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But tempting as it is to imagine the voters having decided to use the election to torture their politicians, it’s not really plausible. For a start, the torture did not last nearly long enough: after five days everyone suddenly cheered up when they discovered they had got what they wanted after all. The Tories have detoxified the brand, the Lib Dems have got their first real taste of power, and Labour has got the chance for an extended wallow in righteous opposition, having finally dumped Gordon Brown in the process. Have you ever seen such happy politicians? If the voters were trying to punish them for their past transgressions they must be feeling pretty queasy at the sight of all this bonhomie. Next time we are going to have to wield a much bigger stick and really swing it (and maybe we will). –“Is this the end of the UK,” David Runciman, London Review of Books
Wealth does not confidently reside in the beleaguered strata of middle-class America anymore, but a whole lot of spending still does, and the NHL — the business enterprise, not the game many Canadians believe to be the ultimate expression of our national identity — saw the same growth opportunity that Hollywood and television, and religion, and politics, and advertising all have. If you are a business in America, you’d be crazy not to want to clamp onto the same enormous tit that Foot Locker, LensCrafters, Sbarro, Wendy’s, H&M, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew have, and once you were there, the faint, wounded clamour for an NHL team coming from a place as far away as Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, would only become more distant and inconsequential. Eventually, you’d stop hearing it altogether. –“Hockeyland,” David MacFarlane, The Walrus
Coming soon to Texas schools: From Atlantic Triangular Trading to Freedom;
lessons from an NYPD squad room: how to Febreze your bulletproof vest;
judicial activism in China: using anti-hooliganism laws to prosecute a prominent orgy organizer
The Times described it as “a block of decaying tenements packed with poor Puerto Rican and Negro families and the gathering place of drunks, narcotics addicts and sexual perverts.” It soon became known as the “worst block in the city.” Mayor Robert Wagner announced a “shock attack,” an “all-out war on the forces of crime, slum blight and poverty” on the West Side. Police flooded the area. The block in question was 84th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. The very idea that it might once have been considered the city’s worst is very nearly science-fictional today, as it bustles with high-end baby strollers pushed by parents hurrying to homey restaurants on Amsterdam or Columbus or making their way to Central Park. –“Life in New York, Then and Now,” John Podhoretz, Commentary
First Florent, now Empire Diner, the West Side is no more;
“so” rises into ever more common usage, thanks to its “algorithmic certitude”;
Noynoy rises, thanks to his other name
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
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."