ALERT, a monthly publication of the Information Resource Center at the American Center for Educational Exchange, offers abstracts of current articles in major areas of U.S. domestic or international affairs. Full-text articles are available to you upon request.
The Rule of Law
1. THE DEATH OF PUBLIC FINANCING
National Journal, vol. 39, no. 24, June 16, 2007, pp. 34-40
The unprecedented scale of fundraising for the 2008 presidential campaign dismays even veteran political observers, notes the author. Most of the current presidential aspirants have eschewed the limits imposed by public financing in favor of unlimited private fundraising. No public money is handed out until January of the election year, so the "front-loading" of the current campaign in a pre-election year has forced the candidates to raise huge amounts of cash, further accelerating the demise of public financing. Aimed at "leveling the playing field" for all candidates, public financing of presidential elections has been a staple since the post-Watergate reforms in the 1970s. Public funds are raised by a check-off box on federal income tax returns; in the early 1980s, as much as a quarter of all taxpayers earmarked the sum of USD3 for public financing, but less than ten percent do now. The public financing program has suffered from poor publicity and unclear tax-form instructions, and also from the perception by the public that the political system is dysfunctional. One observer laments that the candidates will spend more time "talking to donors ... instead of the voters."
2. A LITTLE SUNSHINE
Governing, Vol. 20, No. 10, July 2007, pp. 58-60
States enacted open-meeting and open-records laws (sunshine laws) in the 1950s and 1960s to improve citizen access to government information and increase transparency in government operations. Lawmakers struggle to update the laws to address new technology such as e-mail, teleconferencing and the Internet. Concerns about national security and identity theft led to increased exemptions to sunshine laws since 2001, according to freedom of information advocates. But, they note a recent trend toward more access such as the governor of New York requiring web-casting of state agency proceedings and Florida's new Office of Open Government. Several states are working with Google to make their web sites easier for citizens to search. Noting that new technology will provide new opportunities to avoid disclosing information, Jane Kirtley, a media ethics professor at the University of Minnesota, states that, "government officials and government employees should be starting from the presumption that everything that they do is public information."
3. ONE SUN IN THE SKY: LABOR UNIONS IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
Posha, Jehangir S.
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter/Spring 2007, pp. 5-11
The author, a Beijing-based journalist for the Boston Globe, quotes an old Chinese proverb which says that there cannot be two suns in the sky, meaning that there can be only one source of power in the land. This idea supports the Chinese Communist Party's fierce opposition to any leadership or organization in China other than itself. China's recent economic growth has been supported by five basic principles -- cheap labor, market reforms, disdain for intellectual property rights, disregard for the environment, and cheap capital from state-controlled banks. Market forces and international pressure have greatly reduced all of these except the "cheap and disempowered labor force," making it the country's last remaining competitive advantage. While the government has pressured some companies to pay back-wages, it has not made any meaningful structural improvements to China's labor laws. This is illustrated by the fact that, according to the Dui Hua Foundation in San Francisco which tracks political prisoners in China, at least 24 labor activists are currently in prison. The major avenue of help for workers is the ability to sue companies for compensation. The author says that the West has remained largely silent about workers' rights because Western companies also benefit from the low wages and the fear that trade unions might create political instability and the "global consensus that a gradually reformed China tomorrow is preferable to a politically unstable China today."
4. SEE RUDY RUN
Weekly Standard, Vol. 12, No. 44, August 6, 2007, pp. 17-20
Continetti, associate editor of The Weekly Standard, looks at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and why he remains the front-runner among Republican Party nominees. Giuliani has received his share of negative publicity, and the conventional wisdom is that conservative voters will abandon their support due to his pro-choice abortion position and other liberal social views. Nevertheless, Giuliani continues to lead the national polls, many state polls, and his organization and fundraising are going well. Continetti says support for Giuliani boils down to 2 issues: most believe he can win against Hillary Clinton in the general election and others trust him to deal with the Iraq war and successfully counter possible terrorist attacks in the future. A Giuliani presidential nomination might force the Republican Party to recruit new volunteers who are less socially conservative or subsume party differences over abortion to get a Republican president elected. Other Republican candidates, hopeful that Giuliani will slide in the polls, may be underestimating his appeal.
5. THE TERRORISM ENHANCEMENT
National Journal, vol. 39, no. 28, July 14, 2007, pp. 34-40
The recent conviction of a member of a radical environmental group accused of conducting sabotage has drawn attention to the so-called terrorism enhancement, an obscure measure that allows judges to greatly increase the prison sentences of defendants whose crimes could be construed as attempting to influence the conduct of government by force or violence. The law was enacted by Congress in 1995, after the bombings of the World Trade Center and the Alfred Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. The author notes that there has been little study of how the statute has been applied, but a National Journal survey showed that many of the cases in which the terrorism enhancement was invoked were for crimes that would be hard to define as terrorism. Because of the confusion on the part of Congress in defining terrorism, and the considerable discretion enjoyed by federal judges and prosecutors, the measure has drawn widespread criticism from many in the legal community, who see it as a means for the government to apply disproportionate punishment for crimes that already have established sentencing guidelines.
Economics and Trade
6. GETTING TOGETHER
Finance & Development, vol. 44, no. 2, June 2007, pp. 34-35
China is fast becoming a major player in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), offering trade and investment in a drive to secure oil and minerals needed for its own development, writes Ulrich Jacoby, a senior economist in the IMF's African Department. Jacoby's figures indicate that from 2000-2005, SSA's exports to China surged nearly 400 percent, accounting for about one-fifth of the region's total export growth. In 2005 China received 25 percent of SSA's raw materials exports and 17 percent of its fuel exports. Conversely, China's exports to SSA, mostly manufactured goods, rocketed 370 percent during the same period to more than $13 billion, accounting for almost 15 percent of the region's imports. On the investment front, Jacoby wrote that China has launched multi-billion projects to build an oil refinery in Angola, and a railway, a port and a hydroelectric power station in Gabon in return for exclusive rights to extract iron ore from a Gabonese mine. The major beneficiaries of China's loans and credit lines to SSA, totaling about $19 billion, are Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Nigeria, all of which are endowed with abundant resources.
7. THE IDEOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT
Foreign Policy, No. 161, July/August 2007, pp. 31-35
The author, a professor of economics at New York University, condemns the theories and practices of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations as "a dark ideological specter is haunting the world. It is almost as deadly as the tired ideologies of the last century -- communism, fascism, and socialism -- that failed so miserably. It feeds some of the most dangerous trends of our time, including religious fundamentalism. It is the half-century-old idea of Developmentalism. And it is thriving." In common with all ideologies, developmentalism offers a comprehensive answer to society's problems and the idea that there is but one correct answer -- in this case, "free markets." The author provides a litany of examples where the "solutions" imposed by the World Bank have backfired - such as in Nicaragua, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and Zimbabwe -- and suggests that this situation has created a backlash against globalization that "threatens to kill sensible, moderate steps toward the freer movement of goods, ideas, capital, and people." It is necessary to acknowledge that the imposition of rigid development ideology has failed. The best solution is to allow poor societies the freedom to make their own choices and find their own paths to greater prosperity.
8. A NEW DEAL FOR GLOBALIZATION
Scheve, Kenneth F.; Slaughter, Matthew J.
Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86, No. 4, July-August 2007, pp. 34-48
Scheve, a political scientist at Yale University, and Slaughter, an economist at Dartmouth, assert that surging inequality of income is driving the rise in protectionist sentiment among the 96 percent of U.S. workers who are seeing the real value of their wages fall. The typical political tradeoff for maintaining open trade consists of spending more money for trade adjustment assistance to workers who lose their jobs to imports and for raising more people to a higher level of education. The authors argue that these policies won't work for decades at best. Instead they propose a redistribution of income from the most wealthy, a New Deal for globalization in the model of Roosevelt's 1930s New Deal. Because income tax rates are already progressive, they propose increasing the income of the wealthy subject to taxes for Social Security and Medicare while reducing or eliminating those taxes for those making less money.
