What a Great Country This Is

09/01/2006 08:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Correspondence Corner, Special "What a Great Country This Is" Edition: [permalink]

Name: Harry and Devorah Silverman

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA


Eric, Please settle a bet. My wife says you are unable to mention two good things that are happening in the United States unrelated to the arts. I say it might take you a few hours but you can do it. C'mon Eric, step up to the plate. The payoff is great, if you know what I mean.

Eric replies: The things I do for my readers... Well, off the top of my head, this should keep you in payoffs through the winter at least...

--The Mets are leading their division and have lots of young talent for the future.

--This has got to be the best country in the world for bacon cheeseburgers.

--You can get a cab in Manhattan without walking to a taxi stand or calling one, when you can get a cab, that is...

--It's a good place to be born a Jew.

--My impression is America treats its immigrants better than most places, though that one's getting iffy...

--Diet root beer and Dr. Brown's are pretty hard to find elsewhere.

--Did we invent Whack-a-mole? We must have invented Whack-a-mole.


--Central Park.

--The fact that they keep improving Ipods.

--The scenery on the California coastline.

--Napa Valley and Sonoma are nice places to visit.

--New York is safer and cleaner than it's ever been since the Indians sold it.

--I think the brick-oven pizza here is the best, including particularly Italy.

--Human rights groups like Human rights Watch, Amnesty International, USA and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

--Fascism and Communism were never that strong here.

--Those people who save stray cats and dogs.

--Newman's Own, Clothes Off Our Backs, that kind of thing...

--Underappreciated, underpaid public school teachers.

--The Environmental Movement, (excluding those of its members who regularly refuse to "fly commercial").

--California's new greenhouse gasses law.

--Altercation's Correspondence Corner.

--The liberal blogosphere,, Media Matters, CAP, i.e. fighting back.

--The fact that according to every poll for the past year, Americans have finally figured out that their president is a dangerously incompetent liar despite being told by most pundits that that means they Hate America...

--The fact that I get to make a pretty good living doing pretty much what I want to do with my life.

--The progress we've made on racism and sexism, and are starting to make on prejudice against gays.

--We still have a First Amendment.

--Some journalists still make good use of it. (even though their editors often bury these stories).

And a few readers have helped me out with the following:

-U.S. research universities and professional science education, (at the moment, and in spite of Bush administration policies)

--The Antarctic ozone hole has stabilized and is showing signs of possible recovery. This is an example of the US participating proactively in an international environmental treaty that is showing excellent results. The ozone hole problem is orders of magnitude simpler and cheaper to solve than global warming; but hey, we are doing something right anyway. Banning CFC's really did work, and nobody died of a hairspray shortage

--The New York Public Library

--The National Bureau of Economic Research

--The fact that people really are, still, in spite of what you hear, reasonably decent to each other on a day-to-day basis (except in airports, what happens to people in airports?)