Helping Children Succeed

We know that when children experience toxic stress, especially when they are very young, it can disrupt their development in profound ways, compromising their immune system, their executive functions, and their mental health. And while children are certainly affected by stressors outside the home, like neighborhood violence or abuse by a stranger, it is true that for a majority of children, the most significant threats to the development of their stress-response system comes from inside their home.

-Paul Tough, Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why

Sleeping Giant

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The most profound impact of globalization and technology has been the upheaval experienced by workers without college degrees. With so many factories shuttered, typical “men’s work” steadily eroded and lower-paying service jobs took its place. As the economic contribution of these former working-class heroes to our nation dwindled, millions of men became zeroes in many people’s minds. They seemed to be a dusty anachronism in a sparkling new economy.

-Tamara Draut, Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America

The Shameful State

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This is the story of Colonel Martillimi Lopez, son of National Mom, our very own matriarch of the nation, who came into the world holding his big greasy herniated balls and exited still holding onto them–National Lopez, younger brother of Lieutenant Colonel Gasparde Mansi. Oh dear!

-Sony Labou Tansi, The Shameful State: A Novel

The Pier Falls

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It is late afternoon on Christmas Eve and the predicted snow has begun, a long front of white teeth sweeping down the weather map of the Baltic and fastening itself into the curved rump of England.

-Mark Haddon, “Wodwo,” in The Pier Falls: And Other Stories

Hank Greenberg

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The mythical Hank Greenberg had been created at the end of his second year in the majors, just as he was finding his stride as a leading player. Greenberg never sought to be an important Jew. Rather, he wanted to be an important baseball player, and he worked ceaselessly from early boyhood to attain that goal. But even as he spent endless hours in batting practice perfecting his swing and his timing, he learned how complicated it was to be a Jewish sports hero, or, as he preferred to think of himself, a sports hero who is Jewish. And surely this was made even more complicated by the times in which he played ball.

-Mark Kurlansky, Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Be One

The Wander Society

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You probably haven’t heard about the Wander Society because its members don’t want to be known. But you may have already seen them in your towns and cities, perusing the streets, circling the parks, scavenging in the alleys. If you approach any of them, they will not reveal their identity to you, or readily admit they are a member of the group, so they can conduct their research as quietly as possible. They maintain a solitary existence, preferring to remain anonymous and blend into the surroundings.

-Keri Smith, The Wander Society

White Sands

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Maybe it is not the natives of Texas or Arizona who fully appreciate the scale of the places where they have grown up. Perhaps you have to be British, to come from ‘an island no bigger than a back garden’–in Lawrence’s contemptuous phrase–to grasp properly the immensity of the American West. So it’s not surprising that Lawrence considered New Mexico ‘the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had.’

-Geoff Dyer, “Time in Space,” in White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

Sex in the Museum

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On my desk I have a stack of books, a laptop, a phone charger, and an assortment of pens. I also have a butt plug, a masturbation sleeve, a mysterious menstruation tonic, and, of course, a pile of porn.

Welcome to the Museum of Sex.

-Sarah Forbes, Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York’s Most Provocative Museum

Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine

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The family was blessed with more self-confidence than most of us have and with a great lawn, with arbors and beds of flowers, and with a fountain in the shape of the sun at the south end.

-Diane Williams, “Head of the Big Man,” in Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine: Stories

The Assassination Complex

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Drones are a tool, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

-Jeremy Scahill, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program