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Letter from the heartland: Silent factories, human pain


Dear friend,

After a week's vacation, I'm back now to rural Tennessee.

Forgive my sarcasm, but nothing's changed here in a week. The high unemployment, the paycheck-to-paycheck population of the area, and the increasing incidence of spousal abuse, teen pregnancy and drug use (prescription and otherwise) still dominate daily life.

We see this far too often in the clientele at the local food bank we operate in our small town.

Up until a decade ago, a mobile home manufacturer ran two large plants here. They operated 24/7, and they provided a decent living for the workers of the area.

But cutbacks and corporat...