Conventional Defense

Conventional Defense

Conventional Defense

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
March 9 2001 8:30 PM

Conventional Defense

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New Republic, March 19
The cover story defends conventional wisdom, the broad agreement of elite Washington opinion. CW is pedestrian, banal, and (by definition) conventional. But it's usually right. CW illustrates that consensus is "the most effective means of uncovering and defining truth." (The piece doesn't attempt to unwrap the riddle it proposes: The current CW "in short, is that conventional wisdom is wrong," and the CW is almost always right. So is CW wrong or right?) An article condemns the media for propagating objective falsehoods about President Bush's tax cut. No matter how you slice the numbers, the richest Americans will pay a lower share of the total tax burden if Bush's tax cut is implemented. The editorial calls on the Democrats to dump Clinton fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe as chairman of the Democratic National Committee Andrew Sullivan's "TRB" argues for increasing estate taxes, not eliminating them.— C.S.

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New York Times Magazine, March 11
The cover story chronicles the rise of Claritin, the most profitable allergy medication of its kind. What's needed to turn a drug into cash cow? Savvy during the FDA approval process, guerrilla marketing, aggressive lobbying for patent extensions, and not a little luck—all of which the consumer picks up the hefty tab for. And spending the money pays off: Because of its landmark marketing campaign, Claritin now holds a monopoly on the market, even though there are more effective allergy meds, some available over the counter. A piece describes a new trend in alternative music—TV commercials. More often than on radio or MTV, indie bands are turning up as background in TV ads for well-known products and companies. Are they selling out? Fans may say yes, but bands are taking the lucrative bait.— M.C.

 

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The New Yorker, March 12

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A "Talk of the Town" piece argues that President Bush has mastered the Clintonian trick of adopting the rhetoric of his political enemies. But unlike Clinton, Bush triangulates to mask policies that boil down to old-fashioned greed. ... A long dispatch from the Sean "Puffy" Combs trial ruminates on the irony of the rapper's career: He tried to bring hip-hop into the mainstream by giving it a respectable face. Now, he finds himself in court for an inept nightclub standoff. A review of digital-age architecture argues that computers are not just a means to contemporary design but an end. Instead of dreaming up forms and using computers to help build them, "virtual architects" tinker with software until a form takes shape, and they often don't care whether it gets built.—M.B.

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Time, March 12

Time's cover package tackles the keep-it-or-scrap-it SAT controversy, claiming that educational testing companies—including the College Board—won't suffer if the SAT goes splat. The College Board has developed an SAT for eighth-graders, while SAT prep company The Princeton Review is marketing a Web-based prep tool for state tests. A first-person account  by the commander of the U.S. submarine Greeneville when it sank the Ehime Maru describes his promise to apologize in person to the victims' families. "If I have to get in a rowboat and row to Japan," says Scott Waddle, whose first language was Japanese, "that is what I will do." An article on a soon-to-be-released Federal Aviation Administration safety audit says controversy and strikes are threatening the nation's top airlines.—A.F.

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Newsweek, March 12

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The cover says the origins and destiny of mad-cow disease are a mystery. The prevailing theory maintains that it's caused by "prions"—protein molecules gone awry—which are impervious to cold, heat, carbolic acid, and chloroform. An article alleges that the White House is pressuring GOP investigators to quickly end investigations into Clinton's pardons because the scandal is upstaging President Bush. Denise Rich may soon gain immunity to tell her version of ex-husband Marc Rich's pardon. An article explains that the United States and its European allies aren't ready to openly support an independent Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian guerrillas—NATO's former allies—are still trying to make Kosovo an independent Albanian state and ethnically cleanse it of remaining Serbs, putting them in conflict with NATO peacekeepers.—A.F.

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U.S. News & World Report, March 12

The cover story focuses on the staggering challenges facing potential adoptive parents. Adoption spending hit $1.4 billion last year, with 18,000 Americans choosing to adopt internationally each year. On the way: a federal adoption accreditation authority and online database to check up on agencies. An article  describes President Bush's path to selling Congress on his tax-cut plan. The RNC e-mailed 1.5 million Republicans last week urging them to pressure their legislators, while the 29 GOP governors are also promoting the tax cuts. An article on the growing field of pollen forecasting warns America's 36 million seasonal allergy sufferers that pollen counts could triple in 50 years due to rising carbon dioxide levels. Global warming may be to blame for longer pollen production periods.—A.F.