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[Weekend] In his
search for England, Julian
Baggini expected to find racism, sexism and fear. He found something
much more thought provoking. Anthony
Giddens on why the
rich should now be made to pay: The architect of Tony Blair's
"third way" outlines 16 steps to a fairer Britain.Lunch with the
FT: An interview with Peter Mandelson
on Doha, Blair and Brown; and are the actions of France’s presidential candidates
as good as their
words? A review
of The European Economy Since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and
Beyond. Kevin Phillips
How Countries Compete: Strategy, Structure, and Government in the Global Economy.
From Global Research, an article on the
political economy of diamonds. Cash-22: How can the world’s poor save for a better
life? Tim Harford investigates. A review
on The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World. A review
of The Shame of War: Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in
Conflict. From Newsweek, brinksmanship doesn’t always end in
battle: America and Iran are barreling toward a
collision. It doesn't have to be this way.
We must keep talking to the Iranians, offering
carrots even when these are contemptuously
tossed into the gutter, because there is no
credible alternative. How George H.W. Bush helped Saddam Hussein
prevent an Iraqi uprising: An excerpt
from Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from
Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush. Broken Arrow:
Phillip Carter on how the U.S. Army broke in
Iraq. Hillary the hawk? For years, everyone has assumed
Senator Clinton's vote for the Iraq war resolution was an act of political
calculation. But what if she actually believed in it?
A partial list of some of the most egregious
earmarks shows that, despite
lofty rhetoric about the Iraq war, the new
Democratic Congress is already feeding at the
trough. According to the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, any state legislature can present a resolution to impeach the president.
Deborah Gordan and Stan Lofalia of MaineImpeach.org hope Maine will be the first state to do so.
From TNR, an editorial on how Bush bends the law beyond recognition;
and on the Kyle Sampson
hearing: The Bushies finally admit their own incompetence!
There are dangers when the super-rich decide their business success
qualifies them to change the world or run the
country. The greatest is the illusion of omniscience. David Moberg searches Barack
Obama's career as a community organizer for clues to what kind of
presidential candidate he would be. The presidential race in 2008 will resemble the 1968 election between
Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, when both parties jockeyed to provide a new course for an unpopular war. In 2008, it's Ronald Reagan vs. Bobby Kennedy: Both
parties want to nominate reincarnations of their ideal statesmen.
Guess which candidate stands to benefit? And style has been front and center in presidential politics this year.
See what image consultants have to say about the candidates
[Mar 30] From Sierra Leone, thousands of amputees, many of them civilian casualties of the country’s decade-long civil war, are languishing in destitution, with most unable to take care of themselves or their families. From South Africa, a look at why Africa needs its own OPEC. A review of Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone. To so little end: A review of Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone by Lawrence Devlin. From HNN, an article on the forgotten alliance of African nationalists and Western pacifists. How we killed our dreams of freedom: Across Africa, liberation movements that fought against colonial rule proved unable to sustain democratic governance. We cannot keep blaming the past. The man behind the fist: Robert Mugabe, a man of puzzlingly different identities, is a past master at holding on. Zimbabwe's tyrant still has plenty of friends: How African leaders appease Mugabe. Victims of indiscriminate killing, Africa's oft-maligned and much-misunderstood wild dogs may be the continent's most endangered carnivore. Can a conservation effort save them? From Frontpage, an interview with Houchang Nahavandi, former Minister of the last Shah of Iran. Christoph Bertram on getting to "Yes" with Iran. Iran on the Brink: What's it like waiting around to be bombed? Beyond the bluster: As her home and homeland square off, Iranian-born author Azar Nafisi urges Americans to think. Are 15 British Marines enough to make a war? A tit-for-tat contest with the Iranians is a foolish and reckless game. If Europeans won't come to the aid of the kidnapped British sailors, what good is the European Union? Timothy Garton Ash wants to know. Two cheers for apathy: Few people cared about the European Union's 50th birthday party. But apathy has its consolations. Joseph Stiglitz on the EU's global role: Fifty years after its birth, the EU is a success story; the time is right for it to lead a multi-polar world. Capital Warfare: A look at why the US risks losing its status as global financial leader. The Pragmatic Ideologue: Meet Zalmay Khalilzad, your new UN ambassador. Listen Up, Mr. President: Is Congress using the Iraq bills to send a message? Fred Kaplan investigates. Harold Pinter on why George Bush is insane. Mark J. Rozell, author of Executive Privilege: Presidential Power, Secrecy and Accountability, on Bush and the case of executive privilege. Bush's long history of tilting Justice: The administration began skewing federal law enforcement before the current U.S. attorney scandal, says a former Department of Justice lawyer. From The Hill, Democrats say McCain nearly abandoned GOP in 2001. Republicans across the country are warning that increasing public discontent toward President Bush, the Iraq war and the GOP brand in general threatens a meltdown. The inability of Republicans to change their ways in the face of massive unpopularity is downright spooky. And other satirists skewer politicians. Stephen Colbert goads them to skewer themselves
[Mar 29] From Ethiopia, welcome to Jerusalem, Africa: Ethiopia's Orthodox Christians are among the oldest Christian communities in the world. Their hymns and prayers have been preserved and passed down over the ages. But with its numerous religious holidays, the Christian tradition also worsens the country's grinding poverty. While larger, wealthier Arab states plod on through dictatorships, Mauritania is moving from military rule to full democracy with ease. From Egypt's Al-Ahram, a special issue of on Women in Motion. From Prospect, London is diverse, dynamic and rich. It is also unequal, expensive and congested—and getting fuller every year. Can London's socialist mayor preside over a hyper-capitalist city-state while keeping it a decent place to live for most citizens? (and an interview with Mayor Ken Livingstone). A review of The Future of Europe: Reform or Decline by Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi. The Golden Moment: As the EU celebrates its 50th birthday, critics say it has one foot in the grave. But many countries now look there, not to America, as a model. Iraqis' bleak views of the United States: The first chapter from What They Think of Us: International Perceptions of the United States since 9/11. The Iraq war has left the U.S. military “in a position of strategic peril,” retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey has warned in the wake of a recent trip to Iraq. How much do you know about the war in Iraq? Take a 15-question quiz to find out. From The New York Observer, Model U.N. predictor of things to come: Un-oh! Kid Kofis nose down baby Boltons, as U.S. takes it in chops; and Hillary’s Mystery Woman: Who is Huma Abedin? Senator Clinton’s closest aide never sweats; Oscar de la Renta wants to dress her. Chris Lehmann on The Pleasurers of the President. Peter Berkowitz on The Right Stuff. The GOP's Therapy Candidate: John Dickerson on the trouble with Fred Thompson. An interview with Hugh Hewitt on A Mormon in the White House: 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney. The Early Money Myth: The first-quarter fund-raising figures for the 2008 presidential race arrive Sunday. Do they matter? The Myth of Voter Fraud: Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch. If you want to know what the career path of a “loyal Bushie” looks like, look at J. Timothy Griffin, a Karl Rove protégé who was slipped into the post of U.S. Attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas, and now is at the center of the controversy over whether the Bush administration has sought to politicize federal prosecutions. Fox's Ann Coulter 2.0: Conserva-babe and star-in-the-making Rachel Marsden has an, um, colorful past. What was Fox thinking? Joe Conason on ignoring the pundits and barking louder. Packet Politics: "Netheads" take on "Bellheads". Look out, Mrs. Clinton. Threats against prominent female writer Kathy Sierra reflect the worst of online discourse. But is speech any more hateful on the Net than elsewhere? From The Boston Globe Magazine, an article on the Manhattanization of Boston. And Eve Fairbanks on what a congressional cook-off says about Washington
[Mar 28] From Northern Ireland, almost eye-to-eye: Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams take a big step towards self-rule. A review of Over to You, Mr Brown: How Labour Can Win Again by Anthony Giddens. Brigitte Mohnhaupt, a former leader of the notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany, has been released from jail after 24 years. The once influential “second left” in France has been eclipsed in the last generation by an older left still wedded to statist solutions. With creationism now coming in Christian and Muslim versions, scientists, teachers and theologians in France are debating ways to counteract what they see as growing religious attacks on science. A town that loves its illegals: Why a sleepy provincial French ville has been roused to rebellion by the arrest of 23 illegal Malian immigrants. Mr. Backlash: Meet Geert Wilders, a rising anti-Muslim star of the Dutch right. From Sign and Sight, a reply to Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash: Pascal Bruckner pens some final remarks on the multiculturalism debate. From Newropeans, a look at why the EU needs a new capital city as a strong signal of its global role and responsibility (and part 2 and part 3). As Europe takes an increasingly visible military role, a look at some possible military scenarios — and the pitfalls of being drawn into a prolonged conflict. A post-modern model for Europe? Europe is only to be found in the process of creating it. The true way to define Europe is to build Europe. From Prospect, as the European Union celebrates its 50th birthday, one Europe-watcher imagines its next 20 years. The European Union’s absurd birthday bash says more about where the EU is headed than 1,000 bland pronouncements from the bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels ever could. From Time, here's 20 perks from 50 years of a united Europe. An interview with Bernard-Henri Levy: "Europe has lost confidence". From Telepolis, how really committed are Central and Eastern Europeans to environmentalism? From Open Democracy, Europe’s green power: The addition of a serious environmental dimension to the European Union's internal reform and soft-power diplomacy could yet make 2007 a year of vision; and Democracy in America and the money trap: Politics in the United States is being devoured by the sums needed to finance it. All-time hack award: Michael Currie Schaffer on the consummate Bushie who sank the Justice Department. Who's Blaming Whom: Paul Gottschling and Dahlia Lithwick on where the fingers are pointing in the Bush administration meltdown. From Foreign Policy, The Case Against George W. Bush: With prominent Republican Senators speaking out against a scandal-plagued White House, talk of impeachment has moved from the margins to the mainstream. That may seem politically far-fetched, but in fact, there is a strong case to be made. Impeachment threat is real: Growing scandals and abuses force impeachment into discussion. Democrats can't keep all the Bush scandals straight! From Salon, Glenn Greenwald on Drudge and the Politico: Poisonously joined at the hip (and more). It's a blogged world; we just live in it: The blogosphere rumor, coverage, malice and celebration around writer Cathy Seipp's death last week. And what is the role of the opinion column? Jonathan Chait and Franklin Foer explain
[Mar 27] From Slate, Mesopotamia Split? Christopher Hitchens considers Peter Galbraith's proposal for Iraq. A Brokered Peace: U.N. mediation is the best hope for a political settlement in Iraq. Fighting the next war: The US should look outside its traditional military brass to stage a new era of unconventional war games. Four generals and five other officers in Pat Tillman’s chain of command are found responsible for “a series of mistakes” in reporting his friendly fire death, but no criminal wrongdoing. An anti-war tide on the rise: Within three weeks, the United States could face a constitutional crisis over President Bush's war policy in Iraq. But who’s against the next war? Democratic presidential hopefuls oppose President Bush on Iraq. Iran is a different matter. Perks and perils of a heavy gavel: The Democrats seem to have a restive populace on their side as they try to check President Bush. But how far, and how hard should they push? The Radical Cure: Impeachment is the only cure to shatter a cycle of corruption and pardon that has sickened the Republic. Robert Kuttner on the case for impeaching Alberto Gonzales. Stuart Taylor Jr. on why the US attorney general needs to have better qualifications than being the president's good buddy. What Congress Gets To Know: Walter Dellinger and Christopher H. Schroeder on how to end the standoff on executive privilege and the US attorney scandal. Never, Ever Land: An article on the US attorneys aftermath. A glimpse into government: A look at what those Justice Department emails really reveal. A look at how the battle over US attorneys has roots in '04 election. A high price for freedom: No matter what one thinks of the folks in the White House, it seems clear that they have been put in a bind by the Supreme Court’s bad decisions on presidential pardons. Worst Congress ever? An interview with Norman Ornstein on congressional corruption and representative government. An interview with Earl Black and Merle Black, authors of Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics. Can the GOP become a national party again? A review of Not Your Father's Republican Party. Paul Krugman on the Emerging Republican Minority. How Bush helped the GOP commit suicide: A new study shows that unless the Democrats self-destruct, they could walk into the White House in '08, and might hold it for years. On a roll: The Democrats are riding the wave of various GOP scandals and embarrassments, but all hot streaks eventually end. From Esquire, an article on Chuck Hagel's historic moment, and what it means for a declining presidency. Here are some awesome facts about Fred Thompson. Observers say New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is eyeing a run in 2008 (and more). And a look at Mike’s Managerial Missteps: On issues like homeless families and school busing, the mayor’s vaunted CEO expertise hasn’t been much use. Can he turn around his second term?
