AMERICA’S LETHAL COCKTAIL PARTY

By the mid-1920s, the American government was at its wit’s end. The era’s strict Prohibition laws had proved futile. Americans were still drinking; they were just doing so on the sly, frequenting speakeasies and buying alcohol from crime syndicates. Gangs would steal large quantities of industrial alcohol—used for everything from fueling machines to sterilizing instruments— then redistill the hooch to […]

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How U.S. debt went out of control

U.S. debt

How did the U.S. debt get so high? The crucial turning point came back in 2001, said Lori Montgomery. At the time, Uncle Sam was actually running surpluses, and “the outlook was so rosy” that forecasters were predicting the U.S. could pay back every dime it had ever borrowed. That’s when President George W. Bush made a pivotal decision: Rather […]

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Hunters for the Hungry (Budget Cuts Affecting Food Pantries)

Hunters for the Hungry - production of ground venison

Hunters for the Hungry Fred has been working with an agency called Hunters for the Hungry for five years. During that time, his food bank has received thousands of pounds of venison to feed the poor. This year, however, when Fred received no call from the agency saying it was ready to deliver the meat, he called the organization himself.    The answering machine […]

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Here come the killer robots

If you think drone warfare has created some tricky moral dilemmas, said Robert H. Latiff and Patrick J. McCloskey, just wait until we start sending robotic soldiers into battle. Early prototypes of robots that can hunt down and destroy enemies with ferocious firepower are in development, and “what now seems like the stuff of Hollywood fantasy is moving toward realization.” […]

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Envying the lower castes

Suddenly everyone wants to be low-caste, said Badri Narayan. It used to be considered an extreme disadvantage to be in one of India’s oppressed castes or indigenous tribes. But decades of affirmative action and quota systems have changed all that. Now, many lower-middle castes are agitating to be reclassified as “more backward,” in effect “struggling to move down the ladder […]

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A House that’s stuck in the 1950’s

The House of Representatives doesn’t represent America as it really is today, said Timothy Egan. The Republican-controlled House governs a “fantasy nation created in talk-radio land,” where black and gay people don’t exist, women remain subservient, and all gun-safety legislation is a step toward tyranny. Thanks to strategic redrawing of districts, Republicans managed to maintain a 33-seat advantage in the […]

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Simone Weil Quote – Our Great Adversary

“Whether the mask is labeled Fascism, Democracy, or Dictatorship of the Proletariat, our great adversary remains the Apparatus — the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines,… but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always […]

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China’s Human Rights Activists Under Scrutiny

Beijing Mass arrests: In one of the biggest crackdowns on civil society groups in decades, Chinese authorities have detained and questioned at least 238 lawyers and human rights activists over the past two weeks. At least 20 activists remain incarcerated, and the whereabouts of six of them are unclear. Maya Wang, a researcher with Human Rights. Watch, said those still […]

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