9. THE OIL SQUEEZE HAS JUST BEGUN
MSN MoneyCentral, posted July 17, 2007
The author, a financial columnist and commentator, citing a report recently issued by the International Energy Agency, warns that the global oil markets will get progressively worse over the next five years, due to growing worldwide demand and shrinking supply. Due to underinvestment or simply geological depletion, oil output is in decline in the majority of the oil-exporting countries, while demand continues to grow, especially in China but also in the oil-exporting countries themselves. Jubak notes that oil consumption is built in to most everyday activities, such as commuting to work, and the U.S., the world's largest oil user, does not have a national program to reduce consumption of petroleum. Given the long lead times to implement comprehensive conservation, there are few if any effective short-term remedies.
10. UNDERUTILIZED CAPITAL
Dollar, David; Wei, Shang-Jin
Finance & Development, vol. 44, no. 2, June 2007, pp. 30-33
China continues to experience rapid economic growth. However, the authors, both with the IMF, contend that China could improve by running the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) more efficiently. Even though there is a larger number of private and foreign firms, state-owned companies account for one-third of the manufacturing assets. Nevertheless, the SOEs have lower returns to capital than the private and foreign firms. The Chinese financial system is dominated by state-owned banks, which tend to favor SOEs and do not expend much effort in expanding commercialization. Furthermore, the authors point out the SOEs' tendency to reinvest with very low marginal returns. They see receiving dividends, rather than just collecting taxes, as one way to increase its investment. With some of these and other changes, the China's economy could
boost its growth and free up resources for increased consumption.
11. THE CAN-DO CONGRESS?
E: The Environmental Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 3, May/June 2007, pp. 34-39
The Democrats, now in charge of the U.S. Congress, have introduced a flood of climate change and energy legislation during the current session. Motavalli, editor of E, reviews the pros and cons of each. All claim to reduce fossil fuel dependence and greenhouse gas emissions. Clean energy advocates and environmental groups see this as the best opportunity in many years to influence climate change legislation. But passage of any new laws is uncertain -- the U.S. energy industry has more coal-fired plants on the drawing board than at any previous time. Major concerns about the effects of emissions reductions on the economy means that any climate legislation will be challenged from inside and outside the Congress. One likely piece of legislation to be enacted will be new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards which would raise the fuel economy of vehicles. The standard has not changed in 20 years despite new technologies and would be easier for Congress to pass than other bills. A sidebar notes that Congress has begun a big push on other environmental legislation including wildlife refuges, clean water management and reducing chemical exposure.
12. CHRONICLING THE ICE
Nash, J. Madeleine
Smithsonian, vol. 38, no. 4, July 2007, pp. 66-74
Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson has been studying ice cores from mountain glaciers for more than 30 years, long before the public or policymakers learned the term "global warming." But the Ohio State University professor has been able to read the ice cores to create new insights into atmospheric composition and weather patterns from millennia past. He has found how the glaciers contribute to global weather patterns and provide a natural mechanism for neutralizing carbon in the atmosphere. Thompson, a 2006 winner of the National Medal of Science, has also found correlations between what the ice reveals about weather conditions and aberrations of the past and the downfall and what historians know about the disappearance of once-flourishing civilizations.
13. DISTORTED PICTURE
American Journalism Review, vol. 29, no. 4, August/September 2007, pp. 36-43
Affordable and user-friendly, the photo-editing computer program Adobe Photoshop makes it easy to manipulate photographs, and the increasing misuse of the technology poses a serious threat to photojournalism's credibility, says the author. A number of trends are leading to a greater likelihood of using altered photo images, including: staff cutbacks that require news organizations to rely on long-distance freelancers, who are largely free of newsroom accountability; competition for newspaper space that increases pressure for dramatic images; and the fact that digital photography leaves no original negatives with which to compare an image. Doctoring photos - either to deceive the viewer or enhance the image's esthetics -- has been around since the advent of photography, but the thorny issue remains of defining the limits of what is and is not acceptable. There have been incidents in which photos of public figures have been removed from web sites, after the images were found to have been manipulated, to change their physical appearance. So far, there is no fast and effective software to detect altered images -- a major problem for AP, which receives between 2,000 and 3,000 photographs each day. So, in the meantime, viewers will have to accept that "seeing is not believing."
