Death and Texas  

Death and Texas  

Death and Texas  

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Feb. 11 2000 9:30 PM

Death and Texas  


New Republic, Feb. 21


A cover story claims that John McCain's reform rhetoric cloaks his avoidance of clear policy positions. "Straight-shootin' McCain" evades specifics to attract independents who might disagree with him on substance. Another cover story predicts that Bush's Southern firewall might crumble. Bush's "scorched-earth" strategy of attacking and push-polling could backfire. His assaults help McCain's reformer image, and South Carolina's traditional conservative coalition is evaporating. An article attacks Texas' unjust administration of the death penalty: Defendants receive poor counsel, and clemency procedures are perfunctory. Bush killed bills to improve the quality of public defense and ban the execution of the mentally impaired.


Economist, Feb. 17

A cover story applauds the emergence of Europe's Third Way. France, Germany, Italy, and Britain are finally deregulating. The British are reforming welfare, and the French are—gasp—considering tax cuts. An article argues that Northern Ireland's new peace can survive a short suspension of the province's assembly, but unless the IRA disarms soon republicans and loyalists will resort to violence. A piece offers scientific proof that music soothes the savage soul. Studies show that fast-paced tunes make people happy, and brain scans demonstrate that music affects the limbic system, the mind's "emotional core."


Vanity Fair, March 2000


A piece about the Hillsdale College scandal concludes that Lissa Roche killed herself to expose her 19-year affair with her father-in-law, George Roche III, the president of the conservative college. The Ayn Rand-obsessed Lissa was a lifelong dramatist. Her lover's decision to work things out with his second wife triggered her decision to commit suicide on the campus. The cover profile of Madonna and Rupert Everett fawns over "Hollywood's favorite noncouple." Although both swing both ways, neither considers having kids with the other.


New York Times Magazine, Feb. 13

The cover story chronicles how one Jew survived the Third Reich thanks to German help. A string of Berliners sheltered Konrad Latte: A chaplain provided false identification papers, a prominent pianist acted as his music tutor, and a fellow musician warned him of a raid. Moral: Not all World War II-era Germans were de facto Gestapo, some were heroes. A piece praises the independence of potential first lady Ernestine Schlant Bradley. Her scholarly achievements prove "that marriage to a politician need not mean marriage to politics." An essay wallops the purveyors of reactionary "women's culture." Oxygen Media,, and Bridget Jones's Diary are "intellect-numbing" outgrowths of "virulent cultural separatism."


Time and Newsweek, Feb. 14


Similar flattering cover packages on John McCain. Newsweek attributes "McCain's Big Mo" to his skip-Iowa strategy, his "nothing-to-lose attitude," and his "knack for appearing far less calculating than he really is." A Newsweek profile claims that despite the adoration of the press, McCain is vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy. He premises his campaign on character and campaign-finance reform while pandering on the Confederate flag and accepting aid from lobbyists.

A Time analysis reminds readers that McCain is a "pro-life, pro-gun, antitax, antiregulation" conservative. He supports reduced funding for environmental cleanups and increased logging on public land and opposes the assault-weapons ban and minimum-wage increases. Time cruelly rips George W. Bush in comparison with McCain: "One runs on candor and fumes; the other hides in a motorcade." Bush strategists are depending on pro-life, anti-tax, and pro-tobacco groups to bloody McCain with negative ads. Both mags note that Bush stumbled by staging a rally at a university that bars interracial dating and by advertising the endorsement of Dan Quayle.

A Newsweek excerpt  of Inventing Al Gore bashes the veep as "an insider from birth" and claims he was a regular pot smoker in his 20s.

A Time article warns about the approaching solar maximum, the period of solar hyperactivity that disturbs the Earth's magnetic field every 11 years. Stormy space weather could disrupt terrestrial life by disabling satellites.


U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 14

More McCain hagiography. The cover story casts McCain as a potentially "transformational figure" who could uproot "Bush and his Establishment team." An article reveals the evolutionary roots of depression. Our closest ancestors, apes and monkeys, withdraw from social situations to avoid threats to their life. Repeated trauma triggers depression in humans because we are genetically hard-wired to shrink from stress. A piece finds that collection agencies are thriving because of the "relentless rise in consumer debt." The industry reaps more than $10 billion a year, and revenues are rising 10 percent annually.


The New Yorker, Feb. 14

An article investigates the health risks of space exploration. "[R]ocket science will be the easy part" of a three-year trip to Mars NASA plans for 2020. The absence of gravity causes nausea, dehydration, muscle atrophy, circulatory problems, and cell deterioration, among other unpleasantness. Exposure to cosmic rays could increase a Mars-bound astronaut's risk of cancer by 40 percent. A narrative piece follows detective Andy Rosenzweig's struggle to capture his friend's killer, 30 years after the murder occurred. Rosenzweig followed a cold trail to a quiet California community and shook the 70-year-old suspect out of hiding. The man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison. An item compares John McCain to Ross Perot. Both "burst the orthodoxies of the two prevailing parties" and captured "the public imagination" with their plain-spoken campaigns.


Weekly Standard, Feb. 14

The cover story credits the success of the "McCain Insurrection" to the candidate's personal appeal and his opponent's strategic missteps. John McCain's biography and unorthodox campaign style will attract independents to the GOP. George W. Bush "defaulted to the most ineffectual GOP establishment tactics," including relying on endorsements. An analysis argues that Bush must "turn to the Walter Mondale model" to repel McCain's challenge. He should admit campaign missteps and present himself as a humble challenger.


The Nation, Feb. 21

John McCain's New Hampshire win proves the strength of a reformist platform and puts George W. Bush "in deep doo-doo," according to an editorial. The cover story cheers medical insurrectionists, physicians and HMO whistle-blowers who disobey the dictates of managed care. A radical doctors' group dumped HMO literature into the Boston Harbor.