Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: Of Sheep and Honor.

Without much prompting or need, the good Reverend Dr. Glenn Beck and about 87,000 – or eleventy-jillion – of his minions rallied Saturday at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to restore America’s honor.

Which is all well and good. Assuming you believe honor is something to be valued above all else.

And all this talk about “honor” reminded me of an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Outliers, which delves briefly into “the culture of honor”:

“Cultures of honor tend to take root in highlands and other marginally fertile areas. If you live on some rocky mountainside, the explanation goes, you can’t farm. You probably raise goats or sheep, and the kind of culture that grows up around being a herdsman is very different from the culture that grows up around growing crops. …

…  So he has to be aggressive: he has to make it clear, through his words and deeds, that he is not weak. He has to be willing to fight in response to even the slightest challenge to his reputation – and that’s what a ‘culture of honor’ means. It’s a world where a man’s reputation is at the center of his livelihood and self-worth.”

Assuming you can buy that theory, it explains quite a lot. Particularly given that so much of the resistance to the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress has its roots in the South.

Just something to chew on.

Now time for some randomness:

1. Ann Friedman reports from Real America. (Blackink)

2. Five years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is smaller, richer and whiter than it was before the storm. “But this is largely a result of poor people leaving the city after Katrina and not returning.”

3. One of the reasons for these changing demographics might be the lack of affordable housing for impoverished mothers and children.

4. In spite of, or maybe because of these changes, Yahoo considers New Orleans one of our nation’s 10 dying U.S. cities.

5. If you’re interested, a handful of slideshows can illustrate the recovery – or lack thereof – better than a thousand essays. Here’s some images from NOLA.comNewsweek, NYT and Sociological Images, to name a few.

6. Looking back at the chaos that unfolded following the flood, Frontline teamed with ProPublica and the Times-Picayune to uncover killings and cover-ups by police in the wake of Katrina. Also, the NYT ponders the gruesome sight of a corpse in broad daylight on Union Street and Matt Taibbi wades “into the nightmare of New Orleans.” (Blackink)

7. Violence against the homeless is at a 10-year high. (Nicole)

8. Planet Money explains how Wall Street made the financial crisis worse, and sorta knew they were doing it. (Monica)

9. Mexican marines find 72 bodies, possibly Zeta migrant kidnappings. (Nicole)

10. Rwanda dismisses leaked UN report, which accuses the Tutsi-led army of Hutu genocide in the Congo. (Naima)

11. More charges of sexual abuse have emerged from T. Don Hutto, a Texas immigration detention center that held men, (sometimes pregnant) women, and children until 2009 and now holds about 500 women. (Melissa)

12. Despite some high profile races, women are poised to lose seats overall in November. (Monica)

13. Marion Nestle on the half-billion egg recall. (Nicole)

14. Egyptian men and women want the church out of their marital ish. Currently the law says that a person’s religion dictates marriage and divorce petitions. (Naima)

15. “What’s this ‘we’ white man?” The Awl takes a closer look at Franzenfreude. (Melissa)

16. Binge drinking spreads to Italy? Guess binge drinking is an epidemic now…gorging foreign tourists ruin Italian restraint. (Naima)

17. The Millions asks if picture books are leading our children astray. (Melissa)

18. Robert Rodriguez‘ “Machete” comes out this week. Mexican superhero, immigration story, drug lords and corrupt politicians…perfect timing, eh? (Naima)

19. The president of the Wild Salmon Center found himself banned from a Portland sushi restaurant for pointing out the restaurant is serving endangered fish. (Nicole)

20. Over the weekend, Shaq took a spin through Harvard Square. (Blackink)

21. The Natalie Randolph regime has begun at Coolidge High in D.C. Unfortunately, it started with a loss. (Blackink)

More later. Enjoy the week. And honor America.

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