Admired from a distance and reviled up close, Laurence Olivier
could establish a relation with his audience that was like an
infection. His official biography chronicles a personal life of an
actor who altered the cultural compass of a nation.
When Joe Louis defeated Nazi sympathizer Max Schmeling in 1938, it
was the boxing match that reverberated across the world. Three new
books chronicle the match and all the racial and political turmoil of
which it was an emblem.
I'm no expert, but we seem to be experiencing a resurgence of independent filmmaking with more quality documentaries and small-budget movies being produced than ever before. The traditional challenge with indie filmmaking has been how best to distribute the movie after it's been made and how, without a massive ad budget, to get people to watch it even after if it gets into theaters.Â
But the internet has made it possible for movies--and books, as Chelsea Green proved last fall with George Lakoff's best-selling Don't Think of An Elephant--to bypass traditional methods of distribution and find new audiences for their work, often those who are most engaged by the film's themes and who will thus work mightily to get the word out about a particular new feature.
Robert Greenwald's new film on Wal-Mart, The High Cost of Low Prices, is working this model adroitly, bringing in numerous organizations,Â including The Nation, to help promote the film to their own constituencies and asking the public to set up house parties where people will show the film to their friends, family and colleagues in their own living rooms.
As demonstrators gather at Fort Benning, Georgia, this weekend for an
annual protest against the School of the Americas, the spotlight will
be on increasing dismay in Congress and among the American public
over the Bush Administration's policies on torture.
I was in San Francisco last week, when Fox News commentator-in-chief Bill O'Reilly had one of his tantrums and told would-be terrorists to "go ahead" and blow the city off the map of the United States.
The experience got me thinking about why it is that O'Reilly and his fellow broadcast bloviators are so venomous toward the American communities that are generally recognized - even by thinking conservatives - as the most appealing and open-minded places in the country. There's an explanation here, and it does not reflect well on the right-wing ranters.
But, first, to O'Reilly's complaint.
Flu vaccine is in short supply this season, and the reason is that
drug companies can't make as much money protecting us from disease as
from developing expensive treatments for niche illnesses.
Last Thursday, in a close 49-42 vote, the Senate adopted South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham's amendment to a military budget bill restricting the authority of US courts to hold the executive branch accountable for its detainee policies. (Click here for the roll call.)
The measure would overrule a 2004 Supreme Court decision allowing detainees, even those the government has declared "unlawful combatants," the right to appeal to American courts. This right--known as "habeas corpus"--is enshrined in the US Constitution and even strict constructionists like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas can't be happy with this unprecedented encroachment on the judicial branch's turf.
Graham is carrying water for the increasingly embattled Bush Administration on this one, and it may come back to haunt him. The rapid-fire opposition to his bill is being joined by far more than the usual suspects, as Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith write in a new piece on The Nation.com: "John Hutson, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general of the Navy, not only protested but organized 60 former military officers to object. The National Institute of Military Justice, the organization of military lawyers, denounced it. High-powered legal scholars like Judith Resnik of Yale Law School, David Shapiro and Frank Michelman of Harvard Law School, and Burt Neuborne of New York University Law School circulated a blistering letter describing the legislation as "an effort to alter fundamental precepts of our constitutional order."
In a Veterans Day speech on Friday, delivered to troops and others at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, George W. Bush veered from the usual commemo...
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that, "In a major shakeup ofits editorial pages," it "...was discontinuing one of its most liberal columnists."
Three days later that columnist, Robert Scheer, had 150 people aboard The Nation's (8th) annual cruise crammed into the Queen's Lounge listening to his take on life, liberty, leisure, lies, the state of journalism and what's going on at the LA Times. The Nation's John Nichols led the conversation. Here are a few extracts from Scheer's spirited sprint through the last decades and days:
"From the company's point of view, it was a dumb move...If only they wereinterested in sales and profits--be better newspapers. This was a stupidmanagement decision, A bad marketing decision...Let's go bland and safe. "
Civil libertarians were stunned last week when the Senate approved a
measure that would allow government officials to essentially bypass the
courts and lock up people suspected of terrorism without trial. Will
cooler heads prevail?
It cannot be easy being God these days, what with so many of His self-proclaimed followers launching wars in His name.
So the last thing that the Almighty needs is a whackjob calling down the wrath of, er, well, God on communities that fail to follow the instructions in the "Christian Coalition Voter Guide."
But that's what God's got in the person of Pat Robertson, the religious broadcaster who frequently uses his 700 Club television program to pray about weather patterns or to encourage the assassination of foreign leaders.
Medea Benjamin and Gayle Brandeis ask a good question for today's holiday in a new piece for The Nation online: "On Veteran's Day, when we honor all of those who have served our country through the military, it's helpful to take a closer look at three words that have become so familiar: What does it mean to truly support our troops?"
The best way, of course, to support the troops is to bring them home. After that, making sure they come back to viable jobs, legit educational opportunities and proper healthcare and counseling are all high on the list.
Benjamin and Brandeis also offer a series of concrete suggestions, including sending care packages to Iraq with books, food and other everyday items difficult to find in a war zone; donating to organizations, like the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, that provide help for returning soldiers struggling to put their lives together and supporting groups like United for Peace and Justice, CodePink, Gold Star Families for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, who are out there in the trenches of the antiwar movement.
We did it! With the support of thenation.com's loyal readers, Nation Books has just published The Dictionary of Republicanisms--an attempt to call out and decode the right's well-funded efforts to transform American political discourse to suit its political ends. I want to personally thank the hundreds of readers, from forty-four states, who submitted literally thousands of definitions. They were strong, smart, and funny. The book itself is a distillation of my favorites.
Check out a few definitions:
Dick Cheney, n. The greater of two evils [Jacob McCullar, Austin, TX]
It was a Super Tuesday for Democrats. Gubernatorial candidates Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) trounced their Republican counterparts, and California voters terminated all four of Arnold's initiatives. Buried beneath the headlines, however, was another crucial victory for the progressive movement: Maine became the sixth and final New England state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The ballot measure in question--which was was backed by conservative religious groups--would have repealed an amendment to the Maine Human Rights Act passed earlier this year by the state legislature. Yet, 56 percent of Mainers voted to uphold the amendment, which protects gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and transvestites from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education.
For gay rights activists, the victory has been a long time coming. The first gay rights bill in Maine was introduced in the state legislature 28 years ago; and in 1998 and 2000, voters struck down similar measures that would have banned discrimination against gays and lesbians. The movement to defeat the measure was led by Maine Won't Discriminate, a coalition composed of grassroots progressive groups, the Democratic Party, union members, and local business associations. "On Tuesday, we ended a 28-year struggle in Maine to make sure all Mainers are treated equally and fairly under the law. We are so thrilled that it's finally happened," said Jesse Connolly of Maine Won't Discriminate.