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One Patriot Acts

Daniel Ellsberg’s Crusade Against The Abuse Of Presidential Power, From Nixon To Bush

The succession of crimes that brought Nixon down are now legal under the PATRIOT Act. CIA operatives acting against an American citizen? No problem. . . . Sneak-and-peek entry? No problem. Coordination of the FBI and the CIA? No problem. Wiretaps? No problem. We have become less free.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Beauty Of Second Avenue

My mother is telling a story I’ve heard before, but she tells it with such flair, such utter conviction in the truth of her words that, at thirteen, I’m mesmerized. She glances at me as we walk, ensuring my full attention. “This shicker [drunk] staggers out of a bar, squinting in the sunlight like he’s blind. He tugs his coat over his tuchis [ass] and staggers down the block. A shicker, but he’s singing ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ with this gorgeous voice.” She staggers, head wobbling in mock drunkenness. A skilled mimic, she seems to grow taller, broader, mysteriously masculine. Nobody pays attention; this is Brooklyn, in 1958, and there are stranger things to look at.

Elopement

When I was fifteen, my father nailed my bedroom window shut to keep me from running off in the night. Almost forty years later, my sisters and I had to put him in a home with door alarms and special window locks to keep him in. Like me, he took off anyway.

Secret Smoker

I received the following letter from a fan:

Sparrow,

Here is my new protest. Whenever something breaks — a can opener, a plate, a refrigerator — wrap it and mail it to the White House. On the package, write: “You have broken the Constitution, the budget, and the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a broken toaster for you.”

Let us flood the White House with broken objects.

Sincerely,
Ernest G.

At Hell's Gate

A Soldier’s Journey From War To Peace

“Go into the military,” my father said. “It will help make a man out of you.” I thought becoming a man would mean being respected and being loved.

Fiction

What The Dead Know

It began in the hospitals with what seemed to be an epidemic of miracles. The most recently dead came back first. People whose heartbeats had just flat-lined a second earlier suddenly sat upright on their gurneys and beds and looked into the confused faces of those around them.

Readers Write

Weddings

When my boyfriend Mike’s parents went out of town, he and I would romp in their adjustable beds, raid their refrigerator, and watch movies in their bedroom. One night, walking into the kitchen in my underwear, I noticed a new folk-art family tree that Mike’s mother had made.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

October 2004

The birds have started to sing. They’re so easy to please. The sun comes up and they think they’re in heaven. There are clouds; don’t they notice? It’s chilly; don’t they care? Oh when will I learn to praise the light in me?

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

“Generosity is a part of my character, and I therefore hasten to assure this government that I will never make an allegation of dishonesty against it wherever a simple explanation of stupidity will suffice.”

Leslie Lever

More Quotations ▸
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