New Republic, July 29 The cover piece explains how your tax dollars are going to re-electing Jeb Bush. Because Florida's race for governor is so crucial—Jeb's defeat would be a vote of no confidence for the Bush administration—Dubya is funneling tons of federal money to the state to boost his brother's chances. The press accused Bill Clinton of using pro-New York policies to help Hillary, but it has yet to make a fuss about this much bigger swindle. … A piece makes a strong argument for increasing foreign aid, which doesn't stop terrorism but does save millions of lives, by eradicating diseases, introducing birth control and reproductive health care, and improving agriculture. … A piece describes why at least $18 million worth of blood went down the drain in the 9/11 blood-donation disaster. Even the president and Congress, who had themselves videotaped giving blood, didn't understand that mass appeals for blood are always a waste.—K.T.
Economist, July 20 The cover story says the telecommunications industry might have been "the largest bubble in history." Competitors in the deregulated market overestimated the demand for network capacity and, the story predicts, now the pendulum will swing toward consolidation under the Baby Bells. But the piece insists that the industry is not a natural monopoly and urges regulators to leave the door open for competition in the future. … An article on the European Union's constitutional convention divides the continent into two competing interests: the small countries, which favor greater integration and central authority on economics and foreign policy, and the large ones, which guard their sovereignty more jealously and advocate decision-making by the agreement of national parliaments. Many think the convention's chairman favors a more decentralized model, but EU governments may not be able to come to unanimous agreement.— D.R.
New York Times Magazine, July 21
The cover piece is one single guy's tribute to the sportscasters who keep him company at night—and to the wonderful, puerile world of sports obsession that, when the real world gets tough, is always waiting to welcome men back to its comforting womb. Also included is a taxonomy of announcers: John Madden's a meathead and popular; Tim McCarver's clever and unpopular; former NBA star Charles Barkley is just his obnoxious self.... A piece profiles Mary Jo Copeland—the self-righteous, egotistic fairy godmother to Minneapolis' poor children. She isn't tactful ("I can't listen to you. I have to listen to God."), but she claims her new orphanage will do more for children than the faltering foster-care system can.... A creepy visual spread tries to cast makeshift weapons used by prison gangs as folk art: "Abstracted from their original context," the writer explains, "the shanks in these photographs show the craft and creativity spawned by inmate anger, spite and fear."—K.T. Time and Newsweek, July 22
Both covers explain the new research proving that long-term hormone replacement therapy hurts more than it helps. For a generation, post-menopausal women have been told that hormones reduce a wide array of health risks tied to aging, but results from the comprehensive Women's Health Initiative show that they in fact increase the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer. Both mags stress that doctors prescribed hormone therapy even though no evidence of its effectiveness existed, partly because pharmaceutical companies pushed it and partly because it seemed to offer a fountain of youth for the science age. Time suggests that some of its popularity stems from sexism.
A Newsweek piece about President Bush's financial past won't call him "unethical" but doesn't let him off the hook either, especially for the sketchy loan he got to buy the Texas Rangers. Though his poll numbers are still OK, he seems unwilling to tackle the corporate scandals scandal aggressively. Could he suffer his dad's fate? Good at fighting wars, but it's the economy, stupid. … Time, which focuses on Bush's suspiciously timely sale of Harken stock, goes a little harder on the president. (Slate's "Moneybox"explains the loans in more detail.) … A Joel Stein piece in Time journeys to reality TV's final frontier, The Anna Nicole Show (which offers various days in the life of former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith). To make scenes of the astonishingly inactive Smith palatably interesting, the E! network, which plies her with Red Bull to ward off lethargy, sends her on zany field trips. The appeal of the show, its producers hope, is that "you can't quite tell if Smith is kidding or just dumb."— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, July 22 The best hospitals issue. The usual suspects earn Top 5 honors: Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Mass General, and UCLA. … A companion piece reports that while most doctors remain skeptical of acupuncture and herbal therapy, more and more hospitals are attaching alternative or complementary medicine to their regular services. Why? Because patients ask for it and because insurance companies don't cover it, which means hospitals can make a fortune. … An article previews the next generation of nuclear warfare. The Bush administration wants to develop burrowing nukes that could obliterate underground bunkers where other countries keep their weapons of mass destruction. But scientists think the radiation might still be deadly. Says one physicist: "Instead of 100,000 people, it's 10,000 people. That's still a hell of a lot."— J.D.
The New Yorker, July 22 A Hendrik Hertzberg "Talk of the Town" piece says Bush's real corporate irresponsibility problem is not his own shady business career but a presidency geared toward keeping the rich rich while helping them avoid their financial obligations to society. ... A Malcolm Gladwell article argues that the culture of talent is ruining the business world. Enron is a case a point. Its superstars were coddled and praised even if they failed, because they had intangible "talent." But companies succeed because they cater to paying customers, not hot-shot execs.... A review of Garry Wills' new book Why I Am a Catholic claims his problem with the church is its anti-intellectualism and blind faith in the pope instead of doctrine.— J.D.
Weekly Standard, July 22 The cover story favors an incentive-based approach to rein in corporate crime rather than a regulatory one. A few straightforward laws would align the financial interests of auditors, analysts, and CEOs with those of the market at large: separation of the auditing business from consulting and investment banking from stock picking, selection of independent directors by active shareholders, public disclosure of CEO compensation, and counting employee stock options against profits. … A feature argues for economic sanctions against Sudan, as long as the regime in Khartoum continues its enslavement and genocide of southern racial and religious groups. The Islamic government has slaughtered Christians and animists, destroyed their homes and villages, and enslaved those who've managed to survive. America, the piece says, should be "willing to pay a price to advance the cause of human dignity."— D.R.
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Welcome to 13th Grade!
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“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.