REHNQUIST AND MINORITY VOTERS
During William Rehnquist's 1986 confirmation hearings as Chief Justice, James Brosnahan, a former assistant US Attorney in Phoenix, recalled on Election Day 1962 receiving complaints that Republican poll watchers were aggressively challenging black and Hispanic voters without legal basis. Investigating complaints against a GOP pollwatcher at a precinct in south Phoenix, he discovered the culprit was Rehnquist. Rehnquist denied to the Judiciary Committee that he ever harassed or challenged voters. "That does not comport with my recollection of the events I witnessed in 1962," Brosnahan testified. The witness was brought to the committee by the Nation Institute's Supreme Court Watch. His testimony has a contemporary relevance in light of the Supreme Court's ruling that a recount in Florida would deny equal protection of the law while complaints by minority voters being turned away from the polls in Florida on Election Day by the same sort of harassment continue to mount (to read James Brosnahan's full testimony go to www.thenation.com).
REMEMBERING DANIEL SINGER
Daniel Singer, The Nation's Europe correspondent, who died on December 2, will be memorialized by the Daniel Singer Millennium Prize. This will be awarded annually for the best essay of up to 5,000 words that explores and augments the theses put forth in Daniel's book Whose Millennium? Theirs or Ours? The $2,500 prize will be announced every December and will be administered by the Daniel Singer Millennium Prize Foundation, which is being incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charity. Contributions large or small may be sent to Albert Ruben, 285 Central Park West, Apartment 6W, New York, NY 10024. Checks should be made out to the Daniel Singer Millennium Prize Foundation Inc.
THROUGH THE REVOLVING DOOR
From Brian DeVore: When attempting one of the largest takeovers in agribusiness history, a fellow needs some advice from a savvy insider. So when Joseph Luter III, head of Smithfield Foods, made a bid this fall to buy meat giant IBP, he hired one of the most "inside" insiders around–Joel Klein. Before his recent resignation Klein was head of the Justice Department's antitrust division. Although he took on almighty Microsoft, Klein never managed to swing his trustbusting club in the agribusiness sector, despite an unprecedented run of mega-mergers. This inaction turned out to be a good career move. In the November 17 Des Moines Register Luter is quoted as saying he hired Klein to vet his proposal to buy out IBP for an unsolicited $4.1 billion. Klein told him the buyout would pose no antitrust problems. Others might disagree. Smithfield is the world's largest pork producer and processor, and IBP is the top US beef processor. A merged Smithfield-IBP would dominate nearly 40 percent of the hog market alone. According to conventional economic wisdom, when four businesses control more than 40 percent of a market, it's no longer a competitive one.