Baby, It's Kohl Outside 

Baby, It's Kohl Outside 

Baby, It's Kohl Outside 

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Jan. 21 2000 9:30 PM

Baby, It's Kohl Outside 

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New Republic, Jan. 31

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The cover story applauds John McCain's ideological apostasy. McCain opposes GOP orthodoxy on campaign-finance reform and tax cuts. Unlike George W. Bush, McCain preaches fiscal conservatism, advocates universal health insurance, and refuses to divert public school funds to private voucher programs. His candidacy has started a healthy debate within Republican ranks. An article blasts the latest campaign-finance abuses. Although Bill Bradley accepted the single biggest bundle ($209,500 from Goldman Sachs), Bush is "the undisputed bundling king." (Slate's " Ballot Box" explains why bundling corrodes democracy.) A piece mocks the anti-campaign McCain is waging in Iowa. To lower expectations for the upcoming caucus, his representatives deny they are even organizing supporters.

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Economist, Jan. 22

The cover editorial argues that the level of debt in Japan and the United States leaves the world's two biggest economies vulnerable to economic crises. America's Fed should raise interest rates to discourage further borrowing. The cover story warns that the next debt crisis is likely to occur in Japan or the United States. Japan's stimulus packages have widened the government's debt to 128 percent of GDP. Inordinate government borrowing discourages private investment. Last year, America's private-sector debt was 103 percent of personal income. Soaring private debt will "amplify any economic downturn." An article condemns former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl for harboring secret party bank accounts and refusing to divulge the names of donors. Corrupt party financing "strikes at the heart of democracy." Kohl's misdeeds have earned him the name "Don Kohleone."

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Rolling Stone, Feb. 3

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The cover story reveals that David Crosby fathered the two kids of Melissa Etheridge and her partner Julie Cypher. Crosby gave his sperm to Etheridge and her longtime girlfriend because he wanted to encourage lesbian parenting. Crosby comments, "I think everyone will understand, except maybe the Christian Coalition."  

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New York Times Magazine, Jan. 23

The cover story chronicles Al Gore's remedial education in politics. The early incompetence of the Gore campaign forced the candidate to eschew his ambivalence about politicking and come "to terms with his outer politician." Gore's political performances often "reek of the greasepaint he rightly scorns," but there are signs "that he can make a style of substance." An article champions former Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler's decision to speak out against the paper's current management. Chandler's protest against the crude commercialization of the Times has made him "a latter-day hero to many newspaper journalists." (Slate's " Chatterbox" criticizes the Chandler cult.) A piece ridicules "fauxhemians"--rich folks who dress up conspicuous consumption "in the artfully tattered guise of the downscale and democratic." Example: the new VW Beetle. (Slate's " Culturebox" laments the decline of genuine American bohemians.)  

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Harper's, February 2000

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An excerpt of Oval Office recordings captures Richard Nixon's most hateful ravings. On Chicanos: "They're dishonest, but … [t]hey don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like." On Catholicism: Popes "were layin' the nuns; that's been goin' on for years, centuries." A George W. Bush cover story argues that Bush's record of crony capitalism is a poor omen for his presidency. Despite "catastrophic losses," Bush's oil company was repeatedly bailed out by businessmen who hoped to profit from his influence. By hiking his share in the Texas Rangers from 1.8 percent to 12 percent, the governor's cronies helped him realize a 2,400 percent return on his investment. Bush appointees used their state power to benefit GOP donors.

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The New Yorker, Jan. 24

An article dismisses the myth that Osama Bin Laden is the root of all terrorism. He is the money man for a wide array of militant Islamic groups, but the United States falsely credits his followers with the murder of American soldiers in Somalia and an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A profile admires the moxie of runaway slave Moctar Teyeb. Driven by a thirst for education, Teyeb escaped his Mauritanian masters, earned a law degree in Libya, and moved to the United States. Now he lectures Americans about the dilemma of modern-day slaves. A piece by a doctor explores the second-opinion dilemma, describing the case of a patient whose two doctors disagreed on whether he needed a bone-marrow transplant. Medicine is "educated guesswork." When physicians disagree, wounded egos get in the way of good doctoring, and the patient is forced to choose between conflicting opinions. In this case, the author, who was the second doctor, overrode the original physician, advised against surgery, and saved the patient's life.

