Illustration for article titled Commenter Of The Day: Urban Blight Edition

In 1959, East St. Louis, Illinois was a prosperous city of over 80,000 people. High-paying union jobs in the steel, rail, and meatpacking industries drove the economy and the city had just earned the prestigious All-American City award from the National Civic League. What a difference 50 years makes. Today, East St. Louis has a population of just over 30,000 people, more than one-third of whom subsist on less that $7500 per year. It has been called America's Soweto by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Along the main thoroughfare of Missouri Street, entire city blocks are abandoned/demolished/burned down and the windows of the city's tallest building, a 13-story office tower, are alternately broken out or boarded up. The traffic lights downtown are turned off because apparently there isn't enough money or traffic to justify using them. Your intrepid Commenter Admin discovered all these things today while driving back to his hotel in downtown St. Louis, MO when his GPS unit temporarily crapped out and he found himself driving aimlessly and somewhat nervously through the deserted streets of East St. Louis. Eventually, he managed to get over the bridge and back to civilization, where he read mikedrawcar's reaction to the news of the upsized engine Toyota will be putting in the 'Merican edition of the new Prius.

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I look forward to the 2016 Prius, with a small block and tiny electric motor to power the power windows.

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America, fuck yeah!

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