14. RAPIDLY SPREADING THREATS
National Journal, Vol. 39, no. 27, July 7, 2007, p. 22-26
Dangerous diseases such as dengue fever and malaria are spreading beyond their traditional territories and into higher elevations. Some scientists list global warming as an important factor and predict that the situation could get worse in the coming decades. As climate change expands the reach of such "tropical" illnesses, the author says, some pharmaceutical companies and government agencies are starting to pay attention. Novartis is one of those companies, founding the Institute for Tropical Diseases in Singapore to focus on dengue fever, malaria and other diseases. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Environmental Health is preparing a series of workshops on heat waves, vector-borne diseases (spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas), waterborne diseases and health communications. The National Institutes of Health is examining the effects of exposure to ultraviolet rays, air pollution and vector- and waterborne diseases.
15. WARMER OCEANS, STRONGER HURRICANES
Trenberth, Kevin E.
Scientific American, Vol. 297, No. 1, July 2007, pp. 44-51
The author, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), reviews how tropical depressions become hurricanes (also called cyclones or typhoons). Heat from the ocean influences a hurricane's wind and rainfall intensity. An increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean since 1994 coincided with an increase in sea surface temperatures greater than expected from naturally occurring cycles. Global climate models developed at NCAR show that warming of the Atlantic since 1994 is related to atmospheric heating caused by human activities. Other scientists have confirmed a similar occurrence in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The author concludes, "global warming has led to more intense storms" and "we all would be wise to plan for more extreme hurricane threats."
16. THE WHOLE EARTH, CATALOGED
Wired, July 2007, pp. 154-159
Obtaining maps and directions online has been a growing practice for about a decade, but further technological developments are allowing users to customize maps, and make them available to others in ways that redefine cartography. Sites like Platial.com allow users to share their commentary, photographs, or points of interest on map locations for other users. This development is more than another online pastime for the technologically adept, Ratliff writes. Mapmaking has always been a tool of dominance of the land, but now easy-to-use shareware allows anyone to become a cartographer. That can lead to entirely new views of the Earth in all its rich chaotic complexity. According to one expert quoted by Ratliff, "It's as close to Babel as we get."
17. AMERICA'S GRAND DESIGN IN ASIA
Washington Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 3, Summer 2007, pp. 79-94
The author, the Fulbright/Oxford scholar at Oxford University and a transatlantic fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, believes that U.S. policymakers are employing a radically different strategy in Asia to facilitate the ascent of friendly Asian centers of power that will both constrain, not contain, China and allow the U.S. to retain its position as Asia's decisive strategic actor. The U.S. is actively cultivating Japan as a center of power and to reshape Southeast Asian security by constructing new partnerships; however, Indonesia and Vietnam may prove more important to the U.S. than Thailand and the Philippines. In 2005, the U.S. announced an historic effort to facilitate India's rise as an independent power.
18. CHOOSING BETWEEN AMERICA AND EUROPE: A NEW CONTEXT FOR
BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY
International Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 4, July 2007, pp. 627-641
The author, former director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, notes that power in Britain has changed hands from a prime minister who sought to balance intense U.K.-U.S. consultation on foreign policy with the ambition to be "at the heart of Europe", to one whose approach towards both the U.S. and the EU has yet to be tested. Niblett argues that the days are now largely over when the UK could build an Anglo-US foreign-policy position before bringing in Europe. The UK is now a central player in the development of increasingly activist European foreign policies, whether these can later be coordinated effectively with the U.S. or not. A strong, bilateral relationship continues to serve the interests of both sides, but this relationship does not sit upon the same foundations as during the Cold War. There are now significant underlying factors, especially since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the July 7, 2005 attacks in the UK, that pull the US away from Europe and the UK, while pushing the UK towards Europe as the first step in developing foreign policy strategies. The author notes that, today, UK positions on most global issues and foreign policy challenges tend to conform more closely to the dominant EU line than to the U.S. On balance, the UK might think about European integration more from a U.S. than from a European perspective, but it now thinks about global problems more from a European than from a U.S. or transatlantic perspective.
