From the Stacks: June 8, 2007

Utne Reader‘s library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500
magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively
dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box
bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights
(and occasional lowlights) of what’s landing in our library each
week in ‘From the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the latest
edition.

New to the Utne
Reader
library this week is the
Dubliner, self-described as ‘Ireland’s
best city magazine.’ The June issue opens with a ‘New Rich/New
Poor’ package, which includes an interesting piece on how the
country’s young bourgeois are incurring rising debts due to loose
spending habits. Also in the cluster is the provocative and funny
‘Ten Reasons Why Money Has Been Good For Ireland.’ In it, writer
Conn Corrigan argues that an influx of money has brought more than
just wealth to the island; it also has made the Irish people
healthier, more tolerant, and even better looking. The
Dubliner is a grab-all lifestyle magazine with articles
ranging from opinion pieces on what those waging the ‘war on
terror’ can learn from Ireland’s Sinn Fein, to photo essays and
entertainment reviews. The magazine’s biting sense of humor — as
evidenced by the ‘Bonologue,’ an irreverent fake diary of the U2
superstar-turned-humanitarian — keeps the heavier pieces from
weighing it down. — Eric Kelsey

An illustration of an
obstreperous drill sergeant trampling sunning coeds underfoot runs
across the cover of the June issue of the
Progressive. The accompanying story
travels to the spring break mecca of Panama City Beach, Florida,
where Army recruiters are trying to enlist some of America’s finest
beer-guzzling students. In relaying several conversations with
often-drunk collegians, author Kirk Nielsen makes it clear that the
Army is trying to tap the wrong crowd. ‘Are we going to get shot?’
one partier responds to entreaties. ‘Because I’m kind of tipsy.’
The more sober-minded spring breakers balk at a $20,000 sign-on
bonus and tuition compensation as an unequal trade for the
possibility of being shipped off to fight. The issue also features
an obituary for Kurt Vonnegut written by historian, friend, and
columnist Howard Zinn. And in the ‘Progressive Interview,’ managing
editor Amitabh Pal sits down with Germany’s former foreign minister
Joschka Fischer, the 60s radical who ascended to the leadership
spot as the head of the German Greens. — Eric Kelsey

A guano-rich cave in the Missouri Ozarks teems with blind
salamanders, pseudo-scorpions, and other rare troglobites, and Tom
and Cathy Aley are determined to keep it that way. The couple’s
passion for conserving caves and the native fauna found therein is
just one of the environmental tales brought to a national
readership by
OnEarth, the quarterly magazine from the
Natural Resources
Defense Council
, one of the nation’s largest environmental
organizations. In addition to troglobites, news items, and
dispatches on the nonprofit’s work, the Summer issue highlights
Lowville, New York, a small farming town that has been transformed
by a massive new wind farm. Awarded an
Utne Independent Press Award for general
excellence in magazines in 2005, OnEarth continues to
provide essential information for environmentalists. — Natalie
Hudson

The June/July issue of
Minnesota Law & Politics takes a star
turn with 2008 senatorial candidate Al Franken donning its cover.
In a lengthy interview, the
comedian-turned-pundit-turned-political-hopeful pushes his talking
points, distances himself from his satire, and inveighs against
incumbent Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. The issue’s gem, however,
is an article parsing the fallout from the short-term appointment
of Robert Delahunty — co-author with John Yoo of a controversial
Department of Justice memo on the detention of enemy combatants
(not the more infamous ‘torture memo’) — at the University of
Minnesota Law School, which is known for its human rights program.
— Eric Kelsey

Surely there are words to encapsulate the whole of
Vallum, but mine were left behind in the
folds of the contemporary poetry magazine; all that remain are the
often-interchangeable feelings of bewilderment and wonderment.
Fittingly, ‘wonder’ is the theme of the journal’s latest issue,
which contains an eclectic and colorful collection of original art,
poetry, and essays that unravel the world from bizarre and
fantastic perspectives. Published twice a year by the Vallum
Society for Arts and Letters Education in Montreal, the journal
prints works from a host of Canadian, American, and international
writers, providing a refreshing variety of style and range of
voice. — Natalie Hudson

In Dollars & Sense, the analysis of
global economic issues reaches beyond numbers to address the impact
of policy and markets on people’s lives. In ‘The Care Gap,’ writer
Robert Drago looks at the 34.9 percent of people in the United
States who are care-dependent, a group consisting mostly of
children under the age of 16, people with limiting disabilities,
and the elderly. Though young people and the disabled are more
likely than the rest of the population to live in poverty, Drago
exposes a lack of adequate care at all income levels, asserting
that everyone suffers when society fails to provide care for its
people. — Julie Dolan

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