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[Apr 30] Europe, the Middle East and the war on terror: From Commentary, can France be saved? Michel Gurfinkiel investigates. Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg debate: Can we still hate France? David A. Bell on Henry IV and the French election. From Le Monde diplomatique, the French satirical paper Charlie-Hebdo has just been acquitted of publicly insulting Muslims by reprinting the notorious Danish cartoons featuring the Prophet. Is free speech really in danger worldwide? Karen Armstrong reviews books on Muhammad. From New Statesman, Pakistan is reverberating with the call of jihad. Taliban-style militias are spreading rapidly out from provinces in the far north-west. The danger to the country and to the rest of the world is escalating; disparaging terms for burqa-clad women used to be a joke - but not after female students began a campaign of kidnap, intimidation and issuing fatwas; and Pakistan at a glance: Things you need to know about this fascinating country. From Prospect, the middle of nowhere: Western analysts are forever bleating about the strategic importance of the Middle East. But despite its oil, this backward region is less relevant than ever, and it would be better for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it. A review of Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Islamic Democrats? In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has taken up a freedom agenda. Freedom for what is under debate. In Syria, rumors abound of Sunnis adopting Shiite Islam. What would "Shiitization" mean for the Middle East? A Saudi prince tied to Bush is sounding off-key: Prince Bandar bin Sultan may no longer be an unerring beacon of Saudi intent. From Der Spiegel, an article on how to balance freedom and security: The world after 9/11 has led many Western countries to rethink their security policies, but where does the limit lie between protecting citizens and eroding their civil liberties? Form National Journal, in the last three years alone, officials in LA have received and processed more than 4,000 tips on terrorist attacks. A team of specially trained local and federal agents work together wading through fact, fiction and the occasional genuine terrorist plot. Fighting words: An article on the administration's rhetorical quagmire. Robert Wright on The Neocon Paradox: You can empower people through democracy if you want. You can systematically antagonize them if you want. Doing both at once is ill advised. Samuel Brittan on why democracy is far from everything. From Armed Forces Journal, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling on A Failure in Generalship: For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. A review of The Changing Face of War: Lessons of Combat, from the Marne to Iraq by Martin Van Creveld. Fouad Ajami reviews The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. Riding shotgun with our shadow Army in Iraq: They've given Nir Rosen a machine gun and 180 rounds of ammo, and told him not to pee for six hours. From ZNet, Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith on the "Stab in the Back" trap. A review of At the Center of the Storm by George Tenet. And 9/11 was bad, but ...: The attacks were appalling, but they don't pose the threat politicians make them out to be

[Weekend] From The Journal of Democracy, Pratap Bhanu Mehta on The Rise of Judicial Supremacy and India's unlikely democracy pdf.  From Radar, a look at how Britain ruined the world: "Buckingham Malice". From The Weekly Standard, Ernest W. Lefever on African independence: It isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Nigeria's elections—rife with vote-rigging, violence and intimidation—are only the latest example of the corruption and decay that have characterised Obasanjo's rule. From Asia Times, an article on why Vietnam loves and hates China. From The New Yorker, Enemy of the State: Jianying Zha on the complicated life of an idealist. The people's republic in the grip of popular capitalism: Tens of millions of Chinese are risking their shirts in a stockmarket frenzy. If it goes wrong, things could get nasty. Pop Up Cities: If Dongtan lives up to expectations, it will serve as a model for cities across China and the rest of the developing world. From Asia Times, an article on Russia's energy drive (and part 2). Bill Clinton on how, at the end of the cold war, Russia and the world were lucky to have Boris Yeltsin. Russian 21st-century leaders don't bother to sweat. They either cancel elections or falsify them. From The New York Times, how well is Congress performing under its new Democratic leadership? Thomas Mann, Molly Reynolds and Peter Hoey look to the numbers. Scott Bloch, the controversial director of the OSC is launching the most high-profile (and politically fraught) investigation of his stormy, three-year tenure. Is it a courageous effort to expose White House malfeasance, or a last ditch attempt to save his own hide? Head of the Agency for International Development resigns in escort service inquiry, and more on the Abstinence Bushie: Randall Tobias, hypocrite. Republican delegate Don Larsen may not be catching hell for calling illegal immigration a satanic plot, but he isn't gaining any converts, either. William F. Buckley Jr. on the Waning of the GOP. From TNR, Michelle Cottle on how Bush's hacks come home to roost; Noam Scheiber on Fred Thompson and the appeal of phony populism; and Christopher Beam on how the Dems are saving the big guns for later debates. Matt Bai on The Post-Money Era: Why $50 million in campaign contributions isn’t what it used to be. GOP has uphill climb for cash and candidates: The party feels the drag of investigations and minority status in Congress. And then there's Bush. From TomPaine, Rick Perlstein on how trickle down conservatism infects America: A single page of USA Today reveals conservatism's ugly side. Will the rhetoric ever change? P.J. O'Rourke on his struggle with political discourse. Felons are getting the vote back—and Republicans aren't stopping them. And are "political futures" illegal?: The rules for gambling on political elections

[Apr 27] While international organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank and the UN may still seem remote to most Americans, those institutions symbolize the increasing integration of a planet that deeply needs capable, trusted and farsighted guidance. From Foreign Affairs, One World, Too Many Monies: Only a few monies make the world go around — the other national currencies aren't worth their risks; the rift between U.S. military and civilian leaders did not start with George W. Bush, but his administration's meddling and disregard for military expertise have made it worse. Next time, listen to the professionals. From The Nation, here's a forum on US policy toward Cuba; and a new stance toward Havana: The peaceful transfer of power in Cuba presents an opportunity for the US government to abandon its policy of perpetual hostility; Cuban-American moderates are on the rise, but hard-liners still run the show; and five Cuban counterterrorism experts are being held indefinitely in American prisons while the "bin Laden of Latin America" is let free; in recent years the Cuban government has begun to crack down on foreign correspondents; and whose astonishing wisdom led to preserving a statue of the monstrous Ferdinand VII in Havana? Gore Vidal wants to know. From National Journal, the lobbying scandal that plagued Republican candidates in last year's midterm elections is back with a vengeance. But will it have the same effect? In the aftermath of Jack Abramoff, a new clamor for clean money and clean elections can be heard nationwide. Finally, some legislators are offering more than cosmetic solutions. A review of Positively American by Chuck Schumer and ...And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since by Charlie Rangel. Bradford Plumer on why Democrats should not be afraid to spend money. From Norman Rockwell to Abu Ghraib: To understand how Bush justifies a torture policy that is the bane of our nation, consider the sentimental cowboy art that decks his Oval Office walls. Why nothing fails like success: An article on the Peter Principle in the executive branch. Michael Currie Schaffer on why Bush craves a Democratic successor. Will Democrats learn from Clinton's mistakes? Mark Schmitt wants to know. Is there anything sorrier than the modern party boss? Even Fairbanks investigates. Are political consultants getting rich off your money? The 2008 presidential contenders have raised an unprecedented amount of campaign cash -- and strategists, pollsters and media consultants will reap the monetary rewards. When a campaign breeds a locationship: Campaign staffers enjoy campaign "locationships" -- relationships that last only during election season. Glenn Greenwald on the Bill Moyers documentary on our failed and barren press, and though U.S. media stars will undoubtedly rush to heap praise on Halberstam, his views on the proper role of journalism could not be any farther from what they do. And Tom DeLay on the problem with modern journalism

[Apr 26] From Italy, doubts still hang over plans to form a united centre-left party. From Great Britain, John Reid may have stunned his parliamentary critics into submission by quoting Hegel, but was it any better than political Kant? Philip Stephens on the ties that bind Bush and Brown. The first round of the French presidential election threw up a few surprises. But now it's a straight fight—and Sarkozy has the upper hand. A review of Testimony: France in the Twenty-first Century by Nicolas Sarkozy. Joseph Nye on the coming revival in French-American relations. Form The Economist, a look at why anti-Europeanism is a bad response to anti-Americanism. Ian Buruma on the strange death of multiculturalism. A look ahead to the twenty-first century: With rising life expectancy, stagnating working-age populations, and low birth rates, Europe faces a demographic challenge over the next fifty years the likes of which it has never known. Eastern Europeans are happier and healthier than ever before as a result of a better diet and economic success. Drinking and smoking less hasn't hurt either. State of the Church: Catholicism's dwindling presence in Europe has less to do with people losing faith than it does with their rejection of authoritarian institutions. His own Pope yet? Benedict XVI remains something of a blank slate to a world curious to see what this new pontiff would be like. From Prospect, Western analysts are forever bleating about the strategic importance of the Middle East. But despite its oil, this backward region is less relevant than ever, and it would be better for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it. From Foreign Affairs, Al Qaeda strikes back: Five years after 9/11, the United States' deadliest adversary is stronger than ever — and may even be trying to lure Washington into a war with Iran; and a review of In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons From the Life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan. A magnet for European tourists, with a new young king intent on reform, Morocco seemed set for a bright future. But modernisation, the rise of Islamism and a wave of al-Qaeda-linked bombings have left the country at a crossroads. A review of Hezbollah: A Short History (and more). A look at why Turkey is Washington's purest test of realism v. idealism. Weakness—or a new realism? Why the Americans are having to adjust their policies in the Middle East. What Next on Iran? Dennis Ross on approaching Tehran with sticks, not carrots. Yankee, Don't Go Home: The Democrats want to bring the US military home from Iraq. But a hurried withdrawal would surely make the situation in the country even more volatile than it already is. The Yankees should stay. An interview with Mohammed el-Nawawy on Al-Jazeera International: "Non-American doesn't mean anti-American". And using the story of Belarusian political activist Denis Denisov as a case study, Evgeny Morozov examines how the future of political activism and human rights lies in the blogosphere

[Apr 25] News from around the world: From Great Britain, to have any sense of sexual freedom at all, easy access to abortion was and is entirely necessary. From CT, a review of Vile France: Fear, Duplicity, Cowardice and Cheese; A Year in the Merde; In the Merde for Love; C'est la vie: An American Conquers the City of Light, Begins a New Life, and Becomes—zut alors!—Almost French; French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret Pleasure of Eating for Pleasure; French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure; Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream; Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong (Why We Love France but Not the French); The Story of French; Families of the Vine: Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France; and Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris. From TAP, the failure of Plan Colombia: The U.S. government's coca-eradication campaign in Colombia has neither curbed coca cultivation there nor reduced the availability of cocaine here. So why aren't we changing course? Alvaro Vargas Llosa on The Return of the Idiot: Throughout the 20th century, Latin America’s populist leaders waved Marxist banners, railed against foreign imperialists, and promised to deliver their people from poverty. One after another, their ideologically driven policies proved to be sluggish and shortsighted. But now, a new generation of self-styled revolutionaries is trying to revive the misguided methods of their predecessors. From Crimes of War, an article on the struggle for justice in Nepal. The remote Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan prepares for an experiment in electoral politics with an April 21 dress rehearsal before the big day. Gandhi is idealised in the west, but in Indian culture he is emerging as a complex figure. Has a famous Chinese filmmaker become a government apologist? Christopher Orr finds out.  An interview with Zambia's first president Kenneth Kaunda: "Africa has huge problems". An interview with Nicholas Shaxson, author of Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil. From The Economist, a half-built nation: An election season has begun peacefully but Timor-Leste will need years more babysitting from the UN. The South Pacific nation of Tuvalu has tried to recruit other island nations to sue for damages from climate change, arguing that while these small countries contribute only 0.6 percent to global warming, they disproportionately suffer its effects. And more on the island made by global warming

