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Zwichenzug Holding Zone

The Nation | Tyson's Moral Anchor
A generation ago, meatpacking workers earned some of the highest wages of any industrial workers in the United States. Working in a slaughterhouse was a hard, dirty job, but it provided a stable middle-class income. Today meatpacking is one of the lowest-paid industrial jobs, with one of the highest turnover rates. It is also the nation's most dangerous job, measured by the rate of serious injury. During the 1970s IBP was largely responsible for changing the industry's labor policies, breaking unions, slashing wages and recruiting an immigrant work force. In a very tough business, IBP gained the reputation of being by far the toughest. In 1974 IBP was convicted for collaborating with organized-crime figures in New York City to bribe meat wholesalers and union leaders. Any meatpacking company that hoped to compete with IBP had to cut wages and benefits, too. Over the past twenty-five years some wages in the meatpacking industry, adjusted for inflation, have declined by more than 50 percent.

Boston Globe | Police say they won't picket convention
Boston's main police union abandoned yesterday their threat to picket at the site of next month's Democratic National Convention, handing Senator John F. Kerry a major victory on the day he honored the union's picket line by not making a speech before a US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston.

The New York Times | Wakefulness Finds a Powerful Ally
Since 1998, modafinil, made by Cephalon and sold under the brand name Provigil, has quietly altered the lives of millions of people. No one knows exactly how it works, but sales of the drug are skyrocketing.

People who take it say it keeps them awake for hours or even days. It has been described as a nap in the form of a pill, making most users feel refreshed and alert but still able to go to bed when they are ready. And because its side effects are rarely worse than a mild headache or slight nausea, experts fear that it has rapidly become a tempting pick-me-up to a nation that battles sleep with more than 100 million cups of coffee a day.

The New York Times | Krugman | Who Lost Iraq?
Plans for privatization were eventually put on hold. But as he prepared to leave Iraq, Mr. Bremer listed reduced tax rates, reduced tariffs and the liberalization of foreign-investment laws as among his major accomplishments. Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time — but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics.

FDA: OK to market bloodsuckers | CNN
The government has lent its seal of approval to a marketing an age-old medical device -- leeches. The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that Ricarimpex SAS, a French firm, is the first company to request and receive FDA clearance to market the bloodsucking aquatic animals as medical devices.

Chess Masters Are Quick On The Trigger
Bruce D. Burns of Michigan State University, in an article to be published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society, compared chess players' rankings at normal tournament chess to their rankings at fast-paced blitz chess. In blitz chess, players have 5 minutes to complete all of their moves, which gives them an average of 7.5 seconds for each move. Because of that limitation, they don't have the time to mull over their moves and are forced to rely on their immediate intuition.

What Burns found was that players' rankings at normal chess were remarkably accurate predictors of their rankings at blitz chess, especially among higher-ranked players. Among lower-ranked players, performance at normal chess didn't seem to relate quite as strongly to their performance at blitz chess. This suggests that the skills chess masters use in normal chess are the same as those they use in blitz chess: lightning-fast intuition.