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Dick J. Reavis : Diverse 'Moral Monday' Movement Captures Imagination in North Carolina by Dick J. Reavis / The Rag Blog. Four weeks ago, "an encouraging but puzzling progressive movement was born in an unlikely locale, North Carolina," Reavis reports. Inspired by NAACP leader, Rev. William Barber, the demonstrations -- that have resulted in over 300 arrests so far and which continue to grow in numbers and energy -- have been notably diverse, "thoroughly integrated by age, sex, and race." The movement, which is responding to a move to the far-right in North Carolina politics, has addressed a range of progressive issues.
RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Philosophy Scholar Bill Meacham on 'How to Be an Excellent Human' Interview by Thorne Dreyer / Rag Radio. Meacham, a long-time Austin activist and author of "How to Be an Excellent Human," was Thorne Dreyer's guest on Rag Radio, discussing how we can use the discipline of philosophy to address issues like how to live good and fulfilling lives and make ethical and moral decisions. The post also includes the podcast to our Rag Radio interview with '60s counterculture legend and White Panther founder John Sinclair.
Tom Hayden : Can Obama 'Rein In' His Presidency? by Tom Hayden / The Rag Blog. President Obama's recent foreign policy speech "should be seen as a window into the state of play among competing forces in the national security state," Hayden tells us. Obama, Hayden believes, is trying to "rein in" the vast executive power "originally unleashed by George Bush after 9/11," and which has "grown a cancer" on the presidency. According to Hayden, Obama "often follows a confusing pattern of leaning toward the military's preference while planning in his private chambers to later change course."
Michael James : Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1984 by Michael James / The Rag Blog. Continuing his series of historical images accompanied by commentary from his personal experience, Michael shares a photo of former middleweight champ Marvelous Marvin Hagler, taken in Provincetown, Mass., in the winter of 1984. Hagler is "beautiful to watch as he moves around the ring with his cool-looking Latino trainer guy." James says he has always liked boxing "and the stories and images around it."
SPORT / Dave Zirin : Decriminalize Baseball! by Dave Zirin / The Rag Blog. "If you want to know what's wrong with Major League Baseball," Zirin tells us, "look no further than today's headlines" about the sport's response to players allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs. In Dave's opinion, "steroids and all PEDs need to be seen as an issue of public health, not crime and punishment." "I love baseball," he says, "and it's tragic to watch it self-devour..."
LITERATURE / Ron Jacobs : Crime Fiction and Capitalist Reality by Ron Jacobs / The Rag Blog. Ron discusses the history of crime fiction, which "reflects the bourgeois obsession with order," and the evolution of the "noir" form, which "does not pretend that the society its protagonists operate in is worth saving. It's just the only one we have." Jacobs says that, "Today's noir fiction is the story of a system and society in decline."
Alan Waldman : ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ Was One of the Greatest TV Comedy Series by Alan Waldman / The Rag Blog. Waldman continues his series on vintage film and TV series -- many of them British -- that are now available on YouTube and Netflix. The award-winning British comedy series "Absolutely Fabulous" featured (and was written by) Jennifer Saunders, who stars as Edna Monsoon, "a heavy-drinking, drug-abusing PR agent" who chases "bizarre fads in a desperate attempt to stay young and 'hip.'"
Lamar W. Hankins : We Must Heal Our Wounded Vets by Lamar W. Hankins / The Rag Blog. Lamar reflects on his friend "Jim," a veteran of 18 years in the military: "At this point, almost a decade since his last combat, it is unclear whether Jim will ever recover from his injuries. His treatment by the military has been callous and devastating for his family as well as for him." We must "Honor the Dead, Heal the Wounded, and Stop the Wars," Lamar says.
Jean Trounstine : Italian Prison Inmates Perform Theatre Behind Bars by Jean Trounstine / The Rag Blog. Trounstine, who used to direct plays behind bars at a women's prison in Massachusetts, writes about the Italian prison theatre company, Compagnia della Fortezza, led by director and former actor Amando Punzo. The group has performed "a variety of Italian spectacles and tragedies" and has won some of the country's most prestigious theatre awards.
RAG RADIO / Thorne Dreyer : Economist Gar Alperovitz Asks, 'What Then Must We Do?' Interview by Thorne Dreyer / Rag Radio. Political economist Gar Alperovitz was interviewed by Thorne Dreyer and Roger Baker on Rag Radio. In his new book, "What Then Must We Do?," Alperovitz says "the time is right to democratize the ownership of wealth to strengthen our communities." Alperovitz believes there are some very encouraging things happening in the heartland, including the burgeoning workers' cooperative movement. Read the story and listen to the podcast.
Harry Targ : Benghazi is the Perfect 'Scandal' by Harry Targ / The Rag Blog. The real "scandal," according to Professor Targ, "is the cover-up of what the U.S. was doing in Libya." Harry provides some history and some political perspective on the role of the CIA and U.S. military in the Middle East. The real story is "one of Republicans irresponsibly focusing on inter-agency squabbles," and the Obama administration defending itself "by denying its incompetence in the matter."
IDEAS / Bill Meacham : Imagine There's No Morality by Bill Meacham / The Rag Blog. Philosophy scholar Meacham -- who will be Thorne Dreyer's guest Friday on Rag Radio -- plays John Lennon by inviting us to engage in a "thought experiment." "What if moral rules, unlike physical objects and events, do not actually exist independently of us?" How then, he asks, should we go about figuring out "how to live our lives"?
Tom Hayden : Is President Taking New Tack on Counterterrorism? by Tom Hayden / The Rag Blog. In his recent foreign policy speech, Tom says, President Obama, "while defending his military policies as constitutional," was "promising to wind down the 'forever war,' sharply reduce drone attacks, repatriate detainees to Yemen, and move again to close Guantanamo." And, he responded to the disruption by CodePink's Medea Benjamin by saying she was "worth paying attention to."
Michael James : Late Summer Sundown on the Karma Farm by Michael James / The Rag Blog. In his latest contribution from his upcoming book, "Pictures from the Long Haul," James shares a 1981 image of "late summer sundown" on the Karma Farm in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. After moving to Chicago, Michael says, he would cherish his "short-term escapes to the Karma Farm," trips that were "peaceful, enlightening, comforting, educational, and fun."
Alan Waldman : Clive Owen is Excellent in Four ‘Second Sight’ TV Movies by Alan Waldman / The Rag Blog. Alan, who reviews vintage film and TV that we can now find on Netflix and YouTube., says that British actor Clive Owen was terrific in the four "Second Sight" TV movies aired on PBS's Mystery! Owen plays a police detective who solves murders "while covering up the fact that he's going blind."
Medea Benjamin : Why I spoke Out at Obama's Foreign Policy Speech by Medea Benjamin / Common Dreams. CodePink's Benjamin, who interrupted Barack Obama with some pertinent questions and comments at his recent foreign policy speech, tells us why Obama's policies themselves, not those who speak out against them, are rude. Includes video of Benjamin protesting and being removed by security, and video of her recent interview with Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman.