The new black times

At last week’s National Newspaper Publishers Association convention in the US, it was announced that the New York Times company will be starting an African-American newspaper in Gainesville, Florida. Writing in the Chicago Defender, George E. Curry, head of BlackPressUSA.com and regular media commentator, offers the Times a few home truths: “Black publishers freely concede…

Don’t be surprised

Bob Dylan has sold out. Actually, that’s (maybe) unfair. Starbucks have announced a deal for the exclusive marketing rights to a new Dylan CD. The release is an early Dylan’s recording at the Gaslight coffee house in New York’s Greenwich Village in the autumn of 1962. Dylan has been fighting his public image for more…

No accounting for taste

Proof positive that popularity contests are about as meaningful as, well, Ronald Reagan’s policies towards Latin America. The former, now deceased, US President may have helped “restore American morale”, but he was also involved in the sales of arms to Iran while diverting the funds to the vicious Nicaraguan Contras. In other words, a true…

Labor blues

I’ve deliberately avoided commenting on the current Labor blues surrounding Mark Latham’s biography, not wishing to add yet another voice to an already crowded field. The ALP is in dire straights, lacking direction, policy or solid ideology, but I’m hardly the first to say that, and nor will I be the last. Australia needs a…

Making connections

Christopher Hitchens, former thinker, doesn’t seem capable of linking his support for the Iraq war to its disastrous post-invasion phase. On last night’s ABC Lateline, he revealed his true colours: TONY JONES: “Christopher Hitchens, a final question, if I can. Has your own faith – and I do suspect I know the answer to this,…

Quickies

– Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, offers “The Roving Thoughts of a Liberal Insomniac.” Hilarity in the face of disaster. – A Victorian Supreme Court judge orders the Royal Women’s Hospital to release the records of a woman’s late-term abortion. Patient privacy and confidentiality has been struck an ominous blow. –…

Inside the mind

Time magazine interviews an Iraqi insurgent on the US presence in the country, his motivations and reasons behind joining the resistance. Essential reading.

Iraq: a bloody mess

The best recent report of the current quagmire in Iraq by the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn, awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting in recognition of his writing on Iraq over the past year. He paints a devastating picture of growing insurgency, restricted journalistic access, restless citizens, lack of basic living essentials and sham…