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When Ayatollah Abdel Majid al-Khoei was stabbed to death earlier this month by a mob in Shiite Islam's holiest mosque, the bloody event was widely described as a blow to the forces of reconciliat

How much, in just twenty years, Donald Revell has changed! From the
Abandoned Cities
(1983), his debut volume, included a villanelle, a
sestina, rhymed sonnets and meditative terza rima.

Ever since Clark Kent first donned a pair of oversized glasses and,
somewhat improbably, hid his Superman persona from Lois Lane, questions
of identity have been a staple of the comic-book genr

Baghdad has fallen. The city has been taken by the troops who were
bringing it freedom.

The ravages of drought are evident to anyone traveling through Zimbabwe.
The carcass of a dead donkey lies on the road, while skeletal dogs tear
at its intestines.

It's a great country. Don't let the hucksters and charlatans take it
away.

How 'fighting terrorism' became a bludgeon in Bush's assault on labor.

The right-wing ideologues are dead serious about dismantling
government.

Over dinner recently, a friend of mine mused that "at least it's not as
bad as the McCarthy era." Perhaps not.

As a million Shiite pilgrims streamed toward Karbala shouting, "No to
America, no to Saddam, no to tyranny, no to Israel!" can't you just
imagine the plash of complacent I Told Him So's from th

In Baghdad this week, one Mohammed Mohsen Zubaidi, an Iraqi businessman
with ties to the Iraqi National Congress, has shown up claiming to be
the city's governor.

(A preventive-war anthem sung to the tune of "Trees," by Joyce
Kilmer, with piano accompaniment)

The arrest and long-term imprisonment of dozens of dissidents in Cuba
and the rapid execution of three men who had attempted to hijack a boat
were deplorable.

On March 22, a few hundred peaceful antiwar protesters in Seattle who
had gathered around the Federal Building suddenly found themselves being
swept down streets by officers in riot gear and th

Emboldened by the "success" of its preventive war in Iraq, the Bush
Administration appears to be expanding its preventive law-enforcement
strategy at home.

On the second day of the invasion of Iraq, US commandos seized two Iraqi
offshore oil terminals in the Persian Gulf, capturing their defenders
without a fight.

Even before US troops arrived in Baghdad, looting broke out--in
Washington.


PEOPLE POWER PEOPLE

New Paltz, NY

Rick Santorum is a bigot. And, like others bigots before him, he seeks to promote his views be claiming the American people face "threats" that do not exist.

Santorum, the Pennsylvanian who chairs the Senate Republican Caucus, is blatant about his bigotry. Unlike former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, who got in trouble for praising Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat presidential campaign of 1948, Santorum was talking about the here and now when he objected to efforts to strike down sodomy laws because he opposes lifting criminal sanctions against gay and lesbian relationships. To this senator's view, gays and lesbians who engage in consensual, monogomous and loving relationships "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family."

Just as Santorum is blatant about his bigotry, he is equally blatant in his fearmongering, arguing that, "(If) the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does."

Is Bush taking lessons from Julius Caesar? Apparently so. When Caesar's short but bloody conquest of the Celtic tribes led to the founding of the Roman province of Gaul (modern France) in 52 B.C. he divided the country into three parts. Well-connected sources tell us that Bush plans to divide Iraq into three parts as well: Premium, regular and unleaded.

Now that the war has been won, is it permissible to suggest that our emperor has no clothes?

The obvious question is, where are the weapons of mass destruction that supposedly prompted the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz quartet to invade Iraq?

...

"America has entered one of its periods of historical madness," argues author John Le Carré, who suggests that the current drive by conservatives in Congress and their media allies to search out and destroy dissent is "worse than McCarthyism." That may sound extreme to some, but it certainly must ring true for Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines, whose mild criticism of President Bush in the days before the war with Iraq began has made the group target No. 1 for the Elite Republican Guardians of patriotic propriety.

After Maines, a native of Lubbock, told a crowd at a London Dixie Chicks show that "we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," South Carolina legislators passed a bill declaring those words to be "unpatriotic," disc jockeys organized rallies at which tractors were used to destroy Dixie Chicks CDs, and radio stations across the south barred songs by the groups. Though officials of Clear Channel, the media conglomerate that controls more than 1,200 radio stations across the US denied that they had issued a network-wide ban order, Clear Channel's country and pop music stations were among the first to declare themselves "Chicks Free." And the chattering class of conservative talk-radio and talk-TV piled on with calls for boycotts of the group's upcoming concert tour.

With the experience of the Dixie Chicks providing a cautionary tale--and with high-profile actors who have expressed antiwar views, such as Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Janeane Garofalo, being branded "casting couch Bolsheviks" and worse--there was a clear signal coming from the entertainment industry in general, and the music industry in particular, about what happens when artists speak out. While outspoken groups and individual performers such as the Beastie Boys, System of the Down, REM, Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Zack de la Rocha dared to speak out musically, radio playlists have tended increasingly to feature Bush Administration-friendly songs like Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgetten" and "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" by Toby Keith--who criticizes Maines as a "big mouth." Madonna remade what had been described as an antiwar video for her new single, "American Life," because she said, "I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video." And, against the pressure to make music conform to the conservative agenda of the Bush Administration, there has been a whole lot of silence from most of the music industry's biggest names.

Skip the stories about pro-consul Jay Garner, Bechtel's war profiteering and the Bush Administration's professed commitment to building democracy in Iraq. For a clear-eyed view of democracy-building according to Bush, see today's edition of Aaron McGruder's celebrated comic-strip Boondocks.

Chief protagonist and avid news junky Huey Freeman sits in front of his TV, listening to the latest news report:

"To guarantee free and fair elections in Iraq as soon as possible, President Bush announced he would be sending Katherine Harris to Baghdad next week."