[Apr 24] Some 541 politicians, academics and business leaders from Europe and around the world have signed an appeal for the creation of a UN parliamentary assembly to overcome the "democratic deficit" in global affairs and give citizens a bigger voice. The United Nations-sponsored International Compact for Iraq, which seeks to consolidate peace in the war-torn country and pursue political, economic and social development over the next five years, will be launched in Egypt early next month. An excerpt from Breeding Bin Ladens: America, Islam and the Future of Europe. Post-secular society and the Islam industry: A new cadre of "professional Muslims" have realized that kudos is to be gained in speaking on Muslim issues. But the "take me to your leader" approach, practised by government and the media, cuts out the majority of Muslims. Alarm bells in Muslim hearts: Dutch writer Margriet de Moor looks at Islam in the light of Europe and Europe in the light of Islam. An interview with Bernard-Henri Levy: "Europe is possible". The amazing thing about the French election is that nothing amazing happened. France now has a clear choice. Does the country want a mummy or a daddy as its next president? Moscow is promoting a new "megaproject" to link Asia with North America by train, pipeline, and fiber-optic cable across the Bering Strait. An interview with former Putin advisor Andrei Illarionov on the brutality against Russian opposition. Obituary: Boris Yeltsin, and more and more on the first and last true democrat and drunk, and an interview with Strobe Talbott. Bush flunks Diplomacy 101: How to infuriate Russia and the European Union and waste $10 billion a year. From The Brookings Institution, the introduction to Second-Term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed. Here's a rundown of Bush appointees who left under a cloud or face conflict-of-interest allegations. The will of the uninformed: Pundits and politicians love to be on the side of the people, even if the people don't have a clue. Michael Kinsley on The Substance Gap: The political class can't stop talking about the 2008 campaign. But that doesn't make it real news. Everything you need to know about the presidential race has already been predicted by baseball's greatest sage, Yogi Berra. Playing the Tolerance Card: David Greenberg on how Obama is like JFK. Obama is Google. McCain is GM: Daniel Gross on presidential candidates as stocks. What does John Edwards' putting I.F. Stone’s The Trial of Socrates at the top of his list tell us about this candidate for President? Falling for Fred: John Dickerson on what his swooners overlook. The Shadow Candidates: Fred Thompson and Al Gore, both former senators from Tennessee, are not exactly running—and not exactly not running either. From Bookslut, an interview with Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker. The Anti-Michael Moore: A look at how Vanity Fair nipped a budding right-wing poster boy. Form Outside.in, a look Inside America's Top 10 Bloggiest Neighborhoods.  A new issue of Blogger & Podcaster is out. And welcome to the blogosphere: Charting the network of jocks, gadget hounds, political junkies, and porn aficionados

[Apr 23] From Open Democracy, Dubai's elimination of nationhood as a basis for identity portends a global future. A review of Shimon Peres: The Biography. A lawmaker vanishes: The mysterious flight of a prominent Israeli Arab stirs an old debate. The Road from Mecca: If bilateral negotiations have become a fast track to a dead end it is because today neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli political system possesses the requisite degree of coherence and cohesion. A review of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Palestinian self-determination: By ending its boycott of Hamas, Norway may have taken an important first step towards a working peace strategy. From New Statesman, an article on Wales, England's oldest colony. Nationalists say an independent Scotland would automatically be in the European Union. It is not so easy. The US is perceived by many as an international bully, a modern day imperial power. But anti-Americanism is often a cover for hatreds with little justification in fact; and Christian Cox, a US citizen living in London, on her concern about the amount of abuse she receives because of her nationality. The Flavors of Anti-Americanism: Anti-Americanism is nothing new, but it seems there are different categories of dislike. "America's expansiveness, intrusiveness, and tendency toward political, economic, and strategic dominance are not some aberration from our true nature," writes Robert Kagan. "That is our nature." From National Journal, the Iraq war is raging on two distinct timelines, one set by politics in Washington and the other dictated by events in Baghdad. But Washington's clock is about to expire. From NYRB, Elizabeth Drew on The War in Washington. Gen. James Jones is one of Washington's hottest political commodities. Presidential hopefuls are clamoring to get him on their side as they look toward an election sure to be dominated by issues of war and national security. From The Economist, sidelined by reality: The neocons are suffering one humiliation after another. Citing "serious questions of constitutionality" in White House actions, Vermont senators vote to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House. An interview with Lee Iacocca on Where Have All the Leaders Gone? The Politics of Prose: What, if anything, do presidential contenders’ books tell us about them? Eric Alterman on why progressives need to take on Fox News's ugly propaganda. Conservatives sour on "rebel media": Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home sparks a backlash. Can conservative bloggers tell the truth? Eric Boehlert wants to know. Women number fewer than men among bloggers, despite a few prominent voices on the Web. The explanation may be found in the Internet's history and culture. And an interview with Megan McArdle, aka Jane Galt (or more recently “McMegan”)

[Weekend 2e] From Brazil, a billboard ban in São Paulo angers advertisers: Imagine a modern metropolis with no outdoor advertising. A review of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. The Lagging Continent: Why does Latin America, economically, continue to be the sick man of the West? Tony Judt on France looking ahead, and it doesn’t look good: With the departure of Jacques Chirac, we are saying goodbye to the last semblance of statesmanship from a generation that remembered where an unraveled Europe could lead. Most people think East Germany ceased to exist in 1990, when the (East) German Democratic Republic was absorbed by the Federal Republic of (West) Germany. Turns out the GDR lives on, and in a very comfortable climate to boot: a small island off Cuba. Václav vs. Václav: An interview with Vaclav Havel on Václav Klaus. Since becoming a member of the European Union, Romania has aligned itself with Europe and the United States and almost totally disengaged from its post-cold war posture. Romania's parliament suspends the president, Traian Basescu, from office for alleged abuse of power. A thaw in the river: A settlement in Transdniestria is bad news for Moldova—and the West. Democracy à la russe: The brutal suppression of peaceful protests says much about the dangerously unfettered mood in the Kremlin. But something could happen: Sonja Margolina reports on the advantages of "controlled instability" to Putin's regime. A review of The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin's Special Settlements. From New Left Review, a balance-sheet of Russia's post-Soviet fortunes, placing the devastating collapse of the 1990s and recent revival under Putin in comparative context: A look at the dangers—overvalued currency, oil dependence, crumbling infrastructure—on the road ahead, and a respose: What are the priorities and outlook of the emerging business-state elite—and whom will Putin’s "stabilization" benefit?; and Turkey's Justice and Development Party has been the agent of a classic passive revolution, effectively shoring up the Kemalist state: A look at the paradoxes of "Americanization with Muslim characteristics", against the backdrop of Western military intervention in the Middle East. The Bad New Era: The era of optimism for democracy in the Middle East has ended, says Richard Haass. An interview with Bill Clinton on the Middle East, and the Bush administration. Moisés Naím on democracy's dangerous impostors: An important and growing global trend that deserves more scrutiny is how governments are funding and controlling nongovernmental organizations, often stealthily. What the Cold War taught us: Eric Posner on how liberal democracies, not activists and international law, protect human rights. And David Rieffon how Wolfowitz walked into a trap: Many World Bank staffers were gunning for the former administration official when he began his tenure

[Weekend] From The Globalist, what does the western Siberian village of Khanti-Mansiisk have to show for its abundant oil resources? Anatol Lieven investigates (and part 2), and more on the toxic truth of Norilsk, a secretive Siberian city. Russia is again considering an ambitious plan that dates back to czarist times: building a tunnel under the Bering Sea to Alaska. The international community might experience a new race of exploration, conquest and acquisition for this “new world” - these newly available lands and sea routes in the Arctic. Farewell, Sweet Ice: Melting ice is threatening the centuries-old society of the Gwich'in tribes. An article on Sannikov Land, an Arctic phantom island. A new island has been discovered in the Arctic after rising temperatures melted the giant ice sheet which covered it. The United Nations Security Council holds its first-ever debate on the impact of climate change on security. From The Nation, can the ruling classes save the world from global warming?; James Hansen on why we can't wait: If Congress follows these five suggestions, we could solve the problem of global warming; areas like Bangladesh and New Orleans, which promise to be hard hit by climate change, face a stark decision; airplanes produce staggering amounts of carbon dioxide--and there's no way to make them more energy-efficient; a look at why erasing your "carbon footprint" is tougher than it seems; and the world's most industrialized countries started the climate crisis, but China might well finish the job. A look at why Chinese and Indian stubbornness aren't excuses to allow climate change. Jeffrey Sachs on realizing crucial energy technologies will take more than just research and development. From The Economist, will there be life after Wolfowitz? Unloved and demoralised, the bank still has work to do, especially in Africa. A spreading arc of African conflict is rooted in a toxic mix of colonialism, poverty, oil and political ambition. Gérard Prunier dissects the Chadian crisis. A review of Decolonization and the Decolonized. An interview with Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World. From Open Democracy, the risks of climate change, militarism and inequality – not the "war on terror" – must guide global security policy. How to get a handle on the axis: Financial sanctions have a big place in a tool-box designed to thwart the proliferators of Pyongyang and Tehran. Young supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Islamic group in Egypt, have joined the blogosphere in recent months, offering new windows into the personal lives of individual members. The terror of self-satisfaction: What goes on in the mind of a jihadi? An interview with Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. More on The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace by Ali A. Allawi. From Women's Wall Street, Annie Jacobsen on reporting suspicious behavior (on the "Terror in the Skies" series). And an interview with Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World

[Apr 20] Europe/Iraq/USA: From Germany, politician Günther Oettinger has backed away from his speech praising a former Nazi judge. But German commentators are not willing to let him off the hook yet; and more on the fine art of whitewashing. From First Things, a review of Philip Jenkins's God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis. A review of Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma and Sacred Causes by Michael Burleigh. A new Gallup World Poll finds that more binds the British majority with its religious minority than not. The greatest challenge of all may be in moving beyond minor, symbolic controversies in order to pave a path toward a shared future. A review of Cameron: The Rise of the New Conservative. A review of The Offbeat Radicals: the British Tradition of Alternative Dissent. Alice Wheeldon and law's black hole: The 1917 conviction of a British radical family has disturbing echoes in the age of "war on terror". A review of Michael Foot: A life. Could Scotland "go it alone"? If the Irish can thrive, why can't the Scots? From LRB, an article on the rise of Scottish nationalism and the State of the Union; and Sarko, Ségo & Co: Jeremy Harding writes about the French elections. An introspective election: why France is viewing the world with froideur. Build 'em up, knock 'em down: There is an uncanny similarity in the way the public and the media in France and the United States are treating Ségolène Royal and Hillary Clinton. Jacques Attali on the truth about the French model: The rest of the world is jealous. From Global Politician, is European civil war inevitable by 2025? (and part 2). Immanuel Wallerstein on Europe, 2057.  Iraq could hold almost twice as much oil in its reserves as had been thought, according to the most comprehensive independent study of its resources. Barry Posen on the risks of staying vs. leaving Iraq. Much like conflicts in the rest of the Middle East, the Iraq war won't end in a conclusive military victory or defeat. Our exit will be a negotiated affair. How will the United States help those Iraqis whose belief in us cost them their country? 9/11's free speech casualties: Two journalists who questioned Bush's leadership weeks after the attacks lost their jobs and faced threats. A look at how the Bush administration, aided by Justice Department political appointees, has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates. Kremlin justice in the US: The U.S. attorney scandal is part of a larger Bush administration offense, using law enforcement as a tool of the ruling party. Dahlia Lithwick on how Alberto Gonzales is bloodied by his trip to the Senate. From McSweeney's, a look at the pros and cons of the top 20 Democratic presidential candidates. The Clintons are back on war footing, and Harold Ickes is back at the center of things. Marvin Olasky on why a presidential candidate's personal life is not private. And Michael Tomasky on how a Super-Duper Tuesday could take us back in time... to a brokered convention

[Apr 19] Ban Ki-moon says the international community should discuss common guidelines on how to respond to hostage situations. How peacekeeping works: Undof? Unmee? Binub? A look at how missions are put together. Why Sudan is now allowing UN troops in Darfur: Sudan announces it would allow 3,000 international peacekeepers in, leading the US and Britain to increase pressure. When the gloves of peace come off: In Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the readiness of Blue Helmets to impose peace using lethal force marked a departure from the more passive missions of the 1990s, sometimes with worrying effect. Niall Strange on The Tragic Death of Enlightened Interventionism. Zbigniew Brzezinski to the US: "You'd better get it right next time". Imperial Sunset? For the first time since its rise as a superpower the United States is facing a serious threat to its hegemony across the globe. In the event readers need a summary of the case for divine intervention on behalf of humanity against the detestable monstrosity we have become, here it is. From Harper's, an article on the vast power of the Saudi Lobby. An article on why it's time for a Christian Mideast state. Plan FUBAR: Phillip Carter on time for Plan G in Iraq? Honesty is the worst policy: Whatever their sins, the neocons were right about one thing: it is impossible to tell the truth to the public about things that really matter. From Cracked, here are 5 reasons George W. Bush isn't as stupid as you think. George W. Bush may not be the best example of US President, so it is lucky we have a few fictional representations on which to fall back. Lights! Action! Elections! If you think that running for president means taking tough stands on tough issues, you have never run for president. From The Politico, a profile of Ron Paul, a conservative study in contrasts (and an interview). A look at how Bill Richardson could win the presidency. Social samurai Pat Buckley—with her damn-the-torpedoes style, arched-eyebrow wit, salty sailor’s courage, loyalty to husband Bill, and ability to raise big money for worthy charities—was the kind of volcanic and endearing socialite New York won’t see the likes of again any time soon. From The Washington Monthly, a cover story on the secret lives of Washington’s power couples, and more on Washington’s 60 Sizzlingest Power Couples; political fromagerie: An article on The Superhappy Heterosexual Evolving Robots & Neuroscientific Party—and other alternatives for your vote; Mark Schmitt reviews The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution; and young people are moving toward the Democratic Party. Has Rep. Tim Ryan found a way to keep them there? Politics 2.0: Netroots not necessarily the grass roots: Does the term "online fundraising" really mean anything significant? From Government Executive, make me laugh: Serious bureaucracy needs a good kick in the funny bone. And acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations are the stuff of government. They also make for bumpy reading, according to a recent report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason

[Apr 18] From Kyrgyzstan, wilting tulips: Two years after the last one, is it time for another revolution? The Kiev simulacrum: Ukraininans are taking event in Kiev in stride, as the Blue camp tries in vain to copy the Orange Revolution. A Tale of Two Cities: Moscow vs. Kiev, which demonstration deserves your support? From Foreign Policy, despite efforts to stem the global trade in narcotics—indeed, often because of them—new trade routes are emerging around the world, posing challenges to authorities and local populations alike. A look at the newest fronts in the global war on drugs. Political Economy of Land Grab: An analysis of the new phase of capitalist expansion that is driving governments, including those of the left, to dispossess and displace peasants from agricultural land, even using force to break up peasant resistance pdf. A world bursting at the seams: An interview with Jeffrey Sachs. From The Economist, making less with more: America's productivity growth has slowed. Does that matter? Test of stamina: What, asks the IMF, might a flagging America mean for the rest of the world? From TNR, Culture War: Azar Nafisi on why America's best weapon is the Iranian people. An interview with Al Venter, author of Allah's Bomb: The Islamic Quest for Nuclear Weapons. The World’s Growing Nuclear Club: A look at how India can offer some lessons on non-proliferation in a new nuclear age. From GQ, has the Straight Talk Express stalled? An interview with John McCain. Edwards' $400 Haircut: And other curious facts hiding in the presidential campaign-finance reports. Patriot Act: Jon Voight understands that America is under attack. Why don't you? The highly touted PBS series on Islam and terrorism "America at a Crossroads" casts a cold eye on Bush's Iraq disaster, but fails to examine Mideast history or America's failed policies in the region. From Slate, in praise of insensitive reporters: We'd hate them even more if they didn't overcover the VT story. Best-informed also view fake news, study says: Respondents who knew the most about what's going on were likely to be viewers of programs like Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show". Suddenly, the Web is giving eggheads something to watch: A number of Web efforts are under way to provide for more cerebral alternatives to television on the Web. Call them YouTubes for wonks. The rush towards video over the internet is on: An article on online video and the death of Hollywood. From City Journal, the media cornucopia: It’s a Golden Age of media—but not for long, if the Left has its way. Condé Nast’s Portfolio might be the last big magazine launch ever. So why are so many people hoping it fails? Portfolio, the glossy new business magazine from Condé Nast, is hoping to capitalize where other bigger magazines have faltered (and more). Real business or face saver? Publishers are trying to keep defunct titles alive online. Is it a real business or just face saving? Blogging for dollars: Some niche websites are full-time jobs for their owners, with six-figure incomes the reward, but for others Internet profits are still just a dream. And Bruce Bartlett on blogging benefits

[Apr 17] News from around the world: New secretary-general is still finding his footing at the UN: Ban Ki-moon has vowed to be a bridge-builder. But his decision-making style leaves some wondering. More on Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War and The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American Power. From Financial Times, IMF president Paul Wolfowitz's future hangs in balance: As European leaders turn screws on Wolfowitz, a look at why Bush should let a damaged Wolfowitz go (and more and more). A look at how Wolfowitz undercuts his own mission. The question Wolfowitz apparently failed to ask, is: given that I am basing my entire tenure at the World Bank on a crusade against corruption, how will it look if I extend special favors to a handful of political confidantes plus my girlfriend? Jean-Michel Severino on making the IMF and World Bank work for the poor. Clive Crook on how the significance of globalization is at the same time greatly overrated and greatly underrated. From The New Yorker, the French are often accused of being trapped in their Cartesian categories. In politics, the left cannot creep toward the center, let alone the right, without a deep, if not intolerable, sense of ideological betrayal. Christopher Hitchens on The French Reaction: Le Pen rises again. Welcome to the French Nationalist Heartland: For tourists, it's an idyllic town in southern France. But for the French, Saint-Gilles is better known for its intolerance of immigration. Former intelligence officials confirmed a Le Monde report that France's foreign intelligent service had heard about an al Qaeda plot which was "likely to involve a US airplane" and that France informed the CIA. From Der Spiegel, an interview with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "If the EU doesn't want us, they should say it now". From The Atlantic Monthly, "Israel is our home": Gershom Gorenberg elucidates the startling politics of Avigdor Lieberman, a right-wing Israeli politician who has lately taken center stage. Between 1985 and 2005, Israel underwent an economic revolution, propelling it to the forefront of the global high-tech sector. How did it do it? A review of Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life by by Sari Nusseibeh (and more). A look at why the one-state solution is the most visionary and the most sensible. A new issue of Cultural Survival, is out, on land & resources in the Americas. Thousands of Indigenous peoples from 24 countries gather in Guatemala for the Third Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala. Ecuadorians overwhelmingly vote in favor of forming an assembly to rewrite the constitution, a project sought by leftist President Rafael Correa. An article on Chile as a country geographically located in South America "by accident". Slaking a thirst for justice: A generation later, in both Argentina and Chile, the courts are dealing with the perpetrators of past atrocities. And the south Atlantic islands fought over in 1982 have played a key part in the formation of Argentina’s national identity. The Malvinas "cause" thus illuminates the complexities of modern Argentinean nationalism

[Apr 16] News from around the world: From Ghana, during a ceremony commemorating the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, President John Kufuor drew the ire of some for comments made about reparations. Post-nation depression: African literature tells universal human stories against a backdrop of post-colonial state failure. Anglican divisions are a reminder that homophobia in Africa is still the norm. For decades, the oil-rich delta of the Niger river has been plundered by western companies and rampant political corruption. But now a small group of ruthless Ijaw tribesmen are threatening to sabotage production unless their demands for compensation are met (and part 2). A review of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil. From Green Left Weekly, an article on the Moroccan magic formula for Western Sahara. From Wired, an article on blogging in a land where the press isn't free. They call themselves "pyjamahideen." Instead of galloping off to fight holy wars, they stay at home, meaning, often as not, in their parents' houses, and clatter about computer keyboards. Bloggers may be the real opposition in Egypt: How the authorities are being nettled. North Africa under attack, and relying on repression: Can liberalization defang terrorists? Do crackdowns work, or do they backfire? An interview with Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist (and two reviews). Can democracy prevent the spread of militant Islam in Indonesia, a nation with the world’s largest Muslim population? (and a graphic and a video). Religious extremism is a countrywide reality in Pakistan, not restricted to some remote corner, but present in the heart of the capital. A review of The Leopard and the Fox: A Pakistani Tragedy, by Tariq Ali. A review of India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy. A review of Planet India: How the Fastest-Growing Democracy is Transforming the World. From Japan Focus, an essay on The Politics of Imagining Asia: Empires, nations, regional and global Orders. A review of The Dragon and the Foreign Devils, The Writing on the Wall, and China Modernizes. Aung San Suu Kyi as a woman of courage: An excerpt from Courage: Eight Portraits by Gordon Brown. Battle over the banlieues: The unrest in France’s impoverished immigrant suburbs has dominated the country’s presidential campaign, leaving voters to wonder just what it means now to be French. Sarko, Ségo, or Bayrou? What you need to know about the French elections. Half a dozen far-left and Green candidates are on the ballot. While they have no chance of winning, they could take vital votes away from Royal. The race for the Elysée: Four candidates will determine the outcome of France's presidential election, but only three have a realistic chance of winning. Where there’s drink, there’s food: The secret to continental Europe’s calm and civilised bars is simple. Food is available to hamper the disruptive potential of alcohol. And on the non-functioning myth: It is dishonest to pretend that the EU is unable to work
[Apr 30] Law - sex and love - religion: Lawrence Solum (Illinois): Originalism as Transformative Politics. From the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, a special issue on Diverting Juveniles, Diverting Justice. How much are frivolous lawsuits really costing you? The Numbers Guy investigates. From The Nation, Katha Pollitt on how the Supreme Court's recent antichoice decision shows how deeply disinformation has seeped into the abortion debate. Law and Revulsion: Kennedy's disgust with the details of "partial-birth" abortion opens the door for challenges on other abortion methods as well: Will the real Anthony Kennedy please stand up? Ultrasound and the future of abortion: William Saletan on sex, life, and videotape. A landmark abortion law marks the start of American-style culture wars in Mexico. Unique Model: Iran's system of compensating organ donors is being watched closely by transplant advocates and medical ethicists alike. A review of Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World. An article on how to make babies: Observations on pronatalism. E. J. Graff on The Mommy War Machine: Despite years of news stories, books, talk show appearances and cyberspace debates, there's no war between stay-at-home moms and working mothers. A look at Why We Need an ERA: Some members of Congress are looking to do something long overdue. Protecting women against sexual violence: Rape is " an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved". Present-day American males are the most pampered examples of their species in history, and compensate by vicariously nurturing self-images of masculinity removed from reality. A Disciplined Business: The creation of online pornography is becoming more acceptable, more rarefied and more challenging financially. That’s enough to turn on Peter Acworth. Devices and desires: Is lascivious online content, traditionally on top, losing its lustre? From New York, a special issue on Sex & Love: an article on The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook: Is white appropriate? What’s the right term for a groom who’s a woman? And what to say to her mother?; Of MILF and Men: The sexy-mom phenomenon—is it hot or not?; High Infidelity: A true story about lies, in which no one escapes unscathed; The Waiting Room: Real live New York City virgins speak out on what it means to say “no” in the city of Yes; and apartment-hunting can turn loving couples into screaming banshees. Cute Band Alert: A look at how Sassy magazine created a new sex object. Jacob Sollum on girly mags vs. the censors: The changing standards of sexiness. If God were an accountant: Whose life is worth more, a drug dealer or a prostitute? Are you there, God? It's me, Hitchens: Christopher Hitchens on religion (no thanks), Iraq (not a mistake), and his own loud reputation. An excerpt from Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (and a review from Esquire and more). My neighbors are proselytizing to my kid. How can I get them to stop it? It is disappointing when figures like Rowan Williams complain that morality has gone to pot. In reality, no such thing is happening. An Essay on Man: What the New Humanism isn't about is the intellectual self-confidence that calls faulty judgment faulty. And Richard Land, the religious right's would-be kingmaker, on Who Would Jesus Pick?

