Book Review: ‘The Sympathizer’ By Viet Thanh Nguyen
Apr24

Book Review: ‘The Sympathizer’ By Viet Thanh Nguyen

The analogy is imperfect, but will suffice: The Sympathizer, the remarkable debut novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen, is a terrific bookend to Fire In the Lake, the Frances FitzGerald classic. While one book is fiction and the other nonfiction, both tell the story of the Vietnam War, its aftermath and legacy from a Vietnamese point of view. And both, in their genre different but similarly powerful ways, are reminders to believers of the...

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Seven Years On: Why The Sarah Palin Birth Hoax Story Still Shouldn’t Go Away
Apr20

Seven Years On: Why The Sarah Palin Birth Hoax Story Still Shouldn’t Go Away

Rumors, innuendo and inconclusive photographs do not a true story make, but the fact of the matter is that seven years after the birth of Trig Paxson Van Palin, there is no proof that right-wing sweetheart Sarah Palin is his biological mother and evidence he may be her grandson. If you believe that I — or anyone else — has no business pursuing the question of whether John McCain’s 2008 running mate put over an...

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Are These Men The Faces Of Evil? No, But Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld Certainly Were
Apr14

Are These Men The Faces Of Evil? No, But Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld Certainly Were

Clockwise from top left: Dustin Heard, Nicolas Slatten, Evan Liberty, Paul Slough Even as a blogger who wrote extensively about the criminal excesses of Blackwater’s patriots-for-profit mercenary army and was appalled at the slaughter of 14 unarmed Iraqis, including women and children, in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007 by four of the politically powerful security contractor’s thugs, I nevertheless was saddened when...

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Concert Review: Nellie McKay At The Deer Head Inn
Apr14

Concert Review: Nellie McKay At The Deer Head Inn

Nellie McKay is one of those artists you’ll be glad you saw on the way up (like catching Bruce Springsteen in a small club, which I happened to do in 1973). This is because McKay’s star is burning brightly these days and she is going to be very big. McKay (pronounced mick-kai) detonated her vocal dynamite on Sunday evening at the Deer Head Inn, a Delaware Water Gap, Pa. institution that happens to be the oldest...

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‘We Were Born Before The Wind, Also Younger Than The Sun, Ere The Bonnie Boat Was Won As We Sailed Into The Mystic’
Apr13

‘We Were Born Before The Wind, Also Younger Than The Sun, Ere The Bonnie Boat Was Won As We Sailed Into The Mystic’

So there you are in your 68th year floating merrily down the stream, needing to reach for the paddle only occasionally, while filling bird feeders and trying to stay on your feet in the winter and weeding vegetables and working on your tan in the summer, making sure the dogs and cats get plenty of head scratches and your true love fresh cut flowers no matter the season, keeping your hand in the writing game with a blog post here and a...

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The United States Is A Humiliating Also-Ran When It Comes To The Stuff That Really Matters
Apr10

The United States Is A Humiliating Also-Ran When It Comes To The Stuff That Really Matters

If you have the sinking feeling that the American colossus is becoming a little frayed around the edges, then a new study will be a very cold shower. While the U.S. still has the biggest and baddest military and can wipe out anything and anybody on earth with the flick of a neocon’s wrist, while it continues to maintain the technological edge with a tsunami of new products from Apple and other innovators, and while its music and...

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Why Cadillac’s $12 Billion Gamble To Get Back Its Mojo Won’t Pay Off
Apr08

Why Cadillac’s $12 Billion Gamble To Get Back Its Mojo Won’t Pay Off

THE NEW CADILLAC CT6 IS BASED ON THE ELMIRAJ CONCEPT CAR It is difficult to say when Cadillac lost its mojo and began to relinquish its crown as America’s leading luxury car to Mercedes and eventually Lexus and other German brands, but I’ll pick 1992 when an ungainly and arguably ugly boat called the Cadillac Deville waddled onto the scene. Since then, it has been pretty much downhill for Cadillac as it lost its...

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The GOP Has An Uphill Fight To Win Back The White House And Not Just Because Of Dangerous Idiots Like Ted Cruz
Apr01

The GOP Has An Uphill Fight To Win Back The White House And Not Just Because Of Dangerous Idiots Like Ted Cruz

In the last two-plus decades as the Republican Party’s drift to the right morphed into a full-blown gallop and the party’s base came to be dominated by Bible thumpers and angry white men — and frequently Bible thumping angry white men — the GOP has won only two of six presidential elections, one because the Supreme Court gave the Constitution the finger and the other because Republicans had perfected their fear...

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The Dalai Lama And A Gaggle Of Chinese Communist Officials Walk Into A Bar . . .
Mar12

The Dalai Lama And A Gaggle Of Chinese Communist Officials Walk Into A Bar . . .

Do you remember that uproarious Monty Python sketch where the Dalai Lama, played by John Cleese, sits cross-legged in saffron robes in a mountaintop cave and declares that he won’t have an afterlife, throwing into an uproar the exhausted Chinese Communist Party functionaries who have hiked to the cave? The officials, played by the other Pythons dressed identically in Mao jackets and clutching little red books, demand that the...

