Friday, March 25, 2011

Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire: March 25, 1911 - March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011 is the Centennial of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire which took the lives of 146 workers,mostly young immigrant Jewish and Italian women, and galvanized a movement for social justice. In concert with organizations and individuals across the country, the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition is  spearheading commemorative events – activism, education, arts – for the Centennial and the establishment of a permanent public art memorial.

For more information, including streaming videos of today's events beginning at 11 AM, visit this site

Also, you are invited to join with churches, schools and fire houses across the country.
Step outside and ring a bell at 4:45 EST, the exact time the first alarm was sounded.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Red Square: March 24, 2011

Photo by Justin Brannan

"lots of barren birch trees and black snow.
gloom and doom.
tmrw = berlin."

Associated Press: Germany Prepared to Go 'No Nukes'

"Germany, the 4th largest economy in the world, is ready to fast track its plan to shift its energy resources from 25% nuclear to none in a shorter time span, making up the difference with expanded reliance on renewable resources. It is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet power demands instead.

Juergen Baetz of the Associated Press reports: "The transition was supposed to happen slowly over the next 25 years, but is now being accelerated in the wake of Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster, which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions."

"Berlin's decision to take seven of its 17 reactors offline for three months for new safety checks has provided a gl"impse into how Germany might wean itself from getting nearly a quarter of its power from atomic energy to none.

"And experts say Germany's phase-out provides a good map that countries such as the United States, which use a similar amount of nuclear power, could follow. The German model would not work, however, in countries like France, which relies on nuclear energy for more than 70 percent of its power and has no intention of shifting.

"If we had the winds of Texas or the sun of California, the task here would be even easier," said Felix Matthes of Germany's renowned Institute for Applied Ecology. "Given the great potential in the U.S., it would be feasible there in the long run too, even though it would necessitate huge infrastructure investments."

Nuclear power has been very unpopular in Germany ever since radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster drifted across the country."

More from the AP article here

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011: Fukushima Apocalypse and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Centennial

It all comes together under the Supermoon. The Earth moves, the sea rushes in,and in the moment, the evolutionary genius of man, that splits the atom, that wars, and forgives and conquers, turns upon us with a terrible fury. At the same time that the Japanese people struggle with the destruction of the Northeast section of their country, here in the States we wrestle with the economic tigers unleashed by the glories of advanced capitalism, and that leads many to think that it is the workers, and those who are subject to the business and corporate interests that are the problem. So there is a drumbeat, to distract and allow the financial prestidigitators to perform their magic, and the hue and cry is picked up by the ideologues at some tabloids and the Whig media, and those who are struggling and see America as only a dream of wealth and dominance, and not a land of humanity and possibility, conjoin their anger and frustration with the wealthy who in fact view them as useful tools and not as allies in their struggle to fight off the already waning influence of regulation, unions and social welfare.

So it is fascinating that 2011 also represents the centennial anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire which took the lives of 146 workers,mostly young immigrant women, and galvanized a movement for social justice.

The world keeps turning in 2011,the revolutionary spirit at large in the Arab world , the anti-union, anti-public sector fervor, generated by the sad afterglow of greed gone bad.

The story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory is a story well worth retelling as a means of understanddng how many of the protections that we enjoy as members of the larger working class-- and which are being whittled away in not so subtle ways  in the 21st century were prompted by the exploitation of immigrant workers in the early 20th century. And these are messages -i i terms of regulation and worker welfare -- that are resonant as the fires still burn north of Tokyo.

On March 25, 1911, a catastrophic fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City. Trapped inside the upper floors of a ten-story building, 146 workers – mostly young immigrant women and teenage girls – were burned alive or forced to jump to their deaths to escape an inferno that consumed the factory in just 18 minutes. It was the worst disaster at a workplace in New York State until 9/11.

The tragedy changed the course of history, paving the way for government to represent working people, not just business, for the first time, and helped an emerging American middle class to live the American Dream.

There is an excellent exhibit at the NYU Grey Gallery -- which is essentially on the same block and around the corner from the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. History, ephemera, and current art based on the Triangle story are all here.

These and other NYU activities commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory here

In addition, this Monday, March 21st HBO Documentary Films presents TRIANGLE: REMEMBERING THE FIRE on HBO at 9:00p.m. The premiere marks the 100th anniversary of The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire that began the modern labor movement.

See the trailer here -

 In addition, the Remember the Triangle Fire coalition has a number of educational and political activities scheduled in the coming week around a response to the fire in the context of current efforts to curtail regulation, collective bargaining and workers rights. Details here

America  led the way in protecting workers rights, health and welfare. As technology becomes more complex and advanced., and the wider economy becomes almost a matter of Riding the Tiger, this is clearly not the time to turn back the clock.

