What's new in the New Republic, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Oct. 4 2002 12:37 PM

A New Kind of Woman

New Republic

New Republic, Oct. 14 The cover story explains why Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, is a new kind of woman politician. Other women candidates have succeeded by emphasizing their femininity and their sensitivity to women's issues like family. (Remember Patty Murray, the "mom in tennis shoes"?) Granholm, on the other hand, is running her campaign no differently than she would if she were a man, and it seems to be working: Right now she's showing a 12-point lead. The editors say the Bush administration is getting off track in its case against Iraq: The case is weapons of mass destruction, not links to al-Qaida. A piece says it's not surprising that Kofi Annan keeps letting the Bushies down: He's always been timid and reluctant to enforce the United Nations' mandate. What's surprising is that the White House acts so shocked when "my man Kofi" pulls the rug out from under them.—K.T.

New York Times Magazine
American Conservative

New York Times Magazine, Oct. 6
An all-New-York issue: Frank Rich declares New York "The De Facto Capital," joining a long tradition of Washington slamming. John F. Kennedy called D.C. a city of "southern efficiency and northern charm"; Rich faults it for its "part-time Metro," for cabs without meters, no good restaurants, no theater, and an incompetent mayor. Kurt Andersen says New York was the source of the financial scandals. Enron was in Houston, WorldCom in Mississippi, but Manhattan investment banks invented the financial architecture that made them possible. James Traub describes how the 1960s movement for decentralization, or so-called "community control," ruined New York City's schools. The idea was for people who cared—parents, neighborhood leaders—to guide the schools; instead, school boards were just a political patronage mill. Mayor Bloomberg has finally succeeded in killing decentralization, but does he have any ideas for improving schools?—K.T. American Conservative, Oct. 7 Debut issue. Pat Buchanan and Co. show that conservatives, too, can oppose an Iraq war. The cover story asserts that there are only two plausible reasons for our attacking Iraq instead of, say, North Korea: oil and Israeli interests. Another piece asks if Bush is looking for regime change in Iraq or regime change in Palestine. Or does the president just want to "stop Andrew Sullivan from throwing another hissy fit"? In "Why I Am No Longer a Conservative," Kevin Phillips laments that Washington conservatism is now run by the axis of Wall Street, big energy, multinationals, the military industrial complex, the religious right, market-extremist think tanks, and Rush Limbaugh. (Incidentally, Am Con seems to have copied the design of that other anti-war rag, The Nation.)—K.T.

Time
Newsweek
U.S. News & World Report

Time, Oct. 7 The cover story explores new knowledge about migraine headaches. Once the punch line of jokes, these headaches are now considered "disorders on a par with epilepsy or Alzheimer's disease." While drugs called triptans are increasingly effective, migraineurs swear by a long list of varied remedies, including yoga, baby aspirin, anti-depressants, even Botox. More doctors are now strongly advocating abstinence from sex for teens, an article says. A program developed in Texas uses statistics and scary photographs to deliver the message: "Abstain from intercourse, or put yourself at grave medical risk." Teen pregnancy and sex activity are down, but some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. The program gets flack from both sides: Conservatives complain it doesn't say enough about the sanctity of marriage; liberals say it portrays sex only as bad and frightening.— S.G. Newsweek, Oct. 7 The cover story tackles teen depression, which some say is reaching "epidemic" proportions. Factors cited for its increased incidence: "a high divorce rate, rising academic expectations and social pressure." Depressed kids left untreated often self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, and even suicide—the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds. The investigation of a possible terrorist traveling to Jordan from Iraq shortly after 9/11 may show a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. It remains to be seen if the man merely happened to be Iraqi or if he had met with terrorists with the approval of his government. An article describes Douglas Faneuil, the young banking assistant who may be a possible witness against Martha Stewart in the investigation of her sale of ImClone stock. The dapper Faneuil fell in with a flashy financial clientele, but friends say he is sea-green incorruptible and if he says he has the goods on Martha, then he does.— S.G.

