McGovern lost because he was an isolationist? If you had said that in 1972, people might have looked at you funny. Whatever his preference for deep cuts in the defense budget, Republican surrogates who hauled out the isolationist charge were labeled "silly" by no less an honest broker than the New York Times' Scotty Reston. Over the following six years–according to my ProQuest search–the words "McGovern" and some variant of "isolation" were mentioned in the Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune a mere six times.And, of course, McGovern lost to a candidate who was also campaigning on a pledge to end the war. But what about the whole "acid, amnesty, and abortion" thing?
Well, like I said, his position on abortion was the same as Nixon's. His position on pot followed the President’s National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. And amnesty was enacted, in limited form, by Gerald Ford. And the person who cast the false aspersion, Novak has recently revealed in his memoirs, was ... Thomas Eagleton.Perlstein argues that McGovern's substantive positions hurt him far less than his breathtakingly incompetent campaign: The disastrous flip-flop on whether to keep Eagleton on the ticket, for instance, or the 21-year-old novices crunching polling data. Plus, Nixon's dirty tricks were effective, and many prominent Democrats had a visceral loathing for McGovern. (Evidently, Hubert Humphrey—in an anecdote that's in dire need of follow-up—phoned Nixon on Election Night to congratulate the victor and intone, darkly, that "I did what I had to do" to keep McGovern from winning.)
1) In April of 1971... every viable Democratic presidential candidate, including Humphrey, went on TV in an extraordinary joint appearance and implored Nixon to set a date for withdrawal from Vietnam—including Scoop Jackson (who differed from the others only in that he said Nixon shouldn't publicly announce the date. So if people want to indict McGovern for his stance on Vietnam, they also have to indict his opponents in the Democrats' civil war—Humprey and, to a lesser extent, Jackson. It was just self-evidence to EVERY Democrat that we had to get out, and self-evident to Nixon that he had to appear to be getting out.
2) "Come home America" was a quote from Martin Luther King, and though of course it had isolationist resonances, in the context of both King and McGovern's speeches it was not literally geographic--it was a figurative call for America to "come home" to its founding ideals.
3) Democrats only started accusing each other of "McGovernism," equating that with "isolationism" starting in the early 1980s, in the context of debates about Central America--ie, if we ignored Communist encroachments there, Democrats would lose 49 states. It was an accusation Walter Mondale pioneered against Gary Hart (McGovern's campaign manager) for his announced reluctance to commit ground troops to protect oil in the Persian Gulf and (according to a Mondale spokesman) for continuing "the McGovern legacy of resistance to military spending and American involvement abroad." (Then, of course, Mondale lost 49 states...)
4) By 1986 you could be accused of "McGovernism" for basically paraphrasing things Nixon and Kissinger said in 1972. There was a columnist in the Post named Stephen S. Rosenfeld (I hadn't heard of him before) who excoriated a Hart foreign policy position paper for claiming "superpowers no longer dominate the world and 'the diffusion of power is the defining reality of our age.'" You can look it up (for example, Nixon's July 6, 1971 speech in Kansas CIty to a gathering of media executives, about which your colleague John Judis writes brilliantly in his 1992 book Grand Illusions: Critics and Champions of the American Century): that utterance was Nixon-Kissingerist to a T. And yet this Rosenfeld called it "one of those amorphous generalities that seem to come with the Democratic Party card."
Thus my ultimate point: "McGovernism" is a word not signifying an idea but a cudgel to short-circuit thought and honest historical reckoning.
