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[May 15] Pundits think
Rudy Giuliani's cross-dressing,
gay-roommating, Planned Parenthood-donating past will doom his presidential campaign. But is he pointing toward the future of the Republican Party?
How America's mayor scrapped his way to the top of the
least popular fraternity on his college
campus: An excerpt from America's Mayor, America's President? The Strange Career of Rudy
Giuliani. Mr. Home-Wrecker Goes to Washington: Why shouldn't we
judge Rudy by his
disastrous home life? Six years ago, Judi
Giuliani was the other woman. Today, she’s the
ostentatiously adoring wife of the front-runner for the Republican nomination.
The Yankees' Clean-Up Man:
Rudy went to bat for the
Yanks, and look what he scored.
Bill Keller on how a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for
Pulp affection: What Romney's taste for science fiction really means.
David Frum has some advice for three leading Republicans.
Why rank-and-file Republicans might opt to send
a protest message by throwing the '08 fight
with a statement candidate. From MySpace to
NoSpace: For Republicans, campaigning on the Web
hasn’t leveled the 2008 playing field. Welcome
to the age of YouTube
politics, where everything you have ever said will be used against
you. MySpace Gets Political: Global
Empire to host presidential town hall sessions. Here are ideas for improving
the presidential debates, but what's wrong
with a clutter
of candidates? The case for 10-man
presidential debates. Michael Bloomberg has
fueled speculation that he
will run for president by sharpening his
national profile and delivering speeches across
the country. Let’s face it: This country needs
a president. And only one man is fit for the
Colbert. An interview with
on the culture of politics. The Matt Drudge
primary: How professional political
operatives secretly control the news you
read about the 2008 campaign. Hint: It involves
the Drudge Report. From NYRB,
How Democrats Should Talk: Michael Tomasky
on The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina;
Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear; and The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. A review of Talking
Right and George
Lakoff's Whose Freedom: The Battle over America’s Most Important Idea.
on The Thumpin': How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution.
From Radar, running wild with Mike Gravel:
A long-shot candidate has his media moment (and an interview).
From The Black Commentator, here are questions
for Candidate Obama.
From Bloomberg, a look at how Obama's
economic brain trust breaks with the status quo. Clay Risen on Barack
Obama, hedge-fund candidate. Obama is the only who isn't being forced to spend vast amounts of time
and energy these days trying to convince voters of his authenticity.
Senator Clinton’s Strategist in Chief: Bill Clinton is the master strategist behind his wife’s candidacy, but there are potential pitfalls.
can Hillary maintain her populist credentials when Mark
Penn, her chief pollster and campaign strategist, also represents the
interests of some of America's largest corporations? Bruce
Bartlett on conservatives for
Hillary (and more)
and a look at the problem with Bruce Bartlett's conservative case
for the Democrats. And strange but true: Social conservatives prefer Clinton to
[May 14] From the International Peace Academy, a series of papers on Coping with Crisis, including essays on (1) Global Political Violence: Explaining the Post-Cold War Decline; (2) Peacemaking and Mediation: Dynamics of a Changing Field; (3) New Challenges for Peacekeeping: Protection, Peacebuilding and the "War on Terror"; (4) Ending Wars and Building Peace; and (5) Small Arms and Light Weapons: Towards a Global Public Policy pdf. Mass murder most foul: A review of Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond; The Devil Come on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur; Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide; The Bishop of Rwanda: Finding Forgiveness Amidst a Pile of Bones; and Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide. Our compassion knows some bounds: A new study answers the question: how can we continue to ignore the mass suffering in Darfur? From Soundings, has the future a left? Zygmunt Bauman proposes two defining principles for the left, and argues that these principles will always need to be battled for; Andy Pearmain argues that it is time to face the fact that the Labour Party is in its death throes, and that euthanasia is now called for; and an article on progressive politics after Blair. An article on Tony Blair and the tragedy of the great persuader. Here are five Americans who changed Tony Blair. From The Observer, a series of articles on Gordon Brown. From Open Democracy, what will Gordon Brown do now? From New Statesman, as Blair departs, Brown will launch a plan to transform Labour's style through constitutional change and "empathy"; and the success or failure of Brown's prime ministership will lie across the Atlantic. So how will America react to him? Ride ’Em, Cowboy. Well, Not Exactly: George Bush on a horse sends one signal. Nicolas Sarkozy on a horse sends another. A French Neoconservative? Nicolas Sarkozy is France’s first anti-anti-American leader. 4 myths about America-bashing in Europe: Yankee phobia may not be as toxic or universal as some pundits, mainly on the American left, claim. This perfect storm will finally destroy the neocon project: Americans are sick of the unrepentant arrogance of this elite. But the realisation has come at a very heavy cost. See you in September, whatever that means: Everybody wants to measure “progress” in Iraq. But that measure defies definition. Fraying Nation, Divided Opinions: Highlights from a recent ABC News poll surveying Iraqi attitudes across cities, provinces, faiths and ethnic groups. War has displaced millions in Iraq, creating the largest refugee problem in the Middle East since 1948. As they flee their country, are they taking the war with them? Laughter is not the Arab way: Aside from inheriting money, the best way to get rich in the Arab world is to find yourself an emir: A review of An Invitation to Laughter: A Lebanese Anthropologist in the Arab World. And war without limits: New scholarship on the origins of total war, from the French Revolution to World War II, helps explain the war on terror
[Weekend] From Asia Times, arm thy neighbor: A review of Militia Redux by Desmond Ball and David Scott Mathieson. Tales of a Fourth Grade Suicide Bomber: Brooke Goldstein's exploration of child martyrs. The New Face of Warfare: A review of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier; Children at War by P.W. Singer; and Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War. An interview with Mark Bixler, author of The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Refugee Experience. Intellectual imperialism as a fashion-shoot cum missionary visit: Bernard-Henri Lévy's report from Darfur shows that liberal lust for Western intervention survived Iraq. From NYRB, Rory Stewart on Iraq: The Question. A small war guaranteed to damage a superpower: Patrick Cockburn on what the Bush Administration has wrought in Iraq. Although pleased to see Saddam toppled, some women look back on the prosperity and social liberation of the Ba’athist years with nostalgia. The meaning of freedom: In every corner of the Muslim world, female attire is stirring strong emotions. An excerpt from Iran: The Essential Guide to a Country on the Brink by Stephen Kinzer. Nationalists march as the army threatens: A look at Turkey torn between God and state. Eight years after the Kosovo war, the UN is preparing to make a final decision on the province's final status. Can independence work? From Eurozine, as recent events around the statue of the Soviet soldier in Tallinn have strikingly shown, Russia remains a major factor in the national narratives of the post-Soviet space. But memory politics is less about the communist past than about the future political and economic hegemony on the European continent. A look at why Putin loves World War II. Russia's six deadly sins: Philip Longworth reviews How Russia Really Works: The informal practices that shaped post-Soviet politics and business. Adam Michnik on The Other Poland: The second phase of the Polish revolution must not be permitted to consume either the will to freedom, or the democratic state. One Polish legislator has announced plans for a bill that would ban miniskirts and other "enticements", with the goal of reducing street prostitution. But the move is also part of a wider culture war. From Edinburgh Review, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, journalists would jump into taxis and ask to be taken to the fighting. Now it's political tourists eager for the scenes of past battles. But are taxi drivers qualified to be their guides? How Spain thrives on immigration: The open-border policy under Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero is driving a Spanish economic and social revival. And the Schweizer Réduit: One of the most famous quotes about Switzerland – probably annoying the hell out of the natives by now – is the closing line of the film "The Third Man"
[May 11] From Great Britain, a look at the Top 10 most controversial ads. The great performer leaves the stage: A look at what Tony Blair did, and why he did it. Why do Brits dislike the departing prime minister? Geoffrey Wheatcroft investigates. Timothy Garton Ash on the lessons from Blair's three big mistakes. He made serious mistakes, and is one of the most controversial politicians of his generation, but also one of the most successful. His legacy to Great Britain will be immense. From Time, an interview with Gordon Brown. Gaullist revolutionary Nicolas Sarkozy: Does France know the full implications of what it has voted for? (and more on his European plans). Anthony Giddens on how Sarkozy only has half the solution for France, but the French election could lead to a resurgence of Europe. Martin Wolf on why Sarkozy's triumph portends strife in Europe. From Mother Jones, Putting Lipstick on a Dictator: Rogue states hire PR firms to change public perception and win audiences with American leaders. Whatever happened to old fashioned diplomacy? Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment looks at the future of Iranian-American relations, Iran's vulnerabilities, and whether we might one day see liberals ruling in Tehran. In a gruesome marriage of technology and medieval barbarity, an Internet video records the stoning death of a 17-year-old Kurdish girl. Welcome to the new Iraq. Zugzwang, or, White to play and lose: Allen Quicke reports on a chess match being played in Baghdad between the forces of Good and Evil. From The Mises Institute, Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. on The War the Government Cannot Win. September will supposedly be the moment for a real, make-or-break verdict on Bush's surge and the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Don't bet on it. In Search of a Political Mission: Are the Democrats and Bushies playing good cop/bad cop with the Iraqis? America's Angriest General: Retired two-star Army Gen. John Batiste is lashing out at the Bush war in Iraq in ads targeting key Republicans up for re-election in 2008. His offensive may change the rules regarding civilian-military relations. From Stars & Stripes, a series of articles on training the Afghan military. From Government Executive, a look at how intelligence agencies must decode a human capital crisis; the Army is developing the most expensive and complex weapons system in its history, but it's based on some very questionable concepts; but before accepting dire assessments of Army readiness, it's worth asking: Ready for what? House Democrats back down, but the military budget is as bloated as ever. The US Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer. Phillip Carter on on how the Army can regulate soldiers' blogs and letters—but it shouldn't. An interview with Paul Rieckhoff, author of Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier’s Perspective. From National Journal, officials from the White House and the Justice Department worked together to keep Congress from uncovering presidential adviser Karl Rove's part in installing one of his own protégés, Timothy Griffin, as a U.S. attorney in Arkansas. And on Karl Rove's big election-fraud hoax: Republican manipulation of the polls long predates the U.S. attorneys plot, and the US voting system needs an overhaul
[May 10] From Open Democracy, an end to exclusivity: A move towards greater public access to state information is another step to constitutional government in China; and North Korea may be facing another food emergency. If it develops, the world needs to learn lessons from the mid-1990s famine in the country. Accidental Tourist: How three years in Korean prison changed one young American's spritual and sexual worldview. While the Japanese continue to get the blame for WWII enslavement, forcing women into sexual bondage continues. A review of Perfect Hostage: a Life of Aung San Suu Kyi. Shackled by the Neck: Burma’s Long Neck Karen choose exploitation in a tourist village rather than returning to a civil war. A review of Human Rights on Asia: A Comparative Legal Study of Twelve Asian Jurisdictions, France and the USA. From TNR, my journey through Darfur. Bernard-Henri Lévy on a guided tour of hell (and a video interview). A review of Chief of Station, Congo by Larry Devlin. An interview with Archbishop Pius Ncube, Zimbabwean human rights and pro-democracy activist. Desmond Tutu slams African leaders on Zimbabwe. A look at how liberation theology, which the pope once called "a fundamental threat," retains its appeal in Latin America. From Axess, Ernesto "Che" Guevara is hot once again. But the historical record reveals that Che bore all the repressive hallmarks of his Soviet and Maoist masters. An interview with Ben Dangl, author of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. The unnecessary conflict in the south Atlantic in 1982 between Britain and Argentina helped sow the seeds of more momentous and destructive wars, says Fred Halliday. From Asia Times, are the Arabs already extinct? Rotting empire v inept enemy: Why the Islamist threat is greatly exaggerated. We can never make ourselves invulnerable to terrorism. But certain steps would reduce our vulnerability to as close to zero as possible. The Smarter Emergency Kit: When everything goes to hell, you'll want gear that gives you an evolutionary advantage over your less-prepared neighbors. From Commentary, is Israel the problem? With the Middle East in crisis from end to end, analysts focus on one rather peripheral dispute. Middle East experts to rate the chances of the politicians gunning for Olmert’s job. AIPAC on Trial: The lobby argues that good Americans spy for Israel. And surprise! The US spies on Israel more than Israel spies on the US
[May 9] From the European Journal of International Law, Andrea Bianchi (GIIS): Assessing the Effectiveness of the UN Security Council's Anti-terrorism Measures: The Quest for Legitimacy and Cohesion; a review of The UN, Human Rights and Post-conflict Situations and Honoring Human Rights under International Mandates, Lessons from Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor; a review of Between Light and Shadow, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund and International Human Rights Law and The IMF, The World Bank Group and the Question of Human Rights; and a review of United Nations Law and the Security Council and Le Pouvoir normatif du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies: portée et limites pdf. A review of Blind Oracles: Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger and The Parliament of Man: The United Nations and the Quest for World Government. Global governance and the division of labor: National governments need to be responsive and effective to fulfill their part of the “social contract” within a national society. The Gospel According to Sachs: An economist lectures the world on how to solve the problems of good and evil. Rich countries and their leverage on Africa: The African continent, with its abundant supply of mineral and natural resources, has suffered tremendously from the rapacious exploitation of those resources. From TAP, The Trouble with Helping Iran's Dissidents: Iranian reform activists have a love/hate relationship with the Western NGOs that often advocate on their behalf. We need a strongman: Back to "Saddam without a mustache"? After all, the US eyes still on the Iraqi prize. The real tragedy of Iraq? Never mind the death and destruction - damage to the cause of liberal interventionism is what worries one columnist. In the face of disastrous policies and administrative incompetence, the president has an answer every time: Appoint a new "czar." Street Without Joy: Will Bush’s surge secure Baghdad’s bloodiest block? From The Atlantic Monthly, The Army We Have: To fight today's wars with an all-volunteer force, the U.S. Army needs more quick-thinking, strong, highly disciplined soldiers. But creating warriors out of the softest, least-willing populace in generations has required sweeping changes in basic training (and an interview with Brian Mockenhaupt on the men and women who enter basic training today, and how the Army has adapted to meet their needs); and with Rumsfeld and Powell gone, and Cheney's power diminished, this is Condoleezza Rice's moment. Can she salvage America's standing in the Middle East—and defuse the threat of a nuclear Iran? Behind the curtain in Washington and Jerusalem with the secretary of state (and an interview with David Samuels on Rice and her ambitious efforts to secure peace in the Middle East). The real reason we went to war: Don't listen to George Tenet: It wasn't because of Dick Cheney's wiles or Tenet's embarrassment about the "slam dunk", and one couldn't help but think of the peevishness of King John in 13th-century England. Cheney and the Saudis: For a glimpse at hidden power plays, keep your eye on Vice President Cheney's trip this week to Saudi Arabia. And King of the Plastic Rambos: More on Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy by Andrew Cockburn
[May 8] From Der Spiegel, the rules of post-9/11 politics are reversed in Turkey, as a flareup over the prospect of an Islamic president shows. Western leaders are more worried about the Turkish military's intrusion into politics than about the ruling party's Islamic agenda. Genocide is not a fact: A review of La Perversion Historiographique: une réflexion arménienne. From OstEuropa, democracy or the street? The demonstrations in Budapest in September 2006 marked the culmination of a conflict between Conservatives and the liberal Left. The rift is exacerbated by politicized disputes about the past; and a response: In the Hungarian case, it is not a question of whether history has been instrumentalized by politics, but of whether one approves of how it has been instrumentalized. Alshar, an ancient mine located in the southern Balkans, in Macedonia, is said to contain minerals that are found nowhere else on the planet. From The Chronicle, what European Century? Euro-optimism has given way to Euro-pessimism. In that climate, the debate should be about which of the Continent's traditions and values can be saved, writes Walter Laqueur. Niall Ferguson on how Tony Blair's simplistic foreign policy landed him in Bush's lap and isolated from continental Europe. Is Nicolas Sarkozy the French Margaret Thatcher? Although Sarkozy played the nationalist card during the election campaign, the future French president is still regarded as a beacon of hope for the EU., but he faces huge challenges, and the radical political and moral cure he wants to prescribe could instead trigger deep social conflicts in French society. Why Royal flopped: Her loss to Nicolas Sarkozy marked merely the latest in a string of missed opportunities for the Socialists in France. Progressives' French Lesson: With their European friends in some trouble, American progressives may have both the opportunity and the obligation to find the new formulas. All France was transfixed as presidential candidates conducted a passionate, freewheeling debate this week. Why are American debates so intentionally stupid? From The Politico, what is the purpose of these debates? A look at why humans hate politics; a review of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America; and if an Old Boys' Club isn't accepting new members, the next best thing to do is start your own. Does Oprah's magic touch extend to the realm of presidential politics? Last week, for the first time, Ms. Winfrey endorsed a political candidate, Senator Barack Obama. A review of The Thumpin': How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution. Generational Tensions: The sons and daughters of some iconic Republicans (Ike! T.R.!) are contemplating crossing the aisle. Can Fred Thompson rescue Republicans in 2008? In Orange County, the ex-Tennessee senator, "Law and Order" star and possible '08 contender acts presidential for a night. Jonathan Chait on how Republicans go week-kneed for tough guys. And Michael Barone on the realignment of America
[May 7] From Cafe Babel, three decades after the "Movida Madrileña", Spain remembers how post-Franco society was transformed by ten years of punk rebellion in Madrid. In Spain, where public drinking is banned in many areas, police spark a violent riot by attempting to clear a Madrid square of drinkers on the country's May 2 holiday. When the earth moves: One of the most ambitious town-relocation exercises in history will see the capital of Swedish Lapland, Kiruna, move 4km. Farewell to the cargo cult: The current stand-off in the Ukraine is a result of "incomplete revolution". The failure to establish democratic structures has allowed the mechanisms of authoritarianism back into Ukrainian politics; the Orange Revolution, a fairy tale that wasn't. Now the evil prince has bounced back and his chances don't look bad. The people are learning that there's no such thing as good princes and princesses. A review of The Litvinenko File: the True Story of a Death Foretold (and more). A review of The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union. A review of The Gun That Changed the World by Mikhail Kalashnikov. A review of The Khyber Pass: A history of Empire and invasion. From NPQ, an article on the Turkish crisis: The limits of democracy, or the seizure of the state from within. The leaders of Saudi Arabia are caught between a desire to compete globally and a demand that they guard tradition. Israel's 1967 attack on Egypt lasted only six days, but the repercussions have been bloodier and far longer reaching than anyone could have imagined. A review of Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. For a quarter-century, Lebanon has been the graveyard of Israeli politicians reckless enough to venture there. A review of Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb by Mike Davis. The illiberal hour: A review of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity by David Solway. An article on the rise of low-tech terrorism, and war costs money. Why can't politicians say so? A review of Rumsfeld: An American Disaster and Washington's War: From Independence to Iraq. John J. DiIulio Jr on Spiritualpolitique: Religion matters more than ever in global affairs. But don't count on the experts to know that. The author examines history, philosophy and politics, but sides with biology as the motivation for human attainment by force: A review of War in Human Civilization by Azar Gat. A review of Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America by Cullen Murphy. And the long view of civilization: A review of The Americanist by Daniel Aaron
[Weekend 2e] Sebastian Edwards (UCLA): Crises and Growth: A Latin American Perspective. From Open Democracy, an article on the deepening of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution and why most people don’t get it: The radical project led by Hugo Chávez can’t be understood through the distorting lens of its inveterate opponents. This is a politics for the future with emancipation, participation – and popular support - at its heart. In Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, leaders are seeking new sources of political legitimacy in which participation is at the heart. Gone, but not forgotten: Why Bolivians want the United States to extradite their exiled ex-president. Brazil's colonial dance with the resource curse: First there was a sugar rush. Then a gold rush. Both left unsightly scars on the history of Brazil. What will the ethanol rush bequeath? A look at why land reform is so tricky: In South Africa, plenty of farms are for sale, but blacks still find it hard to buy. South Africa is booming. The economy is enjoying its biggest surge since the Second World War, and for once it is not just whites who are prospering. A review of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil. Joshua Kurlantzick on democracy's decline in Africa. Circumcision promotion divides AIDS activists: Should results of an African AIDS study be applied in the United States? From Asia Times, an article on lessons from Kashmir and Xinjiang. A review of India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad. Is Ahmedinejad’s star fading? Leading figures in Iran are openly criticizing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about his handling of the economy and the country's nuclear program. An interview with Laura Rozen of War and Piece on Iran. Iraq in the Balance: Fouad Ajami on why we should make our peace with Iraq's history. Francis Fukuyama on beating an orderly retreat: It is no longer a question of if or when the U.S. leaves Iraq, but how. Plan B? Let’s Give Plan A Some Time First: This is not the time to be rehashing strategies developed six months ago under very different conditions, or to be planning for the collapse of a strategy that has just begun. Robert D. Kaplan on Munich versus Vietnam: At the moment, the Vietnam analogy has the upper-hand. But don't count Munich out. The key similarity between Vietnam and Iraq how they profoundly eroded the American people's trust in their government and leaders. A review of At the Center of the Strom: My Years at the CIA by George Tenet. With all the gloating over the ex-CIA head's kiss-and-tell, let's not forget who else screwed up American intelligence. From The Weekly Standard, an article on The Mystery of Michael Bloomberg: Why does a popular but mediocre mayor think he should run for president? The Shadow Candidates: John Fund on the art of not running for president. Marvin Kalb on Nine Ways to Elect a President: After 9/11, with America’s role in the world more uncertain than ever, would it not make more sense to provide the voters with regular, predictable, serious access to their next president? From Radar, an article on Jesus Christ's Superstars: America's holiest congressmen. A look at how sex isn't the only thing for sale in Washington. And the politicians who waste your money have a remorse deficit: One man’s pork is another’s tax bill
[Weekend] From Azure, Chaim Gans (Tel Aviv): Is There a Historical Right to the Land of Israel?; Michael Oren on The Second War of Independence: Fifty years later, the lessons of the Suez War are only now becoming clear; an essay on Circumcision as Rebellion: Why Judaism rejected the decrees of Nature, Fortune, and Rome; an article on The State of Freedom and the State of Emergency; and Robert Bork reviews The Judge in a Democracy by Aharon Barak. Palestinians’ hard choice: An interview with Sari Nusseibeh, a leading Palestinian intellectual and political figure. Mad, bad or a joker? A review of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran. A review of Inside Hamas: the untold story of militants, martyrs and spies; Hamas: unwritten chapters; and Hamas: politics, charity and terrorism in the service of jihad. A review of Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni and Warring Souls by Roxanne Varzi. Kevin Drum reviews The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism by Matthew Carr and The Matador's Cape: America's Reckless Response to Terror by Stephen Holmes. Londonistan Calling: From the shoe-bomber to the July 2005 suicide attacks, terrorism has an unlikely new player: the British jihadist. Returning to the London streets of his youth, Christopher Hitchens finds a breeding ground for Islamic radicalism, in a country that may have to rethink its multicultural ideals (and an interview). From New Statesman, a special issue on Tony Blair, 1997-2007: The Reckoning. What makes Tony Blair tick, and what he stands for, have eluded all his biographers. Will the prime minister, who rose without a trace, now leave none behind him? A purple patch on how politicians earn their keep by Max Weber. Sex and foreign aid: The lessons learned from a high-level administration official's resignation in the D.C. Madam scandal. An Elite Escort Service: Washington is on edge as names of the clients of accused D.C. Madam Deborah Palfrey begin trickling out. But the women who worked for her might surprise you: college grads, white-collar professionals, even military personnel. He’s impeachable, you know: The power to impeach civil officers like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is at bottom a tool granted Congress to defend the constitutional order; and Two Parties, One Law: Whatever happens to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the taint of politics will remain. That’s why the only real solution is to depoliticize the Justice Department. The Economist begins a series on the main presidential contenders for 2008, starting with Rudy Giuliani. From USA Today, here are 5 reasons the GOP faces an uphill climb in '08. A review of The Thumpin': How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution and Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time by Chuck Schumer. Bob Kerrey, Unbound: The former Senator has some questions about Rudy’s security credentials and likes Obama’s name. And on reforming disloyal Democrats: Ari Melber reports on how unions and Internet activists are joining forces to reform the Democratic Party from the ground up through "Work for Us"