19. A GERIATRIC PEACE? THE FUTURE OF U.S. POWER IN A WORLD OF AGING POPULATIONS
Haas, Mark L.
International Security, Vol. 32, No. 1, Summer 2007, pp. 112-147
This provocative article looks at the aging of the global population in coming decades, and attempts to sketch out international consequences. The author, assistant professor of political science at Duquesne University, describes a world where the U.S. population is aging, but so are the populations of allies and rivals. Japan and China will have more oldsters to support; Germany and Russia will see population loss. Since U.S. rivals have less efficient economies than the U.S., this will impede their military spending, resulting in continuation of a balance of power that favors the U.S. This is particularly true as the American population is aging less slowly than the population of its key rivals. Ironically, one of the drags on the global economy will be military pensions, making the development of advanced weapons too expensive for every country except the U.S. However, the author notes, the relative burden of an aging population will also affect the U.S., and cause it to rein in some of its more activist foreign policy initiatives. In addition, developing nations with faltering economies, with the added burden of aging populations, may become terrorist havens.
20. GRAND STRATEGY FOR A DIVIDED AMERICA
Kupchan, Charles; Trubowitz, Peter
Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86, No. 4, July-August 2007, pp. 71-84
Kupchan, of Georgetown University, and Trubowitz, of the University of Texas, argue that the bipartisan consensus on foreign affairs during World War II and the Cold War was a departure from the divisions far more typical in U.S. history. With the Iraq war, the consensus has disappeared again, exposing the U.S. to the dangers of an incoherent foreign policy. Congressional Republicans mostly prefer pursuing U.S. influence in the world by military might; Democrats prefer multilateral persuasion. Continued partisanship threatens failed leadership abroad and possibly a return to isolationism. "The United States needs to pursue a new grand strategy that is politically solvent," the authors write. "In today's polarized landscape ... restoring solvency means bringing U.S. commitments back in line with political means." The authors make some recommendations: sharing more foreign burdens with other countries, targeting terrorists rather than seeking regime change, rebuilding the spent U.S. military, restraining adversaries through engagement, becoming less dependent of foreign oil, and building new pragmatic partnerships for specific international problems.
21. MY CYBER COUNTER-JIHAD
Middle East, Vol. 14, no. 3, Summer 2007
On Sept. 11, the author was a small-town municipal judge in Montana and mother of three with no knowledge of Arabic or expertise in the Middle East. But the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and news reports about terrorists and associates using web sites and chat rooms to carry out operations and recruit converts galvanized her to explore the Internet. Soon she would begin studying Arabic online and navigating through a world of what she describes as jihadi websites. Rossmiller improved her Arabic and used an online translation service to make contacts and create a false identity. She fed tips to the FBI that helped their investigations. One of them contributed to the arrest of an American Army National Guard specialist from Washington State who was posing as a Muslim convert and offering information about weaknesses of his tank unit on the eve of its departure for Iraq. The author's identity was compromised during the man's military hearing, making her vulnerable to death threats and leaving her with a bullet-ridden car. While now employing security protection, Rossmiller's online sleuthing continues prompting the now-retired judge to warn that her experience with the terrorists use of web technology suggests that "Western governments lag behind in Internet cyber-warfare with al-Qaida."
22. NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR NEUROSIS
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 63, no. 3, May/June 2007, pp. 44-49
Hymans, professor of international affairs at Smith College, examines North Korea's history and psyche to figure out what led up to Pyongyang's October 2006 nuclear test. He says Kim Jong Il wanted to make "a loud bang" to deter adversaries, "but ended up with a fizzle" when the explosion achieved only 10 percent of its four-kiloton nuclear yield. North Korea's declaration that it is a nuclear state, the author writes, doesn't necessarily make it so. For Kim, Hymans says, building a nuclear weapon was about national self-expression and identity. With implications for other authoritarian societies, Hymans says once the leadership gives an order such as to start a nuclear program, the scene is set institutionally and psychologically -- no one dares question the decision, which becomes irrevocable, save only when complete disillusionment with the regime occurs, or when the regime falls apart. The author categorizes Kim as an oppositional nationalist, or, a leader who is intensely fearful of an external enemy, while also very proud of his nation's ability to face down an enemy. Nuclear development programs tend to falter in countries where all power and authority are consolidated in the position of a single individual, Hymans says, because successful programs require lots of money and access to sophisticated technology, as well as "the ability to instill an ethic of scientific professionalism and a long-term planning perspective" both of which are often inhibited in a regime where the cult of personality prevails.
