Thorne Dreyer :
RAG RADIO PODCASTS | Harry Targ, Glenn Smith & Roger Baker, Eve Spangler, Mary Bock, and Jeff Nightbyrd interviews Thorne Dreyer

We discuss the worldwide rise of resistance; the bizarre state of politics; Palestine and Zionism; smart phones and citizen journalism — and we turn the tables on the birthday boy.

dreyer and nightbyrd 2 sm

Old colleagues from the underground press: Jeff Nightbyrd, right, interviews Rag Blog editor/Rag Radio host Thorne Dreyer, July 31, 2015, at the KOOP studios in Austin. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Interviews by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | August 26, 2015

The following podcasts are from recent Rag Radio shows. The syndicated Rag Radio, produced in the studios of Austin’s cooperatively-run KOOP-FM, has an international audience and has become an influential platform for interviews with leading figures in politics, current events, literature, and cutting-edge culture.


Political Scientist & Peace Activist Harry Targ on the Rise of Resistance Worldwide

harry targRead the show description and download the podcast of our August 21, 2015 Rag Radio interview with Harry Targ here — or listen to it here:


Political Analyst Glenn Smith on the Bizarre State of U.S. Politics, plus The Rag Blog’s Roger Baker

glenn smith 8-2015Read the show description and download the podcast of our August 14, 2015 Rag Radio show with Glenn Smith and Roger Baker here — or listen to it here:


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Bill Meacham :
IDEAS | The anti-realist vegetarian

Once you realize the socially constructed nature of morality, you get to choose whether or not to
buy into it.

vegetarian cow

Image from Green Talk.

By Bill Meacham | The Rag Blog | August 25, 2015

I venture to guess that most people are moral realists. That is, they think that rules and principles of morality — that stealing and lying are wrong, for instance — actually exist in some form independently of what anybody thinks of them. By contrast moral anti-realists deny the independent reality of moral rules and principles. They say that moral rules are only social conventions. As evidence the anti-realists point to the fact that different cultures have different moral norms.

An extreme example is honor killing.1 In some cultures it is considered morally obligatory to kill a woman who has brought disgrace to her family by having sex outside of marriage. This is so even if she was raped; she should not have put herself in a situation where that could happen to her. People in most western cultures consider honor killing hideously wrong. But there is no objective way to decide which one it is, right or wrong, obligatory or forbidden.
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Richard Jehn :
Violence, racism, and fundamentally changing
the United States

My specific proposal is to include explicit curriculum in our schools to teach the truth of our past.


Seventy-seven years ago, civil rights activist and poet Langston Hughes wrote his chilling poem “Kids Who Die” to illuminate the horrors of lynchings during the Jim Crow era. Now at the one year mark of Michael Brown’s death and the Ferguson uprising that sparked a movement, let us listen to Hughes’ words with new ears. Video from Color of Change.

By Richard Jehn | The Rag Blog | August 24, 2015

When will it be enough? Another horrible tragedy, self-confessed to be an act of terror and white supremacy has occurred. It isn’t a new phenomenon by any means, but we are seeing a more accurate record of these acts because of the available technology so many people now have in hand.

And most observers are appalled to see them, police shooting unarmed black men in the back as they run away[1], a policeman abusing a young black girl at a junior high school pool party[2], and nine murders in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina[3], followed by the burning of six more African American churches across the south, three of which have been unmistakably identified as arson.[4]
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Alan Waldman :
TELEVISION | Two excellent ‘Wallander’ series come from Sweden and the UK

Netflix has two crisp, smart (different) cop series from Swedish novelist Henning Mankell, with the Brit version starring the great Kenneth Branagh.

Wallander Swedish

By Alan Waldman | The Rag Blog | August 18, 2015

[In his Rag Blog column, Alan Waldman reviews some of his favorite films and TV series that readers may have missed, including TV dramas, mysteries, and comedies from Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. Most are available on DVD, Netflix and/or Netflix Instant Streaming, and some episodes are on YouTube.]

Wallander is a Swedish TV series adapted from Henning Mankell’s Police Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander novels, ably starring Krister Henriksson in the title role. Three seasons of 32 episodes aired from 2005 to 2013, with all of them available on Netflix disks under the title Henrik Mankell’s Wallander. The stories are set in Ystad near the southern tip of Sweden, and they are very twisty and dramatic; I enjoyed them all.
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Marilyn Katz :
Don’t dunk that cookie!

As Nabisco ships 600 jobs out of Chicago to Mexico, maybe it’s time to give up Oreos.

oreos

Photo from janetandphil / Flickr. Image from In These Times.

By Marilyn Katz | The Rag Blog | August 11, 2015

CHICAGO — I may have to give up one of my longest-standing indulgences: the dunking of an Oreo cookie in cold milk (whole is preferred). I don’t do this lightly, as I have been dunking those deliciously wicked rounds of chocolate and what I choose to believe is cream since I’ve been three.

Why give them up? Because Irene Rosenfeld, the head of Mondolez (the food conglomerate based in Illinois that has Nabisco in its portfolio), a woman touted for breaking the glass ceiling upon becoming the head of Kraft Foods and then its spin-off, announced that rather than invest $130 million in modernizing the plant in Chicago, where Oreos have been lovingly produced for the past 100 years, she will instead move the jobs to a new factory in Mexico. The result: a loss of 600 well-paying and community-sustaining jobs on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
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David McReynolds :
The Republican debate and the raw ego of
Donald Trump

The most glaring problem was how little this group understands the world in which we now live.

donald trump shrug

Donald Trump shown gesturing at the first Republican Debate.  AP photo.

