What's new in the New Republic, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
July 12 2002 12:46 PM

WorldComeuppance

New Republic

New Republic, July 22 A piece says the "overreaction" to WorldCom and other corporate scandals, which is sending other honest companies into bankruptcy, may be just what the economy needs. Because the Fed cut interest rates so aggressively last year, lots of nonviable tech companies stayed in business. Now it's time for them to go. The editorial denounces the president's 10-point corporate accountability plan as a sham, an "empty shell," designed to create an appearance of reform while actually doing as little as possible. A piece says the president is finally losing his footing in the morass of corporate scandals. Will WorldCom do for the Democrats what Enron couldn't? Bush's Wall Street speech was a failure, he's snapping at reporters who ask about Harken, and his upcoming legislative agenda—industry-backed energy and prescription-drug bills, estate tax repeal—isn't going to help him look any less pro-business. Is the Teflon effect finally wearing away?— K.T.

Economist

Economist, July 13 The cover article says not to "write off American capitalism just yet." The piece details the importance of the U.S. economy to the rest of the world and calls criticism of capitalistic system as a whole based on the missteps of a few companies "phoney." It then prescribes a three-point plan for addressing the weaknesses in the system revealed by Enron and friends: Demand auditors be rotated and overseen by a government entity, corporate boards be comprised by a majority of non-executives, and that shareholders take a more skeptical view of their investments. A piece says progress is finally being made in Greece's battle with its anti-Western terrorist organization N17. The capture of one of the group's operatives led to the discovery of weapons caches and the location of other members, and public opinion has turned against the group for the first time.— D.R.

New York Times Magazine
Time

New York Times Magazine, July 14
In the moving cover story, Daniel Mendelsohn goes to Ukraine to learn about the deaths of his relatives in the Holocaust and realizes he'd rather learn about their lives. A piece takes a skeptical look at Andrew Cuomo's campaign for governor of New York. It's been hard for him to get out of the shadow of his famous father, but most people think Andrew Cuomo's real problem isn't Mario: It's Andrew Cuomo. He's brash, arrogant, and—proof of both—he's running against State Comptroller Carl McCall, who wants to be the first black governor of New York and who many Democrats believe has earned the nomination. A several-page spread tries to explain why Tiger Woods, as an icon, is "post-Jordan, postmodern, almost post-human." But he's certainly not post-endorsement. He's apparently "splattered with more Nike swooshes than TV can reveal."— K.T. Time, July 15
The slightly skeptical cover story explores the theory and practice of vegetarianism. Ten million Americans identify themselves that way, but more than a third of "vegetarian" poll respondents had eaten red meat in the previous 24 hours. And while a vegetarian diet can be good for you, it usually isn't (most of us aren't nutritionists). A piece about the International Criminal Court, which the United States says it won't join unless its soldiers are given blanket immunity, defends President Bush from charges of arrogance. As the world's police officers, American troops are likely to get hauled unjustly into court. The problem is, Bush's outright refusal makes him look like a jerk. An article about the struggling French-American media conglomerate Vivendi suggests that it will lead a new trend of disaggregation in the media business by spinning off many of the companies it has spent the past few years buying. Elaborate corporations such as Vivendi and AOL Time Warner require complex bookkeeping, which sets off alarms in the post-Enron environment.—J.D.

Newsweek

Newsweek, July 15 The insomnia cover story urges sufferers and their doctors to treat sleeplessness as a real public health crisis instead of a personal failing. Researchers are getting closer to understanding the brain chemicals tied to sleep, but few of the 70 million insomniacs take advantage of new therapies. A piece reports on an upcoming study that concludes that Prozac and other "SSRI" antidepressants (Zoloft, Celexa, etc.) are all hype. Several researchers have found that the placebo effect with sugar pills is almost as cheering as the clinical effect with actual antidepressants. Others agree that while Prozac isn't the wonder drug we want it to be, it helps. An article, which lists a number of sketchy business deals involving President Bush and Vice President Cheney, says the only political option available to Democrats is painting the GOP as the corporate irresponsibility party. To defend against the attack, Bush will make a tough speech recommending hard jail time for white-collar criminals.—J.D.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, July 15 A Hendrik Hertzberg "Talk of the Town" piece says what's worse than keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is adding "and we don't mean Allah" after it. A World Cup retrospective argues that it was fun because it bore little resemblance to the new soccer/football, which is dominated by mercenaries and obscene corporatization. In this year's amateur Cup, semitalented teams and mediocre players (with the help of terrible refereeing) beat listless dynasties and superstars. A sentimental piece about the battle between ginseng poachers and park rangers in the Smoky Mountains suggests that they're the heirs to the charming warfare between bootleggers and Prohibition enforcers. Poachers can get $1,000 for a pound of ginseng in our thriving herbal medicine market, and the rangers have resorted to everything from neon dye to microchip-implanted roots to stop them from foraging on protected land. In fact, the poachers and rangers have a common enemy in highway- and mansion-building urban exiles despoiling the region.—J.D.

Jeremy Derfner is a former Slate editorial assistant.

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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