New Republic, Feb. 26 The cover story questions the widely accepted notion that faith-based social programs work better than secular initiatives. In fact, no good statistical research supports the conclusion, and what little data there is shows that the communal element of religious efforts, not spirituality itself, makes them effective. The danger of a growing reliance on faith-based charity is that Americans might come to see social work as the responsibility of churches instead of government.... A piece argues that many Republicans are glad President Bush backed off school vouchers: wealthy suburban parents who send their kids to good public schools, Christian conservatives who want the government far away from their parochial schools, and libertarian types who think the federal government should have nothing to do with education. They support President Bush's new idea, education tax credits, but credits will not help students in the very worst public schools.— J.D.
Economist, Feb. 17 The cover editorial defends the right of private companies to patent scientific discoveries. The profit motive spurs the private sector to develop new medicines and treatments much faster than government would. Activists who want drug prices decreased in poor countries should lobby wealthy governments to help out with foreign aid, because private companies need money to fund research and development. ... An editorial welcomes the end of the "business casual" vogue. One style consultant says suit sales bottomed out in the third quarter of last year but have rebounded sharply since then. "The suit is the perfect attire for economic hard times," because it suggests "seriousness of purpose" and represents a rejection of the dot-com flakiness that got the economy into this mess in the first place. ... An article worries about the uncertain future of the Yugoslavia. There are two governments in Belgrade, one for the shaky Yugoslav federation (headed by President Vojislav Kostunica) and one for Serbia (run by Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic). Kostunica does not want Milosevic tried by the United Nations, but if he isolates himself from the international community, he could ruin his chances to restructure Serbia's impossible debt.— J.D.
New York Times Magazine, Feb. 18 The very sad cover story describes how Dr. Matthew Lukwiya gave hope to a desolate region of Uganda until he contracted Ebola from a patient and died last December. Dr. Matthew, as he was known, was educated abroad but returned home to run a hospital. During an Ebola outbreak last fall, he acted fast to keep it from spreading and collected data that will help researchers understand the mysterious deadly fever. But during a crisis with a patient, he neglected to wear a protective mask and became the last person to die in the epidemic. ... A piece profiles the Buick Bengal, a concept car that could bolster General Motors' shaky hopes for a renaissance. Its sleek look, conceived by cutting-edge designers and targeted to 30-somethings instead of Buick's bread-and-butter geriatrics, has already won awards, but GM may never produce the Bengal because its tradition-minded engineers and accountants have yet to approve it.— J.D.
The New Yorker, Feb. 19 and 26
A profile of New York criminal defense lawyer Murray Richman wonders what it takes to defend the guilty for a living. Richman, a Bronx native who has represented members of all five crime families, says he does it because he believes in the Constitution, but he also identifies with criminals personally. He socializes with mobsters and has developed affection for the hip-hop crowd. According to Richman, they are just talented kids searching for a better life, just like he was in the 1960s as a law student. ... A piece explains how President Bush could radically alter the political landscape. He already has Democrats supporting a huge tax cut that they would have rejected just a year ago. And if he can partially privatize Social Security and Medicare, and possibly public education, he will simultaneously hijack bread-and-butter Democratic issues while decreasing middle-class dependence on government, which would tilt the policy playing field heavily in favor of Republicans. (Click here to read Slate's instant analysis of the long-awaited New Yorker Web site.)— J.D.
Weekly Standard, Feb. 19 The cover story predicts how the Ariel Sharon landslide changes Middle East politics. Barak, who continued to offer concessions even after Arafat revealed his unwillingness to negotiate, lowered the baseline for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and Clinton made it worse by publicly advocating a divided Jerusalem. Sharon will resume the deterrence strategy that dominated Israeli policy until the Oslo Accords in 1993: respond to violence with violence, and make peace a precondition for negotiations. Palestinians need to know that attacking Israel will worsen their predicament, not improve it. ... An article attributes President Bush's early success to what he learned as a business student at Harvard. While the media admired the pontificating styles of Clinton and Gore, they do not understand the skills that Bush brings to the White House: the ability to manipulate a bureaucracy by seeming at once on top of things and humble. Bush combines the best attributes of a CEO with a common touch that most businesspeople lack.— J.D.
Vanity Fair, March 2001 An article profiles Hugh Hefner, his seven girlfriends, and his re-entry into the limelight after a stroke and a failed marriage. Thanks to his new Viagra-powered freedom, Hefner is reviving the '70s in his mid-70s. What's different now? He still shares a bed with multiple women, but with these girls he has an "ongoing relationship." Keep telling yourselves that, girls. ... A piece follows up on what life is like for young dot-com CEOs after the Nasdaq crash. The dot-commers who saw the risky enterprises as their lottery tickets are disappointed—even surprised—that their endeavors didn't pay off. No more lavish parties for the poor techies and gone are the private planes and mansions. Instead of a free lunch, most are now choking down humble pie.—M.C.
Time, Feb. 19
Yet another cover story on human cloning says biotechies think the first human clone will be born within a few years, or even months. (In the last month, Wired and the New York Times Magazine both ran similar covers.) If that baby is defective, predicts author-professor Gregory Pence, "cloning will be banned for the next 100 years." ... A piece claims Clinton said that if anyone influenced Marc Rich's pardon, it was former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who also weighed in on convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard's pardon pleas. Investigators want to know if the $450,000 that Dem fund-raiser Beth Dozoretz raised from her ski buddy Denise Rich for the Clinton presidential library is connected to the pardon. ... A piece on oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge explains that drilling might only yield enough to keep the United States in oil for six months.— A.F.
Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 19 Both covers use Reagan (circa 1981) as a foil to explore obstacles facing President Bush's $1.6 trillion, 10-year tax-cut plan. U.S. News'posits that the plan's success is largely dependent on whether Americans feel they'll be getting enough back, no matter how much richer the rich become as a result. While Democrats prepare once again to stave off tax cuts, Hill vets say the real debate is how large the cuts should be. ... Newsweek's explains that the final Dem-GOP smackdown won't occur for months; further, Bush's cut wouldn't be fully effective for six years.
A piece in U.S. News alleges that the rate of new HIV infections might be increasing in the United States. One Bronx, N.Y., study suggests that safe sex behaviors adopted after a positive HIV diagnosis may not last. ... An article outlines Ariel Sharon's peace offer to the Palestinians, on the condition that the violence stops: economic aid, an easing of daily hardships, but no more land for now.
A Newsweek article reports the growing threat of Osama Bin Laden. U.S. intelligence officials say he's forging ties with radical Palestinian groups operating in Israel. Though the Bush administration hoped to curtail involvement in the Middle East and has yet to proffer a counterterrorism plan, Colin Powell, sure to take an un-Clintonesque approach, visits the region later this month. ... An article notes that of the 80 million singles in America who don't want to be alone on Valentine's Day, "the annual assault on their self-esteem," 5 million are choosing Web-based dating services to score date 1.0.—A.F.