Citizen, Censored

....were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. In 1787 Thomas Jefferson summarized the essential nature of a free press to ensuring democratic governance with the following lines, written from Paris where he … Continue reading Citizen, Censored

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Foreign Service Writings

My favorite Foreign Service Journal issue of the year is out! All the recently published books by writers affiliated with America's proud diplomatic corps are listed in one tight package this month. Pick up a few titles and learn about the Foreign Service. Read about how we promote U.S. interests and protect our citizens overseas. … Continue reading Foreign Service Writings

Featured Blog—by Anonymous

The Skeptical Bureaucrat Bringing a new feature to Ben East Books by sharing a blog that caught my eye last week. The Skeptical Bureaucrat offers a number of excellent features, but none more excellent than it's anonymity. Yes, it's an established presence going back over a decade. Yes, it regularly runs the 'Most Head Shakingly … Continue reading Featured Blog—by Anonymous

Mumbai Halloween Posse

Posin' not posers, trick-o-treaters for life! Copper, Pirate, Scoundrel... Jolly Rancher. No candy? Step back!         ##

Blog of the Week

This pleasant surprise came across my desk yesterday. A blogger at The Skeptical Bureaucrat writes: I picked up some nice items at the AAFSW* book fair last week, and one of them was this quirky novel Two Pumps for the Body Man, which the author describes as a soft-boiled diplomatic noir... The story is a … Continue reading Blog of the Week

A Gift at Navratri

Navratri celebrates female energy and the conquest of good over evil. Appropriately, this year's nine nights marking Goddess Durga's battles against the buffalo demon Mahishasuran arrived in concert with the power of India's #MeToo movement. Accusations of sexual assault and harassment by men against women first took aim at prominent figures in the Indian film … Continue reading A Gift at Navratri

Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

Elevatorwala

Mumbai has a wallah for everything, no task too big or small. Outside my 14th-story flat, one of four elevatorwalas pushes the button that takes us to the street and back again. The other night we ate our first dinner at a Parsi restaurant called---this is all one word---Sodabottleopenerwala. It’s a chain. Derived in part … Continue reading Elevatorwala

Maximum City

We are neither here nor there. The carpets are up and the curios down. The boys are packed and shipped off south for a week with Naniji. A week from tomorrow the packers arrive. They'll invade for 3 or 4 days to box up several categories of shipment: 700 lbs of air freight; 7k lbs … Continue reading Maximum City

Fly America… Call the Philippines

When your official government travel orders authorize advanced seating to guarantee a seat beside your child during an international move---old home packed, new home empty... ...but the airline won't confirm your seat more than 23 hours before you fly... ...and you spend hours on the phone... ...talking to the travel agent... ...and talking to the … Continue reading Fly America… Call the Philippines