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Ta-Nehisi Coates on patriotism and racism

Patriotism - Ta-Nehisi Coates - National - The Atlantic
But there's also an intense section where Kennedy describes black soldiers efforts at The Battle of The Bulge. Eisenhower had lost so many troops that he gives black soldiers the opportunity to volunteer to fight. Even though it means taking demotions so that black officers wouldn't end up commanding white soldiers, four thousand black men sign on. In the years following the armed forces began to desegregate. In the wake of those changes, the following letter was sent to Theodore Bilbo, an avowed white supremacist and senator from Mississippi: I am a typical American, a southerner and 27 years of age.... I am loyal to my country and know but reverence to her flag, BUT I shall never submit to fight beneath that banner with a negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory tramped in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throw back to the blackest specimen from the wilds. The letter was written by a man who served, not in the American military, but in the white supremacist militia and rose to be a "Exalted Cyclops" of the Ku Klux Klan. In another life the longest serving senator in American history, and supporter of the country's first black president. The man was Robert Byrd.

Girl hospitalized after eating only chicken nuggets for fifteen years

I’m Eatin’ Too Much Of It of the Day - The Daily What
17-year-old Stacey Irvine of Castle Vale, Birmingham, has admitted to eating practically nothing besides chicken nuggets since she was two. Irvine was recently rushed to the hospital after collapsing at work. Doctors there told her she had anemia and made it clear that she was going to die if she didn’t immediately add fruits and vegetables to her diet. “I am starting to realise this is really bad for me,” Irvine acknowledged. Still, she says she can’t stop eating nuggets on a daily basis. “McDonald’s chicken nuggets are my favourite. I share 20 with my boyfriend with chips,” she is quoted as saying. “But I also like KFC and supermarket brands. My main meal is always chicken nuggets every day.”

January 26, 2012

The New French Hacker-Artist Underground

The New French Hacker-Artist Underground | Magazine
Thirty years ago, in the dead of night, a group of six Parisian teenagers pulled off what would prove to be a fateful theft. They met up at a small caf� near the Eiffel Tower to review their plans—again—before heading out into the dark. Lifting a grate from the street, they descended a ladder to a tunnel, an unlit concrete passageway carrying a cable off into the void. They followed the cable to its source: the basement of the ministry of telecommunications. Horizontal bars blocked their way, but the skinny teens all managed to wedge themselves through and ascend to the building’s ground floor. There they found three key rings in the security office and a logbook indicating that the guards were on their rounds. But the guards were nowhere to be seen. The six interlopers combed the building for hours, encountering no one, until they found what they were looking for at the bottom of a desk drawer—maps of the ministry’s citywide network of tunnels. They took one copy of each map, then returned the keys to the security office. Heaving the ministry’s grand front door ajar, they peeked outside; no police, no passersby, no problem. They exited onto the empty Avenue de S�gur and walked home as the sun rose. The mission had been so easy that one of the youths, Natacha, seriously asked herself if she had dreamed it. No, she concluded: “In a dream, it would have been more complicated.” This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris. What has made much of this work possible is UX’s mastery, established 30 years ago and refined since, of the city’s network of underground passageways—hundreds of miles of interconnected telecom, electricity, and water tunnels, sewers, catacombs, subways, and centuries-old quarries. Like computer hackers who crack digital networks and surreptitiously take control of key machines, members of UX carry out clandestine missions throughout Paris’ supposedly secure underground tunnels and rooms. The group routinely uses the tunnels to access restoration sites and stage film festivals, for example, in the disused basements of government buildings. . . .