Friday, March 11, 2011

REDISTRICTING: Panel Discussion Tries to Determine What Is Reform?

L to R: Jerry Goldfeder, Wayne Barrett, Alex Camarda, and Henry Stern. Off camera: Gersh Kuntzman.Photo: Brooklyn Beat

It was a rainy Thursday night but the meeting room at the Good Shepherd Church in Bay Ridge was packed with residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island to hear a panel of journalists and political experts discuss redistricting reform in NYS. The panel included Alex Camarda, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Citizens Union; Prof. Jerry Goldfeder, an expert on election law, who teaches at Fordham Law School and serves as Chairman of the Election Law and Government Affairs Committee of the General Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association, and is special counsel to the eminent Stroock and Co. law firm; Wayne Barrett, journalist with the Nation Institute and until recently investigative reporter (and senior editor) with the Village Voice for more than 40 years; and Henry Stern, Executive Director of NY Civic, former City Councilmember and Commissioner, who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations in NYC since the early 1960s.

The event was moderated by Brooklyn Paper editor Gersh Kuntzman who kicked things off with an informative and amusing briefing on redistricting and gerrymandering.

Every decade, New York State has the opportunity to redraw district lines following the release of the U.S. Census in order to equalize the population of districts and comply with Federal requirements. Traditionally, however, the redistricting is controlled by the party in power in Albany, resulting in gerrymandering, or drawing district lines to achieve partisan political gain for legislators. Gersh provided examples of some more extreme forms of gerrymandering, such as the “Bullwinkle” district.

Given the push, especially in Albany, for restoring (or creating) good government, in 2011, there appears to be an opportunity-- and the political will-- to reform the redistricting process in New York State. However, as the panel discussion unfolded last night, many questions were raised – at least in this attendee’s mind – as to what exactly a redistricting reform that is non-partisan, equitable, and reflecting of the best interests of the citizenry, might look like and what might be its long-term effects.

Governor Cuomo has proposed legislation to establish a commission to study redistricting that will be fairly represented by both parties, which fits in with his campaign promise to reform NYS government. The NYS GOP has spoken of some form of constitutional change.

Henry Stern observed there are only two political parties, “those who are in power and want to keep it, and those who are out of power and want to regain it.” Wayne Barrett noted that the current system of politics in the state allows those in power to retain it more easily by not requiring or encouraging primaries. Therefore, the evolution of a permanent government. Camarda, Stern and Barrett joined, although from different perspectives, to call for non-partisan, equitable redistricting but it was Jerry Goldfeder, dyed-in-the wool Democrat, special counsel to renowned law firm Stroock and Co.’s Government Relations practice, and advisor to then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and current AG Eric Schneiderman’s election campaign – who effectively shook up the pot and rolled the dice 1by questioning whether “objective” and “non-partisan” redistricting was even possible.

As he pointedly noted, “I have never met an objective voter.” Since the net result is the loss of a seat for one party or another, and the loss of a single seat could have an enormous impact on the majority or minority status, any intentions of making an equitable split, one-for-me, one-for-you, or whatever, could effectively undo an electorally-decided majority. Therefore, why should a seat be voluntarily surrendered. Democrats have their beliefs and should fight for them, just as the GOP have theirs and they are not hesitant to fight for them.

Stern,  who would periodically pop in to the discussion and present his very cogent and persuasive discourse, returned to a redistricting argument based on the concern that political gerrymandering could potentially disenfranchise racial and ethnic groups. Goldfeder and Barrett argued that the discussion should be kept as a purely political one, and there was some teasing, in a very sophisticated and indirect way, that seemed to suggest it was ironic that Stern should bring up that theme. (Apparently, given the lawsuits that occurred during his tenure at the Parks Department, this could be viewed as a curious argument to make.)

Camarda supported the reform concept, as did many in the audience, but, like them, without presenting ideas for a clear alternative to what should replace the current tendency to gerrymander. Barrett, as a believer in good government and reform, while initially challenging Goldfeder’s strongly partisan-take on redistricting, might have been skeptical about the ability – or will – of legislators to come up with a non-partisan solution.

However, to some in the audience, the Governor’s proposal of a commission to study redistricting seemed like a right-minded and sensible approach to opening a more informed discussion on this hot topic. While, perhaps everything doesn’t have to be changed if it is not ultimately for the better, at the very least, everything should be subject to scrutiny and transparency as the state struggles for reform and an end to corruption and gridlock in the state capital.

