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The global economic crisis has hit home for Tom Friedman. When the New York Times columnist married heiress Ann Bucksbaum in 1978, he joined one of America’s richest families: The Bucksbaums founded General Growth Properties, the shopping mall giant worth an estimated $4 billion just two years ago…
But their retirement fund probably just got smaller. In one of the largest real estate failures ever, GGP filed for Chapter 11 last week, and the Bucksbaum family fortune is now down to a measly $25 million.
Estimated total value in December 2007 of the family fortune of Thomas Friedman’s wife: $3,500,000,000
Percentage change in the value of that fortune since then: –97
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”