Author Archives: chrislombardi

About chrislombardi

Journalist, novelist, educator.

the mother of all injustices

I Ain't Marchin' Anymore

Right this second I’m listening to the Supreme Court debate Native American treaty rights, but first I had to watch the West Wing episode above, which asks its Native characters how they keep fighting amid the “mother of all injustices.” The answer, of course, is a question: “What’s the alternative?”

As a non-Native journalist, I know that my words aren’t the ones that count here as McGirt is being argued: better to read Ruth Hopkins at Indian Country Today, or the Twitter feed of Debbie Reese. But I listen in part because I’ve written a little about the Mashpee Wampanoag, the tribe featured in most tales of the First Thanksgiving. That Nation is at this moment in danger of being “disestablished” by the Dept of the Interior, an issue being fought in court right now. As the Harvard Crimson explains well, the Mashpee have been…

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Government Debt is Actually Good

Nora Belrose

There’s a common narrative about the national debt that is repeated over and over in the media. It goes like this:

Over the last 50 years, the national debt has increased dramatically. This is a very bad thing, because the government will need to repay this debt someday. We are passing on a huge burden to our children and grandchildren, who will have to live with greatly restricted government spending while we pay down our $21 trillion national debt. We need to start cutting public spending and raising taxes now before something very bad happens. We wouldn’t want the United States to become the next Greece, now would we?

Elected officials and pundits across the mainstream political spectrum buy into this narrative to one degree or another. It’s a very powerful tool in the hands of the Right, because they can use it to argue for massive cuts to…

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SCOTUS rules

V B I

MarriageForAll Gay marriage cake by Giovanni Dall’Orto

The liberal wing of the Supreme Court, notably including swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, today made same-sex marriage legal in every state of the Union. Millions, gay and straight, rejoiced.

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy acknowledged that the Constitution says nothing about gay people, let alone gay marriage, because when it was written there was no visible gay population. Same-sex marriage was not an issue. Justice Kennedy explains:

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and…

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What’s it like to be a woman?

V B I

Dustin Hoffman is profoundly moved as he remembers and tells what he learned when he played the lead role in “Tootsie.” The video, recently surfaced and now gone viral, reveals how little men understood what it meant to be a woman 30 years ago. Playing a woman was of course challenging to Hoffman as an actor, but the experience also challenged his assumptions and attitudes that he had never questioned.

Playing Dorothy Michaels, Hoffman had an epiphany when he realized that his character wasn’t beautiful, and there was nothing he and his makeup artists could do about it. He would never have given Dorothy, his character, a second look, because he would have judged her exclusively by her looks. Hoffman is moved to tears when he thinks of how many fascinating women he never met or learned from or laughed with, because he was “brainwashed.” Watch the video after the…

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I haven’t interviewed O’Brien yet, so thrilled with this Thanks #OpManning for pointing it out.

Acronym TV

Now that Bradley Manning has admitted to giving classified documents to WikiLeaks, the government insists his crimes are tantamount to support for al-Qaida and international terrorism. These leaks, I would like to suggest, are analogous to somebody violating a jaywalking law in an attempt to save a pedestrian from on oncoming Mac truck. Joining me today by phone from New York to discuss the wide area in between those two extremes is Alexa O’Brien. Alexa is a journalist, researcher, and social activist. She is a co-plaintiff, along with Christopher Hedges in the NDAA suit against the Obama administration trying to overturn the National Defense Authorization act, which states that US citizens can be indefinitely detained without charge or trial. She is currently investigating the Bradley Manning trial and the US government’s pursuit of WikiLeaks. And if you have read the 10,00 word plus transcript of Bradley Manning’s statement to the…

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Marine Corps to spouse clubs: Allow same-sex members or you don’t operate on base

In America

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

(CNN) — It apparently takes more than a few good men, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. It takes all kinds of people to support military families, including same-sex spouses of service members.

CNN published a story this week about a woman married to a female lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg who believes she was rejected from an officers’ spouse club because she’s gay. Late Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary advised Marine Corps legal staff such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-same spouses. If they do not, the clubs will be barred from meeting on any Marine Corps installation.

Ary wrote that clubs cannot discriminate against any member because of “race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin. We would interpret a spouse’s club’s decision to exclude a same-sex spouse as sexual discrimination because the exclusion was based upon the spouse’s…

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Elizabeth Willse: Surrounded by Books

This is just a note to myself, to remind me that sketchpads, about the 9 x 12 size, are essential to the process of writing a paper.

Also, a pack of markers/highlighters in as many colors as possible.

And butcher paper… which makes me deeply glad that Pratt is an art and design school as well as a library school. I can usually get a couple of big sheets of giant paper, without having to figure out where to buy a roll of my own, how to get it home, and where to put it in my wee apartment.

I definitely do not think of myself as An Art Person. I don’t draw. I barely even doodle. I resist playing Pictionary. Nor do I think of myself as A Visual Person. I have trouble with sizes, juxtapositions, assembling furniture, and visualizing anything in detail.

But, for a paper- give me…

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