[May 4] From Transit, it is a mistake to think that religious and political radicalism among European Muslims is a mere import from the cultures and conflicts of the Middle East. It is above all a consequence of the globalization and Westernization of Islam, writes Olivier Roy. A military coup was avoided, but an early election looms. Turkey's problems are postponed, not solved. If Turks have to choose, democracy is more important than secularism. From Open Democracy, the notion of jihad is one of the most contested in the modern Islamic and political lexicon. In a four-part essay, Patricia Crone makes it comprehensible. Mali and Mauritania are swathes of desert but oases of progress: Two dirt-poor Saharan states are doing better. and more on Mauritania, an unheralded experiment in Arab democracy. Malaysia Backpedals on Modernity: Growing assertiveness of Islamic court intrudes on the rights of non-Muslims threatening social harmony in the prosperous nation. Monks on the march in Thailand: A most un-Buddhist demand for worldly recognition. From Japan Focus, an article on the unprecedented shift in Japan’s population: Numbers, age, and prospects. One Nation Under Cute: In Japan, the cuteness craze is more than just a national pastime, but why are millions of Japanese youths hiding from friends and family? A review of Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853. Authorities in China are desperate to make a positive impression on visitors, so cabbies with garlic breath are targeted in Beijing’s Olympic cleanup. China today holds a colossal $1 trillion in foreign currency. Now, China is taking part of this money from under the mattress—making enemies and friends around the world in the process. What’s on China’s shopping list? The Empire of Lies: The twenty-first century will not belong to China. From Time, a series of articles on The Best of Asia. From Economic and Political Weekly, a series of articles on women in India; and is India too poor to be green? pdf. A caste of millions: India's 160m Dalits, or untouchables, have turned to the internet to combat their mistreatment at home. An excerpt from William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857. Form India's Frontline, a review of Amartya Sen's Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny; and a review of Paul Gilroy's After Empire. Form Transitions, a look back on Boris Yeltsin by a writer who knew him in his political salad days. Time to back the Other Russia: Andre Glucksmann asks Europe to think less opportunistically and act more decisively towards Russia. The rites of mourning and burial on display during Boris Yeltsin’s funeral relied heavily on symbols — some more czarist than Soviet. In the trenches of the New Cold War: The US, Russia and the new great game in Eurasia. From Economic Principals, the Un-Marshall Plan: The death of Boris Yeltsin called to mind an important truth: Policy never gets made in a vacuum. And from The Moscow Times, on coming to power in 1991, Boris Yeltsin broke with Soviet tradition and ushered in a new attitude toward culture
[May 3] From Dissent, after genocide: An article on memory and reconciliation in Rwanda. From Slate, a look at how Liberia recovers from war: A boy soldier grows up. Liberia is a country mired in its past. But, as Zadie Smith discovers when she meets its traumatised boy soldiers, struggling rubber workers and children desperate to learn, it is taking its first tentative steps to a better future; and on why we have fallen for Africa's lost boys: Are Africans telling their own stories, or are these merely signs of our appetite for tales of "savagery"? The perfect weapon for the meanest wars: The charade of ideology is over. All over the world children are used to fight for greed and power. President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the chance for an arms treaty. Every year in the Sahel region of West Africa, hundreds of thousands of children die, and malnutrition means millions of others will live on with permanent mental disability and physical stunting. The wages of punditry: The partnership between policy-makers and development specialists can endanger the latter's intellectual independence and increase the risk of bad outcomes. A review of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World by Vijay Prashad. From The Globalist, an article on coming to grip with the Iraq War's refugees. Northern exposure: American soldiers are fleeing the Iraq war for Canada, and US officials may be on their trail. North of the border is no longer the safe haven it was during the Vietnam era. George W. Bush’s infatuation with the kitsch landscape of the American west lit the path to Abu Ghraib, says Sidney Blumenthal. From The Atlantic Monthly, statecraft and stagecraft: David Samuels interviews former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and George Schultz. From The Politico, Reagan advisers weigh in on Republican candidates. Marc Ambinder on The Perils of Reagan Republicanism: Candidates who invoke the spirit of Reagan may live to regret it. Glenn Greenwald on Harvey Mansfield and the right's explicit and candid rejection of "the rule of law". From National Review, an interview with Angela McGlowan, author of Bamboozled: How Americans Are Being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda. A review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O'Reilly. From CJR, how conservative congressman from Indiana Mike Pence became journalism's best ally in the fight to protect anonymous sources. If you want to understand the wrenching dislocations in today's newsrooms, look to the advertisers whose purchasing decisions drive the business. From Business Week, crazy like a Fox: Rupert Murdoch's bid for Dow Jones may seem foolishly pricey, but he's got his reasons. Inside Murdoch's surprise attack. The Threat to the Wall Street Journal: Rupert Murdoch’s audacious bid to grab Dow Jones underscores the larger issue of news consolidation and the shrinking number of major media voices, and more on Murdoch's trophy hunting by The Economist. And from TNR, Jonathan Chait on how the netroots are important, but they're still paranoid
[May 2] From Comment is Free, ten bloggers assess Tony Blair's decade in Downing Street, and more by Julian Baggini. Ten years on, a new set of rules, by Philip Stephens. The trend toward Britain’s fragmentation leaves its majority nation in search of itself, finds Roger Scruton. A review of The Conservative Party and European Integration since 1945: At the Heart of Europe? A review of The Labour Governments, 1964–1970. The Royal Consigliere: Though much of Elizabeth II's role is symbolic, she also subtly wields a personal, but very real, power. The power of thought: If the Scottish Nationalists win on Thursday, it could be an exciting time for those with new ideas; and here are ten questions on the thorny relationship between the thistle and the rose. Mr. Popularity: Earthy charm and a buoyant economy have endeared Ireland's leader, Bertie Ahern, to many voters. Can his winning streak continue as he bids for a third term? From Slate, what Americans can learn from the Winogard Report: All wars are alike, and so are all investigations of failed wars. Sesame Street puppets to promote peace in the Middle East. From TNR, the other Guantánamo: Bagram Airbase in Kabul, where about 650 detainees are currently held, is rarely subject to outside scrutiny. An exclusive look inside the facility, including never before published photographs. The Right To Remain Silent: Silence is about the only right the Guantanamo prisoners have left. Last refuge of the scoundrel: Bush is trying to convince the American people that Iraq is the WWII of our time, and Democrats are craven defeatists. Both claims are absurd. Duck and Cover: The Bush Admininstration's “Complex 2030” plan is reviving the nuclear threat. Form National Journal, Alberto Gonzales' Secret Order: The attorney general granted extraordinary powers over Justice Department personnel to two of his aides — both of whom have since resigned. A Case Against Cheney: What Dick Cheney has done is not impeachable. It is merely unforgivable. From Reason, millions of Americans have changed their minds on Iraq. Is Hillary Clinton one of them? From Vanity Fair, many New York political pros believe Rudy Giuliani—former mayor, hero of 9/11, and now presidential candidate—is, quite literally, nuts. The author asks whether Giuliani's lunatic behavior could be the ultimate campaign asset. Could Michael Bloomberg shake up the race? From Media Matters, what does David Broder's exalted position atop the media food chain say about the state of political journalism? Oedipus & Podhoretz: His father fought Stalinists. But for Post edit-page chief John Podhoretz, sitcoms are the battleground of freedom. Why do right-wing pundits hate Rosie O'Donnell so much? Because she was the lone ardently progressive voice in corporate news programming. Eric Alterman & Matthew Yglesias defend the netroots against Jonathan Chait. Newspapers and blogs: Closer than we think? A content analysis of newspapers and blogs covering the Iraq War illuminates differences, and similarities, in sourcing. And from PS: Political Science & Politics, a symposium on The State of the Editorial Cartoon
[May 1] From Turkey, the government slams the country’s powerful military in a furious dispute over secularism and the appointment of a new president, as alarm grows over political crisis in Turkey with a threat of a coup by the secularist army. An article on the Turkish paradox and the prophets of Eurabia. Democracy in the Middle East, no matter who wins the elections, is a winning strategy for the West. Confessions of a former fanatic: A review of The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left by Ed Husain. Allan Massie reviews People of the Book: the Forgotten History of Islam and the West by Zachary Karabell. A review of The Punishment Of Virtue, by Sarah Chayes, and a review of The Kabul Beauty School: The Art of Friendship and Freedom, by Deborah Rodriguez (and a critique of the Kabul Beauty School). The Abandonment: How the Bush Administration left Israelis and Palestinians to their fate. Simon Tisdall.goes inside the struggle for Iran. A review of Unintended Consequences: The United States at War. From the Carnegie Council, here are remarks by Ali A. Allawi, author of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. Nobody really knows how much crude oil is being stolen by corrupt corrupt Iraqi and U.S. officials because, four years after the invasion, the oil meters haven't been fixed. From Newsweek, a series of articles on God, War and the Presidency, and an excerpt from Twice As Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path To Power. Juan Cole on George Tenet on the staircase with the neocons, an article goes behind the Tenet Blame Game (and an interview), and Christopher Hitchens reviews Tenet's At the Center of the Storm (and an excerpt). Is the Iraq War lost? Key figures in the Iraq debate whether Harry Reid is right. Eve Fairbanks on dovish hawks and hawkish doves: Harry Reid and Carl Levin trade places. From The New Yorker, the Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama coming from? More on the candidate, his minister and the search for faith. A profile of Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's PowerPointer pollster. John Edwards' $400 haircut is only the latest in a long history of candidate miscues, but media honchos no longer control which ones become legend. John Arthur Eaves isn't just any old run-of-the-mill evangelical candidate -- he's a Democrat. Matthew Continetti on the first Sam's Club Republican, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. From National Journal, Stuart Taylor Jr. on issue ads and common sense. From Harper's, an article on David Broder’s Golden Anniversary: Commemorating a quarter-century of hackery. The phantom of democracy: The blogosphere doesn't "do" decisions - - even if politicians choose to draw on blogger-led insights, it is still their own judgment that counts in the end. Jonathan Chait on the left's new machine: How the liberal netroots are remaking the Democratic Party in the image of the GOP, and more on the furious, disciplined, helpful world of liberal blogs. As blogs proliferate, gadfly Matthew Lee has accreditation at the U.N. From Wired, web mashups turn citizens into Washington's newest watchdogs. And from The Politico, an article on how Hollywood-Washington political ties rich in history
[May 15] From
The Chronicle, how can we work ourselves into such a politically correct dither over Don Imus's language, while still equivocating about gun control after Virginia Tech?
Where are our
priorities? asks Russell Jacoby. From TNR,
Princeton's Christine Stansell on a lost history of abortion;
and where are the liberal visionaries on the Supreme Court?
Cass R. Sunstein
on the Supreme Court's most innovative justice (it's not who you think).
More polarizing than Rehnquist: Chief Justice John Roberts won Senate confirmation by
vowing to shun ideological
activism. Instead, by trashing judicial precedent and legislative statutes, he's reshaping law to fit conservative dogma.
From The New Yorker, social and cultural psychologist Jonathan Haidt talks with Henry Finder about the
five foundations of
morality, and why liberals often fail to get their message across;
and atheists with attitude: Why do they hate
on God Is Not Great. Manufacturing
belief: An interview with Lewis
Wolpert, author of Six Impossible Things
Before Breakfast. The Bitterness of Regis Debray:
A review of Praised be the Lords. With Jesus of
Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI fights back against
the dictatorship of relativism, and an excerpt
on The Meaning of Baptism.
From Dissent, is it possible to oppose the death penalty and still be in favor of killing tyrants?
Walzer wants to know; Nelson Lichtenstein on
Labor and the
new Congress: A strategy for winning; and an
essay on the
state of the unions two years after the AFL-CIO
split. Should corporations be democracies? Absolutely not, says Peter
Wallison. But maybe
union pension plans should be.
From In These Times, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers turns
responsibility from oxymoron into reality. From Business Week, an article on The
Poverty Business: Inside U.S. companies' audacious drive to extract
more profits from the nation's working poor; researchers are digging
deeper to learn more about the high
cost of being poor, and its impact on the overall economy; scholars
are taking a fresh look at the financial problems of the working poor, and
new suggestions on how to address them; and study now—and
pay and pay and pay later. A review
of Blame Welfare, Ignore Poverty and Inequality. An interview with Benjamin Barber on the
dumbing-down of adults, faux needs, and saving capitalism. Economist Laurence
J. Kotlikoff suggests that retirees should delay collecting Social
Security benefits to maximize their returns. The "Usefully
Dangerous" Economist: Mark Levinson on the story of two
Galbraith and Paul Krugman. Ben Stein on assorted
mysteries of economic life. For better or worth: When it comes to
pricing, we might learn from Coca-Cola
and Amazon. A review
of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim
Nicholas Taleb. A review
of Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age
by Anne Goldgar. When Gambling is Good: These markets often predict
more accurately than experts. Why? They draw on the knowledge of
people who might otherwise be ignored. From Transit, in a survey of
of American immigration, Charles Hirschman
points out that almost all popular fears about
immigration and even the negative judgments of
"experts" have been proven false by
history. A review
of Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate. And
Welcome to Start
From Scratch, U.S.A.: A town is more than the sum of its cinema and soda fountain. After a disaster, where to begin anew?
