What's new in the New Republic, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
June 28 2002 1:46 PM

And a Side of Prozac, Please

Mother Jones

Mother Jones, August 2002 The cover story explains why big players like General Electric and Shell are "scrambling to cash in on … the world's fastest-growing source" of electricity: wind power. Recent technological advances mean production costs are now comparable to that for conventional fuels, and with more state laws requiring power companies to get at least some of their energy from renewable sources, wind-power advocates look "less like Don Quixotes" and more like the wave of the future. A piece describes how pharmaceutical companies "squeeze millions in additional revenue" from drugs like Paxil and Prozac: Their PR firms pump up media awareness of an obscure condition (like "generalized anxiety disorder") and make you wonder if you might have it yourself. A favorite tactic: the use of "patient groups," which are intended to "put a human face" on the condition but are often simply divisions of the drug companies' own PR offices.— S.D.

New Republic

New Republic, July 8 and 15 The cover article says Israelis are feeling more diplomatically isolated than they have since the 1970s. Just as despair in the '70s fueled the settlement movement, today the sense that the world's against them makes Israelis less willing to make concessions for peace. The support of the United States, the article argues, is crucial to countering the isolationists. An article explains why the prescription-drug debate has failed to win older voters to the Democratic Party. With the help of an ad blitz by drug companies, Republicans succeeded in muddling the issue—and now the GOP's managing to pass their own $350 billion prescription-drug bill makes it that much harder for the Dems to claim the issue.... The "TRB" column argues that conservatives can't support racial profiling and oppose affirmative action. Color blindness has been the only persuasive argument against racial preferences—but it turns out conservatives only care about that principle when it's their rights at stake.—K.T.

Economist

Economist, June 28
A cover package on "America's role in the world" includes a scathing assessment of President Bush's speech on the Middle East, calling it a "disappointment" and a "puzzle." While slamming Yasser Arafat for reneging on his Oslo pledges, the piece says Bush failed to emphasize America's commitment to a two-state solution based on Israel's 1967 borders. A piece examines land reform in Russia. Although 91 percent of the country's formerly collectivized farms are now privately owned, the legal and bureaucratic infrastructure for the purchase and sale of land is weak, and the number of farmers has declined in recent years. The Russian parliament just passed legislation to formalize and regulate the market on land, but red tape may hold up its implementation for years.— D.R.

New York Times Magazine
The New Yorker

New York Times Magazine, June 30
The cover article describes how 25-year-old Qeis Adwan, who was killed last month in an Israeli raid, went from being a brilliant student to a Hamas mastermind. The path is less circuitous than it sounds: Qeis' university is a notorious terrorist breeding ground, and his reputation as a popular student leader paved the way for his leadership role in Hamas. … A piece wonders what's going on at the Guggenheim, which canceled three major shows this year, even while planning new outposts, including a $680 million Frank Gehry building on stilts over the East River in Lower Manhattan. Will the Guggenheim's values—great architecture over great art—spread to all American museums? … A piece asks whether kid rapper Lil' Bow Wow will make the leap from child star to adult musician. Already Bow's in a standoff with his managers about whether he can drop the Lil'. He wants to be less diminutive, but they warn don't mess with success.— K.T.
The New Yorker, July 1
A profile of the small French town Orange, which has twice elected a mayor (Jacques Bompard) affiliated with Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front, suggests that Europe's reactionary right is just as bad as we fear. Bompard purges unionists from public service jobs and insists on pork lunches in school, even though Arab children can't eat them. His favorite accomplishment, cleaning up Orange's downtown, has an eerie, he-makes-the-trains-run-on-time quality. ... An article documents the nasty and brutish struggle to modernize the Army. Everybody agrees that the largest branch of the armed services is not ready for modern, global precision warfare. The reformers inside the Army want to increase speed and maneuverability, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would bypass the Army and ground operations altogether in favor of high-tech air and space weapons.— J.D.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, July 1 The cover story makes the case for long-term American involvement in Afghanistan. Right now, America is seen in south and central Asia as acting out of anger at the Sept. 11 attacks. The prevailing sense is that this anger will soon wear off, America will abandon the region, and radical Islamic groups can reassert their authority. Terrorism can only be effectively fought if the United States makes clear that it will play a substantial role in ensuring the future stability of the region. A piece bids good riddance to Jesse Ventura, calling him a failed liberal masquerading as a conservative populist. It highlights his left-wing positions on social issues and support of tax increases and speculates that he was so willing to abandon campaign promises because of his background as an entertainer, saying that pro wrestling is "built on illusion. Nothing is for real."— D.R.

Newsweek
Time
U.S. News & World Report

Newsweek, July 1
The cover piece says there's little chance Martha Stewart will be convicted of insider trading in the ImClone mess. Just before she sold her shares, Stewart left a phone message for her good friend, ImClone CEO Sam Waksal, asking for news; in retrospect, she's lucky he didn't call her back. A piece says Democrats have decided to take advantage of the Wall Street scandals by downplaying them. Bill Clinton, for one, is advising candidates to take an upbeat line—if "everyone plays by the rules," everyone will prosper—while calling for strict new regulations. After all, Americans don't hate the rich; they want to join them. A piece asks why a U.S. Forest Service worker in Colorado allegedly started a fire that has destroyed 100 homes and has so far cost about $17.5 million in damage. Terry Barton claims she was burning a letter from her abusive husband, but the feds suspect a different scenario: that Barton set the fire in hopes of winning glory by putting it out.— K.T.
Time, July 1 The cover article sees the success of the "Left Behind" series as evidence that more Americans are waiting for the end of the world. The article's sweeping suggestions—belief in the apocalypse attracts Islamic martyrs, and terrorism in turn fires Christians' doomsday fears and hopes—would be alarming if they weren't so muddy and confused. An article says an Los Angeles clinic is drawing fire for offering to freeze women's eggs at $8,000 a pop. To women who aren't ready to have children when their fertility is at its peak, egg-freezing sounds like a miracle solution. If only it worked. An article explains why more Chinese men are marrying their cousins. China's one-child limit and years of female infanticide mean a shortage of available brides. Though a recent U.S. study found the risks of birth defects in children of first cousins to be overstated, instances of deaf or retarded children in China's "incest villages" shows the risks aren't nonexistent.— K.T.
U.S. News & World Report, July 2
The cover story dismisses everyone's favorite dinosaurs— Tyrannosaurus rex and friends—as practical amateurs in the biological hierarchy hundreds of millions of years ago. The dinosaurs featured in children's books and museums grew to prominence because their fossils happened to be located in the American West, where the first concerted effort to uncover them took place. But remains of species that could "kick T. Rex's ass," in the words of one paleontologist, are showing up on other continents, forcing a ground-up reconstruction of the dinosaur world. A piece says that European leadership has moved to the right because its center-left parties are actually far more left than center. Reluctant to criticize immigration or emphasize law and order, the Continent's center-left has practically laid out the red carpet for right-wing and reactionary parties to take the helm.— D.R.

The Nation

The Nation, July 8 The cover story says that political dynasties are bad for democracy. After a crash course in the history of influential American families, the piece turns to the country's reigning dynasty, calling the Bush-Enron relationship "unseemly" although it concedes that "none of the Bushes' Enron involvement seems to be illegal." An article surveys the "major media players of 1972" for their responses to the Rev. Billy Graham's anti-Semitic comments in recently released tapes from the Nixon White House. It finds that journalists and administration hacks who are Jewish believe that anti-Semitism "was lurking back then in the corridors of power," while "gentrified gentiles" say they did not encounter prejudice against Jews.— D.R.

Jeremy Derfner is a former Slate editorial assistant.

Susan Daniels is a former Slate staffer. She lives in Amsterdam.

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.