What's new in Economist, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
May 31 2002 12:17 PM

India vs. Pakistan: On the Brink

Economist

Economist, June 1 The cover article offers a guide to rapprochement in South Asia. India has to offer up concessions on Kashmir—perhaps as little as opening talks on the region—and Pakistan has to rein in Islamic militants. Easier said than done, of course. Pakistan may not even have the power to crack down on militant groups. An article says that despite Bush's grating provincial sensibilities, his recent trip to Europe marked a potentially significant revitalization of trans-Atlantic ties. Though Bush's visit may have resuscitated NATO, a great deal of ambivalence still persists on both sides of the Atlantic about the alliance's role in future military missions. A series of articles surveys the state of international soccer just in time for the World Cup. One piece explains how soccer often gets tied up with nationalistic politics. Another article says Latin American soccer is in chaos. There's rampant corruption, teams are bankrupt, and the best players leave for Europe.— J.F.

New Republic

New Republic, June 10 The cover story lists the many ways White House press secretary Ari Fleischer skirts questions he doesn't like: the outright lie—virtuosic, but can't be used too often—and the diversion into tedious descriptions of process. But Fleischer's favorite weapon is a complex, ever-shifting set of rules determining which questions he can (and can't) answer. He twists the most concrete question into a hypothetical one, the simplest question of fact into an esoteric calculation. A piece explains why Palestinians think the pressure from United States and Israel to democratize the Palestinian Authority is hypocritical. Israel actually encouraged the repression it's now condemning, and the United States pushed for the military-style tribunals where Hamas militants could be convicted without evidence or due process. The editorial rebukes the military officers who leaked their reservations about invading Iraq to reporters. The president should fire some of his generals, because "timidity is one thing; insubordination is another."— K.T.

New York Times Magazine
Newsweek
Time
U.S. News & World Report

New York Times Magazine, June 2
The cover piece explains why a mystery rash that afflicted schoolchildren across the country last winter left parents hysterical and health officials puzzled. Parents worried about bioterrorism, pesticides, even old textbooks. Health experts had a different idea—that the rash was psychogenic, a product of anxiety—but kept it to themselves since nothing makes parents madder than telling them the sickness is all in their kids' heads. A piece wonders about the future of Hugo Chávez, who over three days in April was deposed, then reinstated as president of Venezuela. The elite hates Chávez because he tells poor Venezuelans that the rich hold resources that are rightfully theirs. The poor are disappointed that the promised social revolution hasn't come. But after April's chaos, who in Venezuela will risk another coup?—K.T. Newsweek, June 3
The cover story, which sends a reporter to her high-school alma mater to write about how teen-age girls have changed in the past 10 years, takes an improbably idealistic view of the modern high school. The cheerleaders are still vapid blondes willing to have sex, but they don't rule the school anymore. A new type of "gamma girl" cares about schoolwork and extracurriculars, hangs out with her parents, goes to church, eschews the brutally cliquish social scene, and yet somehow manages to avoid the dreaded "loser" label. A piece on the Kashmir conflict says that while neither India nor Pakistan really knows what nukes the other has or what might inspire a launch, India appears willing to gamble that conventional weapons attacks won't bring nuclear reprisals. An article describes a new fad among gay men and ravers: combining drugs such as crystal meth or ecstasy, which can inhibit erections, and Viagra. The practice has led to an explosion of unprotected sex.— J.D. Time, June 3 The cover story claims that Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley's memo blasting her superiors for obstructing her office's terror investigation last summer will finally force the intelligence community to face its immense failure. Rowley thinks that careerist paper-pushers at headquarters thwarted Minneapolis' frantic attempts to investigate so-called 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui, which may have headed off the attacks. Time calls Rowley "a patriot" who can "help steer the country back toward the truth." A good article explains how the Catholic Church protects itself from massive judgments in sexual abuse cases. Each diocese is separate, so Milwaukee doesn't have to pay for Chicago's scandals. Moreover, each diocese's assets are both secret and owned by countless mini-corporations, so a profitable church-affiliated beach resort, if plaintiff lawyers even know it exists, doesn't have to contribute to settlements pertaining to abuse in, say, the local Catholic high school.— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, June 3 The cover story debunks two myths about retirement. First, it's not boring, and the overwhelming majority of people like it as much as or better than working life. Second, you don't need $1 million to be happy. The key: preparing both financially and psychologically. Retirees can retain their standard of living on substantially less than their pre-retirement income. A piece describes the new approach to physical education. Instead of facilitating a jock culture in which the popular kids pummel the fat ones in games of dodge ball, the modern gym class, with an eye toward the obesity epidemic, seeks to create fitness awareness. Most schools, however, are cutting down on PE in favor of activities that look better on college applications. An article reports that while scientists have genetically engineered a mosquito incapable of transmitting malaria, many experts are worried about the unintended consequences of releasing such anti-pest pests into the ecosystem.— J.D.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, June 3 A Seymour Hersh article argues that the Sept. 11 hijackers weren't as expert and well-organized as we thought. They probably didn't know who would be taking which planes until just before the operation, and they often traveled together, a no-no for a disciplined terrorist cell. Truth is, they weren't so much good as our security apparatus was bad. Hersh lays most of the blame on the secretive corporate culture of the FBI.... A Tony Curtis profile marvels at the 77-year-old's childlike enthusiasm for his fame. Curtis, who is appearing in a stage revival of Some Like It Hot, has juicy things to say about everybody. On Sinatra: "He was very set in his thinking. Very angry. Where it came from I'm not sure." On Marilyn Monroe: "I had a brief, sweet affair with Marilyn. … It was sweet and innocent, you know?"— J.D.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, June 3 The cover story says State Department efforts to give America a PR makeover in the Muslim world may be driving home the wrong message. America is trying to convince the world that this country loves Muslims, but the State Department is relying on at least one group that sharply criticizes the United States, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, to spread its pro-America propaganda. A piece urges us not to overlook the contributions of our friends to north. In April, four Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by American friendly fire, but the American people barely shed a tear and the American media couldn't even spare a few editorials grateful of Canadian efforts. "This is unacceptable," writes the author. "We are at war. Self-absorption is not an option."— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, June 10 An article celebrates the Nobel Prize-winning former chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz has been the most prominent economist to offer a serious intellectual critique of globalization as we know it. He has blasted the IMF for its indifference to the poor and called for reform—but not abolition—of global monetary institutions. But he's not a radical; he's just a level-headed liberal who questions orthodoxy. A piece claims that pressure from Jewish groups has created a climate of fear among journalists covering the Middle East. Newspapers choose to overlook the role played by the immensely powerful pro-Israel lobby in shaping foreign policy and vigilantly guard against showing any pro-Palestinian bias lest they be besieged by protests and boycotts.— 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.

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