Bring Them Home Now — a group of soldiers, veterans and military families—is leading teach-ins and letter-writing campaigns to bring an end of the occupation of Iraq. Amnesty International has declared jailed conscientious objector Sgt. Camilo Mejia a “prisoner of conscience.” Learn about the effort to have him released at freecamilo.org. In their book Freedom Underground (Chamberlain Bros. 2004), activist Carl Rising-Moore and journalist Becky Ogberg describe how they helped two soldiers avoid service in Iraq by fleeing to Canada.
The Great Media Breakdown
For tips on how to talk back to the media, check out the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s “tools for citizens.” Separate spin from reality at factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center that subjects politicians’ claims to the kind of scrutiny you’ll rarely see on CNN. To track other media sins of omission, visit online watchdog Media Matters for America.
Trial By Fury
For background on the “American Taliban,” read the Mark Kukis biography My Heart Became Attached: The Strange Journey of John Walker Lindh(Brassey’s 2003). Listen to the controversial Steve Earle song that Lindh inspired: “John Walker’s Blues” on Jerusalem (Artemis 2002). In Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security (New Press 2002), David Cole and James X. Dempsey take a broader view of the post-9/11 crackdown on personal freedom.
Over A Barrel
Paul Roberts predicts that hydrocarbons’ days are numbered. He’s not alone. Other recent reads on our shrinking fossil-fuel supplies include Out of Gas (W.W. Norton 2002) by David Goodstein and The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society 2003) by Richard Heinberg. For more on the economic viability of clean energy, visit the Center for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technologies, which focuses on California’s role as the nation’s energy testing grounds; by 2010, the state plans to have created a Hydrogen Highway of refueling stations to power fuel-cell cars. Sign the Environmental Defense Fund’s endorsement of the McCain/Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act at undoit.org.
Learn more about the House GOP leader who once proclaimed “I am the federal government!” in Lou Dubose and Jan Reid’s The Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress (PublicAffairs 2004). Texans for Public Justice has been monitoring DeLay since he hung up his exterminator’s hat. Mother Jones has charted DeLay’s ascendancy since Reid first profiled him in “Sin of Emissions” (September/October 1996). You can sign Common Cause’s petition demanding that DeLay step down as leader at its website.
One Roof at a Time
Ready to go solar? First, calculate how much money you’ll save with BP Solar’s Solar Savings Estimator. The Solar Living Institute’s annual August SolFest in Hopland, California, features how-to workshops, an impressive array of solar products, and celebrity sun worshippers.
Migrants No More
Read the Sacramento Bee’s “Dirt Cheap”, which details how Californians often earn less than minimum wage — or nothing at all.
The Coup Connection
The International Republican Institute’s website details the organization’s official history and projects. Haiti Progres, the largest Haitian newsweekly, continues to investigate IRI’s programs. Barry C. Lynn reported on embattled Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in “Chaos and Constitution” in the January/February 2003 Mother Jones.
Prosecuting for Pharma
The Prozac Nation is in revolt. Read dispatches from the frontlines by a pair of skeptical doctors in Peter R. Breggin’s The Anti-Depressant Fact Book (Perseus 2001) and Joseph Glenmullen’s Prozac Backlash (Simon & Schuster 2001).
K(a-Ching) Street Congressmen
The Center for Public Integrity is releasing a report congressmen-turned-lobbyists in March 2005.
More on Sweetie and Eli Williams’ historic case to get equitable funding for California schools can be found at decentschools.org. Visit schoolfunding.info to track similar school-funding cases, such as the Center for Fiscal Equity’s suit to ensure a sound education for all students in New York City.
Amnesty International has an online petition to pressure the Titan Corporation hold its employees accountable for their actions at Abu Ghraib. Peter W. Singer explores the shady world of soldiers-for-hire in Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell 2003); also see the Center for Public Integrity’s 11-part online investigation into private military companies, “Making a Killing: The Business of War”.
Grandmothers on Guard
Read Machsom Watch’s daily reports of their activities at machsomwatch.org. The Jerusalem Link oversees the “Sharing Jerusalem” campaign, started in 1997 to bring together the city’s Jewish and Arab residents.
Legacy of a Lonesome Death
Listen to “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” on Bob Dylan’s 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Sony). Mike Marqusee details the intersection of Dylan’s music and the civil rights movement in Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan’s Art (New Press 2003). For a literary analysis this and other Dylan songs, see Christopher Ricks’ Dylan’s Visions of Sin (Ecco 2003).
Ensler’s new one-woman show The Good Body runs through January 16 at New York’s Booth Theatre. On Valentine’s Day, look for a V-Day performance of The Vagina Monologues.