From the Stacks: March 30, 2006

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.

According to the
Marijuana Policy Report,
‘the greatest harm associated with marijuana is prison.’ The
newsletter, released three times each year by the nonprofit
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), is dedicated to defending the
medicinal value of marijuana and removing criminal penalties
associated with the leafy, green plant. Its pages are packed with
prisoners’ stories, legislative rulings, and new scientific studies
related to pot. The spring issue highlights findings published in
the American Journal of Psychiatry indicating that
marijuana is not a ‘gateway’ drug, but that environmental factors
have a greater effect on kids’ decisions to light up. With a new
case involving pro-pot free speech
hitting
the Supreme Court last week
, marijuana is still making
headlines, and we’re eager to read MPP’s take on the issue. —
Mary O’Regan

B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne all sit on the
advisory board of the Music Maker
Relief Foundation
(MMRF), a charity set up to help ‘the true
pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition
and meet their day to day needs.’ The latest issue of the MMRF’s
newsletter, Music Maker Rag, tells the story behind the
organization’s inception,? when Tim and Denise Duffy came across
several blues musicians living in the ghettos of North Carolina and
realized that poverty among musicians was a widespread problem.
Now, the MMRF is getting the brothers and sisters of blues back on
their feet and chronicling the experience in Music Maker
Rag
. The publication features bios on old-school artists, a
calendar of performances across the country, and ‘Artists’ Notes’
— a collection of blurbs updating readers on what’s new with the
‘bluest of the blues.’ — Mary O’Regan

Judging from the
incredible photos of landscapes and wildlife in
Up Here,
Canada’s far north is a pretty nice place to be. The magazine,
published eight times a year, is sent to us from ‘the top of the
world,’ a geographical position the magazine’s editors are proud to
inhabit. Most of us would imagine an inhospitably frigid landscape,
but Up Here illustrates a rich life near the Arctic with
pieces on history, culture, art, and language. For those
adventurous enough to make the trek up north, the April issue
offers a ‘Survive-the-Drive Guide,’ teaching readers how to share
the highways with grizzly bears and what to do if their cars break
down. — Natalie Hudson

The latest issue of
Revolution, a weekly
newspaper printed by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,
attempts to live up to its rebellious name by calling for a massive
movement to kick the Bush administration out of office.
Revolution arms its readers with ‘hidden stories’ and news
from the ‘frontlines of struggle.’ Though it may be difficult —
even for the most left-leaning liberal — to agree with the paper’s
staunch positions, it is a rousing read. Highlights of the March 18
issue include an article explaining the US imperialist strategy for
mounting a war against Iran. — Natalie Hudson

Dabbawalas might have
the most harrowing lunchtime commute in the world. As writer Claude
Marthaler tells it in issue 25 of
Velo Vision, a
UK-based cycling magazine, Mumbai’s lunch carriers (dabba
means ‘lunch’ and wala ‘the one who carries’) transport
meals through the chaos of traffic in the bustling Indian
metropolis. It’s a necessary service, since office workers can’t
bring their lunches with them on the city’s crowded trains.
Dabbawalas often travel by bike, hanging tiffin boxes
(aluminum containers filled with lunches) from their handlebars and
rear carriers, and manage to deliver up to 200,000 meals in Mumbai
each day. — Evelyn Hampton

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