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Glee Club: A Heartfelt Apology to the Distinguished Professor

Glenn Reynolds, the Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at my old alma mater, the by-god, orange-bleeding University of Tennessee, has responded to the “lefty lies” in a recent post here, taking me to task for mischaracterizing one of the tropes he trotted out during his incessant cheerleading for the military aggression in Iraq back in the day. I quoted his 2006 remark about “more rubble, less trouble” as a handy tag to encapsulate the neocons’ notion of “creative destruction” — using violence and war to re-shape the Middle East to their ideological tastes. I thought Reynolds would have been

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Through Mazes Running: A Voice Worth Following

Our guest blogger today is the younger John Milton — before he ossified into the hidebound figure caricatured so devastatingly by Robert Graves in his remarkable feat of cross-gender ventriloquism, Wife to Mr Milton. As Colin Burrow points out in the latest London Review of Books, before Milton became Milton, there was an open, questing poetic mind, intoxicated with Spenser, alive with “calling shapes, beckoning shadows, airy tongues” — and with what Graves himself once  called “the single poetic theme of Life and Death.” As Burrow notes: The quintessential early Miltonic moment is one in which a series of participles

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Evil Incarnate: Putting the Poor Before Profits and Bling

As’ad AbuKhalil points us to this rather eye-boggling — and revealing — passage from AP’s obituary of Hugo Chavez: Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi. My god, to think such evil once walked this earth! Earlier, AbuKhalil had this take on Chavez’s death:

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A Low, Dishonest Decade: New Details for the Iraq War Crime Mosaic

The truth-telling of the imprisoned Bradley Manning continues to bear rich fruit, even as he faces a lifetime in prison for acting on principle to save innocent lives and prevent his country from staining itself further with war crimes. This week, the Guardian released a special investigation into the hideous regime of torture that the United States imposed and empowered during its years-long rape of Iraq. The Guardian report draws on the trove of documents that Manning gave to Wikileaks (and the now diplomatically “sequestered” Julian Assange) to provide new details on the direct links of America’s highest officials —

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A Moon of Pause: Gone to Tend the Fire

We have arrived at what Tennessee Williams once called A Moon of Pause. When I asked him what on earth the phrase meant, as spoken by an actress in one of his plays, “It is,” he said loftily, “the actual Greek translation of menopause.” I said that the word “moon” did not come from menses (Latin, not Greek, for “month”). “Then what,” he asked suspiciously, “is the Latin for moon?” When I told him it was luna and what fun he might have with the world “lunatic,” he sighed and cut. — Gore Vidal *** Our revels now are not

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What Matters

After Reading the Pasternak LettersIn the end, it doesn’t matter if love comes to you or not, or if doesn’t come to you in the form or with the force you may have wanted. All that matters is that love exists somewhere in the world, and that we strive to make a world where this astonishing fact — which alone gives meaning to life, and is itself immortal — can flourish in all of its manifestations. *** For more on related themes:Immortal Communion: One Lowly Word and the Subversion of PowerA Version of Pasternak’s “Hamlet”Testament

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Blanking Bradley Manning: NYT and AP Launch Operation Amnesia

On Thursday, Bradley Manning, one of the foremost prisoners of conscience in the world today, testified in open court — the first time his voice has been heard since he was arrested, confined and subjected to psychological torture by the U.S. government. An event of some newsworthiness, you might think. Manning has admitted leaking documents that detailed American war crimes in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He has been held incommunicado for more than 900 days by the Obama administration. Reports of his treatment at the hands of his captors have sparked outrage, protests and concern around the world.

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No Absence of Malice: Whitewashing the White House Murder Program

On Sunday, the New York Times — the paper of record, the bellwether by which all “serious” American media sets its compass — published a story about the Obama administration’s efforts to codify its “extrajudicial killing program” before the election. The aim, we were told, was to make sure there were “clear standards and procedures” in place to keep the death squads going, even if the president lost the election. The story was yet another in a series of White House-directed pieces about the killing program, in which anonymous, high-level administration officials leak top-secret information and insider gossip designed to

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Gag Rule on Gaza: A ‘Grand Bargain’ With Brutal Power

David Atkins, co-writer with Digby at Hullaballoo, responds — indirectly — to my recent post (“Blogging and Nothingness”) on the silence of leading progressive bloggers about the ongoing, Obama-supported slaughter in Gaza. Below is his response in full, followed by my reply. David Atkins:There has been some annoyance in some quarters at the lack of comprehensive coverage of the events in Gaza by the much of the most widely read parts of the progressive blogosphere. I agree that the coverage has been limited. But there are three good reasons for that: 1) Incoherent, hateful backlash. The fact is that it’s

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Blogging and Nothingness: Progressives Turn Their Gaze from Gaza

(UPDATED BELOW) “Too much of nothingCan make a man a liar.”— Bob Dylan “Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.”— Shakespeare, King Lear It sure was a quiet weekend in the progressive blogosphere, where peace, justice and the alleviation of human suffering is an earnest, burning concern. At Eschaton, Atrios gave an amiable shrug and declared, “I got nothing to say.” Digby and her co-pilot, David Atkins, did have a few things to say — about Sarah Palin, General Pants-Down Petraeus, the grubby “Grand Bargaining” in the Beltway, and several examples of the stupidity and perfidy of right-wing Republicans. The

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