Gore Vidal on the Republic and its Fall

The best interview with the late Gore Vidal that I’ve heard so far. Unsurprisingly it comes from the inimitable Christopher Lydon of Radio Open Source.

Having read all the Gore Vidal obits and the many more-and-less grudging encomia, I find the man himself at very near his best in my own conversational files — from an evening at Harvard just before Thanksgiving in 2003, on the occasion of his publishing Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams and Jefferson. He’d walked into the hall slowly, on a cane, that night, but his chatter was was crackling with fresh mimicry and mischief. (Two nights earlier, his reward at a joint reading in Provincetown was discovering that ancient nemesis Norman Mailer was getting around on two canes.) Great entertainer and great complainer, Vidal at 78 came through as passionate historian and erudite old comic who could still fill the house, and whose repartee was not all repertoire.

Why Afghanistan Can’t wait

by Kathy Kelly and Dr. Hakim

Ali and Abdulhai

Two days ago, we spent three anxious hours in an outer waiting area of the “Non-Immigrant Visa” section of the U.S. consulate here in Kabul, Afghanistan, waiting for our young friends Ali and Abdulhai to return from a sojourn through the inner offices where they were being interviewed for visas to come speak to audiences in the United States.

They are members of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and have been invited to travel with the U.S.-Mexico “Caravan  for Peace” that will be touring the United States later this summer.  We didn’t want to see their hopes dashed, and we didn’t want to see this opportunity lost to connect the experiences of poor people around the world suffering from war. The organizers of the Caravan envision and demand alternatives to the failed systems of militarized policing in the terrifyingly violent, seemingly endless U.S.-Mexico drug war. They want to connect with victims of war in Afghanistan especially since, as the top producer of opium and marijuana in the world, Afghanistan has a failing war against drugs as well.

It’s an unprecedented invitation, at a desperately crucial human moment.

Continue reading “Why Afghanistan Can’t wait”

Controlling the web

From the new season of Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines.

In January 2012, two controversial pieces of legislation were making their way through the US Congress. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, were meant to crack down on the illegal sharing of digital media. The bills were drafted on request of the content industry, Hollywood studios and major record labels.

Continue reading “Controlling the web”

White Light / Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

White Light / Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

“This is the story of the only people to have survived a nuclear attack.”

Continue reading “White Light / Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

Hiroshima

8:15 am tomorrow will be 67 years since the bombing of Hiroshima. To mark the occasion we are publishing the classic piece by John Hersey which was rated by a hundred US editors and journalists as the greatest work of 20th century journalism. [you’ll have to scroll down to p.5 to start reading].


Continue reading “Hiroshima”

All Things Considered

Me on BBC Radio Wales discussing Syria’s Christian minority with Harry Hagopian, the lovely Nadim Nassar, and the strange English priest and admirer of the tyrant Christopher Gilham.