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Eventually we pile into a luxury bus and head out to the highway, where traffic is stopped so that truly important citizens can follow state and city police escorts through the traffic while the rest of us wait for them to pass. In America, you don’t have to be the President’s brother or cousin to merit special treatment. Anyone with money can buy the local cops, along with the obeisance of fellow motorists; for a brief moment it must feel amazing. As we sit in traffic, bets are taken on who will get the high score on a new iPhone app called Urinal Test. I like these men. They behave like animals because that is what the orderly functioning of the markets demands. –“Are you ready for some free fall?” by contributing editor David Samuels, in The National
Travis swatted the side-view mirror off the squad car “like it was butter,” Officer Chiafari said. As Officer Chiafari puzzled over how he could help the victim, Travis returned to the porch, then calmly walked around his car and approached the driver-side door.
“I forgot I had the door unlocked,” Officer Chiafari said. He had unlocked it to help Ms. Nash before the chimp distracted him. “He pulls the door open. Now we’re, like, face to face with each other. Our eyes met.”
There was blood all over the chimp, whose owner had stabbed him in the back with a butcher knife. The chimp seemed as surprised that he had opened the door as Officer Chiafari, who was pinned in his seat by a computer console and again drawing his pistol.
“He gave me a split second to react,” he said. “He shows his teeth, a snarl, and I see blood. I see his fangs. I just start to shoot.” –“After Shooting Chimp, a Police Officer’s Descent,” Michael Wilson, The New York Times
The quest for innocence in political journalism means the desire to be manifestly agenda-less and thus “prove” in the way you describe things that journalism is not an ideological trade. But this can get in the way of describing things! As it did in Barstow’s account. Now let’s speed up the picture and imagine how this interference in truth-telling happens routinely, many times a day over years and years of reporting on politics. What’s lost is that sense of reality Isaiah Berlin talked about. In its place is savviness, the dialect of insiders trying to persuade us that they know how things really work. Nothing is more characteristic of the savvy style than statements like “perception is often reality in politics.” –“The Quest for Innocence and the Loss of Reality in Political Journalism,” Jay Rosen, PressThink
Chances that an American knows the position of his or her senators on health-care reform:
Climate experts proposed creating a fleet of cloud-seeding yachts that will pump water vapor into the atmosphere to thicken global cloud cover, thereby reflecting more sunlight, in order to counteract the effects of global warming.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."