Still, the Simm case reveals just how much of a risk [NATO] was taking when it gradually expanded eastward after the end of the Cold War. Each of its current 28 member states now enjoys access to almost all the classified information within the alliance. For experts, this is already unsettling enough. But even more worrisome is the fact that members of the old elite — whose loyalties once lay with a completely different political system — now work in the security apparatus of some of the new member states. In other words, people like Herman Simm. –“Betrayer and Betrayed,” Fidelius Schmid and Andreas Ulrich, Der Spiegel
Philippine Suffrage is a cadaver, madly piloting a gurney into an open grave. And being a cadaver, bloodless. Rather, instead of thinking corruption, nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, and fraud, think “royalty” out of which representatives are chosen. In this class, certain families dominate. Old Money. New Money. Old Money, the long-standing families that have owned 95% of the country’s wealth for at least a century. Wonder why there are only two breweries in the Philippines? Cuz cousin cousin, beer is kept in the family, albeit only two. Think Cojuangco. That said, with sugar cane, old tobacco, banks, shopping centers, etc, Old Money has bought its seat in the Forum and there is no law that can evict them. You’d just have civil war. New Money, the actors/actresses of stage and screen. You can just trust the face that has beguiled you for years. As if their scripted dialogue, having moved a nation into the cinema can move a nation out of international debt. In Manila, performers do not retire; they form political parties around their cult of personality. So, whereas term limits are to shorten time in political office, rotate old blood with new blood, what it really does—just shuffle family members and drama queens. –“Conversations at a Wartime Café,” Sean Labrador y Manzano, McSweeney’s
“Vaht khappens to a dream deferred?” he began with a thick Russian accent. “Does it dry up like a raisin in zee sun?”
I was stunned. In a battered old schoolhouse in a tiny industrial city in a Muslim former Soviet republic on Iran’s northern border in Central Asia, a skinny 15-year-old was demonstrating his English skills by reciting a Langston Hughes poem. Contemporary American pop culture spreads far and fast these days. So I hadn’t been surprised to learn that even in an isolated, totalitarian country like Turkmenistan, 50 Cent’s rhymes had snuck into the hearts of thousands of young people via satellite television. But it was a mystery to me how the work of a decades-dead African American writer – one who is growing more obscure in the US with each passing year – had slipped into its public schools. –“From Turkmenistan to America: How I Found Langston Hughes,” Sam Tranum, Literary Traveler
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Ratio of children’s emergency-room visits for injuries related to fireworks last year to those related to “desk supplies”:
The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.
The Islamic State opened two new theme parks featuring a Ferris wheel, teacup rides, and bumper 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.”