[Weekend] From Time, history records that the Jamestown colonists overpowered the Indians; Jamestown gave birth to a contradiction--a democracy that was committed to slavery. But it didn't have to work that way; John Smith a bully, a braggart and a rebel with a big chip on his shoulder. They would never have made it without him; so what if they weren't lovers? Pocahontas and John Smith were fascinated with each other, and it saved the colony; and Richard Brookhiser on Inventing America. A look at the plucky little country The Free and Independent Republic of West Florida; and your typical American border is the straight line, as demonstrated by the US-Canadian border that follows the 49th parallel. A delightful exception to the straight border is the the circular demarcation between Pennsylvania and Delaware (and part 2). One of the problems in the US is that French North America is not on the radar screen of the American Anglos. The story of the misnaming of America: Five hundred years ago today, a mapmaker in a small city in the Vosges Mountains is now eastern France named America. A review of The Lost World of James Smithson: Science, Revolution, and the Birth of the Smithsonian. From Asia Sentinel, a Filipina’s happy slip is showing: American-born Christine Gambito is becoming a star on the Internet with parodies of her immigrant family. A good provider is one who leaves: Migrant workers from the Philippines send billions back to the country. But the Comodas family’s multigenerational experience with working abroad shows that the human cost is harder to calculate. A review of Jungle Capitalists: A Story of Globalisation, Greed and Revolution. From Old World to Real World: Steven Pearlstein on how free-trade policies falter if all countries don't play fair. A look at how government competition with private industry is more widespread than one might think. From Opinion Journal, pop culture has rarely been kind to the heroic adman. A review of Pop!: Why bubbles are great for the economy. More on The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. From Forbes, the disruptive power of networks: The Internet has helped shake up our world. Here's what we can look forward to next. An extraordinary collection of early financial literature is going on sale. More on The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co. Money may be a big, and very good, reason for working on Wall Street. But some employers do not see it that way; and it's funny how anxiety dreams about new jobs can seem so vivid. Everyone has a nightmare to relate. A look at why employee diversity training doesn't work: Teaching executives to overcome their biases isn't helping minorities and women. An interview with David Williams about racial and socioeconomic disparities in health. Everything old is new again: Income inequality, rising at the same time that modern conservatism began gaining political power, is now fully back to Gilded Age levels

[Apr 27] Humanity is capable of many horrible things and a good many of them are totally insane and without any sensible reward. The unfortunate quality of terrorism, whatever its origins and results, is that it is very frequently effective. More on The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo. 70 years of shock and awe: The 1937 air raid on the Basque city of Guernica ushered in the modern concept of total war. Richard Holbrooke reviews Diplomat Heroes of the Holocaust by Mordecai Paldiel. A review of Michelangelo in Ravensbruck: One Woman's War Against the Nazis. A review of George Kennan: A Study of Character by John Lukacs (and more). An interview with Lois Gordon, author of Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist. A look at how Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s legacy offers lessons for the future. Purists and tourists: PBS takes a refreshingly honest look at the summer of ’67. A review of Robert Dallek's Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. A review of I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. John Arquilla, author of The Reagan Imprint, on why Reagan's foreign policy ideas are still relevant. From the DLC's Blueprint, Will Marshall on how some U.S. progressives are coalescing around an idea they hope will resolve the dilemma of world power and legitimacy: a Concert of Democracies; a review of Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America; a review of What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen; William Galston on why we must look beyond the Iraq war so we can right the balance between our ends and our means; Lou Dobbs is wrong: America is losing manufacturing jobs, but that doesn't mean it is de-industrializing. Quite the contrary; and Bush has busted the federal budget. Here's how Democrats can restore some fiscal order; a review of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South by Thomas F. Schaller. The Awful Truth: An article on Harry Reid's honesty problem. From In These Times, Susan Douglas on why women hate Hillary. From Slate, a slide-show essay about the history of racist spokescharacters. An interview with Jabari Asim, author of The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why. The ghetto culture machine: What goes wrong when stereotypes become part of the mainstream.  More on Steven Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics. From Alternet, why are Americans afraid of being naked?  From Salon, an article on the strange underworld of airliner porn, and the geeks who make it happen. New wireless technologies will link not just people but lots of objects too. That will be tremendously useful, but getting there will be tricky. And some inventions, however, no matter how important, just don’t get the credit due them. The stirrup, for instance, is so simple and, once invented, so obvious that it is hard to imagine riding a horse without it. The twentieth-century equivalent of the stirrup, perhaps, is the cargo container, which was first used when a ship sailed out of Newark, New Jersey, bound for Houston, on April 26, 1956

[Apr 26] Climate stress may well represent a challenge to international security just as dangerous — and more intractable — than the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war. Australia is struggling to cope with the consequences of a devastating drought. As the world warms up, other countries should pay heed. Tapping the power of the sea: An effort to harvest electricity from tides and waves is gathering pace. More on Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben. Triumphant capitalism faces old age: Nobel-laureate economists Gary Becker, Kenneth Arrow and Myron Scholes discuss the future of capitalism. Unions Gone Global: A new merger proposal marks the latest step in the adaptation of labor to the globalization of capital. From Writ, the Supreme Court's split decision to uphold the federal "Partial-Birth Abortion" ban: Why, despite the Court's disclaimers, it will be hugely influential. Charles Fried on how the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on abortion is part of a bigger problem. The other threat to abortion rights: A look at how anti-abortion activists' biggest victories may be outside the courts. Last week proved once again that Democrats need to get serious in Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Here's how they should. An excerpt from Retained by the People: The 'Silent' Ninth Amendment and the Constitutional Rights Americans Don't Know They Have. A review of David’s Hammer: The Case for an Activist Judiciary, by Clint Bolick. More on Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas.  Dead Duck Walking: The Supreme Court takes on those nasty campaign commercials. From TAP, less money, mo' problems: After years of women earning less for doing the same work as men, the Paycheck Fairness Act gets a hearing on the Hill. Back in the 1970s, when she launched the feminist magazine Spare Rib, Rosie Boycott was adamant that women should not waste their time cooking. Now she wonders if she went a bit too far. Should we care if women leave the work force? Yes, because participation in public life allows women to use their talents and to powerfully affect society. Mommy books, more buzz than buyers: The perennial dilemma of whether to return to work or stay at home with the kids appears to be a better conversation starter than a page turner. Why home doesn't matter: Parents influence their children mainly by passing on their genes. The biggest environmental influences on personality are those that occur outside the home. From Salon, churches slam doors on sex offenders: Christian, Muslim and Jewish congregations are struggling over whether to let sex offenders worship in their midst. Few have mercy. An interview with Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism. The first chapter from The Purchase of Intimacy by Viviana A. Zelizer. More on Impotence: A Cultural History. Why Americans make the world's worst cheaters: An interview with Pamela Druckerman, author of Lust in Translation. And the loneliness of the long-distance libertarian: How far can traditional libertarianism go in modern America?

[Apr 25] Global issues, political economy and more: From Der Spiegel, making the most of the Ban years: With a new secretary general, come new opportunities. Ban Ki-moon has said he wants to reform the way the United Nations operates, promising less and delivering more. The US and the EU should now work together to tackle UN weaknesses head on, and help develop a global approach to global problems. From Forbes, Daniel Yergin on how the energy challenge certainly ranks at the top of the world’s agenda. What makes it particularly difficult to deal with is that it is created by two forces; but how is it possible for the world's best informed governmental and private sector leaders to proceed with this course of action when the consequences are known? An answer, of sorts, is visible in the business plans and statements of fossil fuel sector leaders. From Orion, do environmentalists conspire against their own interests? An essay on the idols of environmentalism, and a look at why environmentalism can't succeed until it confronts the destructive nature of modern work—and supplants it; and an article on The Consolations of Extinction: We do what we can without going crazy, but is it ever enough? 21 Solutions to Save the World: We live in an age of anxiety. People everywhere fear the next terrorist attack. Between bird flu, tsunamis, and loose nukes, our list of fears is getting longer. So, Foreign Policy asked 21 leading thinkers: What is one solution that would make the world a better place? Robert Shiller on why capitalist tools are needed for future globalism ills. The case against inflation targeting: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote the book on inflation targeting, but it's not the only book on the subject. Is it really so tough to be rich? An article on the new, brazen, and completely dishonest attack on progressive taxation. Doesn't the profit motive encourage a throwaway culture? Doesn't commercialism breed waste? Not necessarily, and no. A review of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. More on Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. The Radical Incrementalist: An interview with Jonathan Rauch on the need for--and impossibility of--reducing the size and scope of government. Ezra Klein on The Health of Nations: Here's how Canada, France, Britain, Germany, and our own Veterans Health Administration manage to cover everybody at less cost and with better care than we do. And when it comes to health, one of the biggest risks a man faces in his lifetime is being a man

[Apr 24] From The National Interest, an essay on A Nationalist United States of America (and part 2). Fascist America, in 10 easy steps: From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all. The other America: There is far more to America than the knee-jerk reactions of its overseas critics would have you believe. Born in the USA: If demography is destiny, America's is greater than that of any advanced nation. If the 1990s were the "thesis" promoted by the Economic Man, and the first years of this decade were the "anti-thesis" advanced by the Political Man, perhaps the next US president will help draw the outlines of a new "synthesis". Reagan’s Brandenburg Concerto: German media called it "The Work of Amateurs", but history has judged it more kindly. Marking the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech. From The American Interest, Francis Fukuyama reviews Grand Avenues: The Story of the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, DC; L’Enfant’s Legacy: Public Open Spaces in Washington, DC; Worthy of the Nation: Washington, DC, from L’Enfant to the National Capital Planning Commission; and AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, DC. From The Weekly Standard, Friends, Enemies and Spoilers: Two months in, Frederick W. Kagan on the consequences of the surge. There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it's a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation. Frank Rich on how Iraq is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Christopher Hitchens reviews The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. James Rosen on a slice of intelligence life: When Ambassador John Negroponte stepped down as Director of National Intelligence, he left behind a very "spooky" place. A review of Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, by Andrew Cockburn. An excerpt from With God On Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military. One-size politics doesn't fit all: Evangelical social reform is a many-splendored thing. A Short History of the Christian Right: A review of books. Jesus "Love-Bombs" You: Chris Hedges on how there is a false, but effective, fiction that one has to be born again to be a Christian. A review of Quoting God: How Media Shape Ideas about Religion and Culture. Saintly Bad Behavior: The lives of the saints show us that being holy means being human, not perfect. From Jewcy, God to World: " Let's Get It On". An illustrated interpretation of the Bible's most erotic book. No More Virginal: Spend $1 billion on abstinence education. Get nothing. From Nerve, more on A History of Single Life: Late marriage. An interview with Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism. More confidence, healthier relationships, better sex ... there are so many good reasons to be a feminist that Jessica Valenti has written a book about it. Here she sets out her six-point manifesto. And an interview with Pamela Druckerman, author of Lust in Translation

[Apr 23] From Harper's, an essay on The Plot Against the First Amendment. A review of Liberties Lost: The Endangered Legacy of the ACLU. "Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code": It is sad that Justices Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito have chosen not to follow this example in Gonzales v. Carhart. A tangle of poverty, privilege and race: An excerpt from Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas by Kevin Merida (and a review). There is no reason that any private citizen in a democracy should own a handgun. At some point, that simple truth will register. Until it does, phones will ring for dead children, and parents will be told not to ask why. News that the Virginia Tech shooter was a fellow countryman set off a firestorm of apologies in South Korea. But amid shock that one of their own could commit such a heinous act is surprise that his crime—not his race—is the main issue in the multicultural United States. Predicting random chaos from hindsight: Why do we insist on drawing causal chains to exceedingly rare calamities after the fact? When Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, the horrific slaughter revealed not only the poisons lurking in popular culture but the crisis of young males in a feminised society. A review of Failure to Protect: America's Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the Preventive State. More on Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity From Tokyo to Tennessee. A review of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose. The Undercover Economist on a value on life: Mexican prostitutes are helping economists with the maths. Why sexual restraint is like pollution: A review of Steven Landsburg's More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics. Tyler Cowen on how matrimony has its benefits, and divorce has a lot to do with that. Harvard’s former lightning rod Lawrence Summers is a hit in Asia. For the 2008 campaign, the six leading campaigns have each signed up their first-string economic policy teams. These advisers don’t hold the sway that the political aides do, but they can ultimately have a bigger effect on the world. Why not tax the tall? Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw argues that tall people should pay more in taxes than short people. It’s the workforce, stupid! James Surowiecki on the trouble with layoffs. In the fevered search for the fuel of tomorrow, a team of MIT scientists has a surprising solution that just might be the most realistic one of all. No Parking Anytime: Why parking your car is more environmentally destructive than driving it.  Forget the whales -- save the Earth: Global climate change makes all other environmental issues irrelevant. From The New Yorker, the way we age now: Medicine has increased the ranks of the elderly. Can it make old age any easier? You Are What You Grow: Will this year’s farm bill make us fatter and sicker? And from The Wilson Quarterly, the disability disaster: A review of "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding"; a review of Food is Culture; and a review of Skin: A Natural History

