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Aloha and Goodbye

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s Medal of Honor citation:

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

Rest in peace.


The Next Frontier for Climate Activism: College Investments

That’s one reason climate activists are focusing their efforts closer to home — particularly on America’s colleges and universities. Thanks to the efforts of the writer turned activist Bill McKibben‘s, students at schools around the country are pushing university administrators to sell off any investments in fossil fuel companies from collegiate endowment funds. The strategy is called divestment, and if it sounds familiar, it’s because student activists used the same method — mostly successfully — to push universities to stop investing in apartheid-era South Africa during the 1980s. One school, Unity College in Maine, has already taken action to dump its fossil fuel investments, and the campaign is active in more than 150 other U.S. colleges and universities. “In the near future, the political tide will turn and the public will demand action on climate change,” wrote Stephen Mulkey, the Unity College president, in a letter to other college administrators. “Our students are already demanding action, and we must not ignore them.”

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Now I have already mentioned that there was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it it got even stronger. It only said one thing, I want, I want!

And I would ask, “What do you want?”

But this was all it would ever tell me. It never said a thing except I want, I want, I want!

Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King


Want to Fix Climate Change? Look West

California refineries

But if the Doha summit seems unlikely to produce much meaningful progress on global climate efforts, that doesn’t mean we’re helpless to deal with global warming. In fact, one of the most ambitious efforts has just been launched here in the U.S.—which held off from signing the Kyoto protocol—in the state that often finds itself nudging the rest of us in a greener direction: California.

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Chinese writers today, whether “inside the system” or not, all must choose how they will relate to their country’s authoritarian government. This inevitably involves calculations, trade-offs, and the playing of cards in various ways. Liu Xiaobo’s choices have been highly unusual. Mo Yan’s responses are more “normal,” closer to the center of a bell curve. It would be wrong for spectators like you and me, who enjoy the comfort of distance, to demand that Mo Yan risk all and be another Liu Xiaobo. But it would be even more wrong to mistake the clear difference between the two.
Perry Link on Mo Yan, China’s Nobel laureate in literature, in the New York Review of Books


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