Fantasy Gone Wrong

Generally, "ations" are regarded as good things. Propagation, masturbation, fornication, copulation, lubrication – all activities mankind finds to be worthy efforts. However words containing this benevolent suffix are have recently been besmirched by the smear campaign being waged against one of their brethren. And with oil prices rising like Dirk Diggler’s imposing lightsaber, the war […]

Paris's Secret Shame

The world’s attention is currently focused on the 130 day around the world relay taken by the Olympic torch. The attention, of course, stems not from the spectacle of a highway built up the side of Mount Everest for the torch-bearer to climb in May, nor from the touching traditional display of Olympic unity that […]

Food Police to the World

Jim Harkness never expected to return to Minnesota. A native of South Minneapolis who studied Chinese in high school, he started his career as an activist specializing in Asian birds, then giant pandas. His work took him to China often, and eventually he became a full-time resident of Beijing, working first with the Ford Foundation, […]

Protector of Pandas, Friend to Farmers

We’re sitting at a table in Rice Paper, the little Asian-fusion restaurant in Linden Hills. When I asked Jim Harkness, president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, if he would talk to me over dinner he said sure, I should pick the place. His house is in this neighborhood, I reasoned, and he […]

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The Man from Hamburg

As you walk down the narrow hallway into Frank Sander’s sunlit studio in Lowertown you’re greeted by an entryway table piled with cables, cast-off camera bits, miscellaneous video equipment, and a couple of discarded microphone heads. On the walls are personal treasures the German-born artist has picked up during his twenty-odd years of travel. He […]

"No News Is Good News"

Bed 31 is covered with a thin white blanket, awaiting the post-surgery arrival of Deng Yilian, 52, native of tiny Malu in southwest China’s Hunan Province. To the left, on Bed 30, Deng’s daughter Cotton, 29, now of Shanghai, is seated, legs crossed; to the right, on a bed inexplicably labeled 31+, her son Mondy, […]