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Time and Newsweek, Jan 24

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The America Online-Time Warner merger takes both covers. Everyone agrees the deal will let AOL exploit Time Warner's content and Time Warner exploit AOL's Internet expertise. Time's cover story compares its parent, Time Warner, to "a dinosaur lurching its way through a world that would soon belong to swifter creatures" and questions how well the company will mesh with "the deal-a-minute, scream-until-you-win culture of AOL." According to Newsweek's cover story, AOL "might have been prepared earlier last year to make a hostile bid for Time Warner." AOL also "targeted several other media companies," including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. In a Time interview, AOL CEO Steve Case dodges a question about whether he considered other ways to get into cable. A Newsweek profile hails Case as a visionary. He realized almost 20 years ago that cable would evolve into an information highway. (Read Slate's " Assessment" of Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin and Slate's " Moneybox" on whether AOL overpaid.)

A Time piece says that George W. Bush has improved his campaign by loosening up in debates and narrowing his focus to two issues: tax cuts and education.

A Newsweek article exposes the money machine that amassed George W.'s $67 million campaign war chest. A small network of wealthy businessmen, designated the "Pioneers" by the Bush campaign, bundle $1,000 donations into $100,000 packages. The Pioneers include the heads of 24 trade associations. The campaign keeps score of who is raising the most bundles. One Pioneer reflects: "It's sort of like an Amway deal."

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U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 24

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The AOL-Time Warner cover story says that the merger will bring consumers access to high-speed Internet connections sooner. An article marvels at the latest boomer pastime: Cowboy Action Shooting. Twenty-five thousand devotees dress in authentic cowboy attire and shoot live ammunition from 19th-century-styled guns.

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Weekly Standard, Jan. 24

A piece examines the difference between the GOP front-runners' fiscal philosophies. George W. Bush's tax plan is "traditional supply-side" fare that appeals to the GOP base. John McCain "leans on fiscal austerity arguments that have not worked well with Republican voters in the past." An article reveals why Steve Forbes waited so long to air attack ads. Bush envoys issued warnings that negative ads would backfire, begged Forbes not to attack, and dangled the suggestion that Forbes could become the treasury secretary in a Bush administration. A piece argues that the contest between Bill Bradley and Al Gore could last until the convention. Bradley has the money to compete, hates Gore, and isn't likely to heed calls for party unity. The Democratic dust-up will deplete the party's resources and benefit the GOP nominee.

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The Nation, Jan. 31

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An article applauds gay kids for coming out earlier, initiating gay-straight alliances, and suing schools that refuse to protect them from classmate abuse. Unfortunately, the GOP is opposing state bills to protect gay kids from violence. An editorial calls for a national debate on whether "global oversight" is necessary to ensure that "hydra-headed media creations" don't marginalize independent voices in the marketplace of ideas. (Slate's " Press Box" provides reasons to be optimistic about media agglomeration.)

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Business Week, Jan. 24

The cover story claims the AOL Time Warner conglomerate will encourage other mergers between New Economy and Old Economy giants. In a special report ranking corporate boards, General Electric comes out on top, and Disney is ranked worst. GE provides great shareholder returns, involves its board in management decisions, and voted to cut board salaries. Disney's board is packed with Michael Eisner's cronies, and its stock is underperforming. A piece forecasts that the Internet will empower shareholder activists. The Web allows small investors to organize collective action against corporate malfeasance.

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Vanity Fair, February 2000

An article examines whether a serial killer in southern France is butchering beautiful women in imitation of Salvador Dalí's erotic art. Three women disappeared near Perpignan train station, the spot that Dalí identified as the center of the universe in his autobiography. Two of the women were sliced up in ways that strongly recall the artist's paintings of disfigured women. One naked torso was headless and handless, as in The Specter of Sex Appeal. The cover story regretfully reports that Warren Beatty's "undeclared nonrun at the presidency is winding down." Beatty feels that his flirtation with running helped nudge Democrats to the left. Wife Annette Bening comments on Hillary Clinton: "She always appears to be doing what's politically expedient in the most transparent way."

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Wired, February 2000

The first-person cover story describes one man's effort to incorporate computer technology into his own body. For nine days, Kevin Warwick was a walking cyborg: Computers, communicating via radio wave with a silicon chip implanted in his arm, opened doors in his path and welcomed the professor to his cybernetics workshop. Warwick envisions a future in which the "human brain is connected as a node to a machine." In his next experiment, Warwick will connect his central nervous system to a computer. An article applauds omnipresent, irreverent dot-com advertising. About 15 online companies will pay up to four times their annual revenues to advertise during the Super Bowl. In e-campus ads, students belch the alphabet and fry their goldfish. The tasteless ad rush is necessary to grab attention for startups.

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Travel & Leisure Golf, February 2000

The cover story honors George W. Bush's contributions to golf and praises the political wisdom of his appeals to the nation's 25 million golfers. The governor's "Remember the Alamo" speech to the 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team inspired the players' come-from-behind victory. Bush's great-grandfather founded the Walker Cup. His granddad was president of the U.S. Golf Association. Most important, the candidate doesn't take mulligans—unlike President Bill Clinton.