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America's Pedestrian Problem

Tom Vanderbilt on walking in America, in four parts: The Crisis in American Walking, Sidewalk Science, What's Your Walk Score?, and Learning to Walk. (Previously on jaywalking and on cities for people.)
posted by parudox on Apr 13, 2012 - 92 comments

Student Loans on Rise -- for Kindergarten

Student loan debt is now extending to K-12 private educations, fueled by parents who believe getting their children into the "right" primary school is essential to future success.
posted by reenum on Apr 7, 2012 - 113 comments

A Serious Comic about Syria's History.

Syria's civil conflict is the fruition of decades of American meddling
posted by Renoroc on Apr 5, 2012 - 54 comments

Worst Company in America 2012

Just beating Bank of America, Consumerist readers have voted Electronic Arts the worst company in America
posted by Artw on Apr 4, 2012 - 96 comments

Baloney Mass Index

A new study conducted by Dr. Eric Braverman, president of the nonprofit Path Foundation in New York City, and Dr. Nirav Shah, New York State’s Commissioner of Health suggests that the Body Mass Index significantly underestimates the rate of obesity in America, especially for women. Based on BMI, about one-third of Americans are considered obese, but when other methods of measuring obesity are used, that number may be closer to 60%. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Apr 4, 2012 - 118 comments

The Broderick-Terry Duel

On September 13, 1859, a former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court shot and killed a U.S. Senator in what has been called the last notable duel in American history. The duel itself can be interpreted as a sort of proxy battle between pro- and anti-slavery groups of the time, and a harbinger of the American Civil War (which would begin a year and half later).
posted by MattMangels on Apr 3, 2012 - 10 comments

See you at the party, Richter

The newly released trailer for Total Recall (2012) shows a Quaid quite conspicously not getting his ass to Mars. It could all have been different, as many versions of Total Recall 2 have been in the works over the years. Meanwhile is the Robocop remake anything but total recall? And has the American action movie gone kablooey?
posted by Artw on Apr 1, 2012 - 236 comments

Stag Party

The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
posted by Artw on Mar 27, 2012 - 160 comments

The Conservative Teen

Presenting for your perusal: "The Conservative Teen", a new magazine designed to instill the right values in today's youth.
posted by reenum on Mar 26, 2012 - 164 comments

Yes, but do they have a secret plan to fight inflation?

"It’s been nearly 6 years since the series finale of The West Wing, and more than 12 since the one-hour drama, which [Aaron] Sorkin created and largely wrote, first walked and talked its way through NBC’s Wednesday-night lineup; and yet you might think the series never ended, given the currency it still seems to enjoy in Washington, the frequency with which it comes up in D.C. conversations and is quoted or referenced on political blogs. In part this is because the smart, nerdy—they might prefer “precocious”—kids who grew up in the early part of the last decade worshipping the cool, technocratic charm of Sorkin’s characters have today matured into the young policy prodigies and press operatives who advise, brief, and excuse the behavior of the most powerful people in the country."
posted by zarq on Mar 11, 2012 - 134 comments

“It's a war created by illusions,”

The myth of 1812: How Canadians see the war we want to see. [Globe and Mail]
posted by Fizz on Mar 11, 2012 - 68 comments

Heal Thyself!

America is Stealing the World's Doctors
posted by Renoroc on Mar 11, 2012 - 53 comments

Four child slaves of mixed-race heritage with pale skin were used in pictures to raise funds

The ‘white’ slave children of New Orleans: Almost immediately after the law came into practice, Northerners and abolitionists set up relief organisations, which battled to establish schools and provide other forms of support – but their resources were limited. They soon discovered it was near-impossible to find sympathy and support in a war-torn and racially-prejudiced county.
posted by nickyskye on Mar 4, 2012 - 11 comments

Photographs of antique and vintage clothing from Europe and America

Old Rags is a collection of photographs of beautiful antique, historic and vintage clothing from Europe and North America. A feast of fashion history images from the 17th century to the 1920’s with a brief FAQ page here.
posted by nickyskye on Mar 1, 2012 - 10 comments

