The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 22, No. 4, May

A Liberal's Guide to Middle Earth: HBO'S New Show Game of Thrones Goes beyond the Black and White of Good versus Evil and Delves into the Gray
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 2009, National Review ranked Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy No. 11 on a list of the best "conservative movies" of the past 25 years. The magazine's reasoning was simple--after September 11, the adaptations of...
A New Union Contract: While Public-Sector Unions Fight for Survival, Bob King Proposes to Rebuild the United Auto Workers for a New, and More Vexing, Century
Last August, just two months after he became president of the United Auto Workers, Bob King drove upstate to a conference that the Center for Automotive Research was hosting in Traverse City, Michigan, and proposed to redefine the role that American...
Books Behind Bars: What Are Wardens Thinking When They Censor Magazines and Books?
Last year, Jeff Fogel, an attorney who was working on a prison First Amendment case, e-mailed to tell me I was too hot for the Virginia Department of Corrections. An article I had written on states experimenting with creative ways to reduce their prison...
Fighting Back: What the Unions Have Learned-And What They May Still Need to Learn-About Fighting Wal-Mart's Expansion
"Be very careful who you let into your neighborhood," Sandra Carpenter, a former Wal-Mart grocery manager from Maryland, warned New Yorkers considering whether to bring Wal-Mart to their town. "They will promise you everything under the sun," she said...
From the Executive Editor
It's been open season on American workers for three decades, but now, as the Republican right tries to abrogate collective-bargaining agreements and the social contract, workers are furiously fighting back. As the struggle to preserve worker rights...
How Wal-Mart Shapes the World: Will the Economy Follow Wal-Mart's Race to the Bottom-Or Will Social Counterweights and Other Business Models Demonstrate a Better Way?
Wal-Mart casts a global shadow across the lives of hundreds of millions of people, whether or not they ever enter a Supercenter. With $405 billion in sales in the last fiscal year, Wal-Mart is so big, and so obsessively focused on cost-cutting, that...
In the Streets
About a year and a half ago, as the Tea Party began to dominate headlines and cable-news chyrons, liberals were befuddled. This "movement" had seemingly come from nowhere. Slowly, a general-consensus explanation emerged: A few tiny conservative gatherings...
Is Obama a Hero of, or a Traitor to, Liberalism?
JAMELLE: So, between his enthusiasm for spending cuts, the treatment of Bradley Manning, and his general willingness to defer to Republicans, is Barack Obama history's greatest monster? JAMELLE: Well, I wouldn't call him that, but there's definitely...
It's Alive! If Wal-Mart Is a Person, as the Supreme Court Contends, It's a Behemoth Terrorizing the Countryside-Yet Curiously Immune, the Company Argues, from Lawsuits
What is Wal-Mart--in a strictly taxonomic sense, that is? Based on size alone, it would be easy to confuse it with a nation: In 2002, its annual revenue was equal to or exceeded that of all but 22 recognized nation-states. Or, if all its employees--1.4...
Life on the List: State Sex-Offender Registries Were Created to Protect the Public, but There's No Evidence That They Do-Instead They Are Creating a Second Set of Victims
You could say it started with three small-town Minnesota boys riding their bikes to a convenience store on an October night in 1989. As they were returning home on a dark stretch of road, a man stepped out of the darkness holding a gun. He told them...
The Greening of Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart's New Green-Washed Image Is Deflecting Attention from the Drag the Company Continues to Inflict on Workers' Wages and Communities' Quality of Life
When you get off Highway 101 at Exit 484A, you immediately fall into headachy traffic on access roads not designed for this crush. It is the kind of dysfunction that Wal-Mart would never tolerate in its own internal operations but that big-box stores...
The Healthy Fallout from Fukushima
The last few years have brought a great deal of talk about a "nuclear renaissance" and a new bipartisan consensus in favor of building more nuclear power plants. In the hope of striking a grand bargain on climate legislation during the last Congress,...
The Test Generation: Can a Math Equation Measure How Much Students Are Learning-And How Well Teachers Are Teaching? Colorado Is about to Find Out
On exam day in Sabina Trombetta's Colorado Springs first-grade art class, the 6-year-olds were shown a slide of Picasso's "Weeping Woman," a 1937 cubist portrait of the artist's lover, Dora Maar, with tears streaming down her face. It is painted in...
Wal-Mart's China Connections: From Production to Retailing, Wal-Mart's China Operations Display a Dystopian Collaboration between Low-Wage Employer and Autocratic State
With more than 10,000 suppliers in China manufacturing for Wal-Mart, the great majority of its merchandize is "Made in China." Wal-Mart is now becoming a major retail presence there as well. The company has already opened close to 200 stores in 101...
Wal-Mart Tries to Go to Town: America's Mega-Retailer Can't Boost Profits Unless It Gains Entry to America's Largest Cities. against Stiff Resistance, It's Still Trying
Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the most eye-catching graphic in the Wal-Mart annual report was the "measles map" of the United States, in which each dot represented a company store or distribution center. At first, they were all clustered in Arkansas,...
What's in a Word?
Suppose you meet a previously un-contacted native tribe and begin trying to learn its language. Every once in a while, tribal members point to a rabbit and say "gavagai." You come to assume that "gavagai" means "rabbit." But what if you're wrong? What...
Which Path for Europe? Wal-Mart Couldn't Cut It in Germany. but While Neighboring Scandinavia Still Pays Retail Workers Well, the Low-Wage Model Is Making Inroads into Other European Countries
It's hard to say what Wal-Mart's top executives were thinking when they decided to expand the chain to Germany in 1997. Germany, after all, was a nation where retail establishments were actually regulated--indeed, stores, by law, were closed on Sundays....
Why Aren't You Married Yet? Apparently, I'm Responsible for the Jerks I've Dated
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At a March luncheon celebrating the release of the new book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, it wasn't long before things got really personal. "Before [today], the fact is that primarily, a 20-year-old...
Wisconsin and Beyond
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was only speaking truth when he called Scott Walker, Wisconsin's Republican governor, the labor movement's "Mobilizer of the Year." The backlash against Walker's successful (for now) drive to end collective bargaining...