Human hands… must make the same knife or scissors cut to slit open carcasses from anus to breast or the same twist of the hand to yank out viscera at a grueling pace, set by a relentless conveyor belt and reinforced by circulating foremen, while workers are standing in pools of water and grease in temperatures that range from freezing to ninety-five degrees and being pelted by flying fat globules or dripping blood.Most of that's probably familiar to anyone who's read Fast Food Nation (or the Mother Jones piece that was the basis for that part of the book). But what's new to me is the angle Jennifer Dillard brings up in this recent paper: namely, the psychological toll of doing all that killing. Here's one interview with a slaughterhouse worker:
The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. If you work in the stick pit for any period of time, you develop an attitude that lets you kill things but doesn’t let you care. You may look a hog in the eye that’s walking around down in the blood pit with you and think, God, that really isn’t a bad-looking animal. You may want to pet it. Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them—beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care.And another, even more gruesome passage:
Another time, there was a live hog in the pit. It hadn’t done anything wrong, wasn’t even running around the pit. It was just alive. I took a three-foot chunk of pipe—two-inch diameter pipe—and I literally beat that hog to death. Couldn’t have been a two-inch piece of solid bone left in its head. . . . It was like I started hitting the hog and I couldn’t stop. And when I finally did stop, I’d expended all this energy and frustration, and I’m thinking, what in God’s sweet name did I do? ... People go into Morrell expecting respect and good working conditions. They come out with carpal tunnel, tendonitis, alcoholism, you name it, because they’re under incredible pressure and they’re expected to perform under intolerable conditions. Or they develop a sadistic sense of reality.That's horrible, but not surprising. I certainly couldn't kill a pig. Most people couldn't—that's (partly) why we have slaughterhouses in the first place. And while I've never really believed that a person should only eat something he or she can kill with their bare hands, it is an incredibly gruesome task to outsource, perhaps even different in kind from other wretched tasks that low-wage workers end up doing. Maybe this can all be reworked into a moral case for vegetarianism at some point.
Previous studies have shown that the most efficient economic system causes inequality to grow. Policies that reduce inequality are believed to have a trade-off: If you punish people too much for doing well—by reducing their incentives to pass on wealth to their children—these people will reduce their effort, to the detriment of the economy as a whole. But allowing inequality to increase concentrates the world’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands.Well, that jibes with everything I've always believed, so of course I'm going to find this interesting. Mankiw seems less convinced. Either way, here are the two papers where Werning lays out the case for a progressive estate tax (along with, in fact, subsidies for bequests by lower-income families). Here's a paper in which he rather cleverly rebuts the notion that the state needs to cut off unemployment benefits after six months in order to spur workers into finding jobs.
Werning found that the models at the core of these judgments were incomplete. Allowing inequality to grow, unfettered, is economically optimal only if one looks at just the first generation. But if you take into account the children of first-generation parents, and their children’s children, then the most preferable system is not one that allows inequality to grow, but one that attempts to stabilize the distribution of wealth.
His paper shows that the transmission of wealth should be regulated to prevent an accumulation of luck—that children should essentially be insured against the family into which they are born.
There have been three important changes in American wine drinkers over the past two decades. First, Americans upgraded their palates, moving from inexpensive jug wines with retail prices of less than $3 a bottle to popular-premium wines costing $3 to $7, super-premium wines at $7 to $14 a bottle and ultra-premiums, which cost more than $14.That's interesting about Parker (as is his Wikipedia page, which notes that some chateau owners are so desperate to curry favor with the guy that they've done everything from send death threats to offer up their daughters). Meanwhile, I assume U.S. demand is going to keep growing rapidly—especially if we keep getting bombarded with 60 Minutes specials on how those accursed French oenophiles never get heart disease. And that could make things interesting.
Second, preferences are shifting toward reds, both because palates have become more sophisticated and because red wines may have health benefits that whites do not.
Third, Americans increasingly prefer the consistent taste of fruity (high-acid, high-sugar) wines produced in California, Argentina, Australia, Chile and New Zealand to the "mystery in every bottle" (typically drier) wines from Old World Europe. This trend has been accelerated (or, skeptics maintain, created) by the independent critic Robert Parker, who changed the global wine-rating business by setting a high ethical standard in his wine reviews that was missing before he vaulted to prominence in the 1980s.
“Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?”Okay, that's about what you'd expect. But then they polled another random set of white people with a slight variant:
Somewhat favor: 29%
Strongly favor: 36%
“Some people say that the death penalty is unfair because most of the people who are executed are African-Americans. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?”No, that's not a typo. White respondents were more likely to strongly favor the death penalty after they were told that it's mostly African Americans being executed. (Not surprisingly, black respondents were far less eager to support the death penalty after learning about the racial disparity.)
