What's new in SI, Time, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
March 8 2002 1:46 PM

Evidence Tampering?

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated, March 4 Tim Layden's piece says Jayson Williams, who is already facing manslaughter charges, may have tampered with evidence. On Feb. 14, Williams allegedly shot and killed his limo driver, Costas Christofi, with a shotgun. Minutes after the shooting, Williams' brother called 911 and claimed Christofi had committed suicide. According to witnesses, Williams and another man then placed Christofi's palm print and fingerprints on the shotgun. Witnesses also say Williams trashed his blood-drenched clothes before police arrived. Charles Barkley posed for the cover photo in slave dress. Inside, he sounds off: "Sports are a detriment to blacks, not a positive." "Women should be home taking care of babies." "Almost all those politicians took money from Enron, and there they are holding hearings. That's like O.J. Simpson getting in the Rae Carruth jury pool."—B.C.

Worth

Worth, March 2002 The magazine profiles the richest people in America's 100 biggest cities. Ninety-three-year-old J.R. Simplot of Boise, Idaho, supplies more than half of all french fries served at McDonald's and drives a Cadillac with a MR SPUD glamour plate. Michael Kittredge of Springfield, Mass., calls himself "the Ralph Lauren of scented candles." David McDonald of Fresno, Calif., chartered five jets and an F-16 escort to bring New York City police and fire fighters to Fresno County for a weekend-long celebration. Washington's richest men are the candy magnate Mars brothers. An article says ultra-wideband technology is about to change the world. UWB works by sending short electrical pulses through the air as radio waves. Because it can carry huge amounts of data securely, UWB is poised to revolutionize telephones, televsion, and the Internet.— J.F.

New Republic

New Republic, March 18 The cover piece demolishes Bias, former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg's "memoir-cum-exposé" about the liberal bias of TV news. Sure, the news is biased—just not in the way Goldberg thinks. Goldberg cites a snide 1996 segment on Steve Forbes' flat tax. Here the bias wasn't against the GOP but against a candidate whose own party didn't support him: "[B]eing evenhanded usually means treating respectfully the reigning view in each party. And while this ethos does represent a kind of bias, it's not exactly a liberal one." A piece says there's nothing wrong with Democrats raising questions about the war, but they must find constructive and consistent things to say about it. With the economy recovering, Democrats are left searching for a message, and they lack the organized PR machine the White House has. In the end, Dems need to do more "than just asserting their right to assert themselves."—K.T.

Economist

Economist, March 9 A piece says there are three schools of thought about involving Europe in America's Saddam-toppling plans. The Condoleezza Rice school fears that an Iraq adventure will distract NATO from its most important goal: expansion. Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's defense policy board, thinks Europe will be just a dead weight slowing down any war. The State Department's "NATO-niks" believe America shouldn't overlook Europe's common interest in deposing Saddam. An article claims the central military lesson learned from Afghanistan is about the important "synergy between new, expensive gadgetry and cheap kit." Inexpensive drones and men on horseback were just as central to America's success as smart bombs were. An article slams Bush for his "disgraceful" steel-tariff plan. "It is so wrong it makes other kinds of wealth-destroying intervention feel inadequate." A better and cheaper policy than trade protectionism is increased assistance for those workers laid off by failing companies.— J.F.

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New York Times Magazine, March 10
The cover story explains why we won't see major reforms in American military technology anytime soon. Proponents of the so-called "Revolution in Military Affairs" thought Sept. 11 would boost their cause, but instead successes in Afghanistan have made a makeover at the Pentagon less likely than ever. A piece profiles Jaffar Umar Thalib, the leader of a Muslim paramilitary group in Indonesia. No one can agree on how big a threat Jaffar is: Is he the next Osama Bin Laden or just a guy enjoying a lot of post-Sept. 11 celebrity? A piece looks at Coca-Cola. With carbonated soft drinks losing popularity worldwide. Coke has diversified into water, juice, sports drinks, even milk. It's doing well, but not for the reason you'd think: Coke's biggest asset is its global delivery system, which can get a product from factory to checkout counter in seven days.—K.T.

Wired, March 2002
The cover piece says that while most fantasies about artificial intelligence haven't played out—robots don't vacuum our floors, for example—A.I. is at work in lots of places, like directing airport traffic, even helping doctors make diagnoses. Some of the best A.I.: computer games with characters with distinct personalities and unpredictable behavior. A piece explains why the Los Alamos National Laboratory worries about how to train a new generation of nuclear scientists. The United States hasn't conducted tests or manufactured warheads in a decade, so older designers have to find creative ways of passing on their expertise, with everything from elaborate computer simulations to old-fashioned mentoring. "It's a story-telling culture. One person knows something and tells it to someone else," one Los Alamos official said. A piece profiles Michael Powell, the head of the Federal Communications Commission who wants to scrap many of FCC rules, including caps that limit how big media companies can get.K.T.

