Death and Texas  

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

Death and Texas  

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New Republic, Feb. 21

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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, iVillage.com, and Bridget Jones's Diary are "intellect-numbing" outgrowths of "virulent cultural separatism."

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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.

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