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David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'

David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'
America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. There's no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. I think we've perfected a lot of the tragedy and we're getting there faster than a lot of other places that may be a little more reasoned, but my dangerous idea kind of involves this fellow who got left by the wayside in the 20th century and seemed to be almost the butt end of the joke of the 20th century; a fellow named Karl Marx. I'm not a Marxist in the sense that I don't think Marxism has a very specific clinical answer to what ails us economically. We understand profit. Related:  Government And Social Stuff

How Corporate America Invented Christian America In December 1940, as America was emerging from the Great Depression, more than 5,000 industrialists from across the nation made their yearly pilgrimage to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, convening for the annual meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers. The program promised an impressive slate of speakers: titans at General Motors, General Electric, Standard Oil, Mutual Life, and Sears, Roebuck; popular lecturers such as etiquette expert Emily Post and renowned philosopher-historian Will Durant; even FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Tucked away near the end of the program was a name few knew initially, but one everyone would be talking about by the convention’s end: Reverend James W. Handsome, tall, and somewhat gangly, the 41-year-old Congregationalist minister bore more than a passing resemblance to Jimmy Stewart. It all sounds familiar enough today, but Fifield’s audience of executives was stunned. They just needed to do one thing: Get religion.

Slaves of the Internet, Unite! People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear conscience, whether you wouldn’t be willing to write an essay or draw an illustration for them for nothing. They often start by telling you how much they admire your work, although not enough, evidently, to pay one cent for it. “Unfortunately we don’t have the budget to offer compensation to our contributors...” is how the pertinent line usually starts. But just as often, they simply omit any mention of payment. A familiar figure in one’s 20s is the club owner or event promoter who explains to your band that they won’t be paying you in money, man, because you’re getting paid in the far more valuable currency of exposure. This is partly a side effect of our information economy, in which “paying for things” is a quaint, discredited old 20th-century custom, like calling people after having sex with them.

Sam Shepard: 'America is on its way out as a culture' | Stage Sunday evening in Santa Fe and Sam Shepard and I are sitting at a downtown bar, drinking tequila and eating tacos. The light is low, the night warm and the conversation darts and dives while the bartender rattles the cocktail shaker and behind us the tables begin to fill. Already we have covered several pressing matters, including the merits of Chekhov ("I'm not crazy about him as a playwright… why are you going to bring a dead bird onstage?"), the qualities of greyhound piss ("like champagne" apparently), and the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis: "The way she turns into a bird! Unbelievable. But now our conversation has turned to the subject of True West, the play Shepard wrote in 1980, now revived at the Tricycle theatre in London. "I think Phillip's production is great," he says this evening. Shepard saw Seymour Hoffman a week before he died of a heroin overdose in February and says he had no inkling anything was awry. He pauses. At the moment, he is writing his first novel.

A Short History of White Racism in the Two-Party System | The Weekly Sift If you’ve seen the Lincoln movie, maybe you’re still walking around with this bit of cognitive dissonance: In 1864, the Democrats are the party of slavery and the Republicans the party of emancipation and racial justice. What’s up with that? How did we get from there to here? The story is doubly worth telling because Republicans like Ann Coulter and Jonah Goldberg have been misrepresenting it so grossly. A good place to start is the presidential election of 1860, which brings Lincoln to power and convinces Southern whites (the only people who can vote in the South in 1860) that secession is their best chance to maintain slavery*. Lincoln gets only 40% of the vote, but in a four-way race (the Democratic Convention split over whether the platform should endorse the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision) that’s enough to win. 1876 electoral map 1896 electoral map 2012 electoral map The “solid South” stays Democratic through 1944, when FDR carries Mississippi with 94% of the vote. Phillips writes:

Which Side of the Barricade Are You On? - Doug Sosnik - POLITICO Magazine Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik was a close adviser to President Bill Clinton, and he’s famed in Washington circles for his closely held, big-think memos on the state of American politics. We got our hands on his latest—in which he warns of a rising populist tide that threatens to swamp Republicans and Democrats alike—and are reprinting it in full here with his permission. For some time now, the daily commentary has focused on the public’s increasing anger and frustration about the sluggish economic recovery, dysfunctional government and a failure of leadership. But all this analysis misses the more fundamental point, which is that Americans’ alienation from our political system and its leaders has been building for more than a decade. This extended period of dissatisfaction has had an extremely corrosive effect on the nation’s social fabric. A decade of anger and disaffection The country’s dissatisfaction is evident in all the major polling trend lines.