23. OVERHAULING INTELLIGENCE
Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86, No. 4, July-August 2007, pp. 49-58
McConnell, the new U.S. director of national intelligence, makes clear how much hard work remains to coordinate the 16 agencies that collect a billion bits of new information a day to thwart terrorists and other threats. The big challenge is striking the right balance between centralized direction and decentralized action. Coordination of domestic and foreign intelligence remains a problem. A new single culture must supplant the differing cultures of the separate agencies. Collaboration among the federal agencies and between them and state and local governments and businesses is more important than ever, given the rapid action required by strategic threats these days. Intelligence officers need to begin viewing their work as sharing information, not owning it, and they need to overcome their risk aversion to hiring native speakers of foreign languages. They need to develop and adapt technology more quickly and efficiently, and they need sustained public and political support.
24. RENEWING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP
Foreign Affairs, vol. 86, no. 4, July/August 2007, pp. 2-16
Among the frontrunners for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Barak Obama summons the spirits of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy in an essay outlining his vision of U.S. foreign policy that leads "by deed and example." In the Middle East, Obama calls for a phased withdrawal from Iraq leaving only a residual training and counterterrorism presence, increased multilateral pressure on Iran, and a renewed personal engagement in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Calling nuclear proliferation "the most urgent threat to the security of American and the world," Obama pledges negotiations on a verifiable global ban on new nuclear weapons material and $50 million to start an IAEA-controlled nuclear fuel bank so that countries can realize the benefits of its emissions-free energy without gaining the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons. On terrorism, Obama calls for a refocusing on the Afghan-Pakistan border region, and a need for a deeper understanding of the causal factors of extremism to better "export opportunity," as part of a larger U.S. effort to rebuild neglected global alliances and partnerships needed to confront a host of 21st-century transnational threats.
25. THE RETURN OF AUTHORITARIAN GREAT POWERS
Foreign Affairs, vol. 86, no. 4, July/August 2007, pp. 59-69
The author moves past the current threat of radical Islamism to discuss what he considers a more serious long-term challenge -- the rise of "authoritarian capitalist" states, typified by contemporary Russia and China. This "second world" shows its strength in marshalling resources for development that could tempt nations away from pursuing a longer-term and more moderate course of liberal democracy in favor of seemingly quicker gains. While it remains to be seen if continued economic progress in these countries will eventually precipitate greater demand for political freedoms, the author predicts that "the U.S. factor" remains a powerful political, economic, and social example to tempt too many aspiring reforms away from the path of liberal democracy.
U.S. Society and Values
26. ANGELS AND AGES, LINCOLN'S LANGUAGE AND ITS LEGACY
New Yorker, May 28, 2007, pp. 30-37
As the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, in February 2009, approaches, the number of books on all aspects of his life and times is increasing. This summation of current Lincoln scholarship is, like its subject, surprisingly lively and relevant to a wide international audience. "Overcome again by Lincoln's example," writes longtime New Yorker author Adam Gopnik, "by the idea of a President who was at once an interesting mind, a tough customer, and a good writer -- I decided start reading the new Lincoln literature. It seemed to be multiplying by fission, as amoebas do, on the airport bookshelves. In books published in the past two years alone, you can read about Lincoln's 'sword' (his writing), his 'sanctuary' (the Soldiers' Home just outside Washington, where he spent summers throughout the war). You can read a book about Lincoln's alleged love affair with a young officer, and one about Lincoln's relations, tetchy but finally triumphant, with Frederick Douglass. There is no part of Lincoln, from manhood to death, that is not open and inscribed." Gopnik's tour of Lincoln literature offers thumbnail sketches of Lincoln's sometimes evolving beliefs on faith, law, war, and, Shakespeare, among many other topics of his and our times. The article offers both a useful guide to what to read, and a quick lesson, if one is needed, of the continuing relevance of Abraham Lincoln.
