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please talk to my agent

The Ivy League pop stars! Gossipy article reveals how universities throughout the USA are frantically fighting each other in order to attract celebrity professors. Niall Ferguson, Deirdre (born Donald) McCloskey and Saul Bellow ("teaching load: one course a year") are some examples. Considering these people are already engaged in their own love affair with the public eye (book tours, book deals, media events etc), are they the best choice from the academic point of view? Do traditional universities really have to resort to namedropping? And just between us, anybody out there ever had or currently has classes with bigwigs that turned out to be really fascinating or really disappointing? first link via those elitists from aldaily
posted by 111 on Jul 14, 2003 - 36 comments

Revisionist Historians at Work

Pay No Attention tothemenbehindthe Curtain. You maybe read about PNAC here, wherein numerous members of the current administration wrote down their grand plans for an American-led NWO. Pretty heady stuff, with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz writing to Clinton in 1998 that "the only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction." Umm, that is... move along, citizen. Nothing to see here (thank goodness for Google's cache).
posted by RKB on Jul 12, 2003 - 42 comments

Wonder Woman gets married

Pledge allegiance as well as lifelong fealty at your wedding. Though some of us confirmed singletons might consider weddings to be about a loss of liberty, there are a lot of products out there "perfect for any bride who wants to make her wedding day a tribute to America."
posted by CunningLinguist on Jul 10, 2003 - 21 comments

Flag Waving Ain't All Bad

July 1942: United We Stand "Seven months after the United States entered World War II, magazines nationwide featured the American flag on their covers. Adopting the slogan United We Stand, some five hundred publications waved the stars and stripes to promote national unity, rally support for the war, and celebrate Independence Day."
posted by owillis on Jul 5, 2003 - 60 comments

10 Great Things about America

In the spirit of July 4th, the National Review made a list of ten great things to love about the United States.
posted by Beholder on Jul 3, 2003 - 124 comments

American History

US National Archives & Records Administration Exhibit Hall. Some good American history pieces - the Emancipation Proclamation, government drawings, 20th century photographs, the New Deal and the arts, panoramic photography, 1970s Chicago, World War 2 posters, gifts to presidents, and more.
posted by plep on Jul 3, 2003 - 4 comments

a taxing position

A US Constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage. Bill Frist, the Majority leader in the US Senate, is spreading the Word.
posted by four panels on Jun 29, 2003 - 125 comments

Eliot Weinberger articles

What is happening in America? This recent article written by Eliot Weinberger originally appeared in Vorworts the magazine German Social Democratic Party. I believe Mr. Weinberger is this same author of the eloquent September 11th anniversary essay entitled New York: One Year After
posted by thedailygrowl on Jun 18, 2003 - 36 comments

What the world thinks of America

What the world thinks of America... are we about to find out for sure? A special live global forum will be broadcast in a dozen countries later this week, hosted in London, and bringing in the opinions of media representatives of Israel, France, Australia, Brazil, Jordan and more. The forum also features the likes of Benazir Bhutto and Joe Klein. Whatever your opinion of the part the United States plays in our world, it's undeniable that it will be a dominating force in the near future.
posted by Jimbob on Jun 16, 2003 - 39 comments

^

Rep. Henry Waxman has written an (extensively footntoed and juicy) open letter to President Bush demanding answers about "misrepresenting evidence" against Iraq. Waxman is unique among an ever-growing numer of pitchfork-wielders as a Congressman who had supported the war. He wrote of the use of forged evidence about alleged nuclear transactions between Niger and Iraq:
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on Jun 10, 2003 - 51 comments

monkeypox

"We have an outbreak" (James Hughes, director of the CDC). At least 19 people in three Midwestern states have contracted a disease related to smallpox marking the first outbreak of the life-threatening illness in the United States. The disease is known as monkeypox.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 8, 2003 - 15 comments

Unseen America

Unseen America. First person photographs by low income people. Via Bread and Roses, a cultural resource for the labour movement in the New York area.
posted by plep on Jun 5, 2003 - 5 comments

Unilateral Superior Arms?

