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As with most USAID “implementing partners” in Iraq and Afghanistan, International Relief and Development delegated much of its authority to local subcontractors; in the case of the Community Stabilization Program, this meant paying Iraqis to hire other Iraqis to clear streets of rubble and trash. The upshot was that money had to pass through several middlemen before reaching its intended target, flowing from USAID to IRD to IRD subcontractors—to sub-subcontractors sometimes, sub-sub-subcontractors other times—to young men at risk of joining the insurgency. On paper the scheme was successful. By the summer of 2007, IRD was not only meeting its employment goals; it was far exceeding them. The problem was that the reports belied rather than reflected reality. –“Aiding the Insurgency,” Luke Mogelson, The Nation
Can Nohjay Nimpson go all the way?
Guerdwich Montimere might have a shot against Nohjay, if only he weren’t masquerading as Jerry Joseph;
regardless of what Reuters tells you, Pakistani-Americans ain’t masquerading as nobody
For the serious criminal, the discrepancy in volume between a car boot full of money or a bin bag brimming with notes can mean the difference between getting away with it and an extended jail term. This is why a little-remarked-upon development in official policy on the denominations in which the euro is issued has sent shockwaves through the world of organised crime. Until last month, many British gangsters stored their spoils in the form of €500 notes. While £1m weighs 50kg in £20 notes, the same value weighs only 2.2kg in €500 notes. This has made life easier for a growing number of criminals, since the euro’s introduction in 2002. Should you wish, for example, you can swallow €150,000 in €500 notes, or hide €20,000 of them a cigarette packet, while even £1m can be hidden quite easily in secret compartments in a suitcase. –“Goodbye to the note of ill-repute,” Mark Hughes and Rob Sharp, The Independent
Researcher: “When you’re looking for a gorilla, you often miss other unexpected events”;
broadcaster: “So she’s enjoying penis a little bit more, is she?”
professional homewrecker: “Some people want to own a watch or a house, in the same way a woman wants to own her boyfriend.”
We get to watch DFW’s signature self-consciousness churning at a length and ferocity unprecedented outside of his actual published writing. (“I don’t mind appearing in Rolling Stone,” he tells Lipsky at one point, “but I don’t want to appear in Rolling Stone as somebody who wants to be in Rolling Stone.”) It’s like the Nixon tapes for DFW-heads—full of telling moments that would have been stripped from any reasonable magazine article. One of the effects of Wallace’s prose is to make you irrationally want to be his best friend, and Lipsky creates a reasonable simulacrum of that experience. –“Everything and More,” Sam Anderson, New York
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Rolls of toilet paper Chicago’s city government has produced this year from recycled City Hall wastepaper:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Russia lost, then regained, contact with a satellite carrying five geckos sent to copulate in zero gravity.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”