February 11th, 2008

Chris Keeley


I've been reading Barack Obama's first book "Dreams from my Father". He writes in some detail about a period during high school when he was regularly using drugs: - Dreams from my Father, pages 93-94 - "I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze, maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack though. Junkie. Pothead That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. Except the highs hadn't been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory. I had discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van or in the dorm room of some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiin kids who had dropped out of school and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. Nobody asked you whether your father was a fat-cat executive who cheated on his wife or some laid-off joe who slapped you around whenever he bothered to come home. You might just be bored or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. And if the high didn't solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism." -Barack Obama, 1995
Chris Keeley

Paul Krugman on the Democratic Campaign--NYTimes 2/11/08

February 11, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Hate Springs Eternal

In 1956 Adlai Stevenson, running against Dwight Eisenhower, tried to make the political style of his opponent's vice president, a man by the name of Richard Nixon, an issue. The nation, he warned, was in danger of becoming "a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland."

The quote comes from "Nixonland," a soon-to-be-published political history of the years from 1964 to 1972 written by Rick Perlstein, the author of "Before the Storm." As Mr. Perlstein shows, Stevenson warned in vain: during those years America did indeed become the land of slander and scare, of the politics of hatred.

And it still is. In fact, these days even the Democratic Party seems to be turning into Nixonland.

The bitterness of the fight for the Democratic nomination is, on the face of it, bizarre. Both candidates still standing are smart and appealing. Both have progressive agendas (although I believe that Hillary Clinton is more serious about achieving universal health care, and that Barack Obama has staked out positions that will undermine his own efforts). Both have broad support among the party's grass roots and are favorably viewed by Democratic voters.

Supporters of each candidate should have no trouble rallying behind the other if he or she gets the nod.

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Chris Keeley

February 26 Empire Salon Reminder

A Reminder .... Please join us

for an

Empire Salon

featuring a rare opportunity to discuss with

William R. Polk

his book

Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism & Guerrilla War
from the American Revolution to Iraq

(Please see attached outstanding book review)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

6:30 p.m.

1785 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 100 (one block off Dupont Circle)

Cocktails and Hors D'ouevres served

If you have not already done so, please RSVP to Lisa Nitze at

William R. Polk studied at Harvard (BA 1951, PhD 1958) and Oxford (BA
1955, MA 1959). At Harvard he helped establish the Middle Eastern
Studies Center and taught history, government and Arabic literature. He
was appointed a Member of the Policy Planning Council by President
Kennedy. In that capacity, he was in charge of planning American policy
in most of the Islamic world and also served as director of the
interdepartmental task force that helped end the Algerian war,
negotiated a ceasefire between Egypt and Israel and was a member of the
Crisis Management Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1965, he resigned from government service to become Professor of
History at the University of Chicago. There he also established the
Center for Middle Eastern Studies and was a founding director of the
Middle Eastern Studies Association. In 1967, he also became President of
the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs.

Among his books on history, world affairs and the Middle East are The
United States and the Arab World (Harvard 1965, 1969, 1975, 1980, 1991);
Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs (University
of Chicago Press, 1997); The Elusive Peace: The Middle East in the
Twentieth Century (Croom Helm and St. Martins, 1979); Polk's Folly
(Doubleday, 1999, 2000); Understanding Iraq (HarperCollins 2005, 2006);
The Birth of America (HarperCollins, 2006); Out of Iraq: A Practical
Plan for Withdrawal Now (with former Senator George McGovern, Simon and
Schuster, 2006) and Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism
& Guerrilla War from the American Revolution to Iraq (HarperCollins,

He has lectured at many universities and at the U.S. National War
College, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Royal Institute of
International Affairs, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs,
the American Foreign Policy Association, and the Soviet Academy of
Sciences as well as many civic groups and universities. William Polk
currently lives in France.
Chris Keeley

Miller in Man Ray’s “La Révolution Surréaliste,

    January 21, 2008
    In this issue of the magazine, Judith Thurman writes about Lee Miller, the playgirl, model, photographer, muse, and war correspondent whose work is featured in a retrospective, “The Art of Lee Miller,” which opens on January 26th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “She had the gift of finding beauty in a wasteland, and her eye tends to petrify what it looks at,” Thurman writes. “Organic forms and living creatures become abstract in her pictures, but movingly so—the way a nymph fleeing an aggressor is transformed into a star.” Here is a portfolio of Miller’s work in front of and behind the camera.

Lee Miller with Rolleiflex,” Egypt, 1935.
Photographer unknown.

“Picnic: Nusch and Paul Éluard, Roland Penrose, Man Ray, and Ady Fidelin,”
Île Sainte-Marguerite, Cannes, France, 1937.

© 2008 Lee Miller Archives, England, All rights reserved