Is the USA "an empire in denial?"
"The United States is a 'danger to the world' because of its denial that it is a military and economic empire, according to Niall Ferguson, historian and new-found darling of the American right."
posted by Blue Stone on Jun 2, 2003 - 21 comments

tfranks appears as CHATLAMER

MS Chat and the US Army Although a very interesting article on the logistics behind networking an entire battlefield - this bit worried me slightly:- "What's funny about using Microsoft Chat," he adds with a sly smile, "is that everybody has to choosean icon to represent themselves. Some of these guys haven't bothered, so the program assigns them one. We'll be in the middle of a battle and a bunch of field artillery colonels will come online in the form of these big-breasted blondes. We've got a few space aliens, too."
posted by robzster1977 on May 21, 2003 - 17 comments

The Shallowing of American Taste

The Shallowing of American Taste First tastebuds and palates fall to McDonalds, now the eyes, ears, and minds fall to Wal-Mart, according to this NY Times article (free registration required)...
"The growing clout of Wal-Mart and the other big discount chains ? they now often account for more than 50 percent of the sales of a best-selling album, more than 40 percent for a best-selling book, and more than 60 percent for a best-selling DVD -- has bent American popular culture toward the tastes of their relatively traditionalist customers...But with the chains' power has come criticism from authors, musicians and civil liberties groups who argue that the stores are in effect censoring and homogenizing popular culture. The discounters and price clubs typically carry an assortment of fewer than a thousand books, videos and albums, and they are far more ruthless than specialized stores about returning goods if they fail to meet a minimum threshold of weekly sales."
Add in Clear Channel Radio and sanitized text books, and all I can say is that the internet has come along at the time it's needed. With the fingers of big commerce all over our culture, the web can serve to reverse an old mega-trend to "high-touch, high-tech." With Wal-Mart, et al, touching our minds, we need to resort to tech to add some depth and breath to their narrow and shallow offerings.
posted by fpatrick on May 17, 2003 - 45 comments

It's mine!! All mine!!

Blair Hornstine has won an injunction against her school naming a co-valedictorian. Now the suit (discussed earlier in this thread) will proceed to a trial to decide damages. The judge bought the argument of Hornstine's very expensive lawyer that the school is discriminating against her because of her vague, Chronic-Fatigue-like illness. The judge may have sided with Ms. Hornstine, but her classmates and the public at large are not. One anonymous poster who claims to be a classmate says "I can assure you from years of experience that the only condition Blair suffers from is chronic inflammation of the ego. " A Philly Columnist feels sorry for her. Personally, I think the judge is off her nut, as it seems pretty apparent that Ms. Hornstine isn't a bit disabled.
posted by CoFenchurch on May 9, 2003 - 73 comments

Collaborative Photographic History

America 24/7. Well, you've got to figure they'll reject way more photos than they'll accept, but I for one am looking forward to the opportunity to be included in one of those fancy thick "A Day In The Life" coffee table books. The project starts on Monday and only lasts for seven days, so make sure to take some time out of MatrixWeek to look at the world around you -- in all it's mundane glory -- and click, click, click away.
posted by RKB on May 7, 2003 - 4 comments

Frontier Psychology

Frontier Psychology - Does Frontier Psychology drive America in a direction that the rest of the world cannot comprehend? Roughly defined as "the effort on the part of Americans to come to grips with untamed elements of nature and, by taming them, to reorganize their society" We see it everywhere, even in Buffy. Europe appears to value stability over mobility and change, in opposition to America. Prof. Richard Slotkin has written extensively about these concepts. An interiew with audio clips is here. (Real)
Are America's recent domestic and international policy decisions attempts to tame "untamed elements" around it?
posted by Argyle on Apr 30, 2003 - 23 comments

Library of Congress celebrates its 202nd birthday

Library of Congress celebrates its 202nd birthday. Today, the Library of Congress celebrates its 202nd birthday. On April 24, 1800, President John Adams approved the appropriation of $5,000 for the purchase of "such books as may be necessary for the use of congress."
The books, the first purchased for the Library of Congress, were ordered from London and arrived in 1801. The collection of 740 volumes and three maps was stored in the U.S. Capitol, the Library's first home. President Thomas Jefferson approved the first legislation defining the role and functions of the new institution on January 26, 1802.
Check out, Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress and a Concordance of Images for more.
posted by Blake on Apr 24, 2003 - 12 comments

Animal sounds in foreign languages

I like it when Chinese pigs say "hu-lu hu-lu," it's so exotic. Stupid American pigs just say oink. Also, horses in Thailand say "hee hee (with high tone)"!! How cool is it that, first, they even HAVE horses in Thailand, and second, that they sound like Betty Boop?
posted by luser on Apr 22, 2003 - 5 comments

U.S loses faith in Canada

U.S. loses faith in Canada "We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now," says Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada. As pro-US sentiments from prominent Canadian figures are harshly criticized while blatant (and rather tasteless) anti-US remarks go more or less ignored by the government, has the relationship with our longtime friends up north been irreversibly soured?
posted by swank6 on Mar 30, 2003 - 35 comments

hrm...