[Weekend 2e] From Far Eastern Economic Review, have China scholars all been bought? The first chapter from How China Grows: Investment, Finance, and Reform, and the introduction to Contagious Capitalism: Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China. France’s celebrity popularizer of Chinese philosophy assailed for his political occlusions, amid Confucian crossfire in the PRC itself: A review of Jean-François Billeter's Contre François Jullien. An interview with Shinzo Abe: Will Japan's leader deliver on his promises of reform? An article on Hashima Island, 15 kilometres from Nagasaki, Japan, once the densest human development on Earth, and today stands completely empty and abandoned. Form Business Week, an article on the end of a 1,400-year-old business: What entrepreneurs starting family businesses can learn from the demise of Japanese temple builder Kongo Gumi. Primogeniture Unmasked: A review of "Who Should—and Shouldn’t—Run the Family Business". A review of The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years’ War Over the American Dollar. What makes foreign firms attractive to US investors? A review of Born Losers: A History of Failure in America.  Survey says! A look at how polling firms are giving new meaning to product placement. From The Wilson Quarterly, one thing has remained fixed about the US Census: It has never included a question about religion. According to Kevin M. Schultz, that's not likely to change; and all but lost amid the protest to Pope Benedict XVI's speech in September 2006 was the complex point he was trying to make. Matthew Parris thinks religion, like politics, is tremendously important. The trouble is, he's sure religion is wrong. This drives him as a columnist into a curious dilemma. A Vatican panel concludes that unbaptized babies may go to heaven after all, condemning limbo to eternal dustbin. Don’t assume the worst: Pro-choice doctors — and their lawyers — must read the Supreme Court’s decision as an explicit approval of all abortion procedures save one. The Stealth Amendment: The Equal Rights Amendment may not have passed, but many of its principles seem embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment. Some Americans want to reconsider "birthright" citizenship, even though it's protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Repeal the Second Amendment: The best way to reduce the odds of another blood bath like the one at Virginia Tech is to amend the Constitution and abolish the right to bear arms. In the university of death: The horror might have happened anyway. But gun control might have made it less easy. From The Numbers Guy, here's a closer look at gun stats. Laws that allow people under age 18 to be tried and imprisoned as adults have unintended effects, promoting an increase in new violent offenses among youth handled by the adult justice system. From National Review, an article on The Case Against 21: Lower the drinking age. And raising taxes on cigarettes has not curtailed smoking, but rather made smokers consume each butt more intensively

[Weekend] Self-deception proves itself to be more powerful than deception: A review of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me). When people must make decisions without perfect information, they will make mistakes. The fact that decisions turn out wrong does not by itself condemn the decision-making process. Why doctors know less than you think: A review of How Doctors Think: Clinical Judgment and the Practice of Medicine. A review of Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn. From City Journal, Germs and the City: Two centuries of success against infectious disease have left us complacent—and vulnerable. Rick Perlstein on E. Coli Conservatism: Conservative principle has become conservative mania, and the results can be deadly. A review of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Are Mixing God With Politics and Losing Their Way. The American Conservative Crackup: Alexander Konetzki on why he quit Pat Buchanan’s magazine. Champion of middle America, CNN’s Lou Dobbs holds populist views on most subjects. Neoliberal Education: David Brooks thinks neoliberalism is dead. Charles Peters begs to differ. A review of Forgive Us Our Spins: Michael Moore and the Future of the Left. A review of Tom Hayden's Radical Nomad: C. Wright Mills and His Times. A review of Michael Albert's Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism. From Democracy Now!, an interview with Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn on patriotism in America. A review of Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought. A review of Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution. A review of The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution (and more). A review of American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier. Jefferson versus the Muslim pirates: Christopher Hitchens on how America’s first confrontation with the Islamic world helped forge a new nation’s character. The first chapter from Shaping Race Policy: The United States in Comparative Perspective. Apologies aren't enough: John Hope Franklin speaks out on the real work of ending discrimination.  A review of Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918-1945. The Folly of Southern Hospitality: Dixie leads the way in lavish corporate subsidies. As other parts of the country follow suit, it's time to ask whether such incentives work. Meet Gregory Nickerson, the architect of 2004 corporate tax cuts who now lobbies for the same corporations the cuts helped. An interview with former Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett: Bush has "bankrupted America". An interview with Robert Murphy, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism. An interview with Jonathan Macey, deputy dean of Yale Law School, on securities regulation. And from The Weekly Standard, California behind bars: Overcrowding, unionization and other prison problems; and an article on The Nonprofit Industrial Complex: Is there such a thing as too much civil society?

[Apr 20] VT/abortion/Imus: We aren't all Hokies: When tragedy strikes, why do Americans act as if they're all victims? An article on the legacy of the Texas tower sniper. An article on the numbing down of America: Blacksburg seen from an emotional distance. Caught in the (Legal) Crossfire: Virginia Tech could have been sued no matter what it did. Building a Better Lockdown: How do we move forward and prevent another nightmare like Virginia Tech? James Q. Wilson on why gun control isn't the answer. Guns, Drugs, and the Massacre: Why aren't handguns as strictly regulated as prescription medication? Why do we have the same futile argument every time there is a mass killing? A look at how Bush’s court-packing pays off, and Democrats who voted for Scalia and Roberts get their comeuppance. Was the Catholic Supreme Court majority a factor in the abortion decision? Cass Sunstein on how Ginsburg's dissent may yet prevail: The justice argues that equality, not privacy, is crucial in the abortion right. While abortion opponents are celebrating the upholding of the federal partial-birth abortion ban, the decision may actually suggest that Roe v. Wade is not in imminent danger. Miscarriage of Justice: The federal "partial-birth" abortion ban has grave implications for all pregnant women, not only those seeking to end pregnancies. Being a Radical Doula: How pro-choice advocacy and birth activism go hand in hand. Jill Filipovic on terminating women's rights. From Mother Jones, the exorcists: An article on born-again abortion clinics; more on mail-order abortions; an article on pro-life feminists; and in the twilight of his career, one of the oldest living late-term abortion doctors tells all. From Harper's, gambling with abortion: Why both sides think they have everything to lose. The Supreme Court's partial-birth abortion ruling helps define the bare minimum pro-lifers should expect from their presidential candidate in 2008. Ryan Sager on how abortion plays a role in defining GOP. But where's the base? While abortion is apparently still a deal-breaker for the GOP, Democrats appear to have moved on. Are conservatives obsessed with rap? Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg debate on "What's Your Problem?" Don Imus defenders have pointed to the supposed free pass that exploitative and misogynistic hip hop music gets. The charge is more than a deflection -- it's bunk. more from The Black Commentator. Playing along with Imus: Sam Tanenhaus measures his own culpability and complicity as a guest on Don Imus’s CBS radio show. Hello, Imus be going: A do-it-yourself apology kit for the politically correct. Political-correctness Kabuki theater: Both the left and right fear hidden agendas in political correctness. The Imus Sanction: In a media shitstorm, everyone ducks for the cover of easy moral outrage. Karma Chameleons: The Don Imus controversy exemplifies the media's tendency to fixate on a blockbuster story, only for it to vanish from the public consciousness in a few days. And an article on the remote control as a symbol of postmodernity: Nothing confirms the death of narrative like the zapper that lets us pick between a hundred channels without even getting off the sofa

[Apr 19] From The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a roundtable on nuclear power and climate change. If the earth is to survive as a human habitat the meaning of subjects like these must be transformed: Nature, nation, property power. So we’re green. Now what? John McCain! Laurie David! Wal-Mart! United we stand against global warming. But Americans have a tricky relationship to sin. With Earth Day around the corner, it's the right time for an updated version of the Slate/treehugger Green Challenge. Kill at your convenience: Big-game hunting for small-minded people. Cho Seung-Hui sent package to NBC News: "When the time came, I did it", says message mailed between shootings. Korean Americans have watched the events in Virginia unfold with particular unease. Generation Columbine: The Virginia Tech massacre is not about gun control, suburbia, or even human heroics; it's about delirium. Leading criminologist Jack Levin discusses the most probable motive for the rampage. A look at how the number, frequency, and death toll for shootings at schools has increased dramatically since the attack at Colorado's Columbine High School eight years ago (and here's a list). From Der Spiegel, even after the Blacksburg bloodbath, it is very unlikely that America's citizens will disarm -- quite the contrary; and conservatives respond: "Europe, please stop moralizing". Over the next few weeks, Americans will hear a lot about guns and gun control, just don't expect anything to change. No law can stop a school shooting spree: What kind of security-on-campus measure could possibly prevent a maniac from lining people up and shooting them? Despite pressure after shootings, little changes at the state level. Michael Tomasky on why campaigning for gun control isn't worth it, since Americans still don't want more gun control. Jacob Weisberg on guns and America's sacred rights: How the right keeps winning on both guns and abortion. Thank God the Blacksburg killer only had guns. Guns, God, and Virginia Tech: The massacre prompts religious conservative David Klinghoffer to rethink gun control: "Liberals may indeed be right about this. Just not for the reasons they think". Joan Walsh on cruelty from right-wing crackpots. How sorry are we? For Blacksburg, not enough. People respond to tragedy in different ways. Some pray. Some watch the news. Some try to get rich. From Salon, as Congress prepares to grill Alberto Gonzales, there's another partisan issue connected to the mass firings: Pornography. The Fraudulence of Voter Fraud: The Bush administration purged U.S. attorneys for failing to prosecute crimes that didn’t occur, and more on a selective view of fraud by Joe Conason. Witnesses for the Persecution: We need a good Samaritan federal law to protect anyone motivated to report concerns in good faith from suffering the consequences of civil liability for speaking up. A review of The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession. Assault Behind Bars: How big a problem is prison rape -- and what can be done about it? Is it really asking too much to suggest that employers stop worrying about how we perform in adult spaces and concentrate on how we perform our jobs instead? More on Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity From Tokyo to Tennessee. And gay people, give me back my stuff!

[Apr 18] From American Diplomacy, Walter McDougall on war and the military in American history. Eric Rauchway on how Iraq isn't the first war launched on false pretenses. White Man for the Job: Johann Hari on Andrew Roberts, Bush's imperial historian. Does Bush's court historian condone massacres? Johann Hari & Andrew Roberts debate. From Strange Maps, here's a look at The Tory Atlas of the World. The Bush administration presides over a state. It negotiates with other states on an hourly basis. But the current administration harbors a deep streak of perversity: it is a self-hating state. From Jewcy, the Choosing People: Now that modernity has made religion optional, can Judaism survive? A review of Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews by James Carroll. Here is the synopsis of Benedict XVI's book Jesus of Nazareth. A review of The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals The Ultimate Truth. Jeff Jacoby on why we need religion. The main problem for atheist evangelisers: just because something isn't true doesn't mean it's not real. The atheist who went to church: An interview with Hemant Mehta, author of I Sold My Soul on eBay. From The Wall Street Journal, here are options-backdating stories that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting. Anywhere but Delaware: Politicians in Bismarck hope to turn North Dakota into the Shareholder State, with a new corporation law strongly supportive of shareholder interests. Robert Frank on trickle-down economics: Bad in theory, worse in practice. Charles H. Brunie on Milton Friedman: Reminiscences of a great man. A review of Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values. A review of Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900. A review of The Neoliberal City: Governance, Ideology and Development in American Urbanism. More on William Vollmann's Poor People. The more people you have at the upper and lower ends of the income spectrum -- at the ends of the U -- the more tax evasion you are likely to see. A central cause of cheating, in other words, might be inequality. A look at how tax cheats are using your money to fund Republicans. A look at how the income tax system shortchanges women. In the new dating scene, the attraction is a beautiful mind. A review of Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity From Tokyo to Tennessee. Sex and the CIA: A review of Feasting on the Spoils: The Life and Times of Randy “Duke” Cunningham, History's Most Corrupt Congressman. From Legal Times, "nothing compares to the past two years": Daniel Metcalfe, a 30-year Justice Department lawyer, on what he sees as the rapid deterioration of the agency; and The Man Behind the Democratic Assault: Schumer counsel Prett Bharara knows something about the Justice Department: He's a former assistant US attorney. Why gun control legislation always fails: The failure of gun-control legislation isn't about the NRA's massive campaign coffers. It's about a small band of single-issue voters who manage to subvert meaningful public policy. And After Blacksburg: An article on the gun law that would make a real difference

