Archive | May, 2009

  • The State and Local Drag on the Stimulus

    Introduction The stimulus bill that President Obama pushed through Congress in the first month of his presidency was an important first step in counteracting the economic downturn.  However, as many analysts have noted, it is not likely to be sufficient to turn around the economy.  Economic and fiscal data only available after the passage of […]

  • Los Expatriados

    We would like to announce the creation of a new discussion blog Los Expatriados where we present and analyze issues relevant to the discussions surrounding the present colonial situation of Puerto Rico.  Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted the absence of Cuba and Puerto Rico that tarnishes the name of the Summit of the Americas.  He […]

  • Pakistan: Who’s to Blame?

    Speaking at the National Assembly, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that the military could stop the Taliban and that the country’s nuclear weapons were safe. “Does this parliament not have moral courage to stop them?” he asked. Pakistan is on a precipice.  The Swat Valley, once called the Switzerland of Pakistan for […]

  • Protecting Privacy?

    Arístides Esteban Hernández Guerrero, born in Havana in 1963, is a painter, illustrator, and cartoonist, nicknamed Ares.  This cartoon won the First Prize at the 2009 International Editorial Cartoon Competition, whose theme was “Protecting Privacy?”

  • Cuba: A Terrorist Country?

    Thursday, April 30 was unlucky for the United States. On that day it occurred to them to include Cuba yet again on the list of terrorist countries. Committed as they are to their own crimes and lies, perhaps even Obama himself was unable to untangle himself from that mess. A man whose talent nobody denies must feel ashamed about the empire’s cult of lie. Fifty years of terrorism against our Homeland come to light in an instant.

  • On Islam and Gender Justice

    Zainah Anwar, ed., Wanted — Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, Kuala Lumpur: Musawah/Sisters in Islam (, 2009, pp. 261, ISBN: 978-983-2622-26-0, 28 Malaysian Ringgit. Muslim family laws have for long been — and continue to be — a hugely controversial subject.  Critics contend that these laws seriously militate against basic human rights, especially […]

  • Absent Spaces (Faragh Mafqud)

      Laila Hotait Salas is a Spanish-Lebanese filmmaker.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and is currently a San Francisco State University MFA Cinema candidate.  With Nadia Hotait, she has co-directed two documentary films: Beirut . . . Coming Back to You Is Not Painful (2004); and […]

  • Besancenot Marches with LKP in Guadeloupe

    POINTE-A-PITRE, 1 May 2009 (AFP) — The leader of the New Anti-Capitalist Party Olivier Besancenot marched on Friday in Guadeloupe, joining the procession organized by 13 trade unions of the LKP, which started the recent general strike in the island.  Besancenot characterized his presence as “hats off” to the movement. Several thousands of people (30,000 […]

  • Sex Workers March on May Day in India

      Sex workers from Kolkata took to the streets in their dozens to demand the legalization of the world’s oldest profession on International Labor Day.  Sonagachi is the biggest red light district in Kolkata and one of the largest in Asia. Around 500 sex workers took part in the march, which was organized by a […]

  • We Will Have To Give Our All

    Yesterday, I had a lengthy talk with Miguel d’Escoto, president pro tempore of the United Nations General Assembly. I had listened to his remarks at the ALBA meeting in Cumana on April 17.

  • Lamar Outdoor Advertising Bows to Pro-Israel Pressure: Removes Billboards and Stifles Freedom of Speech

    ALBUQUERQUE, NM — An Albuquerque-based billboard company pulled ten billboards on April 28, 2009 that had featured a political message. The contract between a local grassroots group, the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, and Lamar Outdoor Advertising was supposed to be for eight weeks; the billboards were taken down after only three weeks. […]

  • May Day Protests Cancelled by Swine Flu (H1N1) As Mexican Workers Face Yet Another Crisis

    In Mexico, May Day, the international labor holiday, has been cancelled for the first time in the country’s history. All of the major federations — the government-backed, conservative, and often corrupt “official” unions of the Congress of Labor (CT) as well as the independent National Union of Workers (UNT) and Mexican Union Front (FSM) — […]

  • Together without God

    Ronald Aronson, Living without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided, Counterpoint Press, 2008. Something unprecedented happened in American publishing in the last four years.  Books explicitly advocating atheism became bestsellers.  It happened despite (or because of) the theocratic drift in our politics.  In 2005, Wayne State University professor Ronald Aronson called […]

  • Energy (and Empire) in World History

    Introduction Vaclav Smil’s Energy in World History (1994) provides an overview of global changes in human energy use from before the Neolithic Revolution to modern times.  In various places in the book, Smil discusses the relationship between energy use and the rise of centers of economic and political power in world history.  In explaining what […]

  • The Free Union — How Did We Build It?

      Kamal abu Eita. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy. The first time I participated in a discussion about independent unions, and about the idea of pluralism, was at a conference organized by the Al-Tagammu party — back in the days when Al-Tagammu was really “united” — when one of the veteran unionists, Atiyah Al-Sirafi, explained the […]