Meet the new masters. A facinating look at the people behind the Project for a New American Century, many of whom hold high positions in the Bush administration. Regime Change in Iran anyone?
posted by delmoi on Mar 25, 2003 - 38 comments

The Call to Peace.

The Call to Peace. An astrological analysis of the September 11th attacks and their aftermath. Saddam Hussein, a Muslim despot who 51% of Americans think was personally involved in the September 11th terrorist attacks, is charted.
posted by johnnydark on Mar 20, 2003 - 28 comments

soul food for the coalition of the willing

mustard with your pork sir? as we head to war, here's some alarming data on america's own stash of undestroyed chemical weapons as well as the phenomenal return on investment for deep-pocket GOP campaign contributors.
posted by subpixel on Mar 17, 2003 - 4 comments

New Federal Budget Proposal

“Class warfare turns out to be alive,” Center director Robert Greenstein commented. “It is a centerpiece of the Nussle budget, with deep budget cuts that could harshly affect the poor, the vulnerable, and many middle-class Americans, alongside lavish tax cuts for the nation’s richest individuals. With this budget, we would be marching down the path toward a new Gilded Age.”

“The Nussle budget serves one very useful purpose.” Greenstein added. “It shows that these large tax cuts aren’t free, and that at bottom, the issue is one of national priorities. This ought to trigger a national debate. Are tax cuts averaging $90,000 a year for millionaires so high a priority that we should cut health care programs, increase the ranks of the uninsured, reduce the cost or limit the availability of student loans, and increase hardship among the disabled, poor children, and others to free up room for massive tax cuts?”

Possible Other Titles
Why is this rain yellow? or Hey, GWBush, self-appointed one of God, WWJD?
posted by nofundy on Mar 13, 2003 - 34 comments

A more humanitarian war

An interview with Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. Roth describes how his organization is trying to pressure the U.S. to wage as humanitarian a war as possible. To this end, HRW has not taken a position for or against a war, but rather on how a possible war should be waged. But this raises the question of to what extent the U.S. is still concerned with international humanitarian law. As Michael Byers of Duke University warns, "some U.S. politicians have begun to think of war, not as the high-risk recourse of last resort, but as an attractive foreign policy option in times of domestic scandal or economic decline... When war is seen as an ordinary tool of foreign policy - 'politics by other means' - political and financial considerations impinge on the balance between military necessity and humanitarian concerns."
posted by homunculus on Mar 10, 2003 - 10 comments

Intellectual Dishonesty

Intellectual Dishonesty
Intellectual dishonesty is pure poison to the enterprise of the law. Yet countless examples show intellectual dishonesty has now become a routine, expected part of American discourse. The most obvious half-truths and hypocrisies are greeted with shrugged shoulders and a grunt of "what did you expect?"
Is the ultimate goal more important than truth, honesty, integrity and "playing by the rules?" Or, put another way, does the end satisfy the means? "Restoring honor and integrity" would indicate not.
posted by nofundy on Mar 6, 2003 - 12 comments

Funny Across The Atlantic

America and England: Separated By Humor? "This laughter gulf between two otherwise co-dependent cultures should not be thought surprising. The two most fundamental aspects of comedy are observation and speech rhythms and these are necessarily subject to local variation. The point has often been made that British jokes derive most often from class and puns, while US humour is rooted in gags." While talk show host Ruby Wax claims "If your language consists of little more than guttural grunts and cherry pie, you can't be blamed for not getting it." Is it any wonder her little show tanked so fast?
posted by owillis on Feb 25, 2003 - 45 comments

Living in poverty and fear of abandonment, the barely functioning state that trusted its saviours

"If the Americans think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty horrible to behold." something for US, British and world citizens to think about as we bang the drums for war on Iraq.
posted by specialk420 on Feb 24, 2003 - 30 comments