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Plain Talk On The Criminal Justice System, The Obamacare Challenge & That Bad Old CIA
Mar09

Plain Talk On The Criminal Justice System, The Obamacare Challenge & That Bad Old CIA

WASHINGTON STATE POT GROWERS FACE PRISON WHILE TRAITOROUS FORMER GENERAL WILL WALK On March 3, 2015, there was brutal cold and the hangover from several major snow storms to contend with in the Northeast and Midwest, unseasonably chilly weather in Florida that had natives and tourists alike bundling up, and intermittent rain and fog in the Pacific Northwest, but none of this kept the American criminal justice system from grinding...

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Memo To GOP Wingers: Keep Your Goddamned Religion Out Of My Life — And Government
Feb26

Memo To GOP Wingers: Keep Your Goddamned Religion Out Of My Life — And Government

A new study puts a face — and a particularly ugly one at that — on what was been increasingly obvious for many years: Christian conservatives, the folks who use their God like a cudgel to bludgeon we heathens with their neanderthal social agenda, exert an inordinate influence on the Republican Party even if their numbers are relatively small and their agenda is outside the electoral mainstream. This perversity is on...

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Republicans Are Still Not Ready To Take Back The Keys To The National Car
Feb19

Republicans Are Still Not Ready To Take Back The Keys To The National Car

The Republicans’ own big takeaway from their 2014 election victories was that they would now show Americans what governing was all about. Ta da! This boast was rather strange since the party has performed a sort of demented Kabuki theater in lieu of governing — whether jointly with President Obama, Democrats or by their lonesome — over the last six-plus years in making the case that it still was not capable of taking...

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The Marijuana Bandwagon Rolls Merrily Along — And That’s (Mostly) A Good Thing
Jan22

The Marijuana Bandwagon Rolls Merrily Along — And That’s (Mostly) A Good Thing

APOCALYPTIC LEAFLET IN A BUFFALO, NEW YORK STORE WINDOW (1967) There is some good news amid the torrent of police shootings, terrorist attacks a little too close to home for comfort, travails of the middle class and the blatherings of a dysfuctional political establishment: The embrace of gay rights and abolition of draconian marijuana laws have accelerated at breathtaking speed in a society in which positive change comes with a...

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The Very Best Of The Worst: A Decade Of Blogging At Kiko’s House
Jan07

The Very Best Of The Worst: A Decade Of Blogging At Kiko’s House

We stopped blowing our horn about milestones at my home blog, Kiko’s House, a few years ago. For one thing, it was a tad narcissistic considering that some current affairs blogs have more visitors before breakfast on a slow day than we’ve had in our entire lifetime. And while history has a really annoying way of repeating itself, there also has been a certain redundancy to many of our posts. All that noted, 2015 is a...

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A New Year’s Musing On America’s Dysfunctional Society & Broken Politics
Jan05

A New Year’s Musing On America’s Dysfunctional Society & Broken Politics

Scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. There is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe. ~ FRANK ZAPPA The United States enters the new year a deeply dysfunctional society with a severely fractured political establishment and a dearth of ideas about how to confront either. Police routinely abuse black men and...

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A Study In Frustration & Depravity: Seven Years Of Torture-Related Posts
Dec11

A Study In Frustration & Depravity: Seven Years Of Torture-Related Posts

My home blog, Kiko’s House, has published dozens of posts on the Bush Torture Regime over the past seven years, including — or perhaps concluding, we shall see — an analysis this week of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA. Many were cross-posted to The Moderate Voice. Click here for an index of some of the more important...

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The CIA’s Nonpareil 60-Year Record Of Not Protecting The National Interest
Dec10

The CIA’s Nonpareil 60-Year Record Of Not Protecting The National Interest

THE CIA LEARNED OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL ON CNN I have long advocated abolishing the Central Intelligence Agency, or as President Kennedy put it after the CIA played an integral role in the Bay of Pigs debacle, smashing it into a thousand pieces and scattering it to the winds. The CIA survives and prospers, of course, because despite its decades-long history of monumental screw-ups, it has friends in high places: President...

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Accountability Goes Bye-Bye As Shocking Senate Torture Report Finally Is Released
Dec09

Accountability Goes Bye-Bye As Shocking Senate Torture Report Finally Is Released

The release today of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s network of secret prisons where terrorism suspects were tortured with the approval of President Bush and his henchmen in violation of American law and the Geneva Conventions is surely one of the greatest anticlimaxes in American history, as well as the last hope of accountability for what I have come to call the Bush...

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This Article Is About The Song ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,’ But ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree’ Is Not The Name Of The Article, That’s Just The Name Of Song
Nov26

This Article Is About The Song ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,’ But ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree’ Is Not The Name Of The Article, That’s Just The Name Of Song

In the 47 years since Arlo Guthrie recorded “Alice’s Restaurant,” the 18-plus minute song has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition — and an ode to a simpler time even if its subtext is the Vietnam War. If you haven’t heard “Alice’s Restaurant,” then you probably don’t know that it’s not really a song, but rather an 18-minute monologue with a little singing at the beginning and...

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From Richards To Rivers: A Dozen Great Books For Holiday Gift Giving
Nov24

From Richards To Rivers: A Dozen Great Books For Holiday Gift Giving

Your Faithful Reviewer plowed through another 30 or so books in the course of 2014, some new, some not so old and a couple of classics that I had not gotten around to reading. Here are the best dozen of the bunch, actually the best 14 because one offering is a trilogy. All are great holiday gifts for a literary inclined spouse, other family member or friend, and all are available online in paperback. AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS (Taylor...

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