[May 14] From Lew Rockwell, a look back at "Modern Historians Confront the American Revolution" by Murray N. Rothbard (and more). Jamestown vs. Plymouth and America's Founding Fictions: The truth of our history is that it produced winners and losers. Our founding is not a storybook Pilgrim fable. The 400th anniversary of Jamestown's founding has inspired a fresh look at America's founding rascals in Savage Kingdom. A review of Washington's War: From Independence to Iraq by Michael Rose. A review of The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving. A story of a woman for president—in 1872? A review of Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America 1919. For the love of Lenin: A review of Young Stalin (and more and more and more). Victor Sebestyen reviews Comrades: Communism, a World History by Robert Service and more by Michael Burleigh, and more. A review of The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer. From The Moscow Times, a review of Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries and Deadly Games by Tennet H. Bagley. A review of American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond by E. Howard Hunt. A review of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi. Who really did kill Kennedy? A review of Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years by David Talbot. A review of Robert Dallek's Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power (and more and more). A review of Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement by Linda Bridges and John R. Coyne Jr. A review of Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America by Matthew Avery Sutton. Spellbound: Ten thousand followers of Santeria live in Central Florida, and there's not a curse to be found among them. A review of Violation: Justice, Race and Serial Murder in the Deep South by David Rose. With a history steeped in racism, the Mormon church is now targeting the African American community for new members. Will it take a miracle? Christianity Without Salvation: An article on the legacy of the "Social Gospel"--100 years later. When it comes to religion in the public sphere, Richard John Neuhaus knows best. President of the Evangelical Theological Society Francis J. Beckwith resigns because he has joined the Roman Catholic Church. Daniel C. Dennett reviews God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens (and two excerpts), and more by Michael Kinsley, and more and more and more and more and more and more and more. How dare you call me a fundamentalist: An interview with Richard Dawkins on the right to criticise "faith-heads". A review of Against All Gods, by AC Grayling and Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris. Andrew Sullivan on how Republicans reap the religious whirlwind. And is America on the road to fascism? Naomi Wolf and Alan Wolfe debate (and part 2)
[Weekend] From Scientific American, new nukes are good nukes? What does it mean when the U.S. government announces plans to create the first new nuclear warhead in two decades? On the horizon appears an approaching religious [and scientific] furor so contentious, any clash of civilizations may have to wait. On one side, a manuscript titled: The Final Freedoms, against all the gravitas religious tradition can bring to bear. A review of Chalmers Johnson's Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. Michael Lind on reviving the republican way of war. A review of Collusion: International Espionage and the War on Terror. Spencer Ackerman reviews At the Center of the Storm: My Years In the CIA by George Tenet. Woodward vs. Tenet: Jeffrey Goldberg on the new intelligence war. An interview with Tara McKelvey, author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War. First They Came for the Latinos: Heard rumors of civilians rounded up, locked up, and searched for papers, lately? Don't worry. That only happens in another America. Defining Hate in the United States: Despite widespread public support, hate crime law across the country remains inconsistent and the crimes often go unpunished. Bully pulpit: Are anti-bullying laws gay? Restoring Legal Accountability: The doctrine of limited liability is central to the rise of unfettered, irresponsible corporate power. It must be challenged in the interests of individual freedom, equality before the law and shared prosperity. The Enron Enablers: It looks like the financial firms that helped the company cook its books just might get away with it. A new wave of militant consumer is rising, hitting large corporations where it hurts - in the wallet. They're middle-class, sick of bad service and they're not taking it any more. Where consumer culture doesn't quite reach: A study explores squatter communities on outskirts of rapidly developing urban areas. Rich countries may be largely to blame for adding climate change to Africa's litany of problems, but the continent's own politicians have yet to take it seriously. The World After Oil: As the planet warms up, eco-friendly fuels can't get here fast enough. The latest figures on flights are a disaster for the environment: There is only one way to turn things around: a reduction in the capacity of airports. Thinking Outside the Fox: Rupert Murdoch launches effort to green News Corp.'s operations and programming. John Allen Paulos on global warming, genies and torture: What do they have to do with each other? Maybe a lot. And from NYRB, Wretched of the Earth: Nicholas D. Kristof on Poor People by William T. Vollmann, and Understanding Poverty; and what's wrong with doctors: A review of How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
[May 11] From Monthly Review, István Mészáros on The Only Viable Economy. To do with the price of fish: How do mobile phones promote economic growth? A new paper provides a vivid example. From Cato Unbound, Daniel Klein on economics and the distinction between coercive and voluntary action. From American, does economic success require democracy? Sadly, no. In fact, the politically unfree countries are enjoying more economic growth than the politically free ones. Kevin Hassett tells why. From The Economist, who's the real left-winger? The main Democratic candidates' economic policies are hard to pigeon-hole. John Edwards is meticulously laying the groundwork to become the candidate of organized labor, insisting prosperity can expand only if unionization expands. From TAP, why populists need to re-think trade: James K. Galbraith on why it's time for a reality-based approach; and why populists need to seize the moment: Jeff Faux on why it's time to rewrite the rules of the global economy on workers' behalf (and a debate). Locked in and locked out: When the world adopts a set of economic institutions it has an incentive to build on old mistakes, like a lack of labour and environmental standards. From traders with second thoughts: Poisoned pet-food ingredients are coming in from China. Are the Communists out to kill our pets, or is the mood in America beginning to shift? Don't be fooled by Europe's mood. Globally, the left is reawakening: The political ructions of the past week can't hide a progressive resurgence - even in the belly of the capitalist beast. International socialism: The people's flag is palest pink--at the hustings, socialism can be a drag. A review of Comrades! A History of World Communism and Seven Years that Changed the World: Perestroika in Perspective. Michael Weiss reviews What's Left? by Nick Cohen. A review of Praised Be Our Lords: A Political Education by Régis Debray. From New Humanist, Caspar Melville on anti-God squad "Rational Response Squad". From The Nation, a review of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins; God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens; Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray; and The Meaning of Life by Terry Eagleton. More on God is Not Great. Marvin Olasky on The Major Religious Alternatives. Within its first 60 seconds, the new Rush album, Snakes & Arrows, throws down against the Christian right. Republicans retreat from their war history: How the GOP ditched decades of hard-headed foreign policy realism. How George Bush Salvaged His Dad’s Legacy: History is warming to George H.W. Bush by the day—just as it cools toward his son. A review of Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by John Patrick Diggins. The first chapter from The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater. From American Heritage, a review of Michael Beschloss’s Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989. The royalty trap: Americans have a dangerous fondness for monarchy. An All American Suck-Ups: Don't believe the "hardy independence" nonsense. Americans eagerly pander to state and throne -- and have throughout the country's history
[May 10] From Newsweek, does Bush have the constitutional clout to ignore any congressional attempt to reign in his war powers? What the scholars say. Michael Dorf on the president's disingenuous arguments against expanding the federal hate crime law. Above It All: A deposition can be an ugly war. Sometimes judges have to get down in the trenches. Patently obvious: A Supreme Court ruling with far-reaching consequences for American innovation turns on the definition of a single word. The consensus on gun rights no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors. The Numbers Guy on figuring the impact of allowing felons in Florida to vote (and more). From The Atlantic Monthly, The Story of a Snitch: Across our inner cities, the code of omerta has spread from organized crime to ordinary citizens. "Stop snitching" has become a motto to live or die by (and an interview with Jeremy Kahn on the growing problem of witness intimidation and the challenges of reporting a story about it). Jeremy Kahn rides along with Baltimore's Homicide Operations Squad in search of murder witnesses. Is Pittsburgh livable or leavable? An article on the shortcomings in city-ranking indexes. Mine's Bigger: An article on the ridiculous race to build the world’s tallest building. Bus 2.0: From Boston to Brazil. city planners and transportation gurus are reimagining the possibilities of the humble motorbus, using high-tech 'smart mobility' to challenge the preeminence of the car -- and revive the urban commons. Model Trains: Retired London subway cars are recycled into low-rent studio and office space. The dirty truth about bottled water: how private companies are profiting from public concern about water quality. Nuns mug orphan! Soon we'll all be fighting for food. Barbara Ehrenreich on how it's better to be a chimpanzee: A homeless chimp in Austria seeks human status to qualify for charity. If he wins, expect a surge of humans to cross over. The black-footed ferret is in trouble, as are hundreds of other species. But so is the law that looks out for them. An interview with biologist Josef Reichholf: "We are children of the tropics". From Der Spiegel, how bad is climate change really? Are catastrophic floods and terrible droughts headed our way? Despite widespread fears of a greenhouse hell, the latest computer simulations are delivering far less dramatic predictions about tomorrow's climate. And a review of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth
[May 9] From the inaugural issue of Condé Nast Portfolio, The Sheik Who Would Be King of Horse Racing: How the ruler of Dubai came to dominate — with one very large exception — the lucrative business of Thoroughbreds; Weapons of Mass Production: As the debate rages over the ultimate cost of the Iraq invasion, a look at some of the companies that are getting combat pay; and on the $300 Trillion Time Bomb: If Warren Buffett can't figure out derivatives, can anybody? The Wizard Drops the Curtain: The capitalist faithful from all over the world came to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting, to worship the past and wonder about a future without company chairman and investor in chief Warren Buffett. Genocide in the boardroom: A moral dilemma interrupts Buffett's love-in. From CT, not so exceptional after all: American evangelicalism reassessed; can you reason with Christians? A response to Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation; and "Is Christianity good for the world?" Theologian Douglas Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens debate. From Skeptic, a review of God is Not Great (and more). Mark Oppenheimer on Hitchens' glaring error. Defiance is his raison d'etre: Just don't expect any mild sentiments from combative public intellectual Christopher Hitchens. From Briarpatch, why Feminism isn’t for Everybody: Will gender-based oppression end if we ask politely? Not bloody likely. A review of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? A review of How To Hepburn: Lessons on Living From Kate the Great. A review of The Sister Knot: Why We Fight, Why We’re Jealous, and Why We’ll Love Each Other No Matter What. From Radar, Atomic Moms: The 10 worst mothers in the world. The moods, modes and methods of motherhood: A review of Waiting for Daisy; You're Not the Boss of Me: Adventures of a Modern Mom; and Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence. The Incredible Shrinking Father: Artificial insemination begets children without paternity, with troubling cultural and legal consequences. It's hard to be a man: More and more on Impotence: A Cultural History by Angus McLaren. Research suggests men's sexual behavior adapts to perceived threats. Mama's Boys are Braver: A mother's presence, a new study suggests, can go a long way toward making the world less frightening. Test Your F.Q.: Got a Y chromosome? Then this sexism self-exam is for you. All those fit young men running around in shorts, watched intently by lots of other (excited) grown men - football is the most quasi-camp sport of all. 10 Straight Questions: Just because you’re not hip to the straight lifestyle doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know a little something about heterosexuals pdf. The software mogul Tim Gill has a mission: Stop the Rick Santorums of tomorrow before they get started. How a network of gay political donors is stealthily fighting sexual discrimination and reshaping American politics doc. Bareback Mountain William Saletan on gays, horses, bimbos, and bestiality. Is Ian Wishart's Eve's Bite the most un-PC book ever? Oh, Deborah Jeane, what are we going to do with you? An article on the Red-Light District and working the intersection of sex and power, and a look at the Happy Hooker's Code of Ethics. Prostitutes and Politics: Why is it still illegal to pay for sex? And Matthew Yglesias on Barely Legal Porn: Why we shouldn’t infantilize 18-year-olds
[May 8] From The Economist, an article on the tragedy of the commons: Property rights may be the way to preserve forests. The ethics of land and liberty: How can a person justifiably own something? There are clear moral principles that explain this, although many pundits get confused. From The New Yorker, since all industries crave foreign markets to expand into but fear foreign competitors encroaching on their home turf, they lobby their governments to tilt the rules in their favor. Usually, this involves manipulating tariffs and quotas. But, of late, a troubling twist in the game has become more common, as countries use free-trade agreements to rewrite the laws of their trading partners. From the Department of Economic Heresy, Alan Blinder on how free trade's great, but offshoring rattles him. Making trade work for everyone: Voters aren’t happy with the reality of free trade—and Democrats are starting to listen. Quick quiz: Is the dollar weak because Americans think President Bush is a miserable failure? Ignore the black swan: Why are the world's stock markets continuing to rise even though the signs of economic danger are multiplying everywhere? We are regularly taken for suckers by the unexpected. An interview with James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds. From American Heritage, a look at how illegal immigration was born. From Shovels to Suits: The anti-immigration movement in the United States spans the vigilante border patrols of the Minutemen, the halls of Capitol Hill, the offices of think tanks and foundations, and the Web sites of white supremacist groups. Demagogues are spouting nativist nonsense about immigration, while candidates who know better are avoiding the issue. End of the melting pot? An article on how the new wave of immigrants presents new challenges. From The American Prospect, don't blame immigrants for poverty wages: The remedy is wage protections, worker rights, and better education and training for both immigrants and native-born workers; false choices on poverty: Why we must address both economics and values; debt, the new safety net: Low-income families are saddled with very high-interest debt. They're not spendthrifts -- their earnings are inadequate to fulfill basic needs; and is rising inequality reversible? Politics matters. For a half century, income inequality has fallen under Democrats but risen under Republicans. John Edwards believes a new labor movement is the answer to the country's great divide. Should corporate America be afraid of him? When The Class War Goes Local: In Montana, corporate execs and their GOP allies gather to fight "employee-slanted" policies. Big business as healthcare reform's unlikely ally: A big-business coalition, breaking ranks with smaller firms, will lobby Sacramento and D.C. to expand coverage to all. Ezra Klein on The Health of Nations: How Europe, Canada, and our own VA do health care better. From Truthdig, Chris Hedges on The Greatest Threat to Choice. And do low-income women have a right to choose? Advocates say the cost of abortion makes it inaccessible to many women -- which is why the Dems should be pushing to repeal the ban on public funding for the procedure
