November 30, 2008

Red State Rebels is a collection of essays about a broad cross-section of activists, malcontents and nonconformists living in what coastal liberals too often write off as “flyover country.”

As editors Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank write in their introduction, “This book offers just a few snapshots of the grassroots resistance taking place in the forgotten heartland of America. These are tales of rebellion and courage. Out here activism isn’t for the faint of heart. Be thankful someone is willing to do the dirty work.”

This resistance should inspire readers to think about how to take important stands right now, wherever they are.

July 13, 2008

On July 1, journalist Bill Moyers gave a reading from his new book Moyers on Democracy at Barnes & Noble in New York City’s Union Square. Bloomington Alternative editor Steven Higgs was on hand for the event and asked Moyers during the question-and-answer segment about the Interstate 69/NAFTA Highway and the role of resistance and civil disobedience in effecting change in America today.

What follows is a transcript of Higgs’ question and Moyers’ response.


July 13, 2008

The following is an excerpt from the new book Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published this month by AK Press. The book has two chapters on Indiana, both of which appeared in The Bloomington Alternative: “Young and radical” by Steven Higgs and "Criticize Cheney, go to jail" by John Blair.


We are not supposed to exist.

According to the political Steinberg map of the nation, we come from no man's land, fly-over country, the unredeemable middle, where political progressives are as rare as a Hooters in Provo, Utah.

We are children of the wasteland. The rural outback. Where folks carry guns and use them. Where fenced compounds and utopian communes exist side-by-side with a cyanide heap-leach gold mine. Out here cell phones don't work. Not yet, anyway. And some of us would like to keep it that way.

Frank grew up on the wheated plains of eastern Montana. St. Clair hails from the humid cornfields of central Indiana. These states span the glaciated heart of the continent, a region carved and ground smooth by the weight of ice. From a distance, the terrain of the Great Plains appears homogeneous..

November 21, 2007

Ann Kreilkamp isn't the hunched old hag most people think of when they hear the word "crone."

In fact, it's this unappealing image of aged womanhood that Kreilkamp - a spritely, bespectacled woman with short, frenzied hair and seemingly boundless energy - is bent on doing away with.

Next year, the Bloomington resident will launch Crone: Women Coming of Age, a semiannual publication dedicated to declaring and exploring the ways and wisdom of advanced womanhood.

"The crone is that part of us that is wise, and is authentic, and has learned from experience," says Kreilkamp, who has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University and now lives in Bloomington.

February 12, 2006

A review of Jeffrey St. Clair's new book,
Grand Theft Pentagon

Once upon a time in America, there was a form of newspaper reporting known as muckraking. Some folks preferred to call this form of reporting "investigative reporting." No matter.

Whatever it was called, the purpose of the reporting, the reporters, and the papers that ran the articles was to expose corruption, graft and just plain old evil in the echelons of government and big business.

Of course, there was also a hope that this exposure would end the reported abuses or, at the least, get rid of the worst abusers and most corrupt men involved.

February 20, 2005

The following is an excerpt from Jeffrey St. Clair's forthcoming book Grand Theft Pentagon, to be published in July by Common Courage Press.

Lockheed-Martin is headquartered in the Bethesda, Maryland. No, the defense titan doesn't have a bomb-making factory in this toney Beltway suburb. But as the nation's top weapons contractor, it migrated to DC from southern California because that's where the money is. And Lockheed rakes it in from the federal treasury at the rate of $65 million every single day of the year.

From nuclear missiles to fighter planes, software code to spy satellites, the Patriot missile to Star Wars, Lockheed has come to dominate the weapons market in a way that the Standard Oil Company used to hold sway over the nation's petroleum supplies. And it all happened with the help of the federal government, which steered lucrative no bid contracts Lockheed's way, enacted tax breaks that encouraged Lockheed's merger and acquisition frenzy in the 1980s and 1990s and turned a blind eye to the company's criminal rap sheet, ripe with indiscretions ranging from bribery to contract fraud.

Now Lockheed stands almost alone. It not only serves as an agent of US foreign policy, from the Pentagon to the CIA; it also helps shape it. "We are deployed entirely in developing daunting technology," Lockheed's new CEO Robert J. Stevens told New York Times reporter Tim Weiner. "That requires thinking through the policy dimensions of national security as well as technological dimensions."

April 11, 2004

Current bestseller lists are packed with titles capitalizing on the public's eagerness to find out what goes on behind the scenes in U.S. government. But the most revealing political book I've read recently is a work of historical fiction set in the latter part of the 18th century. Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief (Random House, 2003), serves as an antidote to one-sided stories marketed as American history by cable news outlets as well as book publishers.

Warrior Woman is a collaborative effort by Owen County residents James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom. Jim Thom's historical novels are renowned for their attention to detail and historical accuracy. Combined with his wife's detailed knowledge of Shawnee culture and customs, this book is a gripping tale masterfully rendered by gifted storytellers.

November 30, 2003

A handful of trips to the P.O. Box over the past few weeks and months have produced a small but growing collection of books from writers interested enough in Bloomington Alternative readers to send free copies of their books for review. With the holiday shopping season now upon us, it seemed like a good time to share some of the stories we're getting.

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