US domestic

New Orleans -- almost 3 years later

July 2008

The French Quarter vibrates with sounds and smells of perpetual Spring Break. Was a film crew shooting the young men and women, drinks in hands, screaming “let’s party?” No. The celebrants were acting goofy on their own, as they routinely do in Ft. Lauderdale and Cancun.

Just inside the Hustler Club doorway, two women wearing forced smiles and a few strings, stood beside the barker, trying to lure “partying” crowd members inside. “Look at the rack on these babes,” he pointed at her uncovered milk producing organs.

I vaguely recalled such a sight as an infant.

Mississippi River adventures continued

July 2008

We (Huck and Tom – Saul and Marvin) stopped in Vicksburg, population 26,000, the site of the biggest battles of the Civil War. Imagine standing on the roof of the Cedar Grove Inn, a “preserved mansion.” One hundred fifty-five years ago, General William T. Sherman supposedly used the place to observe the River from where Union gunboats pounded the city. General Grant ordered a siege to cut off food supplies. It worked. On July 4, after a month- and a half-long battle and faced with starvation, Rebel General John Pemberton surrendered.

Huckster and Tomsky (Marvin and Saul) discover more America

June 2008

Elvis was to rock and roll what Marilyn Monroe was to Hollywood movies, a great box office star, provoking teen-agers and, with Marilyn, the world’s “sex kitten,” even “mature” men. Like Elvis, she also failed to find contentment. At age 42, in 1977, Elvis overdosed on “prescription” drugs. You can find Graceland, his 14 acre estate with old fashioned white-columned mansion, on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee, just north of Mississippi. In 1983, this “shrine” invited the public to a post mortem view of Elvis’ life. In 2006, it became a National Historic Landmark.

Life and commercial death near the Mississippi

June 2008

In June 2008, Tom and Huck (Saul and his friend Marin) return as two senior citizens not on a raft but in a rented car, driving from New Jersey south and then west through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and into Illinois where we see the Mississippi River near Murphysboro.

We had driven through the territory on which Daniel Boone had hunted bear, that Lewis and Clark had traversed two centuries before four-lane with fast food and expensive gasoline rest stops cut through it.

Ending Plutocracy: A 12-Step Program

Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati
June 2008
Our forebears struggled to survive in a world dominated by the superrich. Now it's our turn.

America's first Gilded Age didn't merely end. Progressives had to fight to end it. Our forebears did battle, decade after decade, for proposals that dared to "soak the rich."

How quaint that phrase now seems. Progressives today do talk about making the superrich pay their "fair tax share"; but we no longer dare imagine an America without the superrich.

The Rich and the Rest of Us

John Cavanagh and Chuck Collins
June 2008
Politicians and their corporate backers have engineered the most colossal redistribution of wealth from the bottom up, from working people to a tiny global elite.

Lying he knew was a sin

June 2008

Betrayal by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, Scott McClellan viewed as ultimate betrayal. Yes, Bush and Cheney had prevaricated their way into a war with Iraq, which upset him, but not to the extent of the treasonous behavior by his bosom buddies. Former Bushies, McClellan had observed, can achieve revenge and atonement by writing a book.

How we got into the mess

May 2008
The institutionalised military-industrial-scientific-congressional complex is at the root of current state of Iraq.

Bush made a sacrifice. He stopped playing golf. It was a symbol of sympathy with the troops in Iraq. He did not, however, stop playing give video golf. For Bush to forgo other pleasures might require he start another war.

How did we get into this mess, ask millions who have grown sick of un-winnable -- and seemingly endless -- wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a sinking economy and rising deficit and debt?

Crises at home

May 2008

If you live in affluent neighborhoods you might have conditioned yourself to ignore the significant sector of U.S. society that gets in your face by showing they’re poor, suffering from disease and acute angst -- if not worse.

Sure, plenty of tree-lined, suburban streets contain apparently normal, satisfied men and women who work and take children to school. Advertisers understand that underneath the “normal” exterior, these people have anxieties.

Shape up and ship out

Anita Dancs and Miriam Pemberton.
April 2008
The US needs a new foreign policy, one that realises that the main security threats such as climate change and growing global inequality do not need a military cure.
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