This realization became only too apparent during and after Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm that ravaged America’s East Coast last week, its effects made all the more devastating by the fact that its winds were whipping across an already weakened country. The infrastructure in New York, New Jersey and New England was already in trouble long before the storm made landfall near Atlantic City. The power lines in Brooklyn and Queens, on Long Island and in New Jersey, in one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, are not underground, but are still installed along a fragile and confusing above-ground network supported by utility poles, the way they are in developing countries.
Complete article does feature cameos by Tom Friedman and Aaron Sorkin, so take with a grain of salt.
Vice president Joe Biden lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972, shortly after he was first elected as an US senator. Here he talks about the grief and anger and pain he felt, at the 18th Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar, which is held each year on the Memorial Day weekend. It’s honest and moving and entirely apolitical.
Rape doesn’t get you pregnant, say Republicans. Sometimes, when abortion policies are discussed and somebody notes that Republicans and socalled Christians care more about foetuses than the women that carry them, people get offended and outraged about your exaggerations. And then something like this pops up again and you realise that actually, this is an understatement.
Time flies when you’re having fun: Eschaton is ten years old today. I must’ve been one of the first people to put Atrios on the blogroll back then, having barely been blogging for a month myself; no idea how I even found him — probably via Avedon? Back then the closest thing to a liberal (let alone leftwing) voice in the American blogosphere was Andy Sullivan, he who accused the “liberal elites in their coastal enclaves” of treason while the bodies were still falling out of the WTC. The only real progressive bloggers were people like Avedon and other science fiction fans, small voices lost in a wilderness of howling rightwing insanity.
And then came Atrios and he quickly became a focal point for all those people disgusted with these wingnuts and warbloggers, inspiring quite a few others to start blogging while, certainly in these first critical years, he himself was also very good at promoting new, interesting bloggers. For better or worse, he was crucial in the establishment of the liberal blogosphere, in providing pushback against the insanity of both the warbloggers and the wankers in the socalled professional press.
To celebrate, he has put together a list of the Ten Greatest Wankers of the Decade, a veritable treasure trove of assholes and douchecopters:
Some are more active these days than other, many other worthwhile candidates were skipped (where are Glenn Reynolds or Anne Coulter?), but this parade of horrors is still a sadly accurate view of a decade that’s been more bad than good.
Right, so the popular image of the American South in the fifties and sixties had been of rednecks, klansmen and big white cops beating up and shooting at peaceful Black civil rights activists. If you came from the south and were white, you were ignorant at best, stone cold racist at worst. Politically you had that old rotten to the core southern Democratic Party as the flag bearer of that image of the old south, corrupt, segregationist and resist to all change while the country was changed around it. In short, not a nice time to be white, from the south and not a stick in the mud bigot.
And then the seventies came and things changed. The south got less racist, you got a new generation less redneck, more hippie, less racist but not ashamed of being southern either. The south seemed to move away from its past, experience somewhat of a boom as cities like Atlanta attracted new businesses and inhabitants alike as the region got richer and less yokel. Meanwhile Nixon’s great southern strategy –as thought up by Lee Atwater– by which he appealed to that core of racist old Democratic voters by well, stoking their racism, has started to work, which means that the Democratic party in turn can be cleansed of its racist past, become more like it is in the rest of the country.
And so you have this vision of a New South in the mid seventies: young, optimistic, integrated, liberal, proud of its heritage but no longer mired in its past. With the culmination of that vision being Jimmy Carter’s election as president in 1976. Here you have the first true southern president since the Civil War, somebody both a liberal and from what rightwingers like to believe is their heartland, a Southern Baptist even, but liberal, who had southern rock bands like the Allman Brothers Band campaigning for him.
Is it any wonder that Republicans hate Carter, even now hate him even more than they hate Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, two other Democrats who “stole” their presidency from them? He represented a vision of the south, of their American heartland in direct opposition to what they wanted it to be, a south in which racist dogwhistles would no longer get their core voters worked up. He was a direct threath to their power and they would go to any length to make him lose the election, even going so far as to make deals with what they themselves would call an evil country, Iran, to make sure that the release of American hostages would not take place before the election so that Carter couldn’t profit from it.
that’s Andrew Weiss’ judgement of the seventies and while he may be bitter, he is sadly more right than wrong. The seventies is when the Republicans got their pretty hate machine really going, first used it to kill off Carter and the New South, then just kept dragging the whole of America ever more rightward into the mire, in the process replacing the real south with their Disneyfied, Nashvilled simulacrum of what they wanted the south to be.
 Lee Atwater in 1981: You start out in 1954 by saying, “N*gger, n*gger, n*gger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n*gger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
Indeed, it is as angry a cry from the belly of a wounded America as has been heard since the dustbowl and Woody Guthrie, a thundering blow of New Jersey pig iron down on the heads of Wall Street and all who have sold his country down the swanny. Springsteen has gone to the great American canon for ammunition, borrowing from folk, civil war anthems, Irish rebel songs and gospel. The result is a howl of pain and disbelief as visceral as anything he has ever produced, that segues into a search for redemption: “Hold tight to your anger/ And don’t fall to your fears … Bring on your wrecking ball.”
“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream,” Springsteen told the conference, where the album was aired for the first time. It was written, he claimed, not just out of fury but out of patriotism, a patriotism traduced.
“What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” he later told the Guardian. “There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.”
A large portion of Springsteen’s appeal for me is the same as Captain America’s: they’re both symbols of the American Dream who aren’t blind for the American Reality. Despite his multimillionaire status, Springsteen never has lost sight of his roots, never forgotten what it’s like to be a working stiff. He still has his heart in the right place.