[May 7] A review of An Ocean of Air by Gabrielle Walker. Skyscrapers of nature: A review of The Wild Trees: The Passion and the Daring. A review of Silence of the Songbirds: How We are Losing the World's Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them. A review of The Chickens Fight Back: Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases That Jump From Animals to Humans. One reason it is so hard to discover anything is that it is hard to know when you have done so. Noble Laureate John Polanyi, informed by childhood experience, reflects on penicillin, the greatest discovery in medical history. A review of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver and Penicillin: Triumph and Tragedy. From National Journal, beyond Hillarycare: Although Hillary Clinton is the '08 candidate with the most health care policy experience, she is in no rush to come out with a comprehensive blueprint after being pummeled in 1993. From Scientific American, Canada has as good or better health care than the US: Despite spending half what the US does on health care, Canada doesn't appear to be any worse at looking after the health of its citizens. From The New York Times Magazine, The Older–and–Wiser Hypothesis: Wisdom, long a subject for philosophers, is now being scrutinized by a cadre of scientific researchers. The trick lies not just in measuring something so fuzzy but also in defining it in the first place; are you wise? Measure your wisdom by answering a questionnaire; A Longer, Better Life: Sara Davidson talks to two medical scientists about how the body ages and the research on trying to extend our healthy life span; a video Q. and A. on the new science of longevity; how did the repetitive household tasks our parents and grandparents tried to avoid become midlife leisure activities?; an article on reinventing middle age: How old are you anyway?; and a look at how one company found the right words to tap the baby-boomer penchant for personal development. A review of The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America. A review of The Joy of Drinking. Eat local, be happy: A review of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (and more and more). A review of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution. A review of Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting. A review of Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture. And a review of The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong: A History of What Really Makes Us Happy
[Weekend 2e] From The Economist, about 0.1% of world GDP would tackle climate change, a bargain, and more on how the costs of stabilising global warming are negligible. Could it be true that staving off the severe effects posed by climate change won't impose ruinous costs? The IPCC thinks so. The catch? It only works if everyone joins in. Delegates from 120 countries have approved the first road map for combating climate change. A new report looks at the environmental benefits and drawbacks of wind power. Brewing energy in Australia: An article on converting beer byproducts into energy. Global warming is just a symptom: If we're seriously pro-life and want to see the planet survive, we need to get a handle on the population explosion -- that's what is ultimately at the center of our unfolding environmental catastrophe. From California Literary Review, Dear Minister, America is headed down; can it reverse course? From New English Review, Theodore Dalrymple on how There Is No God but Politics; and John Derbyshire on Private Lives. Amanda Marcotte on Feminism in the Era of Girls Gone Wild: Everyone these days wants to hear how young women have lost their way, especially if the author can blame feminism for it. But in reality, feminism has been anything but a tragedy for women. Is stripping a feminist act? If a woman chooses to objectify herself -- shedding her clothes to obtain power through money -- is she helping to eliminate gender inequality or simply degrading herself? A former adult entertainer shares her story. From New Politics, an essay on the Hyde Amendment: The opening wedge to abolish abortion; and it is heartening to see the stigma of adoption lessening. It is time to put aside the idealization of the biological nuclear family. Form Stars & Stripes, sailors say Kitty Hawk’s "homophobic culture" forced them to out themselves; a discharged gay sailor is called back to active duty; and a look at other militaries’ policies. More than 40 percent of soldiers and Marines who recently served in the war zone believe torture should be allowed if it would save the life of a comrade, according to a 2006 military mental health assessment. From The Situationist, an essay on Justice Thomas and the conservative hypocrisy. Reading the Constitution Right: Clarence Thomas’s fidelity to our founding documents is making its mark on the Supreme Court. The Temptation of Justice Thomas: In his latest anti-abortion opinion, Clarence Thomas hints at a moment of doubt. The silences of social democracy: A review of What’s Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen. The anti-poverty report issued last week by the Center for American Progress brings together some of the most pragmatic ideas on poverty reduction. What gives? From CT, an article on The Joy of Policy Manuals: There's more to workplace justice than good intentions. Executive pleonexia: Joseph D. Becker on how to limit executive-pay scandals. How to ensure your charitable donation goes where you want. An article on the economics of laziness. Plays well with others? Spoilt, arrogant, lonely, ill-equipped for life...are just a sprinkling of the labels attached to only children. As their numbers increase, Miranda Green, an ‘only’ herself, sorts out the facts from the fiction. And seeking shared delight through festivity, dance and ritual is a powerful human drive that, as Dancing in the Streets shows, has long worried those in power
[Weekend] From New Politics, Michael Lowy (CNRS): Marx and Weber: Critics of Capitalism; Ashley Dawson (CUNY): The Return to Limits; David Friedman on the Democratic Party and the Future of American Politics; Michael Hirsch on Socialists, Democrats and Political Action: It's the movements that matter; and is the Bush Administration fascist? Matthew N. Lyons investigates. For its third annual essay contest, Vanity Fair asked readers to define the U.S.'s grasp on reality. Exploring a national disconnect between self-image and behavior, winner Kipling Buis channels an infuriated 19th-century immigrant: Frances Trollope, the famous novelist's mother. From Vanity Fair, The Tax That Saved the Planet: Sure, we can keep trying to reduce carbon emissions through the Kyoto Protocol and other schemes. Or we can do the smart thing; as teams from two top universities chart consumption patterns, the map of the world bulges and shrinks. Famed biologist E. O. Wilson puts the findings into perspective; reporting on an emotional battle in a makeshift jungle courtroom, by William Langewiesche investigates how many hundreds of square miles of surrounding rain forest in Ecuador became a toxic-waste dump; the Bush administration has gutted decades of environmental protection, appointing energy-industry executives to uphold the very laws they'd worked against. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. busts the polluters' picnic; when scientists are united, and even corporate sponsors like ExxonMobil are backing off, how does a global-warming skeptic stay busy? As long as the media calls, Myron Ebell is happy to explain why CO2 is good. Michael Shnayerson catches him in full denial; and lampooning environmentalists as "wackos," Rush Limbaugh lulled millions of Americans into happy complacency. As the country wakes up to the climate crisis, James Wolcott asks: Who looks wacko now? George Monbiot responds to Alexander Cockburn on global warming. Reading Green: Here are ten books to help understand and save the environment. No United Nations organization currently dominates the headlines as much -- or is as controversial -- as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Critics call the panel politically one-sided and its reports alarmist. Its defenders say the opposite is true. The world goes to town: After this year the majority of people will live in cities. Human history will ever more emphatically become urban history. The pace of life for city dwellers is literally getting faster, a new British-led study suggests. From Rediff, an interview with Amartya Sen: Hunger is quiet violence. The bank the world needs: The World Bank is in desperate trouble, but it is still the best institution to address international challenges such as climate change. A study finds law-breaking officials respect the laws of economics. After amassing a fortune in excess of $300 billion over the last decade, Norway has started pulling investments for what it claims are ethical failings of some US companies. The United Fruit Company reinvented the banana as a mass-market product and pioneered the modern multinational. It also overthrew governments and helped bring the world to the brink of nuclear war. John Kenneth Galbraith's The New Industrial State remains a relevant explanation of the modern economy. And a review of Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction
[May 4] Here is the message Benedict XVI sent to Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, on the occasion of the plenary session of the academy on "Charity and Justice in the Relations Among Peoples and Nations". The Vatican calls a verbal attack on the Pope by a comedian "terrorism" (and more). In his first Latin American visit, Pope Benedict XVI will find a less divided church facing stronger rivals. A review of God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis. From Prospect, an interview with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, on Dostoevsky, "personalism" and how the story of Christ reminds him of Russian ideals. The Real Secret of the Universe: Why we disdain feel-good spirituality but shouldn't. Why the Church is important: An excerpt from Letters to a Young Evangelical. A review of Rediscovering God in America by Newt Gingrich. The Crusaders : A look at how the Christian Taliban is running the Department of Defense. A review of The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War In Iraq by Joshua Key. Could civil war in Iraq spread? Historian Niall Ferguson weighs the evidence. From Asia Times, Pepe Escobar on what Muqtada wants; and a portrait of a jihadi leader, Hamid bin Abdallah al-Ali. An al Qaeda in Iraq militant believed to be involved in last year's kidnapping of journalist Jill Carroll has been killed. The bad guys keep on coming: The capture of 172 terrorist suspects in Saudi Arabia suggests that many more are at large. Waiting for al-Qaeda's next bomb: A group plotting to bomb Britain has been successfully prosecuted. But the danger of al-Qaeda is growing, and the intelligence services are struggling to cope. Al Qaeda finds its rock star: An article on Trent Reznor's audio valentine to Islamism. John McWhorter on Hating Whitey Worldwide. Obama reaches out with tough love: Candidate says criticism of Black America reflects its private concerns. A review of The Devil & Dave Chappelle. A strategic view on class, race and women’s equality: An excerpt from The Nature, Role and Work of the Communist Party. Wimps, wussies and W: How Americans' infatuation with masculinity has perilous consequences. From Reason, an optimist's view on Post-Kelo America: Reforms are making progress. Look Who's Taxing: Weary of tax cuts for the rich, state politicians are rethinking their aversion to tax-and-spend. Thomas Palley on The Flaws in Rubinomics: Economic policy centered on a balanced budget will destroy what's left of FDR's New Deal. The opposite of Wal-Mart: Publix is a thriving grocery chain provides a telling contrast with Wal-Mart. The rest of the world's major economies no longer depend on America's. Neither do America's own largest corporations. Has the term "public service" lost meaning for our private corporations? Hedge funds and private equity operators are driving the wrong brand of capitalism, and pursuing ever-riskier deals that threaten the financial system. Fake free trade versus small farmers: An article on how agribusiness corporations get special privileges. John B. Judis on his battle with the telecom industry. Will the digital age bring equality? And a review of Inequality.Com: Power, poverty and the digital divide
[May 3] From Seed, an article on The China Experiment: Inside the revolution to green the biggest nation on earth. The negotiations over the third part of the United Nations report on climate change are expected to be particularly tough. China and the US are already trying to water down the final version, arguing that immediate action may be futile and too costly. Many people in southern Bangladesh have never even heard of climate change. Yet should ocean levels rise even slightly, their existence would be imperiled. New research reveals Arctic ice has been vanishing about 3 times faster than the models have predicted. From the Sierra Club, a debate on Climate Exchange: Cool heads tackle our hottest issue. An excerpt from George Monbiot's Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning. From Time, a special section on global warming and innovation. Weaponized Weather: In a race to solve global warming, some scientists are declaring war on the weather. Black Gold of the Amazon: Fertile, charred soil created by pre-Columbian peoples sustained surprisingly large settlements in the rain forest. Secrets of that ancient “dark earth” could help solve the Amazon’s ecological problems today. A review of Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival. A look at why slaughtering horses and using them for meat is cost effective, and it's more humane and environmentally friendly. From Prospect, why home doesn't matter: We assume that studying children with their parents will help us understand how their personalities develop. But this is a mistake: parents influence their children mainly by passing on their genes. The biggest environmental influences on personality are those that occur outside the home. A review of Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World, and Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, A Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest To Become a Mother. Scott Lemieux reviews Safe, Legal, and Unavailable? Abortion Politics in the United States by Melody Rose. How Feminism Got Corrupted: Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body seeks to unravel the mystery of how intelligent women and girls have such unhealthy notions about food and the body. A look at how many female lawyers are dropping off the path to partnership. The work of a stay-at-home mother has an annual monetary value of $138,095, according to a new survey. Form TCS, an article on The Real Solution to Poverty. From the inaugural issue of Crimes and Misdemeanours: Deviance and the Law in Historical Perspective, Heather Shore (Leeds Metropolitian): Undiscovered Country: Towards a History of the Criminal "Underworld" doc. From the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, an article on Broken Windows at 25: It has worked wonders on both coasts. Missing the Middle: Fifteen years after the riots, L.A. embodies the progress and problems of America's increasingly two-tier cities. And Baby Boomers hoped to die before they got old. They lied. And now they’re dragging the whole country down