27. BEYOND HOLLYWOOD AND THE BOARDROOM: CELEBRITY DIPLOMACY
Cooper, Andrew F.
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, vol. 8, no. 2, Summer/Fall 2007, pp. 125-132
The author, associate director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (Canada), considers the challenges of how best to harness "the buzz" of celebrity activists and "the bite" of business elites to forward worthy transnational causes. While lacking in the refinement of the traditional diplomatic corps, celebrity diplomats should not be discounted or dismissed when Bono, Angelina Jolie, and George Clooney can call attention to global poverty and Bill Gates, Ted Turner, and Warren Buffett can contribute billions to solve it. While they can be criticized as potentially unwieldy to manage and distracting from the detailed negotiations needed to resolve global issues, their activism speaks to the adaptive quality of diplomacy and new ways to redefine priorities in the age of global media.
28. BROOKLYN JAZZ UNDERGROUND PROMOTES BOROUGH'S MUSICAL INNOVATORS
Down Beat, Vol. 74, No. 4, April 2007, pp. 13-14
While rap music emanated from the South Bronx in the 1970s, another New York borough is fast becoming a musical brand name. When hip-hop artist Mos Def calls out, "Where Brooklyn at?" during a show, Odell points out, it is because commercially successful hip-hop and jazz groups identify themselves with Brooklyn. In January, a collective of jazz musicians formed the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, in order to pool business skills and preserve their Brooklyn-based identities. They are focusing on booking weekend festivals to highlight all the group members' music, selling CDs and bringing more fans to the collective's Web site. The BJU may even pursue non-profit status to reach its goals related to school and community outreach. The BJU's democratic structure promotes shared decision-making and work. If one person shoulders an unfair portion of the work, said pianist Benny Lackner, "people would care less and the dynamic would be off. I see that on a small scale in my trio ... the other musicians are more active because they have input."
29. HOME-FRONT ECOLOGY: WHAT OUR GRANDPARENTS CAN TEACH US ABOUT SAVING THE WORLD
Sierra, July/August 2007
"Does this generation of Americans have the 'right stuff' to meet the epic challenges of sustaining life on a rapidly warming planet?" The author writes that, in spite of growing concern over energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Americans own bigger houses and cars, and are consuming more energy and resources than ever. But, Davis notes, a "surprisingly hopeful answer ... to whether Americans would ever voluntarily give up their SUVs and McMansions ... lies in living memory" -- during World War II, the U.S. embarked on a nationwide campaign to aid the war effort by conservation, home gardening and reducing waste. Americans by the millions tore up their lawns and planted vegetable gardens, recycled scrap metal, old tires and cooking grease, bicycled or carpooled instead of driving alone, or mended clothes instead of shopping compulsively. Journalists of the time noted that the slower pace of life during the war was restoring a sense of community that the automobile culture had begun to erode earlier -- and, Davis notes, would erode since, in the postwar euphoria of abundance. He takes hope that, "even a few short generations later, we can find inspirations and essential survival skills in that brief age of victory gardens and happy hitchhikers."
30. THEIR WAR
Washington Post Magazine, July 22, 2007, pp. 10-15, 22-28
The author chronicles the growing gulf between the U.S. military and the civilian world. While the general public's respect for the military is as great as ever, they are still uncomfortable with the military, and few parents are eager to see their children enlist. The military-civilian gap began to grow during the college protest days of the Vietnam War, when major universities stopped giving academic credit to the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program. More and more Army officers were educated in the isolated environment of the military academies, and the absence of military science courses in the top universities meant that future civilian leaders would learn less about the officers that they would some day command. Says the wife of an Air Force colonel: "we are disconnecting from our society." The author writes that military leaders do not advocate reviving conscription, since that would entail training a flood of unwilling draftees in an increasingly technical military. Unlike the military, there is no system place to educate civilian leaders about integrating civilian-military capabilities.
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