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[Feb 15] From Slate, Bush channels Bill: The new North Korea deal is surprisingly Clintonian, but critics blast the deal as rewarding "bad behavior". Outside pressures broke Korean deadlock: Both beset by huge problems, George W. Bush and Kim Jong-il needed some kind of breakthrough. So does the North Korean deal serve as a model for what could happen with Iran? Hans Blix thinks so. In 2003 then-Secretary of State Colin Powell received a "grand bargain" offer from Iran and was rebuffed by the White House. Iran today poses a five-pronged threat, warned Alireza Jafarzadeh, the man who first blew the whistle on the Islamic republic's nuclear program, on his new book The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the coming nuclear crisis. Iran’s Nuclear Web: If the West is truly going to keep Tehran from getting the bomb, we will have to block every asset and shun every company involved. From Harper's, an online forum with independent analysts, former CIA officials and think tank scholars on war with Iran. Where's the smoking gun on Iran? Robert Baer wants to know. On reading how the Pentagon implicated Iran in over 170 American deaths in Iraq and feeling a giddy rush: "Finally, pure propaganda!" Is it another blow to Bush's credibility? Look who's talking: President Bush has described Iran's government as "belligerent, loud, noisy" and "threatening" - which is just how the rest of the world sees the US. Still crazy after all these years: An article on the dangerous lunacy of the Bush team's new Mid-East "realignment" strategy. Critics of American foreign policy should imagine a world without the United States of America. Here are two things you can do to stop a war on Iran. From The New Yorker, an article on the politics of Joel Surnow, the man behind "24". The US military has appealed to the producers of 24 to tone down the torture scenes because of the impact they are having on troops in the field and America's reputation abroad. Why do conservatives have such a hard time with humor? Just take a look at this clip from the new Daily Show wannabe on Fox News, "The ½ Hour News Hour", produced by Surnow. And hack attack: Dahlia Lithwick wants to be reinvented as a right-wing blowhard

[Feb 14] American politics: From National Journal, the first big budget battle of the year is on the horizon; will President Bush veto the FY07 continuing resolution needed to avoid a government shutdown? Inspector Henry Waxman's Inquest: The California Democrat and his pals have lots to ask the Bush administration. Too Many Chiefs: Hendrik Hertzberg on the problem with Presidents’ Day. Cheney’s to-do lists, then and now: The vice president on opposite sides of a leaked "secret", 30 years apart. From The Mises Institute, Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. on the Democrats and their doomed ideology. I'm Real. Really: Is it an accident that Genuine John Edwards has chosen this moment to emerge? Cue the Smear Machine: Obama and Edwards have already been slimed. But Democrats are learning to fight back. Democrats in Hollywood: Does the town love Hillary or Obama? Can a candidate be too candid? Obama's bid may provide answer. An article on Barack Obama, the man who would be US president. How Obama learned to be a natural: Today he drips with charisma and inspires fawning admiration from all quarters. But Obama began his journey as a smug young man with little political future. The Gentleman from Illinois: Why did thousands brave sub-zero temperatures to hear Obama's formal candidacy announcement? It's more than just hype. Peter Beinart on Joe Biden, the gaffe-prone windbag America needs. Jonathan Chait on Joe Lieberman and The Weekly Standard in Fantasyland. The Right Man: The GOP is desperate for a real conservative. Can Mitt Romney contort himself to become one? And what if he does? The Rise of the Metro Republicans: How McCain, Romney, and Giuliani may redraw the red-blue map. There is more bad news for the GOP arising from 2006: a swing in party ID toward Democrats and independents. Is there power in a Unity 08?: Send in the centrists? Don't bother, they're here. Remember the FEC? The much-maligned FEC has quietly waded into several important controversies and legal tussles. And a review of The American Ballot Box in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

[Feb 13] From Turkmenistan, meet your new father: the presidential election changes little. From transition to transformation: Western Balkan countries are only just embarking on a journey to transformation, a process that must affect all walks of life, not least some stubborn old attitudes. The heart of Europe: A look at how Kosovo's independence will complete a historical cycle. Anne Applebaum on Russia's latest export: "managed democracy". NATO: Quo Vadis? Recently as part of the on going "war on terror," NATO has been active well beyond its traditional area of operations—in Afghanistan, the horn of Africa, and Lebanon. From Newsweek, intimate strangers: America's long dance with the Mideast dates all the way back to the Founding Fathers. Who knew? Is the US the big loser at Mecca? America thinks the Palestinian agreement is a setback for peace, but many think it's really a setback for U.S. influence. The Axis of Fear: Who do the Saudis fear more, expansionist Iranians or incompetent Americans. Troubled waters over oil: The more we talk about curbing Iranian power, the harder it gets. An interview with Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman: "Israel may have to act alone". Paul Craig Roberts on how the world can stop Bush: Dump the dollar. Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew on Bush's final strategy for Iraq: Bush has invested too much of his presidency in the war in Iraq to walk away now. What next? Michael Lind on US foreign policy after Bush. From In These Times, here are six reasons to close Guantanamo now. The Road Map to Despotism: The abusive imprisonment of nonviolent Palestinian dissenter Dr. Sami Al-Arian does not bode well for the rest of us. From Harper's, an interview with Andrew Cockburn on Donald Rumsfeld. The Defense Department Inspector General's report may only spell the beginning of inquiries into the intelligence activities of Douglas Feith's office. Christopher Hitchens reviews The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina, by Frank Rich

[Feb 12] From Time, an interview with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's Right Hand Man. An interview with Father Thomas D. Williams on the Catholic sense of progress. As European worship steadily declines, many grand old buildings have fallen into disuse. What should become of them? Romanians like to compare their country to the heart of Europe. If so, Europe has been in a continuous state of cardiac arrest. Dinner with Ségolène: Bernard-Henri Levy on a pretty neck rippling with pleasure. It's the oldest jibe in the book: "Americans just don't get irony". But they do: Our national senses of humour have more in common than we like to think. Whether BHL or Louis Theroux, why do European authors find the gritty underside of American culture so endlessly fascinating? Who are the champions? European business seems stuck between awesome America and low-cost Asia. In fact it is doing surprisingly well. Entrepreneurial Culture: Edmund Phelps on why European economies lag behind the US. Who are we? Ask a poll: How polls and surveys created the 'typical' American. A review of Four Days to Glory: Wrestling With the Soul of the American Heartland. Searching for Mr. Right: Wanted: A candidate who truly opposes abortion and gay marriage -- and who can win. How Mitt Romney might take a cue from Calvin Coolidge, the last Bay State governor to make it to the White House. George Will on how conservatives should face the fact that Reaganism cannot define conservatism. Repression, American style: U.S. democracy is under assault by forces of fascism. And is a liberal a nincompoop?: More on What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen, more of American Fascists by Chris Hedges, and more

[Weekend 2e] From Australia, the truth is that behind tragedy there's often something side-splitting about other peoples' ethnic hysteria, though never about our own. Race bedevils us all; it is the shell game we never tire of playing; and to flag or not to flag: How Australians see themselves has become a theme for the coming election. The retreat of reason: An attempt to put political correctness right goes disastrously wrong. On PC bashing in the British press and how it has aided the rise of the far-Right. A review of Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France. To catch a terrorist: An interview with Mark Bowden, author of "Jihadists in Paradise," on hunting down the story of Abu Sabaya. Britney vs. the terrorists: Why are we not refashioning successful broadcast strategies and trying to spread our ideas in the Muslim world, the breeding ground of much of the world's terrorist threats? Iraq's Kurdish president is impossible to pin down. He's friends with the Americans - but also with Iran. He calls himself a Maoist - yet enjoys immense wealth. Who is Jalal Talabani? From NYRB, an essay on The Uncontainable Kurds; and a review of A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, the Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions; Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World; and Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea. Fanning out in search of a North Korean prince: Never before have fat Asian men with crew cuts been in such demand in Macao. From Index on Censorship, can China ever break out of the narrative in which it has bound itself? Can there be peaceful change and equal space for political and economic freedom? Why is China building railroads in Africa? A review of The China Syndrome: The True Story of the 21st Century’s First Great Epidemic. The Influence of Taoism in Communist China: Taoism is one of Asia's foremost religions. Even 57 years of communist rule failed to loosen the grip that this blend of alchemy, philosophy and superstition holds over many Chinese. Let's all bash Singapore: An article on the rich little place that the others love to hate. Thailand's Fight Club: Inside the little-known, action-packed world of Muay Thai boxing. A review of In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India (and more and more). From Monthly Review, an article on the state and economy in Brazil. And an interview with Greg Grandin, author of Empire's Workshop: Latin America, The United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism

[Weekend] From Open Democracy, Sunni, Shi’a and the "Trotskyists of Islam": The tensions between Islam's two major traditions are rooted more in current geopolitics than in differences of faith, says Fred Halliday. An interview with Patrick Cockburn on The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq. Iraq's missing millions: The cavalier accounting of Paul Bremer's CPA helped make Iraq arguably the most corrupt government in the Middle East. From Writ, leading experts say Congress must stop an attack on Iran: Is that constitutionally possible? First rejected, now denied: An article on the real reason why the Bush administration is questioning the existence of Iran's 2003 negotiating proposal to the United States. Thelma and Louise Imperialism: Tom Engelhardt on going over the cliff with George and Dick. Is the big ship America sinking? Structural interdependency has become a significant foundation of the American empire. A review of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, by Chalmers Johnson. From National Journal, is Mitt Romney the zealous traditionalist who blasted courts for opening marriage to same-sex couples? Or is he the social moderate who applauded abortion rights and gay equality? Here's a look at dumb stuff Republicans say on the Senate floor. From Rolling Stone, Destiny's Child: No candidate since Robert F. Kennedy has sparked as much campaign-trail heat as Barack Obama. But can the one-term senator craft a platform to match his charisma? From The Chicago Reader, what makes Obama run? An old profile on Obama's true passion: community organization. Undoing Obama: The Politico goes inside the coming effort to dismantle a candidate. Springfield, Ill., where Barack Obama officially announces his presidential campaign, has a tortured racial history. What happened, and what it could mean for Obama. We want a divider, not a uniter: Barack Obama will kick off his presidential campaign by praising consensus. Well, consensus is overrated. And the bored identity: Obama's race and Clinton's gender are already generating too much hot air

[Feb 9]  From Guinea-Bissau, fears of an emerging narco-state The situation is so serious that government stability is threatened as drug traffickers extend roots into ministries, the army, and the police. Samantha Power on How to Kill a Country: Turning a breadbasket into a basket case in ten easy steps—the Robert Mugabe way. Jesus in the Morning, Voodoo in the Evening: While Christianity and Islam vie for supremacy in many countries, they have failed to banish the rain gods and spirits south of the Sahara. Frequently the pagan rites have fused with a faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to understand why immigration will be the great world issue of the years immediately in front of us, you could do worse than learn Wolof. The Global Quest for a Second Passport: Dual nationality is on the rise, as more citizens cross borders in search of work. The Iranian education system is promoting global jihad against the West in the name of Islam, according to an independent study of textbooks and teachers guides. A countdown to confrontation: Can anything deter Iran from its nuclear ambitions? Next stop Iran? Why George Bush should resist a Wagnerian exit from the White House; and how MAD can they be? An article on deterrence and its limits. Robert McNamara is right: our refusal to give up nuclear arms puts us on the road to disaster. It turns out Kerry was right: Bad students are getting stuck in Iraq. There is a pretty good, if not quite conclusive, case that America has for some time been ready to elect a black president. Black Like Me? David Matthews, author of Ace of Spades, on Barack Obama's identity crisis. The Trouble With Authenticity: The Edwards campaign has blogger trouble. It won't be the last. Progressive bloggers pledge money toward the $1,000 that Jonah Goldberg said he'd give the USO if the Iraq War was still going badly in 2007. Why are internet hoaxes always right-wing? Truth isn't important when you're trying to feed your team's jones for partisan propaganda. From New York, as younger people reveal their private lives on the Internet, the older generation looks on with alarm and misapprehension not seen since the early days of rock and roll. The future belongs to the uninhibited. And what would "24 Hours in Cyberspace" look like if it were done again today? A look at life in cyberspace—way back when

[Feb 8] From Finland, a trip to Lapland can be unforgettable even for experienced travellers used to exotic landscapes and lifestyles, getting to know the indigenous Sámi people. From The New Federalist, an article on the virtues and dangers of a diverse Europe; and Long Live the Euro! A review of The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond. The introduction to Trading Voices: The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations. From Arche, is the West serious about the "last European dictatorship"? Western civil society should stop tolerating cynical realpolitik towards Belarus and put pressure on their governments to blacklist offending officials. What if Putin ran OPEC?: The Russian president's plan to form a natural-gas cartel sounds terrifying. It isn't. From Foreign Policy, Gazprom is getting a bad rap. The state-controlled energy giant that supplies a huge amount of Europe’s natural gas has been spun into a storybook villain for its hardball negotiating tactics. But it’s not Gazprom’s fault that Europeans want to consume more gas than they have; and an interview with Yale's Bruce Ackerman on what Congress can do to back up its words with deeds. Republic or Empire: A national intelligence estimate on the United States by Chalmers Johnson. 101 Ways to Lie About Iraq: Joe Klein is the living incarnation of American "conventional wisdom" -- a spineless, slavish watcher of polls who has no problem whatsoever denying today what he said yesterday. Right-wing pundit Jonah Goldberg made a bet two years ago that by this time Iraqis and Americans would agree the war was worth it. Time to pay up. From The Washington Monthly, an article on Dick Cheney’s dangerous son-in-law: Philip Perry and the politics of chemical security. The liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington releases a list of the "25 Most Corrupt Members of the Bush Administration" (and the list). The Great Right Hope: The conservative movement needs a wipeout in '08, and Idaho has their man. Chris Bowers on how the political blogosphere traffic has reached a plateau, and the nature of the political blogosphere is shifting away from a top-down content generation model toward a bottom-up audience generated model; and more on the increased entry costs in the progressive blogosphere. Peter Daou on The (Broken) Triangle: Progressive bloggers in the wilderness. Rick Perlstein  on how bloggers upstage the mainstream press yet again. Preserving the Internet: How archiving online content can make history. And in a move that portends potentially far-reaching changes in the Washington think-tank scene, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace formally relaunches itself as the "first multinational – and ultimately global – think tank"

[Feb 7] From The Australian, a world view built on worst-case scenarios: Guy Rundle on how modern cultural criticism is infused with a sense of crisis and autonomy lost; a review of Australian Soul: Religion and Spiritualism in the Twenty-First Century; the rational response to globalisation is to reaffirm one's affiliations, and the most sensible way to do that is through a sensible nationalism, where we all stand for something. A review of Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North. Britain is a globalisation success story, says The Economist. Decay and corruption have brought the country's economic model nearer collapse, replies Christopher Harvie. A review of That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British From the Sun King to the Present. A review of Paris: The Secret History. As the door in the wall of the EU grows smaller and smaller and more difficult to pass through, enlargement will lead to the ghettoization of the Balkans. As the decision over the future of Kosovo approaches, tensions are growing in the western portion of the province. A return to violence is a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, a presumed war criminal remains in power with the blessing of the international community. In defence of Polish plumbers: Eliminating national barriers to migration, movement of capital, and provision of services would massively reduce income inequality in Europe. Democracy may carry certain short-term costs, but they are always lower than the long-term damage that comes from a lack of popular participation. Only a new European debate that includes both Europe’s citizens and its institutions can combat “alter-Europeanism” effectively. She's one of the best-known warriors against Holocaust denial. Yet Deborah Lipstadt thinks EU plans to ban "genocide denial" are a disaster. The Second War of Independence: Michael Oren on how the Sinai campaign of 1956 established that Israel was here to stay. Above all, Israel is perhaps the most democratic when it comes to sex. Ayaan Hirsi Ali fled fanaticism in Africa—and Holland. So what does she make of her new conservative friends in D.C.? Christopher Hitchens reviews Infidel: My Life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (and an interview). Deterring Tehran: We may be unable to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, but we can deter it from using them. And how Congress helped end the Vietnam War: Once upon a time, Congress put an end to a bloody debacle. It can do it again

[Feb 6] From Newsweek, a look inside Bush's fixation with Harry Truman. From The Atlantic Monthly, would it be better if Iran did not acquire nuclear weapons? Of course. But there are certain important goals that cannot realistically be attained by war: James Fallows on where Congress can draw the line. Bush's Iran madness: By demonizing Iran and stirring up sectarian hatred against it in the region, Bush is pouring gas on the fire he started in Iraq -- and empowering al-Qaida. Arming our enemies? An interview with journalist Martin Smith, on how the US strategy of Iraqification could backfire. Appointment in Mesopotamia: Christopher Hitchens on how Iraq's problems existed long before 2003. If the Iraq War were a corporation: Daniel Gross on how a real CEO president would turn it around. Paul Krugman on The Green-Zoning of America. It's time to sharpen the scissors: Fred Kaplan breaks down the $739 billion defense budget. Is there a budget crisis? And is bipartisan compromise what's needed to address it? Robert Bixby, the Concord Coalition's executive director, debates Robert Kuttner. From Salon, how to fix campaign financing forever for $50: A radical proposal by two Yale professors goes far beyond any reform envisaged by Feingold or McCain. Notes on a scandal: An article on how to clean up campaign finance. From TNR, is Hillary Clinton's victory inevitable? Jonathan Chait investigates; and Peter Beinart on how weakness is strength, and other lessons of the Clinton campaign. From eloquent memoir to Democratic boilerplate: A review of Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. Tithe and Spend Republicans: Can conservatives really trust a man who lost 100 pounds with the presidency? A review of Gerald R. Ford by Douglas Brinkley. From The Politico, Tom DeLay and Martin Frost on what the camera in the House sees. Here are weird and wacky moments from the Scooter Libby trial. The Other Jack Abramoff: When Jack Abramoff became the poster boy for crooked lobbying, it was hard to square that with the man Kim Eisler knew. From Editor & Publisher, for centuries, readers thumbed through the crackling pages of Sweden's Post-och Inrikes Tidningar newspaper. No longer. The world's oldest paper still in circulation, founded in 1645 by Queen Kristina, has dropped its paper edition and now exists only in cyberspace. In Search of Serendipity: Can online papers recreate a joy of print? You bet -- in fact, they already do. And self-employed bloggers say it takes at least six months to build readership and clout in the blogosphere, but once they have, most take in between $2,000 and $10,000 a month from ad sales

[Feb 5] From The New York Times Magazine, is he an activist scholar or an extremist in scholarly garb? Ian Buruma on how Tariq Ramadan has an identity issue. From The Observer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali Muslim, supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. But on moving to Europe her views changed and she turned against Islam. Who is this fierce critic who lives under the constant threat of death?, an interview with Ali, and a review of Infidel. Tension over territory affect the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, writes Catherine Simon. It exists between settled and nomadic communities, and between 'outsiders' and locals. The Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia keeps telling us the world is getting less conflicted: An interview with Andrew Mack, the Centre's director. David A. Bell on The Peace Paradox: How an urge to end war can lead to more war. Where Have All the Protests Gone? It's not radical anymore to organize and conduct protests on the web. It's practical. A review of How States Fight Terrorism: Policy Dynamics in the West. Why Canada must muscle up: A review of Whose War Is It? How Canada Can Survive in the Post-9/11 World. Niall Ferguson reviews The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World by Rupert Smith. More on Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home. Nick Cohen thinks his defence of the Iraq war in What's Left? is a sign of maturity. Peter Wilby begs to differ (and more). What's the big idea? Francis Fukuyama jumped clear of the wreckage as neocon certainties crashed in Iraq. But his change of heart made him enemies in Washington, and a review of After the Neocons. A look at how the war in Iraq is propelling a massive migration, and the wave is creating tension across the Middle East. Leonard Weiss and Larry Diamond on why Congress must stop an attack on Iran. What to ask before the next war: We can't allow proponents of military action to control the debate about whether to attack Iran. Whose War Powers? Can Congress tell the president how to fight in Iraq? Should it? A Decider Meets 535 More of ’Em: Congress goes from call-waiting to engraved invitations in George W. Bush’s book. The Lorax: Jeffrey Goldberg on how Joe Lieberman sees himself. A review of What a Party! My Life Among Democrats by Terry McAuliffe. Last week, there was a successful terrorist attack in Boston. And the perpetrators were Turner Broadcasting and the Cartoon Network, and they succeeded in hijacking something that every American holds dear: our attention. For a moment, Scooter and Baghdad and Mary Cheney's pregnancy were shoved aside by a talking milk shake, fries, and meatball