[Apr 17] American politics and culture: From Mother Jones, the emails the White House doesn't want you to see: The U.S Attorney firings provide more evidence of the Bush administration avoiding its own email system (and accountability, posterity, prosecution). A group of influential conservatives and longtime Bush supporters has written a letter to the White House to call for Alberto Gonzalez's resignation. It's up to Gonzales now: Is political loyalty more important to the Bush Justice Department than prosecutorial independence? The senators grilling Alberto Gonzales should ask him about Arkansas’ new attorney general Timothy Griffin—and his history of suppressing minority voters. While the main focus of the United States attorneys scandal is on why eight prosecutors were fired, the case of Georgia Thompson raises questions about why others kept their jobs. From TNR, Michelle Cottle on why Fred Thompson's laziness is just what the GOP needs. Is the Religious Right dead? Hardly, say church-state experts, as GOP presidential candidates pray for the fundamentalist movement’s blessings. More on A Mormon in the White House:? 10 Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney by Hugh Hewitt, and more on No retreat, no surrender by Tom DeLay. Of Republicans and Banana-Republicans: How did it come to this? It’s hard to see even a trace of the party of Frémont and Lincoln in the party of Bush and Rove. Money Chooses Sides: Barack Obama has already won the expectations game. But in this campaign season, excess is barely enough. Does the press pick presidents? Jack Shafer on what coverage says about a candidate's prospects. Campaign journalism is back, more evil than '04: You'll hear a lot in the next 20 months about which candidate has bony hands, who looks good in a parka -- but you won't hear anything about who voted for the bankruptcy bill and who didn't. It's already becoming clear that this is likely to be one of those election cycles in which management of the federal government actually becomes a burning issue in the ongoing debate. Show Me the Air Time: The best way to curb excessive campaign spending is to control how much media outlets charge for political advertising.  From Salon, is Rush Limbaugh next? Conservatives fear that Don Imus is the first casualty in a liberal-led media purge to force right-wing talkers off the air. The Gotcha Game: An article on Don Imus and his critics. The I-man’s self-destruction came from the same internal drama that made him so compelling (and more). Robert Wright on shock talk without apologies: The two American fault lines most likely to become chasms in the long run are between blacks and whites and between Muslims and non-Muslims. Last call for "rape-crisis" feminism? The Duke lacrosse case may bring a new, fairer approach to accusations of rape. Couch entitlement: Surprise, men do just as much work as women do. From Business Week, a review of Where Have All the Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca. A review of 8 Ways to Run the Country: A New and Revealing Look at Left and Right. Tax day pipe dreams: What if we let economists and journalists write the tax code? And Ari Fleischer has an op-ed about taxes in The Wall Street Journal. That's right: It's the perfect storm of dishonesty--the world's most dishonest flack meets the world's most dishonest forum

[Apr 16] From The Economist, land of promise: Brazil is big, democratic, stable and rich in resources. So why is it not doing a lot better? The route of the problem: U.S.-style consumerism is destroying the fields of China and Brazil. A review of Feeding People Is Easy. Climate change has a boarding pass: They're known as environmental refugees – and they'll be heading this way sooner than we think. A review of Coral: a pessimist in paradise, by Steve Jones and Six Degrees: our future on a hotter planet, by Mark Lynas. Emission impossible? The carbon tax versus quota argument is not as clear as it might seem. From The Wilson Quarterly, if rich old King Croesus were living in America today, he’d be hard-pressed to keep up with the Joneses; the US has not enjoyed a surge of new wealth to rival today’s since the days when people read by gaslight, yet that era holds valuable lessons about the hazards of new fortunes; the surge of new wealth in America is creating a bumper crop of large foundations. History suggests that they can accomplish a great deal. But it’s not always easy to do good; and Teddy Roosevelt had no objection to men of great wealth, only to the "malefactors of great wealth". A review of The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co. Soak the rest of us: For decades, the American tax burden has been shifting away from the rich. Now, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez say, it could be at the brink of a historic tipping point. A review of In Pursuit of the Almighty's Dollar: A History of Money and American Protestantism. Religious conflicts in multi-faith America are mild compared with those in countries that have only one faith or virtually no faith at all. A review of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal. From PopMatters, Negritude 2.0: It doesn’t even matter if your achievement isn’t something a lot of people might want to emulate; you’ll go to your grave eulogized as the “first black (fill-in-the-blank)”, and every Black History Month someone will remember your name. Hey, that’s (not) funny: Racial humor is everywhere. But there are rules that make it acceptable — sometimes. When Manoj Jain walks into the room, do his patients see him as a foreigner? When he walks into a room, how do he see his patients? McClinics: “Convenient care” clinics are taking off. Back to 18? A new chorus of critics says it's time to lower the drinking age. Back to the playground: American children, overprotected and overprogrammed, have ever less time and space for play. But an eclectic collection of advocates is fighting back, designing bold new playgrounds that are manifestoes on the importance of fun. Does having more than one child add to a parent's happiness? One researcher says, if you want to maximize your subjective well-being, you should stop after the first kid. A review of Taking On the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation. A review of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? A review of Virgin: The Untouched History. And man's worst nightmare: A review of Impotence: A Cultural History


[Apr 30] Science, technology and more: From New Scientist, could black holes be portals to other universes? The first chapter from Traveling at the Speed of Thought: Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves. From Science, life faces a cosmic energy crisis: Looking at the long, long, long term, the cosmos isn't shaping up well for sentient beings or any other living things. More on "arguably the first habitable planet" ever identified, and just what kind of neighbours should we expect if they come calling? As we explore Mars, it forces us to imagine otherworldly evolution, challenging our definition of life and our sense of place in the solar system. Robert Wright on Why Darwinism Isn't Depressing: Evolution has led to something outside itself -- to the brink of a larger, more widely illuminating love, maybe even to a glimpse of moral truth. Hearts & minds: Since Plato, scholars have drawn a clear distinction between thinking and feeling. Now science suggests that our emotions are what make thought possible. Can the presence of human consciousness be measured by machines? A global experiment is in the throes of finding out. Neuroscience and philosophy clash: Are persons just an illusion? An article on the science of cuteness: Humans are drawn to cute people and things. Can science explain why? Bringing sex back: Old fashions often come back in style, but soil mites have taken this aphorism to the extreme. Experts may have found what's bugging the bees: A fungus that hit hives in Europe and Asia may be partly to blame. A look at how Brazil's urban ants may predict reaction to warming trends. Mike Roselle on The Dog Philosophy and why we love wilderness. A review of An Ocean of Air: a natural history of the atmosphere. From The Wilson Quarterly, James R. Fleming on The Climate Engineers. Humanity has only 30 years to avert global catastrophe, says the environmentalist James Lovelock. Feeding the world sustainably: We have enough food to feed the world -- if we do it right. Some observe that when legislators stop short and polluters won't act, nothing spurs action like litigation. The Most Sexiest Greenest Unlikeliest Story of the Year: A list of the year's goodies, oddities, and inanities. Evian Criminals: Daniel Gross on the new snob appeal of tap water. People point accusingly at long-distance dinners because of the ”food miles” collected and carbon emissions released. But even the Romans shifted produce all over their vast empire. A review of Good Bread is Back: A Contemporary History of French Bread, the Way It is Made, and the People Who Make It. From Scientific American, a simple formula may lead to a host of improved materials—and the perfect beer pour. Was Timothy Leary right? No, but new research on psychedelic drugs shows promise for their therapeutic use. A review of The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America. From Discover, you know too much: Sure, there’s more science information out there. Too bad most of it's junk. How much longer will Google do no evil? Google knows everything about you. Can it keep your secrets? Who's really participating in Web 2.0? An analysis based on age, gender and frequency shows that the user-generated revolution. And if modern life is increasingly a question of remembering numbers, what's the danger of becoming one? 

[Weekend] From Lacan.com, Slavoj Zizek on The True Hollywood Left. Pseud's corner: Johann Hari on how star philosopher Slavoj Zizek commits intellectual suicide in his latest film. A new layer of Aristotle writings are detected in a medieval book. A review of The Problem of Weakness of Will in Medieval Philosophy. A review of Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds. A review of Kierkegaard: A Guide for the Perplexed. A review of Teleosemantics: New Philosophical Essays. A new issue of The New Leader is out, with a special section on Writers and Writing pdf. Keeping the Faith With Shakespeare: A stack of Shakespeare books have been released to coincide with the playwright’s birthday, and the pickings are unusually rich. A review of The True Face of Shakespeare: The poet's death mask and likenesses from three periods of his life. A review of Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee. Whatever happened to the Great American Novel? A look at all the reasons it's so hard to write. A biography of E. E. Cummings helps younger, would-be poets appreciate the life and lessons of a vigorous intellect who broke all the rules, save one: There are no rules. An interview with Lydia Davis: " I haven't met a so-called experimental writer who likes the term". A look at the week's best invented words. Why you should never use email to: The co-author of the Strunk and White of e-style talks email, via email, with Murray Whyte. Literary Misblurbing: While movie ads regularly doctor quotes and go a little crazy with the exclamation points, we’d like to think that the genteel world of book publishing is above all that. Think again. J.E. Luebering on John Murray and the Death of Book Reviewing. The folly of downsizing book reviews: Newspapers that cut back on book coverage may be cutting their own throats. Good at reviewing books but not each other: Steven J. Bell critiques his fellow librarians on the state of their profession’s debates. From TAP, admission impossible? It's harder than ever to get into the top colleges, right? Not really. Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard: It used to upset him that many kids he interviewed would not get into Harvard, but no longer. An article in praise of peer pressure: Peer pressure gets bad press, but in some cases more of it might make the world a better place. From The Morning News, 11 ways to ace or simply enjoy exams. Saved by the (Later) Bell: Schools are testing a first-in-the-nation initiative to extend learning time. Believe it or not, the students (after initial grumbling) seem to like it, and so do their parents. Shouldn't every school rethink its schedule? And five decades after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation, black and white children continue to learn in different worlds. And it could get worse

[Apr 27]  The latest issue of Ethics and International Affairs is online. A review of Elisabeth Young-Bruehl's Why Arendt Matters. More on Inventing Human Rights: A History by Lynn Hunt Norton. From Open Democracy, the need for effective, imaginative, change-facilitating research has never been greater. But what kinds of knowledge, and what processes of knowledge-creation, can today best serve the needs of a world dominated by power, prejudice and dogma? Michael Edwards outlines a fresh vision of "revolutionary social science". The first chapter from Principles of Economic Sociology by Richard Swedberg. The introduction to Behavioral Economics and Its Applications. More on The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (and an excerpt).  The first chapter from The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters. The first chapter from Going Local: Decentralization, Democratization, and the Promise of Good Governance. From Wired, an article on The Plague Fighters: Stopping the next pandemic before it begins. From Edge, who says we know: Larry Sanger on the New Politics of Knowledge. A review of Defending Science -- within Reason Between Scientism and Cynicism by Susan Haack. A review of Persons, Humanity, and the Definition of Death. Selective criticism: It's a proposal that will no doubt provoke outrage, but using embryo selection to reduce the impact of cancer seems sensible. A review of The Bridge to Humanity: How Affect Hunger Trumps the Selfish Gene. Mind Reading: Here's the introduction to Slate's special issue on the brain. A review of Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism And Neuroscience Converge. A review of Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume. From Prospect, the Greeks understood that comedy (the gods' view of life) is superior to tragedy (the merely human). But since the middle ages, western culture has overvalued the tragic and undervalued the comic. This is why fiction today is so full of anxiety and suffering. It's time writers got back to the serious business of making us laugh. A review of The Transvestite Achilles: Gender and Genre in Statius' Achilleid.  From the New School Psychology Bulletin. an essay on Nora's Filthy Words: Scatology in the Letters of James Joyce pdf. A review of The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh. More on The Children of Hurin, by J R R Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The incarnation of humanism: Clive James on Stefan Zweig, and more on Cultural Amnesia. A look at how one author tried to boost his Amazon.com ranking. Famous Amis: Both fiction and journalism are fertile territory for him. And a review of Everybody Hurts: The Essential Guide to Emo Culture

[Apr 26] Math conferences aren't typically hotbeds of controversy. But add a Harvard-trained civil rights philosopher, a notorious Weather Underground fugitive, and a clutch of young, idealistic math teachers, and you have a banner-waving radical math convention. "It was an easy book to write": Ian Stewart on Letters to a Young Mathematician. To the Big Bang and back: As the Large Hadron Collider at CERN prepares to go into action, astrophysicist and author Ulrich Woelk takes us on a journey to the origin of things. Sister Earth: Astronomers detect the first Earth-like planet outside the solar system (and more on the holy grail of astronomy). But what's an "Earthlike" planet?: Small, rocky, and not too cold. Astronomers think they may have struck gold in their search for a planet beyond ours that could sustain life, but just what kind of neighbours should we expect if they come calling? A tool for finding life in outer space A new robotic device to map the ecosystem of one of Earth's ice-bound lakes could be used to search for life on other planets. The Bearable Lightness of Being: Scientific heavyweight Stephen Hawking experiences weightlessness. A review of Douglas R. Hofstadter's I Am a Strange Loop. Brain Lessons: Steven Pinker, Oliver Sacks, and others on how learning about their brains changed the way they live. Meghan O'Rourke on the new mania for neuroplasticity. God is in the dendrites: Can "neurotheology" bridge the gap between religion and science? John Horgan on how to wire your brain for religious ecstasy. Ginkgo Biloba? Here's a history of the top-selling brain enhancer. Brain-Gym Showdown: Can a Slate reporter hold his own at the local neurobics club? William Saletan on the five biggest neuroscience developments of the year. Optical illusion: A brain implant bypasses the eye and creates the simplest form of vision. Oops, I did it again: New brain research may help explain why some people don't seem to learn from their mistakes. Socrates 2.0: Can bioethics be taught on the Internet? Are mammals moral? Is goodness natural? If goodness is a problem, then the answer – or at the least part of the answer – can be found in evolutionary biology. A review of Evolution and the Levels of Selection. A review of Primates and Philosophers: How morality evolved; The Evolution of Morality; and The Altruism Equation: Seven scientists search for the origins of goodness. An interview with Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft, who is throwing his fortune at science ventures that would make Jules Verne and Stanley Kubrick proud. The wisdom of one: When Jimmy Wales founded online encyclopedia Wikipedia, he knew it was a good idea. Now he's got another one. The Wealth of LibriVox: An article on classic texts, amateur audiobooks, and the grand future of online peer production. Free Books and Free Culture Online: Websites like Project Gutenberg and LibriVox offer literary culture for free. And newspaper book sections are an endangered species. Scott McLemee asks for help from academe in keeping them from vanishing