[May 2] From Monthly Review, Michael Lebowitz, author of Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class, on new wings for socialism, and from Radical Notes, a review of Lebowitz's Build it Now: Socialism for the Twenty-First Century. From Commentary, a review of Freedom's Power: The True Force of Liberalism by Paul Starr; a review of Milton Friedman: A Biography by Lanny Ebenstein. From The New Criterion (make sure to read the print versions), Roger Kimball on Hayek & the intellectuals, Harvey Mansfield reviews Hugh Brogan’s Alexis de Tocqueville: A Life, and a review of Frederick Kagan’s The End of the Old Order: Napoleon & Europe, 1801-1805. A review of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts. From The American Conservative, The War Party: Republicans’ traditional defense of life, families, and limited government takes a backseat to defending Bush; Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. on Sic Semper Tyrannis; and can Bush be trusted with the power to declare martial law? Can Hillary? Harvey Mansfield on The Case for the Strong Executive: Under some circumstances, the rule of law must yield to the need for energy. More and more on Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy By Andrew Cockburn by Andrew Cockburn. From Secular Web, a review of The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals The Ultimate Truth; an article on atheism in the Third Millennium, Sean M. Carroll on why (almost all) cosmologists are atheists. Christopher Orlet on a sectarian split among atheists. From Radar, an interview with Christopher Hitchens, Godless provocateur. From Christianity Today, a review of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything; and fertility, faith, and the future of the West: A conversation with Phillip Longman. From The Philosopher's Magazine, Stephen Law on optimism, reason and progress. Something earth-changing is afoot among civil society -- a significant social movement is eluding the radar of mainstream culture. There’s an apocalyptic vibe in the zeitgeist, and it’s not hard to imagine how the technological sophistication that got us to the brink of global civilization could be our undoing. A review of With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change. From Seed, a look at how climate change is heating up Arctic geopolitics, as sea passage grows easier and natural gas resources beckon. Desertification is not unstoppable, but containing its spread will require massive international efforts and cost trillions of dollars. From Mother Jones, early girls, Dolly Partons, and the attack of the California tomatoes: On eating locally and debunking the Red-Blue divide. A review of Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product. From The Atlantic Monthly, a review of It's in the Bag: What Purses Reveal---And Conceal; Bags: A Lexicon of Style; and How to Be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less. The Supergirl Syndrome: The marketing-driven message of the perfect girl--smart, skinny, pretty, athletic and loved by all--is a model of perfection that's hard to live up to. Can't girls just be free to be? And men, your armpit excretions affect women more than you might think
[May 1] From Dissent, is socialism liberal? An article on politics in France; and can the populist left last? Benjamin Ross on Democratic populism. Michael Lind reviews Freedom's Power: The True Force of Liberalism (and a response by Paul Starr). An excerpt from Gordon Brown's Courage: eight portraits on Robert Kennedy. Christopher Hitchens reviews Comrades: Communism: A World History by Robert Service. Max Blumenthal on The Contrarian Delusion: How Hitchens poisons everything. From TNR, Alan Wolfe reviews The Civil Sphere by Jeffrey C. Alexander (and part 2, part 3, and part 4; cached copies). A review of The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong: A History of What Really Makes Us Happy. Psychologists refer to it as the “glow of goodwill.” Why shouldn’t taking small steps that may produce such a glow be part of the role of government? Peter Singer wants to know. Gregg Easterbrook on how Virginia Tech exposes our impoverished language for evil. Do we need the death penalty? Yes, and no. He was a retired F.B.I. and C.I.A. agent volunteering on cold-case investigations in the Colorado Rockies. How did Charlie Hess persuade a man who may be one of the most prolific serial killers in American history to admit to his crimes? A look at the world's worst shooting rampages. Don't Shoot: Why video games really are linked to violence. A review of Violation: Justice, Race and Serial Murder in the Deep South by David Rose. The South Under Siege, Yet Again: What’s it like for a town to be “discovered” after 250 years? The roughly 80-million strong generation born between 1946 and 1964 could turn out to be a lot more like their parents than anyone expected, in no arena more so than in their choices of where, and how, they live. More on Teenage: The Creation of Youth, 1875-1945. A review of When We Were Bad: Is it only in Jewish families that adult children struggle to break from their parents? From Ovi, Men Are from Earth, Women Are from Planet Impossible: An article on the growing cohort of European "Bridget Joneses". Play hard to get, single guys: That's the advice of pickup artists, and experiments in academia appear to bear it out. Facials, manicures, emotional outbursts: Is Metrosexual Man more of a woman than you? Robert Douglas-Fairhurst reviews Impotence: a Cultural History by Angus McLaren. Paying for Kidneys: The idea of paying donors for their kidneys has long been taboo. It's time to take it seriously. Medical mystery tour: Michael Ruse reviews Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease. Benjamin Wittes on why the Supreme Court's shift on abortion is not what you think. An interview with Frank Furedi on environmentalism, conspiracy theories and the "network of McCarthyites" slurring his name. In praise of growing your own: A review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a fact widely accepted by biologists but little known by the population at large. By the end of the century, half of all species on Earth may be extinct. Who will survive the world's dwindling biodiversity, and why? From Grist, what can The Little Prince teach us about sustainable living and treating the earth well? Carbon-neutral is hip, but is it green? The rush to go on a carbon diet, even if by proxy, is in overdrive. And an article on saving the planet, one square of toilet paper at a time
[May 15] From the latest issue
of The Trumpeter, Espen Gamlund (Oslo): Who Has Moral Status in the Environment? A Spinozistic
Answer; an essay on Wrestling with Arne
Naess: A Chronicle of Ecopsychology’s Origins; Ian Prattis ( Carleton):
Failsafe in Consciousness:
Gaia, Science, and the Buddha; and a review of
Endgame: Volume I – The Problem of Civilization and Endgame: Volume II –
Resistance by Derrick Jensen. From Discover, is morality innate and
universal? Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser's new theory says evolution hardwired us to know right from
wrong. But here’s the confusing part: It also gave us a lot of wiggle room.
A review of Moral Repair: Reconstructing Moral Relations after Wrongdoing.
of Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship. A review
of From Clement to Origen: The Social and Historical Context of the Church Fathers.
From New York, Learnin’ on a Prayer: Getting religion to get into pre-k.
What could possibly go wrong? Ending abstinence-only
education is smart policy because it is consistent with what we know
about how the human brain grows up. Their Cheatin' Hearts: You call it
copying; today's college students call it collaborating. More Americans spend some time in college, and American higher education is the most expensive in the world.
What do we want from
college, though? A small revolution is brewing that challenges the orthodoxy
of college rankings. Rank this, U.S. News: Why Trinity
College president Patricia McGuire opted out of the magazine's education
rankings. Dueling Windmills: How two small liberal arts colleges are tackling climate change, one gust at a time.
Starving for Social Justice: A hunger strike at Harvard sparks debate over activists’ tactics.
The always alert Discovery Institute has let us know that Guillermo Gonzales
has been denied tenure at Iowa State University. The DI is shocked--shocked!--at such a decision.
Quad Complex: Super Troopers made Paul Soter a big man on
campus. Now he wants to graduate. Welcome to Hell: Here's a Real World Guide for Graduates.
Making sense of Einstein -- both his science and his personal life: Three takes on
Einstein's life, work and politics of the famous physicist.
Astronomers have spied a granddaddy of the galaxy—a 13.2-billion-year-old star
formed soon after the big bang 13.7 billion years ago. Here's Looking at
You, Universe: We are in the golden age of
telescopes. The secrets of the cosmos are coming at us. In a 17-mile
circular tunnel curving beneath the Swiss-French border, CERN
scientists are poised to recreate the universe's first trillionth of
a second. A review
of In Search of the Shape of the Universe by Donal O'Shea. A review
of Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea by Christine
Garwood. A review of On an Artificial Earth: Philosophies of Nature after Schelling.
A look at how Alexander the Great
laid waste to an island fortress: Shallow water may have given him a solid foundation to build a
road, so one of famed military commander's most impressive feats owes a large debt to Mother Nature.
Centuries before the George Washington Bridge, the Andes were crisscrossed
with suspension bridges. Now students at MIT are learning to
recreate them. Liza Dalby's East Wind Melts the Ice: A Memoir
Through the Seasons is an anthropologist’s
musings on the seasons, culture and other delights.
And a review
of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
[May 14] When politics turned pragmatic: A review of Reason of State, Propaganda, and the Thirty Years War: An Unknown Translation by Thomas Hobbes. The Philosopher of Our Times: A review of John Rawls's posthumously published Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. In "How to Understand Politics: What the Humanities Can Say to Science," Harvey Mansfield shows with wit and verve how our seemingly apolitical science has blinded us to the quintessentially political quality of spiritedness, which, with a bow to Plato and Aristotle, he calls thumos. A review of books by and an interview with Mary Midgley. Another think coming After decades in the analytical wilderness, philosophy is breaking out of its ivory tower to re-engage itself with real-life concerns. Human rights begin in small places, and close to home, said Mary Ann Glendon, president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. From WSWS, a review of two Trotsky biographies by Geoffrey Swain and Ian Thatcher (and part 2). The Marx Memorial Library in central London, set up in 1933 in response to the Nazi book burnings in Germany, is at the centre of a row that pays testimony to the enduring ability of communists to indulge in internecine warfare. The Nazi Chronicles: Closed for decades, the world's largest Holocaust archive now reveals its secrets.The Jewish Writings by Hannah Arendt argues, persuasively, that understanding the political theorist’s Jewish identity is essential to understanding her entire body of work, and on how power cannot come of violence by Arendt. A review of The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo. A review of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. A review of The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, and an interview with Natalie Angier. Creating a canon for science: Stop being so afraid, says Angier, and here are science facts you should already know. From H-Net, a review of Sex Rights: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2002. Adultery shouldn't be boring: A review of Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee by Pamela Druckerman (and more). A review of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. Mother's Day is a lie: Its rituals are stale and its practices disgusting, but she goes through the motions anyway. Happy Non-Mother’s Day! A review of Nobody’s Mother: Life Without Kids. A review of By the Secret Ladder: A Mother's Initiation; Journey to the Darkside: Supermom Goes Home; Wiped! Life with a Pint-Size Dictator; Momzillas: A Novel; and Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting. A review of Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing Men, Women, and the World (and an interview with Liza Mundy). Genetic Testing + Abortion = ??? The right to choose, and the right to screen for sex, cancer genes or smarts. And from Newsweek, (Rethinking) Gender: How those who believe they were born with the wrong bodies are forcing us to re-examine what it means to be male and female
[Weekend] From History of Philosophy Quarterly, Eric Schwitzgebel (UC-Riverside): Human Nature and Moral Education in Mencius, Xunzi, Hobbes, and Rousseau pdf. Ernest Young (UT-Austin): The Constitution Outside the Constitution. From German Law Journal, a review of David Kennedy's Of War and Law; a review of Law After Auschwitz: Towards a Jurisprudence of the Holocaust; a review of The Social Construction of Free Trade: The European Union, NAFTA, and Mercosur. A review of State Constitutions for the Twentieth Century, Volumes 1-3. From ZMag, against and beyond the State: An interview with John Holloway. A review of Warriors into Workers: The Civil War and the Formation of Urban-Industrial Society in a Northern City. Garth Cartwright finds the reality of gypsy life a far cry from the myth perpetuated by musicians and film-makers. From American Scientist, an interview with Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of I Am a Strange Loop. From New Scientist, a tiny brown speck of tobacco is a 400-year-old national treasure, one that is helping archaeologists uncover the story of the birth of America. From Smithsonian, what will make you happy? An interview with Daniel Gilbert on why it's so hard to predict. From Soundings, human happiness and the stationary state: David Purdy argues that it is time for rich countries to stop seeking further economic growth; The politics of well-being: Hetan Shah argues that the politics of well-being contains powerful insights which can inform the left across a range of issues, but there are also potential pitfalls; a good-enough life: Fiona Williams argues that a political ethic of care offers a new way of dealing with contemporary changes in family lives and family policies; and Pat Kane on the power of play. A review of Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America. From Comment, an essay on vocations, vacations, and politics in public. From Portfolio, chaos is underrated: In The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb excoriates the delusions of economists and their ilk. More on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan. Pop! Daniel Gross on why bubbles are great for the economy, a look at the most amazing bubble promoters of all time, and take the Bubble Quiz: How much do you know about irrational exuberance? From The Situationist, an article on the situation of our food (and part 2 and part 3). Buyer Be Wary: An article on the peculiar American habit of demonizing food. From Science News, a grove of evolutionary trees: "Trees of life" show patterns of evolutionary descent, and they fit together mathematically to form an abstract forest. And from Britannica, the Pit Bull Debate: We should try to answer some questions: Why does a dog attack a human in the first place? What do we mean by ”pit bull”? What are pit bulls really like, and how did they get a reputation as a vicious dogs
[May 11] A review of Plato: Political Philosophy by Malcolm Schofield. The first chapter form Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography by Joakim Garff. Iran on jails Iranian-American Haleh Esfandiari, director of Middle East studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The fight for understanding: Charles Taylor's theory of secular and cross-faith engagement is what our society needs in order to build respect and end violence. It is bracing to see a major Straussian in action. Harvey Mansfield's delivery was so genial, so good-natured, that it required close attention to his prepared text to realize how radical he is. A review of The History Wars by Stuart Macintyre and Anna Clark. Wellesley taps Yale biologist Kim Bottomly to be its next president. Nine prominent professors are leading an effort to rethink the culture of undergraduate teaching and learning at Harvard. Some colleges have longer wait lists than in previous years, offering a chance of openings if enough accepted applicants don't enroll. New graduation skills: As business schools start to teach more ethics and practical skills, enrolments are climbing again. Sex-Crazed Co-Eds! If Annsley Chapman reads one more article about college girls gone wild, she really will go wild. Carol Lloyd on college girls gone wild (and proud of it). Fifty-three years after Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court will rule on two cases that will decide the future of school integration. L.A. students are hooking up with tutors in South Asia for help with their homework. Is this global economy cool, or what? New computer software that detects plagiarism in student essays could have long-lasting consequences for tutor-pupil relations. From Smithsonian, species explosion: What happens when you mix evolution with climate change? In a whale-sized project, the world's scientists plan to compile everything they know about all of Earth's 1.8 million known species and put it all on one website (and more on the Encyclopedia of Life and a video with E. O. Wilson). From American Scientist, an interview with Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body. Two Millennia of Impotence Cures: An excerpt from Impotence: A Cultural History. Research finds oral sex can cause throat cancer. From New Scientist, a quirky look at our quirky species: Humans are strange creatures that must be studied in strange ways, says psychologist Richard Wiseman. This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on Neurotechnology: New brain research is leading to second thoughts on our morality. From The Scientist, hot paper in epigenetics: Twins diverge by Charles Q. Choi. Not Surprised You Speak Our Language: On the one hand, it's dos svidania, on the other sallam -- globalization and jihad have language studies in an upheaval. Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks. King Herod's secret is out: Archaeologists discover tomb of ancient King of Judea. From Technology Review, Objects of Desire: Famous industrial designers talk about iconic pieces of technology. And 10 uses for audio cassettes: Sales of audio cassettes are dwindling, but what use is there for the estimated 500 million tapes gathering dust?