Overall, it was a lively and informative discussion, sponsored by the Bay Ridge Democrats.
--Tony Napoli, Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tonight in Bay Ridge: A Forum on Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform in NYS

Wayne Barrett, Jerry Goldfeder and a Panel of Political Experts and Journalists Discuss the Meaning and Status of This Once-in-a-Decade Opportunity for Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform:

EVENT DATE: Thursday, March 10, 2011

LOCATION: Good Shepherd Church, 7420 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn NY

Every decade, New York State has the opportunity to redraw district lines following the release of the U.S. Census in order to equalize the population of districts and comply with Federal requirements. Traditionally, however, the redistricting is controlled by the party in power in Albany, resulting in gerrymandering, or drawing district lines to achieve partisan political gain for legislators. In 2011, there appears to be an opportunity-- and the political will-- to reform the redistricting process in New York State to ensure that it is non-partisan, equitable, and reflecting of the best interests of the citizenry. Governor Cuomo has proposed legislation that fits in with his campaign promise to reform NYS government. The NYS GOP supports a constitutional change. Where do you – and other voters – stand on this timely issue ?

In order to shed more light on this important, once-in-a-decade issue, the Bay Ridge Democrats will host a panel discussion on “Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform and Gerrymandering” on Thursday,
March 10, 2011, at 7:30 PM, at the Good Shepherd Church, 7420 Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. This event is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include Alex Camarda, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Citizens Union; Prof. Jerry Goldfeder, an expert on election law, who teaches at Fordham Law School and serves as Chairman of the Election Law and Government Affairs Committee of the General Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association; Wayne Barrett, journalist with the Nation Institute and until recently investigative reporter and senior editor with the Village Voice for more than 20 years; and Henry Stern, Executive Director of NY Civic, former City Councilmember and Commissioner, who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations in NYC since the early 1960s.

The evening will be moderated by Gersh Kuntzman, Editor of The Brooklyn Paper.

Justin Brannan, President of the Bay Ridge Democrats, said “we are a progressive, Democratic political organization that supports the movement toward redistricting reform. We believe that, in the long run, redistricting reform will benefit all political parties and most importantly, will be in the best interests of all of the citizens of New York State.”

Refreshments will be served. Transportation: Take the R train to 77th Street (and 4th avenue) stop. Walk three blocks to 74th street.  Note: Street parking can be limited.

For more information please contact: Bay Ridge Democrats

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Women on the Bridge: Celebrating International Women's Day: The 100th Anniversary

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day

Women for Women International, in collaboration with Google, and other organizations, invites you to join tens of thousands of people coming together on bridges all over the world -- from the Millennium Bridge in London, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, to the Grand Barriere Bridge joining Rwanda and Congo -- to show your support for women's causes and celebrate women's achievements.

For information on bridge walks, or to check in virtually, visit here and here

You also are invited to donate to one of the many organizations that work to improve the lives of women worldwide. See the link below. 

Brooklyn Bridge New York

March 8 from 10:30am to 1pm. If you're short on time, you can choose to register ONLY for the festival in City Hall Park (noon to 1pm).

10:30am: Check-in at Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn (High Street stop on A,C Subway is the closest). From there we'll walk together, across the Brooklyn Bridge, to City Hall Park in Manhattan.

12:00pm: Festival begins at City Hall Park, Manhattan. (If you're skipping the Bridge Walk and just joining  for the Festival, check in at City Hall Park at 11:45.)

For our firends in London - Millennium Bridge London

8th March at 10am at Borough Market for coffee and banner making.

The London march, led by Annie Lennox, will leave Borough Market at 11am, walking along the south side of the river to Millennium Bridge, crossing the Thames to the north side then continuing west along the river walk way past Victoria Embankment Gardens, then crossing back along Hungerford Bridge to the south side of the river and finishing at the Royal Festival Hall for speeches and more.

More on donations here (then scroll to the bottom of the page.)

International Women's Day: Holding up the other half of the sky (and then some....)

Happy Fat Tuesday..or Saturday

Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday" in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" (in ethnic English tradition, Shrove Tuesday), referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition. In English, the day is called Shrove Tuesday, associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.

