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The fattest farm subsidy checks are mailed to the richest zip codes. Like the $825,346.56 addressed to Kent M. Klineman at ZIP code 10020, one of Manhattan’s wealthiest, with an average income of more than $500,000: 10 times higher than the rest of America. In fact, Klineman, who got the cash from 1995 to 2006 for growing wheat and sunflowers and raising livestock on a South Dakota cattle-breeding ranch called Eagle Pass Ranch, just might be the most subsidized farmer in Manhattan. But you probably wouldn’t have caught this 77-year-old Harvard Law School grad (this alma mater appears quite often among Manhattan’s subsidy queens) at the ranch, shoveling and trucking manure and inseminating the sows. Judging by SEC records, Klineman is more of a wheeling and dealing finance type, running venture capital companies, private investment funds and assorted dubious finance companies. –“The Making of Manhattan’s Elite Welfare Farmers,” Yasha Levine, New York Press
What went wrong in Cleveland is the same as what went wrong in its Midwestern neighbors, Detroit and Pittsburgh: de-industrialization and globalization took the life out of the city. In a comparatively short time, Cleveland was reduced to half the size it was at its peak. Two of its three papers disappeared. Its school system became dysfunctional, and the neglected Cuyahoga River, which runs through the heart of the city, got so polluted that it caught fire, inspiring pop composer Randy Newman to write his satirical hit, “Burn on Big River.” –“Elegy for Cleveland,” Nicolaus Mills, Dissent
I am aware of certain novelists like Jonathan Franzen being the book’s via negativa. As I say in Reality Hunger, I couldn’t read The Corrections if my life depended on it (I tried, and by page fifty I was gasping for air). So, too, very straightforward memoirists of the Mary Karr school are, to me, not by any means the richest way to frame nonfiction. As I’ve started giving readings and lectures from the book, I’m aware of certain sorts of writers tending to stand up and argue against me: nonfiction writers who believe that there is such a thing as “reality” (there isn’t) and fiction writers who think we should still construct completely seamless and transparent narratives along the lines established by Flaubert 150 years ago. –“True to How I am in the World,” David Shields, interviewed by Jay Ponteri, Tin House
More from TedRoss:
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature