Note from the Editors

The illness-industry profiteers are suffering veritable coronaries over the threat of US health care reform. Whether in the form of simple cost-cutting efficiencies or outright coverage for all, lobbyists, politicians, and pundits alike are slinging socialist epithets hoping to quell the growing sentiment that access to health care is a basic human right and a single-payer system is not such a bad idea. If you're still swallowing the scare-tactic propaganda, Gilles d'Aymery reminds us of the facts and figures behind health-care costs that are bleeding consumers dry, and shares the recent remarks of Senator Bernie Sanders on a national health care system. Of course, change is typically attached to strings, as in the recent credit-card reform bill that permitted loaded guns in National Parks, the irony of which Jan Baughman illustrates in cartoon form. That very attitude -- the need to be armed while camping -- is symptomatic of the chasm, described by Martin Murie, between those who care about living with other species and those who don't. Considering the chasm between capitalist interests and indigenous rights, which Michael Barker analyses in the context of Rio Tinto's mining exploits in Indonesia, it's little wonder that protection of species -- human or otherwise -- is a never-ending battle... Jim Tull provides some encouraging words for activists who may at times get discouraged, as well as some food for thought on how to influence cultural shift by learning fast, not acting fast.

Thoughts on food are contemplated by two contributors this time around -- Graham Lea examines the French bread subcultures in a humorous and didactic commentary, and Harvey Whitney shares his observations from a buffet line on American gluttony, body image, and the influence of the media on both. Two perspectives on music wax nostalgic for previous eras: Charles Marowitz considers the neglected Golden Days composer Walter Donaldson, while Raju Peddada appreciates everything from classical music to classic rock -- everything but migraine-inducing Rap, that is. Peter Byrne pulls a new book off the shelf and reviews Nelson Algren's Who Lost An American? and Notes from a Sea Diary, two treasures that have been combined in a single volume. In the language department, Marie Rennard reveals a translator's thoughts on the vain pleasures of etymology, in which tracing word origins from one language to another is anything but a trivial pursuit, and Guido Monte offers another serving of multilingual, enigmatic poetry. We close with your letters, from the CEO of World Land Trust defending against Michael Barker's recent critique, to Peter Byrne on his Gore Vidal review, not much cared for by one reader.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

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America: Myths and Realities

Gilles d'Aymery:  American Sick Care Vs. Wellness

Facts and figures behind America's so-called greatest health care system, and who stands to gain and lose from a single-payer system.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Card-Carrying Campers

Editorial cartoon: Though the subject is no laughing matter, this cartoon illustrates how so-called credit card reform to protect consumers puts them at risk thanks to an amendment to allow firearms in National Parks.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  The Great Chasm

Environmentalist Martin Murie reminds us that human beings can, and should, live within nature and other species.   More...


Michael Barker:  Dreams Of Social Responsibility: Rio Tinto, Capitalism, and Indigenous Rights

Examination of Rio Tinto's relations with indigenous rights activists in Australia.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Jim Tull:  What We Think Is What We Get

To save the world, we must learn fast, not act fast.   More...


Franco-American Food Paradigms

Graham Lea:  FRENCH BREAD: The Baguette Versus Pain de Campagne

Vive la boulangerie! While bread preferences are changing in France with pain de campagne returning to favor over the baguette, sliced white bread thankfully remains a largely foreign concept.   More...


Harvey E. Whitney, Jr.:  Observations Of The Body And American Culture From The Buffet Line

A reflection on corporate/mainstream media driven judgments of body image.   More...


The World of Music

Charles Marowitz:  The Neglected Walter Donaldson

Charles Marowitz considers the indelible music of Walter Donaldson, who captured the rollicking spirit of the 1920s.   More...


Raju Peddada:  The Sputtering Volume: The irreversible fade of pop music

The author considers how classic and classical music exerts a physiological effect on our mood, while the contemporary music industry is dying.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Captain Algren At The Tiller

Nelson Algren's Who Lost An American? and Notes from a Sea Diary: Hemingway all the way have been combined in a single volume, which Peter Byrne reviews.   More...


On Languages

Marie Rennard:  Crossed Etymologies

A translator's thoughts on the vain pleasures of etymology, in which tracing word origins from one language to another is anything but a trivial pursuit.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Ultima

Free association of ideas by Guido Monte, through his way of linguistic blending.   More...


Letters to the Editor


The World Land Trust's CEO defends his organization against Michael Barker's critique and Gilles d'Aymery's challenge, and Peter Byrne replies to a reader who hated his silly Gore Vidal commentary.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: June 15, 2009