[Mar 26] From Sunday Herald, a series of articles on the questions that need to be answered about Scottish independence. For Europe, a moment to ponder: Over the last five decades, its union remade the Continent, but learning to speak with one voice might be harder. Adam Michnik on waiting for freedom, messing it up: Now that the dream of the European Union is within grasp, Poland and other Eastern European countries have begun to turn their backs on it. A contradictory continent: A review of In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century (and more). A review of The European Economy Since 1945 by Barry Eichengreen. Europe is leading the way to a world of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Soon, though, the continent may no longer be alone. 2007 could shape up to be the year that the United States finally joins forces to meet the biggest challenge of the century. From FT, internet censorship is spreading rapidly, being practised by about two dozen countries and applied to a far wider range of online information and applications, as repressive governments no longer limit themselves simply to blocking access to websites they want to keep from their citizens, while dissidents find ingenious ways to hide digital traces. Fears of a YouTube Swiftboat: Campaign experts worry that the success of the Vote Different anti-Hillary Clinton spot will lead to misleading ads financed by anonymous donors with deep pockets. The presidential campaign came to MySpace in earnest this week with the launch of the Impact Channel. Can pols really be your online friends? Not so much. News media and politics, an uneasy union: Some prominent journalists have mates who work for a presidential candidate. They approach this potential conflict in different ways. An excerpt from Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media by Jeff Cohen. Instead of grabbing the reader's attention, the design of most American newspapers gives the impression that the industry has stopped caring and is just going through the motions. University of Chicago economist Matthew Gentzkow's work may reshape our understanding of why newspapers make the political and business choices they do. Max Frankel on The Washington Back Channel: Leaks, backgrounders, favors, masked attribution: For decades, journalists and government officials have traded in a sort of information black market, manipulating one another and, to some extent, readers too. It’s not pretty — as the Libby trial revealed. But it’s crucial. The momentum equation: In physics, momentum is the product of velocity and mass. In politics, it's much harder to calculate -- but it may be growing in importance. And people who work in hard news often forget: They are submerged in it. They know the cast and they have followed the storylines and they can't help assuming their readers or viewers have similar knowledge. In reality, most people probably missed the crucial, earlier episodes, and subsequently can't quite relate to the story
[Weekend 2e] From Great Britain, we can still pursue an ethical foreign policy: In spite of Iraq, more than 60 per cent believe it is right to intervene for humanitarian purposes. Why Iran seized the British Marines: The involvement of the Revolutionary Guard may be a sign that Tehran wants this to be seen as a message — Iran can cause bigger problems if it wants to. Iranians had showdown with US forces: According to a US Army report out of Iraq, American troops, acting as advisers for Iraqi border guards, were recently surrounded and attacked by a larger unit of Iranian soldiers, well within the border of Iraq. The UN Security Council unanimously votes to impose additional sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium. Greatest Expectations: Holding Iran to not one, but three, double standards is "bonkers". The problem with nuclear weapons today can be summed up as follows: They are going out of fashion where they are needed most and coming into fashion where they are needed least. From PINR, an article on Pakistan's strategic goals and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The Great Game revisited: India and Pakistan are playing out their rivalries in Afghanistan. The Truth About Talibanistan: Islamic militants have turned the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan into a new base for al-Qaeda. An inside look at the next battleground of the war on terrorism. The Two Afghanistans: A look at how a veiled culture adapts to modernity. An excerpt from Frontline Pakistan by Zahid Hussain. Why Musharraf survives: In a perilous balancing act, the Pakistani president skilfully juggles US demands with local interests. In the rapidly unfolding crisis in Pakistan, no matter what happens to President Pervez Musharraf -- whether he survives politically or not -- he is a lame duck. Al-Jazeera's achievement is to have become at once global brand, Arab window on the world, and challenge to western perspectives on the "war on terror". Fred Halliday visits the Qatar-based broadcaster. From Truthdig, Scott Ritter calls out Idiot America: When so few of our politicians, and even fewer of the citizens who elect them, understand the forces at work in Baghdad and beyond, is it any wonder the occupation has been a disaster? Peter Beinart on why Democrats should go for it: Despite today's conventional wisdom, Democrats didn't suffer in the 1970s for opposing Vietnam. And they're even less likely to pay a political price for trying to end the war in Iraq. From The Progressive, we who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable. And from Rolling Stone, the Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt: He was the ultimate keeper of secrets, lurking in the shadows of American history. He toppled banana republics, planned the Bay of Pigs invasion and led the Watergate break-in. Now he would reveal what he'd always kept hidden: who killed JFK
[Weekend] From Poland, the power of the Kaczynski twins rests on a coalition of left-wing populists and right-wing nationalists. It's an arrangement that is increasingly difficult to maintain. From Der Spiegel, can Germany and Poland be friends? How Russia is ruled: The Kremlin has learned how to concentrate power by apparently dispersing it. An interview with Garry Kasparov: "Russia is not a democracy". Fools and bad roads: Why are so many Russians meeting terrible deaths? From The New Federalist, a series of articles on Belarus, Europe’s last dictatorship. The costs of non-Europe: A look at how Serbia loses from its frosty relationship with the European Union. The EU has an image problem, for sure, but that doesn't mean it's not working. The EU’s architects were practical politicians who realised that closer relations between European nations could only be achieved through economic growth and the interchange of commerce, ideas and peoples. As the following articles show, that day has come - almost - to pass; pro-Europeans have two broad and incompatible views about the future of the European Union. From New Statesman, a special issue on Scotland: Time to break free? Lunch with the FT: Street revolutionary and MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit is still full of fire. Mugged by reality: The Economist on how it all went wrong in Iraq, and the Republican Party is among the war's victims. The 21st-century answer to Bob Hope: With the USO short on big-name acts and the military trying to entertain troops in remote bases, unknown bands are braving battle zones to build their fan base. From National Journal, voting with their outrage: The outcry over the handling of Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq war and the Walter Reed fiasco could turn the conventional wisdom that has ruled the federal budget debate for 30 years on its head; and the Watchdog Growls: Democratic committee chairmen have put administration officials and big business back on the hot seat. But it's questionable whether good government or politics is the motivation. According to Jim: Senator Webb is turning out to be more multi-dimensional and more progressive than anyone could have expected. Penn, Inc.: From "office park dads" to "mom-fluentials," Mark Penn's focus on dubious micro-targeting and affluent swing voters has influenced American politics for too long. Is the uproar against General Pace the beginning of a religious persecution? David Ignatius goes inside the Bushies mentality and their disdain for public servants. Deval Patrick, according to one nationwide analysis, holds the strongest governorship in the country. Does he have what it takes to wield that power? In Utah, an opponent of the "culture of obedience": Mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson has become a national spokesman for the impeachment of President Bush. No, Texas is not all about Bush: Lone Star State has proud socialist past. And Eric Alterman on The Many Man-Crushes of Chris Matthews
[Mar 23] From Boston Review, a special section on what helps poor countries grow: Nancy Birdsall on Inequality Matters: Why globalization doesn't lift all boats; Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee goes Inside the Machine: Toward a new development economics; a case study on health care in Cambodia; and a case study on corruption in Indonesia. The works of Amaryta Sen have relevance and implications for economic and human development in Africa and elsewhere. Sen's Development as Freedom emphasizes individual liberty and social compromise. Everything should be made as simple as possible, remarked Einstein, but not simpler! Consider the design of economic policy. An interview with Francis Fukuyama on the challenge of positive freedom. From Global Politician, a look at why the European Union must be destroyed to prevent "Eurabia"; and an article on the retreat of the Western world order. From Sign and Sight, Europeanisation, not Islamisation: Bassam Tibi argues for Euro-Islam as a bridge between civilisations. From AEI, Bernard Lewis delivers the Irving Kristol Lecture on Europe and Islam. From The Nation, Richard Wolin reviews Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space; Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France; When Ways of Life Collide: Multiculturalism and Its Discontents in the Netherlands; Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance; and Ethnicity and Equality: France in the Balance. No Sex, Please, We’re French: The 2007 presidential election campaign in France is demonstrating just how deep crypto-conservatism runs. Why are we still so obsessed with the Victorians? A review of The Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain, 1789-1837. From Open Democracy, there is still much to learn from the European Union's inheritance. Here are six lessons from an assessment of the EU's fifty-year experience. Over five decades the postwar European states have struggled to define a common purpose. But what exactly should the EU's mission be? Juergen Habermas says Europe's governments should "dare democracy" and hold a referendum on the future of the bloc. An interview with Francis Fukuyama: "Europe's 'soft force' disappears outside its borders". Each year, the European Union dishes out massive amounts of money. Often, funding goes to ill-conceived or unnecessary projects. But there may be a way out of the waste. The $1 federal budget: What is the best way for Washington to spend 100 cents? John Lloyd says politicians try too hard to deal with every complaint. If you are unhappy with politicians' civic solutions? Stop moaning, and create your own. Roger Simon on the politics of instant gratification. And star power, or: How Jonathan Cohn learned to stop worrying and love the front-loaded primary schedule
[Mar 22] Kaveh Moravej (Manchester) and Gustavo Díaz (Complutense): Critical Issues in Contemporary Counter-Intelligence pdf. An interview with Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (and a review). From Terrorists to Statesmen: The Middle East peace process, frozen to the point of lifelessness, may be starting to thaw. Ex-Marine Matinee Idol on Al-Jazeera: Josh Rushing, star of 2004’s " Control Room", heads to Iraq this week—as a broadcast journalist. Why did Donald Rumsfeld fail at military acquisitions reform? The same reasons he failed at everything. More on Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy by Andrew Cockburn. John Yoo on breaking up the FBI: The agency is too large and bureaucratic to effectively fight terrorism. From YaleGlobal, by turning its might against Iraq, America’s post-9/11 militarism squandered a historic opportunity to defeat terrorism; but those who blame only the West for Middle East violence should also look closer to home. They cheered the U.S. invasion; they offered to help, signed on as translators, risked everything they had to work for the United States. But when they had to run for their lives, America slammed the door. The GOP’s Iraq PTSD: The Republican candidates are shell-shocked over the war. But talk—remember “straight talk”?—may be the only thing that can help them. Candidates and Killers: It's getting harder and harder to tell them apart. Reformers vs. the Old Guard: Will fiscal conservatives retake the GOP? Four key members to watch in Congress. Who's watching the president? The GOP abandoned White House oversight, and the results were disastrous. The Hill is Alive With the Sound of Hearings: Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann update their essay "When Congress Checks Out". The argument that eight federal prosecutors — including David Iglesias — were fired for “performance related” reasons is starting to look more than a little wobbly. How U.S. attorneys were used to spread voter-fraud fears: Long before it fired eight U.S. attorneys for political reasons, the Bush administration had politicized their jobs by making them push a favorite GOP talking point. When Less Is More: Dahlia Lithwick on the nutty legal syllogism that powers the Bush administration. From The Weekly Standard, scenes from the Gingrich campaign: Don't rule out Newt in 2008. From Reason, no Newts: Don't get too excited about a Gingrich '08 run. While John McCain and the conservative activists who compose the Republican grassroots share many positions, a significant portion of the grassroots just doesn’t like him. Can a Republican presidential candidate survive without kissing the ring of tax-hating Grover Norquist? Obama’s Identity Crisis: Although he presents himself as a healer of differences, the presidential candidate’s own racial struggle paints a conflicted portrait. And every four years, a special class of candidates emerges from among the contestants in the Presidential primaries: those who are really running for Vice President
[Mar 21] From Great Britain, dour, workaholic and socially awkward: that's most voters' view of the Chancellor. But as he readies his bid for Number Ten, a softer side is emerging. Britain wonders if more elections equal more democracy: In the House of Lords, once a lord, always a lord, or should the voters have a say in the matter? A review of Villains' Paradise: A History of Britain’s Underworld (and more). Englishness is less an essence than a mirror, in which observers of every stripe see their own images: A review of The English National Character. Freak Fucker: An article on representations of sexuality in U.K. disability art. British documentarian L awrence Barraclough learned to live with less, and broadcast images of it to the entire world in " My Penis and I". From Vanity Fair, Brits Behaving Badly: A tour of such New York British hangouts as Soho House, the Red Lion, and Tea & Sympathy left the author, an Englishman, blushing: what makes his fellow expats such a thoroughly annoying lot? God Bless England: A toast to the WASP that makes our culture work. London (The Other New York.): An extensive examination of London’s challenge to our city’s global preeminence. From finance, to fashion, to urban planning, to music and even restaurants, should New Yorkers be minding the world’s-greatest-city gap more carefully? From US News, Improving America: Here are 30 lessons Americans can learn from the rest of the world. From Mclean's, the Reagan Glam: Why can't we party like it's 1989? In Washington back then, parties mattered -- not party lines. Serving at His Pleasure: Radar takes a look at America's 10 horniest presidents. The Proof is in the Progeny: Each child named with a presidential surname is a living memorial to that president. So if we count these living memorials, we'll know who the best US presidents really were. American history offers some clues about qualities that tend to show up in our great leaders. Here's a scorecard of what to look for. Nowadays, a candidate can seem too experienced: In polls, voters say they want experienced nominees to run for president. But star power still seems to matter more. Fred Thompson is shaking up the GOP presidential field. And he's not even running yet. Obama the Magic Negro: The Illinois senator lends himself to white America's idealized, less-than-real black man. Can Gore let it rip? Al Gore's pledge to Democrats after the 2000 election: Next time he runs for president, things will be different. A tale of two bigots: Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a 'faggot' and everyone condemns her. Peter Pace says homosexuals are immoral and gets a free pass. Why? How to smear a Democrat: Is Edwards gay? Is Hillary a bitch? Does Obama care only about blacks? Republican spinsters want you to think so. A review of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning. And Mark Schmitt on why a billion-dollar election isn't a bad thing
