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Haiti is everybody’s cherished tragedy. Long before the great earthquake struck the country like a vengeful god, the outside world, and Americans especially, described, defined, marked Haiti most of all by its suffering. Epithets of misery clatter after its name like a ball and chain: Poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. One of the poorest on earth. For decades Haiti’s formidable immiseration has made it among outsiders an object of fascination, wonder and awe. Sometimes the pity that is attached to the land — and we see this increasingly in the news coverage this past week — attains a tone almost sacred, as if Haiti has taken its place as a kind of sacrificial victim among nations, nailed in its bloody suffering to the cross of unending destitution. –“To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature,” Mark Danner, New York Times
More from Harper’s contributor Mark Danner
Things that simply can’t be true, but may be: “Necrophiliacs behind Haiti Facebook hoax”;
Anderson Cooper isn’t exactly heroic, but he’s hardly the world’s worst human being;
actor Danny Glover may be every bit as stupid as Pat Robertson
Ha, who manages a stall that sells artificial maidenheads at a commercial center near Tan Thanh border gate, said the hymens are sold two at a time in a box that costs VND700,000 (US$38), accompanied with a solution that costs VND380,000. Customers are told to use one hymen first to see how it feels and the other one in a “real situation”…. The artificial hymen, which is a 6.5×3.5 centimeter rectangular piece made of a transparent material that shrinks and dissolves after being soaked in hot water, will expire in two years, according to the label. Ha said she sells almost all the hymens to beauty salons in Hanoi. “Retailing it here could easily get me caught.” –“Virginity Protected for $38 at China Border,” Thanh Nhien
Three things you (hopefully) already know about the Internet: smiling will up your chances of finding a mate;
blogging about Park Slope in the Times is a dangerous business;
and Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban is smarter than you might think
The garden-based curriculum has good news for the state’s catastrophically underachieving students: a giant team of volunteers is ready to help them. Here is how our garden-loving, home-cooking, recycling superintendent of instruction describes one of the program’s principal advantages in the introduction to A Child’s Garden of Standards, a gargantuan compendium of charts and lesson plans intended to link the beloved method of gardening with the hard-ass objectives of the state standards: “Some families, particularly those from other countries, may feel uncomfortable when asked to help out at school because their English skills or educational background do not give them a solid classroom footing. For these families, the living classroom of a garden can be a much more inviting environment in which to engage in their children’s education.” If this patronizing agenda were promulgated in the Jim Crow South by a white man who was espousing a sharecropping curriculum for African American students, we would see it for what it is: a way of bestowing field work and low expectations on a giant population of students who might become troublesome if they actually got an education. –“Cultivating Failure,” Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic Monthly
Is there any value in being the search engine for “food lovers?”
And why would anyone want to grow pork in a laboratory?
Because when you’re really serious about killing, you boil your victims in lye and then stew them with hominy
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
A farmer in Kenya bit a python who tried to eat him.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”