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As China becomes an industrial power, minds are changing. Three-quarters of people polled in Hong Kong, a major entrepôt for the ivory trade, want to outlaw the sale of ivory. More than half support an outright ban.

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                      The day I stopped being an environmental writer, I was on a river in Madagascar. Stop.  I hate reading stories like this: the Patagonia catalog, Barry Lopez-Gretel Erlich School of Upper Middle Class Environmentalists Finding Meaning on a $10,000 Trip to a Place No …

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Author’s Note:  I thought this oped was the blandest thing I’d ever written, but when it was published in the Arizona Daily Star, it received 90 comments.  Most attacked me because 1) I was in Starbuck’s and therefore “part of the 1 percent” (full disclosure: I had actually come to buy a bagel at Einstein’s, …

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Don’t Make Me Laugh

September 3, 2012 by

The recent flap over a rather tasteless crack by Yahoo bureau chief David Chalian at the Republican convention instigated a familiar outcry.  Chalian, who was unaware that a mike was in his vicinity, remarked that the Romneys couldn’t care less about the toll of Hurricane Isaac.  “They’re happy to have a party with black people …

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  I am convinced that Ward Just is God: all-seeing, all-knowing, or at least brilliant, not to mention prescient.  Contemporary reverbs galore in A Family Trust, a 1978 novel about the pillaging of small town America by developers and the passing of the newspaper industry. Thinking of the Drudge Report while reading the old man …

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After spending a restorative but freezing two nights in a friend’s uninsulated cabin in the Chiricauhua Mountains, I wrote to my friend, telling him I’d be back, but not until April, and ended up confiding about problems I’d been having with someone very close to me.  “It will all be better in the spring, one …

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originally published in The Rumpus In Carolyn Cooke’s recent novel, Daughters of the Revolution, Cooke has set the mark of her anger, along with her exquisite sentences, on the ultimate crucible of American male power: prep school. Given the sensitivity of the subject – still – perhaps it is not surprising that the book drew …

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Suleiman’s Travels

September 20, 2011 by

“Honey, I’ve been thinking we should hyphenate.” My husband shoots me a pissed-off look. “You know, Zakin-Suleiman. Or Suleiman-Zakin.” “We can talk about that later,” he mutters. We are halfway down the jetway, waiting to find out whether we can get back on our flight to San Francisco. Minutes before, a flight attendant’s voice had …

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Dancing With Girls

April 24, 2011 by

After whining unconvincingly about having a headache, my Kenyan husband explained why he didn’t want to go to my god-daughter’s dance performance at Lowell, a public high school in San Francisco. “You remember when you went to a wedding?” he demanded. I thought back to the Swahili wedding I attended on Lamu before we were …

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“Sorry, Suzanne, but I can’t drive you to the airport. I would be too afraid to drive back alone at night,” my friend Marie-Chantal said. I looked at her, doing a quick calculation in my head before realizing Marie-Chantal* wasn’t making an excuse; she was truly scared. I had lived in Madagascar for three months …

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