I’m lining up new salons for the coming year for you.
See you Sunday.
The nation’s economy is in trouble, but there’s one cash crop that has the potential to turn it around: cannabis (also known as marijuana and hemp). According to Time, the legal medicinal cannabis economy already generates $200 million annually in taxable proceeds from a mere two hundred thousand registered medical users in just fourteen states. But, thanks to Nixon and the War on Drugs, cannabis is still synonymous with heroin on the federal level even though it has won mainstream acceptance nationwide.
ABC News reports that underground cannabis’s $35.8 billion annual revenues already exceed the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion). Considering the economic impact of Prohibition—and its repeal—Too High to Fail isn’t a commune-dweller’s utopian rant, it’s an objectively (if humorously) reported account of how one plant can drastically change the shape of our country, culturally, politically, and economically.
Too High to Fail covers everything from a brief history of hemp to an insider’s perspective on a growing season in Mendocino County, where cannabis drives 80 percent of the economy (to the tune of $6 billion annually). Investigative journalist Doug Fine follows one plant from seed to patient in the first American county to fully legalize and regulate cannabis farming. He profiles an issue of critical importance to lawmakers, media pundits, and ordinary Americans—whether or not they inhale. It’s a wild ride that includes swooping helicopters, college tuitions paid with cash, cannabis-friendly sheriffs, and never-before-gained access to the world of the emerging legitimate, taxpaying “ganjaprenneur.”
Doug Fine is the author of two previous books, Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man and Farewell, My Subaru (a Boston Globe bestseller). He has reported for The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, High Times, Outside, NPR, and U.S. News & World Report. He currently lives in New Mexico, where he relocated his family to research this book. (Penguin Books)
During the 1950s, when the Cold War was at its peak, two immensely powerful brothers led the United States into a series of foreign adventures whose effects are still shaking the world.
John Foster Dulles was secretary of state while his brother, Allen Dulles, was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this book, Stephen Kinzer places their extraordinary lives against the background of American culture and history. He uses the framework of biography to ask: Why does the United States behave as it does in the world?
The Brothers explores hidden forces that shape the national psyche, from religious piety to Western movies—many of which are about a noble gunman who cleans up a lawless town by killing bad guys. This is how the Dulles brothers saw themselves, and how many Americans still see their country’s role in the world.
Propelled by a quintessentially American set of fears and delusions, the Dulles brothers launched violent campaigns against foreign leaders they saw as threats to the United States. These campaigns helped push countries from Guatemala to the Congo into long spirals of violence, led the United States into the Vietnam War, and laid the foundation for decades of hostility between the United States and countries from Cuba to Iran.
The story of the Dulles brothers is the story of America. It illuminates and helps explain the modern history of the United States and the world.
Stephen Kinzer is the author of Reset, Overthrow, All the Shah’s Men, and numerous other books. An award-winning foreign correspondent, he served as the New York Times’s bureau chief in Turkey, Germany, and Nicaragua and as the Boston Globe’s Latin America correspondent. He is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, contributes to The New York Review of Books, and writes a column on world affairs for The Guardian. (Macmillan Publishing)
Thank You, Anarchy is an up-close, inside account of Occupy Wall Street’s first year in New York City, written by one of the first reporters to cover the phenomenon. Nathan Schneider chronicles the origins and explosive development of the Occupy movement through the eyes of the organizers who tried to give shape to an uprising always just beyond their control. Capturing the voices, encounters, and beliefs that powered the movement, Schneider brings to life the General Assembly meetings, the chaotic marches, the split-second decisions, and the moments of doubt as Occupy swelled from a hashtag online into a global phenomenon.
A compelling study of the spirit that drove this watershed movement, Thank You, Anarchy vividly documents how the Occupy experience opened new social and political possibilities and registered a chilling indictment of the status quo. It was the movement’s most radical impulses, this account shows, that shook millions out of a failed tedium and into imagining, and fighting for, a better kind of future.