[Apr 25] LA, NYC, media, and more: From LA Weekly, an article on the semantics of aid in dying: God, PR and the right to die in California. Secret Society: Who's behind SocialiteRank, the anony-blog that has the social circuit scared silly? Revenge of the Hollywood desk slaves: Hiding behind a website, one of Hollywood's lowliest creatures creates an instant -- and all too hot -- hit. Hipsters sip "fair trade" brews: The fair trade ethic is spreading eastward from the West Coast, where progressive politics are more intertwined with youth culture. Lower Manhattan, higher testosterone: Men now outnumber women in Lower Manhattan by a ratio usually found in towns with all-male colleges, military bases and prisons. From The Village Voice, an article on New York's most obnoxious lawyer, Kenny Heller. From New York, this is the part where the superhero discovers he is mortal: Wesley Autrey jumped in front of a speeding subway train to save a man’s life. Then things really got tricky. From The Politico, Yankees vs. Mets: In New York, is team loyalty a partisan affair? The New York Times account of Kitty Genovese's murder, and the 38 citizens who supposedly watched and did nothing, shocked the world. Much of the story, it turns out, was untrue. The Gray Lady's Virtue: The New York Times shouldn't be auctioned off like a side of beef. Online advertising growth for the newspaper industry is slowing as the number of online news outlets proliferates. Media buyers indicate marketers are beginning to look beyond traditional journalism sites. Unless the US Postal Service reverses its steep increases in bulk-mailing rates to favor large corporate publishers, the future of small magazines is grim. No, it's not just your imagination. The number of ads and marketing messages that you encounter in any given day is actually increasing, and it's increasing at a rate that has surprised even the most cynical amongst us. From Reason, Dinosaurs vs. Satellites: How the National Association of Broadcasters is trying to kill radio. A review of Ham Radio's Technical Culture. The making of broadcast television: Nicholas Lemann reviews Same Time, Same Station: Creating American Television, 1948-1961. From American, for a symbol of conformity, the archetypal men's garment has a remarkably rich history. Clothes that time forgot: Period dramas get their outfits wrong surprisingly often. And what if you get hit by a taxi? No longer hush-hush, men’s silly underwear is now serious business

[Apr 24] From Evolutionary Psychology, Donald White, Lawrence Dill, and Charles Crawford (Simon Fraser): A common, conceptual framework for behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology; Amanda Spink (QUT) and Charles Cole (McGill): Information behavior: A socio-cognitive ability; Austen Krill and Stephen Platek (Liverpool) and Aaron Goetz and Todd Shackelford (FAU): Where evolutionary psychology meets cognitive neuroscience: A précis to evolutionary cognitive neuroscience pdf. From Harper's, two hundred years ago this week the first pages of Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit made their appearance. In the last decade, the world has witnessed genuine and false applications of the Hegelian evolutionary concept. From Eurozine, the irrepressibility of Mangifera: How do embodied memories transmit the effects of movement between places, amongst things, and within people into the contemporary urban environment? A literary-sociological narrative. From American, an article on a real disagreement about the appropriate role of art. In Praise of Difficult Poetry: Robert Pinky on the much-maligned art. Even in the age of MySpace and blogging - where innermost thoughts can be made public without the help of an agent or publishing house - every year thousands of people start writing a novel. It is a journey few will finish, so why do they bother? In Search of the Perfect Web Page: How Netvibes helped Reihan Salam cram the whole Internet onto a single screen. Love at First Byte: Among the many enduring passions of Donald Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming is only the one with the most pages. Computer simulations and visualizations are performing the thought experiments of the 21st century and pushing the limits of human vision and imagination. Natural Born Communists? Some economic game theory suggests we may be. What constitutes happiness? Freedom from worry? Or maybe contentment? A good definition remains elusive despite decades of neuroscience and psychiatry. But being reductionist about happiness doesn't mean it isn't fun, in all its myriad forms. Nature is a blind watchmaker, but humans added sight and thought to their eugenic scheming a long time ago. However unconsciously we may do it, we search for hardy genes whenever we gaze and sigh. Count on it--you are going to end up searching for genes on Google. What can neuroscience tell us about evil? Advanced brain-imaging techniques have begun to point to specific brain patterns common among sociopaths. A social theory of violence by sociologist Donald Black looks beyond the shooter. " They just need to think it through": Edward de Bono, the father of lateral thinking, on why, 40 years on, his theories are as relevant as ever. A review of Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Cho was a melodramatic, off-centre emo kid who went very, very badly wrong - but the actions he performed are not in themselves inexplicable. They may, however, be completely unpredictable. We can see the causes of Cho's rampage now, so why not before? And on our zero-tolerance society: A strain of vengefulness has spread through our culture, but the vilification is often out of proportion to the wrongdoing

[Apr 23] Form Law & Politics Book Review, a review of San Antonio v. Rodriguez and the Pursuit of Equal Education: The Debate Over Discrimination and School Funding; and a review of Regulation Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire. From Canadian Journal of Sociology, a review of Goffman Unbound! A New Paradigm for Social Science; and a review of Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping, and Social Inequality. From Philosophy Now, rationalism is the attitude of appealing to reason as the fundamental justification of knowledge or beliefs. Imadaldin Al-Jubouri describes the disputes among early Islamic scholars about the limits of what can be known through science and rationality. A review of Rationality and Logic. A review of Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation. An interview with Nigel Warburton, author of Thinking from A to Z. From New Humanist, AC Grayling reports on the battle for the soul of a science. Régis Debray worked with Castro, fought with Che, and later advised Mitterrand. Now he salutes, but does not worship, God. An interview with Terry Eagleton. Literary Darwinism is still at a stage of adolescent awkwardness. Nevertheless, the approach has the potential to breathe new life into a struggling field. The Amis Inheritance: Does literary talent, as well as all that goes with it, run in the family? A review of Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse, a post-apocalyptic America. From Strange Maps, here's a look at the world in (George Orwell’s) 1984; and this map, apparently from one of Kerouac’s own diaries, shows the itinerary of a trip from July to October 1947, much of which would later serve as the backdrop for On the Road. Eyes of the Creators: Some of the greatest artists of the 20th century share one curious trait: misaligned eyes. From PUP, the introduction to Nonplussed!: Mathematical Proof of Implausible Ideas. Forms of Symmetry: Group theory inspires Bathsheba Grossman, a West Coast sculptor. A review of The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World’s First Artists. A review of The Classical World: An Epic History From Homer to Hadrian. Anthropologists say Roman gladiators were overweight vegetarians and not the muscle-bound men protrayed by actors like Russell Crowe. From Scientific American, prime directive for the Last Americans: Saving Amazonia's indigenous peoples means not meeting them, insists Sydney Possuelo--a policy of noninterference he hopes to extend, even if others hate it. North America's oldest church may lie beneath a small town in Newfoundland, according to information cobbled together from the research of a historian who recently died before publishing her seminal work. A review of Sunday: A History of the First Day From Babylonia to the Super Bowl. Why, despite years of trendiness, the old-school tattoo tradition hasn’t faded. And Achtung Baby represents the moment at which U2 stopped chasing the sacred and dived wide-eyed into the profane

[Weekend 2e] From Spectrum, one thing's for sure: no one will ever again be able to accuse the Internet of being antisocial; and learn like a human: Why can't a computer be more like a brain? A wriggly question: Man's brains and nervous system may have been inherited from a worm. William F. Buckley on Virginia Tech and the limits of modern science. From CNN, here's a page with profiles of the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. An article on Seung Hui Cho's early years. Power Trips for Tots: Track a rhino, dodge malaria -- and prepare for show-and-tell. Why extreme family vacations are becoming a status symbol for parents seeking an edge for their kids. Glenn C. Altschuler reviews Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture. A review of The Definitive Drucker: The Final Word from the Father of Modern Management. A new introduction by Harold Kuhn to Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. Ready, Set, Agree: Turns out economists do agree on some things. So, is economics useful, or worse than useless? George Scialabba reviews Diane Coyle's The Soulful Science and The Real Wealth of Nations by Riane Eisler. Here's an overview of  research interests of Harvard's Susan Athey, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal. Robert Kuttner on how the deepening college loan scandal is a classic case of what can happen when government uses private companies as middlemen to carry out public goals. Why can't experts figure out the reason for the educational gap between African Americans and whites? Testing Harvard: The federal government wants to start tracking how well the nation's colleges teach. This could spur some of the biggest changes campuses have seen in decades -- and perhaps threaten the very idea of a liberal education. Humanities scholarship and education has been a holy mess for some time. Looking at the way we live now in the academy, one can hardly not recall Trollope's dark portrayal of The Way We Live Now. What's going on? From NYRB, storms over the novel: Hermione Lee reviews The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts by Milan Kundera; Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley; The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life by Edward Mendelson; How Novels Work by John Mullan; How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide; The Novel, Volume 1: History, Geography and Culture and Volume 2: Forms and Themes, edited by Franco Moretti; and Nation & Novel: The English Novel from Its Origins to the Present Day by Patrick Parrinder. Melville's sailors, Hemingway's soldiers and Roth's writers - many of our greatest novels are driven by work. Yet few of us have such romantic occupations. Joshua Ferris goes in search of the workaday world in American literature. And a review of Portrait of War: The U.S. Army’s First Combat Artists and the Doughboys’ Experience in WWI. And a review of Guy Debord: Revolution in the Service of Poetry

[Weekend] A new issue of Philosophy Now is out, including an editorial: "All the world's a text?", Don Quixote and the Narrative Self: Stefán Snaevarr asks, are our identities created by narratives?; a review of Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership by Martha Nussbaum; Ernest Dempsey gives a feminist analysis of Virginia Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out; and an article on the usefulness of theory. From The Chronicle, Carlin Romano on how the late Robert C. Solomon's teachings on the philosophy of emotion might help us understand our grief over his death. From Axess, in the 20th century, neurosis was the standard signifier of a grey zone between mental health and severe mental illness. It may now have vanished as a clinical entity, but more recent contagious diagnoses—anxiety and depression—belong to the neurotic tradition; and empathising with the mafia: "The Sopranos" discovered a universal domestic and relational psychology in organised crime. From TNR, Lee Siegel reviews What is the What by Dave Eggers. Marco Roth reviews Georges Simenon's investigative journalism, hardboiled novellas and dark psychological novels. Drugs, murder, kinky sex, flying mice: just another day for Chuck Palahniuk.  J.R.R. Tolkien's son Christopher spent more than 30 years piecing together fragments his father left behind. Now readers can learn what happened 6,000 years before Bilbo Baggins found the One Ring. Has Hollywood’s collaboration led to cinema portraying artists as mavericks, rebels and loose cannons? The most durable piece of Nazi propaganda may yet turn out to be the belief that Leni Riefenstahl is an artistic genius. From The Bulletin, we've seen this story before: The Pentagon takes an interest in a rapidly changing area of scientific knowledge, and the world is forever changed. And not for the better: An article on the militarization of neuroscience. Robot wars: An article on an attempt to build an ethical robotic soldier. Microsoft's former chief architect Charles Simonyi is preparing to become the fifth private citizen to take a trip to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. The race to send tourists into space is heating up, but how safe is it? An article on commercialising space: Ready for take off? Are we alone? Why have we invested so much hope in SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence? The prologue to The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began. The introduction to Why the Sky Is Blue: Discovering the Color of Life. From Scientific American, if you can make it there: A study finds cities are the greatest generators of innovation and wealth. Researchers find "large is smart" when it comes to cities: The work has debunked the notion that cities act like biological organisms, that once they start they grow, and consume and contribute at predictable linear rates. Why do we live in houses, anyway? A brief history of the home. And from Wired, a look at how security companies sucker us with lemons

