The Road to Tbilisi

The Road to Tbilisi

In the 21st century, many countries border each other with roads, and tunnels. But Georgia’s neighbour is Russia, not Switzerland, or France. Russia is not a modern, thinking country, and has no plans to be so. More»

Polis Brutality

Polis Brutality

These are uncertain times in the US. Although the economy has been doing better, most people still seem to feel that it isn’t doing better for them. A state of half-war continues to prevail internationally. And reports of brutality by both local police forces and the CIA have many Americans wondering where their country went. More»

My Top Ten Musical Anxieties of 2014

My Top Ten Musical Anxieties of 2014

It’s that time of year again. I’m being bombarded by Top Ten/Twenty/Fifty/Hundred music lists. I suppose that, as someone with a background in music scholarship and as a fairly seasoned critic, I should view them with wry amusement – sometimes scoffing at other critics’ choices, sometimes sagely agreeing. But that’s never been how I react to them. More»

Latest entries
Americans, Thugs and Nazis

Americans, Thugs and Nazis

During the summer of 2001, then-Director of the CIA George Tenet warned the Senate Intelligence Committee of a possible major terrorist attack in the United States. He did not specify its time, location, or method. The rest is history. More»

The Right To Be Seen

The Right To Be Seen

“Here, Mariah, let’s pull over.” The whir of wheels behind me stopped, and I turned once more to see Maggie Campbell of the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization striking an authoritative pose. A feat, mind you, when one is helmeted and perched on a Segway in the thick of the midday downtown rush. More»

Earthquake Weather

Earthquake Weather

When it comes to earthquakes, America takes the cake. At least as far as news coverage is concerned. Having weathered two of the most devastating quakes to strike a first world country – the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which ravaged the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which severely impacted Los Angeles –  you can understand why. More»

Back to Berkeley

Back to Berkeley

When word of the protests in Berkeley came in a few days ago, my heart started beating faster. I had been following the recent demonstrations against police brutality with a mixture of despair and rage. But I had been too far from the action, both physically and geographically, to feel like a participant. Now, even though I was 1000 miles from the Bay Area, I suddenly did. . More»

A Journalistic Failure

A Journalistic Failure

Rolling Stone may very well lose some of the honor it’s earned over the decades. From Annie Leibovitz’s photography to Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism to Michael Hastings’s story that brought down a top US general in Afghanistan, the publication has commanded a presence not just in the world of magazines, but in Americana at large. More»

Decolonization is Dead

Decolonization is Dead

ISIS, Iran and regional instability have motivated the UK to build a permanent £15 million pound military base in Bahrain, according to the British government. But is that all there is to it? And what else is at stake? More»

A New European Communism

A New European Communism

After the sad reality of the extreme and populist right-wing gains in the European elections last May, a sober look at the European Union, and what the left should do, is long overdue. More»

Selling Newspapers in Italy

Selling Newspapers in Italy

I’d nearly crashed my car. Headed back to Milan, after a brief vacation in Rome, I was slowly making my way up the highway on-ramp, when I swerved to avoid a newspaper salesman. Walking through the traffic, holding up copies of La Repubblica, were several uncharacteristically dark-looking men. I made sure to pay attention to the next guy in line. He was South Asian. More»

The Obama Unpresidency

The Obama Unpresidency

The beat goes on. A St. Louis grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who he had pursued for fifty yards down an open street. An NYPD officer in Brooklyn shot Akai Gurley to death with no warning and nothing even vaguely approximating probable cause (much less justification.) More»

When Every Flag Seems False

When Every Flag Seems False

If director Laura Poitras’s new film Citizenfour doesn’t make you paranoid, nothing will. By the time she has finished telling the story of Edward Snowden, how he meticulously plans to reveal the extremity of the post-9/11 surveillance state and then suffers the consequences once he sets the wheels in motion, you may be wondering whether privacy is even possible More»

Ending the Fifty-Years War

Ending the Fifty-Years War

A peace process that could finally end a conflict that has lasted for over 50 years resumed yesterday with the release of Colombian Brigadier General Rubén Darío Alzate Mora. The negotiations, between the government and the FARC communist insurgency, began in September 4th of 2012, after secret negotiations produced a preliminary agreement focusing More»

Chinese Afghanistan

Chinese Afghanistan

For his first official state visit, newly-elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani chose China. The move wasn’t surprising, considering that Kabul is looking for new foreign backers, and recognizes that China is seeking to reevaluate its relationship with Afghanistan. More»