Nathan Schneider is the author of God in Proof: The Story of a Search, from the Ancients to the Internet (UC Press). He wrote about Occupy Wall Street for Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, and Boston Review, among other publications. He is an editor of the websites Waging Nonviolence and Killing the Buddha. (University of California Press)
From the fall of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring to today’s continuing conflicts, media have played a decisive role in political affairs across the globe—driving the revolutionary changes shaping today’s new world. This is the first book presenting a comprehensive look at the emergence of media as a primary actor, and not merely an observer, of global affairs.
As founder of Internews, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to information access and independent media, David Hoffman has had a backstage pass to many of the seminal world political upheavals in recent years. In these pages we see how media have been used for good and bad—to trigger genocide, but also to effectively prevent conflict, facilitate free elections, expose corruption, promote nation-building, provide critical information amid natural disasters, and bring about massive social change such as free education and women’s rights. With the rise of digital technology, the power of media to intervene in global affairs is in the hands of everyone—including you. This book examines media’s historic impact and offers a roadmap to the future.
David Hoffman is the Emmy Award-winning Founder and President Emeritus of Internews, a global nonprofit that has pioneered media development. Internews has worked in more than 90 countries to train media professionals and citizen journalists, increase coverage of vital issues, and advance policies for open access to information. (CUNY Journalism Press)
The United States has been “at war” for more than a decade. Yet as war has become normalized, a yawning gap has opened between America’s soldiers and the society in whose name they fight. For ordinary citizens, as former secretary of defense Robert Gates has acknowledged, armed conflict has become an “abstraction” and military service “something for other people to do.”
In Breach of Trust, bestselling author Andrew Bacevich takes stock of the separation between Americans and their military, tracing its origins to the Vietnam era and exploring its pernicious implications: a nation with an abiding appetite for war waged at enormous expense by a standing army demonstrably unable to achieve victory. Among the collateral casualties are values once considered central to democratic practice, including the principle that responsibility for defending the country should rest with its citizens.
Citing figures as diverse as the martyr-theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the marine-turned-anti-warrior Smedley Butler, Breach of Trust summons Americans to restore that principle. Rather than something for “other people” to do, national defense should become the business of “we the people.” Should Americans refuse to shoulder this responsibility, Bacevich warns, the prospect of endless war, waged by a “foreign legion” of professionals and contractor-mercenaries, beckons. So too does bankruptcy—moral as well as fiscal.
Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, served for twenty-three years as an officer in the U.S. Army. He is the author of Washington Rules, The Limits of Power, and The New American Militarism, among other books. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. (Macmillan Publishing)
In the year 2000, Roz Savage seemed to have it all. But she felt there was a mismatch between the person she was pretending to be on the outside, and the person she wanted to be on the inside. Leaving behind her life as a London professional, she set out to row across the world’s oceans. Her goal was to raise awareness of the heavy toll that human beings are taking on the Earth – and how it will rebound on us if we don’t change course.
This book tells the story of Roz’s record-setting solo row across the Pacific Ocean. In the course of her three-stage voyage, Roz braved 20-foot waves, was capsized 3 times in 24 hours, faced death by dehydration, encountered whales, dolphins, sharks and turtles, and witnessed the breathtaking beauty of nature. The ocean forced her to develop courage, tenacity, perseverance, and the strength to transcend self-imposed limits.
Not only is her story an amazing adventure tale, but it is a timely message of hope and optimism for the future, emphasizing the power of individual action to make a difference.
Roz Savage MBE is an ocean rower, environmental campaigner, author and speaker. She holds four world records for ocean rowing, including first woman to row three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5 million oarstrokes, and spent cumulatively over 500 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat.
A latecomer to the life of adventure, Roz worked as a management consultant in London for 11 years before deciding there was more to life than a steady income and a house in the suburbs. Since embarking on her first ocean in 2005, she has braved 20-foot waves, been capsized 3 times in 24 hours, and faced death by dehydration when both her watermakers broke. Her hardships have forced her to find the strength and determination to overcome everything – especially herself.
Her first book, “Rowing The Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean”, was published in 2009. Her second book, “Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific” was published by Hay House in October 2013. (Hay House Publishing)
With Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008, many believed the United States had entered a new era: Obama came into office with high expectations that he would end the war in Iraq and initiate a new foreign policy that would reestablish American values and the United States’ leadership role in the world.
