THE MARSHALL PLAN Dawn of the Cold War “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” President Trump declared on Jan. 20, 2017. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.” As Benn Steil makes clear in his trenchant and timely new book, “The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War,” the architects of America’s global engagement after World War II would have been appalled that future generations — let alone a future president — might think they had been acting in anything but the national interest. At its core the Marshall Plan was a pragmatic approach to a tough problem. The winter of 1947 was the hardest to hit Europe in a generation. The continent was in ruins, its people were starving and its economies were out of balance. Italy’s and France’s inflation rates were 62.1 and 49.2 percent respectively. In the face of this bleak situation, American policymakers concluded that the key to restoring the prewar European standard of living was restarting the German … [Read more...] about Why American Pragmatists Saved Postwar Europe
New York Put Recovering Virus Patients in Hotels. Soon, 4 Were Dead.
When Robert Rowe Jr. was discharged from the hospital this month after testing positive for the coronavirus, he needed a place to stay so he would not put his 84-year-old father at risk. New York City health officials put him up at a three-star hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The room was provided under a city program that was intended to protect recovering patients’ families and roommates. Case workers are supposed to check on the patients twice a day by telephone. But on Saturday, Mr. Rowe, 56, was found dead in his room at the Hilton Garden Inn on West 37th Street, nearly 20 hours after a city worker last phoned him, though it was unclear whether he picked up. Two other men sent to the same hotel — Julio Melendez, 42, and Sung Mo Ping, 64 — also died last weekend, and a fourth man in the program died early this month at a Queens hotel. The deaths exposed holes in the way the city monitors isolated patients and underscored the difficulty in containing the outbreak in New … [Read more...] about New York Put Recovering Virus Patients in Hotels. Soon, 4 Were Dead.
Sam Altman on What Makes Him ‘Super Nervous’ About AI
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Getty Images OpenAI entered the Silicon Valley stratosphere last year with the release of two AI products, the image-generator DALLE-2 and the chatbot ChatGPT . (The company recently unveiled GPT-4 , which can ace most standardized tests, among other improvements on its predecessor.) Sam Altman, OpenAI’s co-founder, has become a public face of the AI revolution, alternately evangelical and circumspect about the potent force he has helped unleash on the world. In the latest episode of On With Kara Swisher , Swisher speaks with Altman about the many possibilities and pitfalls of his nascent field, focusing on some of the key questions around it. Among them: How do we best to regulate a technology even its founders don’t fully understand? And who gets the enormous sums of money at stake? Altman has lofty ideas for how generative AI could transform society. But as Swisher observes, he sounds like the starry-eyed tech founders she … [Read more...] about Sam Altman on What Makes Him ‘Super Nervous’ About AI
North Carolina House passes bill limiting racial teachings
North Carolina’s Republican-controlled House passed a previously vetoed proposal Wednesday to restrict how teachers can discuss certain racial topics that some lawmakers have equated to “ critical race theory .” The House voted 68-49 along party lines for legislation banning public school teachers from compelling students to believe they should feel guilty or responsible for past actions committed by people of the same race or sex. United in their opposition, House Democrats challenged Republican claims that the bill would reduce discrimination and argued that a comprehensive history education should make students uncomfortable. Republican seat gains in the midterm elections give them greater leverage this year to override any veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who successfully blocked a similar proposal in 2021 and urged legislators this month in his State of the State address, “Don’t make teachers re-write history.” But Republicans, who are one seat short in the … [Read more...] about North Carolina House passes bill limiting racial teachings
‘New York Burning’: Gotham Witch Hunt
NEW YORK BURNING Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan. By Jill Lepore. Illustrated. 323 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $26.95. As the spectacle of the Salem witch trials played out in Massachusetts in 1692, concluding with the execution of 20 innocents, New Yorkers, indulging a finer sense of civilization, condemned the hysterical confessions and lethal injustice of their New England cousins. All the more stunning, then, that half a century later, New York underwent its own bout of hysteria, outstripping Salem in both body count and self-righteous malice. In 1741, a "witch hunt" in Manhattan put 30 slaves and four whites to death by gibbet and burning at the stake. The government-run frenzy was driven by fears and rumors not of witches but of a slave revolt. It was conducted at City Hall in a star chamber proceeding fed by a fanatical prosecutor and his informer-driven roundups. The slaves were reduced to pleading for life, not liberty. The fact that such … [Read more...] about ‘New York Burning’: Gotham Witch Hunt
‘Impartial’ BBC Asserts Trump ‘Will Try to Spin’ Any Arrest
Britain’s supposedly impartial state broadcaster has published an article in anticipation of Donald Trump being arrested asserting that he “will try to spin” being detained. In an article with the far from speculative headline ‘How Trump will try to spin his anticipated arrest’, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claims “the former president is plotting a strategy designed to both keep him out of jail and turbo-boost his historic bid to return to the White House.” Describing him in partisan terms as “hunkered down in his Mar-a-Lago home”, the broadcaster’s North America correspondent Anthony Zurcher said Trump was “framing” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as “a liberal prosecutor hell-bent on pursuing political retribution against the former president”, and instructed readers to “[e]xpect those attacks to continue if an indictment is announced and for Mr Trump to portray himself as a victim of a leftist plot — a common theme of persecution Mr Trump has also … [Read more...] about ‘Impartial’ BBC Asserts Trump ‘Will Try to Spin’ Any Arrest