FDL Book Salon – Mid-Year Salon Discussion

By: Saturday July 27, 2013 1:59 pm

Today’s salon is a mid-year get together with you to discuss what is on your mind, what books you liked, what are you reading now, and what books are you looking forward to. For a quick refresher drop by FDLBookSalon.com and check out the right hand column for all the previous salons.

 

Farewell to Helen Thomas, a Cynic With Hope

By: Saturday July 20, 2013 9:03 am

Helen Thomas, a fixture in the White House press corps spanning eleven presidential administrations, passed away this morning just shy of her 93rd birthday. Formal obituaries are appearing at places like the NYT, NPR, CBS, NBC and elsewhere, noting her role as a trailblazer for women journalists and her blunt style of questioning each of the presidents she covered. For me, though, it was her FDL Book Salon chat about Listen Up, Mr. President with co-author Craig Crawford that leaped immediately to mind.

As she said in response to one of the questions posed to her, she was a “cynic with hope.” We sure could use a lot more cynics like that.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Jeanne Theoharis: The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 1:59 pm

It’s one thing to be at the center of a culture-shifting event, and something else entirely to continue to live your life while the rest of the world reacts to that event — and you — for the rest of your life. You are not only changed by the event itself, but continue to be shaped by the reactions that others have to it, and they way they interpret what you have done.

In her portrait of Rosa Parks, Jeanne Theoharis invites her readers to distinguish between these two things, and in so doing, she leads us to re-think who Parks was, what it means to be an activist, and the line between person and symbol. The introduction to the book, entitled “National Honor/Public Mythology: The Passing of Rosa Parks,” lays out the various two-dimensional images of this very three dimensional woman, and from there Theoharis unpacks her story.

And what a story it is.

Nick Turse: A War Victim’s Question Only You Can Answer

By: Tuesday January 8, 2013 6:25 pm

In late December 2001, not long after Washington’s second Afghan War began, there was that wedding celebration in eastern Afghanistan in which 110 of 112 villagers were reportedly killed by American B-52 and B-1B bombers using precision guided weapons. Then there were the more than 40 Iraqi wedding celebrants (27 from one extended family, including 14 children) who died when U.S. planes struck their party at a village near the Syrian border back in May 2004, and the Afghan bridal party of 70 to 90 who were taken out by a U.S. airstrike on a road near the Pakistani border in July 2008. (The bride and 46 of those accompanying her died, according to an Afghan inquiry, including 39 women and children.)

Added to this list should be the 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women, and children, ranging in age from 3 to 76, murdered by U.S. Marines in November 2005 in the long-forgotten Haditha massacre. And the 14-year-old girl whom American soldiers gang-raped and murdered along with her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, the next year. And then there was the headline-grabbing case of those 16 civilians, nine of them children, 11 from one family, reportedly slaughtered (and some of their corpses burned) by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales in two southern Afghan villages in the course of a single night in March 2012.

God Laughs at Prop 8 and DOMA

By: Monday January 7, 2013 6:30 pm

SCOTUS made one of their periodic announcement of the schedule of arguments for upcoming cases for which they had granted a hearing, and I could not help but hear God laughing in the background. Let me draw your attention to this portion of the announcement, via SCOTUSblog…

Late Night: Armageddon Tired of This Mayan Apocalypse. Now Everyone’s Gone to the Movies. Or Santacon!

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 8:00 pm

NASA continues to peer into the future, claiming that the world did not end on 12.21.12. We’ll address that on 12.22.12. If we’re here. Meanwhile, I got email from JP Sottile at newsvandal with whom I have an ongoing tinfoil millinery competition…

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Amy Goodman, The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 10:55 am

Like so many of you, Democracy Now! is one of my key sources of news. As I said yesterday, Amy Goodman really should need no introduction to anyone here at Firedoglake. The work of the DN! team are a shining example of journalism in a field that mostly seems to have fallen asleep.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

By: Saturday August 20, 2011 1:59 pm

Reckless Endangerment describes the players that helped create the housing bubble and bust that were at the heart of the financial crisis. Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner focus on how regulators and other officials were complicit by promoting liberalized housing finance as a way to increase homeownership. Their account chronicles how a naïve vision of the American Dream, that of homeownership as the foundation of upward mobility and stable communities, turned into a nightmare in the hands of a growth driven and increasingly predatory mortgage complex.

Whistleblower Pulls Away Moody’s Mask of Objective Analysis

By: Saturday August 20, 2011 10:00 am

A former senior VP at Moody’s wrote an 80 page letter to federal regulators, blowing the whistle on systemic pressures placed by Moody’s business people on the ostensibly objective analysts. To those who are shocked by this, it helps to remember Econ 101: when you get paid by the people whose bonds you are rating, there’s a lot of incentive to keep the customer satisfied.

But it doesn’t stop there. Michael Hudson of UMKC notes that the perverse incentives of ratings agencies lead them to push against raising taxes to pay for things now. Instead, it’s better financially for the ratings agencies if governments keep taxes down but sell bonds . . . ’cause that’s more business for them.

Amazing what basic economics can teach you about the ratings agencies.

Notes from FDL’s First Membership Webinar On Bradley Manning

By: Tuesday May 3, 2011 4:50 pm

FDL’s first “webinar” took place on Monday, April 26, at 8-9 pm EDT.

Marcy Wheeler moderated a panel that included Army Ret. Col Ann Wright and David House, friend of Bradley Manning.

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