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From Foreign Policy, why the world
isn’t flat: Globalization has bound people, countries, and markets closer than
ever—or so we’re told. The data reveals a world that’s just a fraction as integrated as the one we thought we
knew. In fact, more than 90 percent of all phone calls, Web traffic, and investment is local.
In many parts of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the problem of children growing up amid conflict has seen an upsurge since the end of the cold war.
The International Court of Justice for the first time
calls the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 an act of
genocide, but determined that Serbia itself was not guilty of the enormous crime.
Justice delayed: Serbia has been cleared of
genocide, but in the kangaroo court that passes for international diplomacy it was found guilty long ago.
The international court has set an unrealistically high standard of proof for finding Serbia complicit in genocide.
Naming names: The ICC names its first suspects for mass murder in
New Council of Foreign Relations fellow Angelina Jolie
on justice for Darfur: What the worst people in the world fear most is justice. That's what we should deliver.
The Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations was the culmination of pioneering work by the international women's movement.
But rather than a vehicle to advance women's human
rights, it has become a vehicle of global political interests. Debating how to boost its birth rate,
a proposal to expand public daycare by Ursula von der Leyen -- the conservative family affairs minister who is herself a mother of seven -- has enraged a bishop.
Is Germany turning women into "breeding machines"? From Sign
and Sight, in praise of dissidence: Ulrike Ackermann on how Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash have gotten lost somewhere along the "third way.
Why is the left so gauche? The left in France seems determined to ignore one of history’s enduring
lessons. A review
of The Fist Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It.
From The Atlantic, more
on That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present.
An article on the real reason Tony Blair is pulling out of Iraq. Bruce Ackerman and David Wu
on The Half-Trillion Dollar Solution:
Want to end the Iraq war? Place a hard and fixed limit on the president's war appropriations.
Time for a national debate on Plan B: If the surge fails, what
next? The Khyber Impasse: Tariq
Ali on the case for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ally or Adversary?
The Atlantic recently asked a group of foreign-policy authorities about Pakistan and its president, Pervez
The world can't wait: As the Middle East's immediate western
neighbour, Europe should act now to prevent an attack on Iran.
And George Lakoff frames it: If the Bush
administration were to insist on a sure
"success" in Iran, then the "attack" would constitute nuclear
war. That's right, nuclear war, a first strike nuclear
[Feb 27] From Ovi, the International Organization for Standardization was founded 60 years ago. Most people have heard of ISO, but not many know exactly what standardization bodies actually do. The first chapter from All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes. From Foreign Affairs, Daniel W. Drezner on The New New World Order. From Open Democracy, the cloistered, fetid world of United Nations negotiation over Iraq convinces Carne Ross of the need for more open, accountable global diplomacy. An interview with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: "It's Iran's turn to make a move". The US might be warmongering with Iran, as the left is right to point out. But the threat from Tehran should not be underestimated. Robert Parry on Gore's other global warning: Iraq War. You Know Me, Al: David Remnick on the man who might have been—and could still become—President. From TAP, with a hostile Congress pushing back against White House initiatives, what's a president to do? Govern by executive fiat and (anti-)regulatory edicts. Courting Loopholes: A little-noticed federal ruling has made it harder to punish public officials who exchange favors for gifts, meals, trips and other goodies. Three liberal outfits seeking to flex the power they hope to have in a Democratic-controlled Congress relocate to K Street, the boulevard of dreams for lobbyists and influence peddlers. From New York, it’s a long way from 9/11/01 to 11/04/08. New Yorkers may be surprised by how far Rudy Giuliani has come already. But that’s only because we know him. Respect Conservatism: Ross Douthat & Reihan Salam on Rudy Giuliani's distinctive brand. The CEO Candidate: Daniel Gross on how Mitt Romney's corporate success explains his campaign—and his flip-flops. Outraged by his failure to stick to a far-right agenda as he pursues the presidency, Senator John McCain's conservative base in Arizona is abandoning him. Can you trust a moderate Republican? If elected president, a "maverick" like John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani is sure to enact conservative policies. After all, he won't have a choice. With such a stellar line-up of Democratic presidential contenders and such a problematic crop of Republican ones, it promises to be a revolutionary political year. The not-so-nice words for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman keep coming: David Sirota on why Dems should hope Lieberman joins the GOP. From Newsweek, which presidential candidate has the best Web site? You can surf them all, or just go to techPresident.com. Where’s the Beef.com? Michael Barone take a tour of the presidential websites. Before Amanda Marcotte's short-lived tenure as blogger for the John Edwards campaign, Lindsay Beyerstein was offered the job. Here's why she said no. And the wisdom of crowds: The blogosphere offers something that remains an undesirable to columnists: close proximity to a complex audience that answers back
[Feb 26] From Foreign Affairs, Ray Takeyh, author of Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic, on Iran: Détente, Not Regime Change; and Stanford's James D. Fearon on Why the U.S. Can't Win Iraq's Civil War. A review of Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb. David Petraeus wrote the book on counterinsurgency. Can he follow it? Peter Galbraith on how the surge will not change the truth that the President so desperately wishes to escape: George W. Bush launched and lost America's Iraq war. More sabers to rattle, perhaps fewer to thrust: Are we really too stretched for other wars? It’s unclear, but the risks are greater. Disobeying the prez: Will generals say no to risky Iran strike? Some "will quit" if Bush orders the attack. What Iraq tells us about ourselves: The Bush administration, the Iraqi people, and Iranian meddling have all been blamed for the mess in Mesopotamia. But the American people themselves are the true root of the problem. From Slate, does Bush know what neocon means? That isn't a rhetorical question. From National Journal, a cover story on the authenticity sweepstakes: From George Washington to George W. Bush, political candidates have sought to woo voters with "authentic" personalities. Current presidential candidates are struggling to find their real selves before the smear campaigns begin. Jonah Goldberg on the Beer Test: Who is the more likable presidential candidate? Taking our leaders at face value: A new study suggests that how we respond to a candidate's face could determine who we vote for. A look at why running for president is a bit like having sex. An article on why intuition is not your (or President Bush's) best friend. Jonathan Alter on the case for staying uncommitted: Of course the candidates are trying to muscle endorsements early. Why public officials should hang loose. Beware of celebrities bearing gifts: Why politicians keep going back to Hollywood for fund-raisers, even at their peril. Frank Luntz on how the GOP can get moving again: Drop the dirty politics and get real. Why pandering matters: It doesn't matter if the top Republican candidates don't have socially conservative pasts. Party pressure means they'll have conservative futures. From Rolling Stone, the most honest man in news: Keith Olbermann is mad as hell -- and unlike Rush Limbaugh, he's not faking it, and here are the Top Five Rants of Keith Olbermann. From Comment, here's 50 things to love about politics. As the stomach turns: Jan Freeman on a usefully ambiguous political challenge. And it’s unfair. My argument should be as loud as yours
[Weekend 2e] News from around the world: From Liberia, a year after electing Africa’s first female president, things may be looking up for this war-torn nation founded by former slaves. On a dilemma in the Horn: Should the West go on helping a repressive Ethiopia? Eritrea can help or hinder progress towards peace in the Horn. Malaysia at a Crossroads: The culturally diverse nation is struggling to strike a balance between its secular constitution and its Muslim majority; and the world's most populous Muslim nation is in the throes of a religious revolution: What does the future hold for Indonesia? In the Middle Ages, many Islamic scholars were women. Will their rediscovery have an effect on Muslim women today? Until Borat put it on the map, few people knew much about Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth-largest country. But Central Asia’s powerhouse has big plans, billions of barrels of oil and a young population hungry for education and music. Guns and steel on the Silk Road: China is sending more troops to the mostly Muslim province of Xinjiang in the far west. Concerns are rising in Beijing of ethnic unrest in the border region. Its plans for economic development there may be in trouble. How to strip-mine Shangri-La: The Chinese are ecstatic over newly discovered mineral deposits. But they are in Tibet, where the ecology is fragile and human rights even more so. Here's a tale of a journey on China's controversial new train to Tibet. It’s often said that China is walking a tightrope: Its economy depends on foreign money, its leadership is set in its ways, and its military expansion threatens the world. The immediate dangers run deeper than you realize. Many North Koreans are so desperate to escape they are prepared to risk their lives. For women the choice is stark: to die of hunger or be sold as brides in China. From Eurozine, the journal Arche has received a second "warning" from the Belarusian Ministry of Information. The offence: failing to notify the Ministry for the Press and Mass Media about changes in publication frequency one month in advance. Russian blogs are flourishing as alternative media and launchpads for an emerging civil society, but corruption and government manipulation are flourishing as well. Who's killing Putin's enemies? A report on the corruption and gangsterism gripping Russia (and part 2). Who will be ruling Russia next year? And what of the democracy that will decide that? From The New Federalist, the Nordic countries are often perceived as being hesitant with regard to the European construction. And even though some of these states actually became members of the EU, one knows that they often remained being wary. And the single market is the European Union's pride and joy. But it is in need of an update
[Weekend] From Paraguay, the desire to spearhead political change in the country has compelled former bishop Fernando Lugo to renounce his church ministry for a probable presidential run. An interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former president of Haiti. The Moses of Haiti: A review of Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography (and more). From the The African Review of Books, a review of Obsolescent Capitalism: Contemporary Politics and Global Disorder by Samir Amin; a review of Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves: transformations along the Guinea Bissau coast, 1400-1900; a review of Mimi and Toutou go Forth: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika. The strange disarray of Quebec separatism: Federalism can sometimes work—even in Canada. A review of The Howard Factor: A Decade that Transformed the Nation and The Longest Decade. Emboldened by the Palestinian struggle, an emerging movement in Israel wants full equality for the country's Arab citizens. India's democratic experiment, with all its flaws, and the often-dismissed version of Nehru-Gandhian secularism are things Indians can be proud of. But these are seldom the things that Indians are asked to be proud of. From New Statesman, secrets, lies and diplomats: We know next to nothing of how our overseas embassy staff operate in our name. In an astonishing exposé, a former high-flying official reveals the vanity, elitism and lack of moral purpose in Britain's diplomatic service. A review of Yo, Blair! by Geoffrey Wheatcroft (and more). And fighting in Baghdad: The British also announced themselves as liberators, not conquerors, when they marched into Baghdad 90 years ago
