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Culture etc.

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Saving money

"Who knew Rosie O'Donnell was so concerned about public spending? During her satellite libtalk program yesterday, O'Donnell made clear why taxpayer-funded abortions are necessary (as part of the ObamaCare bill): to avoid wasting money on 'half a million' children in foster care, all apparently 'unwanted.'

"Here's a partial transcript ... O'Donnell: 'So sad, and it's so scary, but we can pay for all of the unwanted kids and the half-million of them in foster care. I'm for a woman's right to choose. I'm not so sure that I would be able to choose that, but I'm for a woman's right to choose.'

"To really capture the soulless, callous and cold-hearted nature of O'Donnell's comments, try listening to her words several times. Only at that point does Rosie's cruelty truly become clear. We could mention the one million adults currently seeking to adopt these children, but why get between O'Donnell and her depravity?"

- Brian Maloney, writing on "Rosie the Exterminator: Why Let Children Live When Disposal Is Cheaper?" on March 16 at the Radio Equalizer

Made for Facebook

"Facebook and Indians have a magnetic connection. Everyone in my family in India except my father - who, at 77, is entitled to his suspicions of the medium - is a Facebook user. Every single friend of mine in India - except for an eccentric Bengali writer ... - is a Facebook user.

"Every single friend of mine of Indian origin, anywhere in the world, is a Facebook user. And a great number of my Facebook 'friends' are Indians who, having read my journalism, or seen my name on a sibling's or (genuine) friend's page, have sought me out and 'friended' me as a reflexive act of connection; and being of Indian origin myself, I've always found it infernally hard - if not virtually impossible - to say 'no.' ...

"India is a land of the 'open crowd' ... the type of crowd which, as soon as it comes together, 'wants to consist of more people.' ... Social media was invented for Indians, says Sree Sreenivasan, a digital media professor at Columbia and co-founder of SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association. 'They take to it naturally and with great passion. It allows them to do two things they love: Tell everyone what they are doing; and stick their noses into other people's business.' "

- Tunku Varadarajan, writing on "Why India Loves Facebook" on March 16 at the Daily Beast

African pride

"The figures from the American Community Survey just in are more than crunched numbers. They suggest that this might be a good year for a certain term now familiar in American parlance to be, if not consigned to history, reassigned. Namely, as of now, almost 1 in 10 black people are foreign-born. About 1 in 30 are from Africa. Which means that they are - you see where I'm going - African American in the true sense. Certainly a truer sense ... than Tracy Morgan, Donna Brazile, Jesse Jackson, or Mo'Nique.

"Back in the day - 1970, to be exact - there were only about 10,000 African-born people in the United States.... Last year the number of Africans here topped a million, and we could use that as a numerically convenient time to let go of the conceit we have gotten used to over the past twenty years, that black people born here are ethnically hyphenated people of half 'African' ancestry.

"It just doesn't go through. The black American does not look back on a childhood in the African 'old country.' The black American speaks English natively, not Twi or Hausa. ... Barely a black American alive today knows anyone who ever even knew a slave born in Africa. ...

"But still, why can't we all be 'African American' anyway? What has always worried me about it is an issue of pride. The notion that we do ourselves a favor by pretending that we are part 'African' after four hundred years of cultural development right here in America implies that what we have done here isnt inspiring enough. Among black Americans in 2010, true black pride does not call itself 'African.' "

- John McWhorter, writing on "Did 'African American' History Really Happen in Atlanta, Cleveland, Philly, and Detroit? Listening to the Census." on Jan. 22 at his self-titled blog at the New Republic

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