Last Week's Reading List

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Seeing as I've been blog-quiet for a few days, there's no way I could meaningfully comment on everything I've read recently. So, just the highlights of what I've read in the past week or so:

In the category of science, this article on, er, radiosynthetic (?) fungi made me think of those old Mushroom Planet books. Now if you could just engineer a melanin-bearing lichen that could also tolerate vacuum and taste good, we'd be set.

Also, this is just (extremely) cool, not least for the actual photographs of macroscopic chunks of crystaline helium. Crystaline! And possibly a quantum solid, to boot.

On a different tangent, the NYT discovers freegans. Numerous plugs for freecycle et al.

The Prospect Online has been very good recently. Particularly catching my eye, Ben Adler notes that conservative hacks will go after anything progressive that gains traction; thus Smart Growth has given birth to the anti-anti-sprawl reaction. Drew Westin describes out how Democrats could talk about gun control without either running from the issue or walking right into right-wing narratives. And Ezra Klein reviews Michael Moore's latest and observes that his movies don't actually bear much similarity to the ones the mainstream media seems to be watching:

The particulars of the account all add up to the larger question: Is the America we live in the America we think we live in, and the America we want to live in?

In this, it fits well with the Michael Moore oeuvre, which has always been more complex and incisive than either critics or supporters gave him credit for. Moore has routinely explored the dark edges of the country that don't fit with his, or our, conception of what America is. Roger and Me, his breakthrough film on the decline of American manufacturing and the abandonment of Rust Belt economies, asked how we could allow a once-proud city like Flint, Michigan, to collapse in on itself, and how we could permit those most culpable to blithely ignore its demise. Bowling for Columbine was about our casual acceptance of violence and fear as permanent residents in our towns and neighborhoods. And Fahrenheit 9/11 was about our peculiar willingness to tacitly accept our leaders' relentless dishonesty.

In the aftermath of the Hamas takeover of Gaza (and Haaretz points out that it isn't exactly surprising that the Gazans would turn to Hamas after what they've been puth through by Israel), as it appears Israel and the US are lurching towards the worst possible strategy in response, I discovered the Prospects for Peace blog. Very good analysis of the regional situation.

Seymour Hersh turned in another of his mammoth pieces, this time laying out the Pentagon's studied blindness to what was going on at Abu Ghraib. Good discussion at digby's digs and Firedoglake. An excerpt:

…“Here . . . comes . . . that famous General Taguba—of the Taguba report!? Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice. The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.); and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with Craddock and other officials. Taguba, describing the moment nearly three years later, said, sadly, “I thought they wanted to know. I assumed they wanted to know. I was ignorant of the setting.?In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. “Could you tell us what happened?? Wolfowitz asked. Someone else asked, “Is it abuse or torture?? At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.?

Rumsfeld was particularly concerned about how the classified report had become public.

And finally, two weekend pieces from Firedoglake. Britain:U.S.A.:Great Depression :: U.S.A.:China:any time now -- a sobering economic analogy. And on a related note, how our remaining pristine lands fare when the regulation apparatus is captured by big business.

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I wonder if that's the same Ben Adler I went to high school with. The politics would fit.

Ben Adler has more bio and a picture here:
http://www.campusprogress.org/common/649/campus-progress---team

Shiiiit, it is he. Well, I never liked him, but I appreciate the article.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on June 25, 2007 6:27 PM.

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