Time
Newsweek
U.S. News & World Report

Time, March 11 The cover story chides U.S. intelligence for not changing enough since Sept. 11. Spies still focus on high-tech gadgets, not the key dirty work on the ground. The relevant agencies don't share information, and some of the post-attack momentum for new security regulations is waning. Says one counterterrorism expert: The next attack is "going to be worse, and a lot of people are going to die." An article heralds America's "new health-care crisis." Insurance costs rose 11 percent last year and will rise another 15 percent this year, and recession-plagued employers are cutting back on health coverage. Mississippi's Medicaid program went broke last week, but so far, Washington hasn't even broached the topic. A piece applauds Robin Williams' comeback. After a decade of playing insufferably inspirational characters, he's doing stand-up again, and he plays unsavory characters in three upcoming movies. He researched one role by watching videos of Jeffrey Dahmer testimony.— J.D. Newsweek, March 11 The cover story calls schizophrenia "the worst affliction a sentient, conscious being can suffer." Schizophrenics—there are 2.5 million in the United States—cannot differentiate between what is real and their hallucinations, which range from the seemingly pleasant (about dolphins, for instance) to the deadly (satanic instructions to murder children). There is a treatment but no cure. A piece predicts that Saudi Arabian Prince Abdullah's offer to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement won't work, but it's still the best and only chance. Saudi Arabia needs a PR jolt, Yasser Arafat wants to be taken seriously again, and Ariel Sharon has to buoy his sinking popularity. Forget about Napster. An article says the reason the record industry lost $600 million last year is that its music stinks. Nobody watched the Grammys last week, but it marked the height of revolt against commercial pop garbage. The virtually unpromoted O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack won Best Album of the Year.— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, March 11 The cover story envisions the brave new world of pet cloning. Now that scientists have cloned a cat, companies such as PerPETuate and Genetic Savings and Clone are attracting waves of clients, mostly mutt owners whose dear departed seem especially irreplaceable. Another possibility on the horizon: designer pets such as allergen-free cats or vicious attack monkeys. A piece says the university killed the intellectual. Contrarian thinkers used to congregate in cities and write for a general audience, but today's academics are spread out and so specialized that nobody knows or cares what they're talking about. An article weighs the future of National Public Radio. Its mission commands that programming be determined by quality, not revenue, but federal funding has slowed to a trickle, and member stations want to replace unpopular classical and jazz music shows with syndicated news programs.— J.D.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, March 11 A Seymour Hersh piece says that while the administration has its heart set on removing Saddam Hussein from power, nobody can agree on how to do it. Right-wingers want to advise and fund an existing rebel force, the Iraqi National Congress, but moderates consider the INC shaky at best and are pulling for a more organized plan. The United States needs more allies (so far only Great Britain seems a lock), and it worries about possible retaliatory biological weapons attacks on Israel.... An article points out that scientists know virtually nothing about the common cold. You don't get it from sneezers. You don't get it by kissing. You might get it from touching nose-wipers, but then again, you might not. Gross fact: A third of adults pick their noses at least once an hour.— J.D.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, March 11 The cover article argues that Vladimir Putin's warm and fuzzy gestures to the United States after Sept. 11 weren't really a departure from previous Russian foreign policy. Ever since the anti-Communist revolution, the country has been on a trajectory of reform and reconciliation with the West. The latest developments are the "fruit of a revolutionary decade" and mark a "point of no return" in Russia's gradual foreign policy reorientation. An article does a cost-benefit analysis of therapeutic cloning and finds the utilitarian scales tipping against the practice. Even if scientists can make therapeutic cloning work, treatment programs would require the harvesting of huge numbers of human eggs (up to 800 million just to treat America's diabetic population). Precious research dollars would be better spent investigating more feasible treatment routes.— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, March 18 The cover story accuses the Oklahoma state government of stonewalling on reparation payments to the survivors of Tulsa's 1921 race riot. Last year a state commission recommended that Oklahoma compensate the riot's 130 living survivors for their suffering. But the state has continued to deny culpability for the riot and has instead decided to simply establish a memorial and scholarship fund in the poor North Tulsa neighborhood where 300 blacks were killed and 10,000 were left homeless. A comprehensive article finds several problems with the war on terrorism's Philippine front. First, there's the fact that U.S. troop deployments violate the Philippine Constitution. Then there's the question of whether the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is still connected to al-Qaida (some evidence suggests otherwise). And even if U.S. forces are able to decimate Abu Sayyaf, the appalling living conditions which make Filipino Muslims turn to terrorism will still persist.— J.F.

Jeremy Derfner is a former Slate editorial assistant.

In addition to being the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura, Joshua Foer is the author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which grew out of a story he wrote for Slate.

Kate Taylor is the arts reporter at the New York Sun and the editor of an anthology of essays about anorexia, Going Hungry, which will be published next spring.

Bryan Curtis is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow him on Twitter.

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