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Happy Birthday West Virginia

[ 26 ] June 20, 2013 |

West Virginia turns 150 today. Forged in the rejection of treason in defense of slavery, the state developed into a medieval fiefdom of the coal industry with much of the nation’s worst industrial violence, endemic poverty, and resource exploitation. Even as coal withdraws from the state, it looks at the state’s residents as a bunch of inbred yokels and attempts to turn the historical sites of labor violence into more profits. It is still cursed with some of the nation’s worst politicians. May the next 150 years tell happier stories.

Comments (26)

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  1. [...] Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis celebrates the 150th anniversary of the state of West [...]

  2. fka AWS says:

    The drive from Va. to Kentucky on 77 (?) is a gorgeous stretch of interstate, even though the cell reception sucks. And they gave us Balloon Juice, so there’s that.

  3. Mudge says:

    Thank you for your, typically gracious, recognition of the state’s birthday.

  4. somethingblue says:

    It is still cursed with some of the nation’s worst politicians.

    Speaking of which, are we ever getting another MPP list? Mississippi has been waiting for almost a year …

  5. Mondfledermaus says:

    I dunno.. judging by their voting patterns, seems to me that the coal industry pretty much nail it.

  6. Bruce Vail says:

    The tone of this post is ugly.

    As far, the “nation’s worst politicians” goes, the competition for this award is still too spirited for an early award to West Virginia.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      How is the tone of the post ugly?

      • Bruce Vail says:

        The tone is created by hammering the highly loaded phrases — ‘treason’ ‘medieval’ ‘worst industrial violence’ ‘endemic poverty’ ‘inbred yokels’ “nation’s worst’ — without ever clearly describing the good people of West Virginia as the long-suffering victims of powerful outside forces. Instead, you leave the impression that all of these ills are somehow their own fault.

        I’m not suggesting you intended it quite that way, but that was my first impression anyway. Maybe you should make an addendum above recognizing the efforts of many thousands of West Virginians over the years to make their home a better place, despite the tremendous odds they face.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          Um, the entire post was about outside forces acting upon West Virginians.

          • Bruce Vail says:

            Let me amend my reply above. The people of West Virginia are less the ‘victims of powerful outside forces’ than the targets of greedy and rapacious men hiding themselves behind the degraded institutions of our government (both civil and corporate). There is victimization, yes, but there is also an integrity and courage that endures.

        • Ramon A. Clef says:

          If that was your first impression, you need to pay closer attention to what you’re reading.

  7. Major Kong says:

    My job frequently takes me to West Virginia. For the most part they’re very nice people, but everyone looks at least 10 years older than their actual age. They must lead hard lives.

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