United States
Looking For Decay

Looking For Decay

Our cultural fascination with decay is pervasive and profound. The visual vocabulary of ruination connects the decay of built spaces to the aging of human bodies: a death spectacle. But in the Rockaways, New York City’s thin ribbon of battered coastline, we discover that the vulgar voyeurism of the decay-seeking gaze is more closely connected to our social understanding of wealth than to our animal understanding of death. More»

The False Center

The False Center

Sometimes a question provides its own answer. Robert Reich, who is as left-leaning as a mainstream economist could be, and who once served as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, raised just such a question. On November 4, he set everyone straight on his Facebook page. More»

Sopranos State

Sopranos State

Chris Christie is bracing himself for what is likely a landslide re-election Tuesday. Almost on cue, another video has been circulating that portrays the governor at his most infamous: rude, and confrontational, against a schoolteacher who was critical of his education reform strategy. As analysts turn their attention to New Jersey, it’s important to evaluate how Christie got to this point, and why he’s so popular. More»

The Rebel Assault

The Rebel Assault

Perhaps the only thing more frustrating than the government shutdown for those of us living in the United States has been the mainstream media’s coverage of the shutdown. Day after day, pundits speculate about how much the Tea Party-led campaign to defund the Affordable Heath Care Act by holding the nation hostage will hurt Republicans in the next election cycle. But they ignore the obvious: the ideologues responsible simply do not care. More»

Right Tool For the Job

Right Tool For the Job

It wasn’t until I was stretching as far as I could towards the ceiling, my hand inching towards the smoke detector, that I realized how high up I was. For many people, standing on a ladder, twelve feet above the ground, is no big deal. But for me, the boy who had almost failed out of Cub Scouts for not being able to climb half that high, it surely was. More»

Reclaiming Sexual Equality

Reclaiming Sexual Equality

Advocating a sex-positive culture is a chore. It’s been over four decades since the Sexual Revolution and its embrace of sensuality and freedom. Yet, despite this opening, sexuality has not been fully emancipated. On the contrary, it has all too often been a tool of the market, and of misogyny. More»

Unemployed on Labor Day

Unemployed on Labor Day

On Monday, it will be Labor Day, a major holiday in the United States. Except for a few pithy Facebook posts or bumper stickers, I don’t expect to see an actual celebration of labor, much less the labor movement, which is edging closer every day to extinction. And yet, in 2013, the economic condition of American workers is worse than at any time since the Great Depression.  More»

Faces of Transphobia

Faces of Transphobia

We now know that it will be Chelsea, not Bradley, Manning who will be serving a 35-year sentence in military prison for daring to expose US war crimes in Iraq. That revelation has brought Manning back into the headlines, and overall, one has to be pleased with the reception. More»

White Indians

White Indians

It was September 2008. As George W. Bush prepared to leave office, something astonishing happened. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated, “the people of India deeply love you, President Bush.” Though he had been treating US officials with uncharacteristic generosity since coming to office, for embattled Republicans, this gesture provided a brief victory for a president whose foreign policy was disastrous. More»

Dead Cities

Dead Cities

Given the eminent place of Detroit in the history of the United States, the announcement that it had filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last week did not make the splash that some expected. With debts estimated to be in excess of $18 billion (no one knows the real number for certain,) the city that had once been the heart of American industrial power had been a dead man walking for years. More»

The Global Hoodie

The Global Hoodie

There is no shortage of lessons to be learned from the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Americans of conscience, however they may feel about the verdict, should examine what this says about our attitudes. Those attitudes are reflected not only in how we deal with the violence on our own streets, but also around the world. More»

We're All Terrorists Now

We’re All Terrorists Now

It’s May, 2013. I’m standing by a metal detector near the entrance to the masjid. There is an old man sitting a few feet from me. I close my eyes and feel the evening sun on my face, as Urdu phrases begin dancing through the air. I look over at the man singing, his fingers pressing against an instrument that sounds like an accordion. I breathe in as he sings his dervishes. More»