Author Archives: Pat Higo

The Garden of Peter Marino

garden

by Peter Marino (Author), Jason Schmidt (Photographer), Manolo Yllera (Photographer), Claude Lalanne (Foreword)

The internationally acclaimed architect’s grounds of his Hamptons estate on Long Island, New York—a lush garden oasis masterfully transformed over the course of two decades.

Peter Marino’s quintessentially American landscape is a combination of organizational rigor and a joyful informality in the use of plant materials. The gardens feature carefully curated plants, trees, and flowers on twelve acres including a “color wheel” of purple, pink, red, and yellow gardens, evergreen trees, an apple orchard, a formal rose garden, and nearly forty works of art by François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne. Seasonal floral highlights include the colorful blooms of azaleas in the late spring, roses in June, and hydrangeas in the summer.

This book shows the landscape in different seasons and moods, captured in both a laid-back grandeur— sunny vistas, moonlit moments, the beauty of natural elements and sublime works of art—and in a moody atmosphere, when the dramatic light after a summer storm imbues the garden with a romantic haze. The garden is presented as a picturesque example of a first-rate contemporary landscape and as a dreamlike Eden.

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Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism

chasing

by John Mueller

Following 9/11, Americans’ fears of terrorists-especially domestically based Islamic extremists-reached near-hysteria levels. The government and media reports stoked fears that malign actors living in the US had not only the desire but the means to wreak extreme havoc and destruction. Early reports estimated slightly more than 300 al Qaeda operatives living in the United States, and it wasn’t long before this number became 2,000 or 5,000 domestic terrorists. As these estimates snowballed, so did spending on federal counterterrorism organizations and measures, and it now totals over one trillion dollars. The federal government launched more covert operations in the name of fighting terrorist adversaries than they did in the entirety of the forty-five year Cold War. For each apprehension of a credible terrorist suspect, the US government created or re-organized two counterterrorism organizations. The scale of these efforts has been enormous, yet somehow Americans remain fearful of what they perceive to be a massive terrorist threat. But how well-founded is this fear? Is the threat of terrorism in the United States as vast as it seems and are counterterrorism efforts effective and appropriately-scaled?

In Chasing Ghosts,two of our leading critics of the mushrooming national security state show that it has not, statistically speaking, been efficient or successful-to say the least. Only one alarm in 10,000 has proven to be a legitimate threat-the rest are what John Mueller and Mark Stewart refer to as “ghosts.” These ghosts are enormous drains on resources and contribute to a countrywide paranoia that has resulted in widespread support for (and minimal critical questioning of) massive expenditures and infringements on civil liberties, including regular invasions of privacy and legally questionable imprisonments. Mueller and Stewart contend that the “ghost chase” occupying that occupies American law enforcement and fuels federal spending persists because the public has been lead to believe that the terrorism threat is significant.

As they show, it is not a significant threat-certainly not large enough to justify the vast security state apparatus that has emerged to combat it. The chance that an American will be killed by a terrorist domestically in any given year is about one in four million (under present conditions). Yet despite this statistically low risk and the extraordinary amount of resources put towards combating threats, Americans still worry and the government still spends billions. Until the true threat of domestic terrorism is understood, the country cannot begin to confront whether our pursuit of ghosts is worth the cost.

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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

hidden

by Margot Lee Shetterly

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

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America first : a budget blueprint to make America great again (EBOOK)

budget

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) makes available President Donald Trump’s America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again on GPO’s govinfo.

This document is an overview of the President’s budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2018. GPO works with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to produce and distribute the Federal Budget. GPO has been producing the Federal Budget since the Budget and Accounting Act was enacted in 1921.

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