U.S. News & World Report,Oct. 7
The cover piece is an excerpt of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's new book, Leadership. The excerpt doesn't quite get at Rudy's secrets of leadership success, but it includes the inevitable baseball reminiscences and Churchill praise. Reading the Roy Jenkins biography of Churchill got Rudy through the "dark hours" after Sept. 11. A piece suggests it's still too soon to say how Philadelphia's school privatization experiment is going. Some schools got new textbooks and supplies for the first time in years, but financially troubled Edison had to take some of the new books back when it found it couldn't pay for them. A piece describes the $4 billion plan meant to save Venice from drowning. The plan, originally proposed in 1972, would build massive, mobile gates to stem floodwaters. But opponents say floodgates won't save the city, because what threatens it is erosion in the lagoon, not high water.—K.T.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, Oct. 7 The cover piece explains why the tiny island of São Tomé might be our new best friend. It's about to become very rich from the oil beds off its shores, and its people are Catholic and love America. But its less-than-friendly neighbors—Nigeria, in particular—will try to get their hands on São Tomé's wealth unless the United States decides to protect it. A piece by neurologist Oliver Sacks describes a woman, Anna H., who can't read or recognize objects, though she can still write and play the piano beautifully. It may be a case of visual Alzheimer's. A piece tries to understand enigmatic Federal Communications Chairman Michael Powell. Powell claims to be unworried by the telecom crash and the prospect of increased concentration (even monopolization) in the communications industry. Is he just an eccentric economic thinker, or is he lying low in the hopes of getting a better appointment in a second Bush term?— K.T.

National Review

National Review, Oct. 14 A piece confronts the idealism of interventionist liberals and neo-cons, who want to wage war on Iraq to spread democracy. Nations like Iraq lack the social and economic foundations for democracy. And when that groundwork is eventually laid, Iraqi citizens won't need our prodding to demand change. An article says many libertarians, who have long been isolationists, are rethinking their foreign policy stance. There are now three libertarian camps: the "anti-war absolutists" who maintain that war is just an excuse to expand government; the hawks, including many bloggers; and the Cato Institute/Reason magazine mainstream, which endorsed the Afghanistan war but opposes going into Iraq. An article, which may turn a couple of heads, addresses the "lesbian problem" in high-school and college softball. The sport is permeated by a lesbian culture that can make straight girls feel uncomfortable and unwanted, says the author. "Parents and players should know what they are getting into."— J.F.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, Oct. 7
The cover article calls Germany "the angry adolescent of Europe." Gerhard Schröder's recent fulminations against America are not born out of pacifism so much as nationalism. He's trying to reclaim Germany from 50 years of self-condemnatory Holocaust contrition and make it once again a "normal" country by standing up to the United States. Libertarian blogger Eve Tushnet celebrates the liberalizing influence of Weblogs in repressive nations like Iran. Sites like Muslimah Ya-Ya ("the Muslim Ya-Ya Sisterhood") and MuslimPundit ("Going after starry pan-Islamic futurists with a rubber glove and a sharp stick") provide an expressive outlet for the middle-class core that will one day bring Iran back into the modern world. The editorial says President Bush has, in fact, "politicized" war with Iraq, but that's entirely appropriate. War is a grave matter that should be a matter of political discussion. The problem is that the Democrats cower from any real, substantive debate. — J.F.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September-October 2002 The cover article asks, what happens if missile defense technology works? The consequences would be a diverted rogue missile falling short of its target, inevitably into some unhappy person's back yard. Collateral damage could potentially be huge. A piece argues that the weaponization of space could create so much small debris, moving like bullets above the earth, that space could become inhospitable to both satellites and astronauts. A piece on the Bush administration's new Nuclear Posture Review thinks the administration hasn't learned from history. Bush wants to develop more and better battlefield nukes as a deterrent against rogue nations like North Korea. But this sort of posturing doesn't work. The United States had nuclear weapons in South Korea for 33 years, and it didn't stop—in fact, it probably encouraged—North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction.— J.F.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair, October 2002 How did action-star Steven Seagal become a real-life murder target in a mob extortion plot? A fascinating piece chronicles how, as the actor's fortunes began to fade, his long partnership with fellow Brooklynite and pal producer Jules Nasso spiraled into a plot line worthy of one of Seagal's direct-to-video flicks, complete with guns, paranoia, alleged Buddhist reincarnations, death threats, and, of course, gangsters. Nasso, who was arrested in a June sweep that nabbed "17 accused mobsters in 17 minutes," and was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, says of their relationship, "What can I say, it was Fatal Attraction without the sex." A piece chronicles the spectacular rise—and the boardroom battles behind the equally spectacular sacking—of former Vivendi Universal CEO Jean-Marie Messier. Contributing to the Frenchman's downfall: an apparent propensity for personally alienating board members, both Americans and Europeans alike.— S.D.

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

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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