We’ve only just begun…
It’s one year before the 2008 presidential primary actually begins, and already the field is overflowing with contenders, pretenders, rock stars, hangers-on, early risers, late bloomers, and nice guys who will finish last. So feverish is the media excitement over this race that only the death of a real horse, Barbaro, could knock Rupert Murdoch’s new favorite candidate, Hillary Clinton, off the cover of the New York Post. With a billion-plus dollars expected to circulate throughout the 2008 campaign, media barons like Murdoch certainly stand to gain. The rest of us will just have to watch and see what we get out of the deal.
On the Democratic side, nearly all the candidates seem to favor some form of universal health care and a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Both are worthy goals, but the specifics of the candidates’ actual plans seem a bit murky. Such a statement nevertheless may be hopelessly naïve on my part—after all, in the age of celebrity politicians, what really matters is that our leaders appear to understand our position and be on our side. The Republican hopefuls also include an array of Iraq war critics and some candidates who are at least concerned about health care. Why the frontrunner, John McCain, has embraced Bush’s foolish call for a “surge” in Iraq is puzzling, but as one leading veteran of the political trenches recently told me, “When McCain doesn’t believe something but it’s popular, he’ll fake it. But when he really believes something, even it’s unpopular, he’ll support it.” Now that’s leadership.
A third, perhaps even more important issue—global warming—may, or may not, heat up the race. But rest assured, Senators Clinton, Obama and McCain strongly oppose it, and no contender to date has staked out a pro-global warming position, although it’s still early (or perhaps too late). Are melting ice caps the new mushroom clouds? If and when An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s hybrid vehicle, wins the Oscar for Best Documentary, will Gore join the battle royal for the Democratic nomination? With one year to go, all I can say is this: so many questions, so much time.
Returning: Hank Lazer’s field recordings of mind in morningReview by Joel Chace
DEC 21-JAN 22 | Poetry
Hank Lazers remarkable new poetry collection, field recordings of mind in morning, is a sequence of chants rung upon the constants and the changes of his returns to a place that offers solace and restoration.
four from field recordings of mind in morningBy Hank Lazer
JUL-AUG 2021 | Poetry
Hank Lazer’s poems in the Brooklyn Rail are from his forthcoming book field recordings of mind in morning (BlazeVOX), which will include links to musical improvisations with composer and banjo player Holland Hopson. Lazer has published thirty-one books of poetry, including COVID 19 SUTRAS (2020, Lavender Ink), Slowly Becoming Awake (N32) (2019, Dos Madres Press), Poems That Look Just Like Poems (2019, PURH – one volume in English, one in French), Evidence of Being Here: Beginning in Havana (N27), (2018, Negative Capability Press), and Thinking in Jewish (N20) (2017, Lavender Ink). In 2015, Lazer received Alabama’s most prestigious literary prize, the Harper Lee Award, for lifetime achievement in literature.
The American Revolution: The George Floyd Rebellion, One Year OutBy Jason E. Smith
JUL-AUG 2021 | Field Notes
Now that the one-year anniversary of the events of late May and early Junecrowned, dramatically, by the immolation of the Third Precinct station in Minneapolishas come and gone, the need to draw up a balance sheet of what unfolded becomes urgent.
Sandcastles: Afghanistan, One Year OnBy Matthew Byrne
SEPT 2022 | Field Notes
A symbolic twenty years after 9/11, the Biden administration formally ended the United States war in Afghanistan, withdrawing the last of its troops from the south-central Asian nation. Melancholy anniversaries serve as reminders of missed opportunities, and this one is no different. Here, however, blunders appear frivolous when compared to the extraordinary corruption and pitiless violence perpetrated by US-backed forces in the region. While much has been made of the shockingly haphazard exit, the ease with which the Taliban seized Kabul, and the grim prospects for women, for girls, and for Afghans who worked with coalition forces, the cardinal sin of the war was not how it ended, but how it began.