I started listening to Democracy Now as my morning news program just a few months ago when I made WTSQ my go-to raARC for review - TBP: April 12, 2016
I started listening to Democracy Now as my morning news program just a few months ago when I made WTSQ my go-to radio station and I thoroughly enjoy its gritty, fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants style of journalism (although I have to admit that I'm an idiot....I thought they were referencing an underwriter and saying "The Warren Peace Report" when they are actually saying "The War and Peace Report"). When I came to this book I expected it to be a story about the genesis and building of the program, and while there's a bit of that, it's really more of a snapshot of national and world events as of this moment (it includes the Sanders run and Trump's attacks on minorities). I would have enjoyed hearing a bit more about the history of the program and a bit less about current events.
What we do learn - in 1996 Amy Goodman started "Democracy Now!" to offer public broadcasting's only daily election new hours and it continues all these years later to provide a progressive focus "on the issues that are underreported or ignored by mainstream news coverage" (specifically it continued to focus on the WTO protests in Seattle and found its mission there) and I can attest that this is true - I've learned a lot about activists from all over the world from listening to Goodman's broadcast.
While chapter 1 deals with the shows origins the remaining chapters focus on the issues of the day (which, I'll warn readers, can be incredibly discouraging at times) such as whistleblowers, the Occupy movement, immigration, the fight for a higher minimum wage, the biases of corporate media and other scourges of our modern age.
As Goodman says, "we need to hear these silenced voices. That is the power of independent media: to give voice to the voiceless; to those who have been shut out of the debate." This is the mission of "Democracy Now!" and Goodman does this each week day, and writes about it here, admirably. ...more
We Were Feminists Once is a book in two parts - the first half deals with feminism in pop culture today through eARC for review - EPB - May 3, 2016.
We Were Feminists Once is a book in two parts - the first half deals with feminism in pop culture today through examinations of film, advertising, fashion, TV, music, etc. while the second provides and overview of recent feminist (or "feminist") history, the current state of the movement in 2016 and a look at the differences and distinctions between "marketplace feminism" and more substantive equality or right feminism. Both halves are interesting and both find their examples in the popular culture and are up to the minute (Carly Fiorina's Presidential, now Vice-Presidential run, the #OscarsSoWhite campaign and so on).
Zeisler is an editor at Bitch magazine which examines pop culture through the lens of feminism so she's the perfect person to make this analysis about what has happened over the last twenty years. She notes that while, for years, a number of high profile individuals, particularly celebrities, didn't want to be known as or use the word "feminist" to describe themselves, that, fairly suddenly, feminism is cool again, and while she lauds that she is careful to note that it's important to examine what types of feminism exist noting that real feminist movements try to change systems (child care, women's health rights, etc.) while marketplace feminism focuses on the individual (and, generally, capitalism, using as an example widely lauded Dove "real women" campaign....at the end of the day the goal was still to move units of Dove's products).
However, this book works precisely because there is so much focus on pop culture - Beyonce, Emma Watson, Special K, GirlsWhoCode, they are all covered here and it keeps the book from becoming an academic study of feminism and makes it more palatable to the types of readers who will benefit from having read it. A worth addition to your feminism bookshelf and well-worth handing to your college age daughters. ...more
Dear Lord in Heaven, how in the world did I not know that Mark Sanford had been elected to the U.S. Congress in 2013?! I only found ouARC for review.
Dear Lord in Heaven, how in the world did I not know that Mark Sanford had been elected to the U.S. Congress in 2013?! I only found out JUST NOW when I looked up his Wikipedia entry to see during what years the events in the book took place (I remember the scandal, but couldn't remember the year and Swaim doesn't include any years on the book.)
Some days I hate America.
Barton Swaim worked as a speechwriter for then-Governor Mark Sanford from 2007 until Sanford left office in 2010, (he was never impeached, and never resigned) so he had a front row seat for Sanford's brief, and small, rise in the national spotlight (he famously refused federal stimulus funds and his arguments against accepting these were remarkably sound, even to this dyed-in-the-wool liberal) and his ignominious fall from grace. I'm a former Governor's appointee in a small, Southern state, so I know a bit about the type of politics of which Swaim speaks, and I think he generally does a good job of describing the overall atmosphere - lots of people who have very little power thinking they are making momentous decisions, but actually doing very little.
That isn't necessarily true of a governor, of course, and Sanford was quite an interesting character, even outside the scandal - to say "he didn't play well with others" was a massive understatement. The legislature seemed to hate him (despite the fact he was a Republican and South Carolina is a bright red state), and most of his staffers appeared to feel the same way - some were openly hostile to the Governor's face and no one that Swaim describes held him in any type of esteem (I found this a bit disingenuous. Anyone in Sanford's position would have brought some toadies along.). However, by any estimation Sanford was a difficult boss and a hard-ass, with an emphasis on the "ass". Therefore it appears that no one was particularly upset when he disappeared, nor did anyone feel very sorry for him when his secret (the Argentinian mistress) was revealed, except to the extent it impacted their own jobs. Sanford was also unapologetic to the public and to his staff (the book suggests, but doesn't say, that he treated his wife and sons the with the same indifference).
Overall, this likely would have made a better two-part article for a magazine versus a whole book. Swaim spends most of the last chapter arguing that politicians, by their very natures are searching first and foremost for their own glory and can, therefore, never be trusted. He's correct, but I don't know that Sanford's story is the best one to illustrate this truth. It is a quick read, and anyone who has served in state government will laugh at some of Swaim's co-workers (or recognize them). Nicely done. ...more
McGinniss, as always, is an excellent writer and he gets interesting information through his interviews with many Alaskans (and moving in next door...McGinniss, as always, is an excellent writer and he gets interesting information through his interviews with many Alaskans (and moving in next door....GENIUS publicity!) He focuses almost completely on her time in Alaska, and barely touches on her Vice-Presidential run (good call, since it's been skewered pretty thoroughly elsewhere). His point that "those who know her best believe her least" is borne out over and over again.
The pity here is that by the time this book was published about 96% of America had decided that Sarah Palin was over as any sort of national political figure - I guess we've moved on to the craziness that is Michelle Bachmann. I know there are some solid, non-crazy Republican women out there....why can't any of them be considered viable national candidates? I would be so bummed if I was a Republican woman. ...more
Interesting, quick read. If you thought you couldn't despise John Edwards more than you already do...well, surprise! Young presents himself as a bit TInteresting, quick read. If you thought you couldn't despise John Edwards more than you already do...well, surprise! Young presents himself as a bit TOO perfect (perhaps in response to criticisms of him by Elizabeth Edwards) and while he made some terrible decisions, a reader definitely gets his side too. And Elizabeth! Between this book and GAME CHANGE, I can barely look at her....more