The CIA has made 638 attempts on Fidel Castro's life since the beginning of the Cuban revolution. One entailed poisoning a chocolate milkshake with a cyanide pellet.
The milkshake attempt on the Cuban leader's life is but one of the incidents that author Michael Hoerger reported in a presentation called "Edible Secrets: A Food Tour of Classified U.S. History" at Boxcar Books in Bloomington on March 7. The basis of the presentation is a book by the same name that Hoerger wrote with Mia Partlow (Bloomington, Ind.: Microcosm Press, 2010, 127 pp., $10, ).
Global climate change is having profound effects on human health.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), by 2020 climate change-induced ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, will cause millions of respiratory illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations for serious breathing problems, including asthma. The cost will be about $5.4 billion.
Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It, by Paul R. Epstein, M.D., and Dan Ferber (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), probes the topic of climate disruption’s effects on health in depth.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said Lord Acton, the 19th century British historian. This statement describes best dictatorships where power is lodged in the hands of one person, usually a deified Pharaoh. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is one.
When Mubarak assumed power in 1981 after the assassination of Anwar El Sadat, he was particularly keen to announce that he hated corruption, loathed despotism and encouraged hard work. Good start, it really sounded promising. However, after 30 years in office, before his resignation on Feb. 11, the man’s family’s fortune is estimated as potentially $70 billion. He was willingly surrounded by a handful of the most corrupt businesspersons in the country, if not in the world; tipped off by the most-hated, steel industry monopolizer, cold-blooded vote-rigger Ahmed Ezz; and was shelled by an evilly sophisticated, brutally repressive, extremely unpopular police force.
As we watch Egypt rising, questions such as "who has the right to hold power?" come to mind.
Four hundred years ago, Shakespeare addressed this issue in his "Historical Plays." I had the opportunity to interview IU Department of English Professor Linda Charnes on the WFHB Interchange show on Feb. 1, 2011, and we discussed Shakespeare.
Wendell Berry will be in Bloomington Nov. 9-11 to read from his work and participate in a discussion with Wes Jackson and Scott Russell Sanders as part of the Patten Lecture series. Berry spoke with Thomas P. Healy from his northern Kentucky farm prior to the November elections.
TPH: You're going to be giving the Patten Lecture in Bloomington, and I wanted to see if you'd given any thought to what you'd be discussing in that lecture.
WB: To tell you the truth, I haven't. There are a number of possibilities, I'm not going to write a lecture, I've already told them that, and I may be reading a piece of fiction. I just don't know.
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.
Indisputably one of the 20th century's most important literary figures, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. needed "repeated reassurance" that the batches of personal and professional ephemera he sent over a period of 10 years to the IU Lilly Library "were actually wanted," according to Seth Bowers, one of four undergraduate IU students who curated "Mustard Gas and Roses: The Life and Works of Kurt Vonnegut," an exhibit that runs at the Lilly main gallery through Sept. 8.
Even after the Lilly Library officially secured the bulk of Vonnegut's letters and manuscripts in 1997, the complex iconoclast, who many regarded as the Mark Twain of 1960s counterculture, continued feeding materials to the library until shortly before his death in April at 84.
Former Bloomington resident Anthony Arnove's latest book, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal (The New Press, 2006) is a bold statement of the rationale for the immediate removal of U.S. armed forces. He spoke with The Bloomington Alternative during a recent visit.
TPH: In the introduction to your book you write of the "need to transform the irrational economic and political system that led to the wars in Vietnam and Iraq and that is today very directly threatening the survival of the human species." Why is that important?
AA: The moment you start looking at the situation in Iraq, you can't escape other political questions, like what are the real interests that the United States has in the Middle East? I think a number of people see you have to talk about oil. If not for oil do you think we would have gone into Iraq?
Oil is the essential commodity for the world capitalist system. Why do we have such an irrational relationship to oil rather than developing alternative means that are more environmentally sustainable and less politically destabilizing? Because it's not profitable for those who are in positions of power under the existing profit system.