Frann Michel's blog

structural adjustment comes to the usa

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For the Old Mole August 1 2011. Last week, well-read red Tom Becker read from Paul Craig Roberts' essay on the so-called debt crisis in the US, "An Economy Destroyed: The Enemy Is Washington." At the risk of repeating some of his key points, I'm going to repeat some of his key points.

big babies

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For the Old Mole Variety Hour 23 May 2011: (audio here): A recent episode of National Geographic's TV series Taboo featured a profile of Stanley Thornton, a 30-year-old "adult baby" in California, who wears diapers and onesies, drinks from a bottle, and sleeps in a giant crib.

Islamophobia and Islamic feminism

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For the Old Mole Variety Hour May 2, 2011.  Despite women's active participation in the popular revolutions of this "Arab spring," US media often continue to present women in the middle east as uniquely and homogenously oppressed by patriarchal culture. But these alignments of Islam with sexism and of western cultures with secular feminist egalitarianism are misleading, at best.

the american dream

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Under the banner "Save the American Dream," Jobs with Justice has called for a rally at 5pm, Tuesday, March 15 at Terry Shrunk Plaza in downtown Portland at southwest 3rd and Madison. The rally is in solidarity with Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio, and the Jobs with Justice website explains, "Though millions of Americans are out of jobs, corporate-funded politicians are attacking worker rights and slashing public services, instead of addressing the jobs deficit."

policing women and privatizing care

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Audio here 

March 8th 2011 is the one hundredth anniversary of International Women's Day, but American women could use more than a day to call for our rights and solidarity.

The recent wave of GOP legislative attacks on choice is summed up by Katha Pollit in the Nation:

MLK's Legacy

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Audio here.

These days, everybody wants a piece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Last year, Glen Beck invoked King's legacy to promote his own rally, claiming the tea party was fighting the same fight as King. And last week, the general counsel of the Department of Defense (as it's euphemistically called), claimed that despite King's opposition to the war in Vietnam, he would support America's military actions today. As the editors at Common Dreams point out, this suggests the DoD is operating in some alternate reality.

a revolution in happiness?

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The other day, in line at the grocery store, I noticed that the cover of Real Simple magazine's January issue invited me to "be happier this year." I can't tell you about the "9 surprising strategies to get you there," because I was pretty sure that spending $4.99 on the magazine was not one of them.

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

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Denise Morris and I reviewed The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. This documentary, released last year to theaters and this year on DVD, also played on PBS in October , and is available streaming on Netflix, and you can put a hold on one of the several copies available through the Multnomah County library.

scope and grope

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Today the well-read red is as obsessed as any rabid tea-bagger about the transportation security administration's invasive new screening procedures for airline passengers. In a weird convergence of left and right, huge numbers of Americans turn out to be averse to having strangers subject them to radiation, take naked pictures of them, or touch their junk.

Election 2010

For the Old Mole Variety Hour 8 November 2010.

What to make of last week's midterm elections? Well that's a big question, but the big story has been the shift of the US Congress to Republican control and the GOP gaining ground in the Senate. Then there's the question of the vaunted year of the woman, which turned out to be a bust, so to speak, and the increase in the influence of Latino voters. Closer to home, Oregon voters passed an increase in mandatory minimum sentences for repeat DUI and sexual offenses, and, more locally, defeated a measure to fund upgrades to Tri-met bus service.

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