Department of Agriculture

Budget 2011: Industry Clusters as a Paradigm for Job Growth
February 02, 2010

From its opening pages, the Obama administration’s FY2011 budget request adopts a stance that pervades this blog. Declares the document: “We need to recognize that competitive, high-performing regional economies are essential to a strong national economy.” (See page 20 of the federal budget.) In line with this recognition, the new budget unveils not one, but several proposals to support regional industry or innovation “clusters” through multiple federal departments. Clusters, as we have noted previously, are a fundamental fact of national economies, and a critical enhancer of regional economi

Industry Clusters: A Rural Boon?
December 02, 2009

With a House-Senate “conference” committee soon to decide whether to create a truly valuable regional industry clusters initiative, misconceptions linger. Some rurally oriented conferees fear that cluster strategies pertain exclusively to urban development and leave rural America out. Others fret that cluster initiatives point exclusively toward high technology growth. However, none of the doubters need worry.

The Downside of 'Smart Power'
November 30, 2009

After ten months of waiting, USAID finally has a new chief: Rajiv Shah, currently the agriculture department’s top scientist. Directing the country’s principal agency for administering foreign aid is a heady position for someone who is all of 36. And it’s going to be a difficult one. Shah is stepping into the middle of a struggle that has been quietly simmering for years in Washington. On the surface, it’s a classic bureaucratic turf battle over who gets to control foreign aid--USAID staffers or the State Department, which assumed control of the once-autonomous organization in 2006.

Earth to Obama
October 01, 2009

Bill McKibben: You can't negotiate with the planet.

No Need To 'wait And See'
May 28, 2008

Looks like we won't have to wait 50 years to see the effects of rising global temperatures, after all. According to a new study by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, those changes are already well underway across the country: "Climate change is currently impacting the nation's ecosystems and services in significant ways, and those alterations are very likely to accelerate in the future, in some cases dramatically," the report says.

Home Alone
June 24, 2002

As TNR went to press, John Ashcroft's revelation that the United States had captured an Al Qaeda operative seeking to build a dirty bomb was distracting attention from President George W. Bush's dramatic unveiling of his plan for a Department of Homeland Security. That announcement, in turn, had distracted attention from whistle-blower Coleen Rowley's testimony about FBI bungling, which, in turn, had distracted attention from the Democrats' call for a blueribbon commission to investigate the intelligence failures preceding September 11. All of which is fine, as far as it goes.

Liberal Ghosts
May 22, 1995

James Q. Wilson meticulously reviews a book on New Deal liberalism in an issue of TNR from 1995.

Monkey Business
June 02, 1982

“This is vivisection,” proclaimed scores of X posters that appeared overnight all over Washington to designate April 24 an International Day for Laboratory Animals. “Don't let anyone tell you differently.” The posters were illustrated with a lurid photograph of a monkey trapped in an elaborate scaffold, its neck wedged in a narrow aperture and its arms extended, Christ-like, to the outer bars, where they were tightly bandaged. The photograph was a little deceptive.

Anything but Sweet
November 23, 1974

What would this country be without all those candies and cookies and cakes and sugar-coated cereals? It would be healthier and wealthier, with more good teeth and more to spend on products more essential than sugar. We are the world's most voracious consumers of sweets, as we are of everything else. An average American consumes about 100 pounds of sugar a year (not counting 30 pounds of other liquid sweeteners), a figure that marks him as a sugar addict when compared to his ancestors.

Birds and Bees
October 31, 1970

Americans dump and spray 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides each year on their gardens, lawns, forests, pastures, farms, lakes and rivers; the amount grows 14 percent every year. Literally thousands of pesticide formulations used every day around the home have potentially harmful effect on humans. One Philadelphia man died early this year after household termite spray with chlordane poisoned his bone marrow. The government places virtually no restrictions on consumer pesticide use. Anyone can buy the poisons and use them as he pleases, endangering both himself and his entire community.