New York Times Magazine, Jan. 30
The cover story anticipates how biotechnology might revolutionize aging. Embryonic stem cells, which contain "the genetic blueprint and biological know-how" to produce any organ, are being engineered to "serve as a warehouse of spare human parts" that could be transplanted into the sick and elderly. The feds have banned stem-cell research because of ethical concerns, but research continues in the private sector, unguided by public debate. … An essay applauds the blurring of strict boundaries between church and state. Declining confidence in government has made Americans more comfortable with using religion to promote social welfare. Potential danger: "Religious supremacists" such as George W. Bush and Chief Justice William Rehnquist support an "openly religious public sphere" that could corrupt both church and state.
Economist, Feb. 4
The cover editorial decries the demonization of multinational corporations. Big multinationals pay higher local wages and create jobs faster. The "corporate morality" of multinationals "is a great deal better than that of the average government." Global companies "set guidelines for dealing with environmental safety and sexual harassment in countries where no such words exist." … An article warns against overdependence on nongovernmental organizations, which disburse more aid than the World Bank. Subject to no oversight, they issue prejudiced reports and force-feed western values.
New Republic, Feb. 7
An article argues that George W. Bush has moved too far to the right. His opposition to campaign-finance reform and support for supply-side tax cuts are out of sync with the nation's mood. Voters don't want to change Clinton's policies, they simply want a president with better character. John McCain is campaigning on that "winning formula." … The cover story notes that New Hampshire is not as anti-tax as it used to be. Discontent with state services has persuaded many Granite State residents "that bigger government may not only be necessary—it may even be worth paying for."
Time, Jan. 31
The cover piece regurgitates the conventional wisdom on the presidential candidates. Bill Bradley is running on a "goodness platform," George W. Bush "believes Republicans were put on earth to cut taxes," etc. … An article argues that Bradley has crippled his campaign by spending too much money and time in Iowa. … An article on the hyped-to-the-hilt launch of Oxygen notes the obstacles to the women's cable channel's success. Despite the promise of an Oprah Winfrey show, a yoga program, and Web tie-ins, the channel will debut in only 10 million homes and faces a powerful competitor in Lifetime.
Newsweek, Jan. 31
The cover story says that vitamin E, estrogen, and anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Pharmaceutical companies are also rushing to develop medications that will stall the disease by slowing the brain plaque formation that causes Alzheimer's. … In an essay, Maureen Reagan reveals that Ronald Reagan is losing his motor skills and can no longer put his thoughts into words. … A profile describes how Israeli-American Lyor Cohen became "the most powerful executive in hip-hop." Clever street-marketing techniques and "all-out advocacy of his artists" earned him the loyalty of superstar rappers such as Jay-Z and Foxy Brown.
U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 31
The cover story predicts that hell will survive, despite its downsizing. Pope John Paul II envisions hell as a state of perpetual angst rather than as a fiery pit. Most Americans agree that the netherworld is merely "an anguished state of existence." … A piece argues that prosperity and nationwide effervescence have "softened the political culture." Both parties are advocating a blend of tax cuts and social investment.
The New Yorker, Jan. 31
A profile portrays George W. Bush as a man driven by the desire to avenge his father and to best the intellectual elite who bugged him in college. Bush is the last of the silver-spooners, born to privilege before meritocracy ended easy access to elite universities and golden-ring jobs. "He'll come to the presidency with a lighter résumé than anybody has in at least a hundred years." … An article weighs David Hockney's ingenious theory that Ingres and Caravaggio used refracting technology to trace the outlines of their subjects. Hockney argues that the assured lines in Ingres' sketches are optical evidence that his work was "lens-assisted." There is no known documentary evidence to support Hockney's claim.
Business Week, Jan. 31
The cover story describes how Europe is cultivating its high-tech economy. Ireland is the world's second-largest software exporter, Barcelona is a center for e-startups, and Strasbourg is sprouting biotech firms. Monetary union and relaxed fiscal policy are sparking the boom. … An article applauds a new commercial artificial-vision system. For about $50,000, the blind can have a circuit board inserted in their brains that will stimulate the visual cortex and produce grainy black-and-white images out of optical data captured through a tiny camera. The product could make the blind more independent.
Weekly Standard, Jan. 31
The cover story calls for renewed dedication to planetary exploration. The Mars Polar Lander disaster threatens to cripple NASA's space exploration program, which has struggled since the "national psychic letdown that followed the moon landings." Colonizing other worlds would be "the ultimate adventure."
The Nation, Feb. 7
An editorial advocates the redistribution of political power through a $100-$200 campaign-contribution tax credit. (Today, contributions to political campaigns are not tax-deductible.) A tax credit would increase public confidence in government by enabling ordinary Americans to participate in the political process. … The cover story blames public apathy on the professionalization of politics. Polling has whittled politics into a science, and money has monstrously deflated the importance of grassroots support.