The Rag Blog is a reader-supported newsmagazine produced by activist journalists committed to progressive social change. The Rag Blog is published by the New Journalism Project, a 501(c)(3) Texas non-profit.
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THE RAG: A Film
Part I of a documentary film about the life and times of Austin's pioneering underground newspaper, The Rag (1966-1977), by People's History in Texas. The Rag Blog and Rag Radio are a digital-era rebirth of The Rag.
Comment Policy: This blog enforces a specific comment policy that prohibits personal attack, goading and harassment, and other malicious remarks. We will delete remarks considered inappropriate, at the discretion of the editors. We will also delete all commercial solicitations.
Jack A. Smith : Climate Change Confab Brings Too Little Too Late by Jack A. Smith / The Rag Blog. The sharply increasing scientific indicators of impending disastrous global climate change have failed to motivate the principal developed countries to accelerate the lackluster pace of their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Steve Horn : Keystone XL's Houston 'Fork in the Road' by Steve Horn / DeSmogBlog. The southern half of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline includes a "Houston Lateral Pipeline" that is leading the LyondellBasell refinery to retool itself for the looming feast of tar sands crude and fracked oil bounty.
BOOKS / Alan Wieder : Paul Buhle's 'Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith' by Alan Wieder / The Rag Blog. Noted historian Paul Buhle, who has published an acclaimed series of nonfiction comics, is one of the most prolific and insightful critics from the American left. "Radical Jesus," which communicates the social message of Jesus Christ in comic format, investigates the inequalities that exist in the world through a theological lens.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow : Israel, Hillel, and Idolatry by Rabbi Arthur Waskow / The Rag Blog. Hillel International, the "home" for many Jewish college students of diverse backgrounds and beliefs, has been beset with controversy about when uncritical support among American Jews for Israel becomes "idolatry of the State."
Paul Krassner : Is There a Doctor in the House? by Paul Krassner / The Rag Blog. The Coachella Valley in Southern California hosted a massive four-day health clinic that helped more than 2,500 uninsured patients. Krassner points out that California leads the nation in people without health insurance and says that "the insurance industry has a preexisting condition known in technical terminology as greed."
Kate Braun : Winter Solstice Falls on Saturn's Day by Kate Braun / The Rag Blog. Our celebrations during the Winter Solstice take from many traditions, including the Roman Saturnalia, Druid customs, the German "Yule," and the birth of Jesus; and it was Queen Victoria who popularized the lighted Christmas tree.
Allen Young : Ralph Dungan, the 'Good Liberal' by Allen Young / The Rag Blog. A recent obituary of Ralph Dungan, one of President John F. Kennedy's top aides who later served as ambassador to Chile, reminds Allen of a revealing experience he had with the man referred to by a historian as a "good liberal."
Ed Felien : A Good [Angry White] Man With a Gun by Ed Felien / The Rag Blog. Paul Anthony Ciancia considered himself a "good man with a gun" -- a warrior against the traitors who were taking over our government, bankrupting our currency, and trying to establish a New World Order -- when he walked into the Los Angeles airport and opened fire with an assault rifle.
Lamar W. Hankins : Right-Wing Rants and the Abominable Straw Man by Lamar W. Hankins / The Rag Blog. The Internet is a marvelous tool when used honestly and correctly, and with recognition of its limitations. But it is also home to angry rants, often from the far right, that make ridiculous claims -- like the one (that actually originated on a satirical site) saying that the Obama administration was setting up gasoline stations to provide free gas to low-income [read: black] people.
Harry Targ : My Nelson Mandela by Harry Targ / The Rag Blog. An irony of 21st century historical discourse is how real historic figures -- like the late Nelson Mandela -- get lionized, sanitized, and redefined as defenders of the ongoing order rather than activists who committed their lives to revolutionary change.
Michael James : Back to Uptown, 1965-1966 by Michael James / The Rag Blog. Mike continues his remarkable memoir, accompanied -- and inspired by -- photos from his upcoming book. His adventures -- and the making of an activist -- continue as he heads back to Uptown Chicago, "progressing along my path with another left turn and a big step into America."
Alice Embree : Chile and the Politics of Memory by Alice Embree / The Rag Blog. Chileans went to the polls Sunday and appear to be reelecting Socialist president Michelle Bachelet on the 40th anniversary of the bloody U.S.-supported coup against Socialist president Salvador Allende. Alice writes about the dramatic contradictions in Chilean politics and history.
Paul Krassner : A Tale of Two Alternative Media Conferences by Paul Krassner / The Rag Blog. Paul remembers the original Alternative Media Conference in June 1970 at Goddard College in Vermont -- and it was a wild and wooly affair headlined by the likes of Ram Dass, Harvey Kurtzman, and Art Spiegelman -- as the college hosts another conference keynoted by progressive radio host Thom Hartmann.
Harry Targ : STEM and the Tyranny of the Meme by Harry Targ / The Rag Blog. From the fear of "falling behind the Soviets" to the missile gap and, more recently the wars on drugs and terrorism, the fear of falling behind some fictional adversaries is an ongoing "meme" used by economic, political, and military elites. The latest? Now it's the "STEM crisis" and the fear that we're falling behind other nations in science and technology .
Alice Embree : Anne Lewis' New Website Brings Austin Movement History to Life by Alice Embree / The Rag Blog. Noted documentary filmmaker Anne Lewis has created a website called Austin Beloved Community that uses audio, film, photos, maps, and personal recollections to create a "digital collage" about the struggle for social and economic justice in Austin from the 1880s to the present. Alice interviews Lewis about the unique project.
BOOKS / Ron Jacobs : Marc Myers Tells Us 'Why Jazz Happened' by Ron Jacobs / The Rag Blog. Ron reviews a new book on America's own music in which Marc Myers "provides the reader with a deep, rich, and broad perspective on the confluence of jazz and U.S. history in the decades following World War Two."
David McReynolds : We Are All Wounded Veterans by David McReynolds / The Rag Blog. Long-time pacifist writer and activist McReynolds says there's something "infinitely sad" about the recent celebration of Veterans Day. "In the bad wars -- which are the only wars we have fought for some time now -- there is the terrible knowledge that the enemy was never really the enemy," he says.
Michael James : Going Off Campus, 1965 by Michael James / The Rag Blog. Mike continues to share experiences and images from his rich history as an activist and adventurer -- that will be published in an upcoming book, "Michael Gaylord James' Pictures from the Long Haul." Here Mike reports on the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, community organizing in Oakland, and his travels across the country in a 1957 Plymouth station wagon "drive-away."