Economist, April 13 The cover story proposes sending an international armed force to take charge of security in the West Bank. The world powers would then map out borders for a Palestinian state and impose a final settlement themselves. … An article claims that gun enthusiasm is spreading from the heartland onto traditionally liberal turf. Groups like the homosexual Pink Pistols and the female Second Amendment Sisters view guns as a means of empowerment. … A survey of television's future says technology companies want to transform the boob tube into an all-purpose multimedia device, but consumers don't yearn for anything more than to be well entertained. ... Another piece maintains that television today isn't all drivel. Most prime-time shows are actually quite clever and creative. Three reason for the upswing in quality: pressure from HBO, the increased size of the domestic market, and "a shift in the kudos attached to television drama."— J.F.
New Republic, April 22 The cover piece heralds the "post-mammography era." Instead of spending millions of dollars hoping someday to prove that mammograms save lives, medical research should focus on new technologies that can predict which tumors require treatment and which should be left alone. … A piece explains how, post-Sept.-11, the Justice Department stretched the material-witness statute to keep more than two dozen immigrants in jail without charges. So far, the media haven't made a fuss—a silence that may come back to haunt us if the feds decide to start locking up U.S. citizens, too. … "TRB"says that Israel's "war on terrorism" is different from America's. The difference is not moral, but strategic: You can't crush a war of national liberation in the same way you can crush al-Qaida. "In the end, if a government's response to terror doesn't stop future terror, the moral clarity it provides is cold comfort indeed."—K.T.
New York Times Magazine, April 14
The cover story describes refugees who risk their lives to stow away on trains going through the Chunnel. The refugees, Kosovars in the 1990s and now largely Afghans and Iraqis, gather in a camp near the Chunnel's entrance in northern France and try, night after night if necessary, to jump aboard the high-speed trains. With Britain becoming a harsher place for asylum-seekers, is the dangerous trip even worth it? … A piece describes how the government enlisted Silicon Valley to take away your privacy: In the future, government agencies will put all their information about you into a single database, the way credit card companies do to detect fraud. The techies are forging ahead, leaving privacy issues to the politicians, while the politicians are keeping their hands out of it because they don't understand the technology.—K.T.
Newsweek, April 15 The cover story about last week's supermarket suicide bombing in Jerusalem profiles the bomber and the victim, both seemingly normal teen-age girls. Ayat Akhras, engaged to be married this summer, was recruited for her deadly mission out of her mosque or school. Rachel Levy never took much interest in politics. … A piece reports that the case against John Walker Lindh is so weak that he could serve less than 10 years in jail. The so-called confession the FBI got violates the Miranda rule (he was denied his lawyer), and there is evidence that Lindh wanted out of the Taliban after he heard about Sept. 11. … A profile of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhart Jr., whose famous father died in a crash on the track last year, portrays him as talented yet too brash to live up to his father. The best quote: "If my f—ing car wasn't such a piece of s—t, I'd be kicking their f—ing a—s because I'm so much better than these sons of b—s."— J.D.
U.S. News & World Report, April 15 Best graduate schools issue. … The usual suspects. Out of 12 total categories, Stanford makes the Top 5 10 times. Harvard makes the Top 3 seven times. MIT barely edges out Caltech in the science categories (it's ranked higher in four out of seven), and Berkeley has the advantage among public schools, with Michigan and UCLA close behind. Yale still leads in the law category. Carnegie Mellon runs the best computer-science program. … A piece reports on the halting progress of the anthrax investigation. FBI investigators have less than a gram's worth of powder evidence, and so far 5,000 interviews have yielded no leads. They think the perpetrator is an older white man familiar with the Trenton, N.J., area and motivated by some kind of anti-government sentiment. He may also have been trying to alert government to its susceptibility to attack or to profit off investments in biodefense industries.— J.D.
Time, April 15
The cover story argues that professional women often find themselves accidentally childless because they think they can easily get pregnant after 40. About 20 percent of women 40-44 have no children, but for women with graduate or professional degrees the figure is nearly 50 percent. Infertility activists want women to plan their lives around child-bearing in their late 20s or early 30s, but feminists argue that such thinking creates a false choice between family and career. … An article about President Bush's slow response to Israeli-Palestinian violence argues that the complexity of the situation has already forced the administration to eschew the relatively simple "Bush Doctrine"—that there are good guys and bad guys, and the United States sides with the good guys. Bush tried to stay out of the diplomatic tangle entirely, but as it became clear that escalating war threatened to throw the entire Middle East into turmoil, even hard-liners like Vice President Dick Cheney opted for peace efforts.— J.D.
The New Yorker, April 15 A David Remnick "Talk of the Town" piece about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict says that "history has seldom conjured two leaders less fit for their historical moments than Arafat and Sharon." The solution: serious American intervention.... Calvin Trillin reviews Shopsin's, a Greenwich Village restaurant with 900 menu items. The proprietors, Ken and Eve Shopsin, curse a lot, try not to let customers copy orders from their dining companions, and often close if a suit comes in the door. They traditionally eschew publicity, but they let Trillin do the piece because an investor bought the property and raised the rent, and now Shopsin's is looking for new digs.... A Jeffrey Toobin profile of Attorney General John Ashcroft locates him on the right fringe of mainstream politics and suggests that he could be President Bush's choice for VP if Dick Cheney decides not to run in 2004. He has turned the Justice Department into a political agency, not just a legal one, and he is straightforward about the role religion plays in his public life. He has been able to silence senators who might challenge his anti-terrorist regime by hinting that opposition to his harsh policies amounts to disloyalty.— J.D.
The Nation, April 22 The cover story describes how the tiny African nation of Equatorial Guinea went from corrupt laughingstock to corrupt American ally when 500 million barrels of oil were discovered there several years ago. In 1994, a government official threatened the life of the U.S. ambassador, leading to the closure of the American Embassy. Now, thanks to lobbying by the oil industry, President Bush has reopened the embassy and declared the repugnant dictatorship fit for business. … George McGovern chimes in with his thoughts on the war on terrorism. He calls for diplomatic engagement with rogue states and says that half of the $48 billion Bush wants to add to the defense budget should instead be devoted to improving life in developing nations.— J.F.
Weekly Standard, April 15 A piece calls "bourgeoisophobia" the "major reactionary creed of our age." Yasser Arafat, the anti-globalization left, and multiculti anti-colonialists are all bourgeoisophobes. They belong to a long intellectual tradition that is perpetually bugged by the political, economic, and social success of Americans and Jews, who they view as vulgar, spiritually inferior materialists. … An article tries to explain why Israel and the West have given Yasser Arafat so many second chances over the course of his career. By appealing to international law and human rights, Arafat plays to the Western conscience, forcing the West to question its own actions. Of course, it's "an utterly brazen ploy coming from a terrorist."… Fred Barnes writes that "President Bush only looks like he's operating by the seat of his pants in Middle East policy. Actually he has a three-pronged strategy." He's buying the Israelis time to root out terrorists while distancing himself from Sharon so that he can continue to build Arab support for Saddam's ouster.— J.F.