Monday, October 03, 2005

NYT: "August Wilson, Theater's Poet of Black America, Is Dead at 60" (Charles Isherwood)

August Wilson, who chronicled the African-American experience in the 20th century in a series of plays that will stand as a landmark in the history of black culture, of American literature and of Broadway theater, died yesterday at a hospital in Seattle. He was 60 and lived in Seattle.
[. . .]
"Radio Golf," the last of the 10 plays that constitute Mr. Wilson's majestic theatrical cycle, opened at the Yale Repertory Theater last spring and has subsequently been produced in Los Angeles. It was the concluding chapter in a spellbinding story that began more than two decades ago, when Mr. Wilson's play "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" had its debut at the same theater, in 1984, and announced the arrival of a major talent, fully matured.
Reviewing the play's Broadway premiere for The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote that in "Ma Rainey," Mr. Wilson "sends the entire history of black America crashing down upon our heads."
"This play is a searing inside account of what white racism does to its victims," Mr. Rich continued, "and it floats on the same authentic artistry as the blues music it celebrates."

The above is from Charles Isherwood's "August Wilson, Theater's Poet of Black America, Is Dead at 60" in this morning's New York Times. The cause was liver cancer, which Betty noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review a few weeks back.

Julia e-mails to note Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's "Democrats Sink Deeper into the Ooze" (CounterPunch):

While Interstate 45 from Galveston to Houston was clogged with evacuees fleeing the wrath of hurricane Rita, there was a similar jam on the beltway round Washington DC as Democrats fled the city on the eve on the September 24 antiwar rally, panic-stricken lest their presence in Washington might somehow be construed as endorsement of the rally's antiwar message.
Here's a war which the voting population of the United States views a hostility that is soaring by the day. The latest CNN poll released on September 26 shows 67 per cent disapproving of Bush's Iraq strategy. This represents a jump of 10 per cent holding this position since CNN ran its last poll, less than a month ago.
More than half CNN's latest sample declare that Iraq will never become a democracy; 63 per cent want to see a pull-out start right now.
It looks very as much as though attitudes to the war no longer break along traditional party lines: 40 per cent of Republicans oppose their own president, in regarding the war as a bust. At Saturday's rally it was only Ralph Nader who pointed out that Republicans may be the antiwar movement's prime emerging market.
Nader pointed out that Rep Lynn Woolsey's "homeward bound" resolution to begin the immediate withdrawal of US troops is cosponsored by two Republicans, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ron Paul, whose Texas constituency stretches south west of Austin down to the Rio Grande.

Billie e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Republicans Endanger the Endangered Species Act" (This Just In, The Progressive):

The Republican House, so worried about attending to the crises facing this country in the wake of Katrina and in the midst of the Iraq War, last week took time out to clip the wings of the Endangered Species Act.
This Act, which has done so much to bring the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon and many other species back from the brink, may never be able to do the same if the House bill becomes law.
"There are a lot of losers in this bill," says Maribeth Oakes, lands director for Sierra Club. "It turns its back on the Endangered Species Act, which has a proven record of success. And as a result, future generations that may lose species."
For one thing, it would repeal rules that protect the eagle and the falcon and other species from pesticides like DDT.
It also eliminates the Act's authority to designate critical habitat protections.
Now you can't very well protect an endangered species if you're not going to preserve its habitat. Just consider the plight of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which all but vanished due to the destruction of the southern forests.

We noted something DK found yesterday and, time permitting, we'll note it a few more times throughout the week. This is from Marian Blasberg and Anita Blasberg's "A Tale of Two Lives Destroyed by Abu Ghraib" (Germany's Der Spiegel):

Hajj Ali says nothing.
On the morning of the tenth day, the guards pick him up, place a hood over his head and drive him around the grounds for a few minutes. Then he is taken into a building where it is cool and damp, where the sounds of steps echo through hallways. They order him to remove his clothes, and Hajj Ali strips down to his underwear.
"Keep going! The underwear too!"
They tear off his underwear. Hajj Ali trembles with fear, his hands and feet are bound, and six or seven soldiers push him around. Then one of them tells him to walk up the stairs. Hajj Ali lets himself drop to the floor, crawling and squirming, his wounded hand throbbing with pain. An interpreter tells him to bark like a dog, and Hajj Ali complies.
He keeps collapsing, barely able to move forward. After a few steps, they start whipping and kicking him, yelling "faster!"
Then someone tears off his hood, grabs his hair and drags him up the stairs. Hajj Ali looks up and sees a man holding a megaphone on the landing. He looks athletic and aggressive, and he barks at Hajj Ali: "Up, man! Up! Come on!"

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman continues the Un-Embed The Media Tour:

* Amy Goodman in Poughkeepsie, NY:
Wed, Oct 5
*TIME: 5:30 PM
Vassar College
The Villard Room, Main Building
Poughkeepsie, NY
Event is free and open to the public

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