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Americans And The Environmental State In The 1970s

Via the Atlantic, a snippet of the EPA’s DOCUMERICA project, which involved the taking of thousands of beautiful, fascinating, sometimes harrowing photos of how Americans lived and how they interacted with the environment (expanding the definition of “environment” beyond what we usually think of):

As the 1960s came to an end, the rapid development of the American postwar decades had begun to take a noticeable toll on the environment, and the public began calling for action. In November 1971, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency announced a massive photo documentary project to record these changes. More than 100 photographers not only documented environmental issues, but captured images of everyday life and the way parts of America looked at that moment in history. The National Archives has made 15,000 of these images available.

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Death to All Cheerleaders!

[Here's a hilarious piece from the early days of Disinfo.com.  For more, make sure to check out our archives.  Also, if you like Marty Beckerman's early writings, please check out his latest book, DUMBOCRACY: Adventures with the Loony Left, the Rabid Right, and Other American Idiots.]

You Just Can’t Lose when Jesus is on Your Cheerleading Squad

Marty Beckerman is an 18-year-old humor and opinion columnist living in tropical Anchorage, Alaska. His award-winning writing has appeared most frequently in The Anchorage Daily News, though occasionally manages to pop up in finer national publications.

It should be noted that Beckerman was forever banished from The Anchorage Daily News on July 25, 2000, after asking a cheerleader how it feels to be a urine stain on the toilet seat of America.

As it turns out, neither the cheerleader nor Beckerman’s editor found that interview question particularly amusing.

Beckerman’s first book, Death to All Cheerleaders: One Adolescent Journalist’s Cheerful Diatribe Against Teenage Plasticity was published September 2000 on Infected Press.… Read the rest

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American Sex Portrait

‘Kinsey’s pioneering work is still one-of-a-kind because in all the time since, only a handful of sex researchers have even tried to match his breadth, depth, and scale. For all our obsession with sex, we’re skittish about studying it. There’s one major exception: a large survey, conducted in the 1990s, that far outdid Kinsey in terms of statistical reliability. It’s the most authoritative sexual self-portrait the country has. But you’ve probably never heard of its author, because unlike Kinsey, he has worked hard to keep it that way.

‘As a pioneer in the field, Kinsey had methodological strengths. To begin with, he was a counter, to the core. He gathered his data by conducting detailed, face-to-face interviews, occasionally lasting six hours or longer, and then tabulating how many people said they did what. He was an innovator in this regard, zeroing in on behaviors (whether a person had a homosexual experience or response, for instance) rather than identities (whether a person described himself as gay).… Read the rest

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Irish Gulags For Women: ‘Everything You Know About God Is Wrong’

The following is a small portion of Sam Jordison’s "’Irish Gulags for Women’: The Catholic Church’s Magdalene Asylums," one of 41 articles in Disinfo’s new anthology, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion, edited by Russ Kick. Other contributors include Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Rushkoff, and H.G. Wells. All major religions, and some minor ones, are covered. (More information is here.)

Here is the first fifth of Jordison’s article:

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Al-Qaeda’s Forerunner

‘Not many people can tell you much about the November 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, by Islamist militants. That’s partly because the Saudi authorities, as is their way, kept a tight lid on information during that fateful two-week period when the regime’s survival seemed, for the first time, in danger. Little changed afterward by way of transparency (even if the Saudis released a fascinating Arabic-language video on the event, pouring opprobrium on the militants). That is why Yaroslav Trofimov’s just-published book The Siege of Mecca is so valuable a document, not only in describing the murky events surrounding the takeover almost 28 years ago, but also as a backgrounder on the depth of Salafist tendencies in Saudi Arabia and the later emergence of Al-Qaeda. Trofimov, an Asia-based reported for the Wall Street Journal, has written extensively on Islam and the Middle East. An earlier book, Faith at War: A Journey on the Frontlines of Islam, from Baghdad to Timbuktu, was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post.’ (Reason article).… Read the rest

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