Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Film: We Believe in Dinosaurs

The IMDB entry for the documentary film We Believe in Dinosaurs will tell you that it explores the people behind the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter Park in Kentucky. I'm telling you it is an understated cry for anti-fascist action. And if you think that's a hyperbolic statement, then you haven't been paying attention to my entries tagged fascism at this blog and at my other blog. You are Günter Grass's Social Democrat.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Review: The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War by Eilleen Welsome

Eileen Welsome's The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War should be a cautionary tale for all people considering scientific and technological solutions to grave problems. People in authority -- intelligent, ambitious, competent, hard-working people who talk well, smell good and love their children -- will always place their goals above the harms their actions do to people they consider less consequential. As humanity approaches the cliff of the climate catastrophe, many beneficiaries of greenhouse gas emitting economic activities will propose technological remedies with unknown and unknowable consequences, and you can be sure that these proposals' main feature is they keep the people on top in the same relative position of privilege.

Welsome's book is like a compilation of "long-read" articles describing various aspects of the United States's military's dealings with nuclear energy during the development of the first atomic bomb and through the next few decades as it attempted to find tactical uses for nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Review: Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor's Struggle for Home in Rural America by Ayaz Virji with Alan Eisenstock

Maya Rao reviewed Love They Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor's Struggle for Home in Rural America by Ayaz Virji with Alan Eisenstock for the Lincoln Journal Star for August 11, 2019.

So many narratives about rural America in the wake of President Donald Trump's election have been told through the eyes of the white working class. Yet Ayaz Virji's memoir as a Muslim doctor in small-town Minnesota offers a revealing perspective that challenges us to think more broadly about community and faith in Trump Country, where the author chronicles the conflicts between his calling to practice rural medicine and find acceptance in his religious identity. --- read more ---
National Public Radio published an interview with Dr. Ayaz on June 19, 2019.

I have not read the book. Find it in a nearby library.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Review: Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying - The Secret WWII Transcripts of German POWs by Sönke Neitzel and Harald Welzer

Sönke Neitzel & Harald Welzer. Jefferson Chase, translator. Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying - The Secret WWII Transcripts of German POWs. Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2012.

Jennifer Teege, author of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, spoke in my town. I asked her about English language books which might help me understand the mentality of Germans during fascism, and she recommend this book.

Sönke Neitzel, a historian, and Harald Welzer, a social psychologist, analyzed declassified transcripts of surreptitiously recorded conversations of German prisoners of war in British & American prisons during World War II. These transcripts confirm both the shocking level of violence fascists unleashed and the suitability of the psychological and institutional structures of a modern capitalist, industrial society to support this violence. Reading it in the United States of America in 2019 increases the urgency of radical resistance to oligarch-inspired labor docility, militarism and global genocide through ecological destruction.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: "Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

I first heard about Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment on either Black Agenda Radio or On Contact with Christ Hedges.

I've never liked guns. People I know died by suicide with a gun or accident. A stranger pointed a gun at me in a road rage incident when I was a teenager. And, when I fired guns at a shooting range, the extent to which I liked it frightened me. On my social media, I follow and promote @Well_Regulated_, which publicizes tragic incidences of uses of firearms in the United States. I tell people I support "smart" gun control, which in my mind means requiring registration of weapons, restricting sales of weapons & munitions designed to kill masses of people and stripping rights to weapons from particular classes of convicted criminals, such as domestic violence offenders.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Review: Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

In Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, Ari Berman describes the events which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, its impacts and the countermeasures its opponents took since then to undermine it through the book's publication in 2015.

I hope reading the book will motivate you to make sure you are registered to vote and actually vote in every election and attempt to understand your options in each election. And when you find your options are limited, then act to improve your options.

The book also is a great example of a phenomenon James W. Loewen identified in Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. Our public schools, for a variety of reasons, teach students that the United States always improves without explaining that people contested all issues, and some people won and others lost and sometimes those who lost won later. So we have this idea that "Civil Rights" happened in the 1960s, and, well, "problem solved."

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Even with good intentions, Hollywood still struggles to portray Muslims accurately or fairly, much less positively"

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Georgia, describes his involvement in the production of the 2019 remake of Shaft and his reaction after watching the movie.
As a civil rights activist with the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, most of the emails I receive involve deadly serious topics: hate speech…hate crimes…discrimination…Donald Trump’s latest tweet. So you can perhaps imagine my surprise when I received an email last year from a casting director for the latest sequel to the classic blaxploitation film Shaft, which was filming in Atlanta. --- read more ---
And of course I have to include the Isaac Hayes theme song to the original Shaft.