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Basking in the warm glow of the television.

Sure, we all know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is broadcast every year in the US as a Christmas tradition, and that Sweden basically closes every year from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on December 24th to watch Donald Duck, but what about other countries? [more inside]
posted by DoctorFedora on Dec 22, 2009 - 33 comments

Single Link Wire-Filter

You’re going to hire people to guard your sh*t, but you’re not going to give them health care. Vice has a long spoiler- and profanity-laden interview with The Wire creator David Simon, running the gamut from backstage Wire details to the media's obsession with "the Dickensian aspect" to his next series (set in New Orleans) to Joe Lieberman to this fight he almost got in at a concert one time. Via /Film.
posted by gerryblog on Dec 17, 2009 - 41 comments

Not Afraid of Americans

David Bowie's response to his first American fan letter. In 1967, 14 year old Sandra Adams wrote a letter to Bowie. According to Bowie himself, this was his first bit of fan mail from the States. The response, though brief, is funny and sincere.
posted by spaltavian on Dec 14, 2009 - 79 comments

Religion à la Carte – Threat or Menace?*

A major survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that most Americans have a non-dogmatic approach to faith. A strong majority of those who are affiliated with a religion, including majorities of nearly every religious tradition, do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. And almost the same number believes that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion. The survey finds that constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace, as every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents. (.pdf of full report (268 pages) or watch the video of Pew Forum Director Luis Lugo giving an overview of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey and talking about some of its key findings.) [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Dec 11, 2009 - 37 comments

Final edition: Twilight of the American newspaper

Final edition: Twilight of the American newspaper. "Newspapers have become deadweight commodities linked to other media commodities in chains that are coupled or uncoupled by accountants and lawyers and executive vice presidents and boards of directors in offices thousands of miles from where the man bit the dog and drew ink."
posted by chunking express on Dec 10, 2009 - 91 comments

Detainee 063

Detainee 063. This is the interrogation log of Mohammed al-Qahtani. It is being published in real time: each entry will appear exactly seven years after it was first recorded. The interrogation took place at Guantanamo Bay.
posted by chunking express on Dec 7, 2009 - 28 comments

8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight.

8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight. "Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers' (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers."
posted by chunking express on Dec 3, 2009 - 41 comments

Mainstream. Main Street. Mass produced. Middle Class homes.

Retro Renovation celebrates an era of post-war American housing that's being slowly eroded by the likes of HGTV. [more inside]
posted by saturnine on Dec 2, 2009 - 49 comments

Everything you never wanted to know about the American prison-industrial complex

Everything you never wanted to know about the American prison-industrial complex. Part 2: Prison Nation.
posted by Optimus Chyme on Nov 30, 2009 - 92 comments

your favorite literary writer sucks

This is what the cultural elite wants us to believe: if our writers don't make sense, or bore us to tears, that can only mean that we aren't worthy of them. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Nov 26, 2009 - 143 comments

How Tyler Cowen Would Fix the Current Healthcare Bill

What should we do instead of the Obama health reform bill?
posted by reenum on Nov 20, 2009 - 99 comments

Minority Death Match

Minority Death Match: Jews, Blacks, And The "Post-Racial" Presidency by By Naomi Klein. An interesting look at the failure of the two United Nations Durban conferences on racism — and a whole lot of other stuff. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Nov 19, 2009 - 32 comments

Overthinking an overloaded buffet platter

Dismal economy got you down? Chin up, sport - it's possible to save money and eat like a king at one of America's abundant all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants. Before you and your dining companion are whisked off this culinary land of plenty, take note of the definitive strategy guide to maximize both your dollar and your waistline. Fill up on tips such as: Wear items with intricate patterns or designs that will disguise spills and stains. As you get your game plan together, here's your anthem.
posted by porn in the woods on Nov 10, 2009 - 96 comments

ACCORDION SOLO!

Be forewarned, the sound quality isn't the best. But for a dose of pure surreality strong enough to turn your socks into melted Dada timepieces, try mixing "Weird Al" Yankovic on accordion with the Presidents of the United States, performing a (non-parody) cover of Boston's "More Than a Feeling" (SLYT). (via Dave Dederer's Reddit interview)
posted by WCityMike on Oct 22, 2009 - 29 comments

George S. Zimbel

George S. Zimbel is a documentary photographer. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Oct 21, 2009 - 7 comments

America's Smartest Cities -- From First to Worst.

"Which [U.S.] metropolis has the most intelligent residents? The Daily Beast crunched the data on the brainpower of America’s 55 largest cities (w/ video), from first-to-worst." The list. First -- Raleigh-Durham, NC. Worst -- Fresno, CA. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Oct 11, 2009 - 99 comments

Land of the Freep

American things that Barack Obama has made unAmerican
posted by Artw on Oct 10, 2009 - 76 comments

Can you find Satan?