The Republican "brand" is collapsing

According to a report by Democracy Corps, the Republican "brand" in US politics is collapsing.
posted by reenum on Feb 26, 2012 - 149 comments

Democracy -- We Deliver

"Still, I'm willing to bet that future generations will look back on the period between 2006 and 2008 as the real turning point. Here was the moment when what remained of the American Century ran out of steam and ground to a halt. More specifically, when Bush gave up on victory in Iraq (thereby abandoning expectations of U.S. military power transforming the Greater Middle East) and when the Great Recession brought the U.S. economy to its knees (the consequences of habitual profligacy coming home to roost), Luce's formulation lost any resemblance to reality."--Andrew Bacevich on how "The American Century Is Over—Good Riddance"
posted by bardic on Feb 23, 2012 - 76 comments

Our Black Year.

"So I'm literally walking around and talking to people, "Is there a black-owned restaurant, or a black-owned dry cleaner?" and folks are looking at me like I'm insane. And if I didn't know this, I'm sure that folks outside the black community don't have this as part of their reality or part of their picture for black America. When we talk about black people, the black situation, problems in the black community, you know, we start with, "Black kids are least likely to graduate from school; black unemployment is four times higher than the national average," all these numbers. But why can't we include that over 90 percent of businesses in the black community are not owned by black people or local residents? If we were to add that to the conversation, maybe folks would say, "Oh, well no wonder things are so bad there," and start thinking about things in a different way instead of allowing those awful numbers to be a reflection of our propensities. Why is it that my people are just supposed to be the perpetual consumer class, and everyone else is supposed to benefit from our money?"

posted by empath on Feb 23, 2012 - 174 comments

Our Presidents; Robin Hood would not approve

It's a crazy ol' world: All Presidents (but one) are related; via King John, the foe of Robin Hood. And they said irony was dead.
posted by dejah420 on Feb 20, 2012 - 79 comments

The End of the Christian Right?

Historian Michael Kazin says that we are witnessing the end of the Religious Right's influence in American politics. Peter Montgomery of Alternet says not to declare the Christian Right dead quite yet.
posted by reenum on Feb 14, 2012 - 128 comments

ignorant America

In a fascinating discussion on PBS News Hour, Zbigniew Brzezinski, (US National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981) promoting his new book, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, criticizes the American public's understanding of world affairs as the least-informed of the developed countries of the world.

We see the consequences of an American public's ignorance of world affairs in America's foreign policy. How did this happen and what can be done to turn the tide? To enable real understanding of world affairs by the American public? [more inside]
posted by gen on Feb 11, 2012 - 171 comments

The End of the Free Market?

We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 10, 2012 - 29 comments

Fix UC

A student group has a novel idea to reduce college costs: pay nothing up front, instead paying out 5% of their income to the UC system for 20 years after graduation.
posted by reenum on Feb 10, 2012 - 123 comments

Don't Phone Home From America's Prisons

Inmates and their families pay much higher rates for phone calls than average consumers. Most of this is due to kickbacks received by the prison system from providers. This has led to a marked increase in the use of contraband cell phones. Government recently commissioned the GAO to explore lower cost alternatives.
posted by reenum on Feb 9, 2012 - 36 comments

States Target Foreign Law

There are several groups trying to pass bills in different states to ban the application of foreign laws in a US court, especially Sharia law. These groups are almost all using model legislation drafted by anti-Muslim activist David Yerushalmi.
posted by reenum on Feb 8, 2012 - 97 comments

An Epic Background, A Pun On The Name, Mix and Shake Well For Best Results

You may not know who the Costacos Brothers are. But if you were a sports fan in the US during the 1980's, chances are that you had one of their posters up in your room.
posted by reenum on Jan 30, 2012 - 19 comments

The Brand

David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
posted by reenum on Jan 23, 2012 - 20 comments

Playing for the other Team(sters): Project 59

Today on Rewind a remarkable historical piece that features two American icons who clashed over issues of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the 1950s and 60s. They are Robert Kennedy- former Attorney General of the United States, but at the time Chief Investigator of the Rackets Committee for the United States Senate, and James Hoffa- head of the Teamsters Union. (MP3) [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Jan 20, 2012 - 1 comment

Why America is fucked SLYT.