[Feb 23] Jeffrey Sachs on why preventing the spread of war will depend on strategies that recognize the shared interests of adversaries. Global capitalism now has no serious rivals. But it could destroy itself: Timothy Garton Ash on how our planet cannot long sustain the momentous worldwide embrace of the manufacture of desires. America against itself: The US predicament is that one side of its dualist face has come to predominate. But bullying will not forever eclipse idealism. An interview with Noam Chomsky on Iran, Iraq, the Democrats and climate change, and a review of Hegemony or Survival and Tariq Ali's Pirates of the Caribbean. A review of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran by Danny Postel. What scares Iran’s mullahs? What the unilateral and increasingly quixotic American embargo could not do in more than a decade, a limited United Nations resolution has accomplished in less than a month. Cheney's star may have faded at the White House, but his doctrine of preventive war remains Bush policy. Does this mean Iran is next? And James Fallows on the prospect of war on Iran: "Am I being too rational?" In for the long haul: The Petraeus plan will have U.S. forces deployed in Iraq for years to come. Does anybody running for president realize that? Peter Beinart on how he got the Iraq war wrong. Let's Go Baghdad! When it comes to thrills per capita, Iraq's capital is second-to-none. So throw on a flak jacket, grab your camera, and follow us! If the United States were a company, would George Bush be our CEO? The first MBA president probably wouldn't keep his job if he had to face a board of directors. But short of impeachment, what can be done to rein him in? It's too soon to judge the current one, but for past presidents, the verdict is in. U.S. News has averaged the results of five polls to make a gallery of the worst chief executives. Was 2006 a turning-point election? Steve Fraser is on the road to 2008. From Mother Jones, fiery populist rhetoric, promises of universal health care, and passion galore: Wait, these are Democrats? Pelosi rides high: Madam Speaker is turning out to be one of the Democrats' best assets. From The Politico, an article on the new GOP attack machine. Waiting for Al: As voters weary of the front-runners, what a chance for Al Gore. As Hillary Clinton runs, old foes like Richard Mellon Scaife stay on sideline: "Clinton wasn’t such a bad president. In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways". The battle between Bill Clinton's wife and Barack Obama could have a far-reaching impact on the former president's long-term legacy. The lineup of potential presidential candidates is a mishmash of senators, governors, former big-city mayors and a retired four-star Army general. But nearly all of them share one title: published author. Why isn't Bill Richardson's presidential candidacy taken seriously? The "Sliming Bowl" is well under way, and Fox's influence is too big -- and too damaging -- to ignore. Can the progressive Internet media and blogosphere bring it down? Plus: A brand new video! From Editor & Publisher, is The Washington Post a liberal newspaper? An interview with Len Downie
[Feb 22] News from around the world: From Australia, on Aboriginal culture and assimilationist policies: A review of Another Country. Jagdish Bhagwati reviews The Writing on the Wall: Why We Must Embrace China as a Partner or Face It as an Enemy by Will Hutton. As the 70th anniversary of The Rape of Nanking approaches, China and Japan are trying to mend historical fences. Toyota will soon produce more vehicles than General Motors. How did a Japanese company that started out making textile looms become not only the best automaker in the world but also maybe the best corporation? When it comes to their country's "love hotels", the Japanese have a saying: "The end of the money is the end of the relationship". From The Hindu, India's relations with other countries and security issues are of never-ending interest to T.V. Paul. Why is Russia so nasty, and India so nice? Russia is spoiled by oil; India blessed with less. No Cold War, perhaps, but surely a lukewarm peace: US "unilateralism" meets Russian swagger, as the blocs begin to build. A Very Special Relationship: Why do US presidents go weak-kneed for their Russian counterparts? Tony Blair's successor will have to fashion a foreign policy that's less obsessed with the US. From Sign and Sight, don't blame the postmodernists: Stuart Sim answers Paul Cliteur, defending postmodernism and arguing that scepticism can contribute to a new European story. Why no one questioned the implications of bringing large Muslim populations into a secularizing West: A review of Sacred Causes by Michael Burleigh. A review of Testimony: The English Version of the Bestselling Temoignage by Nicolas Sarkozy. From Der Spiegel, the American pop singer Dean Reed was a superstar in the communist bloc, but unknown outside it. A new documentary tells the bizarre story of "The Red Elvis". Will capitalism fall victim to its own success? Timothy Garton Ash on how Karl Marx's solutions haven't worked, but he was right about the global reach and potential unsustainability of capitalism. Robert J. Samuelson on what's unnerving about the global money bazaar: It's not what we know, it's what we don't know. Robert Shiller on inequality and its discontents. Nafta should have stopped illegal immigration, right? The agreement wrongly assumed that the markets would act rationally. Hispanic American immigrants are filling the population gaps and bringing the Andes to... Madrid. A review of Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past. A review of The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization. Northern exposure: As the Arctic melts, vast deposits of oil and gas may be opened up for exploration. And are we trapped in a failed worldview? A review of The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future
[Feb 21] From Libya, Harvard's Michael Porter wants to revamp Qaddafi's creaky economy. But will privatization and "mini-MBAs" prevail over statism and red tape? From Yemen, although the national economy is growing at a slow but steady pace, the problem of homelessness and poverty are actually getting worse due to the large influx of refugees from neighboring countries. Alfred Stepan on how Senegal has long been one of the Islamic world's most tranquil countries but now its democracy hangs in the balance. An excerpt from Frontline Pakistan by Zahid Hussain. A review of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter; The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe; and The Iron Cage by Rashid Khalidi. An interview with Tariq Ramadan on the modern Muslim, and a review of The Messenger: The Meanings of The Life of Muhammad. A review of Infidel, Murder in Amsterdam, In the Name of Honour, and Shame. A review of American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion. They're baaack: Defeating Osama bin Laden's resurgent terrorist network requires far more than military might. From The American Conservative, don’t believe the White House denials, and watch the carrier groups converging in the Persian Gulf; spychip-enhanced passports make life easier for al-Qaeda and tougher for American travelers; a look at how Israel helped to create Hamas; the Battle of Baghdad may look less like Algiers than Stalingrad; and veterans of the Iraq War make unlikely but effective protesters. EJ Dionne on the anti-war rallying point. From Mother Jones, Iraq 101: Everything you wanted to know about Iraq but were afraid to ask. From Slate, Fred Kaplan on four bewildering remarks from the Bush administration. Dick Cheney under the microscope: Here's a glimpse into the vice-president's secret world. Could someone please explain why Scooter Libby is the only person on trial in the Valerie Plame leak investigation? Half a shield is better than none: A serious journalist-source privilege should be held hostage neither to hypothetical nightmare scenarios nor to the press’s stubborn, if principled, insistence on more than it really needs. An interview with William Safire on his days as a Nixon "leaker" to the press. The New JFK Film: A close look at the moments before the assassination. Changing the world, one laugh at a time: An article on "The Daily Show" and political activism. Why TV is better than the movies: Film has always been the Four Seasons to television's Motel 6. Not anymore. Here's how the small screen ended up so much bigger—and bolder—than the big one. From The Politico, a look at when presidents are funnier than comedians; and here's a Washington guide to late-night comedy. I Am George Jetson: New Yorkers, stop waiting for the future—You’re in it! But where are those flying cars? And the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, an old working-class area along the East River, is becoming hyper hip. That isn't such good news for many residents
[Feb 20] From Vanuatu, one of the world's last surviving cargo cults is celebrating its official 50th anniversary on Tanna island. From Pakistan, an article on the allure of Western culture. Why Iran "meddles" in Iraq: Is Tehran's supposed involvement malign, or are its interests in the war legitimate? The dragon may be a universal symbol of the Middle Kingdom, but does it have a place in modern China? Reformers argue that China would be better off dropping the dragon as the national symbol. From The Journal of Military Ethics, an essay on Thucydides’ Three Security Dilemmas in Post-Soviet Strife. A review of War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda and Chemical Warfare: A Study in Restraints. From Peace Journalism, where have all the global statesmen gone? The good old days of the Cold War: Don't wax too nostalgic, says Paul Kennedy, the world was once a much more dangerous place. Just when you think society can’t get much worse - oooops, it does. And so it goes throughout time. Ignore the people who talk about all the terrible things that are going on in the world and how things are getting worse and worse. It’s not true ; things are getting better and better. From Sign and Sight, the logic of tolerance: In questions of reason and freedom, societies, like individuals, have to make a choice, says Swedish author Lars Gustafsson. If all EU business were conducted solely in English that would not mean that we shouldn't speak French in France, or German in Germany or Spanish in Spain. But in Brussels we should surely speak English. A review of Irish Freedom: A History of Nationalism in Ireland by Richard English. The Great Global Power Transfer: Ten years of news watching reveals a definite trend, and it’s not to the advantage of the American and British peoples. A poll finds the clash between Islam and the West is political. Rudy Giuliani as foreign policy guru? His tough-guy swagger may be attractive, but it's the same attitude that got us stuck in Iraq. Niall Ferguson on Obama's muddled stance on foreign intervention. Redefining "black": Obama's candidacy spotlights the divide between native black culture and African immigrants. A clue to Washington's cluelessness: The "null hypothesis" explains why Washington pundits are usually wrong. Is there any hope for the future of newspapers? Steven Rattner investigates. You Must Be Streaming: In a sudden reversal of fortune, newspapers have taken to online video and might just beat TV news at its own game. Do they still want their MTV? Finding the edge was simpler before competition for its core demographic started coming from all fronts. And the Incredible Shrinking Model: Why are models dwindling in size? Because they’ve dwindled in stature—from bodacious superstars to nameless, faceless manual laborers
[Feb 19] From Lebanon, by demanding a national unity government and a veto power over major decisions, Hezbollah and its allies are sticking to the consociational (multi-confessional) letter and the republican (patriotic) spirit of the Lebanese constitution; and with traditional nationalism on the wane, Hizbullah appears well-placed to take a few cues from the body of political theory and philosophy. Eyes Off the Prize: As Iraq dominates U.S. attention, China, India and Iran are emerging as the next world powers. From Open Democracy, a question of moral legitimacy: Global cooperation is sorely needed in the face of America's diplomatic and strategic failings. It's the right answer – and the only answer. Fighting fires: Is American foreign policy increasingly ad hoc? Let’s go back and image what the world would have been like if we’d had a different president in 2001. Former Gannett chief and USA Today founder Al Neuharth calls Bush the worst president ever. Here's a fun activity the entire family can enjoy: Who was the worst vice-president ever? A reviews of history’s candidates who could reach for Cheney’s crown. Shafted: A look at how the Bush administration reversed decades of progress on mine safety. Balanced Budget Baloney: Robert Reich on the nonsensical quality of our budget debates. An article on Al Franken, FDR's freedoms, and the Third Way. Let's Play 20 Questions: Reason on a set of stumpers, nags, and insults for the 2008 field. Narrowing the religion gap? In this presidential race, it could be Democrats, not Republicans, who are most at ease in church. Beware, Brangelina. Barchelle has your number: The Obamas (Barack + Michelle) steam up newsstands. An interview with Bill Maher on Hillary and Obama and why he's so over McCain. Can liberal bloggers be both partisan kingmakers and independent journalists? The blogstorm over the John Edwards campaign points to some tough lessons. Arthur Sulzberger sees the future, and it’s not black-and-white. Prisoners of YouTube: Meet the most hilarious people ever to lose their jobs, friends, livelihoods, and their dignity—all for your personal amusement. And from The New Yorker, analysts unspooled: How well do the movies understand psychotherapists?
[Weekend 2e] International issues: From Open Democracy, "the world is not getting so small that there is room for only one story": The changing spatial dimensions of human life and thinking are creating the need for a new imagination and politics of space. The plot in favour of America: Does Ban Ki-Moon's latest appointment put truth on the rumours of a US-dominated United Nations? There's much at stake. Testing times: The influence of the International Criminal Court is growing and the events of the next few weeks could be crucial for its future. Major sovereign powers should not be setting the world order, says Richard Falk. The US, reinforced by the UN and the rule of law, needs to give way to global institutions and alliances. Major casting changes forthcoming for the world stage: Within two years, four of the Big Five world powers will have new leaders. Rich nations pledge $1.5 billion to create an artificial market for pneumococcus, a neglected global killer. From Foreign Policy, developing countries could earn tens of billions of dollars from pollution credits thanks to climate change—and make foreign aid a thing of the past in the process. Help Not Wanted: By pushing their alternative development model, wealthy nondemocratic regimes effectively price responsible aid programs out of the market exactly where they are needed most. An interview with Jagdish Bhagwati on why the US must rethink demands on developing states to spur Doha. From Der Spiegel, the transatlantic dispute over subsidies to aircraft-makers Airbus and Boeing could be the longest and most bad-tempered case ever heard by the World Trade Organisation’s dispute panel. The Franco-German management of aerospace company EADS is bickering over the restructuring plans for beleaguered airplane maker Airbus. The Steel Sailors: A ride-along with the men who move the raw materials that make the world go round. And from Business Week, a radical plan to manage globalization: Calling free trade "as outdated as the dodo," economist Vladimir Masch offers solutions to what he sees as big problems for the US (and a response on trade truths for turbulent times by Philip Levy)
[Weekend] News from around the world: From China, yes, it would be easy to make fun of "Queuing Day". Pathetically easy. The Greatest Human Migration: Hundreds of millions of Chinese are gathering for the ultimate New Year's celebration. From Japan Focus, an essay on postwar Japanese intellectuals’ changing perspectives on “Asia” and modernity; and an article on the rise of China: Harbinger of a new global order, or in the footsteps of pre-crisis Japan and the Asian tigers? As their country is ravaged by Aids, some Papuans are reviving age-old beliefs in evil spirits … with murderous results. A new Moroccan plan to grant substantial autonomy to its restive Western Sahara region offers the best chance to end a damaging stalemate and resolve Africa's oldest territorial dispute. From The Globalist, a look at why bad loans are good for Africa. After so many deaths, too many births: Rwanda, still haunted by genocide, faces up to the threat of overpopulation. South Africa's democracy isn't looking too good these days. Not only is violent crime rampant, but so too is corruption in the upper echelons of government. Feminist, eco-warrior Nobel-prizewinner, Wangari Maathai remains Unbowed. But can her ideas really achieve anything? From Policy Review, Fatos Tarifa and Peter Lucas on the end of Balkan history: Serbia should let go of Kosovo and move on; and a review of The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe 1801-1805. Paris is the anti-Berlin: While the world's writers and artists are flocking to the ugly German capital, others are drawn to Paris to pursue their work in freedom and impeccable style. May 1 will mark the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union between Scotland and England: A reflection on the rise in nationalism on both sides of the border. A review of Europe's Physician: The various life of Sir Theodore De Mayerne by Hugh Trevor-Roper. And more on Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory by Norman Davies
[Feb 16] The Greater Middle East: From Uzbekistan, President Islam Karimov has been clever about staying in power but less so about making life better for his people. From Bangladesh, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus announces he is forming his own political party. From Lebanon, four stylish young women, an open-topped car, the rubble of war-torn Beirut, but where is the real power of Spencer Platt's prize-winning World Press Photo image? From The Nation, a review of Killing Mr Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and Its Impact on the Middle East; Rafiq Hariri and the Fate of Lebanon; Heart of Beirut: Reclaiming the Bourj; and All Honourable Men: The Social Origins of War in Lebanon. Prelude to Progress: Daniel Levy on how to respond to the Palestinian Mecca deal. Israel's surge of despair: Top Israeli officials admit last summer's war against Hezbollah was a failure -- and denounce President Bush's actions in the Middle East. The Road to Reformation: Al Qaeda had hoped to rally the entire Muslim world against the West, but now it is in the middle of a dirty sectarian war within Islam. Tariq Ramadan on what the West can learn from Islam. A review of The Caged Virgin by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Shattering the Stereotypes. Public Diplomacy, TV-Style: Three Arab men go "On the Road in America" for a Saudi-owned TV network. From Policy Review, Bruce Berkowitz on a strategy for a long struggle: The threats are more resilient; conflict is more likely; Thomas H. Henriksen on security lessons from the Israeli trenches: A half-century of counterterrorism. The Roving Eye's grim world view: A review of Globalistan by Asia Times' Pepe Escobar (and 5 excerpts); and Spengler on the lighter side of national extinction. A review of Genocide: A History. How do we stop genocide when we begin to lose interest after the first victim? Paul Slovic urges review of the 1948 Genocide Convention to define the time to act. From Eurozine, an interview with Susan Neiman and Andreas Huyssen on the role of the public sphere in guiding a politics of memory in relation to Turkey's increasingly fraught Armenian issue. The New Transcaucasian Railway: Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan have signed an agreement to build a rail corridor that they hope will eventually link Europe with Asia. However, one country in the region, Armenia, is being left out
[Feb 28] Potpourri:
Who do you think we are? A sneak peak at the latest results from the General Social Survey,
a slowly developing snapshot of American thought and action in our time.
An article on the
perilous fantasy of energy independence.
Why are conspiracy theories so popular? We may not always believe what we're told,
but we still can't resist listening to
them. The answer may lie deep within us all. With Congress set to take up
the contentious issue of immigration
reform, Business Week asks experts to weigh in with some constructive thoughts.
From Details, a look at why gay
men make the best bosses. An excerpt
from Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
by Bill McKibben. Latin America’s new Label:
to the magazine Etiqueta Negra. The first
chapter from Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror
by Ian Shapiro (and an interview).
of The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times.
Inside Bush's prosecutor purge: Why has the administration fired U.S. attorneys with sterling track
records? To make room for its political loyalists, critics say, and exert its last shred of control.
Marrying Absurd: An article on the Bush administration’s attempts to encourage marriage.
of Indians and Emigrants: Encounters on the Overland Trails.
Where were you that summer of 2001? Frank Rich
wants to know. A review
of History of Madness.
Legislating against scepticism is a slippery slope: "What is truth" is not a question for politicians
-- they are the worst equipped to recognise it. More
on Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan.
An interview with Brian
Doherty, author of Radicals for Capitalism.
Abuseless: Dahlia Lithwick on how the Padilla case proves the futility of mistreating prisoners.
An interview with Eric Foner
on Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction.
The Shape of Faith: The sign of the cross is a reminder of whose we are.
A onetime scourge of political correctness offers an ultra-PC view of Islam:
of Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home.
Marriage isn't enough: Why are any of us interested in registering the state of our intimate relationships with the government -- and why would a reasonable government want us to?
of Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West. The Gay Grenade:
Are ERA proponents agitating for women's rights at the expense of gays and lesbians?
An interview with Andrew
Roberts, author of A History of the English Speaking Peoples since
of House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest.
More on Canadian media giant CanWest's
purchase of The New Republic. A review
of The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs.
The Holland-America Line: An introduction
to the magazine Ode.
The Imperfect Sex: Why is Sor
Juana Inés de la Cruz not a saint? And billions over Baghdad: Sending
US cash to Iraq was one of the war’s big successes
[Feb 27] From The New Yorker, is the Administration’s new policy aiding our enemies in the war on terrorism? Seymour M. Hersh investigates (and a video). From The Atlantic, James Fallows writes to Dick: "Dear Vice President Cheney. Go home, and shut up". Condi on Top: Finally, she’s wrested control of US foreign policy from Dick Cheney. But if she can’t hold on, get ready for an attack on Iran. Paul Johnson doesn't envy those in Washington whose duty it is to resolve the dilemma between idealism and realpolitik. Mark Schmitt on how Bush's is the certainty of a coach exhorting his players when they're down by 28 points. From FT, in most professions, a record of failure counts against you: From the guys who gave you the Iraq war, another fine idea. Geoffrey Wheatcroft on how the invasion of Iraq was foolish, illegal and finally catastrophic, and the only people who seem not to know this are our rulers. The war against Iraq has produced thousands of Mandaeans refugees. Who are they, and how many should be taken in by the United States? 737 US Military Bases = Global Empire: An excerpt from Chalmers Johnson's Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. A review of Commander-in-Chief: How Truman, Johnson, and Bush Turned a Presidential Power Into a Threat to America’s Future. More on Joe Conason's It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril In The Age of Bush. A review of Law as a Means to an End: Threat to the Rule of Law. A review of Bruce Ackerman's Before The Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism. Who needs Jacques Bauer? The Napoleonic Code is more conducive to counterterrorism than the U.S. Constitution. Stuart Taylor Jr. on The Case for a National Security Court: The United States needs a new way to try enemy combatants for the good of the war on terrorism. From Writ, the Supreme Court is at the tipping point: Should a Democratic Senate prevent Bush from creating a solidly conservative court? More on John Patrick Diggins' Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History. Lew Rockwell on the Republicans and their doomed ideology. A review of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution. From Political Affairs, an article on the free enterprise system as ideology for monopoly. Does going green finally make economic sense? An article on the new math of alternative energy. An interview with Peter Barnes, author of Capitalism 3.0. Paul Conkin, author of The State of the Earth: Environmental Challenges on the Road to 2100, on the moral dilemma of the 21st century. The den mother of ecology: Ruth Patrick has been immersed in environmental science since before the term existed. At 99, she's making plans for the next decade. Since the early days of American history, so-called utopian communities have been a defining feature of our cultural landscape. Photographer Joel Sternfeld has captured 60 of them in his new book, Sweet Earth. A review of In Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. And a liberal dose of gloom: Ask 100 thinkers to consider the future and what do you get? Utter pessimism
[Feb 26] From Prospect, the Big Question: We asked 100 writers and thinkers to answer the following question: Left and right defined the 20th century. "What's next?" Almost nobody expects the world to get better in the coming decades, and many think it will get worse. A review of Non-violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea. A review of The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American Power; Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War; and Complicity with Evil: The United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide. From Open Democracy, concerts and silly seasons: Michael Lind's proposed "concert of power" has no chance of being realised, argues David Rieff. Can Sam Nunn, head of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, do more now to curtail uranium smugglers, loose nukes and the proliferation of nuclear states than he could as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee? From Monthly Review, an interview with Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. Joel S. Hirschhorn, author of Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, on why national prosperity does not translate into prosperity for most citizens. Why brand obsession is the new status quo: A review of The Cult of the Luxury Brand. More on Affluenza: How to be Successful and Stay Sane by Oliver James. A review of The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism. Can free trade be a fair deal? It is in northern Europe, with open trade and lavish welfare states. For the United States to achieve that balance wouldn't be cheap. Robert Reich on a proposal for labor standards in trade deals that would help workers in America and abroad alike. Short of arguing that poor nations have no right to become rich, then, there is no way to slow greenhouse warming unless the rich countries help the poor manage their emissions during some period of transition. Enter Thomas C. Schelling... Warning on Warming: Bill McKibben reviews Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Summary for Policymakers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A review of The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement and The End of the Wild. Maybe we're looking for global warming leadership in the wrong place. Maybe looking in the mirror is the right place to start. And climate change is pushing ski resorts around the world to save their snowy whites -- by turning green. As the Aspen Ski Company demonstrates, these efforts extend well beyond the mountains themselves
[Weekend 2e] From Armed Forces Journal, to destroy a nation is to destroy the very objective of peace; consequently, the less destruction, the more complete to the winner is the victory; a review of Counterinsurgency and the Global War on Terror: Military Culture and Irregular War; when it comes to winning small wars, air power is more than putting steel on target; how U.S. strategists lost sight of the purpose of war: A review of Finding the Target: The Transformation of American Military Policy by Frederick Kagan; an essay on the challenge of expanding U.S. land forces; rebels and religion: Ralph Peters on how fighters become fanatics; and a look at how Homer's Greek epic offers leadership lessons for modern warriors. Form Air Force Magazine, two editorials on how stronger defenses are only as unaffordable as we want them to be and on why you cannot wish away the realities of the nuclear age. From Freezerbox, who would Jesus deport? A look at how evangelicals seamlessly incorporate anti-immigrant rhetoric with their traditional odes to God and country. From The Spectator, a review of An Un-American Life: The Case of Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus. From Alternet, an excerpt from Joe Conason's It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush. In this age of lazy moral equivalence, American Fascists seems like a hyperbolic title, but it is an outrage that people like The Guardian's Tobias Jones and the John Birch Society continue to maintain that it is atheists who have all the explaining to do. From American Renaissance, here are personal accounts of what led readers to racial consciousness; and a review of The Grey Book: Blueprint for Southern Independence. From Psychological Science, a look at how scriptural violence sanctioned by God can increase aggression, especially in believers. From Der Spiegel, murder and terror do not figure in the teachings of the monotheist world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet time and again, their fanatical followers embark on bloody rampages, their rage fired up b y zealous priests and religious scholars. Slavery split apart American churches. Now could the fight over homosexuality do the same? A marriage made in heaven? Amid talk of a merger between Catholicism and Anglicanism, a look at how the two businesses might fit together. Religion and politics: John Derbyshire on who believes what, and why. Hubbard love: Barry Didcock puts his scepticism aside and goes in search of the truth behind Scientology, one of the world’s most controversial religions (and more). Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God, responds to biologist Richard Dawkins’ assertion that God does not exist in any form. And a review of Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and The Battle for America's Soul
[Weekend] From NYRB, Michael Tomasky reviews The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008; Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time; The Plan: Big Ideas for America; Take It Back: A Battle Plan for Democratic Victory; The Moral Center: How We Can Reclaim Our Country from Die-Hard Extremists, Rogue Corporations, Hollywood Hacks, and Pretend Patriots; Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians; and Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South. Rick Perlstein on how Mitt Romney is winning over conservative Republicans. Rudy Can Fail: He's a leader, not a manager. A review of Bringing Down the Mob: The War Against the American Mafia. A new report shows that New York City has the heaviest tax burden of the nine largest American cities, but what do New Yorkers get for what they pay? Americans have proven stubbornly resistant to life without the one-dollar bill. Will a series of "dead president" coins reverse the trend? The federal government is always the butt of jokes; now comedian Naomi Johnson wants to find some bureaucrats who can tell one. The New Republic, the left-leaning weekly magazine whose circulation has been hurt by the Web, has a new ownership and a new publishing schedule. False profits: Jack Shafer on when bad financial news for newspapers is good news for journalism. A review of Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media. Instead of stepping up coverage of international affairs, American newspapers and television networks are steadily cutting back. And a review of Can We Trust the BBC? and "Scrap the BBC!": Ten Years to Set Broadcasters Free
[Feb 23] From TNR, Alan Wolfe on Peter Berkowitz, Dinesh D'Souza and the meaning of verbal firebombs. More on The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures by Louis Theroux. A review of Alexis De Tocqueville: Prophet of democracy in the age of revolution. Breaking the chains: Britain abolished the slave trade 200 years ago this week. Its landmarks are an abiding legacy of cruelty. And to whom does William Wilberforce belong? As with many historical figures, his mantle is contested by devotees of different political hues. From The Nation, Eric Foner on Lincoln's antiwar record: Looking for a model lawmaker who called a President to account for launching a war on fabricated grounds? Consider Illinois Representative Abraham Lincoln's rebuke of James Polk. America tortures (yawn): In just a few years we've grown disturbingly comfortable with the fact that the US practices torture. From Discover, dead men walking: What sort of future do brain-injured Iraq veterans face? A review of Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price. Throwing away the key: Across the US thousands of ex-cons who have served jail time for sexual offences are kept incarcerated on questionable grounds. Prisoners of the Census Bureau: How and where the U.S. counts inmates has huge, and unsettling, consequences. If you're writing about prisoners, remember this: hell hath no fury like an inmate scorned. From The Economist, time is running out for George Bush to leave a positive mark on America. A look at the chances of reform in five key areas: education, health care, Social Security, immigration, and the environment. Green Theft Auto: We liberals need pacification measures that are, to use a slang term of ours, broad-based and comprehensive. A conservative conservationist? South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford on why the Right needs to get invested in the search for climate change solutions. The first of five reports from the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual gathering looks at the threat of being hit by an asteroid. From New York, the Jane Jacobs of the South Bronx: Majora Carter, MacArthur genius and community activist, thinks the era of Robert Moses is back, and her job is to do something about it. Why do we skew tax breaks to favor richer people and more profitable businesses? There is a way to avoid incentive inequity. A review of Poor People by William T. Vollmann. The soulful science: Economics is an exciting, innovative discipline that has moved far beyond the arid stereotypes of its critics. (Can't Get No) Satisfaction: The new science of happiness needs some historical perspective. The road to happiness: Issues of wellbeing are at the forefront of politics, but do our politicians have anything to contribute beyond warm words and policy gimmicks. That's what friends are for: The ancient Greek philosophers put a high value on friendship and we should learn from this in the wellbeing debate. The family care burdens shouldered by working women isn't personal--it requires a political fix. And spending hours stuffing political leaflets through letterboxes may not sound like an ideal way to spend a Saturday, but there are young activists who, far from being disengaged with the political process, positively enjoy it
[Feb 22] The politics of sex and gender - American history: From TAP, could a redesigned diaphragm not only become popular among American women, but also save lives in HIV-ravaged nations? Rites and wrongs: Is outlawing female genital mutilation enough to stop it from happening in the US? The decline of rape: What the sharp decline in reported sexual assaults reveals about today's youth. From PopMatters, even the most die-hard homosexual would probably be a little disconcerted should his or her doctor flit into the room exclaiming, "Girlfriend! Your X-rays look faaabulous!" A review of Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics by Jennifer Baumgardner. Brokeback mutton: William Saletan discovers what gay sheep tell us about human sexuality. Human Like Me? Emily Bazelon on the New Jersey Supreme Court case that could define the fetus. Psst! Ask for Donor 1913: As competition increases, sperm banks reveal more and more about donors. Thanks to DNA testing, Sally Hemings is fully part of national history. Scott McLemee considers the work of Mia Bey, a scholar who fears the real story will be whitewashed. A review of Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship That Saved the Revolution. Moonshine Patriot: John Fund on George Washington, whiskey entrepreneur. A review of George III: America's Last King and A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings. A review of The Great Negro Plot: A Tale of Conspiracy and Murder in Eighteenth-Century New York. A review of Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer. From Chronicles, the Lincoln story qualifies as fable rather than myth. The interesting question to be asked is, why was the fable created, and what purpose does its false story serve? (and part 2 and part 3). A review of This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War by James M. McPherson. A review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The man who killed slavery, sparked the Civil War, and seeded civil rights and Redemption: The last battle of the Civil War. A review of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present. Carlin Romano reviews The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Awakening of a Nation. One of the reasons it is so difficult to thwart modern-day racism is that black people are increasingly denied the specific language necessary to define it. From American Heritage, why did President Roosevelt strip Japanese-Americans of their freedom? A review of First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War. A review of Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden. And Paul Kennedy reviews Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World
[Feb 21] From In These Times, a politically correct lexicon: Here's a look at your "how-to" guide to avoid offending anyone. Leftward, Ho? On the American left, talk of a — stutter, clear-throat, perish-thought — liberal resurgence. More on A Bee in the Mouth Anger in America Now by Peter Wood. A review of Joe Klein’s Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You’re Stupid. Glenn Smith, author of The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction, on the children of Rousseau and Hobbes. A review of The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing. From TAP, there was no "smart" way to invade Iraq: Liberal hawks are stuck on blaming Bush's incompetent handling of the Iraq war instead of arguing that we should never have invaded in the first place, and the debate over the war in Congress this winter is likely just a rehearsal. A review of Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them. If you're worried about terrorism, upset about the war in Iraq, and depressed by global chaos, violence and death, cheer up. The US military just invented a weapon that fires a beam of searing pain. More on Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson. Americans have reason to doubt the future of their democracy: An excerpt from Joe Conason's It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush. A review of American Homeland: A Journey to the Heart of America's Conservative Revolution. From Reason, an article on remembering the 20th century's most influential libertarian, Milton Friedman. There is basis on which the fusionist might make his case, namely the philosophy of a thinker admired by conservatives and libertarians alike: F. A. Hayek. But would-be fusionists have to ask themselves how much of it they can accept. The first chapter from The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years and the Untold Story of his Conversion to Conservatism. A review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by John Patrick Diggins. The forgettable Millard Fillmore: The 13th president shows that the country's highest office is remarkably indestructible. From First Things, Joseph Bottum and Michael Novak debate the leadership of George W. Bush; and Hadley Arkes on the Kennedy Court. Benjamin Wittes on how conservatives still can't transform the Supreme Court. A review of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America by Jeffrey Rosen. It is a measure of how far we have come as a nation that military commissions, once seen as a great stride forward for American principles of justice and the rule of law, will now for ever after be associated with the abridgement of rights. And Peter Singer on hypocritical America: Whatever US courts say about it, abducting people all over the world, locking them up for years without establishing that they are guilty of anything, and subjecting them to harsh and abusive treatment is a flagrant violation of international law
[Feb 20] Is America too damn religious? Barry Lynn, Susan Jacoby and Alan Wolfe debate Jean Bethke Elshtain, Albert Robateau and William Galston. An interview with Paul Kengor, author of God and George W. Bush: A Spiritual Life, on religion and the Presidency. The ambiguous legacy of William Jennings Bryan: Was Bryan's social gospel an aberrant episode in the history of the evangelical moral economy? A review of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges (and an interview). From Town Hall, here's a Letter to a Stupid Atheist. A review of In Defense of Atheism: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray. For Gods and Country: The Army chaplain who wanted to switch to Wicca? Transfer denied. A review of My Year Inside Radical Islam: A Memoir by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. Mr. Counterintuition: An interview with Thomas Schelling, and why America is safer with sophisticated enemies. From Alan Keyes' Renew America, an article on the rise of conservatism and the decline of liberalism. Some justified criticisms and the wrong conclusions: A review of What’s Left? by Nick Cohen, who braves the wrath of latte man, but faces some unpalatable facts. Excommunication for Thee: Peter Berkowitz on Alan Wolfe's self-incriminating attack on Dinesh D'Souza. Folk music and a collection of feminist poetry may well be dead giveaways that there is a liberal in the house. But what about an ironing board or postage stamps or a calendar? An article on investigating links between personality and politics. The Romantic Life of Brainiacs: College-educated, highly successful women have long had a reputation for marrying less (and having lousier sex). But in a historic reversal of past trends, these women now triumph in matrimony. Marriage historian Stephanie Koontz explains. Illegitimate Complaints: The Anna Nicole Smith story hardly represents a more depraved morality than the “dignified silence” that surrounded deviations from the family values and marriage customs of the past. A review of Sarah Igo's The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public. From IEET, an article on precarity and experimental subjection. Is the new UN global warming report too conservative? Brett Clark and John Bellamy Foster investigate. Who invented the environment? Gerald Owen investigates, and more on eco-Plato and Atlantis. Not if, but when: Business lobbyists are scrambling to figure out how best to position their clients amid what appears to be an unstoppable push to write global-warming legislation. And it might seem very odd to look to a long-dead Russian anarchist for business advice. But Peter Kropotkin's big idea--that there are important human motivations beyond what he called "reckless individualism"--is very relevant these days: Business try to find how much work people will do for free
[Feb 19] From Tomdispatch, the undertaker's tally: Whatever their other ties, Rumsfeld and Cheney were two of the era's visceral reactionaries in the classic sense of the term, and more on the power and the glory. Stanley Kurtz on marriage and the terror war: Better learn up on your anthropology if you want to understand the war (and part 2). From Time, a look at The Grassroots Abortion War. Jim Wallis on why the Religious Right's era is over. From Der Spiegel, just what do non-believers believe in? Despite all the tempting spiritual goodies our world offers, enlightened skeptics still seek to practice a secular, humanist morality. But the lure is growing hard to resist: Even pious Catholics are starting to dream of reincarnation. Let's build an international secular movement! Azar Majedi on why the civilized world needs it. Who took the "Judeo" out of "Judeo-Christian"? Carlin Romano on political Hebraism. From The American Conservative, the fall of Modernity: Has the American narrative authored its own undoing?; the next conservatism: By rejecting ideology and embracing "retroculture", the Right can recover itself and perhaps reverse America’s decline; James Pinkerton on venerating the past, accommodating the future; John Derbyshire on how politicized nostalgia won’t resuscitate the Right; David Franke on how groups won’t go back, but individuals might; and angri-cultural revolution: A review of A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now by Peter Wood. It's a mad world: We need to eradicate the virus of affluenza and improve our mental health - and there are two fundamental policies that can help. From The American Interest, Little Start-up on the Prairie: Technological change and small-town nostalgia are combining to revive America's Heartland; and a review of Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game—And How It Got That Way. The myth of "superstar cities": Economic and demographic trends suggest that the future of American urbanism lies not in the elite cities but in younger, more affordable and less self-regarding places. A review of Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- And What We Can Do About It. Branding by the Slice: How a chain restaurant learned to sell pizza to Hispanics, but not Hispanic pizza. And here, there and everywhere: When ads become ubiquitous, do they undermine themselves?
[Weekend 2e] Political economy, the environment and the politics of food: From Mute, a Web 2.0 special uncovers the work in social networking and, behind the 'dotcommunist' spin, a centralisation of the means of sharing. From FT, the trustees and directors of philanthropic organisations should be every bit as accountable and liable as their for-profit counterparts. When do "good" firms go "bad"? Ranking corporations by ethics is popular, but telling the good guys from the bad is not clear-cut. We love capitalism: Were trade unionists looking in the wrong place when they fought for better pay and shorter hours? The latest thinking, from left and right, is that having a stake in our work is the real key to human happiness. More on Radicals for Capitalism. Inconvenient truths: If the struggle to temper global warming is dependent on corporate profitability, we might as well give up before we start. Rex Tillerson, Exxon's new chief executive, turned the company’s reputation on climate change on its head: Winds of change blowing at Exxon? Somebody call a doctor, ExxonMobil is choking on its hypocrisy. All together now: Blaming "humanity" for climate change permits the real culprits to escape the consequences of their actions (and their real apologists like R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr, too). The Daffodil Delusion: Media frenzy to the contrary, a warm winter doesn't point to the end of the world--scientific evidence does. What kind of economy? James K. Galbraith on why progressives need to create an economic agenda that encompasses the environment and social justice. Having meat to eat is not worth changing the world's climate, killing animals―both pigs and polar bears―and ourselves. From n+1, more on The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to the Present. A review of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan and The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. A review of Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food. And an interview with Joan Sewell, author of I'd Rather Eat Chocolate, on the politically incorrect reality that most married women just aren't that into sex
[Weekend] American politics: From The Washington Monthly, let’s do lunch: Here's twenty-one new power players you wish you’d been nicer to; and here are some tips for think-tank pundits: Ten ways to drive your panel wild. From The Dallas Observer, W and us: Dallas, home to the George W. Bush think tank. Let's think about that. I was a Reaganite think-tanker: A look at the cushy life and Gipper worship at Stanford's conservative Hoover Institution. A look at how Bush is like the great presidents. As Presidents Day approaches, it's only fitting to recall a few of the mediocrities, and to remember them along with our favorites. A review of Gerald Ford by Douglas Brinkley. Further confirmation that the wrong Bush brother was elected president: A review of Jeb: America’s Next Bush. It's a National Tradition: Michael Kazin on how the nearly permanent campaign has been a feature of American politics since before the Civil War. Nearly a year before the first caucuses and primaries take place, the 2008 presidential campaign advertising war is under way online, finding a new stump in the blogosphere. A review of The Way to Win: Taking The White House in 2008. From Rolling Stone, between Barack and a hard place: The "talent of the century" hits the campaign trail. As Barack Obama pursues the presidency and the media obsesses over exactly how black he is, Patricia J. Williams contemplates America's slippery notions of race, culture and ethnicity. Barak Obama and Ralph Ellison's existential hero of the Invisible Man have something in common. A look at why Al Gore won’t let the rumors die. Harold Meyerson on why Hillary Clinton may become the Ed Muskie of 2008. It Takes a Chill: Senator Clinton comes up with press-control method: Freeze ’em! Arianna is worried that she could have a negative impact on Al Franken's campaign. And cultural high priestess and pioneering Web proto-blogger Camille Paglia returns to Salon. And nobody -- not Hillary, Obama, McCain nor Anna Nicole -- can escape her level gaze
[Feb 16] Iraq, Iran and the US: From The Atlantic, the world in numbers: A look at the disintegration of a Baghdad neighborhood. In Iraq, anyone can make a bomb: Improvised explosive devices don't require international conspiracies. Niall Ferguson on how to stop the US from being Goliath: American soldiers have superior training and weapons, but insurgents know the terrain. Insurgents, they buy American: The administration's latest memory lapse is remembering where our enemies in Iraq got their weapons. The constant sectarian violence in Iraq is not purely of domestic origin -- much of it is directed by covert U.S. and British military: Here is Bush's other war in Iraq. Tom Hayden on how to end the Iraq war and occupation. Apocalypse Not: Much of Washington assumes that leaving Iraq will lead to a bigger bloodbath. It’s time to question that assumption. The end of innuendo: Bush led us to war in Iraq by making vague claims about a dire threat. Will the same strategy work with Iran? From New Statesman, American preparations for invading Iran are complete, but George Bush's administration will blunder into war. Bush blames Iran’s Quds Force for a spike in anti-American violence in Iraq. Who are they, and how tight are their ties with Tehran? Immanuel Wallerstein on Bush's headlong rush into Iran. President Bush’s recent accusation that Iran has supplied weapons to Iraqi insurgents is reminiscent of the way past US leaders rallied public support for wars against both Spain and North Vietnam. A review of Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, From Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting. A review of America Against the World: How We Are Different and Why We Are Disliked and Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century. Terrorists in Iraq are becoming proficient at blowing up oil refineries. Similar plants in a handful of American cities represent our greatest vulnerability. We could easily be making them less dangerous. But we’re not (and you too can break into a chemical plant). Terror's next target? More than five years after 9/11, a frightening inside look at why we are still terribly vulnerable. More to come? And from Technology Review, type 911.gov: Two scientists think that social networks can improve disaster relief. And doomsday disciples: Be it nuclear holocaust, quake or hurricane, zombie squads are ready for anything — even an attack from the living dead
[Feb 28] From the inaugural
issue of the International Journal of Communication, Manuel
Castells (USC): Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network
Society; Paula Chakravartty (Mass): Governance Without Politics: Civil Society, Development and the Postcolonial State; Douglas Kellner
Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization; a review
of Cultural Citizenship: Cosmopolitanism, Consumerism and Television in a Neoliberal Age;
and a review
of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation.
of Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley.
Tom Stoppard's epic Coast of Utopia speaks as much to the state of the American left as it does to the roots of Russia's revolution.
Utopians dreamt of revolution, yet the world woke unreformed: In Tom Stoppard’s
Coast of Utopia there are plenty of theses tossed about but no real syntheses. John Kekes on reflections on the
revolution in Hungary: After half a century, does it seem worth it?
of In Europe: Travels through the Twentieth Century. From Law
& Politics Book Review, a review
of Cicero and the Jurists. From Citizens' Law to the Lawful State;
of A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law;
and a review
of The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court
Decisions. From Christianity Today, Alvin Plantinga reviews
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. An analysis of a debate between
Richard Dawkins and Francis
Collins which appeared in Time magazine. The first
chapter from God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
A review of Empiricism and Experience. How to
deal with false research findings The key may be for researchers to work closer and check one another's results.
Science isn't evil, Richard
Sykes, head of Imperial College, tells Alok Jha . But let's stop pretending it can be easy. Doctor of dialectics:
Leftwing academic Terry
Eagleton tells John Crace he's embraced new ideas, but hasn't budged from his views of 40 years ago.
From National Review, an interview with David
Horowitz on Indoctrination U: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom.
Rate My Professors, a professor-ranking website online since 1999, may soon be getting a marketing boost with its acquisition by MTV Networks'
Gen Y's ego trip takes a nasty turn: A new report suggests that an overdose of self-esteem in college students could mean a rough road ahead.
For years, the thinking in the book world was that adolescent boys don't like and won't read nonfiction books.
Steven D. Hill and Peggy Hogan think that opinion is wrong, and they're out to prove it.
Stephen King, Agatha Christie and Evelyn Waugh have all put
fictional authors into their woks. Is it escapism or egotism? And three years after a critical spanking,
Martin Amis returns with a new novel and no apologies.
[Feb 27] A new issue of Foucault Studies is out, including an excerpt from Foucault's Psychiatric Power: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1973-1974; Michael V. Ure (Moansh): Senecan Moods: Foucault and Nietzsche on the Art of the Self, Sergei Prozorov (Petrozavodsk): The unrequited love of power: biopolitical investment and the refusal of care; a review of The Philosophy of Foucault by Todd May; a review of Sartre, Foucault, and Historical Reason, Volume One: Toward an Existentialist Theory of History and Volume Two: A Poststructuralist Mapping of History by Thomas Flynn; a review of Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism; and a review of Michel Foucault and Power Today: International Multidisciplinary Studies in the History of the Present pdf. Writing in French -- quelle horreur -- Jonathan Littell has thrown France into literary uproar over his sprawling novel about a gay Nazi officer. A philosophical view of sex: Deconstructionist Jacques Derrida reportedly had tried to use his coveted archives as leverage to derail a sexual harassment case against a professor at UC Irvine. "Catch the Immigrant": College Republicans staged a tasteless game at NYU and hundreds of students showed up to oppose them (with video). From Reason, experimenting with school choice: Oakland and Compton show school choice can improve results more than the status quo. Susan Patron, surprised by controversy over her children’s book The Higher Power of Lucky, sees a bright side: rising sales. From Technology Review, an article on the promise of personal supercomputers: What will it take to put thousands of microprocessors in cell phones and laptops? Timothy Noah is rescued by Wikipedia: Is Wikipedia's ticket to "notability" the writing of one published article about Wikipedia? Shaking riches out of the cosmos: Rivals claim credit for The Secret, a DVD and a book that promote the power of wishful thinking. George Scialabba reviews The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind by Marvin Minsky and Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge. Is theoretical physics stuck? A review of The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next, by Lee Smolin. Is most published research really false? Articles question the instant classic "Why most published research findings are false". Defying extinction and celebrating the strange: Some might say the elusive coelacanth, in spite of its primordial ugliness, has attained rock star status in the popular imagination. Female chimps in Senegal are fashioning sticks into spears to hunt and kill their prey. Alexandra Gekas on what it means for monkeys—and mankind. And how do children respond to stereotypes about race, religion and gender? A child-development expert looks at contradictions in kids’ behavior
[Feb 26] From Foreign Policy, professors of international relations counsel the leaders of today and mold the policymakers of tomorrow. But what do they think about the most pressing foreign-policy issues facing the United States? The introduction to Modern Political Science: Anglo-American Exchanges since 1880. From NYRB, Robert Solow reviews Adam's Fallacy: A guide to economic theology by Duncan K. Foley (and part 2). The introduction to The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters by Diane Coyle. Too Cool for School: A design project teaches students about the market, and gives the market what it’s looking for. Christopher Caldwell on what a college education buys: Not qualifications, which may be just fine. From ReadySteadyBook, an interview with Dylan Trigg, author of The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia and the Absence of Reason. A review of Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Are markets to blame for bad art? The wrong is not in the market's operation but rather in its use by the purveyor of kitsch to cater to the pedestrian sentiments of the viewer and thus stultify moral education. Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything: David Leite helps a young man, struggling with maturity, accept the garbage that's otherwise known as most of contemporary art. Written on good authority: Why do we so often assume that good authors should be good themselves? Paris University literature professor Pierre Bayard has written a survivor’s guide for literature students, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. Serious book to peddle? Don’t laugh, try Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, among the few on TV who listen. Cass Sunstein on how, in just a few years, Wikipedia has become the most influential encyclopedia in the world. Evicted From Wikipedia: Timothy Noah on why the online encyclopedia won't let just anyone in. Congratulations, you’ve got junk mail worth reading: Two commonsense, anti-killjoy chain letters are making the rounds on the web. Spiked traced their origins and spoke to the authors. The Internet is famously resilient—but it would be surprisingly easy to cut millions of people off from the global network. With ships came viruses: What is the World Wide Web but a full-masted ship transporting the most vital goods of the age? At 93, Donald Crowdis is not only writing about his approaching demise, he's doing it on a blog – and attracting young fans in the process. And Wi-Fi is one of those basic human needs that, like sex, you should never have to pay for
[Weekend 2e] From In Character, these are romance novels with a patina of pseudo-philosophy which is well-suited to those desperate for adulthood: Ayn Rand is probably best read by those still young enough to miss the implication of her beliefs. Randy Girls: Adolescent females love Ayn Rand. Wonder why? There's something undeniably eerie about listening to Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions and realizing it's just as relevant today as then. When the Guardian referred to Martin Amis as "Britain's greatest living author" last week, one reader was so outraged she threatened to emigrate - or worse. So if not Amis, who? Terry Eagleton reviews TS Eliot by Craig Raine. Rediscovering Alexander Herzen: The man who gave Tom Stoppard some of his best lines remains the least read of the great 19th-century Russians. A review of Bernard Fall: Memories of a Soldier-Scholar. From NYRB, Joyce Carol Oates reviews Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints: Essays by Joan Acocella; when is a building beautiful?: A review of The Architecture of Happiness; The Art of Travel; The Consolations of Philosophy; and How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton; a review of books on Orson Welles. A review of Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business by David Mamet and Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch (and more and more and more and more). Toga, Toga, Toga! An interview with Chris Miller, author of The Real Animal House: The Awesomely Depraved Saga of the Fraternity That Inspired the Movie. The New Ishtar: The low-budget " Zyzzyx's Road" becomes the worst grossing film ever released, and a new legend is born. A review of What Would Barbara Do? How Musicals can change your life (and more). A review of The Physics of the Buffyverse. More on Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truths Behind America's Favourite Addiction. More on The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz by Ron Jeremy. Peeping Tom Porn: A look at how more and more private films are showing up on Internet porn sites. The women filmed often have no idea they have become online porn stars. A review of I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron. An interview with French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld on fetishism, feminism and why boys get a raw deal. From Sirens, if you’re going to have recreational sex multiple times with the same person, "You can only cash in three times". After that, a little static cling is bound to develop, no matter how evolved you think you are. And a review of Sex & the Psyche (and more)
[Weekend] Potpourri: A review of Reading Thucydides. A review of Thucydides and the Shaping of History. An excerpt from Leibniz Reinterpreted. The introduction to Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks: Volume I: Journals AA-DD. An excerpt from Michael Walzer’s 1985 Tanner Lecture, "Interpretation and Social Criticism". From the Journal of Consumer Research, a study finds happy endings don’t always make for the most effective advertising. A review of Why Do People Get Ill?: Exploring the Mind-Body Connection. Nick Cohen meets Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge professor of developmental psychopathology. Does the sight of others eating lead kids to eat more? A new study says yes – up to 30 per cent more. It is an odd adage that has stuck around for ages: women who suffer heartburn during pregnancy will have babies with full heads of hair. But doctors have long shrugged it off – until now. Reading Minds: Is commercial lie detection set to go? Ronald Bailey investigates. The introduction to Fly Me to the Moon: An Insider's Guide to the New Science of Space Travel. More on Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest. Why has mankind always loved to draw animals? David Attenborough explains the fascination. A review of Paper Trails: True Stories of Confusion, Mindless Violence, and Forbidden Desires, a Surprising Number of Which Are Not About Marriage. And school librarians have been banning The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron not because she encourages racism or underage sex, but because she uses the word "scrotum" on the first page (and more)
[Feb 23] From the American Political Science Review, Kevin M. Esterling (UC-Riverside): Buying Expertise: Campaign Contributions and Attention to Policy Analysis in Congressional Committees pdf. One way to detect election fraud is to use statistics. Walter Mebane and his team at Cornell University have devised a new method of doing so, similar to that of a mathematical curiosity known as Benford's law. From the NELLCO Legal Scholarship Repository, Mattias Kumm (NYU): Constitutional Democracy Encounters International Law: Terms of Engagement; Robert M. Bloom and William J. Dunn (BC): The Constitutional Infirmity of Warrantless NSA Surveillance: The Abuse of Presidential Power and the Injury to the Fourth Amendment; C. Edwin Baker (Penn): The Independent Significance of the Press Clause under Existing Law; and Eduardo M. Peñalver (Cornell): Restoring the Right Constitution? Frederick M. Dolan (UC-Berkeley): The Paradoxical Liberty of Bio-Power: Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault on Modern Politics pdf. Wanted: an Erich Fromm party: The social philosopher and psychoanalyst was one of the 20th century's most prescient - yet sadly neglected - thinkers. From Australian Book Review, a review of After Blanchot: Literature, Criticism, Philosophy; a review of Derek Bok's Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More. The liberal bias fallacy: An interview with John F. Zipp and Rudy Fenwick, authors of "Is the Academy a Liberal Hegemony? The Political Orientations and Educational Values of Professors". From Inside Higher Ed, Laurence Musgrove is no Luddite, but he’s sick of being told he has to learn some new gizmo to reach his students. Just when you think nothing else can possibly be parlayed into yet another top ten list, along comes an online wit bearing a new gem. Meet John Austin, author of Prank University. From TLS, a review of The Spectral Jew: Conversion and embodiment in medieval Europe. From Host, Leo Pavlát on the Jewish character, what it means to "be chosen", and the dangers of relativism. A review of Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History and Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood. From Butterflies & Wheels, imagine that you are walking through a field and you come upon a watch: An article on William Paley's Wonderful Watch. From Scientific American, are scientists ignoring environmental influence on genetic research? A new study suggests that they do, and that they should take it into account in experiments involving knockout mice. A review of Philosophical Reflections on Medical Ethics. From H-Net, a review of Imperial Bibles, Domestic Bodies: Women, Sexuality, and Religion in the Victorian Market; and a review of Victorian Literature and the Victorian State: Character and Governance in a Liberal Society. Jonathan Ree reviews The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge by Adam Sisman. And still stuck: After all these years, some of us still appreciate bookplates
[Feb 22] Science, technology and more: From Discover, an interview with Francis Collins, author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. A review of Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics. Paul Gross on why the harmonization of science and religion is a strong human need. Sizing up the Universe: In physics, the really big things come in small packages. An interview with Gerard J. DeGroot, author of In Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest (and a review). From The New Yorker, the origami lab: Why a physicist dropped everything for paper folding. From Scientific American, graph theory and teatime: Deep in the heart of Microsoft, Jennifer Chayes and Christian Borgs lead a who's who of mathematics and computer science. The goal? To explore anything they please; and a digital life: New systems may allow people to record everything they see and hear, and even things they cannot sense, and to store all these data in a personal digital archive. "Civilization" and Its Contents: An article on a video game for the ages. An interview with Craiglist's Craig Newmark on blogging with Martin Luther. Flame first, think later: Social neuroscience offers clues into the neural mechanics behind sending messages that are taken as offensive, embarrassing or downright rude. Earnest, needy, aggravating, gone: It looks like you're reading this article. Would you like help? "No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky." And no one should quote E.B. White unless they do it carefully. A review of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder — How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-fly Planning Make the World a Better Place (and more). An excerpt from The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, and an interview with author Scott E. Page. It would not involve tortuous scarification, the filing of teeth, circumcision, or the use of mind-altering drugs, but the idea of a universal coming-of-age ritual that ushers young people into adulthood is gaining traction. When the name of your product is Free Beer, the jokes are inevitable. And for the group of Danish students and artists who came up with Free Beer, that's part of the point, but only part. A review of It’s Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny Life of Mel Brooks. For reasons that remain mostly mysterious, the note we call B flat does the oddest things. Here are a few of them. A review of Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music. Every Bite You Take: How Sysco came to monopolize most of what you eat. And a review of The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong
[Feb 21] From Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, a review of Moral Disagreement, and a review of The Cambridge Companion to Kant and Modern Philosophy. A review of Binding Words: Conscience and Rhetoric in Hobbes, Hegel, and Heidegger. Clive James on how the intellectual climate in Germany shaped Hitler. From Glänta, for their testimonial value, Jean Améry's writings are obligatory reading for anyone interested in studies of the Holocaust. But Améry can and must also be read as moral philosophy. American Idol: America has been surprisingly fertile ground for Nietzsche's ideas, even though he challenged pretty much everything America embodies or represents. Christopher Hitchens reviews Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin. From CUP, the introduction to Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power by John R. Searle. A review of Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology. More on Darwinism and its Discontents by Michael Ruse. A review of The Discovery of the Hobbit: The scientific breakthrough that changed the face of human history. A review of Creatures of Accident: The Rise of the Animal Kingdom. The Noises of Nature: Do animals compete not only for space and food but also for bandwidth? A review and an excerpt from Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future, and an interview with authors Orrin H. Pilkey and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis. From The Scientist, extreme recycling: An article on the multiple uses of dung; and recent PhD Tanya Golubchik pens a wildly-popular online novel based on "The Phantom of the Opera". A review of The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing. Ahead of the Class: A look at why offering A.P. courses isn’t always the answer. The fabulous $50,000-a-year education: College fees skyrocket as campuses pursue talented students and attractive facilities, making education less accessible to the poor. Going to the Chapel: Harvard wasn't the only school to appoint a woman last week. Is there a sex crisis on college campuses? A review of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both. From Princeton, lingerie, beer and a big tub of Crisco! They’re keepin’ it classy over at the Ivy League’s New Jersey outpost. Now it is time for Thomas Benton to come out of the closet, as it were, and confess that he has become a connoisseur of library porn. Between book covers, under the sheets: Jane Smiley on using intricately described sex as a literary tool. From Radar, an interview with Martin Amis on his new book, the Iraq war, and a long-ago love affair with Tina Brown. A review of At the Same Time: Essays & Speeches by Susan Sontag. A new journey into Hofstadter's mind: A review of I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas R. Hofstadter. And a review of Born in Flames: Termite Dreams, Dialectical Fairy Tales, and Pop Apocalypses
[Feb 20] I've never met a man who knew so much about nothing: A review of The Parallax View by Slavoj Zizek. A review of The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe by Michael Frayn (and more and more and more). A review of Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge by Gerald M Edelman. A crisis in anthropology is at the root of the present trend of secularization, says the rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Monsignor Mariano Fazio. A review of Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. From First Things, a review of Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz; a review of The Seduction of Culture in German History; a review of Dialogue with Nietzsche by Gianni Vattimo; and the reign of Marx, Sartre, and Foucault has passed. Derrida is dead. The age of Maritain: Has its hour come round at last? Capitalizing on communism: The visitor to Oxford is met by colleges that are so grand and ostentatious they intimidate. So the modesty of Prof. Leszek Kolakowski comes as a shock to the system. A preview of Action Philosophers #8, "Senseless Violence Spectacular". The University of California- Irvine will drop its suit against Jacques Derrida's family. From Harvard, prominent members of the history and economics departments have expressed concerns about the place of their disciplines in the new curriculum, fearing that their subjects do not fall neatly into any of the categories. Madame President: Why Drew Gilpin Faust, the new female president at Harvard, is an exception to the rule. The New Year brings a new age to Clark University. Starting this semester, Clark will allow gender-neutral housing. From Princeton, Uwe E. Reinhardt, the James Madison Professor of Political Economy and a professor in the Wilson School, on why he loves chicks. From ZNet, a genre in the service of Empire: An Iranian feminist critique of diasporic memoirs. A week after its publication, Ariel Toaff has withdrawn his Pasque di sangue from circulation. Hopefully this will elegantly end an unfortunate episode. The book’s thesis is unambiguous: Jews crucified Christian children and used their blood ritually. From TNR, Jeffrey Herf calls for the creation of a new American book review, and comments from David A. Bell, Richard Stern, Linda Hirshman, Eric Rauchway, Steven Pinker, and Cass Sunstein. There are two ways to approach our cultural crossroads. You can either wring your hands and lament that literacy today has less to do with Wordsworth or Faulkner. Or you can pick up a copy of Pierre Bayard's How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read. And Milan Kundera, celebrated author of the The Unbearable Lightness of Being, predicts in his latest work that literary history is drawing to a close
[Feb 19] From Law & Politics Book Review, a review of The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in Global Perspective; a review of Public Accountabilty: Designs, Dilemmas, and Experiences; a review of White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, Revised and Updated, 10th Anniversary Edition; a review of The Strange Case of Hellish Nell: The Story of Helen Duncan and the Witch Trial of World War II; a review of International Family Law: An Introduction; and a review of Litigating in the Shadow of Death: Defense Attorneys in Capital Cases. A review of Error: On Our Predicament When Things Go Wrong by Nicholas Rescher. From LRB, a review of Pythagoras: His Life, Teaching and Influence and Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans: A Brief History. War of ideas: The Spanish civil war united a generation of young writers, poets and artists in political fervour. The wrong side may have won, but in creating the world's memory of the conflict, the pen, the brush and the camera have had the more lasting triumph, argues Eric Hobsbawm. A review of Paul Ricoeur's On Translation. Is there anything that is not a quotation? Louis Menand reviews Yale Book of Quotations and The Quote Verifier. Two economic figures bumped into each other this month -- book sales and bookstore sales. One held steady, the other fell, a sign of the times, it seems. The tyranny of the bestsellers: Are Dan Brown, Harry Potter, the sequels and the prequels killing "good" writing? "Misunderstanding. Free world. Dilemma." A foreigner's first time in London, the dictionary holds all the answers: An excerpt from A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter. A look at how human knowledge is eroded as endangered languages die. And from Cabinet, it's a fruit, Goddamn it! Barry Sanders on the old man and the tomato; The Beavers and the Bees: Irene Cheng on Intelligent design and the marvelous architecture of animals; a short history of the shadow: An interview with Victor I. Stoichita; and Objet de Lux: A look at the life and work of Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise Du Châtelet (1706–49)
[Weekend 2e] The arts, books and more: From TAS, a Tory transition: A review of Robert Southey: Entire Man of Letters. From TNR, a review of Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin; and fashion and architecture share certain methods and can be inspired by the same sources. But they're not exactly "parallel practices", as a new exhibition claims. Stonehenges all around us: Architectural relics and modern structures show that we may not be much different than our ancestors. From The Simon, a survey of current affairs (via your local bookstore): Bitterness. Fear. Panic. Outright horror. Our times, according to the shelves of our bookstores, suck. A good deal of the fun of lists comes from disagreeing with them: A review of The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books. Hardback Mountain: Tunku Varadarajan gives his books the kiss-off. Trust them, it's a hit: Unlike its movie and TV kin, the publishing industry keeps book sales figures to itself. More on The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks, and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction. Thanks, Dan Brown. Look what you started. In the sound-like-Brown genre the stakes are high, the scruples are absent and the copycatting is out of control. Students, meet your new tutor: Martin Amis, the enfant terrible, turns professor. A review of The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial. More on The Trouble With Diversity. From Ovi, the 21st century is fixed by the permanent rejection of each effort, difficulty, obstacle, labor – whatever it takes to sing Armstrong’s, not the astronaut, song “What a wonderful world” and mean it. From Nerve, here's a list of 20 comics that can change your life. A New Kind of Calvinism: A review of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Ron Jeremy makes his literary debut on The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz. A review of The Story of AC/DC: Let There Be Rock. A review of On the Shoulders of Giants by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And the New York Observer, which hit New York City streets Wednesday in a new tabloid format, has always conveyed something about the person holding it
[Weekend] Religion, science and technology: Karl-Heinz Ladeur and Ino Augsberg (Hamburg): The Myth of the Neutral State: The relationship between state and religion in the face of new challenges. From The Tablet (reg. req.), has liberation theology had its day? Roger Scruton on religious freedom in America. Bill Donohue vs. the world (especially women): An interview with Frances Kissling, head of Catholics for a Free Choice. From CT, an exchange between Jeff Sharlet and Alan Jacobs: "Some fanged enemy of Christendom". When did you forget to defend freedom? Don't mistake healthy criticism of religion for racism. A review of Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity? From Discover, stuck in creationism: The designers of the Creation Museum insist that science is fundamental. A simpler origin for life: The sudden appearance of a large self-copying molecule such as RNA was exceedingly improbable. Energy-driven networks of small molecules afford better odds as the initiators of life. A review of Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade. Evolving a mechanism to avoid sex with siblings: Evolutionary psychologists claim humans evolved a detector for avoiding sex with close kin. From IEET, an article on the two faces of techno-progress. From Wired, Oxford physicist David Deutsch invented quantum computing to prove the existence of parallel universes. So what does D-Wave's demo mean for the future of our world? Capable of processing 1 trillion calculations a second, Intel's latest test chip will revolutionize computing. The global village and the madness of e-crowds: Never have so many, owed so much, for so few user names and passwords. Congress's decision to make daylight-saving time begin three weeks earlier than it used to could cause problems for computer programs' internal clocks. And technology maven: Milton Friedman lives on, despite his demise-- he’s the rightful patron saint of blogging
[Feb 16] American politics and law: From National Journal, how the vice president's actions in 2002 helped set events in motion that led to the prosecution of Scooter Libby, his own chief of staff. From Legal Times, no king please, we're Americans: If you read the Constitution, Mr. Bush, you'll see you're just the president. Inside America’s Gulag: Guantánamo lawyer H. Candace Gorman reports from a parallel legal universe. Interrogations Behind Barbed Wire: Who’s to blame for America’s new torture techniques? An armed America is a polite America: Welcome to Bullitt County, Kentucky, where a country at war celebrates the deadliest firearms civilians can buy. A review of Pistols at Dawn: a history of duelling. Is there a return of 1990s-style right-wing violence? Jeffrey Feldman investigates. Benjamin Barber reviews Dinesh D’Souza’s The Enemy at Home (and more). Rabbi Aryeh Spero says liberalism is philosophically un-American. A hard right punch: Michelle Malkin's conservative fight has others coming out swinging. ABC, CNN, NBC are still in the thrall of the same right-wing rags as much as they ever were in the days of the GOP majority. Take the case of Speaker Pelosi and her plane. Republicans make jokes: The Daily Show for conservatives shows up on YouTube. From Military.com, here's a kind of riddle: what does a short-haired Marine have in common with a long-haired hippie? From TNR, Bret Stephens defends anti-anti-Semitism, but what kind of lies constitute anti-Semitism? In the wake of an increasing flurry of attacks leveled against left-wing Jewish groups by their right-wing counterparts, Jewish Voice for Peace is fighting back, launching a blog. MuzzleWatch.com, to track what it describes as a growing epidemic of intimidation and harassment from fellow Jews. Freedom to Backstab: Anthony Romero, head of the ACLU, America’s most important free-speech organization, has been accused of lying, among other transgressions—by his own mentor. Who said liberties had to be civil? A review of The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America by Jeffrey Rosen. A review of The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, 1991-2006: A Conservative’s Perspective. And Stuart Taylor, Jr. why the WorldCom trial is a good reminder of how excessive sentencing laws can be for people at the high and low ends of the income scale