"This may truly be the most important new painting of the twenty first century." The McNaughton Fine Art Company presents "One Nation Under God" [cache], an... interesting take on American history in a nifty zoom interface. Artist John McNaughton, who calls himself "the only living artist in the world today" to practice the Barbizon School of French Impressionism, has an extensive body of less opinionated work for you to admire. Interview. Character list.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 6, 2009 - 305 comments

What Does DHS Know About You?

What Does DHS Know About You? A lot. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Oct 5, 2009 - 50 comments

McCarthy to Wilson...is history doomed to repeat itself?

"The Obama Haters" is a horribly inaccurate title. The article itself is a 25-years-later review of Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Reading this essay (and the Slate article today) gives rise to thought on what led to the McCarthyism that Hofstadter wrote in reaction to, and what might lie in our very near future....regarding the Obama haters.
posted by Kickstart70 on Sep 23, 2009 - 73 comments

The abnormal has become the norm

Brenda Kenneally documents the effects of illegal drugs in her Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. Money Power Respect and Big Trigg. NSFW [previous comment]
posted by tellurian on Sep 15, 2009 - 29 comments

*Slap!* Sir, I demand satisfaction

Few things in history are as compelling as the duel. Refined and barbaric at the same time, this practice has had a checkered history. The rules of dueling were codified by the Irish in 1777 in the Code Duello (summarized here), which was codified at Clonmel Summer Assizes in 1777. As evidenced by these documents, dueling was in practice prior to the Irish rules being drafted. The procedure and philosophy behind duels is illustrated in this article. Dueling gained some traction in America in the 19th century, culminating in the famous Burr-Hamilton affair. There are many more resources to find out more here. For a list of famous duels, you can check out this list. Lest you think men were the only ones dueling, here are a few short anecdotes of women dueling. Reportedly, dueling is still legal in Paraguay, as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
posted by reenum on Sep 15, 2009 - 17 comments

Since when does Hollywood shy away from controversy?

The Producer Cites Religious Controversy. The Director points to a recessionary trend against "serious" movies. A new film about Charles Darwin's life ("Creation") is reportedly having difficulty finding a US distributor. ( Creation: IMDB / Official Site / Trailer / Spoiler-laden review from Roger Ebert / LA Times review // Darwin: Previously on MeFi).
posted by zarq on Sep 13, 2009 - 70 comments

Harmony Korine's Trash

Trash Humpers [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Sep 10, 2009 - 43 comments

Cross Country in 4 Minutes

A road trip from San Francisco to Washington D.C. in time lapse.
posted by The Devil Tesla on Sep 9, 2009 - 24 comments

Government using Facebook and MySpace to find tax cheats

Tax authorities using social networks to find tax cheats Yet another reason to be careful who you accept a friend request from.
posted by reenum on Aug 30, 2009 - 25 comments

Mercy and the Minotaur.

"The subjects vary... but there is an ideological approach in America that is distinguished by one common characteristic: words and deeds utterly lacking in the quality of mercy," by Charles Stross. Or, in other words, is using a minotaur to gore detainees a form of torture?
posted by geos on Aug 29, 2009 - 88 comments

Dominick Dunne 1925-2009

Dominick Dunne died yesterday at the age of 83. was well known for his chronicling of the follies and crimes of the rich. You can read some of his pieces from Vanity Fair here.
posted by reenum on Aug 27, 2009 - 26 comments

He says every patient is a golden trout. We need to go get those trout.

The Deadly Cost of Swooping In to Save a Life (single-page version): Deregulation and America's health care system combine to make medical helicopters increasingly dangerous.
posted by parudox on Aug 20, 2009 - 28 comments

VIMBY?

Suburban farming, an idea whose time may have come. Short and sweet SLYT from the Wall Street Journal about people growing herbs and vegetables in their own yards in American suburbia.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 18, 2009 - 64 comments

The art of Josh Keyes

Animals isolated in dystopian tableaux.
posted by tellurian on Aug 17, 2009 - 23 comments

A rational conservative solution for health care reform

E.D. Kain with a moderate conservative solution to the health care crisis
posted by reenum on Aug 13, 2009 - 88 comments

"America's Imaginary Medieval Period"

NPR: American Castles. With interactive map. Previously. Also, on Flickr.
posted by Miko on Aug 1, 2009 - 28 comments

Operation Pancake

An expose of non-vegan ingredients in pancakes at LA Vegan Thai inspired the QuarryGirl.Com writers to conduct their own extremely thorough investigation of LA vegan restaurants, testing their meals for traces of casein, egg, and shellfish. Over $1000 and a chain of interviews up to Taiwan later, they find that half the restaurants aren't as vegan as they claim, with half registering Positive or High and one registering Overload. Some restaurants vowed to conduct their own tests or requested further assistance; one banned them from the establishment.
posted by divabat on Jul 5, 2009 - 260 comments

An American Hero in Iran

On a windswept plateau near the foothills of the Sahand Mountains in northern Iran stands the grave of a martyr. An American presbyterian minister who fought and died for the Constitutionalist cause in Iran 100 years ago, Howard Baskerville is still revered by Iranians today.
posted by empath on Jul 4, 2009 - 7 comments

