Surfing the Space Web

Surfing the Space Web

Surfing the Space Web

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 12 1999 9:30 PM

Surfing the Space Web

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New Republic, Nov. 29

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A pair of cover stories on campaign staffers. One piece affectionately profiles Al Gore's campaign jester/press secretary, Chris Lehane. Lehane's greatest contribution to the campaign may be a sense of humor: His pranks include ordering a hotel to remove all furniture from a fellow staffer's room. Another cover article skewers George W. Bush's communications director, Karen Hughes, as too controlling. By tightly managing Bush's interactions with the press and public, Hughes "allows her candidate to peddle his backslapping bonhomie" without revealing his lack of "basic knowledge and experience." An editorial condemns the bombardment of Chechnya as "grudge genocide." The Russian offensive is "Milosevic-like," but the Clinton administration won't intervene because it "does not defend human rights in big countries."

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Economist, Nov. 13

The cover editorial advocates breaking Microsoft into two or three competing operating-system companies and an applications company, which would encourage innovation without harming interoperability. ... An article ridicules interplanetary plans for the Internet. A consortium including NASA is planning to create a separate Internet to ease communication among spacecraft. The first interplanetary Net-equipped craft won't launch till 2005. Spaceweb surfers would have to use domain names such as--no joke--www.slate.com.earth.sol.

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Brill's Content, December 1999

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The cover story questions whether the conglomeration of media outlets will corrupt journalism. Corporate honchos are "cultural strangers" to the news business. Michael Eisner, for example, believes that ABC should not cover Disney. Don't worry too much: The proliferation of news outlets ensures that media conglomerates will be covered aggressively. An article describes how presidential contenders kowtow to New Hampshire's press. The campaigns lavish Manchester's WMUR-TV with political ad buys and the Steve Forbes campaign calls weeks ahead to secure an interview with a 7,000-subscriber newspaper.

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The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 14

A special issue about what clothing reveals. A chronicle of one woman's flirtation with a personal shopper laments the decline of posse shopping. Teen-age girls shop in groups, but as women slip into middle age, shopping becomes a solo sport. Personal shoppers are a poor substitute for the communal pleasure of hunting down the perfect sweater with pals. ... An article heralds the increasing importance of the department-store buyer. As stores merge, buyers for titans such as Saks change the course of fashion by telling designers what sells and demanding practical adjustments to runway designs. The magazine solves some enduring fashion mysteries. Bob Guccione's open-necked shirts are a reaction to his buttoned-up, private-school youth. Mr. Rogers' mother loved to knit him sweaters.

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Time  and U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 15

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The newsweeklies agree that Microsoft is in big trouble. Time's cover story argues that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's findings of fact could not have been worse for Microsoft and could be used against Microsoft by competitors in private antitrust actions. U.S. News' cover says the proliferation of small computer devices and the ascendance of Web-based applications are eroding Microsoft's dominance. U.S. News notes that Microsoft is no longer just a software business. The company branched out into e-mail services, an online broadcasting tool, and a Web-based travel agency. (Read " Moneybox" for Slate's take on Jackson's findings.)

Time marvels at the growing popularity of polyamory, openly maintaining multiple loving relationships. Polyamorists maintain their own magazine, two annual conferences, and 250 support groups. Now the practice has its own martyrs: a "triple"--a woman and her two men--whose child was taken away because of their unusual living arrangement.

U.S. News applauds the new trend of " green hunting": Rather than killing animals with guns, hunters shoot big mammals with anesthetizing darts. Conservationists collect big licensing fees for dart safaris, and hunters don't feel guilty.

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Newsweek, Nov. 15

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The cover story argues that Bill Bradley and John McCain are "hawking this year's hottest commodity: the aura of authenticity." To sell his hero credentials, McCain aired a commercial filmed in Arlington National Cemetery, in violation of federal regulations forbidding partisan activities at the site. An article says that Bradley prepared for his campaign by pulling in $1.6 million a year on the lecture circuit and advising J.P. Morgan for $327,000 a year. An assessment of the Microsoft findings says Judge Jackson invariably cast Microsoft's action in the worst possible light, but the "compelling litany of misdeeds will be difficult to refute."

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The New Yorker, Nov. 15

An article claims that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr botched the Lewinsky case. Starr could have destroyed the president if he had gotten Lewinsky to cooperate immediately. But because he wanted to squeeze Lewinsky for more damning evidence, he revoked his office's offer of immunity after Lewinsky had signed it, enraging several of his own prosecutors. Lewinsky testified six months later, but by then anger toward the president had receded. An essay examines the shifting iconography of Joan of Arc. France's National Front now reveres Joan as a nativist heroine. Women embrace her as a feminist icon. Most appallingly indicative of its age, the forthcoming movie The Messenger depicts Joan as "a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder."

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National Review, Nov. 22

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The cover story claims that Al Gore is maniacally depressed. Earth in the Balance demonstrates that its author has a dangerously diseased mind. Gore's central claim--that the environment is at risk of being irrevocably despoiled--is merely a displacement of his personal despair. An article worries that conservatives are caving in to Clintonism. George W. Bush is repudiating the goal of limited government and embracing Bill Clinton's commitment to "government activism for the middle class." Antistatism is conservatism's central message and should not be abandoned.

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The Nation, Nov. 22

The cover story exposes the Pat Buchanan money machine. Pat's sister Bay uses direct mail to haul in millions for her brother's presidential runs. In between elections, she converts the campaign into a nonprofit so she can keep dunning the same list of donors. She routinely sells their mailing list to other direct-mail solicitors for as much as $360,000. An article praises the wisdom of the right. Conservative think tanks generously subsidize the work of authors like Dinesh D'Souza, who took home $483,023 from the American Enterprise Institute between 1992 and 1994. The right-wingers' largesse has tilted the ideological marketplace toward conservatives. Left-wing groups should start doling out similar subsidies to their allies.

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Weekly Standard, Nov. 15

A cover story argues that John McCain's temper is his best asset. McCain impresses voters with his passionate distaste for pork-barrel politics and wows reporters by answering every question with a fulmination on campaign finance reform. The candidate's tantrums crystallize his reputation as a straight-talking maverick, while relieving him of the need to take specific positions.