[Mar 20] Jeffery Sachs on rapid victories against extreme poverty: Focused steps taken now could rapidly put the poorest poor on a self-sustaining course to productivity and health. Mozambique ranks 168 out of 177 countries in the United Nations development index, with 54% of its people below the poverty line. Yet the statistics are improving – the economy has a steady annual 8% growth rate and there are megaprojects coming on line. Independence? Try aid-dependence: Colonialism didn't cause Africa's problems, and aid alone won't fix them. A Slow Emancipation: Kwame Anthony Appiah on how in Africa as in America, slavery’s legacy continues to unfold across the generations; and more on why the chains of slavery have not yet been broken. A review of The Trader, the Owner, the Slave; Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery; The Trade: Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; and A Short History of Slavery. Why Ayaan Hirsi Ali is wrong: Halleh Ghorashi argues only openness to migrants' decisions can help steer clear of cultural fundamentalism, and more on Ali's Infidel. Is the Western world an idea? A culture? A geopolitical system? An economy? A conqueror? A scapegoat? Sasha Abramasky on defining the indefinable West. From The New York Review of Books, George Soros on Israel, America & AIPAC. From FT, Tony Judt on speaking out against the American need to block criticism of Israel. Following Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's dramatic confession last week, Michael Scheuer reveals the dark truth behind the war on terror and talks of the toll that the conflict with Islamic extremism has brought to Western humanitarian values. The Successful Iraq: David Silbey on how the United States defeated an insurgency in the Philippines. So, Mr. Hitchens, weren't you wrong about Iraq? Hard questions, four years later. Betrayed: George Packer on the Iraqis who trusted America the most. War at home: Lawrence Kaplan on how the Vietnam war is being replayed in Iraq. Seymour Hersh goes behind a Vietnam-era general’s dismissal. There’s no need to reclaim the Reagan legacy: President Bush is what Mr. Reagan would have been given the opportunity. What is it about conservative administrations that lead them into disgrace and indictment? Incompetence isn’t at the core of these scandals—ideology is. Tom DeLay, the fiery former House majority leader, knows why his party lost control of Congress last year. And he is not to blame (and an interview). Several controversies in the past six years of the Bush administration -- including two in the news last week -- bring Shakespeare's King Lear to mind. End the presidential pardon: Letting Thanksgiving turkeys off is stupid; giving convicted crooks a free pass mocks justice. Glenn Greenwald on why it is vital to find a way to combat one of the right wing's favorite (and most deceitful) tactics: argument by anecdote. And a review of R. Emmett Tyrrell's The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life After the White House
[Mar 19] From Christianity Today, an article on the larger meaning of Anglican leaders' demand that the Episcopal Church change its ways. An interview with Anika Rahman, president of Americans for the United Nations Population Fund, on women's and reproductive rights. Feminism and the ethics of reconciliation: The failure of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission to do justice to women rape victims was not a simple oversight but is constitutive of the symbolic order dominating the political landscape. A review of Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth Versus Justice. A review of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World. A review of International Migration and Global Justice. A review of The Citizen and the Alien: Dilemmas of Contemporary Membership. Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, on The History of Israel Reconsidered. Inside America's powerful Israel lobby: AIPAC's three-day summit included fiery evangelical oratory, adoration for Dick Cheney, and new plans for going after Iran. The next time you see Cheney behaving oddly, don't automatically assume that he's a bad man. Recall, if you will, a nasty barb hurled at him back in 2005 by Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel: "I would like to believe he's sick rather than just mean and evil". A review of Tom DeLay's No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight. Ben Adler on why we shouldn't ignore Ann Coulter. From Time, a cover story on How the Right Went Wrong. The White House bungling of the US attorney firings shows how a once-fearsome administration has become a second-rate paranoid operation. What if Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers had been confirmed to the Supreme Court? Dahlia Lithwick investigates. The Fall-Guy Quiz: Do you have what it takes to take the rap? Blogs can top the presses: Talking Points Memo drove the U.S. attorneys story, proof that Web writers with input from devoted readers can reshape journalism. The role of the Internet is expanding in the 2008 election cycle. With at least 13 candidates in the running so far, it is a way for campaigns now to show concrete momentum and garner crucial early attention, but will voter fatigue figure in long 2008 campaign? How to Stop the Fox Propaganda Machine: The "Sliming Bowl" is well under way, and Fox's influence is too big and too damaging to ignore. Can the progressive Internet media and blogosphere bring it down? Re-branding the media: It seems like every week debuts a new media brand, each appealing to a different political niche. And Douglas Rushkoff on how you may be Time’s Person of the Year, but big media is still in control
[Weekend 2e] Europe: From Great Britain, the introduction to Trade Unions and the State: The Construction of Industrial Relations Institutions in Britain, 1890-2000; an article on the revival of Tory philosophy; Tony Blair on The 21st Century Challenge; the knight-errant of the human race: A review of Yo, Blair! by Geoffrey Wheatcroft; Defeatism, Defeatism, Defeatism: Ross McKibbin reflects on ten years of Blair in power; here's a trip back in time and a brief history of our "moral panic"; and one of Britain's best-loved patriotic tales has been debunked as a borrowed piece of enemy propaganda. From France, Jacques Chirac is standing down from the French presidency. His political career has certainly been long, but how distinguished has it been? (and more from Der Spiegel); after 12 years of unkept promises, Chirac leaves a confused France longing for someone completely different; a review of books on Ségolène Royal; André Glucksmann on why he chooses Nicolas Sarkozy (and a response) François Bayrou, the extreme centre's champion, is a surprise third candidate is changing the calculations in France's presidential election; and on the evolution of neoliberalism in France: An article on Libération, from Sartre to Rothschild. From Germany, give me my dog back or I'll let in the neo-Nazis: A village is fighting to keep out far-right extremists after getting into a dispute with a businessman over his dog; and almost 62 years after his death, Adolf Hitler could lose his German citizenship. Hanseatic realpolitik: Hamburg is a city always ready for the next deal. Ich wäre gerne European: European identity as confusion of tongues? The Tower of Babel casts its shadow over Marco Pautasso's experiment in authentic European essay writing. A review of The European Union Decides. The European Union has been far more successful than anyone expected when the Treaty of Rome was signed half a century ago. But it now has three big problems to solve. From The Hindu, an encounter with a Polish Gandhian: An interview with Lech Walesa. The Failure of the West's "Ostrich" Policy: With the Serbs and Albanians unable to reach common ground, it's now up to the United Nations to determine the future status of Kosovo. It won't be easy. According to a new study, the international community has failed miserably. And disturbance at the Ungdomshuset: Scandinavians are not known for reaching an impasse, much less for rioting over squatters’ rights. Last week Beth Milton woke up in an urban war zone (and more from n+1)
[Weekend] From East Timor, the situation remains tense in Dili, in the wake of an operation to capture renegade East Timorese army officer Maj. Alfredo Reinado (and more and more and a timeline). From Brazil, the Museum of the Portuguese Language vividly unites language and cultural identity; and an article on Gilberto Gil and the politics of music. Form Turkey, a court this week temporarily shut off access to YouTube in the country after a video insulted founding father Atatürk. Others moved to defend the Turkish hero in cyber space; and a look at how even the tamest video can turns political. From Open Democracy, a gain for the public domain: After a surprising breakthrough in negotiations, the scene is set for a full debate on intellectual property rights and human development. Globalization’s Other Face: So the Internet has changed everything about globalization, but did we mention it makes a mean gazpacho? The World Food Programme has come up with a radical new idea to pre-empt drought-related famines: insurance. With globalization and child labor, the cause can also be a cure: In providing jobs for millions of Africans, the globalized chocolate industry must also avoid engaging child labor. Is democracy the best setting for strong economic growth? Daron Acemoglu and Ed Glaeser discuss the delicate relationship between economic growth and broader political freedoms. After the 1997 Asian crash, Joseph Stiglitz began to ask whether the IMF's laiseez-faire policy was flawed, and whether capital market controls might be called for. With the latest sell-off, Stiglitz may be winning the argument. An interview with Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, on why the markets may be due for another fall. Sustaining the unsustainable: Global investors are worried about many things. Why is America's current-account deficit not one of them? A new issue of NBER Digest is out, with summaries of papers on globalization and poverty; the effects of education on health; and why do house prices rise faster in some cities? From Fortune, an article on the richest city in the world--no, it's not Dubai. What's the world's most expensive city? No, it's not Oslo. "Welcome to Asia's Latin City”, proclaims a giant poster in the Philippine city of Zamboanga, referring to its Spanish-derived dialect. Las Vegas as a disgusting, vile, God-forsaken hellhole of a city, and an unlikely venue for an erudite academic conference, especially a political science conference during wartime. The Smog of Race War in LA: Battles between the city's black and Latino gangs are the outcome of a dismal racial and economic situation. The introduction to Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Why America’s streets are safer today than a generation ago: A review of The Great American Crime Decline. Where courtrooms and communities meet: The first chapter from The Trial in American Life. Unnatural Selection: There's a thriving industry built on the scientific selection of jurors—but the jury is out on just how accurate it is, or whether it gives legal adversaries an edge. And on how America became obsessed with the polygraph—even though it has never really worked: A review of The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession
[Mar 16] From The Nation, Perry Anderson reviews James Traub's The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power and Stanley Meisler's Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War (and more). Troubled waters on UN oceans treaty: The US has been the major stumbling block to a worldwide agreement on ocean governance and fixing damaged seas. From Financial Times, the New Seven Sisters: An article on the oil and gas giants that dwarf western rivals (and an interview with Nader Sultan, Luis Giusti and Carola Hoyos). From LRB, a review of The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock; Climate Change 2007, the report of the IPCC; Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning by George Monbiot; The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies; and The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review by Nicholas Stern. Immanuel Wallerstein on climate disasters and three obstacles to doing anything. Europeans do it better: In an overpopulated and warming world, isn't it weird that governments are making it easier for women to have more children? From Monthly Review, an essay on Israel in the U.S. Empire. Taming Leviathan: These are both the best of times and the worst of times for the American-Jewish lobby. Bloggers vs. the Lobby: Israel’s propaganda fortress faces a surprising new challenge. From The Washington Monthly, no time to go wobbly, Barack: The international system isn’t broken, and you can lead it; Condi’s conundrum: Will Rice get Powelled? Laura Rozen investigates; and Wesley Clark on averting the next Gulf war: The troop “surge” in Iraq is also a signal to Iran—but stopping Tehran’s nukes for good will require a different kind of leverage. An interview with Chalmers Johnson, author of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. From Vanity Fair, as a former CIA agent, Robert Baer knows how mercenaries work: in the shadows. But how did a notorious former British officer, Tim Spicer, come to coordinate the second-largest army in Iraq—the tens of thousands of private security contractors? From Foreign Policy, pressure is mounting on the international community to stop Iran’s nuclear program, and key U.S. lawmaker Tom Lantos says he knows how to do it. He’d present countries with a choice: Either you’re with the United States, or you’re with Iran. I am Sullied No More: Faced with the Iraq war's corruption, Col. Ted Westhusing chose death before dishonor. A review of Blood Brothers: Among the Soldiers of Ward 57. Here comes another "crime wave": Will any candidate have the fortitude to link America's crimes abroad with crime at home? Caught in the Spin Cycle: When the selling of the war turned as sour as the war itself, Lewis "Scooter" Libby was in trouble. His perjury trial exposed the White House P.R. machine–and the first hint of a split between his boss, Dick Cheney, and President Bush. Are neo-cons history? Jacob Weisberg wants to know. And a room of his own: George Bush wants his library to propound his message
[Weekend] Potpourri: From
Economic Quarterly, an essay on The Contributions of Milton Friedman to Economics
pdf. From The
Nation, after all these years, will Reagan's
budget chief David
Stockman go to jail for cooking the books? William
Greider investigates. From Mother Jones, an interview
with Ralph Nader. Can one person slow global warming? Here's 51
ways to save the environment. Should progressives take Ann Coulter seriously?
Sam Berger and Ben
Adler debate. Viewers to a Kill: An interview with Jeremy
Kahn, on the growing problem of witness intimidation and the
challenges of reporting a story about it (and more
on "Stop snitching"). What's an opinion worth? Sean
Gonsalves on how to combat the anti-intellectual virus. An interview with Michael
Wallis, author of Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. More
on Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by
John Patrick Diggins. Tasting their own
medicine: Republicans complain
about the congressional shaft. Here's the secret to "American
Idol": Don't think of it as a singing competition. More
than anything, "Idol" is a political game, an exercise in
building support and rallying fans. Nerds Just Wanna Have Fun: Nerds
in New York and Boston are taking barroom banter to the next level.
The evidence for a recent national rise in crime is murky -- and implementing get-tough remedies to address the alleged wave would be misguided. The intellect behind Islamic radicalism: A review
of The Power of Sovereignty by Sayed Khatab. The Zuni Way: With 90 percent of its members still living in their ancestral homeland in northwestern New
Mexico, the Native American tribe is among the continent's most cohesive. But why? A review
of Chuck Schumer's Positively American: Winning Back The Middle-Class Majority One Family at a
Alvaro Vargas Llosa on why perfect
totalitarianism is impossible.
Even though the Internet tag NSFW (Not Safe for Work) is assumed to have something to do with
sex, it is more about class, politics, and how much money you make. The Power of Babble: MIT researcher Deb Roy is
videotaping every waking minute of his infant son's first 3 years of
life. His ultimate goal: teach a robot to talk.