In many areas, the term "Mardi Gras" has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. In some US cities, it is now called "Mardi Gras Day" or "Fat Tuesday".The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday.Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year's Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times parades were held on New Year's Day. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barranquilla, Colombia, Sydney, Australia, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Quebec City, Canada; Mazatlán, Sinaloa in Mexico; and, of course, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

More on Mardi Gras here

Although Fat Tuesday is the culmination of the celebration before the Lenten fast leading up to Easter in most Christian churches, there is an interesting exception in one part of Italy. In the great city of Milan, in accordance with what is called the Ambrosian Rite, Lent starts four days later than in the Roman Rite, so that there is no Ash Wednesday, and Carnival continues until "sabato grasso" ("Fat Saturday" in Italian), corresponding to Shrove Tuesday (called "mardi gras", i.e. "Fat Tuesday", in French) in areas where the Roman Rite is used. In addition, on Fridays in Lent, Mass is not celebrated and, with a few exceptions, Communion is not distributed.
The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century. The Ambrosian Rite, which differs from the Roman Rite, is practiced among some five million Catholics in the greater part of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy (excluding, notably, the areas of Monza, of Treviglio, of Trezzo sull'Adda and a few other parishes), in some parishes of the Diocese of Como, Bergamo, Novara, Lodi and in about fifty parishes of the Diocese of Lugano, in the Canton Ticino, Switzerland.

Although at various points in its history the distinctive Ambrosian Rite has risked suppression, it survived, and was reformed, after the Second Vatican Council partly because then-Pope Paul VI was sympathetic, having previously been Archbishop of Milan. In the 20th century it also gained prominence and prestige from the attentions of two other scholarly Archbishops of Milan: Achille Ratti, later Pope Pius XI, and the Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, both of whom had been involved in studies and publications on the rite before their appointment.

There are a number of other interesting differences between the Roman and Ambrosian rites that are reflected in the liturgical year and the celebration of the Catholic mass that make the already distinctive character of the Milanese even more so.

More on the Ambrosian Rite here and here

In a more traditional vein, however, it would still seem that nobody quite does carnival as they do in Brazil, as these photos from the NY Post suggest here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Future of the Yankee Dollar

According to the Wall Street Journal, this most iconic of symbols -- and currencies -- is near the end of its reign as the world's primary currency reserve.

Why has it achieved dominance? WSJ's Barry Eichengreen writes "First, its allure reflects the singular depth of markets in dollar-denominated debt securities. The sheer scale of those markets allows dealers to offer low bid-ask spreads. The availability of derivative instruments with which to hedge dollar exchange-rate risk is unsurpassed. This makes the dollar the most convenient currency in which to do business for corporations, central banks and governments alike.

"Second, there is the fact that the dollar is the world's safe haven. In crises, investors instinctively flock to it, as they did following the 2008 failure of Lehman Brothers. This tendency reflects the exceptional liquidity of markets in dollar instruments, liquidity being the most precious of all commodities in a crisis. It is a product of the fact that U.S. Treasury securities, the single most important asset bought and sold by international investors, have long had a reputation for stability."

"Finally, the dollar benefits from a dearth of alternatives. Other countries that have long enjoyed a reputation for stability, such as Switzerland, or that have recently acquired one, like Australia, are too small for their currencies to account for more than a tiny fraction of international financial transactions."

What will it mean? For foreign businesses, increased flexibility and greater savings since they can engage in transactions between, say, the Euro and Chinese currency without going through the intermediate exchange to use the dollar. Here at home, EIchenberger writes"the U.S. government will not be able to finance its budget deficits so cheaply, since there will no longer be as big an appetite for U.S. Treasury securities on the part of foreign central banks."

Details from WSJ here

Why is it called a dollar? Wikipedia: "On the 15th of January, 1520, Count Hieronymus Schlick (Czech: Jeroným Šlik z Passounu) of Bohemia began minting coins known as Joachimsthaler, named for Joachimstal (modern Jáchymov in the Czech Republic), where the silver was mined. (In German, thal or tal refers to a valley or dale.) "Joachimsthaler" was later shortened in common usage to taler or thaler (same pronunciation), and this shortened word eventually found its way into Danish and Norwegian as (rigs)daler, Swedish as (riks)daler, Dutch as (rijks)daalder, Ethiopian as ታላሪ talari, Italian as tallero, Flemish as daelder, and into English as dollar.

What is the origin of the dollar sign? Wikipedia: "The symbol $, usually written before the numerical amount, is used for the U.S. dollar (as well as for many other currencies). The sign's ultimate origins are not certain, though it is possible that it comes from the Pillars of Hercules on the Spanish Coat of arms on the Spanish dollars that were minted in the New World mints in Mexico City, Potosí, Bolivia, and in Lima, Peru. These Pillars of Hercules on the silver Spanish dollar coins take the form of two vertical bars ( ) and a swinging cloth band in the shape of an "S".

"Another explanation is that this symbol for peso was the result of a late 18th-century evolution of the scribal abbreviation "ps." The p and the s eventually came to be written over each other giving rise to $."

A fictional possibility suggested is that the dollar sign is the capital letters U and S typed one on top of the other. This theory, popularized by novelist Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged,does not consider the fact that the symbol was already in use before the formation of the United States."

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo