What's new in the New Republic, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
June 7 2002 12:54 PM

Pataki's Left Turn

New Republic

New Republic, June 17 The cover article describes how New York Gov. George Pataki became a liberal: To woo New York City voters, he refashioned himself as a social progressive, championing gun control and gay rights. The boom times of the '90s made him a bigger spender than Mario Cuomo himself. A Pataki victory this year will mean Republicans can survive in the Northeast—but only by becoming Democrats. A piece argues that we should stop coddling Pakistan before war breaks out in South Asia. Taking a harder line with Gen. Pervez Musharraf won't mean his defection from the war on terrorism, but continuing to ignore India's warnings could spell disaster. A piece says we should worry about something more mundane than an anthrax attack: a deadly outbreak of measles. Due to severe vaccine shortages, many children aren't getting shots. Every underimmunized child puts the country at risk, but so far Congress won't pay to beef up supplies.—K.T.

Economist

Economist, June 7 An article details Yasser Arafat's current quagmire. His proposed reforms to the Palestinian Authority aren't going over well, but other pathways to resolving the crisis are unacceptable to the PA's factions. Reform that emphasizes Israelis' security over Palestinians' won't fly with Fatah. And Hamas says a PA "under the barrel of Israeli guns" is no good. In the Bush White House, where economic point men have thus far been buffoons, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Glen Hubbard stands out as reasonable and intelligent, as well as being "[t]elegenic in a nerdy kind of way, articulate and gaffe-free." The administration prefers economic decisions based on politics—but in order to best make use of the asset that is Hubbard, this trend must change.— S.G.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, June 9
Money 2002: An article asks whether America can kick the earnings obsession. Executives, investors, even accountants are all fixated on the myth that 15 percent growth is not only possible, but desirable. Even in the '90s, only one in eight companies achieved continuous growth. Those that did weren't necessarily healthier than the others; they just knew some fancy accounting tricks. A piece explains why our wealth, instead of corrupting us, makes us virtuous. Ours is a culture not just of money but also of abundance in which we are driven to work hard by a sense of perpetual possibility and infinite rewards. Another story explains why there's more than business rivalry between two ex-political prisoners who rose to become part of South Africa's black elite. Soto Ndukwana accuses Moss Ngoasheng of betraying the ideals of liberation, but how can anyone move into a newly capitalistic culture without in some way "selling out"?—K.T.

Newsweek
Time and U.S. News & World Report

Newsweek, June 10
The distressing Michael Isikoff cover story provides the most compelling evidence yet that America should have known about Sept. 11. Early in 2000, the CIA spied on an al-Qaida meeting attended by two hijackers, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi. Both men arrived in the United States for flight training shortly thereafter, but the CIA didn't tell the FBI or the INS about them. The hijackers spent a year-and-a-half planning the attack, but nobody was watching. … A stock market piece scolds investors for whining about the end of 20 percent annual returns. By historical standards, the market's doing fine, especially considering big business's bad reputation and the crappy economy. … An article approves of gastric-bypass surgery, a last-ditch procedure for the morbidly obese that shrinks the stomach to the size of a thumb. A small percentage of patients suffer serious complications (including death), but this year an estimated 60,000 people who need to lose 100 pounds or more will have the operation.— J.D. Time and U.S. News & World Report, June 10
Both cover stories debate the nature-versus-nurture question for two common psychological disorders, anxiety (Time) and anorexia/bulimia (U.S. News). … Anxiety, the brain's inability to turn off the fear response even after a threat has passed, affects 19 million Americans. It runs in families, but researchers consider the genetic correlation weak. Anxiety can strike the non-predisposed after stressful events, such as Sept. 11. … Between 5 million and 10 million Americans (90 percent of them women) suffer from eating disorders, and those with anorexic or bulimic family members are 7-12 times more likely to have one. Nevertheless, cultural forces still play a role, which is why Fiji, where big once was beautiful, has contended with a body-image epidemic since American TV arrived.

The New Yorker

A Time article reports that as the 82-year-old pope gets sicker, his longtime personal secretary Stanislaw Dziwisz, not one of the cardinals vying to replace him, has become the power behind the pulpit. Though Dziwisz is the most powerful person in the Vatican, he seems to have few ideological ambitions. A detailed U.S. News piece, which profiles some of the thousands of Americans who have joined the international jihad movement in the past 20 years, shows that John Walker Lindh is not unique. For example, Jibreel al-Amreekee, a Baptist kid from Atlanta, converted to Islam in college, moved to Kashmir, joined a militia called the Righteous Army, and died attacking an Indian military outpost. The article is careful to point out that there is "no evidence of a tightly organized 'fifth column' among America's diverse Muslim communities."— J.D. The New Yorker, June 10 An enormous piece on Howell Raines, the new New York Times executive editor, accuses him of alienating most of the staff before taking it back and praising his efforts to improve. On a mission to increase the "competitive metabolism" of the staid paper, he runs the Times top-down, which has meant limiting bureau chiefs' and reporters' autonomy by telling them which articles are important and sometimes even what should be in them. His detractors say he plays favorites, and many women feel uncomfortable because Raines does business over boys-clubby bourbon and in the macho language of sports aphorisms.... An article claims that Charles Schwarz, who is accused of helping a fellow police officer sexually assault Abner Louima in a Brooklyn station-house bathroom in 1997, has managed to cast himself as an innocent victim. He won a new trial and the devotion of a famous defense attorney (Ronald Fischetti) and a popular columnist (Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post), but the evidence remains strong that he held Louima down while his friend tortured him.— J.D.

Gourmet

Gourmet, June 2002"The ultimate grilling issue" provides red-hot tips for how to make summer grilling satisfying, on both a culinary and a technical level. How to choose fuel (abandon charcoal briquettes for hardwood charcoal and logs) and start and maintain a flexible-temperature fire are covered, as well as the best method for checking meat doneness (there's a fascinating discussion of how professional chefs compare steaks' degrees of rareness to different parts of their hands), and we're told how to properly salt meat for grilling (the key: be bold). A piece extols the virtues of homemade bacon. Using a simple but delicate method, a handful of ingredients, and some specialized equipment, you too can make bacon that smells and tastes so good "it'll wake the neighbors" when you fry it up. Also, a Beirut native gives readers a mouthwatering tour of Mediterranean kebab stalls and cooking techniques.— S.G.

Wired

Wired, June 2002
The cover story interviews director Steven Spielberg, who, in his new movie Minority Report, sheds the candy coating from his sci-fi adventures and turns "to the dark side." … A piece profiles Stephen Wolfram, the reclusive scientist, who claims to have discovered what might be called the secret of the universe. His recently self-published book is being hailed by some—but especially Wolfram—as a landmark in the history of science. It argues that cellular automata, or simple computer programs that generate complex results from a short list of rules, can more or less explain everything. The universe, he claims, can probably be distilled down to three or four lines of code. … An article describes the wonder drug Melanotan currently in human trials in Australia. Imagine: The pill "makes you thin, tan, pain-free, and horny all at once, without effort." Get ready for a new wave of quick-fix drugs that will make us look and feel like a million bucks.— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, June 17 The cover story explodes the mythology of Rudy Giuliani. Yes, he accomplished some great things as mayor of New York, but he also has a long and ugly rap sheet. "America's Mayor" was callous toward minorities and an uncommonly opportunistic politician. Under his watch, a budget surplus turned into a budget deficit, and the city's school system went from bad to worse. … A piece looks at the challenges facing the pro-Palestinian student movements. Campus groups have to make clear that it's possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic. … The editorial predicts that the Justice Department's lawsuits against Florida counties over voting rights violations in the 2000 election will bring only limited reforms. And if change seems unlikely to flow from the courts, it's even less likely that legislators will get involved.— J.F.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, June 10 The cover article is a glowing endorsement of Eliot Cohen's new book Supreme Command. Cohen argues that the best wartime leaders (like Lincoln and Churchill) are those who have taken an active hand in overseeing the military. Though Bush is not himself a "supreme commander" concerned with the minutiae of war, Donald Rumsfeld is. An article accuses the CIA of unintentionally aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism. Since Olso—and even before—the agency has been helping to rebuild the Palestinian intelligence and security forces as police and counterterrorism organizations. But these same Palestinian agencies that received U.S. money and training were responsible for unleashing the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. An editorial calls for an independent blue-ribbon commission to investigate whether the government could have prevented Sept. 11. The current slow leak of revelations from whistle-blowers is not in the nation's best interest, and partisan congressional hearings are no good either.— 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.

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