Ayelish McGarvey

Ayelish McGarvey is former a Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

A Culture of Caring

Like a born politician, Mark Steward, director of Missouri's Division of Youth Services, seldom forgets a name. Ambling through the gleaming halls of the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center in St. Louis on a recent summer afternoon, Steward stopped in several classrooms to shake hands and chat with the teenage residents, who are also some of Missouri's most serious juvenile offenders. His jocund yet earnest banter managed to disarm even the toughest scowlers. And though he oversees 33 such facilities that house about 1,300 young offenders around the state, he still managed to call several of the young men by name. Steward comes by his folksy charm and easy confidence honestly: As a boy in rural Poplar Bluff, Missouri, he revered his dynamic grandfather, a career Yellow Dog Democrat and onetime campaign manager for Harry Truman. Steward's path, though, led him away from the halls of power. Instead, compelled by a college course on social work, he found his calling in juvenile hall. But...

Clothes Call

At midnight on December 31, Americans will toast the new year with a drunken round of “Auld Lang Syne.” On the other side of the globe, China will be celebrating by opening new factories -- more than 3,000 new textile and apparel factories that will begin their work as decade-old quotas are lifted on China's access to the lucrative American marketplace. Thousands of Chinese workers will file into position and fire up brand-new spinning, weaving, and sewing machines. Within hours, blouses, pants, towels, and bedding will be ready for shipment to U.S. stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Though it's music to the ears of the Chinese government, the din of the new mills could be a death knell for beleaguered manufacturers in the United States and other foreign markets. According to rules set when creating the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1993, quotas limiting foreign-manufactured textiles and apparel from entering the United States will disappear starting in 2005. Then the market will...

As God Is His Witness

Late in the summer, at the Republican national convention in New York, a movie billed as the conservative alternative to Fahrenheit 9/11 debuted for the party faithful. The film, George W. Bush: Faith in the White House , opens with a montage of a billowing American flag, a softly lit portrait of Jesus in Gethsemane, and a shot of the tawny profile of our 43rd president with his eyes gazing heavenward. Myriad times throughout the film Bush is referred to reverently as a man of faith. Like no president in recent memory, George W. Bush wields his Christian righteousness like a flaming sword. Indeed, hundreds of news stories and nearly half a dozen books have evinced a White House that, according to BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb, “hums to the sound of prayer.” Yet for the past four years the mainstream press has trod lightly, rarely venturing beyond the biographical to probe the depth, or sincerity, of Bush's Christian beliefs. Bush has no doubt benefited from the media's...

Women and Children Last

One reason for the relative success of welfare reform in the 1990s was expanded child-care subsidies to women making the shift from welfare to work. Since then, experts have been mining the data, seeking to understand the wide-ranging effects on children when their mothers work outside the home. What programs helped school-aged children? How did infants fare when their mothers went back to work? Did teenagers end up with additional child-care burdens of younger siblings? The goal was to gather data that would lead to improvements in the assistance program when it came time to renew the law. That time should have been now. In 2002, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) measure expired. It has been given short, temporary extensions ever since, while Congress and the White House have debated the details. But real debate on welfare reform has receded far into the background, overshadowed by record state-budget shortfalls and the thorny politics of reauthorization, which are...

Outsourcing Private Ryan

Peter Singer is the author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry and the director of the Project on U.S. Policy Toward the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Prospect writing fellow Ayelish McGarvey spoke with him last week to discuss the rise of private military contractors in modern warfare. Tell me about this trend, using private contractors to perform military duties. Haven't mercenary forces been used throughout history? This is something completely new: Private companies providing military services? This is something that you didn't see until the end of the Cold War. It's quite distinct from past civilian roles in the realm of warfare. What we've seen happen over the last decade has been a surprise in both size and scope, and you can see it very clearly play out in Iraq right now. So today in Iraq, there are somewhere around 20,000 private military contractors, i.e., those that are providing military functions but working...

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