All posts by Ted Landphair

U.S.A. “The Uninformed States of America”?

Posted May 5th, 2011 at 2:18 pm (UTC-4)

A while back, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote a troubling piece in which she described a trend that doesn’t seem to bother the country much.  But it worries me! She laid out the appalling results of two national studies, one that tested the “civic literacy” of freshmen and seniors at 50 universities across the […]

We’re Not in Mississippi Any More

Posted May 4th, 2011 at 2:22 pm (UTC-4)
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You may know the charming story of Dorothy, the Kansas farm girl who, with her cute little Cairn terrier Toto, was picked up by a howling tornado and transported to a magical land in Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz, and in an even better-known movie. Astonished by their new surroundings amid little people […]

Bin Laden Makes the Lightning Round

Posted May 3rd, 2011 at 8:54 am (UTC-4)
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Fans of the TV game show “Password” know that a “lightning round” is a blitz of questions and attempted answers within a short amount of time, usually with a loud countdown clock intensifying the pressure. I decided to whip through, without the obnoxious clock, some items that got me thinking. **** The Forget Factor In […]

Math, Smath

Posted April 29th, 2011 at 7:57 am (UTC-4)

Recently the Washington Post published an article that carried interesting mathematical news. I know, you didn’t think there could BE such a thing, so boring is mathematics. But there’s news, all right: Many states are now requiring high-school students, no matter how mystifying they find numbers and formulas, to take not only basic math but […]

The South, Homogenized

Posted April 27th, 2011 at 2:32 pm (UTC-4)
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Mississippi writer William Faulkner once remarked that in the American South, the past is never dead.  It’s not even past.  Defeated and largely impoverished by the nation’s Civil War a century-and-a-half ago, the South developed a distinctive culture that is studied and celebrated around the world. But that culture, which I soaked in with great […]

For (Paisano) Pete’s Sake

Posted April 25th, 2011 at 2:55 pm (UTC-4)
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Famous structures have come to symbolize many U.S. cities and towns.  Just about every American knows San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge as well as the Gateway Arch to the West in St. Louis and the Washington Monument obelisk in the nation’s capital. And wherever you are, I’ll bet you, too, have heard and seen photos […]

Air-Traffic Controllerzzz

Posted April 22nd, 2011 at 1:37 pm (UTC-4)

You may well have heard by now that five U.S. air-traffic controllers — a rather shocking number — have been found literally asleep at the switch on the overnight shifts of several U.S. airports just since late March.  So many — including a supervisor — that federal transportation secretary Ray LaHood has ordered that a […]

No Middle, America

Posted April 20th, 2011 at 3:57 pm (UTC-4)

You probably missed the New York Times photograph that showed a revealing picture of New Yorkers riding into work on commuter trains.  The photographer stood behind a long series of rows, three seats to a row.  In the photo, every window and aisle seat — and not ONE middle seat — is occupied.  The train […]

Hello? Who’s There? No One

Posted April 18th, 2011 at 1:40 pm (UTC-4)
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Let’s talk telephones, with a big nod to Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, who recently wrote about phones in the Times.  At the risk that you’ll go there and not return, I’m going to link to that story — though the Times’s pay wall could possibly keep you from reading […]

Exporting American Culture

Posted April 14th, 2011 at 11:28 am (UTC-4)
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As uprisings and near-revolts were popping up in various places throughout the Middle East over the past few months, there were many references to the “stirrings of democracy” in the statements of those leading the insurgencies.  We Americans, who talk a lot about enabling or “exporting” democracy, have shaped our interpretation of that term over […]

Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


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