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How Can People Say America Is Going to Hell?

When I can stop by the local Kwik-E-Mart and there, alongside the Cheetos and 128-oz 2000-calorie Big Guzzlers, I can find sitting on the shelves:


(All of them actually purchased at one place and one time, in fact this afternoon, from a tiny little local convenience store. And, yes, I do realize that there would be roughly 900 calories in the 72 ounces of beer shown above. But I'm not going to drink them all at one time from a big guzzle cup.)

I understand that a particular DC-area distributor is the one I have to thank for bringing this golden age of accessible craft beer to Washington. In fact, when I happened to meet this man last year and heard him say that one neighborhood Kwik-E-Mart had suddenly started doing an inexplicably great business in craft brews, I had to stop myself before giving him its exact address and opening hours -- and revealing to him when I had moved back to the city.

Further on this theme: If you're looking for a craft brew adventure later this month in DC, check this out. And, this news is almost enough to give me a rooting interest in the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim," aka the Anaheim/California Angels. Almost. (Hint: my original hometown brewery now has offerings on tap at Angels Stadium.) For a lineup of what craft brews are available at what stadiums, check this out, and this. The offerings at my current hometown stadium, for the Nationals, stand up very well. Actually, all the parks look pretty good. I repeat: at least in some ways we are not going to hell, yet.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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