From Military Times, Staff Sgt. Walter
Campbell has finally received the
promotion he’s waited over a year for. His
new title: Funniest Person in South Texas. An excerpt
from R. Emmett Tyrrell's The Clinton Crack-Up. All the president's privileged men: Sanford Levinson on how moves to subpoena Karl Rove and colleagues
look likely to cause constitutional deadlock. From Radar, here's ten April Fool's Day
pranks that bombed. The art of fooling around: What makes a great April Fool's
On April Fool's Day, 1982, Argentine troops invaded the Falkland
Dan Bjarnason looks back at
"a meat grinder of a war" -- and the Canadian who
became a local hero in the process. And in 1982, Anthony Barnett argued that Britain's decision to wage war with Argentina in the south Atlantic
was triggered by its deep political
culture. Twenty-five years on, he looks afresh at the entrails
[Mar 30] From Perspectives on Politics, Ira Katznelson (Columbia): At the Court of Chaos: Political Science in an Age of Perpetual Fear pdf. On foreign policy, shades of agreement: Will the end of the Bush era bring the parties together on war and peace? The WWE and Political Campaigning: The time has come to admit to ourselves that young America's polite indifference towards partisan politics and the wrestling industry stems from the uncomfortable but increasingly undeniable fact that the two have grown indistinguishable from one another. Heather Cox Richardson, author of West From Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War, on why Reconstruction explains our politics today. Lincoln and the Greatest Question of All: A review of Lincoln Emancipated: The President and the Politics of Race. From TNR, money changes everything: A review of Andrew Carnegie and Mellon. Income gap is widening, data shows: The top 1 percent — those with incomes of more than $348,000 in 2005 — received their largest share of national income since 1928. A review of The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World's Largest Private Company. The government's iron fist is not the consumer's friend: Does the Supreme Court have a problem with free markets? From Governing, an article on public management and the end of geography. From LRB, an article on the political economy of carbon trading. If we want to save the planet, we need a five-year freeze on biofuels: Oil produced from plants sets up competition for food between cars and people. People, and the environment, will lose. The Human Footprint: Has civilization gone too far? It’s not a footprint—It’s an energy print pdf. A review of Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can’t Predict the Future by Orrin H. Pilkey and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis. Johann Hari reviews Six Degrees: our future on a hotter planet. To coldly go: Scientists travel to the bottom of the world to investigate the climate, the universe and the limits of life itself; and a look at how Antarctica is a geographical and political anomaly. Can we survive on the Moon? Overcoming the hazards of lunar life may depend on exploiting the paradoxical potential of the moon's gritty dust. Deep Impact: A new NASA report on killer asteroids ought to spook people into action. NASA will likely shut down its think tank Institute for Advanced Concepts, which funds research into futuristic, and often far-out, ideas in spaceflight and aeronautics. Disaster Man: An interview with William Langewiesche on Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight. From California Literary Review, an interview with Allen Shawn, author of Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life. Marty Klein on how America’s war on sex is no abstract political idea, and it's now playing in cities across the country. More on I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love My Low Libido by Joan Sewell. Let's Talk About Sex: A pushback against federally-funded abstinence-only sex ed finally gathers steam. And the Kids Are Alright: Emily Bazelon on what the latest day-care study really found
[Mar 29] From TAP, why economists can't see the economy: Economic theory and economic fact have long since parted company. And since we structure the world according to the theories of economists, this imperils just about everything. Did Freakonomics spoil economists? Noam Scheiber investigates. Here's a guide to clever--and serious--economics papers, and an illustrated take on the Freakonomics phenomenon. The first few chapters from The Essential John Nash. Corn-Fed America: Curt Ellis says that today’s successful farmers are economists, not gardeners. Greening globalisation: A plan to link climate-change policy with biodiversity loss renews the twenty-year-old idea of sustainable development. Is a carbon rationing scheme a solution to global warming? Democrats (and a few Republicans) are heading into complex terrain as they devise major legislation to address global warming. A guide to the coming fight. Is the South's hold over American politics on the wane? A review of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South by Thomas F. Schaller. What causes lefties to turn into conservatives? Jonathan Chait reviews Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys. Scaring the pants off men: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and other strong women in politics are sending right-wing men into a fury. Too bad. Mommies Unite! You’ve got nothing to lose!: A review of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? An interview with Susan Seligson, author of Stacked: A 32DDD Reports From the Front. A review of Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness and Success of Boys — and the Men They Become. From Psychology Today, has the quest to find the perfect soul mate done more harm than good? Psychologists provide insight into how the never-ending search for ideal love can keep you from enjoying a marriage or a healthy relationship that you already have. Raising Pagans: When Daddy is Catholic and Mommy is a Witch, what's a couple to teach their children? A review of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn't. Jacob Weisberg on the strange views of Andrew Roberts, George Bush's favorite historian: A review of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900. 1919 was one of those years that make you glad you live now: A review of Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919. From History & Policy, a historical perspective suggests that policies to promote individuals' right of identity registration, as called for in human rights conventions, are not economic luxuries but necessities for encouraging broad-based, liberal market development. We know ourselves by the papers we keep: Michael Dirda reviews Who Are You? Identification, Deception, and Surveillance. David Rivkin and Lee Casey on how closing Guantanamo would hurt the war effort, and wouldn't appease the critics anyway. Former Army interrogator Tony Lagouranis explains what torture is really like -- and what happens to those who inflict it. Have the car-bombers already defeated the surge? Mike Davis on the weapon no one can stop. And gone parkin’: A surprising amount of traffic isn’t caused by people who are on their way somewhere, but by those who have already arrived and are looking for a place to park
[Mar 28] From Secular Web, No Darwin, No Hitler: An article on spinning natural selection; and how should one choose between different religions? Raymond D. Bradley on the rivalry between religions. Passion Takes It Higher: The most influential annual gathering of young evangelicals plans to go global. An interview with Charlene Cothran, editor of Venus, a magazine for African-American gays and lesbians, on how she renounced homosexuality and came to Christ. Are we there yet? Katha Pollitt sees a "real revolution" in women’s consciousness, but says much work remains. A review of A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York by Andre Schiffrin. Founders, Strivers, and Slackers: A review of Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families by Noemie Emery. From In These Times, an article on the lessons of Sacco and Vanzetti. Each accusation on The Top Ten List of Stupid Leftist Ideals is, in reality, an assault on various humanist principles. An interview with Ron Jacobs, author of The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. Dispatches from the Lunatic Center: A review of Chris Hedges' American Fascists and and Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home. From Grist, could mainstream readers handle eco-news if it came in the shape of Julia Roberts and Evangeline Lilly (and, uh, Chip Giller)? Would green really prove to be the new black ink? And a look at how biz magazines spotlight the sustainability revolution. Exactly how big is your eco footprint? Online calculators can help you figure it out. When it comes to reducing carbon emissions, some countries have their acts together, while others have a long way to go. The Dead Sea, famous for its therapeutic minerals and for the way people float in it like corks, is evaporating away, its surface level dropping by nearly a metre a year. Ethanol is finally taking off. But the resulting boom in corn prices is driving up the cost of food around the world and threatening to destabilize Latin America. An interview with Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute. We don't need further liberalization -- what we need instead is a more nuanced arrangement that gives poor countries the liberty to pursue development strategies that benefit themselves, while rich countries can preserve the social contracts that their populations demand. Can we persuade enough Americans that a transition out of capitalism, not another oscillation, is the solution? Jacob Hacker on the emboldened Democratic vision on health care that emerged from the Nevada candidates' forum. A medical treatment all your own: Medicine is on the verge of delivering therapies tailored to individual patients. A matter of life and death: Steve Jones on how to condemn the study of complex genetic issues as eugenics is to wriggle out of an essential debate. Why do we sleep? Amanda Schaffer on our obsession with slumber. With its sleek Mega-Cruiser design, the Wally is the Maybach of yachts: the top luxury brand for the world's rich and famous. Now Wally's founder Luca Bassani has outdone himself -- with the 99-meter long Wally Island. And from The Morning News, The Strange Case of Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert: When he arrived in Manhattan in 1630, Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert had a promising future. But cannibalism, sodomy, and a pet bear (not for sale) forever changed his life, and legacy (and part 2)
[Mar 27] From Prospect, James Walvin, one of the world's leading historians of slavery, looks at the debate over financial reparations; and a look at how, in helping to bring about the end of one form of slavery, the Abolition Act of 1807 gave birth to another. Enslaved by self-pity: The idea that black people are "emotionally scarred" by slavery is borderline racist. From Der Spiegel, many have spent the winter complaining about a lack of snow and marvelling at the warm temperatures. With good reason: Turns out, this was the warmest winter on record. Chris Mooney on why Republicans distrust mainstream climate science (and more). With the Democrats' return to power in Congress, a new era of scientific integrity is within reach. Mooney's five-point plan for restoring truth in Washington. Inside the secretive plan to gut the Endangered Species Act: Proposed regulatory changes would destroy the "safety net for animals and plants on the brink of extinction," say environmentalists. Mike Lux, president of American Family Voices, on building progressive power (and part 2 and part 3). Julia M. Klein discovers that labor is losing even more ground in the newsroom. A new crop of books about Wall Street aims to capture, if not update, the rich mix of greed, striving, intrigue and vanity. Lawrence Summers on an occasion for redo economics: With prospects for a big slowdown, it's perilous to correct yesterday's mistakes. From Dollars & Sense, Slicing up at the Long Barbeque: Not since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century has America witnessed such a rapid shift in the distribution of economic wealth as it has in the past 30 years; and an article on debunking the "double-taxation" of corporations. How did tax credits become the answer to everything? Are there no other tools left in the box? Mark Schmitt on Freakopolitics. Voters' reluctance to expand social programs, coupled with a budget deficit, will force legislators to do more with less. Fortunately, better targeting of resources could yield huge benefits. The question is: How? The Young Invincibles: They’re young and healthy, and insurance is expensive. As long as they don’t catch the flu, slip on the ice, crash a bike, snowboard into a tree, rupture an appendix, or get hit by a bus, everything will be fine. Right? A review of The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World's Most Troubled Drug Culture. More and more on How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. Can you live with the voices in your head? Auditory hallucinations have long been understood as a sign of severe mental illness. For some, that’s part of the problem. Americans are demanding growth hormone injections for their children. But does size really matter? A look at the culture and science of height and how it affects our lives. And a recent study showed that it is a bad idea to have a heart attack on the weekend. If it is perilous to go into arrest outside of the workweek, then there must be bad times for other events in life as well. Here's a handy “worst day” guide for a few activities, typical and otherwise, just in case
[Mar 26] From the latest issue of Parameters, an article on The Hobbesian Notion of Self-Preservation Concerning Human Behavior during an Insurgency; an essay on Storming the Ivory Tower: The Military’s Return to American Campuses; an a review of The Making of a Terrorist: Recruitment, Training and Root Causes and Cradle of Conflict: Iraq and the Birth of the Modern U.S. Military. Waging a "just war": reality or oxymoron? In a post-9/11 world, the debate rages over the definition – and existence – of the concept. Terrorized by War on Terror: Zbigniew Brzezinski on how a three-word mantra has undermined America, and a review of Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower. More on Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy by Andrew Cockburn. A review of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. The "Black Hawk Down" of the Iraq war: A review of The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family. We don't know our enemy, and this failure helps explain why we are so far from winning in Iraq or more broadly against al-Qaeda and its allies. A searing assault on Iraq's intellectuals: The middle class is fleeing the violence and threats, leaving the question: Who will lead? Are there credible versions of Islam that are compatible with liberal democracy as it has developed in the West? Timothy Garton Ash wants to know. A review of In The Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons From the Life of Muhammad and The Heirs of Muhammad: Islam's First Century and the Origins of the Sunni-Shia Split. The subtext of recent accounts is that Jesus wasn't all he's made out to be, that Judas alone saw through him, and that it was this, not the betrayal, that has made him a hate figure in Christianity ever since. The habit of a lifetime: A review of Nuns: a History of Convent Life. More on Virgin: The Untouched History. In a four-letter word, a panoply of meaning: The evolution of the word "slut" illuminates some thorny truths. What you need to read about alpha women: As more and more strong women rise to the top of the political world, Camille Paglia ponders the paradigms of power and gender. From family gold to family gout: A review of Plutocrats: a Rothschild Inheritance. A journey into the slippery realms of the oil economy: A review of Oil on the Brain: Adventures From the Pump to the Pipeline. Corn can't solve our problem: In terms of environmental impact, all biofuels are not created equal. Jonathan Chait on why the right goes nuclear over global warming: Most of the heat is generated by a small number of hard-core ideologues. Libertarians' silver lining: The third party may not have much electoral success, but its free-market ideals are becoming popular. Compassionate Commercialism: What happens to us when greed masquerades as need, when cries for help become casting calls for chumps, when our most noble actions make us patsies? Selling Wal-Mart: Can the company co-opt liberals? Jeffrey Goldberg investigates. And why don't we just end the rhetoric, put Lou Dobbs out of his misery, pool the fence money and the increased Border Patrol uniform money, and buy Mexico?
