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One of the boys, Omar, tells how he was beaten, tortured, and interrogated for hours that day, with the soldiers asking about the guerrillas. “They asked for Ramiro, but I didn’t say anything. It went on for about five hours. They stepped on my bare feet with their boots and boxed my ears with their open palms. They said that if I told anyone about it they would kill me,” says Omar. He was able to escape later that night…. Alejandro, in his late 20s, also ran into the mountains that first day where he hid with other villagers for four days without eating. “How can one trust such a government,” he asks. “Here you live in fear. You see a soldier and run to the hills.” He tells how he returned to his house to find his few possessions and clothes all on the floor, dirty and broken. “Imagine if the government arrived to support agricultural production instead of repressing,” he says. “But… the criminals are part of the government itself. What is happening is that the government is forcing the poor to take other measures, even though they don’t want to.” –“The Hidden Side of Mexico’s Drug War,” John Gibler, Z Magazine
Find a lawyer if you’re busted with marijuana;
or save money by making your own quasi-legal designer drugs, as described in “High Space: An online interactive psycho-pharmocopoeia,” by Ryan Grim, Harper’s Magazine, June 2007 (subscription-only);
or better yet, just drink chai, which has some debatable medicinal properties;
make sure, however, not to act like Chai Vang, a multiple murderer;
or Chai Jin, a fictional character in the traditional Chinese novel Water Margin who has “eyebrows like those of a dragon, eyes like a phoenix, and red lips and white teeth”
For Roth, in his fiction, sex is an act both of supreme self-assertion and rebellion–of rebellion against bourgeois convention, against death itself. Sex simultaneously offers a release from and heightening of the self, a way to the truth. His lead men invariably seek to find a woman who is their equal in appetite in what Iago called “preposterous desires.” This ideal woman is often subliterate or anti-intellectual, an immigrant such as the Croat Drenka Balich, from Sabbath’s Theatre, on whose grave men would return long after her death to masturbate in memory of her astounding sexual capacities. She is the young Cuban beauty Consuela Castillo, a “masterpiece of volupté” who has an affair with the aged libertine David Kepesh in the affecting The Dying Animal. And, in The Humbling, she is Pegeen Stapleford, a full-figured, 40-year-old lesbian who begins an affair with Axler in defiance of her sexuality and her parents, old friends of the actor… It is Pegeen who introduces the dildos and whips into her sex life with Axler; he, in turn, introduces her to the penis. “It fills you up,” she says, “the way dildos and fingers don’t. It’s alive. It’s a living thing.” –“The Humbling, by Philip Roth,” Jason Cowley, New Statesman
Why do women writers hate other women writers?;
why does Gore Vidal hate sexually-abused little girls?: “am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?”;
is it for the same reason that animal rights activists hate science?;
or does it have to do with India, reputed birthplace of science, and the land where history’s first nose job–not on Ganesh, apparently–was performed?
Estimates of the Arab growth rate, both within Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, vary widely. A maximalist school holds that the Palestinian population on both sides of the 1949 armistice lines is expanding far more rapidly than the Jewish sector and will surpass it in less than a decade. Countering this claim, a minimalist school insists that the Arab birthrate in Israel is declining and that the population of the territories, because of emigration, is also shrinking…. Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal… In the absence of a realistic two-state paradigm, international pressure will grow to transform Israel into a binational state. This would spell the end of the Zionist project. Confronted with the lawlessness and violence endemic to other one-state situations in the Middle East such as Lebanon and Iraq, multitudes of Israeli Jews will emigrate.–“Seven Existential Threats,” Michael B. Oren, Commentary
Why does Ron Artest love Afghan women enough to sing about them?; is it for the same reason that high school football fans in the south love praying so much? (Or is it just because they think it will help them win, or maybe it’s because they love God and hate homosexuals?)
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”