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RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Journalism Prof Robert Jensen is 'Arguing for Our Lives' Interview by Thorne Dreyer / Rag Radio. Cutting-edge radical thinker Robert Jensen, a widely-published author and a journalism prof at UT-Austin, was our guest on Rag Radio, discussing his new book, "Arguing for Our Lives: A User's Guide to Constructive Dialog," a "lively primer on critical thinking." Jensen says, "I feel what I'm doing is kind of a remedial course in how to see the world." Read Dreyer's article and listen to the podcast.
Jack A. Smith : Afghanistan's Karzai Lets Cat Out of the Bag by Jack A. Smith / The Rag Blog. Suggesting that the Afghan War may end by 2024, Smith says that "Washington evidently was taken aback by [President Hamid] Karzai's unexpected revelations that made it clear President Obama is anxious, not hesitant, to keep American troops in Afghanistan." More astute analysis of Obama's militarist foreign policy by long-time leftist journalist Smith.
REPORT / Mariann G. Wizard : 'La Vida Coca' in Bolivia and Peru / 3 by Mariann G. Wizard / The Rag Blog. In the third of a three-parter on her recent trip to Bolivia and Peru, Mariann tastes of, and reports on, the region's coca-based culture and traditions. "Regular tours of the area include coca 'plantations,'" the Wizard reports. "Almost all of the other travelers we met in Coroico and Copacabana were interested in trying and discussing coca."
Shirley Youxjeste : Mexican Teachers Take to Streets on 'Teachers' Day' by Shirley Youxjeste / The Rag Blog. Retired teacher Youxjeste reports from Chilpancingo, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, on the latest militant protests by teachers opposed to education "reforms." May 15 was "Teachers' Day" in Mexico, when "teachers who earn about $600 a month, work two jobs, and bear constant insults in the media, see that, just this one day, government and media sources thank them."
Michael James : Bill at Chester's Hamburger King by Michael James / The Rag Blog. Michael continues to treat us with nostalgic images from his upcoming book, "Michael Gaylord James' Pictures from the Long Haul," accompanied by his fascinating reflections on the images and the roles they played in his storied life. This week we meet Bill at Chester's Hamburger King in Chicago; the photo's from 1977.
BOOKS / Ron Jacobs : Albert Camus and the Liberal Dilemma by Ron Jacobs / The Rag Blog. Camus is "arguably one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century," whose "search for meaning in a world rendered meaningless" strikes a chord with readers "who do not seek easy answers." The released "Algerian Chronicles," Ron says, "do much toward describing the plight of the Algerian people, but suffer from an inability to acknowledge, much less examine, the root cause of their situation."
Lamar W. Hankins : Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott's 'Demagoduery' by Lamar W. Hankins / The Rag Blog. Lamar has coined a word, "demagoduery," especially to describe the actions of Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, whose latest blow for government-sanctioned religion involves his support for the Kountz High School cheerleaders, who display banners sporting Biblical quotes at the school's football games, and whose actions were recently upheld by a state district court.
Harry Targ : The REAL Scandal at the IRS by Harry Targ / The Rag Blog. According to Professor Targ, "If the Internal Revenue Service is to be criticized, the attacks should be leveled at the government's inadequate scrutiny of political lobbying groups who are granted tax exempt status." Like the politically-active Heritage Action of America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has advocated for repeal of the Affordable Care Act and has been involved in other legislative lobbying.
Robert Jensen : The Collapse of Journalism by Robert Jensen / The Rag Blog. In this provocative essay, Jensen writes that, "For those who believe that a robust public-affairs journalism is essential for a society striving to be democratic, the 21st century has been characterized by bad news that keeps getting worse." Calling for a new "apocalyptic journalism," Jensen says it's past time for us "to pay attention to how multiple, cascading ecological crises" should be dramatically changing the mission of contemporary journalism.
Norman Pagett and Josephine Smit : Grain of Truth by Norman Pagett and Josephine Smit / End of More. In writing about "our precarious food supply," the authors observe that "We owe our lives to technology that uses 10 calories of energy in the process of growing food to produce a single calorie of energy in the food we eat." Global food production, they say, has fallen "into the hands of fewer and fewer megacorporations" driven by short-term profits, and that the situation is clearly unsustainable.
REPORT / Mariann G. Wizard : 'La Vida Coca' in Bolivia and Peru / 2 by Mariann G. Wizard / The Rag Blog. In the second part of her report on the social traditions and politics of "La Vida Coca" in Bolivia and Peru, Mariann notes that 50% of Bolivia's gross national product is related to coca. Wizard, a professional science writer, says that everybody asks her, "What is it like to chew coca?" What they really want to know, she says, is "What is it like compared to cocaine?" She says there is no issue of addiction and that the effect is "both energizing and calming."
BOOKS / Jonah Raskin : Blake Slonecker's 'New Dawn' Tells the LNS Story by Jonah Raskin / The Rag Blog. Slonecker's "A New Dawn for the New Left," provides a "valuable portrait" of Liberation News Service (LNS), the radical news outlet started in the late Sixties that lasted more than a decade "and that provided a real alternative to the manufactured news and information disseminated by the Associated Press." The book "captures the spirit of the freewheeling Sixties," and "makes a substantial contribution" to the literature about the era.