[Weekend 2e] A new issue of New Perspectives Quarterly is out. From Open Democracy, an understanding of the term "genocide" that draws afresh on the experience of the last century is needed to ensure greater human security in the next, says Martin Shaw. From The Economist, what keeps bankers awake at night? The more people worry about risks within the financial system, the better; and when terrorists strike, what happens to investment and jobs? From UCLA, an article on depoliticized politics and the end of the short twentieth century in China. Martin Wolf reviews The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century by Will Hutton. When opium can be benign: China's Communist Party, reconsidering Marx's words, is starting to wonder whether there might not be a use for religion after all. Natural farming greening the deserts: An article on the life and work of Japanese farmer-philosopher Fukuoka Masanobu. The Radar guide to Russian oligarchs: Dude, Where's My Czar? An interview with author Vladimir Sorokin: "Russia is slipping back into an authoritarian empire". Refereeing the dirtiest match in World Cup history: Valentin Ivanov's "Soviet school of refereeing" during the World Cup 2006 was cause for celebration in Russia. What does this say about the nation's attitude to rules? From Outlook India, a review of The Last Durbar: A Dramatic Presentation of the Division of British India. A review of The Corporation that Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational. A review of Arundhati Roy: Critical Perspectives. From LRB, an essay on what to do about Burma: Are we getting it wrong? From FT, an interview with Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand. Is Uruguay the next Chile? If only it allowed itself to be. The introduction to Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic. From The Progress Report, what should American dissidents put their faith in? Joel S. Hirschhorn investigates. An interview with Clint Johnson, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South (and Why It Will Rise Again). Ancient History: Frank Luntz, the architect of Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution, packs his bags, and an interview on Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear.  David Greenberg on E. Howard Hunt, international man of mystery, and a man who had another life though, one that he lived through his novels. Sander Hicks, author of The Big Wedding: 9/11, The Whistle-Blowers, and the Cover-Up, on why the 9/11 case isn't closed. The case for anarchy: An interview with Mark Leier, author of Bakunin. And a review of The Declaration of Independence: A Global History

[Weekend] From Germany, ancient phalluses, the world's oldest condom, a naked anatomically correct Neanderthal: visitors to the new exhibition "100,000 Years of Sex" will find plenty to stimulate their brains -- not to mention other organs. From Prospect, Britain's cities need to grow. It's time to start building on the green belt. Britannia redux: The birthplace of globalisation in the 19th century is coping well with the latest round. But can it keep it up? Coalitions for the willing: "Multi-speed Europe" is making a comeback, along with the constitution. From Europe comes a beer just for dogs. But will they like it? Time puts the pooch hooch to a taste test. More on Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America by Andrei S. Markovits. Upping the anti: The charge of anti-Americanism against critics of the Bush administration glosses over the real menace of US military power recklessly wielded. From American Heritage, an article on how Ayatollah Khomeini changed the world. A League of Their Own: What stands between hostile sectarian forces and the resumption of all-out civil war in Lebanon is the Arab League. Traffic Cop in an Unsettled Region: Not only is Saudi Arabia trying to stem conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon, but it has also taken a tough stand against Iran. A miserable lot: Why Israelis feel their country is suffering from a malaise. On Israel's worst nightmare: A look at why Israelis are afraid--very afraid. Surging Doubts: National Journal talks to senior government officials, military leaders and think-tank analysts of all stripes, and finds that the confidence in Bush's troop surge is low. Admiral Bill Fallon is Bush's new pick to command all US troops in the Middle East. Too bad he's a blithering idiot. A survey of four administrative initiatives that exemplify the project of sending bureaucrats to war. Daniel J. Cox Jr. doesn't look like a troublemaker, but the Senate Armed Services Committee aide knows how to stir things up. An interview with John Edwards on America's foreign policy challenges in the Middle East. From TNR, how do you make Alberto Gonzales stop lying? Truth, Lies, and The Libby Trial: How our society treats lies and those who tell them, and why truth-tellers are sometimes punished more harshly than liars. Free Scooter Libby! If leaks are vital to journalism, says Michael Kinsley, why should the man who helped produce one go to jail? Joe Biden is just the latest public figure to grovel for forgiveness. But perhaps we should judge him and others by their spin, not their spills. The Irrelevance of Soft Bigotry: Why Joe Biden's foul-up doesn't matter. And America's blacks have growing political clout. They need to use it to confront some difficult questions

[Feb 2] From Chile, the battle over the legacy of former dictator Augusto Pinochet continues, as his supporters are now attempting to have his former house declared a national monument. A New Castro? David Rieff on how Hugo Chávez may sound like a throwback, but he has tapped into a very modern frustration with US power. What's with all the Cuban doctors? How Castro built a nation of physicians. In race matters, the US is becoming more and more like Brazil. The introduction to Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America. A look at how anti-Scottish sentiment will crush the British Labour Party. Who runs Germany? An article on the intersection of politics and business interests. From Asia Times, an article on the US and the meaning of "fair trade". From The Globalist, the challenges to developing a global multilateral trading system are many, and the international institutions created after World War II are no longer sufficient. The first chapter from Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality. Stephen Roach on the Davos Disconnect: For a great number of major industrial nations, the share of economic rewards going to labor stands at a historic low. This is not sustainable. From The Walrus, the conspiracy against Africa: A look at why Africa is a mess and it’s not going to get better any time soon; and celebrities have thrown their arms around Africa. Has the continent benefited from this awkward embrace? Questioning Friedman: UC-Berkeley's Pranab Bardhan on how political freedoms may not flow naturally from economic freedoms. Mapping the road to the future: A revolutionary new method of charting social trends is helping to identify the nations most likely to become the world's leading innovators. From National Journal, the Congressional Budget Office proved again last week why it is such a critically important part of the federal budget debate. Michelle Cottle on Bush's latest, shameless attack on expertise. Dismayed by the system they helped to create, some veteran political strategists are out to create a better choice in 2008; and closing the God Gap: How a pair of Democratic strategists are helping candidates talk about their faith. The YouTube Gotcha Game: How Web video could sink a presidential candidate or two. And a review of Blogosphere: The New Political Arena

[Feb 1] From Re-Public, a special issue on the promise of the commons (and part 2); an interview with Saskia Sassen on politics and the global city (and part 2); an essay on borders, migration and the limits of democracy; an interview with David Held on globalization, civil society and social democracy; Richard Falk on political representation for a globalizing world; Joseph Camilleri on the globalisation of insecurity and the democratic imperative. It started as a protest movement, but now anti-globalization activists are struggling to redefine themselves. The new message from the World Social Forum in Nairobi is that business plans are needed to help make the world a better place. The three faces of the World Social Forum: After seven years, is it any closer to making another world possible? Immanuel Wallerstein on the World Social Forum: From defense to offense. From Freezerbox, an article on how Congress can start turning back the minute-hand on the Doomsday clock. From The Weekly Standard, an article on Mitt Romney's conversion: His pro-life turn is more recent than you think. Comedian Al Franken has decided to run for the US Senate from Minnesota in 2008. From GQ, Republican senator Chuck Hagel sounds off on the sorry state of Congress, the president’s lies, and the vote for war that he now regrets. From TNR, a look at why the next president will come from the Senate. Peter Beinart on why white people like Barack Obama. The experience machine: Critics say Barack Obama isn't experienced. But he has all the experience of an Icelandic dictator. The Obama Messiah Watch: Timothy Noah introduces a periodic feature considering evidence that Obama is the son of God. Feeding frenzy for a Big Story, even if it’s false: The first anonymous smear of the 2008 presidential race illustrated how easily dubious information can spread (and more). From The Politico, they are the ubiquitous "senior administration officials," and they remain one of Washington's more enduring mysteries. Never mind who they are. The puzzle is what they are. Democrats are in a bind when it comes to their domestic economic agenda. They have promised a number of new and costly initiatives, but they have also made a commitment to fiscal responsibility. So how can they deliver on their promises without opening themselves up to the old "tax and spend" label? Paying a fair share: Paul Waldman on why Democrats need a simple taxation message if they are to sustain their majority. Harold Meyerson on why Andy Stern remains American liberalism's most innovative architect. And The Nation remembers Molly Ivins (and more from The Texas Observer, and a video of "The Dildo Diaries")
[Feb 15] Litmus Test for Hypocrisy: Why is it that abortion is often the issue on which political candidates seem especially opportunistic and unprincipled? A review of Neonatal Bioethics: The Moral Challenges of Medical Innovation. From New York, an article on how not to talk to your kids: The Inverse Power of Praise. Beyond punishment: A considerable body of research shows that corporal punishment can never make a child learn or behave better. Yet, the practice is widely prevalent. A review of All God's Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families. Eros Unbound: Gershon Legman thought sexual repression made for a mean and bitter society. Scott McLemee wonders if the culture automatically gets more pleasant when we let it all hang out. Murderous jealousy, it's in our genes: Should we take a pill to quell jealousy, the urge that compelled an astronaut to plot murder? They're closer than you think: At some point in life, most of us will face a major mental-health crisis. It is called love. An interview with Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones’ new co-editors on men, women, and journalism. National Review asks a group of politics lovers who their one true is (or was): Who does K-Lo love today? Love's labor's lost: What young women are saying about their aversion to emotional ties. A review of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both and US Guys: The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man. A review of The Bachelor Chronicles by Ron Geraci. Jonathan Cohn on a gay marriage ban that hurts conservatives. Valentine's Day is a reminder that we are all continually present in a sexual marketplace, ready to be sold to the next determined bidder. V Is For Vasectomy: This Valentine's Day, progressive men should consider the gift that keeps on preventing. V for Vendetta: Conservative groups take to college campuses to bash Eve Ensler and reclaim Valentine's Day as a celebration of traditional gender roles. An Affair of the Head: They say love is all about brain chemistry. Will you be dopamine? And Romantic Love, a cultural icon best known for inspiring millions of greeting cards, was found dead on Wednesday. He was more than 900 years old, and is survived by his three children: Drunken Hookup, Marry For Money and Biological Clock Ticking

[Feb 14] Political economy and the environment: From National Review, an interview with Richard Vedder, co-author of The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy. It's Not What You Know: Education alone doesn't protect workers from falling incomes. A review of Dynasties by David Landes (and more). A review of Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement. Dangerous when in power: Does government protect us from hazardous products, or does it put us in harm's way? Capitalism 104 is a new course: It takes off from what we have learned in our previous courses. Too wealthy for worries: Unless the lessons of history are irrelevant, it's a fantasy to think that markets can police themselves. It’s a great country, especially if you’re rich: Much has been made lately of stock buybacks by public companies. But who wins? An interview with former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill: "Hedge funds have to open their books to regulators". Hands off hedge funds: Sebastian Mallaby on why hedge funds aren't a financial problem, they help avoid financial problems. Over the hedge: Daniel Gross on signs of the coming hedge-fund apocalypse. How to get Wall Street to hug a tree: Environmentalists and investment bankers are working together to put a price tag on nature. The new greens think that human beings are ready to start paying for Mother Nature's services—and that calculating their financial worth will save the planet. Is it time for a new tax on energy? Economists say government should foster alternatives, but not how Bush proposes. The $10,000 Question: How AEI's foray into climate policy stirred up a media hornet's nest. Cooling the Planet: If we can’t adequately reduce or sequester carbon emissions, are more-radical alternatives like orbital mirrors a solution to climate change? Is the deadly crash of our civilization inevitable? An interview with Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization. And get used to it: Even if we adopted the most far-reaching plans to combat climate change, we would still watch greenhouse gases rise for decades

[Feb 13] From The Simon, there is a fine line between being crazy and being angry to the point of irrationality, and it can be hard to tell the difference. Willie Nelson’s songs have brought comfort to millions, but do we really need a self-help book from the former wild man of music? A review of The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections; Goodbye to Shy: For the Bashful in All of Us; and I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. A review of My Sister, My Self: Understanding the Sibling Relationship That Shapes Our Lives, Our Loves and Ourselves and The Sister Knot: Why We Fight, Why We're Jealous, and Why We'll Love Each Other No Matter What. What price love? The charms of patriarchy have always seemed pretty obvious – if you are lucky enough to be the patriarch. Big Mother is watching: How did we come to the very recent idea that children must never be left at home alone? An updated understanding of marriage can be wholly in line with left-wing values and can even foster them. Americans love marriage. But why? Despite what you have been told, being wed doesn't necessarily make you happier or healthier. Want to meet someone special? Turn off your cellphone and step away from MySpace. It's time to join the Slow Love revolution. A review of Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy. A review of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both. A review of The Big Fat Bitch Book and Achtung Schweinehund! A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat. A review of Us Guys: The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man (and more). From Radar, warning: The following men have been known to cause extreme discomfort, mental anguish, anxiety, and nausea. Do not take internally; and a salute to the world's worst Valentine's Day gifts. My not-even-remotely Funny Valentine: We don’t know what provoked the astronaut Lisa Nowak. But we do know that the love drug is a powerful one. Do astronauts have sex?: In space, no one can hear you moan. And Playboy archives go digital; that means its articles, too

[Feb 12] From The New York Times Magazine, the needle and the damage done: Lethal injections are often botched and sometimes painful. Doctors don’t want to administer them. Is it time to kill this form of execution? Sudden Death: American support for the death penalty is diminishing—except on the Supreme Court. A review of Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court (and more and more). A review of A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South. A review of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. A review of This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War by James M. McPherson. A review of Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II.  A review of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying. A review of A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII. A review of Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory by Norman Davies. A review of Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another. A review of Forgotten Wars: the End of Britain's Asian Empire. A review of In the Service of the Sultan: A First-Hand Account of the Dhofar Insurgency. A review of Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World. A review of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present. A review of Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush. More on Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson. Victory is not an option: William Odon on why the mission can't be accomplished -- it's time for a new strategy. And blame (Blank) for Iraq: The finger-pointing grows more intense, with an eye on the history books

[Weekend 2e] From PENNumbra, a debate on racial profiling and the War on Terror. An excerpt from In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America. The Ethnicist: Radar's resident race expert answers the questions you're too afraid to ask. First up, blacks and menthols. Victor Davis Hanson on Mexifornia, Five Years Later:  The flood of illegal immigrants into California has made things worse. A review of The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures. The US is almost certainly too big to be a meaningful democracy. What does "participatory democracy" mean in a continent? Sooner or later, a profound, probably regional, decentralization of the federal system may be all but inevitable. Such is the way of things in the 21st century. We curse the fear while whistling past the graveyard. It sucks out loud. The New Seriousness Or: how Pat Kane learned to start worrying and hate the banal. From In These Times, dreaming up new politics: An article on thinking different in an age of fantasy. It seems we've come to believe that it is better to feel like we lost the game than to dare consider that the refs threw it. Such passivity spills over into self-doubt, which further fuels the fear of success. From The Economist, music wants to be free: Selling digital music without copy-protection makes sense; and what's on next: The union of television and the internet is spawning a wide variety of offspring. iWorld: A look at how the iPod personalizes everything. The Wizards of Buzz: A new kind of Web site is turning ordinary people into hidden influencers, shaping what we read, watch and buy. The Names of the Game: Privacy may be a luxury, but it’s one sacrificed to order groceries from bed. Transparency and the Edwards campaign: Will the professionalization of bloggers destroy the openness and directness that have made blogs so popular? Attack of the Christofascists: John Edwards bloggers were accused of being anti-Catholic - and the mainstream media fell for it hook, line and sinker. Hijacking the AM Band: Beating the odds and predictions of its demise, Air America not only stays afloat, but helps swing an election and spawns a new industry in progressive talk radio. David Ignatius celebrates Charles Peters, journalism's relentless centrist. Far from being an absurd hall of mirrors or a plague on the profession, the Libby trial is serving a useful purpose for journalists and their audience. The best way to prevent, detect and punish corruption is to enforce rules against all violators, whether they work inside the Capitol or on K Street. And no matter where the term first came into existence, the practice of "lobbying" is wholly woven into the American narrative

[Weekend] From The Guardian, are we all anti-semites now? Matthew Yglesias on how the "new" anti-semitism doesn't necessarily involve a bigoted view of Jewish religion, Jewish people, or Jewish anything else. From Algemeiner, the underpinnings of Jewish history: Is Jewish history anything but a dialogue between Jews and G-d with the entire world as a very interested eavesdropper? An excerpt from Jack Huberman's The Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Nonbelievers, Political Junkies, Gadflies, and Those Generally Hell-Bound. Daniel Dennett debates H. Allen Orr on The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Religious correctness: While it has never been more important to study religion critically than it is today, it has never been more difficult to do so. Ted Haggard’s fall from grace proves to many conservative Christians that the homosexual agenda can ensnare even the most devout. The Hypocrisy Hunter's Guide: An article on how sex, politics and religion have been bedfellows since 1804. From Reason, who owns your body parts? Everyone's making money in the market for body tissue -- except the donors; and will biotechnological progress lead to human degradation? Leon Kass thinks so. Enforcing Virtue: Is social stigma a threat to liberty, or is it liberty in action? God, sex, drugs and politics: A new HPV vaccine sparks controversy. Band-aids are not enough. The country needs comprehensive health care reform. Here are five essential changes. How populist is John Edwards's new health care plan? Paul Krugman says Edwards gets it right. Emily Yoffe cuts back to 1,500 calories a day. Will she live to be 120 years old? Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Or why we should learn to stop worrying and love food. More on The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times. Beans of Wrath: The fair-trade movement is having a major effect on the lives of coffee growers, the entire coffee industry and in some cases the economies of countries. A look at how airport security hurts the stock market. A review of Milton Friedman: A Biography by Lanny Ebenstein. And a look at the publication history of The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek

[Feb 9] From The Nation, is George W. Bush the worst President the United States has ever seen? Nicholas von Hoffman examines how Bush stacks up. And cast your vote in our Worst President Poll. From NYRB, a review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by John Patrick Diggins; Reagan: A Life in Letters; Transforming America: Politics and Culture During the Reagan Years; and The Reagan Imprint: Ideas in American Foreign Policy from the Collapse of Communism to the War on Terror. From The Smithsonian, the immunity from prosecution that Gerald Ford granted Richard Nixon for his role in Watergate may have helped the nation heal, but it likely cost Ford a second term. Here's a detailed account of the late president's momentous decision. When the GOP Torpedoed Nixon: Here's an account of Nixon's last few days in office and the pressure from party members. From National Review, a flashback: Ralph de Toledano on the context of liberalism.  From Get Underground, an essay on Leo Strauss and the Cult of the Noble Lie. From India's Telegraph, an article on Christopher Hitchens and his kind: The thrill of saying something vile. From New Statesman, more on What's Left? How liberals lost their way by Nick Cohen. With friends like these: An odd marriage of Muslims and secular socialists, united against America, is challenged by pundits of right and left. From Socialist Worker, are "anti-authoritarians" the real left? More on the meaning of Marxism. From In These Times, declassified, but still unavailable: Two hundred and seventy million pages of FBI files were recently declassified. Why can’t the public access them? Benjamin Wittes on how not to assess warrantless wiretapping. A review of Jan Crawford Greenberg's Supreme Conflict and Jeffrey Rosen's The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America. An interview with Sandra Day O'Connor on stepping down, Iraq and caring for her ill husband. Justice Girls: The female justices begin to reflect on feminism. From TNR, an article on Anna Nicole Smith's day at the Supreme Court. The fantasy of Happily Ever After: Anna Nicole Smith stripped marriage of its illusions. An interview with Christina Hoff Sommers on stolen feminism and the war against boys. And an excerpt from The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory, and an interview with authors J. M. Adovasio, Olga Soffer, Jake Page

[Feb 8] From Stars & Stripes, a series of articles on Gangs in the Military: How big of a problem? From The Chinese Journal of International Politics, an essay on The Evolution of Law of War. In 1798, President John Adams delegated the office of Commander-in-Chief to another man - George Washington. Is this something President Bush should consider doing today? A Will Without a Way: An article on the conservative canard about the "will to win in Iraq". Islam or Islamism? The focus of analysis and policy in relation to terrorism needs to shift from religion to politics. An interview with Bill Warner, director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam. "Loose Change" is a sharp, slick film with an authoritative voiceover, but it drowns the truth in an ocean of 9/11 conspiracy nonsense, says George Monbiot. From TAP, an essay attacking "progressive Jews" actually concerns a radical fringe. How anti-Semitic are American intellectuals? John B. Judis finds out. Chris Hedges’ The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism outlines several principles inherent in Christian fascism. Here's some more (and an interview). From City Journal, nothing works in the omnicompetent state: Theodore Dalrymple reviews Wasting Police Time: The Crazy World of the War on Crime; It's Your Time You're Wasting: A Teacher's Tales of Classroom Hell; and Plundering the Public Sector: How New Labour are letting consultants run off with £70 billion of our money. If leaders think it suicidal to confront the public with hard choices, says Jacob Weisberg, the public learns that hard choices are not necessary: On avoidance as political strategy. Members of Congress could glean some valuable tips from the HBO's "Rome", according to the show's historian, Jonathan Stamp. Pete Peterson wants to do for the budget deficit what Al Gore, former US vice-president, did for global warming. From American, a look at the 10 most economically literate members of Congress. Falling Flat: Why conservatives' defense of the flat tax is a fraud. Arnold Kling and Brad DeLong debate their different takes on FDR's New Deal. Solidarity Without Borders: Confronted with multinationals and business-friendly trade agreements, unions have begun to act globally. Snakes in the Garden: Wal-Mart wanted to modernize its image. Big-city types wanted to make a fortune doing it. By the time it was over, nobody was happy except the lawyers. The New War Over Wal-Mart: The mounting attacks on the world’s largest company could change American business—and transform the health-care system. From American Heritage, an article on 10 Moments That Made American Business. From Harvard Business Review, here the annual Breakthrough Ideas for 2007. And the introduction to Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Growth Mechanism of the Free-Enterprise Economies

[Feb 7] From Free Inquiry, post-Christian Europe: Will it stay secular? Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart on Supply, Demand, and Secularization; and Paul Cliteur on how the postmodern relativistic or nihilistic position makes Western societies easy prey for the ideology of radical Islamism. Jack Huberman has a plan for saving our sacred secular America. Modern Republicans are sort of half-baked libertarians. Their dream for the United States is a Christian fundamentalist theocracy that is economically anarchic, except that somehow we still have paved streets and a recognized currency. Form CT, an article on The Know-Nothing Party: How should Christians respond to ill-informed attacks? The Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counseling convinced he is "completely heterosexual" (and more). From Forbes, let's not forget our Adam Smith. When we do, capitalism loses its moral authority, and the redistributionists win. From New York, the Bush-proof portfolio: The president’s foolhardy foreign policy and wanton spending have investors fleeing to foreign exchanges. It’s time to join them; Quack! Quack! Bush isn’t the only one (dangerously?) flapping his wings. We’re living in the age of lame-duckism, where dying things won’t go away; and American Jeremiad: A harrowing ride up the proverbial creek and into the beating, bleeding heart of RFK Jr. You're Getting Warmer: Daniel Engber on the new statistical rhetoric of climate change. Global warming is fact. But which technical solutions will work, and which fail? Kept in the dark: Concentrated Solar Power is the secure energy supply of the future, so why haven't we been told about it? Any real, lasting solutions will have to be extremely simple. Fortunately, there is such a solution, one that is grippingly unoriginal. It's called a carbon tax. Who's Funding Global Warming? Find out which banks are part of the problem, and which are part of the solution, in the fight against global climate change. Global warming tops polls, but how much heat do officials really feel? An article on Anthony Downs, ecology and the "Issue-Attention Cycle". An excerpt from The Population Fix: Breaking America's Addiction to Population Growth. A review of Richard Posner's Catastrophe: Risk and Response. Fill 'Er Up, Terror Free: An article on the quest for oil that doesn't support evil. A review of War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today by Max Boot. And My Own Private Foreign Policy: The long era of the nation-states' monopoly on foreign policy may coming to an end

[Feb 6] From American, a review of Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by Brian Doherty. Why be a conservative libertarian? Arnold Kling on liberals, libertarians and the future of conservatism. From The Chronicle of Philanthropy, nonprofits have the responsibility of outrage when government policy creates and exacerbates misery: Charities need to speak up and demand that Congress get Washington's foreign policy and its financial priorities in order. From Dissent, interns aren’t just a temporary resource that changes every summer. Liberal organizations need to get serious about investing time, money, and resources in summer programs for students. A review of My Reality Check Bounced!: The Twentysomething's Guide to Cashing In On Your Real-World Dreams. More on Affluenza: How to Be Successful and Stay Sane. From The Boston Globe, this year marks the fifth anniversary of the coverage of clergy sexual abuse. Yet while the news media have received recognition for their part in exposing abuse, little attention has been paid to the underlying role played by lawsuits. If a woman consents to having sex with a man but then during intercourse says no, and the man continues, is it rape? The answer depends on where you live. From Common Ground, sex is the latest frontier for freedom. But it’s also the basis for community and for many, a conduit to spirituality. Bear-y gay: A subculture of hefty, hirsute gay men is attracting the attention of academics and social critics. They f@#% horses don't they? A new documentary reveals that bestiality is alive and kicking. Girls Gone Bad: Paris, Britney, Lindsay & Nicole: They seem to be everywhere and they may not be wearing underwear. Tweens adore them and teens envy them. But are we raising a generation of "prosti-tots"? (and more). It’s like a wedding but with a twist: Young women exchange rings, take vows and enjoy a first dance… with their dads. "Purity balls" are the next big thing in the save-it-till-marriage movement. Smart or scary? "Yummy mummies" don’t exist, or rather they exist in such a rarefied sphere that most people will never encounter one. You are a yummy mummy if you are a) Kate Moss or b) a trophy wife married to a banker whose annual bonus exceeds £2m. And, er, that’s it. From Nerve, a special issue on Sex and the Single Superhero: From Batman to the Green Goblin, the most scandalous sex scenes in comics. So comics finally got some respect on the walls of famous museums. That must be a good thing... right? Good Disguise: Can shared fandom for pop-culture iconography convert escapism to engagement? The politics of pants: A review of Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon. And whatever happened to now? The fashion world may be so caught up in the solipsism of consuming and in the virtual that they miss the now altogether

[Feb 5] Elizabeth Kolbert on The Hot Topic: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues a historic report. A Disaster Epic (in Slo-Mo): The consequences of climate change may be major when looked at over long stretches of time. But can a disaster that needs thousands of years to unfurl elicit a fast-motion response? From The Little Magazine, a special issue on Globalization and its Contents, including contributions from Amartya Sen Günter Grass and Joseph Stiglitz. A review of Making Globalization Work: The Next Steps to Global Justice. Francis Fukuyama on the end of the world: Despite a few insecurities, the U.S. and global economies are strong enough to handle setbacks and continue growing. How much should we worry about inequality? Brad DeLong investigates. Michael Kammen reviews The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism From 1600 to Modern Times by Tristram Stuart (and more). A review of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver. The politics of psychiatry are inescapable, which is why all societies must consider them with the greatest of seriousness. A review of In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family by John Sedgwick. A review of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. A review of The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics; Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers; and Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (and more). A review of Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent (and more). The Racial Politics of Speaking: Maybe it’s time for a national therapy session on the word "articulate". How Pepsi helped open corporate doors to African-Americans: A review of The Real Pepsi Challenge. When is a midwife not a midwife? A review of Obstructed Labour: Race and Gender in the Re-Emergence of Midwifery. The introduction to Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England. Gloria Steinem, arguably the most glamorous and globally recognisable face of the international women's movement, appears as energetic and inventive as ever at 72: An interview with the woman who has been described as "America's most influential, eloquent and revered feminist". A review of Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism. The sad life of an original superstar: One thing we can all agree on is that she was beautiful. Edie Sedgwick took the Sixties by storm, then threw it all away. And for decades feminists have tried to bring down the beauty contest. But now it is breaking up under the weight of its own scandals

[Weekend 2e] From Radical Society, Stephen Duncombe takes a second look at Walter Lippmann; and we're all skeptics now; or, how denying the world brings us back to it: Morgan Meis makes Sextus Empiricus new again. AC Grayling is staggered and amused by the response to his last blog, but he's still waiting for someone to reveal Christianity's contribution to science. A review of Religion and the Constitution: Volume 1: Free Exercise and Fairness by Kent Greenawalt. A review of On the Public. From On the Commons, Jonathan Rowe on the Second Death of Great American Cities... and how the commons can help bring them back. John Allen Paulos on health, wealth, and happiness: A few new studies shed a little quantitative light on these perennial imponderables, some of it surprising. Survival of the Yummiest: Should we buy Michael Pollan's nutritional Darwinism? From TLS, a review of Single by Chance, Mother by Choice: How women are choosing parenthood without marriage and creating the new American family. The monthly mood swings experienced by many women may serve an evolutionary purpose, researchers say: By helping to get them pregnant (and more). From Psychology Today, can men and women be friends? Male-female friendship can be tricky, but both benefit from cross-sex buddyhood. German girls are twice as easy: Men have been talking their way into women's pants since the dawn of human speech, but a new report shows some significant geographic variance in method. A review of The Playmate Book: Six Decades of Centerfolds; Dear Playboy Advisor: Questions from Men and Women to the Advice Column of Playboy Magazine; The History of Men's Magazines, Vol. 2: Post-War to 1959; and The Playboy Book: Fifty Years. From Details, meet The New Bachelor: He’s got money to burn and a line of women out the door—and the ink on the divorce papers is barely dry. Todd Gitlin reviews Us Guys: The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man. If the holiest day on the American calendar is Super Bowl Sunday, Vince Lombardi and Joe Namath were its early saints. So what does that make Pat Tillman? Life After Sports: What do athletes do when they "retire"? For some, sports are a steppingstone to a high-profile second career. Others go for a "normal" life. When it comes to celebrity breakups, there seems to be an inverse relationship between how interesting they are and the amount of coverage they get. What makes someone pick Jennifer Lopez over Jesus as a dinner date? An interview with Jake Halpern, author of Fame Junkies. A review of What Would Barbra Do? How Musicals Can Change Your Life. And Rosecrans Baldwin gets sick of our colloquial phrases and thus a contest is born: Invent a bon mot for everlasting fame

[Weekend]  The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says there is 90% certainty that the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are driving climate change. Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by the AEI  to undermine the IPCC report on global warming, or is ExxonMobil seeking to take its business to greener pastures? James Lovelock is attracting attention again with his provocative ideas. The former hero of the environmental movement has called for an end to "green romanticism". The only way to delay climate catastrophe, says the environmental guru, is through the massive expansion of nuclear energy. The most important thing you can do to stop global warming: Bill McKibben explains that forcing Congress to take action on climate change is the top priority. Fortunately, he has a plan. From In These Times, why are EPA libraries closing? Christopher Moraff investigates. A guide to eco-living in the 21st century: Is it ethical to get married? A review of Storytelling and Ecology: Reconnecting People and Nature through Oral Narrative. From Spiked, you’re so vain, Nick, you think this war is about you: More on What’s Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way. There has always been an oppositionist left and a constructive left. Nick Cohen hasn't written about the left that most of us belong to. Are you a liberal anti-Semite? Take this quiz and find out. From Socialist Worker, understanding the economic role of Jews in the Middle Ages is crucial if we are to understand the history of Jewish persecution. Perhaps the most telling thing about the book Diplomat Heroes of the Holocaust is that it is very slim. From Forward, a look at the life and work of historian-soldier Michael Oren, author of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present. Anti-Sovietchik No. 1: Christopher Hitchens interviews Robert Conquest, the softest voice that ever brought down an ideological tyranny. The Misunderstood Champion: John Patrick Diggins on Ronald Reagan's Real Legacy. A review of Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s. A review of 1920: The Year of Six Presidents. From The Atlantic Monthly, an interview with Chief Justice John Roberts on legitimacy and collegiality. Jan Crawford Greenburg on the truth about Clarence Thomas: He's an independent voice, not a Scalia lackey, and a review of Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court. The Third Man: The 4th Circuit does one more round on enemy combatants. And how to stifle the opposition: Those who wield power choose to torture their opponents to the point where they are driven to strike back. Gotcha!

[Feb 2] From The Atlantic Monthly (links might not work after a while), untruth and consequences: From Washington to FDR to Nixon, presidents have always lied. Here’s what makes George W. Bush different (and an interview with Carl Cannon); and a war to start all wars: Niall Ferguson on how the Middle East looks like Europe circa World War I. From Vanity Fair, though Iraq is a bloodbath, President Bush sounds ready for another neocon-backed war. Craig Unger finds evidence suggesting that an air attack on Iran is already in the works. From LRB, a review of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaida’s Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. In early 2003, the largest co-ordinated protests in history took place against the Iraq war. This, argues Nick Cohen, was a failure of solidarity with the Iraqi people. From Al-Ahram, an interview with Yale political theorist Ian Shapiro on American foreign policy and neo-conservative recklessness. From New English Review, Theodore Dalrymple on Freedom and its Discontents and John Derbyshire on George W. Bush, Nurturist-in-Chief; and on constitutionalism and the global intifada: An essay in originary political thinking. Here's the introduction and chapter four from The Enemy at Home by Dinesh D'Souza. From Commentary, Joshua Muravchik on Our Worst Ex-President, Jimmy Carter, Bret Stephens on the striking irrelevance of the Iraq Study Group; is Israel the problem? Amir Taheri investigates; Gabriel Shoenfeld on why journalists are not above the law; and Eric Cohen and Yuval Levin on health care in three acts. From Economic Principals, the rival/nonrival distinction apparently was introduced by Harvard University economist Richard Musgrave. The story of how this distinction emerged, and then became central to economics, in two distinct steps over 25 years, is highly interesting. From The Mises Institute, a look at why "price gouging" is essential and humane. Demystifying economics: A review of Economic Foundations of Law and Organization. The introduction to When Washington Shut Down Wall Street: The Great Financial Crisis of 1914 and the Origins of America's Monetary Supremacy. And TV's evangelist for capitalism: An article on Bob Chitester, the man behind "Free to Choose" with Milton Friedman

[Feb 1] From Reason, a review of America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy by Francis Fukuyama, and Power and the Idealists: Or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath by Paul Berman. What is the decisive "clash" of our time? Jean Bricmont finds out. The first chapter from Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War. Can anything stop America's slide from democracy to full-blown empire? Chalmers Johnson wants to know. From Slate, the Sunni-Shiite Folly: Fred Kaplan on the Bush administration's cockeyed strategy to promote sectarian conflict in the Middle East; and the two clocks: Jacob Weisberg on getting Iran wrong, again. Those hyping the threat of a nuclear Iran (and endorsing Israeli or U.S. military action) could stand to engage with the actual history of nuclear diplomacy. The president has jumped the shark: It's his seventh season, and the desperation is starting to show. From The Believer, the baffling history of the Whirl, an eight-page weekly paper covering crime and scandal in St. Louis’s black neighborhoods since 1938. While seismic racial transformations may never occur, increasing numbers of black people are realizing that it is possible to help people help themselves within the current system. From The Black Commentator, a series of articles on a A National Single-Payer Healthcare System That Will Cover Everyone In The United States (in 7 parts). If now is not yet the time for single-payer universal health care in America, now is not the time for universal health care in America, period. The first chapter from Poverty and Discrimination by Kevin Lang. From Slate, an article on the irrational 18-year old criminal: Evidence that prison doesn't deter crime. It's possible that the very steps we're taking to keep society safe and prisoners in check are achieving just the opposite, literally driving them mad. From The Chicago Reader, a review of There's No José Here: Following the Hidden Lives of Mexican Immigrants; and who is the Reverend James Meeks and why are his pews full of politicians? From New Humanist, is it just Christians who help with shopping? Do Muslims have a clause that forbids the carrying of Tesco bags? Is it written in the Torah, “Carry it yourself, what am I? Your butler?” From Secular Web, Antony Flew considers God...sort of. From Skeptic, Michael Shermer v. Deepak Chopra on the Great Afterlife Debate; and Norman Levitt reviews The God Delusion. (and here's Richard Dawkins' documentary, "The Root of All Evil?") An article on religion after Freud. From Butterflies & Wheels, an article on global warming, Intelligent Design and the re-ascendancy of the pro-scientific political left: The return of science and reason. And from Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster on the ecology of destruction
[Feb 15] Gregory Mitchell (Virginia) and Philip E. Tetlock (UC-Berkely): Antidiscrimination Law and the Perils of Mindreading. From Ctheory, Charles T. Wolfe (Sydney): De-ontologizing the Brain from the fictional self to the social brain. A review of Experience and the World's Own Language: A Critique of John McDowell's Empiricism. From HNN, Drew Faust, the historian who has been named Harvard's first female president, has been praised for her "people skills," but she's also done brilliant intellectual work on a crucial question for our time: why we love war; and a review of 100 Semesters: My Adventures as Student, Professor, and University President, and What I Learned Along the Way. Mr. Bollinger’s Battle: Can Harlem and Columbia ever agree on the benefits of a bigger campus? Fad feeds off rap's decay: Seems there's a funky new party mania that is sweeping college campuses across the nation. From Norway's Utmark, an article on Thorstein Veblen, a critic of society, tradition and technology. An interview with Duncan Foley, author of Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology. A review of The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg. Modernity and its Adversaries: In his life, the 19th century poet and litterateur, Michael Madhusudan Dutt embodied many of the contradictions that are characteristic of a society in transition pdf. An interview with Imre Kertész on the Nobel Prize, novels and the threats for the 21st century. Gerd Koenen and Norbert Schreiber call for the 2007 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to be awarded to murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Open season for researchers: Pressure is growing for academic publishers to put the fruits of publicly funded labour on the web. A Belgian court deals Google a bombshell: Publishers who sued the Internet giant for copyright infringement have won their case. A one-off glitch—or the end of search-engines as we know them. More on Richard Posner's The Little Book of Plagiarism. From Economic Principals, take a look at EconLib. It is wonderful what a little well-spent money can do. And there is a shabby, old-world elegance about Prospect's Georgian offices in Bloomsbury, London, but the magazine is reluctantly embracing one aspect of modernity

[Feb 14] The politics of love, sex and gender:  Cynthia Tysick (SUNY): Fertility Rites and the Married Body: Remembering an ancient past through symbolic imagery. Kerry Abrams ( Virginia): Immigration Law and the Regulation of Marriage. A review of Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome. From The Medieval Review, a review of Gender and Jewish Difference from Paul to Shakespeare; and a review of A Companion to Romance: From Classical to Contemporary. A review of Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power. If you've ever dreamed of wild sex with the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, don't worry - you're not alone: A review of Sex and the Psyche. No one likes to imagine their parents doing it, so spare a thought for the man whose dad wrote the most popular sex manual the world has ever seen. Gender bending 101: Cross-dressing philosophy professor Michael Gilbert makes bold political fashion statement. Not My Vagina Monologue: A look at how students are adding diversity to Eve Ensler’s play. Women are chokers: Studies show they cave under pressure. Why? Romance, schmomance: Natural selection continues even after sex, and a look at how neurochemical processes may explain romantic attraction. Selectivity is ultimate aphrodisiac: The more you tend to experience romantic desire for all the potential romantic partners you meet, the less likely it is that they will desire you in return. From The Tablet (reg. req.), an article on sex and the secular liberal. Are you plagued with relationship troubles? Blame your parents. The power of love: When it comes to taste, we value similarities more than differences. Virginia Postrel on the truth about beauty: It is the same in the eye of every beholder. From TNR, does Valentine's Day enable child slavery? by Jeremy Kahn investigates. 50 ways to please your lover: Flowers and chocolates could never say "I love you" like the best romantic art. Here’s a list of cultural treasures that will make your Valentine. And care for something saucy? A tour of the world's most infamous aphrodisiacs, from dog penis and prunes to swallows' hearts and spaghetti puttanesca

[Feb 13] From H-Net, a review of Indigenous Peoples and Religious Change. A review of Augustine: A New Biography by James J. O'Donnell. Three Models of Hell: Is hell nothing more than eternal torture of the unsaved? Why would God engage in punishment that seems so cruel? From The Christian Post, a tale of two cities: Resisting the atheist attack. Bertrand Russell's The Good Citizen's Alphabet is now online, accompanied by Russell's original introduction. A review of Speaking My Mind: Expression and Self-Knowledge. A review of Analyzing Oppression. A review of Union 1812: The Americans Who Fought the Second War of Independence.  A review of A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Europe: 1789-1914. An interview with Geoffrey Roberts, author of Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953. A review of Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Antifascist Crusade. The Struggle of Orhan Pamuk and Turkey's Intellectuals: The culture war in Turkey against critical authors and journalists is intensifying, as murderous nationalists agitate against dissidents. Many liberals are under threat, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, who has now left the country. The Moneyed Muse: What can two hundred million dollars do for poetry? A review of The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction. Read in the Face: From Barbara Walters to Dan Brown, the embarrassing books they wish we'd forget. Open Access or Peer-Review? The Federal Research Public Access Act hasn't even been passed and it may already be obsolete. A review of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds. Not so long ago it looked like new technologies would render Braille obsolete. Now it's making a comeback. Here's the latest issue of Edge. From Seed, Chris Mooney on "A Committee of the Future" and a Rep. from the past. How will tomorrow’s scientists learn? Helga Nowotny finds out. And more on Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul

[Feb 12] A new issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality is now online, including Gerson Moreno-Riaño (Cedarville): Natural Law and Modern Economic Theory; Michael T. Dempsey (St. John's): What Bearing, If Any, Does the Christian Doctrine of Providence Have Upon the Operation of the Market Economy? (and responses); a review of The Universal Hunger for Liberty by Michael Novak; and a review of The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Market Economy by Thomas E. Woods Jr. pdf. From Law & Politics Book Review, a review of Reconstructing the Commercial Republic: Constitutional Design after Madison; a review of Legality and Democracy: Contested Affinities; a review of The Sense of Justice: Empathy in Law and Punishment; and a review of Toxic Torts: Science, Law, and the Possibility of Justice. A review of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition by Roger Berkowitz pdf. A review of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver. A review of Wild: An Elemental Journey. Dumbing down evolution to kill it: On Darwin's birthday, vocal opponents of his theory fundamentally misunderstand what they don't believe in. A review of Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and the Struggle for the Soul of Science. A review of William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research, which made headlines around the world with its efforts to prove that thoughts can alter the course of events, plans to close its doors. A review of Apollo's Arrow: The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything. And a review of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder

[Weekend 2e] A new issue of In Character is out, on self reliance, including George Scialabba on The American Virtue – a reading list of classics on self-reliance and Bill McKibben on Old MacDonald Had A Farmers’ Market – total self-sufficiency is a noble, misguided ideal. A review of Metaphysics and Method in Plato's Statesman. A review of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: An Introduction. A review of Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History; and a review of Roman Manliness: Virtus and the Roman Republic. A review of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment. A review of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong by Marc D. Hauser. An article on the brain scan that can read people's intentions. From New Scientist, what gruesome fate awaits our universe? Two ideas are being combined to create another option, in which our universe ultimately shatters into billions of pieces, with each shard growing into a whole new universe. A review of Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. From  American Scientist, a review of Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact and Transforming the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations and Their Consequences; a review of The Atomic Chef and Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error; a review of Darwinism and Its Discontents by Michael Ruse; a review of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins; and a review of Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design by Michael Shermer. A review of Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul. An interview with Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.  Our friend the bacterium: Recent bad press for microbes shouldn't obscure that, sometimes, germs are good for us. From Slate, natural enemies: An article on how to improve the dreaded parent-teacher conference. Harvard is poised to name Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, its first woman president (and Heather Mac Donald on Harvard’s Faustian bargain). From FT, splitting hairs over split infinitives: Which is correct, “He is bigger than I” or “He is bigger than me”? Those of you who were taught grammar will say “bigger than I”. And a review of How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles

[Weekend] Energy and global warming: From New Scientist, what are the major obstacles that lie between our fossil-fuel guzzling present and a future dominated by renewable and sustainable forms of energy? To get serious about energy policy, America needs to abandon, once and for all, the false promise of the hydrogen age. Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society: James Howard Kunstler on how the best way to feel hopeful about our looming energy crisis is to get active now and prepare for living arrangements in a post-oil society. Inherit the Windfall: Tax oil company profits to pay for alternative energy initiatives. Moving beyond Kyoto: To seriously address the issue of global climate change, policymakers need to establish a framework that extends through the end of the century. Runaway global warming looks all but unstoppable. Maybe that’s because we haven’t really tried to stop it. An interview with Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the EPA, on the changed political climate. The good news on the latest global warming report: Political leaders can no longer ignore it. The bad news: It's probably too late. The European Union may make harming the environment a crime. Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson offers millions of pounds to the person who comes up with the best way of removing significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Mother Jones health and environment blogger Julia Whitty thinks "We should make everybody go into nature at the end of high school". A review of Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future. Global cooling costs too much: What would you prefer -- increase temperatures by less than a degree, or give up all the world's wealth? The dire global cooling problem: When conservatives feel threatened by climate change reports, that's what they point to. James Inhofe has finally lost it. Read the transcript of his discussion on global warming. Jams today, not tomorrow: Long-term fears for the planet don’t mean we should ignore present problems. And let's not blow this: There’s still time to avoid the mistakes of past eco efforts that left our habitat in worse shape than before

[Feb 9] From The New Atlantis, an essay on the scientific mind of Ben Franklin; to see the future clearly, it might also help to recover what is first in bioethics—first in the sense of the discipline’s origins and first in the sense of man’s perennial problems and possibilities; the language of nature: We cannot have explanation without a content that somehow speaks. The only adequate science is inescapably a science of the Word; an article on bioethics and The Public Interest: A journal’s lasting legacy; and a review of Scandalous Knowledge: Science, Truth, and the Human. A review of Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars. From Harvard University Gazette, what does it mean to have a mind? Maybe more than you think. A review of The Mind Has Mountains: Reflections on Psychiatry and Society by Paul McHugh. A small part of the brain, and its profound effects: The insula is a long-neglected brain region that has emerged as crucial to understanding what it feels like to be human. A review of The Ethical Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga; and a review of Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals About Morality. Is it inevitable that some individuals will turn out to be murderers or rapists or bullies or thieves? An article on economics and anthropology: Your parents were right. Patience is a virtue. From The Smithsonian, the tattoo eraser: A new type of body art ink promises freedom from forever; and an interview with Joann Fletcher of the University of York on the history of tattoos and their cultural significance to people around the world; and why have large vultures on the Indian subcontinent -- once numbering in the tens of millions -- suddenly become endangered? (and an interview) From Ctheory, the library is on fire: An essay on wood as cultural signifier; and denaturalizing "Natural Disaster": a review of Paul Virilio's Negative Horizon: An Essay in Dromoscopy. From Literary Review, merde en bas de soie: Paul Johnson reviews Talleyrand: Betrayer and Saviour of France; an an interview with Doris Lessing. The serious comedian: A review of The Life of Kingsley Amis. Executioner Songs: More on House of Meetings by Martin Amis. Historian Ahead of His Time: Andrew Walls may be the most important person you don't know. And an obituary: Political scientist Nelson Polsby of UC-Berkeley

[Feb 8] Shigeo Hirano (Columbia) and James M. Snyder (MIT): The Decline of Third Party Voting in the United States pdf. The first chapter from Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling. A review of The Problem of Animal Generation in Early Modern Philosophy. A review of Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. From The Smithsonian, ahead in the clouds: Susan Solomon helped solve the riddle of the ozone hole 21 years ago. Now she's taking on global warming. Tim Radford on Henry Clifton Sorby, a pioneering geologist whose microscopic rock discoveries helped inform our understanding of planet Earth. From Discover, here are 20 things you didn't know about skin. Out of Africa: Research shows the stomach ulcer bug migrated with humans 60,000 years ago. When science goes far far away: A review of The never-ending days of being dead: dispatches from the front line of science. From Sign and Sight, the dogmatism of Enlightenment: Ian Buruma admires the achievements of the Enlightenment as much as Professor Cliteur appears to do, but he also believes that one of its greatest achievements is the rejection of dogmatism. History for the sake of politics?: A review of The Limits of History. When dissident intellectuals in Iran appeal to colleagues in the U.S. for solidarity, the silence is often deafening. Scott McLemee interviews an activist trying to change that. Can states monitor political bias on campus? Andrew Ferguson wants to know. From Campus Progress, Charles Murray’s morons: A conservative "scholar" wants to keep students out of college. The State of AmeriCorps: The national service program is ratcheting up efforts to get more students involved, just as the Bush budget calls for decrease in funding. From Slate, can a great writer be blind to the world around him? Clive James on Jorge Luis Borges (and more). Eliot Weinberger sets off a stir by saying Bruce Bawer had engaged in "racism as criticism". Lawrence Wright's one-man show is a first-person account of some of his experiences while writing his book The Looming Tower. But is it really theater? Doctor Feelgood: Stricken by "vile melancholy," the 18th-century critic and raconteur Samuel Johnson pioneered a modern therapy. Have you ever told yourself that something you want very much would happen if the next three traffic lights turned green as you drove down the road? On how people hold fast to beliefs in magical powers even as they explicitly say the beliefs do not make sense. Is he the child of the FlyingSpaghettiMonster? Jesus could not be the son of the FSM. BoingBoing have yet to recognize this proof. Welchers. And is the Satan character believable? Could he really exist? On the implausibility of Satan

[Feb 7] Potpourri: A free issue of European Journal of Philosophy is now available online, including a lecture by Jürgen Habermas on Religion in the Public Sphere pdf. A review of Habermas and Theology. His theory that morality is based in biology has plunged Marc Hauser into an intellectual fray that spans from the pages of The New York Times to the rows of students who take his evolution classes at Harvard. If pacing is slow enough, the male will prefer that familiar partner to someone new. The wait, it seems, makes the female more attractive: "It's an awful lot like what we were taught in high school". A review of Mind Time: The Temporal Factor in Consciousness. Nobel peace laureate and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has accepted his first university appointment at Emory University. A review of Organs without Bodies by Slavoj Zizek. Clarín, Argentina's largest newspaper, nominates Zizek, named for the Slovenian philosopher, as one of the best parties of the year. A review of Why Truth Matters by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom. Who’s attacking an online Marxist archive? Marxist Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) says computer attacks from China may force the library to stop providing material in Chinese. A review of The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe, by Michael Frayn. A review of Memory Traces: 1989 and the Question of German Cultural Identity. One of the oldest tricks in the book of hunting is to use a decoy to attract the creature to where the hunter, rifle-ready, is lying in wait. But sometimes, the decoy's prey isn't a wild animal; it's a human being. A review of Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography by David S. Brown. A review of Choosing Children: Genes, Disability, and Design. Richard Levin, president of Yale, has turned around his university; now he's focusing on global warming. Anatomizing Russian pop and rock: Four, three, two, one! Recounting the history of late Soviet and post-Soviet popular music. A review of Christ Killers: The Jews and the Passion From the Bible to the Big Screen. The new art of making money: Beatrice Leal looks at the contradictions of art as investment. Sleepless nights: Jonathan Wolff on how a department's fate can rest on a single student. A review of Literature and Philosophy: A Guide to Contemporary Debates. And does the world really need a new economics blog? Well, for one thing, Evanomics is not quite a blog

[Feb 6] The first issue of In-Spire is out, on the Possibilities of Cultural Politics. The University of California sues the family of Jacques Derrida over the noted philosopher's papers. A review of Is Philosophy Androcentric? Philosophers in love: What does love have to do with philosophy? A review of Kant by Paul Guyer. Kant or cant? Philosophy is being taught in nurseries in Scotland, apparently, with impressive results. Let's hope they include a class on scepticism. Can we really let students skip drama classes on religious grounds? It's time liberals fought back. Stop Pandering on Education: It's time to move from identifying failing schools to identifying failing teachers. Sounds obvious, but it hasn't happened in American education. The Indiana Legislature Redefines Pi: It has all the hallmarks of an urban legend. Unlike some urban legends, there is a kernel of truth to this tale—wrapped in a whole lot of condescension. After decades of attempts, astronomers have unveiled the dark side of the Universe. Dark matter, the ubiquitous yet ethereal stuff filling the cosmos, has been mapped three-dimensionally for the first time. A review of The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? by Paul Davies. From The Scotsman, long life and happiness: A review of How to Live Forever or Die Trying: On the New Immortality; and life, the universe, but not much else: A review of The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead. How altruistic is your brain? Brain scans suggest that altruism may be as much a part of our genes and gray matter as it is a function of free will. From Sign and Sight, Mr Buruma's stereotypes: Turkish German author Necla Kelek responds to Ian Buruma in the debate on multiculturalism and integration in Europe. With The Enemy at Home, Dinesh D’Souza, the Rishwain research scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has officially become the Ann Coulter of the think tank set. The first chapter from The Ethics of Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah. A review of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino. Lesley Fernandez-Armesto reflects on how her historian husband reacted to notoriety after his dramatic arrest for jaywalking. From Slate, where is Martin Amis headed next? A review of House of Meetings (and an interview). "I sometimes wonder if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy": James Wolcott reviews Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York by Adam Gopnik. A review of The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts by Milan Kundera. And you don’t have to read a book to talk wisely about it: Pierre Bayard, a distinguished professor of literature, has become a bestselling author with Comment Parler des Livres que l’on n’a pas Lus ("How to Talk about Books that You Haven’t Read")

[Feb 5] From Law & Politics Book Review, a review of Revolution and the Making of the Contemporary Legal Profession: England, France, and the United States; a review of Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government by Charles Fried; and a review of The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia: A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court. Simon Blackburn reviews of Descartes: The Life and Times of a Genius by A. C. Grayling (and an excerpt). The trouble with philosophy: A review of If Minds Had Toes. In The New York Review of Books, where J ohn Searle functions as a sort of philosopher in residence, you can regularly find him at fierce loggerheads with a variety of contemporary thinkers over questions of mind, consciousness, and language. A grammar of good and evil: A review of Moral Minds, by Marc Hauser. A review of Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality: A History of Dominant Ideas by Ewen and Ewen. A review of The Last Man Who Knew Everything: Thomas Young, the Anonymous Genius Who Proved Newton Wrong and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone, Among Other Surprising Feats. Of course they'd rather sit back with Plato's Symposium or Frege's theorem, but intellectuals have some less elevated tastes, too - cable TV wrestling or rap, anyone? Philip Oltermann confers with some great brains about their guilty pleasures. From The New Yorker, Missing Link: An article on Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin’s neglected double. A review of Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul. More on The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality by Walter Benn Michaels. The mania brought on by the No Child Left Behind Act has turned the pursuit of higher test scores into a sort of Holy Grail. Don't buy into it. Can Washington get smart about science? Chris Mooney and Alan Sokal on how Congress can safeguard science from distortion, something of which both parties are historically guilty. One Latte, Hold the Milk: From an age that was arguably as taken with the sound of its own voice and as fixated on information as we are, the coffeehouse comes down to us with an illustrious intellectual heritage. Internet be damned: Britannica is defying conventional wisdom with a seemingly archaic enterprise: a 16-volume encyclopedia aimed at the young. Is it the last of its kind? World literature, found in translation: Online magazines and groups push for greater availability of writings from around the globe. Michael Dirda reviews The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts by Milan Kundera. And Saul Bellow’s novels have their defects. But so what? Nature doesn’t owe us perfection. Novelists don’t either

[Weekend 2e] Media and technology: From New York, even bitches have feelings: Judith Regan is a walking cartoon, an equal-opportunity bigot—and hardly the only villain in the sordid O.J. publishing scandal. Underneath the flag-waving swagger, “Hannity’s America” is riddled with leftist subliminal suggestion and degrading, un-American images of violence and pornography. From Conversations With History, an interview with Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent. The Vanishing Foreign Correspondent: In an era when clan structures in Somalia or separatist movements in the Philippines may effect U.S. national security, we should all worry about who, if anyone, will report from abroad. For all the pregame hype about voice and attitude and peeling back the curtain of traditional journalism, the Politico debuted by relying on an old-fashioned concept: reporting. From Salon, massive online feedback has rocked writers and changed journalism forever. This brave new world is filled with beautiful minds and nasty Calibans and everything in between. Its benefits are undeniable. But do they outweigh its insidious effects? An interview with Arianna Huffington: "The role of the blogosphere is to shake-up the mainstream media". In the rough-and-tumble world of blogs, anonymity can give people the freedom to speak their minds - but it also serves as a cover for cowardice. In Praise of Amateurs: Nonprofessionals, including journalists who love a subject, play an essential role in the spread of ideas, economic and otherwise. They are bolder than experts and explain the subject a lot better. A review of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. The Distance Paradox: If telecommuting is so easy, why do we travel for work more than ever? Tim Harford on how technology fuels our appetite for contact. In You More Than Yourself: Slavoj Zizek on why the revolutionary potential of the Internet is far from self-evident. Knowledge to the people: An interview with Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, founder of Wikipedia. Second Life, Darwin, and God: Is this new virtual world a product of creationism or of evolution? "But why wouldn’t I do the things I like in the real world in the real world?": More on Second Life. "The true object of police is man": An essay on policing the convergence of virtual and material worlds. Software is hard: Scott Rosenberg, author of Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software, explains why even small-scale programming projects can take years to complete, one programmer is often better than two, and the meaning of "Rosenberg's Law" (and an excerpt). And technology and frustration: Functionally, the iPhone is nothing new. But if it takes off, it could herald a transformation of new media

[Weekend]  From the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Klaus Jaffe and Roberto Cipriani (Simon Bolivar): Culture Outsmarts Nature in the Evolution of Cooperation; a series of articles on Socionics: Sociological concepts for social systems of artificial (and human) agents; a review of Complexity and Co-Evolution: Continuity and Change in Socio-Economic Systems; a review of The Re-Emergence of Emergence: the Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion; and a review of Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution. The god of small things: After unlocking the secrets of the human genome, the controversial scientist Craig Venter now is trying to engineer a microbe to liberate us from our dependence on oil. The first issue of the International Journal of Social Sciences is out, including Brian P. Bloomfield, and Theo Vurdubakis (Lancaster): Re-Engineering the Human: New Reproductive Technologies and the Specter of Frankenstein pdf. Forget what you might have heard about "nature, red in tooth and claw". Mother Nature, bless her heart, may be much kinder and gentler than most people give her credit for. A review of Lewis Wolpert's Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast. A review of To The Ends of The Earth: 100 maps that changed the world. The first chapter from Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man. More on The Universe: A Biography by John Gribbin. A review of The Great Pi/e Debate: Which is the Better Number? From NBER Digest, working papers on (1) The Impact of the Euro and Prospects for the Dollar; (2) Where Did All the Leisure Go?; (3) Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools?; (4) New Evidence on Gender Differences in Promotions and Pay; (5) Spreading the Gains from Immigration; and (6) Why Some Diplomats Park Illegally. From American, at age 26, Jesse Shapiro practices accessible economics: "I’m happy to do that". Neuroeconomists tackle the irrational: Some economists believe they can explain why we make bad financial decisions. Should we be afraid? More from The Atlantic Monthly: Reading, Writing, Resurrection: Katrina destroyed a failing school system and made New Orleans a laboratory for education. Can reformers transcend the damage of the flood—and of history? The most important church-state decision you never heard of: Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that kicked off the culture wars, marks its 60th anniversary. And a review of Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation

[Feb 2] From PUP, Scott Soames defends the revolution in philosophy led by Saul Kripke: The first chapter from Reference and Description: The Case Against Two-Dimensionalism; and a book on how one should live: The introduction to Reasons Without Rationalism by Kieran Setiya. A review of Existential Dependence and Cognate Notions. A review of Freedom and Reason in Kant. From YES! Weekly, an article on the ten best street philosophers. Does truth matter? An interview with Ophelia Benson co-author of Why Truth Matters and The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense. From n+1, an excerpt from "For a Practical Avant-Garde". From Sign and Sight, in the third contribution to a debate on multiculturalism and integration in Europe, Timothy Garton Ash joins Ian Buruma in responding to the polemic by Pascal Bruckner. From The New Criterion (reg. req., make sure to visit the "print" versions), Keith Windschuttle reviews Andrew Roberts’ History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900; Anthony Daniels on reexamining George Orwell’s classic tale of the Spanish Civil War; Eric Ormsby on Harold Bloom’s view of what constitutes the best of American religious poetry; Jay Nordlinger on the Library of America’s two volumes of American speeches; remembering Eliot’s Criterion: Garrick Davis on the journal that inspired the foundation of this publication; James Bowman on the presentation of politics as a simple choice of Coke vs. Pepsi; a review of The President, the Pope and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World, by John O’Sullivan; and on Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, 1941-2007. Twilight of Sociology: Seymour Martin Lipset explored the social forces that limit individual freedom. Is an era of inquiry over? From the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Working Paper Series, a review essay on Ward Churchill’s "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality". Should SMU accept Bush's presidential library? David Greenberg investigates. Education Reform: Pass or Fail? As No Child Left Behind comes due for reauthorization, questions remain about whether it really helps children learn. From TLS, a review of The Life of Kingsley Amis. and Terry Teachout on Hitchcock's Music Man

[Feb 1]  A new issue of Forum: Qualitative Social Research is out, on Time and Discourse. A review of Representations of War in Ancient Rome. A review of Julius Caesar in Western Culture. More and more on Rome and Jerusalem: The clash of ancient civilisations. A review of Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400–800. From History Today (reg. req.), Patricia Cleveland-Peck visits Gotland, the Baltic island where the Viking and medieval pasts are to be found round every corner; Tobias Grey discusses the impact of Les Bien­veillantes, a controversial historical novel that has become a literary sensation in France, and asks some French-based commentators and historians for their reactions; and the Berlin Wall was a tangible symbol of the suppression of human rights by the Eastern bloc during the Cold War, but Frederick Taylor asks whether it was more convenient to the Western democracies than their rhetoric suggested. Kazantzakis’s Attraction to Fascism and Nazism in the 1930s: The first chapter from Kazantzakis: Politics of the Spirit. From HNN, a look at the work of Eric Rauchway, professor of history at UC-Davis. A purple patch on the foundations of realism by EH Carr. From Inkling, on the Chronicle of Obstreperous Hypotheses: Are humans going to speciate? You bet your teeth-whitening toothpaste they are; and "that time” in evolutionary history: No one really knows why primates signed up for the Monthly Subscription. From Psychology Today, the girl with a boy's brain: Kiriana Cowansage can run complex neuroscience experiments and sketch beautiful portraits. She melts at the sight of an animal, but she balks at the concept of love. Such paradoxes define women with Asperger's syndrome. From California Literary Review, an interview with Freud biographer Peter D. Kramer. And from The Chronicle, philanthropy's new math: A review of Andrew Carnegie; Creative Philanthropy: Toward a New Philanthropy for the Twenty-First Century; The Foundation: A Great American Secret: How Private Wealth is Changing the World; Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South; The Legitimacy of Philanthropic Foundations: United States and European Perspectives; Mellon: An American Life; Mrs. Russell Sage: Women's Activism and Philanthropy in Gilded Age and Progressive Era America; Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy; and Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism