Happy Holidays!

I’m taking a break until after the first of the year. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday.


Let’s Not Forget One of Pinochet’s Biggest Supporters

Amy Goodman reminds us how the esteemed Henry Kissinger supported Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

I can not think of a single major newspaper or TV news outlet that remarked on this, and how the CIA backed the coup in Chile. It’s this kind of censorship of criticism of U.S. foreign policy in the so-called Liberal Media that is why so many U.S. citizens remain clueless and surprised when world opinion about the actions of our government are less than admiring.

The Decider Has Decided to…

…not change a single thing in his approach to Iraq. At least according to this article in the Washington Post.

Rice’s remarks indicated that, despite a maelstrom of criticism of Bush’s policies by outside experts and Democrats, the administration’s extensive review of policy in Iraq and the region will not yield major changes in its approach.

And again, there are only references to “sectarian violence,” and NOT “civil war.”

Iran and Ahmadinejad

For a more nuanced and fuller view of what is going in Iran than the usual crazy quotes we get in the U.S. media from President Ahmadinejad.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, the supposedly powerful president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still dominates the news as the glowering face of Iran; ominously, he is even a frontrunner in Time magazine’s “person of the year” poll.

But Ahmadinejad’s puffed-up persona in the western press has to be balanced against – as is too seldom done – the erosion of his rickety powerbase at home. He was elected in June 2005 on an economic platform and he will be judged on the economy. Iran is struggling with rising unemployment and surging inflation that is felt most severely by the poor, who are among his most important constituency.

Sounds a lot like, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Makes Ahmadinejad’s posturing and anti-Israeli rants looks more like attempts at deflecting attention from his inability to deliver on his campaign promises of economic prosperity before his election.

Woman Amasses Unique Archive in Garage

Librarian Mayme Clayton amassed one of the largest and most significant collections of items from African-American history and stored it in her garage.

“…Mayme Clayton amassed almost 30,000 rare, first-edition and out-of-print books. She was especially strong on the writers of the Harlem Renaissance, obtaining first editions and correspondence from Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston.
“Her trove includes the first book published in America by an author of African descent, Phillis Wheatley’s “Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral,” dated 1773, when she was a slave in Boston. Clayton has the only known copy signed by the author; she paid $600 for it in 1972, far more than she usually spent. Her collecting style was more bargain basement than Sotheby’s auction. She’d prowl used bookstores, flea markets, estate sales. When old people died, she’d get into their attics.”

The collection includes movies, movie posters, and magazines, among other things. Thankfully, it is in the process of being cataloged and moved to more secure facilities.

Mozart Scores Online (Pardon the Pun)

As CNet reports today,
“The International Mozart Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, has put a scholarly edition of the bound volumes of Mozart’s more than 600 works on a Web site.
The site allows visitors to find specific symphonies, arias or even single lines of text from some 24,000 pages of music.”

You can view the site here. Unfortunately, though the site is available in English, the search boxes are in German.

New York Review Books Classics

What the New York Review Books Classics series is doing is fantastic, as this appreciative article in the LA Times by D.T. Max shows. By dusting off old books that have languished under-appreciated (and often forgotten) for years and then reprinting them with introductions by contemporary critics and writers like James Wood and David Leavitt, is very heartening amid the blockbuster mentality of the publishing world these days. Good books do have a long sell.

Now, if only I had more time to read some of them…But alas, there is never enough time to read all the books you want to read. For now, back to The Black Book.