Rumsfeld's Fog of War

Also published on Alternet.org

“Oh, hey, wait a minute, I tried that and it was a major disaster. I still can barely even begin to face what I did it’s so awful looking back on it.” This is the message that the recent film “Fog of War” sends from Robert McNamara to Donald Rumsfeld, from one Secretary of “Defense” to another.

“There is no alternative in this age of terror,” might be the response we could expect from Rumsfeld, who continues to read more

Secrets

“Secrets,” by Sissela Bok.

I recently read SECRETS, by Sissela Bok. She writes with the skill of a
philosopher and with the concern to actually do some good that is common to
most everyone except many philosophers. She distinguishes secrecy from
privacy. She distinguishes good secrets from bad ones. She defends the need
for privacy and secrets in several convincing ways, including some surprising
ones such as the need for surprise, but in an unconvincing read more

Seven Words That Can Change the World

Seven Words That Can Change the World – A New Understanding of Sacredness, by Joseph R. Simonetta (Hampton Roads Publishing Company) is an encouraging little essay. The title, the cover, the preface, the introduction, and various other trappings suggest that it is a religious self-help book that will probably remind the reader of the importance of connecting with his or her inner whatchamacallit in order to find true peace and increased market potential. But the body of the book consists read more

Sexual Personae

“Sexual Personae,” By Camille Paglia.

Camille Paglia’s SEXUAL PERSONAE is a huge book in every sense. It makes me want to read and reread a great many books, examine and re-examine a great number of sculptures and paintings. There are in it interpretations of particular works with which I disagree, and others on which I am not qualified to judge, but the big themes in it – the continuity of paganism, the approaches to sex and nature – are a valuable contribution.

One read more

Shrub

Shrub by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose

This book is a warning not to elect George W. and of course it’s too late, he’s already been appointed. But it will remain useful far into the future to be able to read such an accurate prediction of what sort of president this clown was going to be. Just as people in the future will be curious to examine what exactly our knowledge of global warming was while we went about creating it, some will be curious to read what knowledge we had of this walking read more

Silver City

Silver City Smokes
August 14, 2004
Mark your calendar now and plan to go see John Sayles’ new movie “Silver City” when it opens on Friday, September 17. It’s a powerfully entertaining story and – more importantly for any good book or movie this year – it’s powerfully anti-Bush.

Someone told me “Manchurian Candidate” was an anti-Bush movie. I didn’t think so when I saw it, not even in the way that “The Day After Tomorrow” was read more

Simulating Sex: Aesthetic Representation of Erotic Activity

Simulating Sex: Aesthetic Representation of Erotic Activity by Steve Bachmann

At a time when pornography has become mainstream and sex haters have gained national political power, it would seem than sex is all around us. But most of us are unaware that much interesting thinking about sex is going on. Mostly, I, for one, find myself wishing people could get their minds onto some OTHER topic for a few minutes. MoveOn.org became a political force by channeling our frustration with Congress’s read more

State of the Union

Solidarity Forever!

Nelson Lichtenstein’s new book, “The State of the Union,” gives a history of labor unions in the United States by way of arguing for the need to restrengthen them, and I think the case is very persuasive.

Lichtenstein weaves together a number of themes to explain the decline in union membership and power. One is increased reliance on individual rights and legal protections. Federal laws ban all sorts of discrimination, endangerment, and abuse, but the federal read more

the best books out there

The two books that I would most highly recommend to readers in the U.S. today are “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn, and “Labor’s Untold Story” by Richard Boyer and Herbert Morais. These books tell a history of the country that is generally kept secret.

“Why Unions Matter” by Michael Yates is a terrific short introduction to something you’ll never learn in school or from the U.S. corporate media: what a labor union is read more

Moral Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System

“Moral Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System,” By James Q. Wilson.

James Q. Wilson’s “Moral Judgment: Does the abuse excuse threaten our legal system?” (1997) is a good contribution to a usually muddled discussion. I think that even people, like myself, who disagree with most of Wilson’s attitudes toward criminal justice should agree with most of what he says here.

Wilson favors a vocabulary of religion and traditional philosophy and displays read more