Well, THAT was quick

Helping America Prepare for Fiery Death. The anti-Ready.gov. Well, that was quick.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Feb 21, 2003 - 11 comments

fear gear

anyone been to safer america to stock up on tin foil hats or mustard gas spit shields? is it strange to capitalize on paranoia like this, or to open flag shops after sept. 11th? joking aside, any reports from the store from new yawkers?
posted by asparagus_berlin on Feb 20, 2003 - 13 comments

The people speak

Listen to what some anti-war protesters had to say this weekend about possible war with Iraq. Quicktime required.
posted by Ron on Feb 19, 2003 - 41 comments

Expatriate Iraq poet Saadi Youssef

America, America: I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island. A poem from Saadi Youssef, published in this Saturday's Guardian (scroll down past Seamus Heaney):

Take what you do not have
and give us what we have.
Take the stripes of your flag
and give us the stars.
Take the Afghani Mujahideen beard
and give us Walt Whitman's beard filled with
butterflies.
Take Saddam Hussein
and give us Abraham Lincoln
or give us no one.

Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He is considered to be among the greatest living Arab poets. Youssef has published 25 volumes of poetry, a book of short stories, a novel, four volumes of essays, a memoir, and numerous translations. In addition to being imprisoned for his poetry and politics, he has won numerous literary awards and recognitions. He now lives in London. [more inside]
posted by jokeefe on Feb 14, 2003 - 8 comments

Anti-Europeanism in America

Decoding Anti-Europeanism In America: Although European anti-Americanism focuses on one country, with one government and one foreign policy (the U.S.), growing American (i.e. U.S.) anti-Europeanism seems to conflate dozens of separate and disparate countries, governments and foreign policies into one abstract entity, "Europe", which doesn't really exist as such. Or exists just as much as "America", North and South, Central and Carribean does. So what the hell is up? What terrible confusion of categories is clogging up Western political communications? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 29, 2003 - 77 comments

We're So 'Meta'

I'm mo' "meta" than you! This USA Today puff piece is claiming that "meta" is the new "cool." What are your thoughts on this? Do any of you use "meta" in conversation or writing without a noun following it? (when you're not referring to the abbreviation for MetaTalk, obviously...)
posted by popvulture on Jan 28, 2003 - 64 comments

European Viewpoint

From a European Perspective

"President Bush recently declared that the U.S. was "the single surviving model of human progress." Maybe some Americans think this self-evident, but the rest of us see it as a clumsy arrogance born of ignorance. "

Is this something many Americans need to hear but don't want to listen? Personally I appreciated Mr. Eno's honest and candid observations. And no, I don't think he hates America.
posted by nofundy on Jan 23, 2003 - 98 comments

Civil War Widows Lunch Photo

Last Civil War Widows Do Lunch. Gertrude Janeway, the Union War widow, passed away Friday at 93. Live tonight on ABC, Alberta Martin will receive the grand prize -- one million confederate dollars and a 2003 Dodge Durango. [Just kidding.]
posted by britain on Jan 20, 2003 - 12 comments

American Peace Homepage

American Peace Homepage. "While most people, including most Americans, tend to believe that the United States has largely been a peaceful country until recently, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the United States has been engaged in military operations for most of this country's history. Of all the things the United States can claim, it certainly has no claim to being a 'peace loving' country. [Visit this site to see] a table containing every year, from 1776 to the present - all of US history. Just click on the year to see who US troops were killing, or threatening to kill, in that year."
posted by Joey Michaels on Jan 16, 2003 - 38 comments

Menzies and Amateur Scholars

Is Gavin Menzies the Stephen Wolfram of history? That's the question today's New York Times (login: dr_mabuse, pw: mabuse) suggests in a Menzies profile. Menzies has a new book out, 1421, which claims that the Chinese discovered America seven decades before Columbus did. Some people have made similarly precise claims about this planet's developments. Others have seen their amateur claims initially mocked and later proven to be correct. Is Menzies onto something or is he a crank? And how do we place the passionate amateur within the realm of scholarly pursuits?
posted by ed on Jan 5, 2003 - 17 comments

UN warns food aid to N Korea is drying up

UN warns food aid to N Korea is drying up 7 million North Koreans face starvation. You are the American president. What do you suggest be done? (note: America was the biggest supplier of food till recently.) Do you tell them No food till you give up nukes or do you feed them what you can and try to negotiate? Or do you sit back and say: not my problem.
posted by Postroad on Jan 4, 2003 - 24 comments

Québecers take on America.