By David McReynolds | The Rag Blog | August 10, 2015

NEW YORK — My assumption is that most of you watched the Fox-sponsored debate between  the 10 leading GOP hopefuls. This is not an effort to comment on each of them, but rather a look at what was missed, and, inevitably, an observation about the strange man, Donald Trump, who still holds more than 20% approval in public polls.

Some deal with Trump by noting he is an entertainer, not a politician, which is true, but the man is shrewd enough to deflect every attack by a counterattack. He has never, in all the interviews with him which I have watched, laid out a plan for how to achieve his goals.
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Carl Davidson :
What the big debate tells us about a
Republican presidency

Here’s my instant two cents on the first GOP ‘debate’: put your money in the body bag business.

republican field

The Republican noise machine. Image from Keep On Keepin’ On.

By Carl Davidson | The Rag Blog | August 7, 2014

First, if any of the top people here win the White House, put your money in the body bag business. Nearly every one of them trashed Obama in favor of new wars in the Middle East, with massive invasions and bombings of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Mexico, and anywhere else.

They were almost delusional with superpower hegemonism, the idea that just by acting like John Wayne and strutting around the world, everyone would cringe and bow. I kept laughing out loud at the stupid arrogance on display, but really, it’s not funny.
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Lamar W. Hankins :
Propaganda and the atomic bomb 70 years later

The government, with the cooperation and collaboration of the media, used propaganda to justify the use of atomic bombs against Japan.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945, and, at right, the bombing of Nagasaki three days later. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

By Lamar W. Hankins | The Rag Blog | August 6, 2015

I was only nine months old when two atomic bombs killed about 210,000 men, women, and children — the first at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the second at Nagasaki on August 9.

I have had discussions with soldiers and sailors who were fighting for the U.S. in the Pacific Theater during World War II. All of them held the view promoted by the government and most media in 1945 and thereafter that using atomic bombs was necessary to prevent the loss of 46,000 American lives (a worse case estimate made by military authorities) if the U.S. invaded Japan to end the war. This was and has been over the years the view of most Americans.
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Kate Braun :
Lammas is a fire festival of harvest and prosperity

Be prepared to feel more energized than normal despite the summer’s heat.

lammas bread man

Lammas bread man and friend. Image from Drifting Through the Cosmos.

By Kate Braun | The Rag Blog | July 31, 2015

“Bonnie was the Lammas Moon…”

Lammas is a fire festival of harvest and prosperity celebrating the First Harvest, typically a grain. It may be celebrated on either Friday, July 31, Saturday, August 1, or Sunday, August 2, 2015. It is an excellent occasion for a pot-luck dinner, as one of the requirements is to share food, whether with your guests or with the homeless.

The full moon on July 31, the Thunder Moon, will be noticeable throughout the whole weekend. Be prepared to feel more energized than normal despite the summer’s heat.
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Alan Waldman :
TELEVISION | ‘Wentworth’ is a dark, dramatic Australian TV series set in a women’s prison

An excellent cast, clever, and gripping story lines, and an oppressive milieu make this a top-notch, thinking person’s entertainment.

wentworth 4

Wentworth is a compelling, edge-of-your-seat drama.

By Alan Waldman | The Rag Blog | July 27, 2015

[In his Rag Blog column, Alan Waldman reviews some of his favorite films and TV series that readers may have missed, including TV dramas, mysteries, and comedies from Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. Most are available on DVD, Netflix and/or Netflix Instant Streaming, and some episodes are on YouTube.]

At a time when Orange is the New Black is delighting U.S. audiences and media, while drawing attention to the shocking plight of women behind bars — much as Bad Girls did in Britain — Australia’s Wentworth (in some countries titled Wentworth Prison and in Poland called Wiezienie dla kobiet) is a compelling, edge-of-your-seat drama down under.

Currently, Netflix is streaming two seasons (22 episodes; 2013-2014) of this series. A third 12-episode season is airing in Australia now, and a fourth has been ordered.
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Bill Freeland :
Donald Trump: From here to obscurity

Trump may imagine himself as president, but what he can’t imagine is the perception of himself as a loser.

trump art freeland

Graphic by Bill Freeland / The Rag Blog.

By Bill Freeland | The Rag Blog | July 27, 2015

Here’s a first: the entire U.S. media, from the most marginal blogger to the giant TV titans, is united on a single proposition: Donald J. Trump is a man of his word.

Trump says he’s running for president. Which means, according to these clear-eyed commentators, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

“I’ll spend whatever it takes to win,” he has declared.
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Michael James :
Loving the bums, another march on Washington, bonding with my kids, and the White Sox lose to the Orioles, 1983

The season was done and I was a sad boy, one ‘mizzable bastard,’ to use my dad’s expression. But I jumped into the cooling waves and was rejuvenated.

james 27 - 1

Crowd gathers at Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, 1983. Photos by Michael James from his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures from the Long Haul.

By Michael James | The Rag Blog | July 22, 2015

[In this series, Michael James is sharing images from his rich past, accompanied by reflections about — and inspired by — those images. These photos will be included in his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures
from the Long Haul.]

Horses were my first love, followed by cowboys and Indians. Then came the Brooklyn Dodgers aka “the Bums,” and that was deep love. I loved all the Dodgers. Jackie Robinson was my hero. I attended my first Dodgers game in the late 1940’s, along with my dad and his advertising client, Barney Karlin of Castro Convertible Sofas. We sat close to third base; at the seventh inning stretch a woman in a babushka held up a Schaefer Beer sign and rang a bell. I ate many hot dogs and loved my first sauerkraut.
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