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Day and night bombs, shells, GBU39 radioactive arms, and machine gun rounds are being fired by the Israeli Defense Forces from air, sea, and land against a civilian population of one-and-a-half million. The estimated number of mutilated and dead increases with each news report from international journalists, all of whom are forbidden by Israel to enter the Strip. Yet the crucial figure is that for a single Israeli casualty, there are one hundred Palestinian casualties. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives. The implications of this assumption are constantly reiterated by Israeli spokesmen in order to make them acceptable and normal. The massacre will soon be followed by pestilence; most lodgings have neither water nor electricity, the hospitals lack doctors, medicines, and generators. The massacre follows a blockage and siege. –“A Place Weeping,” John Berger, The Threepenny Review
In the sentencing hearing on Monday, Judge Urbina said he would like to see Dr. Bodnar write a book about the Plavix case as a cautionary tale to other executives. The case concerned accusations that Bristol-Myers had made false statements to federal investigators about the company’s attempt to resolve a patent dispute with a Canadian maker of generic drugs, Apotex. The Justice Department contended that the company in 2006 made a secret deal, in which Apotex would hold off making a generic version of Plavix. In exchange, the Justice Department said, Bristol-Myers indicated that it would subsequently give Apotex an exclusivity period in which it could produce its Plavix generic without Bristol’s making a generic of its own. –“Judge Orders Former Bristol-Myers Executive to Write Book ,” Natasha Singer, The New York Times
The workers file in every morning at nine and grab coffee from the huge percolator I found while cleaning out the garage. I direct them with words I have recently learned: spackle, valance, WD-40. There is Reid, a squat hapa with gelled curls who does the electrical; he is quiet, a little moody, like you when you first come home and must adjust to being a child again. Terrance is redoing the bathroom tile. Such a talented singer—a finalist on Hawaiian Idol—and so good looking! I think he’s Filipino. Finally, there is Mani, the Fijian painter who says he went to high school with you. He owns his own painting company. Do you remember him? He tells me his mother was part Indian; that she died. I suppose I could tell by his long, tapered nose, his upturned eyes. When he is done here, I will give him the Ganesh that hangs above our doorway. As the realtor advised, I’ve cleared away most of the Indian things for the open house next week. –“House of Men,” by Shivani Manghnani, Boston Review
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.”