Gary Locke

Gary Locke

The last 100 or so years of academic literary criticism have been spectacularly heterogeneous. A century that began with dons arguing about Chaucer’s verbs as if their lives were at stake and showering one another with Festschriften ended with Jonathan Goldberg’s famous essay ‘The Anus in Coriolanus.’ The same poem by, say, Marvell might, depending upon whom one reads, be a dry, delicious repository of philological knowledge or a helpful data point for those interested in the history of bourgeois exploitation. It might be “about” almost anything: the bliss of prelapsarian man, trees, nothing.

Ukraine Peace Talks Aborted as Civilians Die in East

A man walks past a shop which was recently damaged by shelling, at a local market in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, January 29, 2015

DONETSK, Ukraine/MINSK (Reuters) – Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began.

Wife of Flogged Saudi Blogger Says His Health is Worsening

Ensaf Haidar

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The wife of a Saudi rights activist, sentenced last year to 1,000 lashes for criticizing the Kingdom’s clerics in his blog, said on Thursday her husband’s health had worsened after the first round of flogging and that he could not survive the full punishment.

Iran Celebrates Hezbollah Attack on Israel

An Israeli helicopter flies over the Israel-Lebanon border, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) celebrated Hezbollah’s deadly surprise attack on Israel Wednesday and vowed to stand with the terror group “against the Zionists,” according to regional media reports.

Google Admits to Screening YouTube Stars’ Questions for Obama

AP

Google has admitted it was involved in selecting which questions Youtube stars asked President Obama during a recent series of interviews organized by the company. One of the interviewers, Hank Green of Vlog Brothers, confirmed in his own social media posting that Google had intervened in his question selection.

At Least Eight Dead as Gunmen Storm Tripoli Hotel

Security forces surround Corinthia hotel after a car bomb in Tripoli January 27, 2015

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – At least eight people, including five foreigners, were killed when gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Tuesday, a local security official said.

Raging Bill

Raging Bill 485

Darkness. A beat, then the following appears on the screen:

“A Scorsese Documentary on Bill Clinton Is Stalled”

—New York Times, January 22, 2015

Fade in on movie director Martin Scorsese—72 years old, white hair, bushy eyebrows, horn rimmed glasses—talking on the phone. As he speaks, the camera pulls back, showing him pacing in a nondescript conference room. Posters for Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Hugo, The Departed, Bringing Out the Dead, and Wolf of Wall Street hang on the walls.

New Details of Delays at Phoenix VA

AP

The Phoenix veterans’ hospital does not have accurate data on nearly a quarter of patients in need of urological care, according to a new report by the inspector general.

“In approximately 23 percent of the total cases reviewed, we frequently found approved authorizations for care, notations that authorizations were sent to contracted providers, and often scheduled dates and times of appointments with [non-Veterans Affairs] urologists.”

With Friends Like These

Gore Vidal / AP

Michael Mewshaw, a magazine writer and mid-list novelist whose books you probably haven’t read, once knew Gore Vidal. Reasonably well, as it happens. They met through a mutual friend in the ’70s, when Vidal had just turned fifty and Mewshaw was getting his start as a writer. For a time, both lived in Rome, and Vidal often entertained Mewshaw and his wife there.

Cruz Calls for Investigation Into State Dept.-Funded Nonprofit

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz’s office called for an investigation on Thursday into the State Department’s funding of a nonprofit group that is assisting a campaign aimed at defeating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nick Muzin, deputy chief of staff for Cruz, said the senator was “very disturbed by the reports that the State Department has funded an organization that’s playing a direct role in trying to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Gun Rights Groups Not Satisfied By DC Issuing Carry Permits

NRA

Leading gun rights groups say Washington, D.C.’s issuance of a limited number of gun carry permits has not lessened their objections to the city’s law. Though the Metropolitan Police Department has approved a handful of applicants to carry firearms in the city, gun rights organizations continue to argue that the permitting process is too restrictive. The groups slammed the District of Columbia’s actions as defying a federal judge’s order as well as the Constitution.

New Details of Delays at Phoenix VA

AP

The Phoenix veterans’ hospital does not have accurate data on nearly a quarter of patients in need of urological care, according to a new report by the inspector general.

“In approximately 23 percent of the total cases reviewed, we frequently found approved authorizations for care, notations that authorizations were sent to contracted providers, and often scheduled dates and times of appointments with [non-Veterans Affairs] urologists.”

Ukraine Peace Talks Aborted as Civilians Die in East

A man walks past a shop which was recently damaged by shelling, at a local market in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, January 29, 2015

DONETSK, Ukraine/MINSK (Reuters) – Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began.