[May 10] Gianluigi Palombella (Parma): Reasons for Justice, Rights and Future Generations. From Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Paolo Carozza (Notre Dame): The Universal Common Good and the Authority of International Law. From PUP, the introduction to Dream, Death, and the Self; the first chapter from The Grand Contraption: The World as Myth, Number, and Chance; and the introduction to The Impossibility of Religious Freedom. From The Global Spiral, an essay on The New Sciences of Religion; an article on Human Origins and Religious Awareness: In Search of Human Uniqueness; a look at the Compatibility of Religious and Transhumanist Views in an Enhanced Future; a review of Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts; and a review of The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics by Eric D. Beinhocker. Economist Amartya Sen chosen for Kiel prize in Germany. Economists agree?! More on Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. From Natural History, Hidden Tombs of Ancient Syria: Evidence of animal and possibly human sacrifice suggests that burials at Tell Umm el-Marra were those of Bronze Age royalty. Meerkats At Play: Evolution demands that activities costing a lot of energy provide survival value in return. But what do these rambunctious little mammals gain from having so much fun?; and here's some samplings of news from nature. More than 1,000 bodies found at a construction site in West Philadelphia tell a story about science, medicine and society in the 1800s. A review of Born in Flames: Termite Dreams, Dialectical Fairy Tales, and Pop Apocalypses. From Inside Higher Ed, Sex! Politics! Dubious Footnotes! How much excitement can you take? Scott McLemee looks at some scholarly scandals that seem faintly familiar; and Alexander C. McCormick writes about the problem with U.S. News rankings that nobody talks about. Two Russian-born sisters are due to become assistant professors of finance at the University of Rochester, even though they are only 19 and 21. Angela Kniazeva and her younger sister Diana were due to take up their new positions in September. From Britannica, an article on the child abuse called “College Sports”. And it's a world of possibilities: Virtual campuses are springing up in Second Life, as universities discover the advantages of cyberspace
[May 9] From PopMatters, High-Minded Bullshit: Philosophy itself is often regarded as part and parcel with the bullshit of popular culture. But it is philosophers who been trying to determine exactly what bullshit is and how it works its magic. Scenes From An Obscenity Conference in Iowa City: Shit is not happening at this academic meeting--but not for lack of trying. From AFT, an article on the myth of the tenured faculty; and do high presidential salaries hurt the academy? A debate. Profs show hostility toward evangelicals: An interview with Gary Tobin on "The Religious Identity and Behavior of College Faculty". From TNR, why don't we study military history? David A. Bell investigates. Gen. John Abizaid, who spent three years as the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, will start his retirement as a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. 50 years later, Little Rock can’t escape race: An Arkansas school district is still riven by racial conflict, and some question how much progress has been made. From Australian Book Review, an essay on Making the World Safe for Diversity: Forty Years of Higher Education. Exporting Idiocracy: Sending American-style education to China could stunt the dragon’s rise. A review of Buddhists, Brahmins, and Belief: Epistemology in South Asian Religion. A review of Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. A review of Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization. A review of The Veil of Isis: An Essay on the History of the Idea of Nature. From Humanist Perspectives, an interview with Michael Shermer, author of The War on Science & Reason pdf. From The Scientist, an article on watching the brain lie: Can fMRI replace the polygraph? From Bookslut, an interview with Mark Solms, a founding figure of neuro-psychoanalysis and the co-director of the International Centre for Neuro-Psychoanalysis. From Portfolio, the Ka-Ching! Dynasty: How bubbly is the Chinese art market? That might depend on how "Chinese" the art looks; Marianne Boesky—yup, Ivan's daughter—has found that selling contemporary art can be an ugly business; a review of Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich; and when Dad's got too much cash, turning 13 can be a seven-figure affair. Here’s a sampling of the past year's most extravagant bar and bat mitzvahs. Exercise in excess: How did the prom become such a pricey pageant? In her new book on the American wedding industry, Rebecca Mead speaks on the garish events that weddings have become, and what it tells us about ourselves. Dress Sense: Virginia Postrel on why fashion deserves its place in art museums. You Say Renoir, I Say Cézanne: A review of The Clarks of Cooperstown. Nothing like this Picasso: The "ugly" Les Demoiselles, which turns 100 this spring, may be art's most influential work. Lofty Ambitions: Once upon a time, lofts were cheap spaces for struggling artists. Today they are phony and pricey, and that¹s just fine. From Frieze, what's Left? How the political divide between democratic socialists and romantic anarchists impacts on the art world. From Politics and Culture, a series of essays on Neoliberal Culture. And Give My Returns to Broadway: How a new crop of investors is applying Wall Street ideas about risk reduction to one of the riskiest investments of all
[May 8] From the Journal of World History, Peter Stearns (George Mason): Social History and World History: Prospects for Collaboration; Kenneth Pomeranz (UC-Irvine): Social History and World History: From Daily Life to Patterns of Change; and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (UW-Milwaukee): World History and the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; and a review of Economic and Political Contention in Comparative Perspective by Maria Kousis and Charles Tilly. From the Journal of Ethics & Social Philosophy, Nir Eyal (Harvard): Egalitarian Justice and Innocent Choice. From The Oxonian Review, a review of Amartya Sen's Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny and Kwame Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. From Politics and Culture, a review of Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation, and a review of Adorno and the Political by Espen Hammer. A review of Berlin Childhood Around 1900 and On Hashish by Walter Benjamin. A review of Icons and Power: The Mother of God in Byzantium. A review of Arguing About Gods. With God in His Sights: Christopher Hitchens takes on Gandhi, Billy Graham—and the Big Guy (and an excerpt from God is Not Great). From Wired, an article on quantum somputing's big challenge: Quantum wiring. Can a seventeen-mile-long collider unlock the universe? Elizabeth Kolbert investigates. Envision This: Mathematicians design an invisible tunnel, an electromagnetic "wormhole" that results from turning invisible sphere inside out. Star Goes Out Big Time: Astronomers track a new kind of supernova, the brightest ever recorded. Polymers Are Forever: There was hardly any prior to 1945, but it may now be the most ubiquitous man-made substance on Earth. From Discover, is there a genetic basis to race after all? It may not be a question of which genes, but how they behave. Ancient Australians were a people apart: Genetic evidence confirms Aborigines lived in isolation for thousands of years. Sex on the brain: Survey reveals brain differences between the sexes. Research suggests women would endure most pain for a best friend. Does the time of year in which a child is conceived influence future academic achievement? From Inside Higher Ed, battle lines on U.S. News: 12 presidents call for boycott of survey of reputations, but magazine’s editor says it will survey others if presidents abstain. Cupid and Colleges: Students who truly prefer Tufts over Amherst or Columbia would have a way to show it. Teaching recent history from opposite perspectives: At Georgetown, it's Feith vs. Tenet and policy vs. intelligence. Bush's favorite historian: British author Alistair Horne explains what Pinochet, Sharon and Bush have all taken from his work, why peace means getting rid of the priests, and why Iraq is the wrong war in the wrong place. Hail to the Analysand: Be afraid of the leader who refuses to look in the mirror, Freud argued. And a purple patch on the lessons of history by Barbara Tuchman
[May 7] From Bryn Mawr Classical Review, a review of The Unity of Plato's Gorgias: Rhetoric, Justice, and the Philosophic Life, and a review of Ancient Philosophy and Everyday Life. A review of The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Law. A review of Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe. Partying and politicking: A review of Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna (and more). A review of Napoleon in Egypt: The Greatest Glory. A review of The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics. Joseph O'Connor's civil war novel Redemption Falls is a wonderful polyphonic monster of a book, says Terry Eagleton. From New English Review, Hugh Fitzgerald on Karen Armstrong: The coherence of her incoherence. A review of God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (and more and more). A review of Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America by Matthew Avery Sutton. A review of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. Rite Turn: Can the Latin Mass make a comeback? From Opinion Journal, will DePaul, America's largest Catholic university give tenure to anti-Semite Norman Finkelstein? Alan Dershowitz wants to know. Is there disdain for evangelicals in the classroom? From Writ, can universities take adverse actions against students based on their MySpace profiles? It depends. For the students who have always known the internet, the first place to channel grief was online. And the best online forum was facebook, where everyone had always gathered. Seeing no progress, some schools drop laptops. Is PE a waste of time? How much energy children expend may be determined by their genes, a study suggests, implying that they find their own activity level no matter what we tell them to do. A review of The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier. From The Hindu, monumental blend: The mural has evolved gracefully merging tradition with contemporary rhythms. There was Cool Britannia, Britpop, the dome, plus plenty of flourishings, fall-outs and full-on revolts. Stuart Jeffries asks: what did Tony Blair do for the arts? Erran Baron Cohen, brother of Sacha, has composed a 16-minute musical piece, "Zere,'' which is debuting at St. James's Church in London. Here's the kicker: It will be performed by The West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra. And this column offers a round-up of recent articles in the scholarly periodicals, and the chance to amaze your friends with your erudition
[Weekend 2e] From Janus Head, Stephen H. Watson (Notre Dame): Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenological Itinerary From Body Schema to Situated Knowledge: On How We Are and How We Are Not to “Sing the World”; Dorothée Legrand (CREA): Pre-Reflective Self-Consciousness: On Being Bodily in the World; Evan Selinger and Timothy Engström (RIT): On Naturally Embodied Cyborgs: Identities, Metaphors, and Models (and a reply); Rob Harle (Stoney Chute): Disembodied Consciousness and the Transcendence of the Limitations of the Biological Body; Andrew C. Rawnsley (St. Andrews): A Situated or a Metaphysical Body? Problematics of Body as Mediation or as Site of Inscription; and Alexander Kozin (Berlin): The Uncanny Body: From Medical to Aesthetic Abnormality pdf. A review of Consciousness and Its Place in Nature: Does Physicalism Entail Panpsychism? How we reflect on behavior: Mirror neurons, it seems, are of the utmost importance in human mind, and on the tip of the collective psychological tongue. A new study suggests that culture may shape the way our brains process visual information. I Chat, Therefore I Am: Can a smooth-talking robot initiate good conversation, generate witty responses, and reveal profound thoughts? See what happens when two chatbots speak to each other. Scientists vs. Consumers: Thousands of consumers have voiced their opposition to cloned foods. Scientists dismiss them as "Luddites". Life at the Extremes: Some living species are able to thrive in inhospitable environments. How do they do it? More on the mathematical lives of plants: Scientists are figuring out why plants grow in spiral patterns that incorporate the "golden angle". The X chromosome does much more than help specify an animal’s reproductive plumbing and behaves unlike any of the other chromosomes in the body. Like a column collapsing under the burden of a heavy roof, erectile dysfunction is a classical mechanical engineering problem, says a US urologist. A split emerges as conservatives discuss Darwin: A dispute has cropped up on the right: Does Darwinian theory actually support conservative philosophy? But is it good for the conservatives? An article on Darwinism and its discontents. From Azure, The Gene Wars: What can science teach us about the validity of nationalist claims? From Nanotechnology Now, an essay on Space Ethics: Look before taking another leap for mankind. From IEET, a look at why the discovery of a nearby Earth-like planet is bad news. Superhuman Imagination: An interview with Vernor Vinge on science fiction, the Singularity, and the state. From Discover, Quantum Leap: The future of super-fast computing appears on the horizon. Many, especially historians, complain that e-mail is too ethereal and that communication is being lost to future generations. Now, the British Library is trying to do something about it. Down with Internet democracy: Why you don't want anonymous volunteers powering your search engine. A look at how you can understand the Internet. Would you like to see one of the landmarks you must pass on the road to Gootopia? Visit google.com/history. And Robert McHenry on how there is a limit to the amount of sheer noise we have to endure or learn to avoid
[Weekend] Kevin Anthony Stoda (GUST): A Federalist Peace Theory, 1946-1992. From Vive le Canada, an article on Charles Taylor and the Hegelian Eden Tree: Canadian Philosophy and Compradorism. From Ghana's The Statesman, Kwame Anthony Appiah is our postmodern Socrates. He asks what it means to be African and African-American, but his answers immediately raise issues that encompass us all. From Think Tank, is social science the God that failed? An interview with Seymour Martin Lipset and James Q. Wilson (1998). The introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan Caplan. From LRB, Judith Butler reviews Hannah Arendt: The Jewish Writings, and more from The Jerusalem Post. How odd of God: A review of Jews and Gentiles by Milton Himmelfarb. A review of David Mamet's The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews. He mocks the cultural elite and defends George Bush - at 77, Tom Wolfe is as contrary as ever. From Lacan.com, Slavoj Zizek on Blows Against the Empire? Stephen Moss runs into Slavoj Zizek: The philosopher's moan. A review of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes. Michael Caine is God: An article on the planned adaptation of Norwegian novelist Jostein Gaarder's international bestseller Sophie's World. Swanning about: Tim Radford on how metaphors are dangerous, especially when you don't think about what they mean. The Truth in Progress: It would be a mistake to abandon the idea of progress because history does not follow a linear path to social harmony or because most progress—though certainly not all—has an embarrassingly Western origin. A review of The Meaning of Life by Terry Eagleton. A review of E. O. Wilson's The Creation: A Meeting of Science and Religion and Owen Gingerich's God’s Universe. God in the Details: For a quarter-century Roy Abraham Varghese has been assembling God proofs. Along the way he won over the world's most influential atheist. The concept of heaven remains attractive, opines Matthew Engel. Hell is altogether less marketable these days. A review of Sacred Bull, Holy Cow: A Cultural Study of Civilization's Most Important Animal. Yeti crabs and vampire squids: A review of The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss. Vets reject claims by a British animal welfare charity that giving dogs drugs to treat behavioural problems will create a population of "pill-popping pets". From Cracked, here's A Beginner's Guide to Narcotics. A tiny molecule that promotes plant growth may hold the key to a family of new drugs for a whole range of illnesses in humans. Move over Wheaties, there's a new breakfast of champions: Cigars and coffee are the ideal combo. The duel life: Fencing's violent origins have evolved into a popular pastime. From Radar, a photo tour of restricted spaces: Do Not Enter. Asymmetry and the next-gen umbrella: Designers finally reinvent the all-too-collapsible device. And the lightning bolt of embarrassment can leave you flushed, frozen and the memory can linger for years. But what makes it such a powerful emotion?
