From Guernica, is Happy Valley, PA, an exuberant college town named for defying the trends of the Great Depression, a clue into American violence, grief, and longing? Trying to revitalize a dying small town: In a corner of Illinois with a turbulent history and a grim future, a punk-rock impresario is trying to make a difference, bringing a town back to life, one cup of coffee at a time. Taking pictures of things that are almost gone: A review of Michael Eastman’s Vanishing America: The End of Main Street Diners, Drive-Ins, Donut Shops, and Other Everyday Monuments. A review of Those Who Work, Those Who Don't: Poverty, Morality, and Family in Rural America by Jennifer Sherman. How a new jobless era will transform America: Increasing depression, dissolving marriages, collapsing expectations — why the Great Recession will cut deeper and endure longer than you think. Forever be relegated to the dustbin of Americana: Where have all the Boy Scouts gone? (and more and more) “Nostalgia” is literally a longing for the places of one’s past — and lately, it has become harder and harder to find things to miss about America’s places. From Time, an article on the secessionist campaign for the Republic of Vermont. A review of The Cracked Bell: America and the Afflictions of Liberty by Tristram Riley-Smith. From Esquire, S.T. VanAirsdale on how to stop Survivor from becoming America's reality. Kevin Hartnett on how there is ample reason America is ruined, one good reason it’s not. Autumn of the Republic: Three books suggest America has slipped into a polarized state of undermined self-government. A review of This Country Must Change: Essays on the Necessity of Revolution in the USA.
From Egypt's Al-Ahram, the real cause of Tutankhamun's death has finally been discovered; and Sayed Mahmoud celebrates the reissuing of the Nineties' foremost avant garde journal, Al-Kitabah Al-Ukhra. A review of Morning Star: Surrealism, Marxism, Anarchism, Situationism, Utopian by Michael Lowy. Club DJ-ing can’t be that hard, can it? Will Smith takes a class with DJ Daredevil. Public financing of campaigns vs. the abolition of the IRS: These seems a helpful pair of dueling icons, reducing the Left-Right struggle to its basic components (and more on minimal secessionism). Why should investors care more about a stock market rise from 9900 to 10000 than one from 9800 to 9900? (and more) Peter Lennox keeps chickens, and they have taught him a great deal about behaviour, ethics, evolution and the psychopathic nature of modern "efficiency". A review of The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester. Social Scientists Under Fire: How anthropology and other social sciences are transforming the American way of war in Afghanistan. Toward a bland, functional conservatism: When online clothing “fora” stop being nice and start getting real. Latins have the ALMAs, African-Americans the NAACP Image Awards, Christians the Dove Awards, so why isn't there a serious awards show given by the LGBT community for LGBT artists? The Next Glenn Beck: Samuel P. Jacobs looks at the rightful heirs to Limbaugh, Maddow and Beck. Charles Simic reviews Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War by Mark Danner (and more by Spencer Ackerman at Bookforum). From Economic Principals, rebuilding Haiti’s housing stock and physical infrastructure is important; building its human capital is even more important. An article on ChatRoulette and the perils of video chats with strangers (and more and more and more).
From The Guardian, a special report on "Climate wars: The story of the hacked emails". The UN's top climate panel has withdrawn a mistaken prediction that the Himalayan glaciers might not exist in 2035, but that doesn't mean the whole world isn't in hot water — the scientific evidence for climate change remains as strong as ever. Currently, a few errors in the last IPCC report (“AR4″) are making the media rounds, together with a lot of distortion and professional spin — but which of these putative errors are real, and which not? A look at how global-warming deniers are running circles around the UN's top climate body. David Brin on how the real struggle behind climate change is a war on expertise. Warm with a chance of denial: Despite the weight of scientific evidence, many TV meteorologists are global warming skeptics. As major storms cover the northeast, the classic canard of conflating climate with weather takes on ridiculous new forms — but is it better to fight or ignore them? Joshua Frank on how to answer the dumb things climate deniers say. From American Diplomacy, an article on the best of a bargain in Copenhagen: Diplomacy, power contest and global governance. Post-Copenhagen, as climate groups in the US regroup, some are arguing it's time for a new set of priorities and strategies. An interview with Jamais Cascio on global warming ("Egad, it's depressing") and more on geoengineering. The Earth Trials: Can we test our geoengineering schemes before we have to use them? (and more) A review of Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen (and more). NASA research finds the last decade was the warmest on record, and 2009 one of warmest years.
The defence minister's new philosophy: In the emergent "panspectric" order, human society is seen in terms of "information traffic"; it is not the actions of individuals that are observed, as in the Foulcauldian panopticon, rather those of the mass. From Esquire, it has been nearly four years since Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw and his ability to speak — now television's most famous movie critic is rarely seen and never heard, but his words have never stopped. In many prosperous democracies, a crisis-driven backlash against the political right failed to materialise — why so? A review of Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good? by Gary Thomas. From Time, an article on Reality TV at 10 and how it's changed television and us. Michael Ruse on Isaiah Berlin and his groupies. In 2009, crime went down; in fact it's been going down for a decade, but more and more Americans believe it's getting worse — why do we refuse to believe the good news? The Dead Magazine Club is an Utne Reader project — how can you help? Travel Sites or Guidebooks: Why not dip into both? Royal Tea Party Rebels: Mark Ames on the heroic billionaires’ struggle to overthrow the tyranny of democracy. A review of Falling in Love with Statues: Artificial Humans from Pygmalion to the Present by George Hersey. When the times are as confusing as they are just now, David Warsh reads David Rogers. Who do we think we're kidding? A family goes native, seeking authenticity, but decides they'd rather have air conditioning. The Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s latest venture will not be televised — thank goodness.
One God, Three Faiths: The first chapter from Comparative Religion for Dummies by William P. Lazarus and Mark Sullivan. From Geez, Jesus was an end-times preacher who offered up some radical, compelling shit — beyond that, it gets pretty hazy; and a look at how God’s son has been adapted to a great variety of human-created roles. A review of Is Jesus the Only Savior? by James R. Edwards. The first chapter from The Historical Jesus For Dummies by Catherine M. Murphy. Is the Pope capitalist? Stuart Reid wants to know. From Expositions, a symposium on Augustine and anti-Semitism. A review of It's Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian by Samir Selmanovic (and more) and Everything Is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism by Jay Michaelson. From JBooks, not a guide, but an example: Jay Michaelson on paradoxes of spiritual writing (and two responses). A review of How to Do Good & Avoid Evil: A Global Ethic from the Sources of Judaism by Hans Kung and Walter Homolka. An excerpt from Shalom Goldman's Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land. A review of Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade (and more). The Prophet's promise to Christians: Those who seek to foster discord between Islam and Christianity ignore the decrees of the one to whom Islam was divinely revealed. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Tariq Ramadan argues for a new understanding of what it means to be a “moderate” Muslim. Sharia’s Dominion: A review of Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish (and more). Who's afraid of Shari'a? The key to interreligious harmony and world peace: Philosopher Andrew Pessin explains how a simple thought experiment regarding certainty and uncertainty could catalyze global reconciliation.