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

The American Empire Is Bankrupt (via The Agonist)
posted by Substrata on Jun 18, 2009 - 81 comments

Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military

Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military.
posted by chunking express on May 29, 2009 - 91 comments

"This is an imaginary land"

Border Stories is a series of short documentaries about life on the US-Mexican border, none longer than 6 minutes. The subjects are: drug addicts on the border (warning: graphic images), electronic music group Nortec Collective, hospital costs of fence jumpers, lonesome Minuteman, Mexican emigrant safety patrolman, ranchowners whose land is an immigration throughway, US-raised 18 year-old sent back to Mexico, virtual vigilantes, two old men provide water in the desert, dangers of journalism in Ciudad Juarez, graveyard of US tires in Mexico, drug ballads, hardened border policy hurts cross-border community, another cross-border community fears closing of footbridge, working illegally in Laredo, mayors of the two Laredos, migrants' safe house, hand-pulled ferry, dentistry in Nuevo Progreso, Brownsville high school teacher protests border fence, golf course with the border on three sides & fishermen on the mouth of the Rio Bravo. Border Stories also has a blog about immigration issues.
posted by Kattullus on May 21, 2009 - 18 comments

PortlandFilter

PDX History is a veritable treasure trove of information about (and pictures and postcards of) the history of Portland (Oregon). Department stores, streetcars, long-dead amusement parks (yes, Jantzen Beach was once much more than a dying mall surrounded by big-box stores) and more. The web design leaves a bit to be desired, but the site is wonderful nonetheless.
posted by dersins on May 15, 2009 - 15 comments

"Greetings from Idiot America"

Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 12, 2009 - 65 comments

"Get up, you scum suckin' pig!"

Cult western classic One-Eyed Jacks (1961) is the only film ever directed by Marlon Brando, who happened to replace the original director, none other than Stanley Kubrick.
posted by ageispolis on May 11, 2009 - 15 comments

Fake Rapture.

Fake Rapture. You are now on the cutting edge.
posted by univac on May 5, 2009 - 131 comments

Beware the Red Menace!

Rasmussen Reports published a poll recently which showed that 20% of respondants believe socialism is better than capitalism. Among those under 30, the percentage goes up to 33%. And apparently, some Republicans believe that percentage is actually much higher, as the Republican National Committee has called upon RNC chairman Mike Steele to start calling Democrats "Democrat Socialists". Steele, for his part, told Fox News, "We don't see this president so much as a socialist as we see him as a collectivist".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Apr 24, 2009 - 105 comments

Escape from the Zombie Food Court

The American Hologram We suffer under a mass national hallucination. Americans, regardless of income or social position, now live in a culture entirely perceived inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation and world that does not exist. Our national reality is staged and held together by media, chiefly movie and television images. We live in a “theater state.”
posted by idixon on Apr 23, 2009 - 207 comments

"One must be very naïve or dishonest to imagine that men choose their pants independently of their situation."

Demon Denim. Feeding off a earlier column in the WSJ by Daniel Akst, who wrote, "no fabric has ever been so insidiously effective at undermining national discipline," conservative columnist George Will takes up the (denim-free) banner in the crusade to rid America of "the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche."
posted by Liver on Apr 16, 2009 - 158 comments

Oh, Daddy and Mommy keep their boat down by the house on Martha's. More Gin?

The Atlantic takes a look at the American Class System: a look at Paul Fussell's Class 25 years later. Of particular interest is the movement of Class 'X' from outside the system to the core of the status-obsessed center. [more inside]
posted by leotrotsky on Apr 15, 2009 - 157 comments

"I played at August Wilson's funeral. You know what he wanted me to play? Danny Boy."

Wynton Marsalis waxes poetic (and music) at the Kennedy Center about art, freedom, jazz, the minstrel shows of yesterday and today, Walt Whitman, American history, the similarities between the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Mickey Mouse Club March, rock and roll, and how it all ties together. [more inside]
posted by Ndwright on Apr 13, 2009 - 30 comments

Renaldi's "Fall River Boys"

Richard Renaldi is doing some pretty wonderful photography. For several years, he’s been using a large format 8x10 camera (with the hood and everything), profiling people in ways that feel both intimate and authentic. His first book, “Figure and Ground,” is a collection of portraits and landscapes that capture, with a quiet intensity, a diverse cross-section of the country. His newest book, “Fall River Boys,” is a sort of chronicle of a decaying American town, and the (mostly) young inhabitants who are either unable or unwilling to leave. (He and his partner even launched their own press to get it published.) [more inside]
posted by mapalm on Apr 13, 2009 - 8 comments

Great, plain, still emptying

Faded Dreams, Emptied in Emmons County and Memories in McIntosh County. Three flickr photo sets of (mostly) abandoned, crumbling farms, businesses and homes in rural North Dakota. [previously] [via]
posted by dersins on Apr 6, 2009 - 20 comments

Jesus who?

The End of Christian America. The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 4, 2009 - 223 comments

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