[Weekend 2e] From Merkur, on the concept of God - - and why we don't need it: In these newly religious times, it no longer seems superfluous to rearm the atheists with arguments. When push comes to shove, atheists can only trust their reason. Is the UN doomed? Tony Judt reviews The UN Exposed: How The United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World by Eric Shawn; The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations by Paul Kennedy; and The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power by James Traub. From Transit, a "pause for thought" without the thought? An article on possible ways to talk about the future of the EU today. What Europe needs now: An interview with Jürgen Habermas on what he believes are the most pressing items on the European agenda. The EU turns 50 on Sunday. For many, the 27-country bloc has become bureaucratic and boring. That, though, is precisely why it should be celebrated. From MR, an interview with John Bellamy Foster on Marx's Capital and empire. The American Prison Nightmare: Jason DeParle reviews Punishment and Inequality in America; Confronting Confinement: A Report of the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons; and Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy. More on The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public by Sarah E. Igo. Cracks in the House of Rove: A review of The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back by Andrew Sullivan. Embrace your inner geek, grow mushrooms and turn off the vampire power: A review of Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century. An absolute riot for the privileged, but what did it achieve? A review of The Spirit of 68. A review of Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate. We've eaten, developed and drilled to near oblivion, says Bill McKibben. It's time to realize that having more stuff is not the road to paradise. Oh, really? Now for the Good News: Mankind has never been healthier, wealthier or freer. Surprised? A review of The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of The Product That Defined America (and more). Tracing the cigarette’s path from sexy to deadly: A conclusion that seems obvious today took most of a century to reach. Reclaiming the placebo: Alternative medicine is bunk, but makes good use of the placebo effect. Orthodox practitioners should be allowed to do the same. "Philosopher of the pro-choice movement" Frances Kissling retires after 25 years at CFFC. What do we want? Chastity! When do we want it? Now! A Christian teen movement questions authority—you know, like hippies. Sex in the 1700s: Prostitutes, perversions and public scandals – the stuff of the 21st century tabloids was familiar to readers three centuries earlier, according to new research. Full-Mental Nudity: William Saletan on the arrival of mind-reading machines. And doughnut try this at Home: Tinkering with a classic can sometimes go awry, or possibly even pumpernickel
[Weekend] Great expectations: Hopes fade for a fairer UN policy on human rights; many rights, some wrong: Amnesty International, the world's biggest human-rights organisation, stretches its brand; and stand up for your rights: The old stuffy ones, that is: newer ones are distractions. Knight of the Living Dead: Are we aware what lies at the end of the road opened up by the normalization of torture? Slavoj Zizek wants to know. How does Christopher Hitchens do it? An article on Hitchens' latest blackout. From Stop Smiling, an interview with Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. From TNR, Sam Tanenhaus on how William F. Buckley turned against the war--and his own movement (and an interview). UCLA's Kal Raustiala on George W. Bush, multilateralist. The Politics of War: Jack Beatty on how the Iraq war, like most American wars, is a "poor man's fight". Kanan Makiya, an advocate of Iraq regime change, wonders what went wrong. Steven Pinker on some of the most important books about violence, its evolution, and its uses during the twentieth century; and believe it or not, we're a little less nasty now. The contin uation of the global warming debate raises fundamental questions, not just about the effect that humankind might have on the atmosphere, but about the nature of science, reason and democracy itself; and controlling climate change will require personal sacrifice, fairness and trust. Yet successive governments have insisted on the individual's right to choose. This large bird is coming home to roost. Apocalypse Soon? Guy McPherson thinks an oil crisis is imminent--so kiss your old life goodbye. Homeowners are increasingly expected to do their bit to fight the causes of global warming. So what are the options for green roofs? Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler review Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Begging powerful and imperious people for access is an unavoidable part of a day job as a journalist. It is also useful in the struggle for pre-school places in Manhattan. These women are going to win: A dominatrix and two hookers walk into a recreation centre ? No, it's not the start to a bad joke, and what these women were doing is no laughing matter. Triumph of the Fembots: Beauty queens are out. The Pussycat Dolls are in. What is a "real" woman, anyway? A look at how women get dressed up for an underwear advertising campaign. Choosing the Gay Option: Both the religious right and liberal determinists misconstrue what homosexuality is. A trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma lays bare the fundamentalism that made the disgraced pastor Ted Haggard live in terror of his own homosexuality. Why God lies and sex objects object to sex: A review of I'd Rather Eat Chocolate. Is God a Republican? Religious conservative David Klinghoffer explains the politics of ritual contamination. An interview with Slate's David Plotz about the Bible's many surprises. And Heaven's Gate, The Sequel: Ten years after the 39 suicides, the sole survivor is back – and he has something urgent to tell us
[Mar 23] The introduction to Pocketbook Politics: Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America. The Unknown Financial Superhero: Daniel Gross on the amazing story of William McAdoo, and how he saved the American economy. The scientific way to beat the market: Timing cycles of boom and bust and shuffling assets may be the key to riding out economic downturns. Robert J. Shiller on markets vs. market psychology. A review of John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics. My goodness! An article on Thorstein Veblen, conspicuous virtue and the sustainable sofa. Tyler Cowen on how abolishing the middlemen won’t make health care a free lunch. More and more on Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben. From Plenty, a series on The Redemptive Economy: The secret society of unlikely recyclers; scenes from a junk yard; and two pounds a mile. Global warming can't buy happiness: The pursuit of more isn't better when it means choking our planet to death. Climate shift: Some environmental groups are sitting down with big business. But others say the fate of the planet is non-negotiable. The " green paradox": So many people love gardens and greenery, but when each of us tries to claim a little bit for our own, we end up paving over nature: A review of Green City: People, Nature & Urban Places. Conservative Climate: Consensus IPCC document may understate the climate change problem. The inability of the IPCC report to break through to the public about the urgency of climate change is just more evidence that relying on traditional science communication strategies has increasingly limited returns. In the end, it may have been Al Gore, and not James Inhofe, who went home with the hunting trophy. From TNR, what's your problem? Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg debate conservatism (and part 2). Libertarianism and the Great Divide: Justin Raimondo on radicalism versus "pragmatism" in Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (and more). A review of An Un-American Life: The Case of Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus. An interview with Myrna Blyth and Chriss Winston, authors of How to Raise an American: 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips, and Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country. An interview with Neal Boortz, author of Somebody’s Gotta Say It. From The American Thinker, it is time to drop from our political vocabulary the once useful word "progressive". When not deceptive, it is meaningless (and a response: "Call them what they are: the regressives"). The issue isn't "you and me against the intellectuals"; it's decent intellectuals against their "intellectuals": An article on The Lefty Lexicon (and part 2). Bertrand Russell’s essay "Philosophy and Politics" belongs a few chapters further down the volume, in the one entitled "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish". Are we trapped in the modern high school forever? An article on the idealism of traditionalist dissent
[Mar 22] A new issue of Bookforum is out, with most of the contents online for free. The world doesn't need machismo. So why do we keep instilling it? A review of Working Stiff: The Misadventures of an Accidental Sexpert by Grant Stoddard. Why do straights hate gays? Larry Kramer, an aging 72-year-old gay man, isn't hopeful about the future. God and His Gays: Harold Meyerson on how science is stealing up on America's religious fundamentalists, causing much alarm. An article on born-again virginity in the Age of Girls Gone Wild. Purity, chastity, mystery: More on Virgin: The Untouched History. Is Joan of Arc the prototype for modern celebrity? A review of Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint (and more). A review of The Vatican's Exorcists: Driving Out the Devil in the 21st Century. From Foreign Policy, a list of the world’s most contentious religious sites—and the politicians who inflame their faithful followers. An interview with Alexander Saxton, author of Religion and the Human Prospect. An interview with Victor J. Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis—How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. From CT, against tapioca pudding: A review of Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (and more). Despite all the hype surrounding the Discovery Channel documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus is simply one more Gnostic onslaught against the Church; and there are times when leftist Catholics themselves speak out and one gets a real picture of what is happening inside their ranks. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on the difference between Jesus and other "religious founders", and here's a sermon on why we need the poor. Christophobes at the Gates: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “exposé” of “radical traditionalists” as “anti-Semites” indicates a new phase in the war against the Catholic Church. A review of The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day by Walter Laqueur. It's all right to hate slavery and slaveowners, fascism and Hitler, etc. Why not hate the rich, the individual rich, not an abstract concept? Meet the Global Ruling Class: An article on the billionaires and how they made it. From The Mises Institute, a look at how the market gives privilege to no one. Money Talks: Robert Reich on what a forum held by the investment bank Bear Stearns tells us about the state of our presidential campaigns. From Business Week, Plato had Socrates. Tom Peters had Peter Drucker. Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan. Here's how to find your mentor. The lesson for marketers: Forget about bringing back dead brands for big-ticket items like cars and motorcycles. Try resurrecting cheapo products that will help baby boomers recall the days when their hair was thicker, more voluminous, and less gray. Getting jiggy with everyone: Robert Pinsky reviews Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich (and more). Dancing with the Devil? Ezra Klein interviews Andy Stern about SEIU's new partnership with Wal-Mart on health care. And a look at The Midlife Happiness Crisis: But don't worry—when you get old, the sun comes out again
[Mar 21] What's next for left-wing politics? Todd Gitlin, Frances Fox Piven and Michael Walzer agree that the left has yet to disappear from American politics—the question, however, is how will it sustain itself? Progressives seem unduly optimistic about an era of progressive reform supposedly coming just around the corner. It's the Death of Whateverism! Are neoliberalism and conservatism dying? They need to be. More on Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty. A review of How to be Right: the essential guide to making left liberals history. From Radical Middle, over the last three years, major conservative thinkers and activists have been turning away from small-government conservatism, and teasing out a new philosophy; and a review of Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America by Morris Fiorina and America’s Crisis of Values by Wayne Baker. Is Jonah Goldberg, the author of Liberal Fascism, caught in a conservative paradigm shift, a casualty of Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home? A review of The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life by Ramesh Ponnuru. What could conservatism have to do with streetcars? Some of you may be wondering if Paul Weyrich has slipped his trolley. How traffic jams are made in City Hall: An article on the bad logic and failed policies of transportation planners. From Mother Jones, if the U.S. government doesn't plan to occupy Iraq for any longer than necessary, why is it spending billions of dollars to build "enduring" bases? The Bush Administration is increasingly dependent on private security forces to do its dirty work: An excerpt from Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Over Christmas break, Christopher Hitchens took his son to northern Iraq, which the U.S. had made a no-fly zone in 1991, ending Saddam's chemical genocide. Now reborn, Iraqi Kurdistan is a heartrending glimpse of what might have been. Four years on the Democrats have figured out that the conflict in Iraq was a bad idea, but have they learned any broader lessons? Getting it right: What has the U.S. really learned from the Iraq intelligence fiasco? Torture is counterproductive: Anne Applebaum on how the response to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession proves it. Morning in America: The Iraq War has transformed the way Americans think about foreign policy -- a first step toward rebuilding our country's influence and power. Guy Smiley: Fred Kaplan on Bush's unaccountably upbeat Iraq speech. The Women’s War: Many female soldiers have lived through the terrible violence of the war in Iraq. Others have experienced sexual assault — or worse, a combination of the two. They have found themselves struggling to cope with their lives. And why aren't the Bush daughters in Iraq? The president's family has set an appallingly bad example for wartime sacrifice
[Mar 20] Can you be too rich? Philosopher Peter Singer; economist Russell Roberts and communist Sam Webb share their thoughts on the subject of income inequality. Cheapskate billionaires: The super-rich have more money than they can possibly spend, so why do they give so little? Plenty of mega-rich philanthropists are happy just writing checks. But Myra Kraft is forging a whole new form of engaged giving. (And she also finally dishes on how Vladimir Putin pocketed her husband's Super Bowl ring.) More and more and more and more and more on William Vollmann's Poor People. Reforms in the 1990s shifted more than 60 percent of mothers off the welfare rolls, mostly into jobs. So, how could we do the same for low-income men? A look at how high-flying females have triumphed at expense of the weaker sex... men. An official address: A tribute to the intrinsic worth and value of the work that women do at home everyday. Evolution of a feminist daughter: Rebecca Walker, the estranged daughter of the author of The Color Purple, explores family ties in Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence (and a review and more). Amish Girls Gone Wild: Behind the bonnet is a girl who just wants to have fun--and another beer, please. A review of Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines. Throwing down the gauntlet for sissydom: A review of Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums (and more). Research finds that "manly men" bounce back better from injury. More on Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics. A review of The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution (and more). Sex in the Body of Christ: Chastity is a spiritual discipline for the whole church. Is your baby gay? Albert Mohler has taken up the debate about the origins of homosexuality in a way he admits has roiled many in the Christian right. More on American Fascists by Chris Hedges. Kenan Malik reviews Letter to a Christian Nation: A Challenge to Faith by Sam Harris. A review of The Future of Secularism. James Carroll on the many forms of fundamentalism. A review of American Islam and Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America after 9/11. Muslim scholars say the Qur’an prohibits collecting interest on loans. But many banks, both global and local, have found clever ways to meet religious strictures. It’s a system that may be hypocritical, but also profitable. Pop Psychology: We all keep expecting the real estate bubble to burst. But what if it’s not a bubble after all? The Renter's Manifesto: Tim Harford on why home ownership causes unemployment and on doing society a favour: Switch services. Nassim N. Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness, is the Darth Vader of pop investing. Have you been tricked by viral marketing? Fake graffiti, bogus hype and other mutations are fooling lots of us into believing that marketed products are the hot new thing, when they're only the latest thing off the assembly line. And in Defense of Ultragrrrl: Sarah Lewitinn has become New York’s premier tastemaker—and that's what makes the haterati squirm
[Mar 19] From Stars & Stripes, a special report on Four Years in Iraq, including articles on the veteran NCO; the first-tour private; the Marine; and the translator. From Time, a special report on Four Years in Iraq, including an essay on Iraq Then and Now: What's been won and lost; a look at why the Iraqis can't get their act together; an article on the shifting strategies of war; and a look at the victims of an outsourced war. Frank Rich on a chronology of some of the high and low points in the days leading up to the national train wreck whose anniversary we mourn this week. From Middle East Quarterly, a review essay by Michael Rubin on Iraq in books. The war has united Iraqis in their disappointment. If Bush had changed his mind about the war, things might be better now. Joseph Nye on American foreign policy after Iraq. An interview with Andrew Cockburn, author of Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy. What Would Jack Bauer Do? 24 normalizes torture, magnifies terror, and leaves conservatives asking why George W. Bush can’t be more like 24’s hero. The enemy and us are starting to look alike: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed claims Washington as a hero, and the U.S. tortures -- such is the "osmosis of war". Can You Say $1,000,000,000,000? John Allen Paulos on how the Iraq trillion could have been spent. An excerpt from Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons. Stephen Kinzer on the peril of taking on Iran. To understand why the United States turns a blind eye to growing state repression in Central Asia, look no further than its air force base. From NPQ, an interview with Madeleine Albright on the cost of the last six years, from North Korea to Kosovo. From National Review, a symposium on Dinesh D’Souza's The Enemy at Home (and more by Victor Davis Hanson). Islamosocialism: Bret Stephens on how the European left makes common cause with the Muslim right. Middle East scholarship is almost as politically charged as the region itself, yet academic interest continues to grow. Test your knowledge on questions written by specialists and based on their coursework pdf. A review of The Bubble of American Supremacy by George Soros. Brothers in arms? How is US foreign policy similar to the dying U.S. car industry? Incarceration nation: Why the U.S. locks up more people than any other country. Prisoners of ideology: America’s draconian approach to criminal justice is beginning to unravel. Jim Zumbo, legendary scribe of the hunting set, was crucified by the NRA, and axed from his job at Outdoor Life, for declaring that assault weapons have no place in hunting. But don't call him a martyr. And let's stop interpreting the Second Amendment and just abolish it
[Weekend 2e] Potpourri; From CJR, before Jon Stewart: Fake news is back, but our tolerance for it isn't what it was before journalism donned the mantle of authority. Bush would never have gone to China, but Nixon would surely be talking to Iran: More on Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World. A review of Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age. An interview with Revolutionary Communist Party's Chairman Bob Avakian of the on the oppression of black people and the revolutionary struggle to end all oppression. American Schemers: On the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, several new books tell the harrowing tale behind the myth. More on Jan Crawford Greenburg's Supreme Conflict and Benjamin Wittes's Confirmation Wars. Examining the political radicalism of Martin Luther King Jr.: A review of From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice and Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign. Skulduggery between the seas: A review of Panama Fever: the Battle to Build the Canal. We have freed masturbation from the stigma of the centuries. But who will free us from masturbation? Lifting the Veil on Jill Carroll: Has the media learned from its mistakes in Iraq? A review of Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War. The DEW Line: It was North America’s first defense against a Soviet attack, and life on it was the Cold War at its coldest. From The Stranger, an article on The War on Chewing: Is khat crack? Or is khat cappuccino? 1848 is, more than any other, when modern American life really began. The future--that is, our present--came into sight. The way we live now is the way we started to live then. More on Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them. Florida's Forgotten Rebels: An article on rediscovering the most successful slave revolt in American history. A Signal From Above: Christian radio gets closer to the morning-madness crowd. An interview with Igor Keller, composer of Mackris v. O’Reilly, an oratorio on the Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment of a female colleague. The Enlightened Bracketologist: Interactive brackets reveal the best ad slogan of all time, the greatest film death, and more. Cherokee Perks: What's so good about being a Native American? And eating a plant-based diet is an easy, cheap way to end animal cruelty and clean up the environment. Why, then, are so many progressives still clinging to their chicken nuggets?