[Apr 20]  Will Wilkinson (Cato): In Pursuit of Happiness Research: Is It Reliable? What Does It Imply for Policy? From Canadian Journal of Sociology, a review of Science, Culture, and Modern State Formation; a review of Disciplining Statistics: Demography and Vital Statistics in France and England, 1830-1885; the sociology of youth subcultures: A review of Fight, Flight, or Chill: Subcultures, Youth and Rave into the Twenty-First Century and Straightedge Youth: Complexity and Contradictions of a Subculture; and a review of Gender, the State, and Social Reproduction: Household Insecurity in Neo-Liberal Times. The inaugural issue of the Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality is out. Valley Girl Talk: Women are always ahead of the linguistic curve: "I'm just, like, so there, you know?" Gender Genie claims to be able to tell you, with 80% accuracy, whether a piece of writing has been done by a man or by a woman. An excerpt from Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language. From Comment, for the vast majority, the words "summer" and "reading" do not go together. If anything, summer signifies freedom from books. But say you do want to spend hot days buried in books. What's the most expensive book at Amazon.com? "Where the wings have no shame": Ron Rosenbuam on what Skymall culture really about. From Germany, "99 Red Balloons" Nena is loved by men for looking younger the older she gets and by women for combining fame with four children. Now she's about to win children's hearts by opening an anti-authoritarian school. From PopMatters, Faggot! Sissy! Queer! Increasingly, the sound echoing from our school playgrounds is the sound of hatred and bigotry. From Salon, deadly prose: How should creative writing teachers handle students who turn in gruesome stories? The Killer in the Lecture Hall: Our universities are able to deal with evil as a literary subject but not as a fact of life. Loner or Psychopath? How a college might detect and help a student who's ready to explode. On Virginia Tech: The scene of the crime the cause of the crime? Midnight blogger KC Johnson exposes a scandal: Online journal credited with breaking case against Duke lacrosse players. It’s time to show trade schools respect: College fever comes at a high price for a society lacking in vocational skills. As part of a wider trend toward less top-down teaching, institutions are putting tools like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook on the curriculum -- and teachers are saying: "Thanks for the add". VS Naipaul says Oxford taught him nothing. Stephen Moss would go further still: universities are irrelevant and anti-educational. The debate over creation and evolution, once most conspicuous in America, is fast going global. Darwin Fish Design Contest Winner Announced: From an ocean of 165 submissions, five fish clambered onto the terra firma of victory – and one may get to reproduce. And from the Annals of Improbable Research, an article on tasty facts about Canadian doughnuts

[Apr 19] From Philosophical Explorations, Jürgen Habermas on The Language Game of Responsible Agency and the Problem of Free Will: How can epistemic dualism be reconciled with ontological monism? From The Mises Institute, does Rawlsian justice require anarchy? Louis E. Carabini investigates. A review of Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power by John R. Searle. From The Chronicle, on the biological underpinnings of our religious longings and beliefs: David P. Barash reviews Breaking the Spell; The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth; Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society; Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist; Evolving God: A Provocative View of the Origins of Religion; The God Delusion; The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief; Letter to a Christian Nation; Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought; Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast; and The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. Why do so many people stay in monogamous relationships and take care of kids rather than fool around like wild chimpanzees? Are family values etched into our DNA through eons of evolution? Or imposed by the strictures of culture, law and religion? It is time to stop thinking we are the pinnacle of evolutionary success – chimpanzees are the more highly evolved species, according to new research. A tantalising piece of evidence has been added to the puzzle over so-called "hobbit" hominids found in a cave in a remote Indonesian island. The next big discovery in science will be the proof that alien life exists, and it could come any day now... A look at how a new experiment probes the weird zone between quantum and classical; and here's a slideshow on a do-it-yourself quantum eraser. Quantum theory fails reality checks: An update of a classic experiment finds that "spooky action at a distance" goes hand in hand with unreality. Seed offers a cribsheet on string theory. The interplay of art and science: A review of Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design and Seen/Unseen: Art, Science, and Intuition from Leonardo to the Hubble Telescope. The Horrible Truth about Super-Science: An interview with Jackson Publick of The Venture Brothers. From Inkling, here's advice for a long life: give in to coffee, beware of philosophy and stand clear of your television. Patrick Tomlin very much doubts that John Locke would have taken time out from penning Two Treatises of Government to make "full of pie" his Facebook status, or to send an email asking "what bees make milk?" Robert Wright has a theory: the more e-mail there is, the more Prozac there will be, and the more Prozac there is, the more e-mail there will be. From Business Week, a cover story on the coming virtual web: In the future, the Internet is almost certain to look more realistic, interactive, and social—a lot like a virtual world. And Livin' la Vida Google: Wired editor Michael Calore used nothing but Google Apps for a month

[Apr 18] Michael J. Kelly (Creighton): Pulling at the Threads of Westphalia: Involuntary Sovereignty Waiver - Revolutionary International Legal Theory or Return to Rule By the Great Powers? A review of Reading Plato in Antiquity. A review of Aristotle's Practical Side. On his Psychology, Ethics, Politics and Rhetoric. A review of Women, Men and Spiritual Power: Female Saints and Their Male Collaborators. A review of The Formation of Clerical and Confessional Identities in Early Modern Europe. A review of The Value of Humanity in Kant's Moral Theory. A review of Schelling's Philosophical Inquiries into the Essence of Human Freedom. A review of Karl Marx: A Life by Francis Wheen. An interview with Rick Kuhn, author of Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism. From Economic Principals, beyond coordination and control is transformation: By any measure, Michael Jensen is an interesting figure. A review of Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction by Thomas K. McCraw. From The Chronicle, search and destroy: The Web never forgets what you'd just as soon leave behind. And in academe, you can be sure that the wrong people will tap the Web's memory at precisely the wrong moment. College blogs tell it like it is: Schools ask students to give applicants a real account of campus life. From Inside Higher Ed, in the aftermath of Virginia Tech shootings, questions arise about university’s key decisions and communications strategy; recent years have seen colleges add safety measures, but experts warn about unrealistic expectations in wake of this week’s tragedy; and Cho Seung-Hui’s assignments set off alarm bells, and illustrate the quandary faced by many a professor. From The Atlantic Monthly, shoot to kill: In the post-Columbine world, police departments all over America are adopting new, no-nonsense SWAT-team tactics. im glad you are ok though: How students tracked the tragedy online. One, two, three, four, can a Columbia movement rise once more? Amid echoes of 1968, a new kind of radicalism struggles to be born. The Eternal Sophomore: Kurt Vonnegut is dead. So it goes. Scott McLemee gets unstuck in time. From The New Yorker, more on The Life of Kingsley Amis. From McSweeney's, Christopher Hitchens visits St. Margaret's School for Young Women, where he discovers little girls aren't funny, either. From Axess, the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans’ friends formulated a law based on his inability to come to terms with real life and to satisfy his desires. If he went into a café with a friend and ordered two aperitifs, the waiter would naturally mix up the orders and give him the wrong glass. This was considered to be statistically significant, and his friends dubbed it “Huysmans’ law”. From Skeptic, Norman Levitt reviews Darwin Loves You: Natural Selection and the Re-enchantment of the World. Not so fast, Einstein: Human brain evolution seems to be slowing. And green, life-giving and forever young: Plants are not only alive in their own right, they are also the basis of virtually all life on earth, including ours

[Apr 17] The war in Iraq and its consequences:  From The Wilson Quarterly, growing violence in Baghdad prompts many to question whether Iraq can survive or should be divided among its Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. The first questions to ask ought to be historical: Is modern Iraq built on a solid foundation or is it largely a patchwork cobbled together by European grandees nearly a century ago? What precedents exist for a divided Iraq?; and on how an American-inspired redrawing of the Iraqi map along sectarian lines would do violence to the facts of Iraqi history. From Carnegie Ethics, here are three suggestions for how to improve matters in Iraqi Kurdistan. A review of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace by Ali A. Allawi. From Dissent, what lessons about the export and import of democracy are to be learned from the Iraq experience? Daniele Archibugi, Ofra Bengio, Seyla Benhabib, Paul Berman, Mitchell Cohen, Thomas Cushman, John Lister, and Shibley Telhami respond. From Foreign Service Journal, the development of true democracy in the Middle East will be slow, painstaking, extremely challenging and, at times, violent; and what role, if any, can the Foreign Service play in active war zones? Here is a look at the reality of service on Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Teams pdf.. Why it’s necessary to lose the war in Iraq: A review of Future: Tense — The coming world order. You think our age is turbulent? What nonsense. A review of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert Pape. How America allowed disorder to rule: More on Second Chance by Zbigniew Brzezinski. The U.S. military’s growing role in foreign policy: Letting the Pentagon execute a growing portion of the U.S. national security policy isn't in the best interest of the military or the country. Hail and Farewell: Gore Vidal on the End of the American Empire. Form TAC, Hegemony Lite: Don’t mistake a cautious internationalist for a principled noninterventionist; and pass through the portal to the alternate reality of the War Party propagandists. From Foreign Policy, an interview with Richard Perle. From Commonweal, why won't the Catholic neocons who supported the Iraq war admit their errors? Political winds shifting on the prairie? Staunchly Republican Nebraska caught up in debate over the Iraq war. Hagel’s Dilemma: Will the Nebraska Republican try to ride his objections to the Iraq War all the way to the White House? McCain digs a deeper hole: A look at how Iraq ruined the senator's presidential hopes, and more on McCain's self-destruction. An article on waging war through the rearview mirror. From Alternet, through unfair tax cuts paid by the wealthy and the cost of Iraq, our national wealth is being drained and the American infrastructure allowed to fall apart. From Wired, a special report on how US watch lists sow frustration and fear; a look at how to get off a government watch list, and here's a quick field guide to post-9/11 watch lists. Who’s watching the FBI? Jeffrey Rosen on how the information it gathers may too often be your own. And a review of American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and Beyond

[Apr 16] Potpourri: From The Situationist, the moral obligation to be intelligent: The preface to Beyond Common Sense: Psychological Science in Court (and part 2). Made in the U.S.S.R.: A new book explores the history of Soviet Export magazine, one of the only sources of capitalist-style advertising in the Soviet Union. A review of Where's My Jetpack: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived. Celebrating its 50th birthday, the ubiquitous typeface has played a crucial role in providing shape and tone to the modern visual landscape. But are its days numbered? Oh yeah, you know the type: Born a half-century ago, Helvetica's made a lasting impression. Whether or not you've heard of Nick Shinn, you've probably read his work. But the names that ring a bell remain classic typefaces like Times New Roman, Helvetica and Futura.  A review of Ignorance and Imagination: The Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness. From PUP, two chapters from Structural Macroeconometrics. A review of Emotion, Restraint, and Community in Ancient Rome. A review of One Child at a Time: The Global Fight to Rescue Children from Online Predators. At book signings, this author is often at a loss for words: Public readings are no problem, but the dutiful act of penning personal inscriptions is harder to muster. Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, is in a class of his own. He gave each organism a two-part name, the first part of which referred to genus, the second to species. Why does Vonnegut endure so well? Carlin Romano investigates. A review of Teenage: the Creation of Youth 1875-1945 (and more and more and more and more). A look at how German folk music reinvented itself for the modern media age. Bruce Grierson, author of U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life?, on the Age of U-Turns. Architect of optimism: In his 100th year, Brazilian architect and living treasure Oscar Niemeyer is still busy. Like all public sins in the US, electronic addiction has its own activists and non-governmental organisations determined to set the nation right. From The New York Times Book Review, a special issue on fiction in translation. She's the queen of the book club, Britain's biggest-selling female author, who also tops the New York Times bestseller list. But just who is Jodi Picoult? Thanks for the facts, now sell them: Matthew C. Nisbet and Chris Mooney on science and the public. From The Washington Post Magazine, a special issue on The Education Review. A review of The Life of Kingsley Amis. More and more on Einstein by Walter Isaacson. An interview with Steve Ettlinger, author of Twinkie, Deconstructed. From TLS, a review of How Life Imitates Chess by Garry Kasparov. A review of Leap! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives. Clothes may make the man, history tells us, but business suits hide him. The Green Teaing of America: Jacob Weisberg on a drink to save our souls. And on the Teen Commandments: A review of Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture