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It’s been like a dream come true. Since the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, 400 million citizens of Schengen-area states have been able to travel largely ID-free, inside the area’s borders. Though subject to periodic controls (such as those imposed in 2011 by France and Denmark) their elimination has also been a boon to refugees, who frequently have to travel to several countries before being granted asylum. (More…)

Poison Idea, like Black Flag and MDC, are one of the big guns of American hardcore. Founded in Portland, Oregon in 1980, proof of Poison Idea’s importance can be found in the fact that by 1986 they were calling themselves the Kings of Punk (the title of their 1986 LP) — and no one argued. (More…)

Tucson is waist deep in a Sonoran June, but nobody’s getting wet. The bridges span riverbeds without rivers, their surface clotted with plants that struggle to remember moisture. The heat works its way deeper and deeper into the psyche. Even in the luxury of air-conditioned spaces, the body senses its relentless onslaught. Yet inside this Volkswagen speeding down Oracle Road, life is beautiful. (More…)

Burzum as a grafitti tag. What could be more inevitable? A one-man black metal project, led by an unrepentant neo-Nazi and murderer, implacably opposed to modern European (multi)culture – an irresistable signifier of transgression for those who feel drawn to write on walls. If you’re going to deface a wall, let it be with a symbol of uncompromising hate. (More…)

Nathan Englander’s new collection of short stories normalizes bad politics. The author’s inability to engage with critical difficulties within American Jewish and Israeli culture leaves key stories littered with futile symbolism. It’s too simple to suggest that Englander lacks courage. (More…)

One of my favorite bloggers, Emily Hauser, has a really good post about why the settlements remain an important issue. I say these nice things so that Emily won’t get mad at me when I disagree with her. Why? Because it is no longer accurate to just say that “the settlements are the problem.” The issue is that the settlements have succeeded in destroying a viable Palestine in the West Bank. (More…)

Neither Kebab nor burgers.” As soon as you see the wording, and look at the illustrations, you know what’s coming. A Frenchman is most happy with his indigenous cuisine, a ham and butter sandwich. Note the inevitable baguette, and the trademark beret on top of the white guy’s head. Everything screams ‘France’. If you vote National Front, that is. (More…)

The Sri Lankan government is expected to be taken to task at a session of the UN Human Rights Council currently underway in Geneva, over its failure to convincingly probe allegations of abuses committed in the final weeks of its bloody civil war. (More…)

It was 1928 when Herbert Hoover coined the phrase “the American system of rugged individualism.” Socialism was growing in popularity, and attempts to paint the ideas behind the movement as dangerous were well underway. In the same speech, the President mentioned the perils of “state socialism,” something that would take away Americans’ freedom if it was ever attempted in the United States. (More…)

Don’t let the gallery shows fool you. Unlike other European cities, London is noteworthy for how little political art is produced there. This isn’t to say that it’s not home to some of the world’s more influential practitioners. There’s just not as many as the street art and graffiti would suggest. (More…)

When notorious punk singer GG Allin died in 1993 of a heroin overdose, having promised to commit suicide onstage, some of his fans may have been disappointed. The singer’s stage presence was ballistic, difficult yet enthralling to bear. (More…)

Renewed violence between Gaza and Israel has brought the Palestinian issue back from the shadows. It’s tragic that it takes the deaths of some 26 Palestinians to do that. There is another effect, however, that the current round of fighting might have: emboldening Israel to go to war with Iran. (More…)