[Weekend] The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has released the text of a Notification warning of doctrinal errors in the work of Father Jon Sobrino, SJ, a noted champion of liberation theology. Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne warns of the presence of ideologies in Latin America. God-bothered: Religion in central and eastern Europe is waning—and plagued by scandal. Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on public reason and the truth of Christianity. When Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo rejoined the wife chosen for him by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Catholic Church excommunicated him. But Milingo says it's all part of a divine plan. From America, a review of Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community. A review of God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist and Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From? by Victor J. Stenger. Michael Novak reviews Letter to a Christian Nation; Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon; and The God Delusion (and more). Steven Warshawsky's message to atheist conservatives: grow up, have more respect for the Christian majority in this country, and don't be so sensitive. You're starting to sound like liberals. More on Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't. The danger of beliefs that spare no room for doubt: A review of Empires of Belief. Sam Harris on God's dupes: Moderate believers give cover to religious fanatics -- and are every bit as delusional. Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett both advocate freedom of conscience. However, the two take very different paths with their freedom. Engineering evolution is the transhumanists' goal. But can they re-engineer our Darwinian mind? Or, Leda Cosmides asks, are we already transhuman? (and more on "posthumanity"). Be More Than You Can Be: Heat-resistant. Cold-proof. Tireless. Tomorrow’s soldiers are just like today’s — only better. Inside the Pentagon’s human enhancement project. The Cudgel of Culture: Journalist Robert MacNeil laments the influence of fundamentalism on science education and individual freedoms. From Democracy Journal, Mark Schmitt on how small-donor democracy can save campaign finance reform; the Course of bigness: Why Louis Brandeis is on Andrei Cherny's necktie; and E Pluribus Unum: English is supposed to be the glue that binds the country together. But the key to a robust American democracy is bilingualism. "It's our job to stop that Dream": An article on the endless, futile work of the Border Patrol. Can Congress repeal birthright citizenship? Anti-immigration lawmakers are pushing the idea, but the 14th Amendment may get in their way. A review of The End of Government... As We Know It: Making Public Policy Work by Elaine Kamarck. A review of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History. Newt Gingrich's attempted phoenix-like rise from his own political ashes will run into Tom DeLay. Months before any 2008 votes are counted, the rush to bury the GOP is as hasty as it is premature. Unity is overrated: Calls to "put politics aside" really mean "stop disagreeing with me and shut up". And on Machiavelli's hero: Even 500 years after his death, Cesare Borgia speaks to us about power and politics
[Mar 16] We are endlessly assured that there is no alternative to the present system and that socialism is dead. Real life suggests otherwise. On the origins of Marx’s economic ideas: Where do capitalist profits come from? Cornel West on what it means to be a leftist in the 21st century. We don't give enough credit to the many agents of social change; maybe it’s because we’re so hung up on our own little efforts. Still, it’s good to take a tally every once. So who’s all taking part? From American Thinker, why do intellectuals oppose the military? James L. Holmes investigates. Dinesh D'Souza on The Closing of the Conservative Mind, part 3 and part 4. From The American Spectator, a special report on the the sexually graphic lengths to which political activists and performance artists happily go. From American Sexuality, one of the guys: An article on the distraction of "sexual orientation" and the lost world of the American male. For a brief moment in the ‘90s, the phenomenon of passing fascinated literary and cultural critics: A review of Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. Is your baby gay? Pretty soon, a DNA test could tell you. Claire Miccio helps a pair of harried parents figure out the best baby name for maximized optimum results. An end to gender: We should stop teaching boys to be "boys" and girls to be "girls". Why Sexist Langnage Matters: Gendered words and phrases like "you guys" may seem small compared to issues like violence against women, but changing our language is an easy way to begin overcoming gender inequality. A review of The First Women Lawyers. What a Load: In the discussion about achieving work/life balance, men are getting a free pass. A review of Women in Business, 1700–1850. The Opt-Out Myth: Most mothers have to work to make ends meet. E.J. Graff on why the press writes only about the elite few who don't. From Democracy Journal, the haves and the have lots: The American welfare state is bigger than you think, and more unfair than you’d want; the bottom line: Corporate social responsibility works, and progressives shouldn’t abandon it. A response to Aaron Chatterji and Siona Listokin; and a review of The Foundation: A Great American Secret -- How Private Wealth is Changing the World. Our company right or wrong: Founders and their families often exert extraordinary power over public companies, even when they own only a minority of the shares. A review of Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders. When a thief steals your personal data, who really pays? Steven Levitt investigates. An interview with Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons, authors of Punk Marketing. From Business Week, a special report on the business of fashion. Unfortunately, we'll always have Paris (Hilton): What the socialite's undeserved fame says about our society. From Forbes, a special report on achievement, including Alexandra Robbins on Confessions of a (Recovering) Overachiever; Carl Zimmer on High-Achieving Genes; an article on Wall Street's Magic Number: How much money is enough?; Tim Harford on the achievement gap: Why aren't African-Americans achieving all that they could?; and sometimes you really are better off dead
[Weekend] From Scienceblogs, Jerry
Fodor is Against
Darwinism, and Daniel Dennett responds
pdf. A review
of Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology. Rewiring the
brain: A review
of Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain and The Brain That Changes Itself.
What do the results of animal studies really tell us about humans? That question still puzzles researchers even though guinea pigs, lab rats and their brethren have long been part of experiments.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Pentagon group that deals with nuclear
proliferation, is looking at how to find WMD traffickers with social network analysis.
Philip Zimbardo on revisiting the Stanford Prison
Experiment: A lesson in the power of situation. The big picture on college admissions:
Whether or not an applicant gets in is just a single step in
life, says Stanford's admissions director.
U.S. News issues this year’s rankings of graduate
departments (here's the Top
3 in Political Theory), based in most cases entirely on a reputational survey,
but a new rankings system for Ph.D. programs also went live this week, and it is a system in which no department can claim to be tops in anything.
Should college presidents withhold data from U.S. News? Naomi
Schaefer Riley investigates.
An academic tango: Does the interplay of grading policies and teacher-course evaluations undermine our education system?
College for whom? How should a civilized society ensure that college-able young people are not thrown away because they are poor?
A study being carried out at the University of Leicester examines
the use of email ''as a technology of oppression". From The
Weekly Standard, do
campuses tilt left? Yes, Virginia, faculty bias does exist.
The New SDS: Christopher Phelps explores a revived campus movement that's trying new tactics to hasten the end of the Iraq War.
From Open Democracy, the work of the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman offers
a sustained, critical and ethical, effort to understand the modern world in its uncertainty, fluidity, and
totality. Ian Varcoe surveys a body of work that awaits full recognition.
An interview with Joschka
Fischer, from street radical to the German foreign ministry--and now to Princeton.
The University of Chicago will become the first American university to
taught by members of one of the world’s most elite scholarly
institutions, the Collège de France.
India attracts universities from the US: American universities, eager to expand to markets
abroad, are training their sights on India. Former adman, philosophy major
Jim Riswold has
fun mocking Mao. A purple patch on prediction and perspective
by Antonio Gramsci. Libertarians are a strange lot: A review
of Boomsday by Christopher Buckley. Terry Teachout on The Joan Didion Show: Personal grief becomes grist for the literary mill.
From Slate, here's a brief
history of memoir-bashing: It's almost as old as the memoir itself.
And your room is booked: In a DVD age, literary
hotels go back to the classics
[Mar 30] Zygmunt J.B. Plater (BC): Law, Media, & Environmental Policy: A Fundamental Linkage in Sustainable Democratic Governance. From The Global Spiral, this is the very fine line we walk—between the foolishness of giving up the quest for wisdom and wholeness and the idolatry of thinking our worldview or system or philosophical/theological position is complete and sufficient. A review on Inventing Human Rights: A History. David Sloane Wilson reviews Moral Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture. Apes and humans have common ancestors but should they have the same rights? An international movement to give them "personhood" is gathering pace. From Discover, an interview with Jane Goodall, the woman who changed the way we think about animals. Gorilla friends…without the benefits: Gorilla-human liaisons millions of years ago left us with pubic lice. The idea that Charles Darwin delayed publishing On the Origin of Species for 20 years for fear of ridicule is a myth, a new assessment claims. Most mammal groups alive today came into existence long before the asteroid arrived 65m years ago. The idea that the absence of dinosaurs created a huge evolutionary spurt that led to man is therefore not quite precisely the truth. Primordial Soup's On: Scientists repeat evolution's most famous experiment, and their results could change the way we imagine life arose on early Earth. Lee Gutkind's Almost Human answers the question we're all afraid to ask: How long until I'm some robot's pet? (and an interview). From Wired, mixed feelings: See with your tongue. Navigate with your skin. Fly by the seat of your pants (literally). How researchers can tap the plasticity of the brain to hack our 5 senses — and build a few new ones. How to make biology on your computer: A review of Genesis Machines: The new science of biocomputing, and Pulse: How nature is inspiring the technology of the twenty-first century. Zeroing in: It may be possible to store a bit of data on a single atom and retrieve it. Public library geeks take Web 2.0 to the stacks: Learning 2.0 has become a surprise grassroots hit, available for free on the web and adopted by dozens of other libraries around the globe. The Caravan Project is designed to help university presses and other small publishers learn to distribute their material in multiple formats quickly and cost-effectively. From Host, March as "the month of Books", introduced in Czechoslovakia in 1955, was always predominantly a propaganda tool. But is there still a place for this leftover from communist cultural policy in the cultural landscape of the contemporary Czech Republic? From 3:AM Magazine, Sean Walsh is fascinated by an enduring literary recurrence: Robinson. Religion of the dollar: John Sutherland on the novel that became the US conservatives’ bible, Atlas Shrugged. Clive James on the nothingness at the heart of Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy. And Jeremy Stangroom and Ophelia Benson on why accuracy and methodology are not ivory tower concerns
[Mar 29] Potpourri: From Perspectives on Politics, Jack Citrin, Amy Lerman, Michael Murakami (UC-Berkely) and Kathryn Pearson (Minnesota): Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity? pdf. From Ctheory, Stephen Crocker (Memorial): Noises and Exceptions: Pure Mediality in Serres and Agamben. A review of Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece. A review of Roman Manliness: Virtus and the Roman Republic. A review of Self: Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality, Life, and Death. A review of Nicholas Humphrey's Seeing Red: A Study in Consciousness. A review of Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. The claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies point to exactly that conclusion: Steven Pinker on a history of violence. A review of Darwin by Tim Lewens. A review of The Measure of God. Our Century-Long Struggle to Reconcile Science & Religion. The Story of the Gifford Lectures; and Before Darwin. Reconciling God and Nature. A review of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong by Marc Hauser. Believers are away with the fairies: AC Grayling on how we'd be better off without religion. A review of Going Sane: Maps of Happiness by Adam Phillips. A review of The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain. A review of Alexis de Tocqueville: A Life by Hugh Brogan. Will the sun ever set on the English language? For two centuries, English mastery has equaled power. Will Chinglish, Spanglish and Hinglish topple that great linguistic empire? This month brought the first documentary evidence of a literary feud: photos showing Gabriel García Márquez with a shiner after a fight with Mario Vargas Llosa. A new kind of twin: Researchers have identified a rare "semi-identical" set of twins, one intersex and the other male. Two years ago Google began scanning hundreds of thousands of books and making their contents available on the Web. Could this signal the end of libraries as we know them? A purple patch on Karl Marx by Isaiah Berlin. From Sign and Sight, the source we drink from: The rediscovery of the absurd – the Oberiuts are the liveliest of the classic Russian writers. A review of Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer (and more and more and more). We die too soon, but wise Methuselahs could save the world: Here's why we should solve the medical problems of aging. A review of John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty. Ewwwww! The reason we experience disgust today is that the response protected our ancestors. The introduction to Fossil Legends of the First Americans. Against love: An article on seeking the literary traces of the Natascha Kampusch affair. John Updike reviews Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe. We don't just enjoy the view: A review of The Eye: a Natural History. More and more on Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl and Leni Riefenstahl: A Life. And a review of The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh
[Mar 28] The latest issue of Political Studies is online, including
Roland Pierik and Ingrid Robeyns (Radboud): Resources versus Capabilities: Social Endowments in Egalitarian Theory; Edward A. Page (Warwick): Fairness on the Day after Tomorrow: Justice, Reciprocity and Global Climate Change; and S. N. Sangmpam (Syracuse): Politics Rules: The False Primacy of Institutions in Developing Countries. From Social Research, a special issue on Fairness: Its Role in Our Lives, including John Elster (Columbia): Fairness and norms; Matthew Rabin (UC-Berkeley): The experimental study of social preferences; Sidney Verba (Harvard): Fairness, equality, and democracy: three big words; Ira Katznelson (Columbia): When is affirmative action fair? On grievous harms and public remedies; Cass R. Sustein (Chicago): Two conceptions of procedural fairness; Christian Barry and Lydia Tomitova (Carnegie) Fairness in sovereign debt; Julian Le Grand (LSE): Equality and choice in public services; and Richard G. Wilkinson (Albany): The impact of inequality. The introduction to Before the Deluge: Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution. From UCLA, a rare peek into the new "holistic" admissions process shows that personal factors are no longer reviewed separately from academics. Tenure reform, the time has come: Hank Brown describes how and why the University of Colorado has taken on the issue — and urges other colleges to follow. Teachers and Teaching: An excerpt from Finding the Words: The Education of James O. Freedman. What causes bookworms in academe to slither around trying to intellectualize our cultural rubbish? L. Brent Bozell III reviews South Park and Philosophy. From Campus Progress, a crib sheet on the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and how their “Intellectual Diversity” agenda is advocating censorship. From The Chronicle, Quote one for the Gipper: Famed campus sayings are legion. But who said them first? A review of Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers. Indies under fire: The Borders bookstore chain is “right-sizing.” Scott McLemee takes a look at a new documentary about the company’s effects on the culture. Texts that run rings around everyday linear logic: Edward Rothstein reviews Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition by Mary Douglas. The richest learning experience comes from narrative: Jerome Bruner on the lesson of the story. Why we still bother to read novels: A review of The Library at Night, How to Read a Novel, and Reading Like a Writer. Welcome to Memoir Week at Slate where over the next three days critics will be weighing in on new memoirs. DNasty Boy: Dana Vachon, the investment banker turned blogger turned novelist, is one very sincere satirist. A review of Christopher Buckley's Boomsday. From Wired, when five Microsoft guys started posting internal videos for the world to see, many at the famously secretive company freaked. And that was before thousands of in-house bloggers took to their keyboards. A dispatch from the front lines of transparency. And not neutrality: Why are the Communications Workers of America opting out of the Save the Internet coalition?
