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The Unbearable Whiteness of the American Left
At a panel titled “Grassroots Organizing” at the Network for Public Education conference in Austin in March, an audience member asked the all-white panel for its definition of “grassroots.” The conference had been called to “give voice to those opposing privatization, school closings, and high-stakes testing.”


An early, court-ordered integration in a US high school. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis
On race, the US is not as improved as some would have us believe
At the march on Washington in August 1963, where Martin Luther King made his "I have a dream" speech, the United States Information Agency, the nation's propaganda wing devoted to "public diplomacy", made a documentary. It wanted to make sure that the largest demonstration in the history of the US capital, demanding jobs and freedom and denouncing racism, was not misconstrued by the nation's enemies or potential allies. Their aim was to show the newly independent former colonies that the US embraced peaceful protest. "Smile," they called to demonstrators as the camera rolled. "This is going to Africa."


Members of the 113th Congress, many with family members, take the oath of office in the House of Representatives chamber. Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Thought money could buy an American election? You ain't seen nothin' yet
The finance chairman of the Republican national committee, Ray Washburne, travelled to Chicago last Wednesday to solicit money from two big funders who had reached their donation limit for this election cycle. While he was on the plane, the supreme court ruled that there would no longer be any limits. Washburne told the New York Times that when he landed and heard the news, he said: "Eureka". He came back with promises of more cash.
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Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
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