Broadway Bound

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Aug. 31 2001 8:30 PM

Broadway Bound

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New Republic, Sept. 10
The cover story makes the conservative case against racial profiling. Conservatives argue that racial profiling, while a clear invasion of privacy, is essential to effective law enforcement. But it isn't. Racial profiling creates an unnecessary rift between the police and the communities they serve, and, according to one study, it doesn't even make cops more effective at stopping crime. An article suggests that the White House wouldn't mind a recession. The Bushies think such a slump will shift the nation's attention away from the budget—where Bush is catching heat for endangering the Social Security surplus—and toward the economy. Moreover, the economic gloom could neutralize two powerful Democratic planks: the Social Security lockbox and debt reduction.— B.C.

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Economist, Sept. 1 The cover editorial argues that Russia, "a country that is too large and well-armed to be overlooked, but all too prickly and unpredictable to be counted on," has the opportunity to have global respect again. If Vladimir Putin negotiates in good faith with the United States about missile defense and takes a less hostile view to NATO membership for Soviet republics, Russia will be able to call itself a legitimate world player again.... A piece explores the explosion of planned communities. One in six Americans lives in one, accepting pesky rules about what color they can paint their houses and how big their dogs can be in return for security and a sense of community. One planned community caters to gun enthusiasts, another to rappers. Why the craze? Because Americans are Utopians at heart and believe they can create their own paradises, and because they hate government with a fervor.—J.D.

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New York Times Magazine, Sept. 2 The cover story glimpses at the grueling schedule of Nathan Lane, star of Broadway's The Producers. Eight performances per week. Ravenous autograph seekers. House crowds that can be oversexed one night and catatonic the next. By the end of its first year, the show will earn Lane more than $2.5 million, but the stress has already cost him 20 pounds. Says Lane, "It is, as we say, like being trapped in a hit." A piece profiles Jonathan Franzen, author of the upcoming novel The Corrections. In 1996, Franzen, then an obscure novelist, published an essay in Harper's declaring himself a peer of Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon—i.e., the writer who could revive the "big socially engaged novel." According to the author, he's done so by creating what those authors leave out: engaging, memorable characters.— B.C.

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Time, Sept. 3
The cover story profiles women's tennis, which easily surpasses the men's game in popularity. The Williams sisters' aloofness, Martina Hingis' hostility, and Monica Seles' and Jennifer Capriati's resilience make it a sport of great personalities and lots of talent.... A package documents the re-emergence of Los Angeles gangs. There were only 136 gang murders in 1999, but last year, the figure ballooned to 331. Why? Because gang lords imprisoned in the late 1980s are back on the streets, and because the scandal-plagued LAPD has been cowed into using less aggressive tactics.... An article on the fight between Democrats and Republicans over who's to blame for the shrinking surplus. Dems say: The Bush tax cut did it. GOPers say: Democratic spending is the culprit, and the tax cut rescued the economy from total ruin. Meanwhile, both parties want to dip into the Social Security surplus, but they know the first to do so will get spun as anti-senior citizen.— J.D.

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Newsweek, Sept. 3 The cover story reports that despite the hard-sell marketing behind new arthritis wonder drugs, the disease is as crippling as ever. Doctors still don't know exactly what causes it, and available treatments (pain relief or joint replacement) don't get at the root causes. Celebrex and Vioxx work no better than aspirin, but drug companies have made a fortune on them because the 21 million people who suffer from arthritis are desperate.... A piece calls the flurry of interviews Gary Condit gave last week "Clintonesque" and says they rekindled what had been a dying story.... In an interview with Newsweek, Condit said Connie Chung didn't allow him to properly express his sympathy for the Levy family in his TV interview. When asked if he had anything to apologize for, he said, "If I hurt … someone unintentionally or intentionally, I'm sorry, I apologize for that."— J.D.

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U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 3 The cover story introduces "positive psychology," a growing movement that believes people can teach themselves to be happy. Psychology today focuses on making people less sad. Although we all have biologically predetermined baselines of happiness, by appreciating the good things in life and accentuating the positive (even its practitioners admit that positive psychology borders on cheesy), we can live at the top of our happiness ranges.... An article reports that in the next few days Bill Daley will decide whether to run for governor of Illinois, which would be his first run for office. Voters worry that he would bring a Chicago-centric attitude to the job, especially since his brother is the city's mayor. But he could call on Bill Clinton and Al Gore, both former bosses, to campaign for him.— J.D.

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The New Yorker, Sept. 3 A profile of Michael Bloomberg's efforts to leverage the "power of positive thinking" (not to mention oodles of money) into a gig as NYC mayor. Bloomberg's platform, like the candidate himself, smacks of confidence and ambition. He insists his rosy talk is for real and refuses to place limitations on either the city or his campaign. Who told him cynicism-free politicking played well in the Big Apple? (Slate's David Greenberg assessed Bloomberg, the brand-name candidate, earlier this summer.) A writer who dabbles in "alternative eating" marvels at the contribution of chowhound.com. The site's faithful comb the side streets of New York looking for hidden deliciousness, particularly of the obscure and ethnic variety. Their findings are reported to Jim Leff, the man responsible for the site and the discoverer of the Arepa Lady on 79th and Roosevelt Avenue. (Leff wrote a "Diary" for Slate last year.)— D.N.

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Texas Monthly, September 2001 An article explains why President Bush has moved far to the right of Texas Gov. Bush. Back in Austin, Bush crafted an advisory team without a true "gatekeeper"—i.e., a dominant voice that drowned everyone else out. Joe Allbaugh, Bush's top enforcer and chief of staff, canceled out Karl Rove, his ruthlessly partisan political director. In Washington, however, Rove nabbed the White House job while Allbaugh was shuttled off to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Rove's newfound influence, the author suggests, may explain why Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., defected from the GOP: "If Allbaugh had been on the inside keeping an eye on Rove, wouldn't Jeffords still be a Republican?" The cover story tracks down Texas legends who fell off the radar screen. Fess Parker, television's Davy Crockett, runs a winery and is a GOP donor. Rap star Vanilla Ice is now a top draw in Odessa.—B.C.

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Weekly Standard, Sept. 3 An article says Jesse Helms will be missed because "politicians as firm in their beliefs and as willing to buck public opinion and the Washington culture don't appear very often." The piece sees Ronald Reagan's ascension in the party in the 1970s as a direct consequence of Helms' "unflinching devotion to Conservative principles." The lead editorial, like the cover story, has advice for Bush on Israel. It proclaims "Now is the time for the United States to stand unequivocally with Israel," not as a mediator but as an ally. The editors urge Bush to give Israel a green light to fight back. Among other things, he should immediately can the State Department line that shrugs off terrorist acts as part of a "cycle of violence."— D.N.

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