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Don Wright | Thinking Not-so-great Thoughts in the US / Slate.com

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Empire of Illusion

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  • It's all about spectacle and debauchery. People are so disconnected from reality that they don't know how to read what is happening--they cannot grasp that the walls are tumbling down--and so they retreat into absurdities. This is the disease gripping American society today.
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  • Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
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  • Lady Gaga: Pop Star for a Country and an Empire in Decline
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Jeff Dietrich, The Catholic Agitator

Chris Hedges is a weekly columnist for TruthDig who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans. For 15 years he worked for the New York Times and in 2002 won a Pulitizer Prize. He left the Times after being formally reprimanded for denouncing the invasion of Iraq.

He has authored nine books. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009).

Hedges is a Senior Fellow at the Nation Institute in New York and teaches at a correctional facility in New Jersey.

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Building a Nation of Know-Nothings, Timothy Egan, New York Times | NY
It’s not just that 46 percent of Republicans believe the lie that Obama is a Muslim, or that 27 percent in the party doubt that the president of the United States is a citizen. But fully half of them believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush.

Lady Gaga: Pop Star for a Country and an Empire in Decline, Sarah Jaffe,  AlterNet
We have made monsters out of others in order to kill them without fear. Gaga makes herself a monster to try to show us ourselves.

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Wrigley rooftops hurting as Cubs, economy struggle

About the only thing sustaining them is that the Cubs charge the most for ballpark tickets of any team in the Majors.

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In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, baseball fans are seen in one of the many rooftop venues outside Wrigley Field in Chicago and in the bleacher seats, foreground, to watch a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. Like "America's team" itself about this time every year, the fate of the famed rooftops beyond the Waveland and Sheffield walls is slumping. With the economy bad and the Cubs once again woeful, the club and bar owners offering a unique over-the-wall viewing experience are struggling financially, despite discounted tickets. About the only thing sustaining them is that the Cubs charge the most for ballpark tickets of any team in the Majors.

Don Babwin, Associated Press, in Los Angeles Times | CA

The crowded rooftop bleachers overlooking Wrigley Field stand as proof that no matter how bad the Chicago Cubs played, the ballpark was simply not big enough to hold everyone who wanted to see them play.

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Until now. Between a national recession and a local team that is just plain depressing, the rooftop bleachers — as synonymous with Wrigley as the ivy-covered walls they tower above — are showing signs that there are limits to what fans are willing to do and pay to see a game.

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Summary: Intolerance, Hate, Intimidation, Fear-mongering, Violence, Incivility, and Ignorance Move Mainstream: Week of September 5

7 New Items including:

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  • Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
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  • Protest Glenn Beck - Boycott FOX Advertisers
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Clay Jones

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Building a Nation of Know-Nothings, Timothy Egan, New York Times | NY
It’s not just that 46 percent of Republicans believe the lie that Obama is a Muslim, or that 27 percent in the party doubt that the president of the United States is a citizen. But fully half of them believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush.

It's Time to Show Alan Simpson, Vet Hater, the Door, David Culver, Evergreene Digest

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  • I call on the Congress and President to show Alan Simpson to the door of the deficit commission’s deliberations and to restore honor and decency to our national conversation on veterans!
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  • I also call on my fellow citizens to hold their President, Congressional Representatives, and Senators accountable for removing Mr. Simpson by contacting them and reminding them that their oath of office demands meeting this country’s obligations to its veterans.
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  • Alan Simpson Condemns Disabled Vets for Breathing Agent Orange
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  • Veterans Group Calls for Removal of Alan Simpson
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Anti-Latino Hate Crimes Seen From Baltimore to Arizona, Larry Keller, SPLC's Hate Watch
In today's overheated immigration climate, it’s a good bet more Hispanics will be beaten, even killed, as the debate — if it can be called that — rages on.

Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent<>
“Well, news flash: There are homosexual people all over the world. Having your kid meet a homosexual in school and possibly even having a nice conversation with one isn’t going to turn your kid into one.” --Tammy Aaberg

Protest Glenn Beck - Boycott FOX Advertisers, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com
Glenn Beck doesn't just poison the airwaves with hatred. His hatred actually incites violence and murder.
Our boycott of Fox News advertisers is having a huge impact - over 200 advertisers have pulled their ads from Beck's show.

Medal of Honor, Wikipedia

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  • "It's fun killing people.  I get to roam around and feel like soldiers feel. I've played the bad guys before, but this will be even better because it's based on the real thing. You don't want to hurt other Americans, but you've got to win the game.” --A 13 year old player.
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  • The Killing Games We Play
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  • War Games: Army Lures Civilians By Letting Them Play Soldier
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  • Going to the Mines to Look for Diamonds
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Rumsfeld Rules of Engagement Allowing 30 Innocent Civilian Murders for Every One High Value Target, Michael McCarthy, Pax Vobiscum
“God's reasoning is in inverse proportion to the Pentagon's. Then with the gift of God's son Jesus, the whole calculus of war is subtracted. "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you." Mt 5:44.”

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Jules Feiffer, Sketchy Character

The award-winning 81-year-old cartoonist talks about kids' books, his troubled childhood, and his still-sharp satire.

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Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones

Jules Feiffer, from Backing Into Forward

In his new memoir, Backing Into Forward, Jules Feiffer describes channeling dyslexia, anxiety, and a troubled childhood into a prolific career. "There's some brain damage," he jokes, "but I've never met a cartoonist who isn't quirky or weird in some ways." Fortunately, the Oscar-, Pulitzer-, Obie-, and Polk-winning author and illustrator's quirks remain in full bloom. The 81-year-old is still cranking out political cartoons and working on kids' books with his daughter and—after a 50-year hiatus—The Phantom Tollbooth author Norton Juster.

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Not that he's gone soft; his satire remains as sharp as ever: "The grown-ups, or the ones I choose to go after, deserve everything they get."

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Mother Jones: I should start by confessing that I named my son after Milo in The Phantom Tollbooth and, like a lot of people, became familiar with you through your children's books. How does it feel to have that be the way into people's hearts—the softer side of Jules?

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