[Mar 27] Johan P. Olsen (ARENA): Organization theory, public administration, democratic governance pdf. Is Barack Obama a space cadet? Gary Shapiro on how Obama's view of the constitution is hinted in an article by Laurence Tribe in Harvard Law Review. The right to have rights: A review of Lynn Hunt's Inventing Human Rights: A History. A review of T. H. Green: Ethics, Metaphysics, and Political Philosophy. A review of John Searle's Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power. Lee Alan Dugatkin, author of The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness, on the evolution of goodness. A review of Why can't we be good? by Jacob Needleman. Justice demands that you give, but moral and political philosophers are excused because the demands of deciding are too excessive. Philosophy is a wonderful thing. How many of the professed existentialists have understood Being and Nothingness? A review of Continuum’s Guides for the Perplexed. A teenager helps Socrates and Wittgenstein settle an old argument: A review of If Minds Had Toes. Young children's "self-regulation" abilities, such as shifting and focusing attention, have been found to account for greater variation in early academic success than measures of intelligence. From New York, The Continuing Education of Mrs. Ross: Ross Global, Courtney Ross’s new charter school, is holistic, organic, Ayurvedic, artistic, and evolutionary. But when you’re building an educational Utopia, there are going to be some casualties. Being a graduate student is the most grueling and intense part of becoming a scientist, but it rarely leads to murder. Here are some rare instances, and more on a tale of power and intrigue in the lab, based on real life. Paying by the Program: Public institutions nationwide are increasingly varying undergraduate tuition rates by major. Seth Roberts on why college is usually a waste of time. Identity Politics Gone Wild: An article on the Deaf culture wars at Gallaudet University. Love the Sinner: When sexual orientation conflicts with church doctrine, how tolerant should a Catholic University be? Caitlin Flanagan reviews College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Co-Eds, Then and Now by Lynn Peril. Reactions to the hiring of an ombudsman for The Harvard Crimson ranged from praise to disappointment. And then there was the online satire. New Zip for the Old Strip: There's no better textbook example of the Web reinvigorating an old-school medium than the humble comic strip. (Um, besides porn, that is.) One of the internet's greatest success stories is under constant attack from cyber vandals. Now Wikipedia is fighting the information saboteurs - but can it stem the damage? Why not use the Web to create marketplaces of willing human beings who will perform the tasks that computers cannot? And a look at how Microsoft Vista could destroy the planet
[Mar 26] A review of The Poincaré Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe. Colin McGinn reviews The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe by Michael Frayn. What? Like it's not Grand enough? I s it humanity's crowning glory or simply hubris that compels us always to go Mother Nature one better? Reassessing the gravity of the situation: For Dick Peltier, the earth moves all the time. Exactly how and where it bulges outward and falls inward is his bread and butter as a University of Toronto professor of physics. Novelists have been feeling downright apocalyptic: It's boom times for the end of the world -- what's behind all the gloom? I know Montaigne. Montaigne is a friend of mine. And believe me, Clive James, you're no Montaigne: More on Cultural Amnesia. Call Me, Ishmael: If Anna Karenina had had a cellphone on the train, would Tolstoy’s novel have been 800 pages long? Why are we so fascinated by the lives of others? Jonathan Yardley reviews Biography: A Brief History. Life studies: Biography today reigns supreme -- the most challenging, controversial, and popular form of nonfiction publishing and broadcasting. So why is it still shunned by the academy? Can George Washington explain George W. Bush? Eric Rauchway on the struggle to make history relevant. A review of Edmund Burke: Volume II, 1784-1797. The past was a stinker: A review of Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England. Bill Taylor is fascinated by people who sleep in public. Their surrender and vulnerability bespeak either absolute self-confidence or the weary desperation of the down-and-out. A better society? Or a better résumé? Has community service been reduced to a useful means of public shaming and a thoughtless college pre-application procedure? The Middle Ages: What to do about the toughest years in school? An interview with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 22-year-old founder. Students are using these four websites to post remarks and rate their instructors. Wikiality in My Classroom: Will teachers be able to keep up with this iPod generation? Let's declare "The paper is dead" before the database makes the declaration for us. The Papers Chase: How Manhattan rare-book dealer Glenn Horowitz has used unyielding persistence to build a booming market in writers’ archives and add glitz to a profession once seen as musty and obscure. It took Yu Dan only six weeks to topple JK Rowling and become the most successful author in Chinese history, by making the 2500-year-old words of Confucius, China's most famous thinker, relevant in the 21st century. Where Modernism hit an Art Deco wall: Nathan Glazer on how architects like the style, but most Americans have a taste for traditional, less prosaic structures. It was (nearly) 40 years ago today. On the evening of March 30, 1967, four young musicians gathered with a large group of artists and assistants in a London studio to shoot a photograph for an album cover. And here's a look at the week's best invented words
[Weekend 2e] From Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, a review of Identity and Modality; a review of Metaethics After Moore; and a review of Moral Skepticisms. A review of The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy. A review of After Hitler: Recivilizing the Germans, 1945-1995. From Frontpage, David Horowitz and Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors, debate "Political Indoctrination and Harassment on Campus: Is there a Problem?", and from Campus Progress, a review of Horowitz’s Indoctrination U. The College Rankings Revolt: Fed up with arbitrary ratings lists, college presidents are teaming up to develop a better alternative. From Writ, more on the Supreme Court and the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner. The case for teaching the Bible: Should the Holy Book be taught in public schools? Yes. It's the bedrock of Western culture. And when taught right, it's even constitutional. A review of Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis That Shocked The Nation. Tell black history's ugly truth: The story of African American struggle isn't always uplifting, but none of it should be denied. A review of West From Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America After the Civil War (and an excerpt pdf). Did Jefferson abuse his authority to count himself into the Presidency? Bruce Ackerman investigates. A purple patch on government intervention by John Stuart Mill. From The Nation, waiting for C. Wright Mills: Ricardo Alarcón, president of the National Assembly of Cuba, remembers the American sociologist who, despite FBI harassment, remained engaged in the revolution. Theodore Sorensen on Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the historian, activist and writer who played a central role in defining modern American liberalism. From NYRB, Stephen Greenblatt on Shakespeare and the uses of power. Clive James on what Rainer Maria Rilke's career—taken along with Bertolt Brecht's—tells us about fame. From Seed, the vanishing act: The world's habitable spaces are under pressure. For those evicted by environmental change or conflict, is there ever any going back? A review of Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise by Steve Jones. Is spring fever a real phenomenon: Is it salvation from winter that puts us in the mood for love or is there a biological basis for this flurry of psychological renewal and physical energy? Designing a disease -- and its drug: An artist creates a drug called Havidol. Say the drug's name out loud, and you get her point. Tatyana Safronova on coffee and the people who love it. The Hostile New Age Takeover of Yoga: There's nothing worse than narcissism posing as humility. The classic Volkswagen Type 2 mini-bus is experiencing a renaissance at the age of 57. Once every hippie's preferred form of transport, the curvaceous people-carrier is finding its way on to the big screen. And a review of Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game & How It Got That Way
[Weekend] From Financial Times, I think, therefore I am, I think: A review of Freedom & Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power by John Searle; Conversations on Consciousness: What the Best Minds Think About the Brain, Free Will, and What It Means to be Human by Susan Blackmore; and Four Views on Free Will by John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom and Manuel Vargas; and cosmologists have been struggling to understand a force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe. Why is dark energy still a mystery to scientists? The Big Bang Machine: A Long Island particle smasher re-creates the moment of creation. Truth and Lies: An article on mapping the most complex known mathematical object. As they construct a truly three-dimensional cyberspace, people are starting to make real money. Great plot, shame about the characters: Using film to train shrinks works better in some places than in others. Every picture tells a story: Biopics take dramatic liberties with their subjects’ lives. A precarious balance: A review of At the Same Time by Susan Sontag. From The Economists' Voice (a special kind of registration is required), how do economists know what they know? In a call for a new empiricism, Barbara Bergmann asserts that economists mainly make it up. Here's the latest issue of Economic Principals: "It's not a blog; it's a weekly". An economist's courtroom bonanza: Whether it's Mötley Crüe or antitrustl law, Berkeley's David Teece is ready to testify. A Supreme Court case about the free-speech rights of high school students has opened an unexpected fissure between the Bush administration and its usual allies on the religious right: We've come a long way since "Fuck the Draft": Because you just can't improve on "Bong hits 4 Jesus", and more on a schoolboy prank. Since its fiery demise in 1969, there have been various attempts to revive Students for a Democratic Society. All such efforts failed... until recently. What effect will the random selection of classmates have on education? Tim Harford investigates. Shaddup your Facebook: The social networking site for twentysomethings is churning out a generation of navel-gazing pseudo-celebs. A new issue of The Quarterly Conversation is out. A sluggish book market and intense competition from rivals like Amazon.com and Costco are forcing the nation's top two booksellers, Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc., to rewrite the rules on the book business. The web revolution that is turning whole industries from music to television upside down has been slow to reach the cosy world of books, apart from the pioneering bookseller Amazon. Not any more. Not bound by anything: Now that books are being digitised, how will people read? And Viacom, NBC and NewsCorp./Fox are waging war against Google in a high-stakes scramble to cash in on the unmined riches of the Internet. At what cost to us?
