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When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist
Ian Frazier, © The New Yorker
August 19, 2019

W. E. B. Du Bois, the twentieth century’s leading black intellectual, once lived at 3059 Villa Avenue, in the Bronx. He moved to a small rented house there with his wife, Nina Gomer Du Bois, and their daughter, Yolande, in about 1912. When I’m walking in that borough I sometimes stop by the site. It’s just off Jerome Avenue, not far from the Bedford Park subway station. The anchor business at that intersection seems to be the Osvaldo #5 Barber Shop, which flies pennants advertising services for sending money to Africa and to Bangladesh. All kinds of people pass by. You hear Spanish and Chinese and maybe Hausa spoken on the street. The first time I went to Du Bois’s old address, I wondered if I might find a plaque, but the house is gone, and 3059 Villa is now part of a fenced-in parking lot. Maple and locust trees shade the front stoops, and residents wait at eight-twenty on Tuesday mornings to move their cars for the street-sweeping truck. A fire hydrant drips, slowly enlarging a hole in the sidewalk. Even unmemorialized, 3059 Villa is a not-unpleasant spot from which to contemplate the great man’s life.

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Francisco Toledo, Celebrated Mexican Artist and Arts Philanthropist, Dies at 79
By Jonathan Kandell, © The New York Times
September 6, 2019

Francisco Toledo, the celebrated Mexican artist and cultural philanthropist who drew on his indigenous pre-Colombian heritage to create striking works suffused with shamanistic animal imagery, died on Thursday. He was 79.

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"I can always be distracted by love, but eventually I get horny for my creativity. "
––Gilda Radner

"Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it."
––Gilbert K. Chesterton

The Great Tax Break Heist
By Paul Krugman, © The New York Times
September 2, 2019

Tax scams are the tribute policy vice pays to policy virtue.
A few days ago The Times reported on widespread abuse of a provision in the 2017 Trump tax cut that was supposed to help struggling urban workers. The provision created a tax break for investment in so-called “opportunity zones,” which would supposedly help create jobs in low-income areas. In reality the tax break has been used to support high-end hotels and apartment buildings, warehouses that employ hardly any people and so on. And it has made a handful of wealthy, well-connected investors — including the family of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law — even wealthier.

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"I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator."
–– Mother Jones

As Trump flip-flops on Iran talks, the reality is that the ‘crazed’ rogue leader now sits in Washington not Tehran
Robert Fisk, © The Independent
August 29, 2019

History in the Middle East is unkind to us westerners. Just when we thought we were the good guys and the Iranians were the bad guys, here comes the ghostly, hopeless possibility of a Trump-Rouhani summit to remind us that the apparent lunatic is the US president and the rational, sane leader who is supposed to talk to him is the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. All these shenanigans are fantasy, of course – like the “imminent” war between America and Iran – of which more later.

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"The great thieves lead away the little thief."
––Diogenes