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Happy Birthday West Virginia


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.

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  • fka AWS

    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.

    • TribalistMeathead

      Ditto the drive from VA to OH along Route 50. I had no idea.

  • Mudge

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

  • somethingblue

    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 …

    • There were too many complaints after the Indiana one. It irritated me.

      • fka AWS

        Really? So you quit?

        • Not officially. Just lost my motivation to do it. The comments for that post were a little nasty for something I was doing as a lark.

          • Brett Turner

            Please keep doing the MPP lists. Arguing about them in the comments is half the fun. If we abused you too much in the comments, we apologize. It really is a very fun feature and probably draws people to the site who wouldn’t otherwise be here.

            • firefall

              As a foreigner, I found them intensely informative

    • ChrisTS

      What is an/the MPP list?

      • Lee Rudolph

        While you and I wait for an answer for someone who actually knows, I’m guessing that M is “Most” and the second P is “Politician(s)”.

        • Most Prominent Politicians.

          • ChrisTS

            Ok, so why were the comments … whatever they were? Arguments about who is most prominent?

          • rea

            I don’t particcularly remember the comments on that one. But those posts always struck me as a challenge to find others deserving of being included on the list. That’s why they were fun. I hope that didn’t bother you, as long as was kept civil.

      • Lee Rudolph

        While you and I wait for an answer from someone who actually knows, I’m guessing that M is “Most” and the second P is “Politician(s)”.

  • Mondfledermaus

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

  • Bruce Vail

    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.

    • How is the tone of the post ugly?

      • Bruce Vail

        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.

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

          • Bruce Vail

            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

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

          • Bruce Vail

            Yes, indeed.

  • 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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