Microsoft, Heal Thyself!

Microsoft, Heal Thyself!

Microsoft, Heal Thyself!

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
April 7 2000 9:30 PM

Microsoft, Heal Thyself!

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Economist, April 14

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The cover editorial argues that Microsoft should restructure itself. If Bill Gates were to break his own baby up, he would stimulate competition and preserve Microsoft's ability to innovate while avoiding "the terrifying legal lottery he seems to have chosen." The cover story deplores the overpatenting of intellectual property such as business methods. New economy companies strategically patent to boost their share prices and to intimidate competitors. Legislative changes are needed to stem abuses of the system. A survey claims China is committed to market reforms. In the past two decades, China welcomed foreign capital and disbanded communes. To sustain its economic growth, China must make its agricultural and industrial sectors more productive.

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New Republic, April 17 and 24

Former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz clobbers the International Monetary Fund in an explosive cover story. The fund is too secretive and too insulated from accountability. Its cookie-cutter approach to international lending exacerbated the East Asian financial crisis. The U.S. Treasury Department is partially to blame for Russia's calamitous transition to a market economy; it "laid the groundwork for the oligarchs' plundering." An article argues that the Clinton administration has emptied the Democratic Leadership Council's ideological arsenal. Clintonites reformed welfare, downsized government, clamped down on crime, and made fiscal conservatism Democratic orthodoxy. The public now wants fairer trade and a government fix for the health-insurance crisis.

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Fortune, June 12

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The Fortune 500 issue. General Motors tops the ranks for the 37th time. No. 337, AOL, is the first consumer e-company to make the list. Runner-up Wal-Mart, whose profits jumped 20 percent in 1999, threatens to overtake GM next year.

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Brill's Content, May 2000

The cover story attributes the failure of CBS's Early Show to viewers' dislike of host Bryant Gumbel. The program lost audience share when Gumbel joined, and critics believe he is too abrasive to host a morning show. An article reports that George W. Bush sucks up to the media in the "no-quote zone" of his campaign plane. Reporters are so disarmed by Bush that they write friendly pieces about his scripted stump remarks. A piece slams New York Times Magazine entertainment reporter Lynn Hirschberg for going soft on her famous friends and shamelessly lying about herself. Hirschberg claims she attended Harvard, although she didn't; she boasts that she is a Berkeley alumna, but she isn't. The 42-year-old just celebrated her 40th birthday.

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Vanity Fair, May 2000

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The cover profile depicts Kim Basinger as a latter-day Marilyn Monroe. Her husband, Alec Baldwin, confesses that she is disturbingly mercurial. She wakes up in the middle of the night weeping about the fate of Albanian refugees and her failure to find her inner self. Duchess Sarah Ferguson poses in a blazer and fishnet stockings. In a Q and A she portrays herself a "natural mother" and calls Prince Philip—the queen's husband—a "poor man." An article investigates the marriage of Pakistan's "Camelot Couple," cricketer Imran Khan and former English socialite Jemima Khan. Imran wants to be Pakistan's next prime minister, but Jemima can't stand curry or Lahore.

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New York Times Magazine, April 9

A special issue on the suburbs challenges the cliché of bland suburban homogeneity. A cover story celebrates the "horizontal city." Suburbs are no longer solely bedroom communities. They have the same stores as the city, enjoy the "city's jangly diversity," and suffer urban problems such as housing shortages. …  A superb essay about the cross-fertilization of the 'burbs and television notes, "The very architecture of the suburban home seems predicated on the existence of television: what else are those rec rooms, dens and family rooms for?" Martha Stewart pens an explanation of why she is moving out of Westport, Conn. Although she appreciates "the astonishing career that [her] style of suburban living encouraged," Stewart misses both urban attractions and small-town amenities, such as stock boys who carry your groceries to the station wagon.

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Time, April 10

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The future of science is the subject of the third installment in Time's five-part Vision 21 series. It reveals that we won't clone dinosaurs but will eventually get hit by an asteroid. The good news: Scientists are developing asteroid early warning systems. The magazine prints three grisly postcards of lynching victims from an Emory University exhibition. Such lynching postcards were incredibly popular during the first few decades of the 20th century, though the U.S. postmaster banned them from the mails in 1908. The "expressions of carnal complicity" fixed on faces in the crowd are as haunting as the images of the victims. A piece reports that cronies of Al Gore's appointed to the Tennessee Valley Authority governing board awarded other Gore supporters six-figure consulting contracts.

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Newsweek, April 10

The cover package says that once Human Genome Project scientists map the genetic code, "babies will be designed before conception," and employers will genetically screen job applicants. A piece reports that South Korean troops committed atrocities during the Vietnam War. Scholars believe that Korean soldiers, who were fighting on the U.S. side at Lyndon Johnson's behest, killed 8,000 Vietnamese civilians in dozens of massacres.

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U.S. News & World Report, April 10

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The annual ranking of  " America's Best Graduate Schools" serves few surprises: Harvard is the top medical school and ties Stanford in the business-school rankings. Yale is the best law school with Stanford edging Harvard for second. An article reports that Christian conservatives are sending their kids on "creation safaris." To prove that evolution is a myth, safari leaders unearth fossils that they claim were buried during Noah's flood. A piece pities Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, whose ex-wife is running for Peru's Congress under the banner of an opposition party.

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The New Yorker, April 10

An article laments the state of the debate on genetically modified food. "Frankenfood" such as Vitamin A-enhanced rice has the potential to help millions of the world's poor. But Greenpeace and other radical reactionaries are crippling the development of modified edibles by demonizing the companies that bioengineer crops. A profile chronicles the exploits of the deposed king of the "Russian Mafiya," Ludwig Fainberg. Until the feds busted him, Fainberg—a k a "Tarzan"—ran a Miami crime empire that included pimping, drug dealing, and stealing Soviet subs. Great neologism: Police refer to Russian mobsters as "Redfellas."

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Weekly Standard, April 10

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An editorial lauds Al Gore for breaking with the Clinton administration on the Elián González case. A congressional bill granting Elián residency would remove the case from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and place it in family court where it belongs.

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The Nation, April 17

The cover story predicts that American politics will undergo "progressive realignment." There is too much peace and prosperity to stimulate political upheaval in the short term, but the presidential primary season clearly demonstrated "a pervasive if still diffuse demand for major reforms that the existing order cannot and will not deliver." An article argues that the November elections will determine whether the FDA can regulate nicotine. If Al Gore is elected, he'll police big tobacco. If George W. Bush wins, he'll stall efforts to reduce smoking.

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National Review, April 17

The cover story celebrates the pleasures of the gun. There "are few fellowship opportunities to match that of a dormitory-room firing range," and "there is no better way to teach a child that he is trusted than to present him with his own gun." A piece disputes the statistic that 13 kids per day are killed by gunfire in the United States. Only 2.6 "actual children"—kids 14 and under—are shot to death. An article ridicules Monica Lewinsky's reincarnation as a handbag designer. Tourists and other celebrity bottom-feeders recently lined up to meet Lewinsky at a Henri Bendel promotional event.

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People and US, April 10

Oscar festivities in both weekly celebrity mags. Both publish dozens of pages of red-carpet pics, with People capturing South Park's male co-creators dressed in knockoffs of Gwyneth Paltrow's pink Oscar frock and of Jennifer Lopez dressed in hardly anything. US attempts to explain away Angelina Jolie's weirdly physical affection for her brother as an outgrowth of their parents' divorce.