In this shattering new assessment, historian Lloyd C. Gardner argues that, despite cosmetic changes, Obama has simply built on the expanding power base of presidential power that reaches back across decades and through multiple administrations. The new president ended the “enhanced interrogation” policy of the Bush administration but did not abandon the concept of preemption. Obama withdrew from Iraq but has institutionalized drone warfare—including the White House’s central role in selecting targets. What has come into view, Gardner argues, is the new face of American presidential power: high-tech, secretive, global, and lethal.
Killing Machine skillfully narrates the drawdown in Iraq, the counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan, the rise of the use of drones, and targeted assassinations from al-Awlaki to Bin Laden—drawing from the words of key players in these actions as well as their major public critics. With unparalleled historical perspective, Gardner’s book is the new touchstone for understanding not only the Obama administration but the American presidency itself.
Lloyd C. Gardner is Professor Emeritus of History at Rutgers University and the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including The Long Road to Baghdad and Three Kings (both available from The New Press). He lives in Newtown, Pennsylvania. (The New Press)
The United States Senate has fallen on hard times. Once known as the greatest deliberative body in the world, it now has a reputation as a partisan, dysfunctional chamber. What happened to the house that forged American history’s great compromises?
In this groundbreaking work, a distinguished journalist and an eminent historian provide an insider’s history of the United States Senate. Richard A. Baker, historian emeritus of the Senate, and the late Neil MacNeil, former chief congressional correspondent for Time magazine, integrate nearly a century of combined experience on Capitol Hill with deep research and state-of-the-art scholarship. They explore the Senate’s historical evolution with one eye on persistent structural pressures and the other on recent transformations. Here, for example, are the Senate’s struggles with the presidency–from George Washington’s first, disastrous visit to the chamber on August 22, 1789, through now-forgotten conflicts with Presidents Garfield and Cleveland, to current war powers disputes. The authors also explore the Senate’s potent investigative power, and show how it began with an inquiry into John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. It took flight with committees on the conduct of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World War II; and it gained a high profile with Joseph McCarthy’s rampage against communism, Estes Kefauver’s organized-crime hearings (the first to be broadcast), and its Watergate investigation.
Within the book are surprises as well. For example, the office of majority leader first acquired real power in 1952–not with Lyndon Johnson, but with Republican Robert Taft. Johnson accelerated the trend, tampering with the sacred principle of seniority in order to control issues such as committee assignments. Rampant filibustering, the authors find, was the ironic result of the passage of 1960s civil rights legislation. No longer stigmatized as a white-supremacist tool, its use became routine, especially as the Senate became more partisan in the 1970s.
Thoughtful and incisive, The American Senate: An Insider’s History transforms our understanding of Congress’s upper house.
Neil MacNeil, a founding member of the PBS program Washington Week, first began to cover the Senate in 1949, and served as Time magazine’s chief congressional correspondent for thirty years. He was also the author of Forge of Democracy: The House of Representatives and Dirksen: Portrait of a Public Man. He died in 2008, as this work was nearing completion.
Richard A. Baker was appointed the Senate’s first official historian, a post he held from 1975 until his retirement in 2009. He produced a number of historical narratives, including 200 Notable Days: Senate Stories, 1787 to 2002 and Traditions of the United States Senate, and assisted Robert C. Byrd with The Senate, 1789-1989. (Oxford University Press)
For more than a century, from 1900 to 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts in achieving their stated goals. By attracting impressive support from citizens, whose activism takes the form of protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of nonviolent noncooperation, these efforts help separate regimes from their main sources of power and produce remarkable results, even in Iran, Burma, the Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories.
Combining statistical analysis with case studies of specific countries and territories, Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan detail the factors enabling such campaigns to succeed and, sometimes, causing them to fail. They find that nonviolent resistance presents fewer obstacles to moral and physical involvement and commitment, and that higher levels of participation contribute to enhanced resilience, greater opportunities for tactical innovation and civic disruption (and therefore less incentive for a regime to maintain its status quo), and shifts in loyalty among opponents’ erstwhile supporters, including members of the military establishment.