[May 4] From TNR, a review of Inventing Human Rights: A History by Lynn Avery Hunt. A review of Another Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Sovereignty, and Democratic Iterations by Seyla Benhabib et al. Infantile liberalism: Russell Jacoby reviews Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber. Form Harvard Magazine, an article on The Global Empire of Niall Ferguson: Doing history on a sweeping scale. From The Nation, as Congress considers reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, Linda Darling-Hammond leads a forum of experts who examine the law, its consequences and prospects for improvement. Free to choose, and learn: New research shows that parental choice raises standards—including for those who stay in public schools. NEST+m, an allegory: The quest to make the perfect public school, which cost one high-profile principal her job and made the Lower East Side the unlikely home to a bastion of privilege. From The Economist, winning by degrees: Europe's universities are the reluctant and unlikely pioneers of public-sector competition. Six Degrees of Honorary Degrees: A look at how many degrees separate George W. Bush from some of the world's unsavory leaders. Eric Rauchway on schoolyard killers, presidential assassins, and the science of stopping them. On Philip Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect: Think you’re above doing evil? Think again. Cal State Long beach would seem to be the last place to find a tried and true anti-Semite and white supremacist lecturing, but it's where Kevin B. MacDonald, "Marx of the anti-Semites" has a teaching post. The Chutzpah Industry: Alan Dershowitz is at it again, campaigning to deny tenure to DePaul's Norman Finkelstein. From Nextbook, "The Molecule's Defiance", a previously unpublished story by Primo Levi. Orhan Pamuk resumes German book tour after death threats. An interview with Colum McCann, author of Zoli, on the Romany people, the perils of writing novels tied to history, and more. A review of To the Castle and Back by Vaclav Havel. Should authors conform to type? Once they've found their niche, most authors are content to plough the same furrow. And why not? It worked for Austen. From Slate, a review of In Darwin's Origin of Species: A Biography, by Janet Browne. An article on humans, bacteria and the extended genotype: An ambitious project that promises to extend humanity's view of itself. Scientists identify gene that boosts lifespan and quality of life. Diabetes undermines male fertility: Sugar and sperm don't mix. Human spoken language may have evolved from a currency of hand and arm gestures, not simply through improvements in the basic vocalisations made by primates. The evolution of language: Evidence that the first words were movements, not sounds. Russian speakers get the blues: The language you speak can affect how you see the world, a new study of colour perception indicates. Research suggests humans break down events into smaller units. And scientists find clues to the formation of Fibonacci spirals in nature
[May 3] Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder (UC-Davis): Is Nozick Kicking Rawls's Ass? Intellectual Property and Social Justice. From Glänta, performance, staging, and technology in the court of law: Increasingly sophisticated technology for reproducing sound and images is altering the traditional theatrical element of the courtroom. Is it possible to imagine a court, guided by justice and law, taking into account the new "politics of representation"? French theorist Jacques-Alain Miller and North American historian William J. Turkel respond very differently to the digital age. Scott McLemee reports. A review of The New Hegelians: Politics and Philosophy in the Hegelian School. An article on Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor. From Edge, Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman on why the gods are not winning. A review on God, The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J Stenger. From Skeptic, a look at how science will never explain everything: That is why it is so useful! Robert McHenry on anti-scientism: Which side are you on? A review of The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. From Psychology Today, Gut Almighty: Intuition really does come from the gut. It's also a kind of matching game based on experience. There are times when trusting your gut is the smartest move—and times you'd better think twice. Shankar Vedantam on Robert L. Trivers, seeing and disbelieving. From Newsweek, the Joy of Economics: Politicians are looking to the dismal science for ways to make us happier—but is the well-being state a bad idea? Noam Scheiber on how Freakonomics author Steve Levitt takes his criticism personally. The national pastime helps explain the “dismal science”: A review of The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed. From Great Britain, the fight over funding is about much more than the Olympics. It's arts v sport: the showdown. Chess goes to school: How, and why, the game caught on among young Americans. Matters of faith find a new prominence on campus: Across the country chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember. Cash-starved and hopelessly out of date, Bulgaria’s universities need reconstructive surgery. The government is starting with a nip and tuck. China’s Values Vacuum: Artists and intellectuals search for meaning in a society devoid of values. Want to know how culture develops, or where humour and the arts spring from? Ask a group of robots. Ian Stewart on what his book Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry is really about. Are book reviewers out of print? All across the country, newspapers are cutting book sections or running more reprints of reviews from wire services or larger papers. From The Scholar and Feminist Online, a special issue on Blogging Feminism: (Web)sites of Resistance. An article on GodTube, where the rightwing Christians surf. And from Harper's, an article on "The Mormons" and Johann Gottfried Herder
[May 2] From ReadySteadyBook, an interview with Mark Sinclair, author of Heidegger, Aristotle and the Work of Art: Poeisis in Being. A review of The Act of Being: The Philosophy of Revelation in Mulla Sadra. From The Chronicle, school shooters are problem solvers, trying to convert their reputations as losers into something more glamorous. Being attuned to that might help thwart such attacks. As tenure drama comes down to the wire, Dershowitz v. Finkelstein: Who's right and who's wrong? For twenty-eight years, Marilee Jones excelled as admissions dean at MIT, until she was fired for falsifying her academic creds. But what good is a college degree, anyway? A review of David Horowitz's Indoctrination U: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom. A review of The Decline of the Secular University by C. John Sommerville. From HNN, what’s wrong with the New Conservative History? Donald T. Critchlow investigates. What's the difference between Wikipedia and Conservapedia? Neoliberalising the Cultural Institution: While talk of precariousness is rife in cultural and political forums, "progressive" institutions do not always practice what they preach. Anthony Davies looks behind the scenes of "radical reformism". The Stalins of sound: The end of communism in the old Soviet Union, far from liberating artists, was a disaster for free expression. A handful of established and well-connected performers seized control of the arts. Art and terror: A review of Falling Man by Don DeLillo. A review of The Power of Art by Simon Schama. Form Seed, an article on Truth and Science: A (1842-Word) consideration. A review of The Price of Truth: How Money Affects the Norms of Science. A review of Mathematics and Common Sense: A Case of Creative Tension. From The Chronicle, John Horgan on a unified theory of Einstein's life. More on I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter. How soon till we can get to the Goldilocks planet? Don’t cash in your frequent flier miles yet. It’s a mad old world: A review of Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea. Simon Singh reviews An Ocean of Air: a Natural History of the Atmosphere by Gabrielle Walker. From Scientific American, strange but true: Whale waste is extremely valuable. Maybe you don’t have a problem with really hairy arms, but then again, you’re not the father of a Wookie. From Metapsychology Book Reviews, a review of Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking. A review of Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner and Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential To Transform Ourselves. Thinking about why we think about thinking: Don't ask philosophers to talk shop, warns Jonathan Wolff. Are you book-clubbable? Far from providing easy access to literature, book clubs are about as exclusive as they come. Internet threatens dictionary sales: Rise of online resources sees reference book sales fall. From USA Today, an article on things that changed the Internet over the last 25 years. And here are the latest Webby Awards nominees & winners
[May 1] A review of The Atheist Manifesto: the case against Christianity, Judaism and Islam by Michael Onfray. Gullibility fuels faith: A review of Against All Gods by AC Grayling. A marxist preaches the gospel of love: Kenan Malik reviews The Meaning of Life by Terry Eagleton. A review of The Enlightenment & the Book by Richard B Sher. A review of Russell Jacoby's Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age. A review of Politics Without Sovereignty: A Critique of Contemporary International Relations. A review of The Pursuit of Glory: Europe, 1648-1815 by Tim Blanning. From Japan Focus, history wars: Revisionist academics and best selling authors fuel a revival of nationalism that is poisoning Japan’s relations with neighboring nations. The power of No: In The Power of a Positive No, William Ury argues that the secret to a better nation is to learn the creative power of rejection. From Jewcy, an article on The Enlightenment Industry: Failing to find inner peace in India. The thorny path to enlightenment: Buddhists bringing ancient faith to US at odds over role of martial arts in Shaolin, former allies deeply divided on physical, spiritual aspects of the misunderstood culture. The Power of Wishful Thinking: Can you fantasize your way to a book contract, a perfect husband, and a 26-inch waist? A New Mythology: An article on ancient astronauts, lost civilizations and the New Age paradigm. A review of A Brief History of Ancient Astrology ( Brief Histories of the Ancient World). From Inside Higher Ed, balancing fundamental tensions: Daniel H. Weiss considers some of the key questions facing liberal arts colleges — and all of higher education. Immigrants among blacks at colleges raises diversity questions. How'd you do in school today? With Edline Online, the report card goes 24/7 and every test is an open book. From Spiked, American editor and author of a book on McCarthyism Sam Tanenhaus proves to be a prickly interviewee. From Sign and Sight, a writer in the cold war: Richard Wagner pleads for a fresh look at the novels of right-wing Romanian writer Vintila Horia, who died in 1992 in literary disgrace. In the territory: A review of Ralph Ellison. Why we love a real-life story: A review of Biography: A Brief History by Nigel Hamilton. All signs that we live in the golden age of the newspaper obituary: The maharajah who permitted garlic, the bouncing diva and the teenage groupie who kissed John Gielgud's knob. US poet laureate Donald Hall's desire to help others understand poetry motivates him to speak around the country. From Asia Times, Spengler on why you pretend to like modern art. Michael Dirda on the man who did more for the arts in America than anyone else. Picture and a thousand words: In our rush to raze Modernist structures, we're condemning more than just bricks and mortar to the dust heap. One museum's solution to the problem of crowds: Ever seen the Mona Lisa? Now for the graphic details. The curtain is about to come down on theatres that misquote reviewers on billboards or in other advertising, thanks to an EU directive which will outlaw misleading publicity. And Revenge of the Dark Knight: Hard-edged comics guru Frank Miller is hot in Hollywood