Short Takes: News From All Over

?Who You Gonna Call?
By Laura Wright, OnEarth
Instead of poisoning pests with harmful chemicals, one extermination company is killing bedbugs in an innovative but natural way: with a trained beagle. The San Francisco-based Pestec is the only US pest-control business recognized by Green Shield, a nonprofit, sustainable pest-management-certification program. OnEarth profiles the bio-savvy company, founded by Nicaraguan immigrants, that is proving that a little entomological knowledge can kill pests without harming the earth. — Anna Cynar

Vegetable Orchestra
By the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra
The hitherto untapped musical prowess of fresh produce is on full display with the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, an ensemble that tours Asia and Europe with its edible beats. Listeners can savor the leek violins, carrot recorders, and pepper trumpets showcased on the group’s website. The video of the group’s veggie performance may inspire you to dig your carrots and cucumbers out from the recesses of your fridge to concoct a veggie jam band of your own. (Thanks, — Anna Cynar

Cognitive Dissonance
By Angela Grosshans, Colorado SpringsIndependent
College campus ‘free speech zones’ sound like the creations of idealistic students trying protecting the free exchange of opinion. In reality, the spaces can actually hamper dissent by allowing college officials to shape campus debates. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently forced the women’s advocacy group AWARE to hold their bake sale in its unobtrusive free speech zone because university officials felt the event carried political overtones. College Republicans, on the other hand, were allowed to hold a global-warming skeptical ‘beach party,’ on the university’s highly visible upper plaza. — Chris Gehrke

India‘s Middle-Class Failure
By Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Prospect
India’s economy is soaring, and so is its middle-class, now numbering some 200 million. But as Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad notes, ‘everything and its opposite is true in India.’ For all of India’s financial successes, some 300 million people in the country continue to live on less than $1 per day. Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad reports sharp class divides are accentuating old castes, and a sense of civic duty remains woefully weak among the country’s nouveau riche. — Eric Kelsey

Why Aren’t US Cities Burning?
By Michael B. Katz, Dissent
Since the widespread riots of the late 1960s, American social unrest has been relatively tame. Violent protests erupted in France in each of the past two years, but rampant injustice in the United States isn’t drumming up much of a response. Historian Michael B. Katz wonders where America’s fury has gone, dismissing the argument that Americans are less violent. Instead, Katz posits that marginalized Americans are simply better managed than the poor in other countries, though inequality continues to grow. — Eric Kelsey

All Through the Night with Strom Thurmond
By Joshua Zeitz, American Heritage
Fifty years ago, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond secured his place in American history with the longest filibuster ever: a 24-hour-and-18-minute attempt to talk the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to death. The landmark bill ultimately passed, and even some of Thurmond’s fellow Senate segregationists thought he was ‘grandstanding.’ Nevertheless, it was, American Heritage notes, a seminal moment in American politics, presaging both Thurmond’s and the South’s abandonment of the Democrats for the Republicans. — Eric Kelsey

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