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Library of Congress

Off The Cuff: Swamped!

The "swamp" isn't draining. It's overflowing at this point.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 12:07 PM
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In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and James Howard Kunstler discuss:

  • Complicit Insiders
    • Nearly everyone in DC has their hand in the cookie jar
  • No Heroes
    • There are no "good guys" left. Just varying degrees of criminals.
  • Not A US-Only Phenomenon
    • Most other countries/regions are as "swampy" as America (or worse)
  • A Hard Re-Set May Be The Inevitable Outcome
    • It's increasingly looking like a breakdown will occur. That may be the chance we need for real change.

James Howard Kunstler sits down this week to explain why he sees a systemic breakdown -- or "convulsion" -- is likely ahead, and why that may be our best opportunity to re-orient society on a saner path; provided we have the courage and smarts to abandon the 'leadership' and behavior that got us to this breaking point.

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About the guest

James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, "Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work."

Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies. A portion of it appeared as the cover story in the September 1996 Atlantic Monthly.

His next book in the series, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, published by Simon & Schuster / Free Press, is a look a wide-ranging look at cities here and abroad, an inquiry into what makes them great (or miserable), and in particular what America is going to do with it's mutilated cities.

This was followed by The Long Emergency, published by the Atlantic Monthly Press in 2005, is about the challenges posed by the coming permanent global oil crisis, climate change, and other "converging catastrophes of the 21st Century."

His 2008 novel, World Made by Hand, was a fictional depiction of the post-oil American future. The sequel to that book, "The Witch of Hebron," was published in 2010.

Mr. Kunstler is also the author of eight other novels including The Halloween Ball, An Embarrassment of Riches and Maggie Darling. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times Sunday Magazine and Op-Ed page, where he has written on environmental and economic issues.

Mr. Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He moved to the Long Island suburbs in 1954 and returned to the city in 1957 where he spent most of his childhood. He graduated from the State University of New York, Brockport campus, worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. He has no formal training in architecture or the related design fields.

He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, RPI, the University of Virginia and many other colleges, and he has appeared before many professional organizations such as the AIA , the APA., and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

He lives in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York.

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