Why America is fucked SLYT.
posted by Meatbomb on Jan 19, 2012 - 94 comments

Ying-Ling? I thought that was Chinese?

Everyone knows America's Oldest Brewery is D.G. Yuengling & Son (and daughters) of Pottsville, PA (and Tampa, FL) This family owned brewery was established as the "Eagle Brewery" in 1829 by a German immigrant named David Gottlob Jüngling. After the original brewery burned down in 1831 it was relocated to its current location. It was built into a mountain with caves dug into the side, a common practice to preserve beer and to achieve the cool temperatures required to make lager before refrigeration. Yuengling spent most of its history as a small regional brewery and only began to attract national attention years after the launch of Yuengling Traditional Lager in 1987, which went on to become the flagship product of the company and now accounts for 80% of Yuengling's production. On the strength of that growth, and with other brewers being bought out by or outsourcing production to foreign companies, Yuengling has now passed The Boston Beer Company to claim the title of America's largest brewing company as well. In this globalized beer era where giants war for market share, products from America's new largest brewer are only available in 14 states.
posted by furiousxgeorge on Jan 17, 2012 - 113 comments

The continued decline of the American manufcaturing sector...

On December 19th, Ford closed the doors of their St Paul auto plant, ending 800 jobs and 86 years of history. The plant was closed as part of Ford's move to end the Ford Ranger in North America, a truck that will still be available overseas. Born of the 80s gas crisis, the Ranger has been Ford's compact truck for almost forty years. Ford blames demand for large trucks and the shrinking gap in price between the compact and full-sized truck markets, spurring concern about the future of the compact truck market in North America.
posted by Stagger Lee on Dec 23, 2011 - 93 comments

Exclusive license for medical marijuana treamtent?

The US National Insitutes of Health recently filed notice of a prospective grant to give an exclusive license to New York based Kannalife for Development of Cannabinoid(s) and Cannabidiol(s) (i.e. marijuana) Based Therapeutics To Treat Hepatic Encephalopathy in Humans. Toke of The Town covers the issue, including an interview with Kannalife CEO Dean Pethanas.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 21, 2011 - 15 comments

A few things we learned on the way to the Moon

39 years ago today, Apollo 17 splashed down in the South Pacific, marking the end to manned exploration of the Moon. What we learned from those 10 years of discovery was amazing. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 19, 2011 - 42 comments

"Wheelchair Hell"

"Imagine 12 men in a dorm all in diapers and sitting in their own feces," he says. "It smelled like a combination of what people had for lunch that day and pus from people's open wounds. I've been in a wheelchair now for three years, and the jail is by far the worst place I've ever seen for a disabled person." -- L.A. Weekly on "Wheelchair Hell" in the L.A. County Men's Jail
posted by bardic on Dec 8, 2011 - 42 comments

In Japan, they farm like this; in American, they farm like that.

Japan's youth, unable to find jobs in the city, look to life on the farm. [more inside]
posted by asnider on Dec 1, 2011 - 36 comments

Beattitudes

The Nation's William Deresiewicz looks at Ann Beattie's evolution as a writer.
posted by reenum on Nov 28, 2011 - 5 comments

Waiting for justice

Today is the third anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. And India, tired of waiting, wants answers. [more inside]
posted by infini on Nov 25, 2011 - 8 comments

On a Throne Made of Vanishing Ink

Makes very little difference what happens, the next ten years, because the main thing in the universe isn’t at all affected by these little shifts of anthills, musics, nations, marriages. Let Allen Ginsberg inform your Sunday afternoon. [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference on Nov 20, 2011 - 21 comments

Local Twitter Slang, And All That Jawn

The Awl takes a look at how Twitter has allowed local slang to go global, and the unhappiness this causes for some.
posted by reenum on Oct 28, 2011 - 34 comments

Did McDonalds cause the decline of violence in America?