Chenoweth and Stephan conclude that successful nonviolent resistance ushers in more durable and internally peaceful democracies, which are less likely to regress into civil war. Presenting a rich, evidentiary argument, they originally and systematically compare violent and nonviolent outcomes in different historical periods and geographical contexts, debunking the myth that violence occurs because of structural and environmental factors and that it is necessary to achieve certain political goals. Instead, the authors discover, violent insurgency is rarely justifiable on strategic grounds.
Erica Chenoweth is an assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and an Associate Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Previously she taught at Wesleyan University and held fellowships at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Maria J. Stephan is a strategic planner with the U.S. Department of State. Formerly she served as director of policy and research at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and American University. She has also been a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. (Columbia University Press)
While most people intuitively know that low unemployment is important to job seekers, they may not realize that high levels of employment actually would make an enormous difference in the lives of large segments of the workforce who already have jobs. Particularly in an era of historically high wage and income inequality, many in the workforce depend on full employment labor markets, and the bargaining power it provides, to secure a fair share of the economy’s growth. For the bottom third or even half of the wage distribution, high levels of employment are a necessary condition for improving wages, higher incomes, and better working conditions.
This book is a follow-up to a book written a decade ago by the authors, The Benefits of Full Employment (Economic Policy Institute, 2003). It builds on the evidence presented in that book, showing that real wage growth for workers in the bottom half of the income scale is highly dependent on the overall rate of unemployment. In the late 1990s, when the United States saw its first sustained period of low unemployment in more than a quarter century, workers at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution were able to secure substantial gains in real wages. When unemployment rose in the 2001 recession, and again following the collapse of the housing bubble, most workers no longer had the bargaining power to share in the benefits of growth. The book also documents another critical yet often overlooked side effect of full employment: improved fiscal conditions (without mindless budget policies like the current sequestration). Finally, in this volume, unlike the earlier one, the authors present a broad set of policies designed to boost growth and get the unemployment rate down to a level where far more workers have a fighting chance of getting ahead.
Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. He also has a blog, “Beat the Press,” where he discusses the media’s coverage of economic issues.
Jared Bernstein is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he focuses on fiscal policies, income inequality and mobility, the analysis of financial and housing markets, and of course, full employment. From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team. He is an on-air commentator for the cable stations CNBC and MSNBC, contributor to The New York Times Economix blog, and hosts jaredbernsteinblog.com. (CEPR Publication)
The Central Intelligence Agency’s reputation in the Middle East today has been marred by waterboarding and drone strikes, yet in its earliest years the agency was actually the region’s staunchest western ally. In America’s Great Game, celebrated intelligence historian Hugh Wilford reveals how three colorful CIA operatives—Kermit and Archie Roosevelt, and maverick covert-ops expert Miles Copeland—attempted, futilely, to bring the U.S. and Middle East into harmony during the 1940s and ‘50s. Heirs to an American missionary tradition that taught them to treat Arabs and Muslims with respect and empathy, these CIA “Arabists” nevertheless behaved like political puppet-masters, orchestrating coup plots throughout the Middle East while seeking to sway public opinion in America against support for the new state of Israel. Their efforts, and ultimate failure, would doom U.S.-Middle Eastern relations for decades to come. Drawing on extensive new material, including declassified government records, private papers, and personal interviews, America’s Great Game shows how three well-intentioned spies inadvertently ruptured relations between America and the Arab world.
Hugh Wilford is a professor of history at California State University, Long Beach, and author of four books, including The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America. (Perseus Books / Basic Books)
Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving “welfare queens” and “strapping young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president.
In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney López offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.
Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and obvious racism, Haney López links as never before the two central themes that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class and the Republican Party’s increasing reliance on white voters. Dog Whistle Politics will generate a lively and much-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class — white and nonwhite members alike.
Ian Haney López is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. An incisive voice on white identity since the publication of his path-breaking book White by Law (1996), he remains at the forefront of conversations about race in modern America. A past visiting professor at Yale and Harvard law schools, in 2011 he was awarded the Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship, given to scholars whose work promotes the integration goals of Brown v. Board of Education. (Oxford University Press)