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Obama, At Length | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Obama, At Length

I’ve got a new “Think Again” column called,"‘No Opinions Except Ours,' Says the Washington Post,” and that’s here.

Also, I did this insanely long piece for The Nation, just under 17,000 words, and it’s called “Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now.” This is the main url, and this is the single page version.

Danielle Ivory is back here. Companies with a financial interest paid for thousands of studies federal regulators are using to assess the health risks of a widely-used herbicide -- while independent studies documenting potentially harmful effects on humans have not been included in research the EPA deems relevant. 

EPA records obtained by Danielle Ivory at The Huffington Post Investigative Fund show that at least half the 6,611 studies the agency is reviewing to help make its decision were conducted by scientists and organizations with a financial stake in atrazine, including its manufacturer, Syngenta. More than 80 percent of studies on which the EPA are relying have never been published. This means that they have not undergone rigorous “peer review” by independent scientists. At the same time several prominent studies by independent academic scientists in well-respected scientific journals – showing negative reproductive effects of atrazine in animals and humans – are absent from the EPA’s list.

EPA Senior Policy Analyst William Jordan told the Investigative Fund that industry-sponsored studies tend to be "scientifically more robust than are the studies generated by people in academia" because "companies spend more money on their studies and can attend to details that are potentially important that people in academia just can't afford to do."

 

Alter-reviews:

I’ve had this theory about Clint Eastwood for a while. I even considered writing a book about him. That’s not gonna happen, so I’ll give it away for free. Here’s the thing.  The second half of Clint’s amazing 35 year/35 movie career can be read, and may very well be intended as penance for the first half. Young Clint glorified violence and treated it as not only fun but also redemptive. They were fun but in many instances, morally repulsive. (Paul Newman turned down the “Dirty Harry” role, but suggested Eastwood instead of himself.) The second, brilliant, auteurist half of his career is all about the shattering power of violence and the stultifying culture of machismo that sustains it.

Think about it. And if you get a chance, and live in the city, go see some of them at “THE COMPLETE CLINT EASTWOOD” festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, beginning tomorrow. (Clint will be appearing by Skype on the 10th  with a Q&A following a screening of A Fistful of Dollars.) For more information, visit www.FilmLinc.com. (You can also buy the new box set. I found one on 18th Street for only $100, but still, it’s the movies and it’s not the same.)

 

Mail:

Ed Tracey
Lebanon, New Hampshire
Professor, When they lost their team captain Michael Ballack to an injury a few weeks ago, few gave Germany much of a chance to win the 2010 World Cup. But its young players have stepped-up, and they are now in the semi-finals as I write this. Interestingly, Yossi Sarid of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote, "Now more than ever, it's okay to root for Germany." In no small part, he observed, because nearly half the team was either born in a different country or are the sons of immigrants (from Nigeria, Turkey, Ghana, Poland, etc.) - all due to a change in the nation's immigration laws ten years ago (shifting away from bloodlines as the determining factor in granting citizenship). In much the same way that France's 1998 multi-cultural World Cup championship team upset right-wingers like Jean LePen, Der Spiegel reports that Germany's Neo-Nazis are not amused. More importantly, a University of Hannover professor was pleased that when a first round game-winning goal was scored by German-born Mesut Özil (of Turkish descent) an old man was (politely) corrected by a shop-keeper after he complained that a Turk won the game: "That is not a Turk, that is a German”.
 

 

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