Somewhat favor: 25%
Strongly favor: 52%
Humid tropical forests simply don't burn, or at least that was the conventional wisdom. After all, millions of fires are set in tropical forest regions every year in conjunction with the slash-and-burn methods used to clear land for agriculture; yet the fires almost never escape into the surrounding forest. But in 1983, the large-scale fluctuation in climate called El Niño brought about a different reality. Southeast Asia became a tinderbox after unprecedented drought. Fires broke out and burned for months in the equatorial rainforests of Borneo, creating a pall of acrid smoke that shut down airports hundreds of miles away and caused respiratory distress in thousands.Scary stuff. Terborgh's conclusion is harsh, but probably accurate: Brazil is going to keep hacking away at the Amazon—and, hence, increasing the risk of uncontrollable fire—until "an international community united by the specter of radical climate change" decides that it's worth paying Brazilians not to do so. The first version of the Kyoto Protocol didn't cover forests under its cap-and-trade system. Unless someone figures out how to account for them in a successor treaty, it may well be bye-bye Amazon rainforest—which would, in turn, further accelerate global warming.
Scientists investigating the causes and consequences of the Borneo fires discovered an important corollary. Forests that had been logged were the ones that burned; unlogged forests resisted fire. Logging synergizes fire in two ways. First, cutting down trees opens the forest canopy, admitting sunlight and drying out the leaf litter on the forest floor. Second, the debris of branches, chips, and stumps left behind by logging operations serves as fuel for any subsequent fire. For these two reasons, fire can propagate through logged forest under drought conditions but usually peters out in unlogged forests.
Ground fires burned huge tracts of Amazonian forest in conjunction with the El Niño of 1997 and 1998. The toll promises to be far more severe in the future. The first time a tropical forest burns, the damage can hardly be detected from above because the destruction is largely confined to saplings and small trees whose crowns lie below the canopy. But the subsequent presence of large numbers of dead trees greatly increases the fuel available to stoke the next fire. Consequently, second fires burn hotter and more destructively, killing large trees as well as practically all smaller ones.
And, of course, second fires generate even more fuel for the third fire. Colleagues of mine who study this subject, notably, Carlos Peres and Jos Barlow of the University of East Anglia (UK) and William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, assert that the third fire spells doom for the forest, since it kills all remaining trees. After that, the land once occupied by forest fills with coarse shrubs and grasses that become flammable every dry season. Fires then become a permanent feature of a transformed ecology and defeat the prospects for recovering the forest. Millions of acres of forest are now primed to burn a second time and millions more are primed for the first burn, thanks to the wave of rampant logging that has spread through the region.
1. Washington Consensus Plus. Basically, these are the same old market reforms that have been promoted by the IMF and World Bank all these years, only with an extra side helping of institutional and legal reforms. So, for example, the IMF now argues that countries need to develop "financial infrastructure" before they start liberalizing their capital inflows.Now, I would've guessed that station #4 was the leftmost stop on this train, but, no, Bello argues, the problem with that view is that "global social democracy" is just plain incompatible with the "rapid integration of markets and production." Or at least it might be. He doesn't really offer any evidence on this score.
2. Neoconservative Neoliberalism. This is the murkiest category, but Bello calls this "essentially the development policy of the Bush administration." This approach mainly seems to involve bilateral debt relief and short-term grants that are conditional on certain free-market reforms. The Millennium Challenge Account is the most obvious example.
3. Neostructuralism. This appears to be the direction countries like Brazil and Chile are heading, in which economic growth and progressive policies are supposed to go hand in hand. So you have market reforms and liberalization, but also income transfers and spending on health, education, and housing to ease the pain—without going too far left, ala Hugo Chavez. "Neostructuralism," says Bello, "does not fundamentally reverse but simply mitigates the poverty and inequality-creating core neoliberal policies."
4. Global Social Democracy. This is the approach that people like Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz now seem to favor, which, Bello argues, often "places equity above growth." Advocates of this view are skeptical of trade liberalization and frequently "demand fundamental changes in the institutions and rules of global governance such as the IMF, WTO, and the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreements."
To understand the full extent of the constraints that the abyss places on life, consider the black seadevil [right]. It's a somber, grapefruit-sized globe of a fish—seemingly all fangs and gape—with a "fishing rod" affixed between its eyes whose luminescent bait jerks above the trap-like mouth. Clearly, food is a priority for this creature, for it can swallow a victim nearly as large as itself. But that is only half the story, for this description pertains solely to the female: the male is a minnow-like being content to feed on specks in the sea—until, that is, he encounters his sexual partner.That's from Tim Flannery's great review of two new books about deep-sea creatures. He also hazards a guess as to why most folks are more intrigued by the thought of going to Mars than exploring the depths of the ocean floor:
The first time that a male black seadevil meets his much larger mate, he bites her and never lets go. Over time, his veins and arteries grow together with hers, until he becomes a fetus-like dependent who receives from his mate's blood all the food, oxygen, and hormones he requires to exist. The cost of this utter dependence is a loss of function in all of his organs except his testicles, but even these, it seems, are stimulated to action solely at the pleasure of the engulfing female. When she has had her way with him, the male seadevil simply vanishes, having been completely absorbed and dissipated into the flesh of his paramour, leaving her free to seek another mate. Not even Dante imagined such a fate.
