Book of the Month

The John Batchelor Show 05/6/2011

Interview with John Batchelor on WABC Radio. John and I discussed my recent CNN column on Republican's Medicare blunder. 04/28/2011

In town hall meetings being held across the country during Congress' two-week recess, American citizens are filling the ears of Republican legislators with objections to the party's budget plan, particularly proposed changes to Medicare that would replace direct coverage with subsidies for private insurance. 04/6/2011

Israel supporters rejoiced on Friday after international jurist Richard Goldstone recanted some conclusions from his investigation into Israel's military actions during the Gaza war two years ago. 02/24/2011

Democratic state legislators have begun fleeing their respective capitals as if the plague has broken out. Perhaps they see it that way. Republicanism has gone viral, and it seems that no state is safe, no matter how unionized. 01/27/2011

I am sad to report that the Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to scrap the beloved five-level, color-coded terrorism advisory system in favor of a new two-tiered system that may or may not have colors.

C-SPAN2 01/23/2011

Michael Wolraich, founder of the political commentary blog,, argues that the political Right foments fear and attacks the Left by the use of "persecution politics." The author examines what he considers is the paranoia of the Right and how it is affecting American political debate. Michael Wolraich presents his book at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in New York City.


AlterNet 01/22/2011

In December 2004, when Bill O’Reilly was warning the nation that dark forces were threatening to destroy Christmas, Glenn Beck was touring local performance venues across the country on a “politically incorrect comedic romp” called the Real American Christmas Tour. His show satirized the secularization of Christmas with songs like “Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas.”

As Beck’s popularity grew, his routine became darker. Or perhaps, as his routine became darker, his popularity grew. In 2006, he joined CNN Headline News with a one-hour program offering “an unconventional look at the news of the day featuring Beck’s often amusing perspective.” Beck promised to present “a different take” to viewers who were “tired of the predictable left-versus-right debates.” His show did prove unconventional and unpredictable, and it was often amusing, though perhaps not in the way that CNN intended.

Read the full excerpt at AlterNet

The John Batchelor Show 01/7/2011

Interview with John Batchelor on WABC Radio. John and I sought common ground between the left and the right in defusing the bitter political acrimony that has consumed the American politics.

Listen online 12/18/2010

I'm not a Christian, but like many Jews, I've envied Christmas since childhood. I like the twinkly lights, pink-cheeked carolers, heartwarming television specials, and exuberantly ho-ho-ho-ing Santa Clauses ... pretty much everything except the endless renditions of "Jingle Bells" warbling from every audio speaker in the country.

Most of all, I love the spirit of good will associated with Christmas -- smiles from strangers, charitable giving and other acts of kindness. We Jews have a holiday called Purim for spreading joy and charity, but Purim also involves raucously cheering the murder of 75,000 Persians, which is somewhat low on the good will meter.

Read the full article at

Booklist Online: Book Reviews from the American Library Association 12/7/2010

The persecution narratives of right-wing extremists aimed at stirring up hysteria about the “socialist“ agenda of the Democrats generally and President Obama specifically are part of a long history of fearmongering and paranoia, asserts political blogger Wolraich. Citing broadcasts and blogs by Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and others, Wolraich scoffs at claims that there is a conspiracy to destroy Christmas in an overwhelmingly Christian nation or that Obama’s policies are racist and aimed at helping minorities at the expense of whites. He intersperses his criticism of modern extremists with historical perspectives on fearmongering and paranoid campaigns, including the execution of Socrates on charges of corrupting youth, the banning of Shakespeare from London on similar fears, bans on comic books in the U.S., and the Red-baiting of the McCarthy era. He dates the intermingling of right-wing extremism and religious fundamentalism to the 1980s with the IRS crackdown on the tax-exempt status of segregated schools. The Tea Party is the latest manifestation of worries about hodgepodge conspiracies that are being dangerously exploited by political opportunists. Wolraich is keenly analytical and often caustic in this compelling look at the use of persecution to push politics to the extreme.

— Vanessa Bush

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