Plein Sud - 'A unique vision of the Americas on the Web.' If you enjoy travel documentaries, this is for you. Two French Canadians take on the Americas in this epic site cram packed with videos (for 56k and broadband), interviews, and travelogues. Originally produced for TV, you can now watch the full episodes from the site.
posted by wackybrit on Dec 29, 2002 - 22 comments

Real Espresso Coffee

Will 2003 Be The Year Of Real Espresso In America? With the wealth of good machines, fresh coffee beans and online knowledge now available, not to mention tempting offers like Illy's subscription (though the pods turn out expensive in the end, it allows absolute beginners to make acceptable espresso) it's surprising Starbucks-style coffee (big, milky, watery and sweet) hasn't yet been dethroned by the pleasure of straight espresso (tiny, thick, creamy and intense), preferably restretto. I should add that, despite many efforts over the years, I've never had a decent cup of espresso in America. In fact, outside Southern Europe. What gives?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 23, 2002 - 61 comments

Senator Says State Sponsor of Sept 11th

On PBS last week, Senator Bob Graham said that there is "evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States," but that "It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today." Do you trust the government to keep the right informatin classified, or do we need to know?
posted by cell divide on Dec 19, 2002 - 16 comments

Essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise

Canadian American Relations According to the Guardian: essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise.
posted by blue_beetle on Dec 15, 2002 - 87 comments

NAFTA

It's the ten-year anniversary of NAFTA this week. Has it been a success? [more inside].
posted by acridrabbit on Dec 12, 2002 - 31 comments

American slangorama

Not sure if someone wants to beat you, or is asking for a date? Literal vreakdowns of American slang, including explanations of expressions found in movies and pop music. Don't miss the the literally Boschian body-parts slang or the insults, including the classic "I hate you, and if a horse had brought you here, I'd hate it just as much, if not more."
posted by blissbat on Dec 8, 2002 - 25 comments

U.S. Writers Do Cultural Battle Around the Globe

U.S. Writers Do Cultural Battle Around the Globe (NYTimes, reg. req'd). So many questions spring to mind... Is it productive for the government to do this, or should it be the role of civil society? Should such efforts attempt to portray an appealing version of the U.S., or an accurate one? Where would you direct people who, in good faith, want to gain insight into the "American mind" through the written word, or others forms of art?
posted by stonerose on Dec 7, 2002 - 9 comments

You and me.

What the World Thinks in 2002. How Global Publics View: Their Lives, Their Countries, The World, America. A global poll from the Pew Reaserch Center. via NPR.
posted by the fire you left me on Dec 4, 2002 - 20 comments

Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart's Female Trouble
With shopping on many people's minds these days, here's a story detailing charges of worker discrimination practiced at that store everyone knows (it's also America's largest private employer).

An informed consumer is a responsible consumer. Know where your money goes.
posted by mapalm on Dec 4, 2002 - 58 comments

Every 30 years (ish) America gets itself into war. Time's up!

Take a peek at this military timeline. And let's figure that the time from when Johnny, sergeant, age 25, gets home from fighting the war and tells 5 year old Junior about the experience to when Junior, Major/Lt.Col, grows up and wants to CAUSE a war, averages 30 years.

Now let's do some math...starting with the French and Indian War, 1754-1763. Add 30-ish years (21). American Revolution, 1775-1783. Add 30-ish years (38). War of 1812, 1812-1814. Add 30-ish years, numerous Indian wars. Add 30-ish years. American Civil War, 1861-1865. Add 30-ish years (37). Spanish-American War, 1898. Add 30-ish years (19). America in World War I, 1917-1918. Add 30-ish years (25). America in World War II, 1942-1945. Add 30-ish years (20). Vietnam War, 1964-1973. Add 30-ish years, and it's the turn of the millenium....it's now.

We haven't learned from 250 years of this cycle, and there's no reason to think we've learned anything since. I didn't count the Gulf War cause it wasn't much of anything, and I know the numbers are a bit forced...but I think this trend is worth discussing.
posted by taumeson on Dec 3, 2002 - 44 comments

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