Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Back in the saddle agin

Many apologies for the past few days' silence. Posting on the road was difficult to begin with, and I wound up too busy to even log on anyway. Finally returned home last night, so I'll be trying to get things back up to speed.

The travels forced me to neglect something here that happened over the weekend: Namely, the debut of The American Street, the group blog in which I am a participant.

The blog is the brainchild of Kevin Hayden of the ReachM High Cowboy Network Noose, which has long been on my blogroll as one of my favorite reads. Just as he did at Open Source Politics (another group site he had a big hand in creating), he's put together a really attractive site that's very effective.

I was reluctant initially to get involved, mostly because (as regular readers here know all too well) I have enough trouble keeping fresh material flowing on my own damned blog. But Kevin's concept -- to bring together a set of talents focused on removing George Bush from office, and to zero in on the electoral politics of swing states -- was quite good, I thought. Moreover, I couldn't resist when I saw the terrific collection of talent he'd brought to the table: Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, Dave Johnson of Seeing the Forest, the inimitable Digby, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Colorado Luis, Angry Bear, and Mary Ratcliff ... well, let's just say that I felt honored to even be invited to join.

And besides, any blog that uses an image of Faulkner in its masthead wins my instant approval.

My first post ran Sunday, and it's titled "Slouching Towards Manzanar". Somewhat predictably, it's long. In fact, it's the first of a four- or five-parter.

The piece is an updated and re-edited version of an article I wrote last spring for Salon, but which they did not use, since it came in at about 10,000 words, much too long for them. Since then, I've tried shopping it around and can't find anyone interested in the topic, which is the relation of the Japanese-American internment camps to the post-9/11 environment -- even though, as you read it, you may find (as I did) that it's extremely relevant.

As you may guess, the article is something of an outgrowth of the work I did in writing Strawberry Days: The Rise and Fall of a Japanese-American Community, about whose publication I hope to make an announcement soon.

I wanted to help get Kevin's blog off to a roaring start, and I thought the best way to do so was to start out with something meaty. But as you can see, my fellow Streeters are already making it a kick-ass blog regardless.

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