After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Niyazov found himself at the helm of an independent nation and a cult of personality. Gas revenues funded a descent into an increasingly bizarre dictatorship — dogs were banned, hospitals and libraries were closed outside of the capital, and months of the year were renamed after members of his family. (via The City of White Marble: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - In Focus - The Atlantic)
I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks […] Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return, prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man—then you are ready for a walk.
Henry David Thoreau (via The Atlantic)
The sobering realities of the modern White House are: All presidents are unsuited to office, and therefore all presidents fail in certain crucial aspects of the job. All betray their supporters and provoke bitter criticism from their own side at some point in their term. And all are mis-assessed while in office, for reasons that typically depend more on luck and historical accident than on factors within their control. These realities do not excuse Obama’s failings, but they do put his evolution in perspective.
Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufracturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States. In China, it took 15 days.
When the state kills those whose guilt is in serious doubt, or when the state kills those to whom it has not given fair justice, it doesn’t just perform an injustice upon the individual, the rule of law, and the Constitution. It also undermines the very legitimacy of the death penalty itself, for its continuing use as a sentencing option derives its civic and moral strength mostly from the fiction that it can be, and is, credibly and reliably imposed. Once our confidence in that credibility is shattered, as it should be now that Davis is gone, all that’s left of the death penalty is state-sponsored retribution and the hangman’s noose.
Couples show their “passion for education,” by sharing a kiss during a gathering of over 500 students in the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile, on July 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez)
(via Student Protests in Chile - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic)
Now THAT’S a riot I can get behind.