I spent last Sunday up in LA, and among other things I went out to Rodeo Drive to take pictures of the beautiful people as the sun was going down. Here was my strategy: I sat down in a chair and snapped a picture of everyone crossing Brighton Way. Pretty simple. Now, some people will tell you that small towns are the real America, but I figure that Beverly Hills is the real real America. What’s more American, after all, than vast, ostentatious wealth in the middle of one of the nation’s great cities?

So here you go: pictures of real Americans, interspersed with images of Americana from lunchtimes past, all set to Kelly Clarkson singing “America” at President Obama’s second inaugural. Happy 4th!

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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