Kevin Baker

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Folio — From the July 2014 issue

21st Century Limited

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The lost glory of America’s railroads

Appreciation — June 26, 2014, 8:00 am

The Twenty-Three Best Train Songs Ever Written—Maybe

From Johnny Cash to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”

“Ascending the Alleghanies,” Harper’s Magazine (June 1859)

New York Revisited — June 19, 2014, 8:00 am

The Near-Death of Grand Central Terminal

And how it foretold the 2008 financial crisis

Main concourse, Grand Central Terminal, New York City, photographed between 1903 and 1920. Detroit Publishing Company, courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Close Reading — June 16, 2014, 8:00 am

Ayn Rand’s Rapture of the Rails

The train deaths of Atlas Shrugged

Still from Atlas Shrugged: Part I © The Strike Productions

Political Asylum — November 9, 2012, 3:59 pm

Obama’s Bland Bargain

A dispassionate president disavows the liberal idea.

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Political Asylum — November 8, 2012, 6:03 pm

Angry White Men

Can the G.O.P. genuinely change its attitude toward minorities and women?

Political Asylum — November 5, 2012, 9:42 pm

The Withdrawal of the American Establishment

An election-eve elegy for the country???s former guardians of sanity

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Political Asylum — October 24, 2012, 5:40 pm

Welcome to Easter Island

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“The beeper, for a certain kind of Miami teenager in the Nineties, was an essential evolutionary adaptation.”
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“The place could have sprung from someone’s jealous dream about white people.”
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“The best coming-of-age stories have a hole in the middle. They pretend to be about knowledge, but they are usually about grasping, long after it could be of any use, one’s irretrievable ignorance.”
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“‘It’s open shopping,’ he said. ‘A warehouse. The whole of Libya.’”
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“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:

$2,100,000,000,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

A Utah woman named Cameo Crispi pleaded guilty to having drunkenly attempted to burn down her ex-boyfriend’s house by igniting bacon on his kitchen stove.

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HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

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I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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