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.
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.
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.
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?
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.