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At first glance, the Study Area presented as a junkyard, but one in which people were living. Tents of various vintage were observed. In addition, the following materials had been used to construct dwellings within the Study Area: Plyboard. Blue plastic tarp material. Tree limbs. Lengths of string, wire, and rope. Large wooden cable spools. Shopping carts. Construction pallets. A piece of inverted signage reading: lt. governor bustamante, working for families. Rocks, bags of dirt, and an office chair had been used to secure a tin roof. The yard of one house boasted a number of well-tended houseplants, including several cacti. This house also had a white metal screen door neatly mounted into its frame and an American flag flying above it on a tilted pole. At a nearby house, dozens of branches from an artificial Christmas tree had been inserted at regular intervals into the siding, decoratively….Based on a pre-Study survey of existing media information, the Principle Researcher (PR) had expected the tent city to be populated by middle-class individuals recently made homeless by the economic downturn, beaten but not destroyed, a kindly Steinbeckian gathering of stoic types, possibly playing guitars, who would welcome the PR, gratified that someone had come to document their plight. The PR left the Study Area and drove around Fresno for several hours, seeking a more Steinbeckian tent city. Although promising pockets of poverty were observed, no Steinbeckian tent city was found.–“Tent City, U.S.A.,” George Saunders, GQ
North Korean agrarian nostalgia: “the village where she grew up, just beyond the smokestacks of Ch’ongjin, was not such a bad place in the seventies and eighties”;
sending the Vietnamese to Antarctica
The unfolding generational pattern in Star Wars would predict that the full story will begin with the youth of Darth Vader and Ben Kenobi and end with the coming to maturity of the as yet unborn child. Star Wars offers itself as a tessera, a deliberate fragment designed to lead us on. Conjecture about the whole may be unnecessary; Time magazine tells us that the sequence will look something like this:
I II Fall of the republic and the rise of the empire III IV A New Hope } V The Empire Strikes Back Skywalker VI Revenge of the Jedi VII VIII Rebuilding of the republic IX
Young girls in disturbing Halloween costumes;
student in Georgia harassed, forced from school because his clothes not manly enough (“I don’t consider myself a cross-dresser. This is just who I am.”);
don’t tell anyone you home-school the kids
Will Obama’s administration end up as a remake of Jimmy Carter’s? Carter started out with his own take on the “audacity of hope”: let’s lose our “inordinate fear of communism.” Toward the end of his term—the Soviets had just invaded Afghanistan—he recanted. “That action had made a more dramatic change” in his view of their true goals “than anything they have done in the previous time I have been in office.” Two hundred and fifty days into his first term, it is now reasonably clear that Mr. Obama is heading in the same direction—if he continues to walk the road paved with good intentions. The man who knows better than most how to calculate and corral power at home, who beat the mighty Hillary machine and snipped away John McCain, does not seem to appreciate the game nations play. In that game, nice guys don’t win. –“The Age of Nice, or Politics as Psychiatry,” Josef Joffe, Commentary
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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