Via Ghost Exchange, excerpts from a fascinating PBS interview with former hedge fund analyst Cathy O’Neil on the culture within Wall Street: The basic cultural assumptions were not pleasant to me. The…

Quilts often contain symbolic worlds reflecting aspects of the broader community or society. Artist Kathryn Clark creates “foreclosure quilts”, which are based on maps of cities, with holes representing foreclosed homes: From…

Thomas Frank on the establishment economists, bankers, journalists, and foreign policy experts who create our consensus reality, via the Baffler: A résumé filled with grievous errors in the period 1996–2006 is not…

Reuters offers a hypnotic glimpse inside a desert community which blurs the line between homeless encampment and off-the-grid utopian commune. Populated by hippies, the blue collar elderly, and families with young children,…

240px-Frederick_Douglass_portraitFrom Military Resistance: “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.” —Frederick Douglass, 1852

Oil prices are rocketing. Iranian warships are moving into the Mediterranean to shadow the US warships already there. Propaganda news is growing with rumors of Al Qaeda links with Iran, and, then, less speculative news about real links between the terror groups and the armed opposition in Syria.

As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi puts it, the smell of war is in the air and on the air,

“You can just feel it: many of the same newspapers and TV stations we saw leading the charge in the Bush years have gone back to the attic and are dusting off their war pom-poms.”

We live in an increasingly degraded country. Our politics are degraded and a laughing stock to the world. Our military is demoralized and degraded with soldiers urinating on dead civilians and awaiting…

“Brace yourself, the American Empire is over, and the descent is going to be horrifying.” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges conducts an illuminating if depressing discussion on politics, poverty, and everything else regarding the way we live today and where we are headed:

Pope BenedictWait a second — does this make Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich a couple o’ them “Cafeteria Catholics”? From Francis X. Rocca at the Huffington Post:

VATICAN CITY (RNS)— Noting a “rising sense of frustration” at the worldwide economic recession, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”

The pope’s words appeared in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012, released on Friday (Dec. 16) at the Vatican.

The message laments that “some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity.”

Authentic education, Benedict writes, teaches the proper use of freedom with “respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one’s own.”

Shocking police confrontations with the Occupy movement are not limited to the coasts, don’t ya know. Protesters in Minneapolis challenged the police directly to protect a woman’s home and won:

November 19th, 2011: Following two arrests and an incident in which a police officer tried to run down an occupier with a squad car, Occupy Minneapolis formed a human chain around Sa’ra Kaiser’s foreclosed home, preventing the officers from boarding it up, and ultimately forcing the police – who had no legitimate legal pretense for preventing occupiers from being there in the first place – to give up and leave.

Confused about what has unfolded since 2008? The sublime absurdity of bank bailouts and what we have(n’t) gotten in return, laid out in adorable animated form: