What's new in Time, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
June 14 2002 12:22 PM

A Trick Card

New Republic

New Republic, June 24 A piece says the new homeland security proposal reveals three things: Bush's abandonment of limited government, his penchant for centralizing power, and the growing influence of White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. Even though the proposal pushed up the president's approval ratings, inside the Beltway people are starting to think this administration is as politically shameless as the last one The TRB column asks why CIA Director George Tenet wasn't around to testify before the intelligence committees. What's Tenet doing in the Middle East when he should be preventing terrorist attacks? A piece argues that, while Europe can survive a Le Pen in France and a Haider in Austria, a German Haider would be another story. And that's looking more likely: Germany's economic decline has stirred anti-immigrant and anti-Europe resentment, and accusations of anti-Semitism actually boosted the ratings of one political party.—K.T.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, June 16 The cover piece explains why Americans who adopt Cambodian "orphans" might not be doing a good deed. Since December, the INS has blocked entry of such children because of evidence that many of them aren't orphans at all but were bought or stolen from their families. But some Americans waiting to adopt don't understand the fuss: The kids will have a better life here, why shouldn't their parents give them up? A piece wonders if New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's popular attack on Merrill Lynch is the first step in a campaign for governor in 2006. A transgenic farm in Canada injects spider genes into goat eggs, producing goats whose milk can be spun into incredibly strong spider-silk. The company hopes to tap into multi-million dollar fishing materials and industrial fibers markets and is also working with the Pentagon on a paper-thin bullet-proof vest.—K.T.

Time
U.S. News & World Report

Time, June 17
The cover story, an in-depth analysis of the process by which President Bush created the Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, points out weaknesses in his CEO-like approach to the job. He's squeamish about big reforms (of the CIA or FBI) or firing underperforming personnel. Worse, he's extremely secretive, a fault that kept the larger intelligence community from cooperating before Sept. 11. A piece explains Israel's acceptance, at long last, of proposals to build a fence along the "Green Line" to keep suicide bombers out. To hard-liners, the move demarcates boundaries for a future Palestinian state and partitioned Jerusalem, but stopping the rash of killings is now the country's top priority. An article adds Tyco to the list of Enron-style tales of astonishing corporate greed. In 10 years, CEO Dennis Kozlowski's zeal for mergers and acquisitions turned Tyco into a behemoth. But he also employed sketchy offshore accounts and used company money to fund his art-collecting habit.—J.D.
U.S. News & World Report, June 17
The Secret Service cover exposé uses anecdotal evidence to suggest that on-the-job stress has contributed to an epidemic of misconduct in the agency. Insiders claim that top personnel tried to wiggle out of testifying about Monica Lewinsky to hide their own affairs with White House staffers. Drugs, drinking, casual sex, pornography, and bar fights seem to define Secret Service culture, and a number of agents have been caught stealing money from the service bureaucracy or the evidence room. Meanwhile, the disciplinary system is spotty and arbitrary. A piece envisions a rocky week for the loya jirga, the convention forming Afghanistan's new government. Tajiks from the Panjshir Valley control it, and the majority Pashtuns may wage more civil war again if they feel left out. An article, pegged to a new survey, says nurses are leaving their jobs in droves not because the pay is so low but because doctors are jerks.—J.D.

Newsweek
The New Yorker

Newsweek, June 17 The eBay cover story debunks the notion that the sprawling online marketplace can revolutionize the universe. True, it makes pesky laws of supply and demand disappear: You can find anything, and anything can find you (or another willing buyer). But ultimately, it's just a whole lot of empty transactions, and all the Scooby Doo mugs in the world aren't going to make people happy. A piece says FBI agents aren't thrilled with new rules allowing them to investigate suspicious people who haven't been tied to specific crimes. Obvious surveillance of, say, mosques might simply push terrorist cells further underground. An article can't decide whether to praise shoplifter/actor Winona Ryder or feel sorry for her. A few anonymous Hollywood "stars" say she's yesterday's news and was always "kind of odd" anyway, but on-the-record commentators (mostly associated with her upcoming movies) say she's a real nice girl with enormous talent.— J.D.

The New Yorker, June 17 and 24 The summer fiction issue, themed on the family (and parental death in particular).... Grace Paley explores regret in a story about her aging father.... Steve Martin finds redemption in his distant father's soul-searching deathbed scene. ... Donald Antrim copes with his mother's demise by shopping obsessively for a new bed.... Alice Munro describes how her World War II girlhood led her to books.... Thomas Keneally, once a candidate for the priesthood, explains how he became disillusioned with the church.— J.D.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, June 17 An article decries Sen. Arlen Specter's concerns about our government's desire to spy on people visiting the United States just because the FBI thinks they might be terrorists. Of the possibility of our country becoming a police state, it says, "we have a right to expect as much, at minimum." While the press is still abuzz about the Homeland Security speech, a piece calls attention to a virtually ignored talk President Bush delivered at West Point recently in which he outlined the theme of "pre-emption" against Iraq and, more controversially, articulated his belief that Islamic countries will need to become democratic eventually. … A story argues against case-by-case disciplinary evaluations of priests "who behave as pedophiles." They should be defrocked immediately, it says, since there is no empirical proof that sex offenders are capable of reform.—S.G.

The Nation

The Nation, June 17
The cover package centers on nuclear disarmament: An article argues that America's insistence on maintaining a permanent nuclear arsenal is a "formula for nuclear proliferation." Another piece laments the decline of disarmament activism in the 1990s but suggests efforts may be picking up steam. A long feature prescribes a remedy for the waning influence of unions: "Open-source unionism" claims that organization can benefit workers even if a minority of employees unionize. It emphasizes the Internet as an untapped and cost-efficient means for publicity and recruitment. A commentary touts a market-based approach to abolishing sweatshops. It focuses on teamX, a worker-owned apparel company—think "fair trade" coffee—that pays a high-minimum wage, caps executive salaries at eight times the salary of its least-paid employees, and "intends to make a profit, grow and spread its progressive seed." The company's CEO expects it to break even by July.—D.R.

Jeremy Derfner is a former Slate editorial assistant.

Siân Gibby assists in editing the Faith-Based column. She copy-edits for Slate.

Dan Rosenheck is the Economist's bureau chief for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

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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