Is it the geography of Christian belief that has made us upright apes so dread the ocean deep, yet strive so mightily to explore the cold and (so far as we know) lifeless heavens? Not all human beings think as Beebe did. The Greenland Inuit, for example, believe that paradise lies at the bottom of the sea, for that is where their food comes from. It is the cloudy, frozen mountains and sky that they fear and shun. Whatever the cause, human beings know more about the surface of that dead rock we call the moon than the living depths of our own planet's seas.Got a better theory? The last section of the essay is more depressing, about how all of the industrial waste and sewage humans have dumped into the ocean—scuttled ships, thousands of tons of chemical weapons, obsolete nuclear reactors—have wreaked no small amount of havoc on the sea floor. It's hard to care, until that gunk comes traveling back up the food chain. ("The liver-like glands of one species of shrimp... have levels of polonium-210 a million times that of seawater.") So there's reason to care beyond the (undeniable) fact that there's lots of awesomely wacky stuff down there...
In the summer of 2003, the police department in High Point, North Carolina, held its annual command-staff retreat. … One topic dominated the conversation: an increase in violent crime that was concentrated in three drug-dealing neighborhoods in the city. "The place we were at was that all the traditional enforcement was making no difference," says the department's deputy chief, Marty Sumner. "We agreed we weren't going to be able to eliminate drug use. We weren't even going to try to go after drug use. We wanted to change the marketing of the drug."The basic logic is to focus on drug-related murders and ignore those users and dealers who aren't causing violence. By all accounts, it works better than the usual old strategies. (But does it work better than, say, outright decriminalization or legalization would? No one's saying.) Local governments are paying attention. A few years ago, though, Mother Jones did a profile of David Kennedy and his approach to gang violence, noting that, despite Kennedy-inspired successes in Boston and elsewhere, the FBI and Congress have largely ignored his work.
Sumner's department called in the Harvard criminologist David Kennedy. The High Point police had worked with Kennedy before, adopting the Boston Gun Project's policy of trying to break the link between drugs and crime. Now the criminologist told them that he had a new kind of project to propose, one that went beyond the Boston experiment. Kennedy's pitch was simple: The trick, he said, wasn't to focus on eliminating drugs but rather to shut down the most "overt" drug markets, the ones operating so openly that they attracted prostitution and violent crime. "Instead of looking at it as a drug problem, we decided to think of it as a drug-market problem," Sumner says. "What the public really couldn't stand was the violence associated with public drug markets." Dealers operating in the open are targets for stickup men and other would-be robbers, and the public swagger and turf consciousness of street slingers can cradle violent, simmering beefs.
High Point police began in the West End neighborhood, one of the city's three overt drug markets. A team of officers staked out the site, videotaping hundreds of hand-to-hand sales and mapping out a complete anthropology of the West End drug market. They found it was strikingly small: Sumner had expected as many as fifty dealers working there, but it turned out there were only sixteen. Before long, the officers had enough evidence to put away each of the sixteen dealers for good. But they didn't. Instead, Sumner and Kennedy called them in for a meeting. They showed each of them the portfolio of evidence against them and said that unless they stopped dealing drugs, the whole file would be handed over to the prosecutors and they'd be in jail for years. Family members were brought in to urge the dealers to stop, and social-service providers pledged assistance with food, housing and job training.
"We didn't think it would work," Sumner tells me, "but the drug markets have disappeared." …
In 2007, in the program's fourth year, [the number of drug-related murders] has plummeted to two. Violent crime in the West End has declined by thirty-five percent. "The use of drugs isn't something we could affect," says Kennedy. "But the violence was." His logic has an appealing clarity for overworked police departments: There are now more than sixty cities in the United States that use some version of Kennedy's program, edging away from thirty-five years of punitive measures that have turned the United States into the world's leading jailer to a social-work model that encourages communities and cops to engage the problem on a more human level.