Malcolm X Was Right About America Malcolm X about two weeks before he was murdered in 1965. AP/Victor Boynton NEW YORK—Malcolm X, unlike Martin Luther King Jr., did not believe America had a conscience. “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck,” Malcolm said. King was able to achieve a legal victory through the civil rights movement, portrayed in the new film “Selma.” “Sometimes, I have dared to dream … that one day, history may even say that my voice—which disturbed the white man’s smugness, and his arrogance, and his complacency—that my voice helped to save America from a grave, possibly even fatal catastrophe,” Malcolm wrote. The integration of elites of color, including Barack Obama, into the upper echelons of institutional and political structures has done nothing to blunt the predatory nature of empire. “We’re anti-evil, anti-oppression, anti-lynching,” Malcolm said. If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page.

Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party | The Weekly Sift Tea Partiers say you don’t understand them because you don’t understand American history. That’s probably true, but not in the way they want you to think. Late in 2012, I came out of the Lincoln movie with two historical mysteries to solve: How did the two parties switch places regarding the South, white supremacy, and civil rights? The first question took some work, but yielded readily to patient googling. Who really won the Civil War? That sounded crazy until I read about Reconstruction. And oh, those blacks Lincoln emancipated? Here’s what my teachers’ should have told me: “Reconstruction was the second phase of the Civil War. It wasn’t just that Confederates wanted to continue the war. The Lost Cause. But eventually the good men of the South could take it no longer, so they formed the Ku Klux Klan to protect themselves and their communities. A still from The Birth of a Nation That telling of history is now named for its primary proponent, William Dunning. The first modern war.

The American Police State - The Chronicle Review By Marc Parry On a winter afternoon in 2004, a woman waits in the detective unit of a Philadelphia police station. Two officers, outfitted with combat boots and large guns, enter the room. The cops place their guns on the table, pointed at her. The woman is 22, tiny, and terrified. The officers show her a series of photos of men from around her neighborhood. Spewing obscenities about the woman's supposed appetite for casual sex, the cops press for information about her roommates and threaten criminal charges if she fails to cooperate. "If you can't work with us," one cop says, "then who will you call when he's sticking a gun to your head? Such scenes are nothing unusual in the lower-income black neighborhood where this woman spends most of her time. Unknown to the cops, though, there is one difference this time. Nearly a decade later, Goffman is emerging as a rising star of sociology. But after braving violence and intimidation to get this story, Goffman now faces a different challenge.

The United States of fear: Alec Soth photographs the death of community in America | Art and design In 2000, the US academic Robert D Putnam published Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. His thesis was that Americans had become increasingly insular, disconnected from family members, friends and neighbours and disinterested in joining clubs or social groups. Individualism had replaced community and though, for instance, more Americans were visiting bowling alleys than ever before, many were doing so alone. Bowling Alone is one of two starting points for Alec Soth’s Songbook. Soth’s Songbook is a lyrical meditation on community and its antithesis – the American urge for individualism. As such, Songbook revisits themes explored in his previous books, Sleeping By the Mississippi, Niagara and the rare-as-hen’s-teeth Broken Manual, all of which evoke an America in which individuals often seem lost or estranged from mainstream society (if, indeed, there is such a thing any more). Soth is always a mischievous onlooker.

KOHLBERG'S STAGES OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT Lawrence Kohlberg was a moral philosopher and student of child development. He was director of Harvard's Center for Moral Education. His special area of interest is the moral development of children - how they develop a sense of right, wrong, and justice. Kohlberg observed that growing children advance through definite stages of moral development in a manner similar to their progression through Piaget's well-known stages of cognitive development. These conclusions have been verified in cross-cultural studies done in , , , , , , , , and . An outline of these developmental stages follows: FOCUS: Self AGES: Up to 10-13 years of age, most prisoners Behavior motivated by anticipation of pleasure or pain. STAGE 1: PUNISHMENT AND OBEDIENCE: Might Makes Right Avoidance of physical punishment and deference to power. response of physical retaliation. determine its goodness or badness. holocaust who were simply "carrying out orders" under threat of punishment, illustrate that others? peers. "nice." here.

There Is No Nobel Prize in Economics October 12, 2012 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. It’s Nobel Prize season again. The five real Nobel Prizes—physics, chemistry, literature, peace, and medicine/physiology—were set up in the will left by the dynamite magnate when he died in 1895. Sweden’s Central Bank quietly snuck it in with all the other Nobel Prizes to give free-market economics for the 1% credibility. “The Economics Prize has nestled itself in and is awarded as if it were a Nobel Prize. Members of the Nobel family are among the harshest, most persistent critics of the economics prize, and members of the family have repeatedly called for the prize to be abolished or renamed. Scientists never had much respect for the new economic Nobel prize. That hatred continues to simmer below the surface, and periodically breaks through and makes itself known. To answer that question we have to go back to Sweden in the 1960s.