Why Now’s The Time To Be A Ruthless Dictator

Kim Jong Un

The Article: Why it’s a good time to be a dictator like Kim Jong-un by Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian.

The Text: In the early 1990s, when I was in my infancy as a reporter, the dominant international story was the war in the Balkans. Several of my peers made their names covering that war and were deeply affected by it. What motivated at least a few of them was not the desire simply to be on the front page or lead the evening news, but a passionate urge to let the world know what was happening. Several believed that, if only the world could see what they could see in Bosnia, then it would act.

Perhaps the authors of the latest UN report into human rights in North Korea felt a similar motivation. They can be satisfied that, thanks to their 372-page study, no one now can claim to be ignorant of the horrors committed in that place. They are laid out in stomach-turning detail: the torture, the deliberate starvation, the executions committed in a network of secret prison camps. The individual cases break the heart: the seven-year-old girl beaten to death over a few extra grains of food; the boy whose finger was chopped off for accidentally dropping a sewing machine in the factory where he was forced to work; and, most shocking of all, the mother forced to drown her just-born baby in a bowl of water.

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What We Mean When We Say Hello

United States

The Article: What We Mean When We Say Hello by Deborah Fallows in The Atlantic.

The Text: Last week I wrote about conversation starters that follow “Hello” and “How do you do.” Many dozens of you have written in and generously included your comments and interpretations of what you think people actually mean when they say something like “Where do you live?” or “Where are you from?”

Here is what you’ve said so far:

The most popular suggestion is some version of “Where do you live?” But as you describe, you are really after an answer offering some social-economic-cultural hints about a person’s life.

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Rand Paul On The Need For A New Republican Party

Rand Paul

The Article: Rand Paul: We need ‘a new Republican Party’ — not small changes by Aaron Blake in The Washington Post.

The Text: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says in a new interview that the Republican Party needs an overhaul rather than minor changes.

“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime, for the presidency, unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said on Glenn Beck’s show. “And it has to be a transformation — not just a little tweaking at the edges.”

The tea party favorite said it’s much more productive for people like him to refashion the GOP than to go the third-party route like his father, former congressman Ron Paul (Tex.), did early in his career. (Paul was the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 but later returned to the GOP and ran for that party’s nomination twice.)

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How A Shitty Economy Affects Your Love Life

Couple Fighting On Couch

The Article: How America’s Terrible Economy May Be Ruining Your Love Life by Sam Pizzigati in AlterNet.

The Text: Finding true love, philosophers have always understood, can get complicated in deeply unequal places. Grand fortunes tend to give Cupid a hard time, on Valentine’s Day and every other.

“If you gain fame, power, or wealth, you won’t have any trouble finding lovers,” as Philip Slater noted years ago in The Pursuit of Loneliness, “but they will be people who love fame, power, or wealth.”

But philosophers no longer have a corner on the love-and-inequality connection. All sorts of social scientists are now working that intersection where wealth and romance meet — and they’re uncovering an assortment of troubling trends.

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What College Graduates Regret

College Regret

The Article: What College Graduates Regret by Eleanor Barkhorn in The Atlantic.

The Text: What’s the most important thing a college student can do to ensure she’ll have a job after graduation? The most common answer to that question lately: Pick the right major. Major in science or engineering, you’ll have no trouble finding work. Study the humanities, and you’re doomed. A recent BuzzFeed video takes this idea to its comic extreme. A bunch of underemployed liberal-arts graduates try to talk a group of college kids out of repeating their mistakes, “Scared Straight”-style.

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