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January 23, 2006 | The Nation

In the Magazine

January 23, 2006

Cover: Cover by Gene Case & Stephen Kling/Avenging Angels

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Daphne Eviatar outlines the challenges facing Bolivian President Evo Morales, Frances Moore Lappé explores the politics of hunger and John Palattella ponders the life and poetry of Ted Berrigan.

Letters

INDEX FOR OUR TIMES

Northampton, Mass.

Editorials

There ought to be a law about bribery in America, but there isn't--not a real one. Bribery is so central to our political culture that it's virtually impossible that any politician ensnared in the Abramoff scandal will actually be convicted of the corruption that makes Washington work.

Thanks to the fear tactics advocated by the Bush Administration and abetted by many health activists, gay and bisexual men have been engaged in a one-sided conversation about safe sex--all death and no life. Isn't a sex-positive approach more realistic?

Jack Gordon, "the unabashedly liberal conscience of Florida's State
Senate," was chosen majority leader at a time when his politics should have made
him an anathema. His fight against discrimination and his involvement in state politics helped
many powerless Floridians.

The late socialist economist Harry Magdoff read Marx at
fifteen and never looked back. A self-educated co-editor of the
Monthly Review, he not only fought for a just and humane world;
he embodied his politics in the way he conducted his life.

It's not true that only the rich can help the poor. We must work to empower nations like
Bangladesh that are addressing the problem of hunger by creating networks of
schools, health training and micro-loans.

From Brokeback Mountain's closeted cowboys to King Kong's
embrace of Anne Darrow, Hollywood has queered cherished icons of
masculinity. But the two films paint a bleak picture: Love that falls
outside the norm must struggle to be something more than
self-destructive.

House Republicans rammed through a budget bill in December that cuts $40 billion from domestic programs. Is there anyone of conscience in the Senate to defeat this?

Samuel Alito would swing the Supreme Court to a right-wing authoritarianism that is out of step
with the public and the Constitution.

Columns

TruthDig

What irony that Jack Abramoff and other once-young Republicans, who hectored their elders about defending the nation's taxpayers and security forces, should now be accused of deeply betraying both.

The willingness of our most powerful media companies to defer to
pressure from the White House is deeply disconcerting. In the name of
national security, the Bush team repeatedly demonstrates its contempt
for the media and for normative standards of truth.

A deep planetary insecurity has fostered a rush to build boundaries
around ourselves--psychic green zones--no matter how irrational,
separating white from black or brown, Christian from Muslim, European from Arab.

Since I am Commander in Chief,
My powers to spy or debrief
Are limitless. That's my belief.
So go somewhere else with your beef.

Articles

As confirmation hearings unfold before the Senate Judiciary committee,
readers of TheNation.com--and at least one high-profile magazine
editor--posed their own questions about Samuel Alito's judicial
philosophy, personal beliefs and political ideology.

Evidence is mounting that Connecticut Democrats are dismayed by Senator
Joseph Lieberman's support of President Bush and the Iraq War, giving
impetus to assertions that voters are ready to dump him.

A significant credibility gap opened between Samuel Alito's radical judicial record and his self-portrayal as an open-minded jurist before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his second day of testimony. Senators have reason to scrutinize a recent peer evaluation of Alito's rulings by Yale Law School, which locates him somewhere to the ideological right of Antonin Scalia.

In informal but politically credible ways, factions of Iraq's armed
national resistance are developing scenarios for an honorable
withdrawal of US troops and a shared set of demands that could lead to
peace.

On his first day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Samuel Alito was purely political, focusing on his blue-collar roots and the accomplishments of his immigrant family. But Democratic Senators focused on his judicial record on abortion, voting rights and conflicts of interest.

Revelations of the Bush Administration's domestic spying program have sharply shifted the focus of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearings from domestic and social issues to executive privilege during times of war. Here's a list of questions Alito should be asked to fully elicit his views on the scope and limits of presidential power.

Natural gas is rapidly emerging as the next big prize for consumer
countries like the US and China. In the twenty-first century, alliances
and hostilities between economic powerhouses and volatile nations will
be carved by the pipes that will someday carry this environmentally
safer resource.

To take back the nation in the post-Bush era, start thinking now about some bold but plausible progressive reforms, from universal health insurance to free daycare and a shorter work week.

Many Bolivians have faith in Evo Morales, the former coca farmer who
became the first indigenous president in the country's history last
month. But will Morales be able to keep his promises to nationalize the
energy industry and protect indigenous culture and the livelihood of farmers?

Books & the Arts

Poetry

when nobody's looking
in the black sites what you do
when nobody knows you
are in there what you do

Book

Drawing from the New York counterculture in which he immersed himself, Ted
Berrigan's sonnets and other poems sing beautifully about being broken
and graceful and tough.

Book

Kenneth Koch was one of the merrier in the bunch known as the New York
School of poets. But he was more than just a poet of humor. He
sought the essential nature of human existence, and displayed his
infectious awe of the universe in enchanting verse.

Art

In no other body of work is the sexuality of human flesh explored as truthfully
as in the transgressive, erotically charged images created by Egon Schiele.