[Mar 23] More from Boston Review: The geography of poverty: Dalton Conley on rethinking social policy; and on knowing right and wrong: Is morality a natural phenomenon? Alex Byrne investigates. Posing the right question: An article on how the neurology of morality is being explored. More on how brain injuries affect moral choices (and more). Human brain a poor judge of risk: With the amygdala constantly contradicting the neocortex, your gray matter tends to see lots of red alerts. A review of The Mind Incarnate by Lawrence A. Shapiro. A purple patch on fair terms by John Rawls. Would you kill one person to save five others? Peter Singer says your intuition is probably wrong. A review of In Praise of Blame. From Fordham, Troy Tassier tracks real human behavior with artificial people. A review of Gad Saad's The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption. To confront the country's growing depression epidemic, a modern phenomenon, psychologist Steve Ilardi peered backward into human history. Way back: tens of thousands of years and beyond. An interview with Charles Taylor on spirituality in modern society. From Campus Progress, an interview with Todd Gitlin on Iraq, the sixties, and David Horowitz. The university’s freedom lesson: The pressure on universities to manage and monitor their charges in the wider social interest is in tension with their role as incubators of civic virtue. Is NYU's Alger Hiss conference biased? Ronald Radosh and John Prados debate. Professor Anthony O'Regan of Valley College suggests five books that every political science major should read. Thomas Mallon on 10 questions about the future of the humanities in America. As more and more people are turning to the Internet to find information, important science websites are in danger of becoming buried in the sheer avalanche of facts now available online. Key science sites are failing to register in the top 30 Google search results. The P Word: Jonathan Lethem and Richard Posner butt heads over whether plagiarism exists. Online book-sales rankings are an object of obsession for authors because of their "democratic" potential. But if this is the democracy of bookselling, vote buying is an option -- and public-relations firm Ruder Finn says it's figured out how to do just that. From Radar, Bust for Life: Balto the sled dog has a statue in New York, why not George Plimpton? A scholarly supernova: When Harvard's Stephen Jay Greenblatt comes to town to deliver a lecture on Shakespeare, it's standing-room only. Into the Language Lab: A review of Joan Retallack and Juliana Spahr's Poetry and Pedagogy. Elvish Impersonators: Game players, medievalists, linguists, scholars, and other Tolkien faithful can find gatherings to match their sensibilities. And from Payvand's Iran News, an article on 300 Evil-Doers, and more on Persia's 9/11 (and more by Victor Davis Hanson and and more on "a triumph of the will")
[Mar 22] From TLS, the fictions of Foucault's scholarship: A review of Michel Foucault's History of Madness; and is genocide a modern phenomenon? A review of The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing by Michael Mann. Arendt's Conflicted Zionism: A review of Hannah Arendt's The Jewish Writings. From Critical Inquiry, Danny Postel interviews Tzvetan Todorov (and part 2) pdf. Why don’t more political scientists study the antiwar movement? Scott McLemee talks to one who does, Michael T. Heaney of the University of Florida. The U.S. military is working on computers than can scan your mind and adapt to what you're thinking. Moral judgment fails without feelings: Neuroscientists trace abnormal moral choices to damaged emotional circuits. From Seed, long-held assumptions about "silent" genetic mutations have been torn down, challenging a fundamental evolutionary theory; and the garden-variety caterpillar is revealing surprising information about the circumstances under which genetic traits actually put themselves. From Scientific American, the promise of plasmonics: A technology that squeezes electromagnetic waves into minuscule structures may yield a new generation of superfast computer chips and ultrasensitive molecular detectors; and The Car Doctor Is In: A way to diagnose engine problems without ever having to look under the hood. From PUP, the introduction to From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture's Encounter with the American City by Nathan Glazer. A review of The Disinherited: The Exiles who Created Spanish Culture. An excerpt from The Colorful Apocalypse: Journeys in Outsider Art by Greg Bottoms. YouTube for Artists: A look at the best places to find video art online. The single-elimination bracket grid really can answer all of life’s questions: More on The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything. A review of In Contradiction: A Study of the Transconsistent. From Salon, a review of The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory. How to be Queen: A review of Sovereign Ladies: The six reigning Queens of England. From BBC Magazine, a cut glass English accent can fool unsuspecting Americans into detecting a "brilliance that isn't there", says Stephen Fry. So is a British accent - of any variety - the route to success in the United States? Stephen Fry says British actors have it easy in the US because Americans are impressed by the accent. Rubbish, says Toby Young - these days, it's only talent that counts. Yo-Yo Ma's edge effect: He's a cross-cultural icon, an artistic catalyst, a business phenomenon, a philosopher of globalization, and a management guru. He plays a mean cello, too. Virtual worlds, Real disputes: A tour of the legal conundrums sparked by the popularity of online games. Lies We Teach Teenagers: Schools dispense government-funded falsehoods—about sex, health and what is "normal". And there’s no good reason why the face of conservatism on college campuses and cable news should be more Ann Coulter’s than Jennifer Gratz’s
[Mar 21] James W. Dow (Oakland): A Scientific Definition of Religion pdf. Christian ideas gone mad: It's time to take a closer look at the Enlightenment values which underpin much of modern thinking. A review of The Future for Philosophy, edited by Brian Leiter. A review of The State of Democratic Theory by Ian Shapiro. A review of Public Law in a Multi-Layered Constitution. From Passage, a heavy prelude to chaos: European literature represented the US as the quintessence of a traumatic, unbridled modernity that prefigured the destruction of Europe. Jesper Gulddal surveys the uncharted territory of literary anti-Americanism. An interview with Iraq's minister for higher education Abid Thyab on his determination to secularise universities. Of scholars and zealots: Are Koran schools hotbeds of terrorism? If Americans want better schools and smarter students, they should think F-for Finland. History to Order: History teaching in Serbia’s public schools has been repeatedly abused by politics. From Australia, a review of Dumbing Down: Outcomes-based and politically correct — the impact of the Culture Wars on our schools. A review of Two Americas, Two Educations: Funding Quality Schools for All Students. From City Journal, Radical Equations: Marxist pedagogues are hard at work in New York’s public schools. Communist Party USA gives its history to NYU: The party has donated a vast collection of papers and photographs never before seen publicly. From Scientific American, the science of lasting happiness: Through controlled experiments, Sonja Lyubomirsky explores ways to beat the genetic set point for happiness. Staying in high spirits, she finds, is hard work; and on alcoholism and our genes: identifying genetic influences on vulnerability to alcohol addiction can lead to more targeted treatments and help those at risk to make informed choices about their own lives; and free to choose: Michael Shermer on how the neuroscience of choice exposes the power of ideas. Scientist finds the beginnings of morality in primate behavior: Frans de Waal argues that human morality would be impossible without certain emotional building blocks that are clearly at work in chimp and monkey societies. It is one of the most symmetrical mathematical structures in the universe. It may underlie the Theory of Everything that physicists seek to describe the universe (and more). A review of Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. From Skeptical Inquirer, an article on Carl Sagan’s life and legacy as scientist, teacher, and skeptic. From Discover, a world full of spam: A map that pinpoints the origin of 1 billion spam messages shows global spam hotspots. Source wars: Eric Rauchway on why Wikipedia is good for academia. And a review of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
[Mar 20] Potpourri: A review of Marx's Das Kapital: A Biography by Francis Wheen and Plato's Republic: A Biography by Simon Blackburn. Structural integrity: Nathan Glazer argues that today's leading architects learned the wrong lessons from modernism's mistakes, and need to re-engage with the life of cities. How Keats's famous line applies to math and science: A review of Why Beauty is Truth: A History of Symmetry. Animated Soviet Propaganda, a recently released collection of cartoons the Russians commissioned to indoctrinate children with the presumed moral superiority of communism, reminds us how nice it is to have prejudices aroused and confirmed. From The New Yorker, Daniel Zalewski on Roberto Bolaño and his fractured masterpiece; and Picasso looks back: Simon Schama on Rembrandt’s Ghost. Extreme entities: Ron Rosenbaum delves into exceptional genius – and evil. The Last Gentleman: George Trow was a cultural dissident living outside the mainstream for as long as he could stand it. And then he couldn’t. A review of American Speeches: Political Oratory From the Revolution to the Civil War and American Speeches: Political Oratory From Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton, edited by Ted Widmer. Masters of disguise: Art and popular culture rushed to adopt the bold lines and contrasting planes of colours of military camouflage – ironically because the patterns stood out so noticeably. History in the trash? Digital files have to avoid natural threats if they are to remain intact. A new breed of digital archivist is tracking the e-mails, computer files and electronic ephemera that might otherwise be lost forever. The science of the security blanket: In a new study, researchers finally try to answer Charlie Brown's question about Linus and his ever-present accessory. The superhero comics that kids once knew (and perhaps loved) are in trouble as readership of titles like Spider-Man and Batman fall. Ever wonder why? When it comes to Shakespeare, that, as the melancholy Dane would say, is the question. Who's there, really, behind all those extraordinary plays and brilliant characters? There's no doubt it's Will. It's finally here! (Not that you've heard of it yet): An old friend, a new book, and anticipating the next big pop culture hit. Skim-fast diet: How dare Pierre Bayard tell us how to discuss books we haven't read? (At least that's what he is said to have written.) A review of Beckett Remembering, Remembering Beckett. A review of Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece. Wine fraud is difficult to detect and the temptation to doctor bottles can be almost overwhelming. A look at a complex and murky business. A review of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video From the Beatles to the White Stripes. For bookstores, a real page-turner: Want to see the future of the book? Pay attention to what's on the screen. A review of Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts by Clive James. And a review of Biography: A Brief History
[Mar 19] From the conference "Thinking in Dark Times: The Legacy of Hannah Arendt" at Bard College, you can download lectures by George Kateb (What Does It Mean to Think about Politics?), Elisabeth Young-Bruehl ( What Is the Importance of Arendt's Jewish Identity?), Patchen Markell ( What Is the Activity of Democratic Citizenship?), and more. Roger Berkowitz replies to Thom Brooks’ review of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition pdf. A review of Overcoming Our Evil: Human Nature and Spiritual Exercises in Xunzi and Augustine. Pictures, statistics and genocide: People empathize with individuals in trouble more than large groups. Beliefs about the uniqueness of human behavior might well be the last bastion of our superiority complex, but research suggests that even this redoubt may be crumbling. More than a match for Homo sapiens: A review of Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence; The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy — and Why They Matter; and The Elephant’s Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa. From FrontPage, a symposium on the problem with public education. The Getting-Into-Preschool Puzzle: Can an admissions director really evaluate a 2-year-old? The Incredibles: For “zoomers,” high school is like college. What does that mean when they actually get to college? Make college admissions a crapshoot: Top schools are already too selective, so why not draw names from a hat? From Campus Progress, anti-affirmative action activist Ward Connerly announces his new plans. Scores of colleges and universities have set up campuses in Second Life, where students interact in real time and the laws of physics don’t necessarily apply. Black Tie Optional: Naked parties on campus are more an experiment in social interaction than a sexual experience, but togas? They are so last century... Using the Internet to ruin classmates' careers, if not their lives, some lawyers-to-be should exercise their right to remain silent. Lawrence Lessig on how, thanks to the Supreme Court, companies now get two bites at the copyright policy-making apple, one in Congress and one in the courts. A review of The Little Book of Plagiarism; Historians in Trouble; and Plagiarism and Literary Property in the Romantic Period. The world? Your oyster? Why not? The Luddite on how never have so many people had so much information and done so little with it. And an interview with André Schiffrin, author of The Business of Books, on A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York
[Weekend 2e] Potpourri: Here's the latest issue of Edge. A purple patch on law and authority by Jürgen Habermas. A review of Truth Commissions and Procedural Fairness. Eternal wonder of humanity's first great achievements: Only one still stands, but tales of the seven 'must see' monuments still grip the world's imagination. Reason on the secret of "The Secret": A cult self-help DVD fleeces the credulous. A review of Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on Women in Genesis. Hollywood's new model: How new money is changing the film industry. Is a top school forcing out low-performing Students? Under pressure to keep its test scores high, a prestigious North Carolina school is accused of forcing kids to drop out. A review of Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency by Richard A. Posner. Danica McKellar tells us how deep—and far from geeky—math really is and what it was like to grow up as Winnie Cooper. Get that second opinion: A review of How Doctors Think. A review of Inventing Human Rights: A History. From Business Week, a look at The Greatest Innovations of All Time. Commonplace Book: André Bernard riffs on the idea of defeat. More and more and more on Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl and Leni Riefenstahl: A Life. A review of Transgender Rights. The notion of racial inferiority persisted in British writing on the Irish well into the 19th century. In recent years, Irish writers have turned the idea of racial difference into an empowering distinction. A wee identity crisis: Does new genetic evidence take the wind out of the sails of the cultural nationalists in Scotland, or those in Ireland? Further purification of the Pilgrim: An excerpt from Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey. A review of Freud's Wizard: Ernest Jones and the Transformation of Psychoanalysis. A review of Powers Reserved For the People and the States: A History of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Taking the trash out of the trailer's reputation: A long derided form of housing is being reimagined by maverick designers. An interview with Mark Harris, author of Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial. And Daniel Tammet can learn foreign languages -- even notoriously tricky ones like Icelandic -- in a week: A review of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
[Weekend] From New Scientist, it turns out the universe is a string-net liquid. The end of the future: There has been a great deal of talk about the American public’s interest in space—or more accurately, its lack of interest. In some quarters, the feeling even verges on hostility. The Goldilocks question is answerable but neither of the two main answers considered by Paul Davies, the existence of an interventionist “hands-on” God or the existence of a Multiverse, is convincing. The Universe exists for a purpose. The world is humanity’s “do-it-yourself” kit. The Powers That Might Be: Two ecologists and a physicist hone a theory with the potential to unify all of biology. Can they extend its reach while fending off critics? From TLS, a review of Charles Darwin's Origins of Species and The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. The Western canon through Christian eyes: A review of In the Light of Christ: Writings in the Western Tradition by Lucy Beckett. A review of G.K. Chesterton: thinking backward, looking forward. Really loving your neighbour: Why holding off from hatred may not be good enough. Where history isn't bunk: Across the world, approaches to teaching children about their nation's past are hotly contested—especially at times of wider debate on national identity. A review of Marvin Harris' The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture. Chronobiology, time and chance: How well you can think at night may be determined by your genes. What’s so funny? Well, maybe nothing: Scientists say most laughter is a survival tool for social animals, not an intellectual response to wit. You’ve read the novels (now read the footnotes): Annotated editions and period guides are not necessary to grasp the drama of classic literature, but they can enrich one’s reading. The highest form of cannibalism: A review of Biography: A Brief History. “The Mountain Man’s Field Guide to Grammar" is the brainchild of Gary Spina, a man who loved to write, but hated learning the rules. Conservative wants to set Wikipedia right: Andy Schlafly calls his competing version fair and balanced. It reads like anything but. From Utne Reader, niche navigators: A guide to searching for non-Google answers. Mapping and tagging information in real time will change how we interact with one another in real space--if we can access the Web. Capturing Every Moment: Whether in the name of fun, fear, or scientific inquiry, people are digitally logging their every move with photos, GPS trackers, and digital recorders. Making sense of the web’s new infinite library: The search engines that guard entry to the treasure that is the worldwide web are modern-day dragons. A leaked document from MySpace's parent company, Fox Interactive Media, confirms the existence of its rumored Digg-style news aggregation portal. Many businesses depend on their high placement on search-engine rankings. But these results -- and the businesses' fortunes -- can be easily altered by the engines' invisible, evolving mathematical formulas. Who are Second Life’s “Patriotic Nigras”? In their first interview, online pranksters reveal the secrets of their attack on John Edwards virtual headquarters with flying penis monsters. And bloggers have been blamed for lots of sins — but murder?
[Mar 16] From Democratiya, a review of Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation by Richard Bernstein; a review of Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda by Michael Burleigh; a review of Empires of Belief: Why We Need More Scepticism and Doubt in the Twenty-First Century by Stuart Sim and The Political Theory of Recognition: A Critical Introduction; an interview with Saad Eddin Ibrahim, founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, on the politics of inclusion; Peter Tatchell on their multiculturalism and ours; a review of What’s Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen; a review of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran by Danny Postel; a review of Globalization and Egalitarian Redistribution; and a review of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages by Saskia Sassen. A review of All the Power in the World by Peter Unger. A review of The Problem of Evil by Peter van Inwagen. From Nextbook, the Angel of History: A new volume of Hannah Arendt's writing sheds light on the persistence of anti-Semitism—and a host of other contemporary maladies. A review of Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography by Daniel Tanguay and Leo Strauss and the Politics of Exile by Eugene Sheppard, and from Political Affairs, a review of Natural Right and History. From Campus Progress, aesthetic value: Why is there so little 9/11 art? As the student peace movement grows stronger and more sophisticated, can it ignite the silent anti-war majority on campus? From Australia, a review of Dumbing Down: Outcomes-based and Politically Correct – The Impact of the Culture Wars on Our Schools. The Asian Campus: With a mandate that says merit trumps all, Berkeley finds itself looking across the Pacific for its identity. Is this the new face of higher education? From Revolution, an article on the Nazification of the American university. Former Fairleigh Dickinson University professor Jacques Pluss now says he is a Nazi--and proud of it. With a book on the horizon, Larry Summers sharpens his critiques of Harvard, and believe it or not, he is only beginning to say what he really thinks. The University of Chicago announces that it will select its next tenured faculty member in economics through a reality TV competition modelled on shows such as "Survivor". Nobel economics laureate Bob Lucas, meet Randa the Psychic. What you should know about Adam Smith, already appearing on some Bank of England notes and becoming the first Scotsman to do so. Revisiting the French guru of American democracy: A review of books on Montesquieu. More and more on Jean Baudrillard. Whatever happened to virtual reality? In the early nineties, Virtual Reality was all the rage. What happened? VR maven Jaron Lanier tells. (Virtual) reality bites: With the encroachment of big corporations, residents of Second Life say the online world is becoming second-rate. And a review of The State of Play: Law, Games, and Virtual Worlds