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Image Hosted by Tonight on TDS, Mr. "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub" Grover Norquist; and on TCR,  Katherine Boo Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity.
sausage grinder of snark



To those of you so inclined: enjoy. And for the rest of us,

That's been going through my head all day. But it's only 3:47. Hmm. Well, if I could figure out how to get the new video code at Comedy Central to work with dKos, I'd give you the extended version of "Goodnight Irene" that Stephen & gang performed last week (did'ja notice the guitars & suchlike in the background?), but I can't make it embed. So go here. And that's 3:25 (plus however long the rogaine commercial takes), which should last you until the eagle starts screaming...

(oh, and if you have any idea how to solve that problem -- it's the iframe/dkos thing, plus (I think) a plugin I don't know how to call -- please let me know.

Wonder if it's time to learn some more code.)

I think Stephen's got the guest of the week tonight:
From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl”—will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

That's from the booksite. Here's Publisher's Weekly (it's a starred review):
A Mumbai slum offers rare insight into the lives and socioeconomic and political realities for some of the disadvantaged riding the coattails (or not) of India’s economic miracle in this deeply researched and brilliantly written account by New Yorker writer and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Boo. Divided into four parts, the narrative brings vividly to the page life as it is led today in Annawadi, a squalid and overcrowded migrant settlement of some 3,000 people squatting since 1991 on a half-acre of land owned by the Sahar International Airport. (Boo derives her title from a richly ironic real-world image: a brightly colored ad for floor tiles repeating “Beautiful Forever” across a wall shutting out Annawadi from the view of travelers leaving the airport.) Among her subjects is the fascinating Abdul, a sensitive and cautiously hopeful Muslim teenager tirelessly trading in the trash paid for by recycling firms. Crucially, Boo’s commanding ability to convey an interior world comes balanced by concern for the structural realities of India’s economic liberalization (begun the same year as Annawadi’s settlement), and her account excels at integrating the party politics and policy strategies behind eruptions of deep-seated religious, caste, and gender divides. Boo’s rigorous inquiry and transcendent prose leave an indelible impression of human beings behind the shibboleths of the New India.
Lots of other reviews out there (and Colbertnewshub & wikipedia have good 'about the author' stuff). Here are a few favorite bits:
Remember the title of Katherine Boo’s new book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, because you will see it on upcoming nominee lists for the next round of Very Important Literary Prizes. That Boo won the Pulitzer in 2000, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2002, became a staff writer for The New Yorker in 2003 (contributor since 2001) after 10 years with The Washington Post, and is just now publishing her debut title, will guarantee media coverage. That “Beautiful” is an unforgettable true story, meticulously researched with unblinking honesty, will make Boo’s next awards well-deserved.

From November 2007 to March 2011, Boo became a regular fixture in Annawadi, “the sumpy plug of slum” next to the constantly modernizing international Mumbai airport, and home to 3,000 inhabitants “packed into, or on top of 355 huts.” Settled in 1991 by Tamil Nadu laborers from southern India hired to repair an airport runway, 21st-century Annawadi sits “where New India collided with old India and made new India late.” Encircling Annawadi are “five extravagant hotels,” luxurious evidence of India’s growing global presence: “’Everything around us is roses,’” describes an Annawadian, “’And we’re the sh*t in between.’” In this fetid microcosm, everyday dramas range from petty jealousies to explosive violence fueled by religion, caste, and gender...

Mumbai, for its marvelous rebirth, remains the largest city in an India that, in spite of being “an increasingly affluent and powerful nation … still housed one-third
of the poverty, and one-quarter of the hunger, on the planet.” With the wealth of India’s top 100-richest equaling almost a quarter of the country’s GDP, today’s gap between top and bottom is virtually unfathomable.

Having built her lauded career on capturing the experiences of those living in some of America’s poorest communities, Boo moves “beyond [her] so-called expertise” to her husband’s country of origin, ready to “compensate for my limitations the same way I do in unfamiliar American territory: by time spent, attention paid, documentation secured, accounts cross-checked.”


...Ms. Boo was introduced to Mumbai by her husband, Sunil Khilnani, a former Johns Hopkins University professor who spends part of every year there and thought she could write about India in a way less condescending than many Westerners. Initially she was hesitant: there was the language barrier, and also her shaky health.

Since her late teens Ms. Boo, who is now 47, has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and several related immunological disorders. She walks a little slowly and sometimes has trouble with her eyes. Her fingers are gnarled and bent. That she is still able to type is owing in large part to a 2002 MacArthur grant, which helped pay for surgery on her right hand.

For someone in her condition the best treatment is drugs that suppress the immune system, and these do not make such a person an ideal candidate for spending time in a slum where tuberculosis is practically epidemic. But one night Ms. Boo tripped over an unabridged dictionary in her own apartment, puncturing a lung and breaking three ribs, and decided home wasn’t much safer. “I thought if I don’t work, I’m risking my mental health,” she said...

And for some other perspectives, this article at and the two linked here at AsianWindow are absolutely worth reading. Go do that. Maybe even while not-watching Jon deal with Grover Norquist.
Up this week:
3/12: Grover Norquist (president of Americans for Tax Reform & author – promoting book “Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future”)
3/13: Will Ferrell (actor – promoting movie “Casa De Mi Padre”)
3/14: Rachel Weisz (actress – promoting movie “The Deep Blue Sea”)
3/15: NO GUEST

Week of 3/19 – DARK!


3/12 Katherine Boo - Author, “Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity,”
3/13 Andrew Bird - Album, “Break It Yourself”
3/14 Mark Mckinnon - Co-Founder, No Labels
3/15 Dexter Filkins - New Yorker Magazine

(listings and occasional links  via The Late Night TV Page, some links & more guest info available at,, and a judiciously-used
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