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America has become a profoundly--and tragically--ahistoric country. As such, the 273rd anniversary of the birth of George Washington will pass this Tuesday with little note. Washington's legacy has been so disregarded by its heirs that his birthday has been stirred into the generic swill of "President's Day," an empty gesture that blunts the memories of both the first chief executive and the sixteenth, Abraham Lincoln, in order to avoid cluttering February with too many holidays or too much history.

The memory of Washington has become an inconvenience for men who occupy the high stations he and his fellow founders occupied. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Negroponte and their ilk certainly do not want the work of remaking America in their own image--as a greedy, self-absorbed and frequently brutal empire--interrupted by reflections upon the nobler nation that Washington and his compatriots imagined.

Considering the ugly state to which the American experiment has degenerated, however, it would make sense for the rest of us to renew our affiliation with the first GW. Indeed, patriots need to call General Washington back into the service of his country--not merely as a clarification of national memory but as a blunt challenge to those who have usurped America's promise with their illegal invasions and reckless misadventures.

George Hunsinger gives the lie to the Right's caricature of progressives as anti-religious zealots. As a minister, the McCord professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and coordinator of Church Folks for a Better America (CBFA), Hunsinger is working hard to reframe the "moral values" debate by raising tough questions about how torture, pre-emption, unjust war, and poverty can be tolerated by people of moral and religious conviction.

Hunsinger has tapped into a rich tradition of religious progressive activism--from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Father Robert Drinan to Rev. William Sloane Coffin. He shared his thoughts on Iraq, torture, and the challenges facing progressive religious leaders in a recent email interview.

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Seb Walker exposes the fissures not only between Iraqi Kurds and Arabs but among the Kurds themselves.

On February 10, a jury in New York City convicted longtime activist attorney Lynne Stewart of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, defrauding the government and making false statements.

But, as David Cole comments in the latest issue of The Nation, rather than making us safer, this conviction "illustrates how out of hand things have gotten in the 'war on terrorism'...To inflate its successes in ferreting out terrorism," Cole adds, "the Justice Department turned an administrative infraction into a terrorism conviction that, unless reversed, will likely send Stewart to prison for the rest of her life."

Stewart's transgression--violating an administrative agreement to not convey any communication between her client and the outside world, is--as Cole says, simply not a crime. "In an ordinary case, the lawyer might receive a warning. In an unusual case, the lawyer might be barred from continuing to visit her client. In an extraordinary case, the lawyer might be brought up on disciplinary charges before the bar."

On January 27th, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle href="http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050127/NEWS01/501270358/1002/NEWS">reported that New York Stat

A look at the real Europe--and at the real issues it has with US policy.

"Expert testimony" does not mean having a badge or a degree.

Despite talk of civil war, Sunnis and Shiites seem more united than divided.

WOMAN, SUMMERS, PINKER, POLLITT...


Cambridge, Mass.

What will Dean do with the DNC?

Suzanne Wasserman's documentary Thunder in Guyana, which airs on PBS's Independent Lens series at 10 pm on February 22, is the first in-depth look at Janet Jagan, former president of Guyan

In Hegel's formidable system of aesthetics, fine art fulfills its highest calling when "it has placed itself in the same sphere as religion and philosophy." Philosophy, religion and fine art are

Off goes former Father Paul Shanley to state prison in Massachusetts for twelve to fifteen years, convicted of digitally raping and otherwise sexually abusing Paul Busa two decades ago.

Perhaps no cultural phenomenon has been as successful at demonizing alcohol as MTV's The Real World. Watch it sometime. You'll never want to drink again.

About two-thirds of the speaking characters in Constantine are either demons or angels.

When a figure like the playwright Arthur Miller dies, his greatness swells in retrospect in a mound of accumulated tributes and memories; attention is paid to the plays--so deeply American--that

How many times can I write the same piece about John Negroponte?

Today George W. Bush named him to the new post of Director of National Intelligenc...

Rummaging through Yale University's library shelves in early 2001 to prepare a talk on news media and genocide, I came across a study of nineteenth-century Colorado newspapers by Ward Churchill.

Absent George W. Bush's undergoing a conversion like St. Paul's on the road to Damascus, there probably won't be much good environmental news out of Washington in Bush's second term.

Click here to read Zegart's October 25, 2004 Nation piece to read more on the right wing's drive for tort "reform."

Al Franken's decision not to run for the Senate is a loss for the people of Minnesota and the country, but at least he'll have more time for his very funny radio show and books. I was just thinking about Al's first book today after reading a transcript of Rush Limbaugh's Valentine's Day show.

Recently, I wrote in this space about data showing that single women were more likely to be Democratic voters than married women, and I joked that this was another reason not to get married. Now, I do know that it's the nature of our political culture today that if a progressive, even a happily married one (16 years), makes a joke like that some right-wing blowhard is going to distort it for the sake of scoring cheap partisan points. So it wasn't a surprise that Rush Limbaugh, the grandaddy distorter of them all, stepped up to the plate to take a whack. But what did surprise me is that he took the opportunity not only to attack me but also my husband. Here's what he said:

"Now, The Nation is one of our favorite publications here, the far left fringe publication of the liberal journal of opinion that is edited by well known communist named Katrina vanden Heuvel whose husband is a well known communist at Columbia. Well, I use the term advisedly. Stephen Cohen's his name."

Click here for info on how you can help Lynne Stewart.

Click here to read Christian Parenti's March 29, 2004 Nation article on the abuse of Arab journalists by the US military in Iraq.