Irish Stand-Off

Irish Stand-Off

As the UK gets ready to leave the European Union, the old unanswered questions of the British union have been accelerated. Despite all the talk of national unity, British society is sharply divided and deeply unequal. Even the English are split over Brexit, let alone the rest of the Kingdom. More»

Trump's Russia Plan

Trump’s Russia Plan

President Trump continues to face paranoid accusations that he was elected with the direct assistance of the Kremlin. As a result of the Cold War theatrics, Trump’s most realistic objectives in U.S.-Russia relations, as well as his broader international outlook, have not been properly discussed.  More»

Europe’s Refugee Frontier

Europe’s Refugee Frontier

In the first part of our series ‘Europe’s Outsourced Refugees,’ we report from Belgrade on how illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers along the Balkan route are leaving refugees invisible and unprotected. More»

Thank Heavens for the Deep State

Thank Heavens for the Deep State

On the strength of Thursday’s news, we can reasonably assume that one of two things has happened. One possibility is that Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, decided to stage a piece of low-grade political theater in the hopes of somehow getting the Republicans ahead of a news cycle. More»

Latest entries
A State of Narcissism

A State of Narcissism

It was cold outside and pouring rain. The cafe was packed, upstairs and down. “It’s really a commune here, huh?” the woman next to me said as I sat down. I smiled, nodded, and asked if it would annoy her if I plugged my laptop in. The wire would run right behind her, grazing her back. “No problem,” she said. More»

Aim Low, Score High

Aim Low, Score High

“In My Time”, one of the sunnier numbers on Kurt Vile’s new album Smoke Ring For My Halo, begins with a curious couplet: “In my day I was young and crazy/Sure I didn’t know shit, but now I’m lazy.” While such introspection made sense for musicians who had been through the madness of the late 1960s and were keen to follow Voltaire’s advice and tend their own garden to recuperate, it sounds strange coming from someone like Vile. More»
My Life as a Sugar Daddy

My Life as a Sugar Daddy

It was the middle of January. It had rained all day, but the sun had finally broken through. There was a noticeable dearth of tourists in Piazza Venezia, even for such an offseason time of year. On the lookout for customers, the guys in gladiator outfits were more aggressive than usual, stopping anyone they could find who happened to be carrying a camera. More»

Arizona Wen Zi Yu

Arizona Wen Zi Yu

University teachers are at the brink of becoming an endangered species in Arizona. Entire non-tenured groups of teachers have already received their termination notices. Thousands are disappearing. Gloom and outrage are palpable in the hallways and in online exchanges. More»

Hidmo Means Home

Hidmo Means Home

My Seattle starts here, on the corner of 20th and Jackson, more than twenty years after first arriving in this town.  I’m not sure what to call my connection to Seattle during all those years. I was here, but somehow I hadn’t actually arrived. Then, about two summers ago, at this corner, in this building, possibly in the company of some of these people captured in this Google Streetview image, I felt my relation to Seattle, and the world beyond it, shift into a new mode. More»

Mussolini and Me

Mussolini and Me

On the taxi ride from Malpensa this morning, I learned a little history of our neighborhood in Milan.  I asked the driver to take me to Piazzale Loreto. About 20 minutes into the ride, the driver filled me in on Loreto’s history, specifically regarding Mussolini’s execution, in April 1945. More»

Literature Goes to Jail

Literature Goes to Jail

Arizona has become the site of a little-noticed literary flowering:  it is home to some of the best prison writing in North America. During the last two decades, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Ken Lamberton, and Richard Shelton have converted their experiences with Arizona’s penitentiaries into prize-winning books.  No US state can claim a similar cluster of prominent prison writers. More»

Haunted by the Present

Haunted by the Present

While it’s possible to listen to Violet Cries without thinking about history, the forcefulness with which Esben and the Witch invoke musical forebears makes the exercise a little perverse. Not to mention that, unlike many artists who are assigned to the mental bin labeled “Goth,” the band doesn’t shy away from the burden of association. Asked in an interview to discuss the term’s abuse, they declared “that Gothic should be revered in its greatest forms” suggesting that, while this sensibility “lends itself to a sense of the dramatic and the ostentatious,” it need not be an object of derision. More»

Clampdown

Clampdown

On Friday night, Jennifer and I went out for dinner. Our destination was an Arab-run Tex Mex place on the other side of Piazzale Loreto, a block from the Egyptian consulate. In the year that we’ve lived here, it has become one of our favorite restaurants, even though it’s not exactly orthodox in its take on the cuisine. Nevertheless, its offered us welcome relief from pasta. More»

The Road to Nuremburg

The Road to Nuremburg

The imagery is a bit harsh. However, it gets the message across. Driver safety sign, highway A9. November, 2010.