding your victory in the recent elections. In any case, I wanted to know where you stood on things, and despite reasonable positions on some issues, and despite what appears to be a relatively compassionate social agenda, I was shocked to see that your heart stopped short of compassion for the plight of my Palestinian neighbors – when I finally read the text of your speech to AIPAC, I admit, I was horrified. In any case, and assuming this email has not by now been deleted and ignored, I’m asking you a favor. Low as it may appear to be, I beseech you as a mother, and as a grandmother, to inform yourself more…fairly regarding the situation. I write this as the news also informs me about the recent attack by Israel which killed...

American Gulag

By on Sep 24, 2006 in Politics | 0 comments

Kate Brown is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her book, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland won the American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize. As a historian of Soviet history, she has sifted through an array of declassified NKVD and KGB documents about the abuse of prisoners in the Gulag. Her article, “Out of Solitary Confinement: The History of the Gulag,” will be published in Kritika vol. 8, no. 1 (Winter 2007). Brown recently answered a series of questions about the American penal and detention system, especially as it has developed post-9/11. Read about it here at...

Bush At The UN – On TV….Right Now…

By on Sep 19, 2006 in Politics | 0 comments

So he’s on. At the United Nations. I missed most of what Kofi said… Here’s Bush making it sound like any democratic progress anywhere in the world must have been due to the influence of the United States. Painting pictures of misery worldwide, misery – we are to suppose – that will be alleviated by the actions of the United States. And I think of Afghanistan, and Iraq – and I think of the blood of innocents, and of orphaned children. “You have been fed conspiracy theories…” he tells us. We must support, he said – people who offer better alternatives than blowing yourself up. I agree. Give them nukes and rpg’s and they won’t need to blow themselves up….but he goes on… “My country desires peace”, he says. “Extremists in your midst spread propaganda”, he says… He claims he...

By The Numbers…

By on Sep 12, 2006 in Politics | 2 comments

Just thought it might be worth noting that at this time the number of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq is already greater than the number of Americans killed by the September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. So if the (clears throat) ‘point’ of the ‘War on Terrorism’ has been to ensure that such a loss is never again endured by America, well… Guess what? The ‘War on Terrorism’ has just accomplished precisely what it sought to prevent. (imagines 7 billion humans clapplauding) Amen.

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