Did McDonalds cause the decline of violence in America?
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Oct 26, 2011 - 49 comments

Getting a job in 2011 America - fun times! *sarcasm*

Why Companies Can't Find the Employees They Need
posted by Anima Mundi on Oct 25, 2011 - 139 comments

This Year’s Hot TV Trend Is Anatomically Correct

There has been a noticeable uptick in the use of the word "vagina" in network TV shows, reports the NY Times.
posted by reenum on Oct 19, 2011 - 131 comments

The Percentages

The Percentages: A Biography of Class. An autobiographical essay about growing up in the working class (as the author defines it) and then meeting the middle class (again, as the author defines it). This is so far outside my experience that I can't even summarize it properly, but it's worth reading.
posted by d. z. wang on Oct 16, 2011 - 123 comments

a desert, and not in an enchanted forest

"I wonder whether the endless fake cultural wars around identity politics are the main reason we have been able to ignore the tech slowdown for so long." - Peter Thiel, The End of the Future [more inside]
posted by beisny on Oct 14, 2011 - 83 comments

The Sadist State

Cruel America: It appears that no one is so unfortunate that he or she is exempt from spending cuts, while at the same time no one is so fortunate as to be ineligible for a tax cut.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 2, 2011 - 164 comments

"Jews and Christians should be allies; and allies are equals."

In October 1870, as American Jews were observing the High Holidays, The Atlantic Magazine published an article called "Our Israelitish Bretheren." 'At the time, it served as a sort of crash course about a tiny, mystifying minority. Today, it survives as something quite different: a snapshot of a transitional moment in Jewish history.' Written by American biographer, James Parton -- the founder of American Heritage magazine.
posted by zarq on Sep 29, 2011 - 13 comments

America's Tragic Theater

'Few Americans today can name more than one or two current boxers, but boxing once stood at the center of American life. It has become a ghost sport, long discredited but still hovering in the nation’s consciousness, refusing to go away and be silent entirely. But there was a time when things were very different. Boxing's history winds a thread through the broader history of the nation.'
posted by zarq on Sep 14, 2011 - 95 comments

in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct

"Change Proposed for State's Electoral Vote Process." Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that Pennsylvania divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. Talking Points Memo says that under the proposed plan Obama would have received only 11 of the state's 20 electors in 2008; Dave Weigel and Nick Baumann say gerrymandering could mean that in 2012 Obama could actually wind up with a minority of the state's electors even if he carries the state. GOP-led legislatures in other states, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, could make similar moves. But could this be a bridge too far for some members of the state's GOP caucus? [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Sep 14, 2011 - 128 comments

The bottom of the pyramid

U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years (NYT) - An additional 2.6 million people slipped below the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch. That represented 15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four. (related)
posted by infini on Sep 13, 2011 - 121 comments

Democracy: Victory at Home, Victory Abroad

"World War II has immesurably magnified the Negro's awareness of the disparity between the American profession and practice of democracy." During WWII, the armed forces were still marked by segregation of troops, with black troops often led solely by white officers, there were many instances of violence against African-American troops as well as general discrimination. While many African-American troops were serving with honor and some with particular levels of distinction, a stateside newspaper - the Pittsburgh Courier - began the "Double V" campaign: "Democracy: Victory at Home, Victory Abroad" after printing a letter from a reader asking "Should I Sacrifice To Live ‘Half American?’". The response from the community was overwhelming. Many people, not just activists, latched onto the campaign and made it a huge success for the community, helping to lay the ground work for the beginnings of the post-war Civil Rights movement.
posted by rmd1023 on Aug 31, 2011 - 23 comments

Addressing the Justice Gap

Several commentators are advocating the deregulation of the practice of law.
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2011 - 125 comments

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