New Republic, April 1 & 8 Painting isn't dead, but MoMA curator Robert Storr may wish he was when he reads this week's cover piece, which demolishes the museum's Gerhard Richter retrospective. Considered a saint by those who think painting's in a state of "perpetual crisis," to TNR's critic Richter is a "bullshit artist" and a "charlatan." The show is "one grim reminder that this museum that once led taste now only follows. … [MoMa] has not only lost its way but also lost its mind."… A piece explains what Jimmy Hoffa wants: for Bush to get rid of the Independent Review Board, established in 1992 to attack corruption inside the Teamsters union. Hoffa says the Teamsters have cleaned up. If only it were true. … An article says the Bush administration's control freaks have reached a high with this year's White House correspondents' dinner. Traditionally, reporters invite officials as their guests. This year invites have to go through senior aide Karen Hughes; she decides who goes, and with whom.—K.T.
Economist, March 22 The cover story dismisses the notion that democracy in the Arab world is a dangerous pipe dream. The real threat is that the current system of monarchism and dictatorships will continue to push opposition into the mosques, where fundamentalism flourishes. … A piece offers a convoluted new metaphor to explain the global distribution of power: a three-dimensional chess board. The top board represents military power, the middle represents economic power, and the bottom board is the realm of transnational relations. If the United States fails to notice the connections between all three boards, it can expect to be checkmated sooner or later. … An article says the democratization of luxury is both good news and bad news for brands like Gucci and Lexus. Middle-class suburban housewives, who are buying $500 handbags and wearing $400 shoes, have expanded the market for luxury items. But they're also eating into the profits of luxury-good manufacturers, who now cater to a fussier, more demanding clientele by constantly introducing new designs and investing heavily in advertisement.— J.F.
Sports Illustrated, March 25 The baseball preview issue. The magazine picks the New York Yankees, behind new first baseman Jason Giambi, to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. … The majors' worst team? Yep, it's still the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "By the end of the year we'll have one of the two lowest payrolls in baseball," their general manager says hopefully. … A piece by Jim Bouton says baseball's Locker Room Code of Silence applies only when big stars commit indiscretions. If it had been Derek Jeter who stole Ruben Rivera's glove and sold it to a memorabilia dealer, for example, no one would have heard anything about it. … Rick Reilly visits the New York City Fire Department's football team and finds it missing seven starters, 12 alums, and two coaches—all victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The team insists on playing its full schedule. "Talk about a rebuilding year," Reilly writes.—B.C.
New York Times Magazine, March 24
The cover story describes how homeless families in New York spend their days and nights: shuttling children and possessions among temporary shelters, waiting for the city to deem them eligible for transitional housing. The system is expensive—it costs much more to put families up in private hotels than in city housing—and the effects on homeless children are devastating. … A piece explains how Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz now wants to use the Starbucks message—nostalgia and a longing for community—to market his NBA team, the Seattle SuperSonics. … In a piece, the author returns to her family's plantation in Colombia and speculates about how the idyllic world she grew up in, as the granddaughter of a wealthy cattle rancher, gave birth to the war-torn Colombia of today.— K.T. Time, March 25
The cover story explains why the Bush administration finally scolded Israel about the ever-escalating intifada. Vice President Dick Cheney is touring the Middle East to drum up support for an American offensive against Saddam Hussein, but Arab nations insist on linking their support to U.S.-brokered peace in Israel. … A piece checks in on Al Gore, who's been making the rounds criticizing President Bush and seems to be leaning toward another run in 2004. Other possible candidates—Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, among others—have been spending more time than usual in New Hampshire. … An article reports on movie studios' brutal campaign for the Best Picture Oscar. Fox (Moulin Rouge) has been accused of leaking bad press about leading contenders, everybody's pointing out that Universal's A Beautiful Mind whitewashes some homosexual and anti-Semitic realities from John Nash's story and wonders why New Line isn't pushing The Lord of the Rings, the movie with the most Oscar nominations, more.— J.D. Newsweek, March 25 Just in time for Easter, the cover story resurrects Silicon Valley. The Panglossian take is that the tech-sector implosion was the best thing that ever happened. Now bad companies don't get funded, the good companies have a pool of talented engineers to choose from, and our expectations are realistic. Forget "idiotic Super Bowl commercials and billion-dollar ventures based on FedExing pet food." In the future everybody will be "making high-tech magic."… An article starts the bankruptcy watch on Arthur Andersen. Following the accounting firm's criminal indictment, more than 40 clients have said they will go elsewhere, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has guidelines for managing an Andersen collapse. … A piece coins the term "adultolescents" to describe twenty- and thirtysomethings who live with their parents. Full-grown kids are scared to enter the supercompetitive marketplace, and parents want to help them get ahead. And it's no longer cool to hate the old man.— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, March 25 The creampuff cover profile of Dick Cheney perpetuates the conventional wisdom: He is the most important vice president in 50 years and a great guy to boot. He cares deeply about policy and reads two or three history books a week, and though he's quite conservative, his daughter says he isn't close-minded. And he likes to fly fish. … An article poking fun at the convoluted tax code gives specific suggestions about how to change it. The problem: Every time government tries to make the rules fairer, they get more confusing. More than half of people pay somebody else to do the dirty job. … A piece argues that the tenure system for college professors is outdated, but it's not going away. As community colleges and online universities grow, tenure-track jobs are fewer and further between, and women who have children have a much harder time getting tenure.— J.D.
The New Yorker, March 25
A long piece reveals "the threat of Saddam" in three parts. First, it catalogs the still-under-publicized horrors of the late-1980s anti-Kurd campaign, when 50,000-200,000 Kurds were killed, many of them by chemical weapons. Second, it explores possible links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida through an Islamist terrorist group called al-Anfal. Third, it warns that Saddam has nearly realizable biological/chemical/nuclear designs on Israel and the West. An interesting insight: The unofficial but semi-autonomous state the Kurds have set up in the no-fly zone in Northern Iraq represents the kind of secular democracy the United States would like to see develop throughout the Middle East. ... A piece argues against the notion that in the modern workplace, computers are king. Sure, piles of paper look messy, but with portability and wide margins that invite note-taking, paper encourages an important kind of thinking: "What we see when we look at the piles on our desks is, in a sense, the contents of our brains."—J.D.
Weekly Standard, March 25 The cover story shadows Florida gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno as she sweeps across the state in her red pickup truck. It's a devastating portrait of the ungainly former AG who "often seems like an animatronic version of an actual person." Her campaign is a mess and she's ill at ease with the press, which sometimes turns out for events just to see whether she'll faint. … A piece calls for a new phase in U.S.-North Korea relations. The conciliatory policies of Bill Clinton and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung only bought North Korea time to strengthen its military and develop new missiles. Rather than attempt dialogue with Kim Jong-il, the U.S. should declare his corrupt regime illegitimate and cut off all financial subsidies. … An article tries to explain the strange verdict in the Andrea Yates case. It seems to have been arrived at through backward reasoning; the jury first decided it wanted Yates in prison, not in a psychiatric ward, then chose the verdict that would put her there.— J.F.