What's new in the Atlantic, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Sept. 20 2002 12:11 PM

Christianity Today

Atlantic
Mother Jones

Atlantic, October 2002 The cover piece concludes William Langewiesche's three-part series on the recovery and demolition efforts at the World Trade Center. An essay by Jospeh Stiglitz, who was at the center of many of the economic-policy debates of the 1990s, claims the decade's economic history needs to be rewritten. Many Clinton administration policies, like deficit reduction, weren't sound, but succeeded by a series of "lucky mistakes." And the failures shouldn't be discounted: Deregulation and pandering to crony capitalism laid the groundwork for the current economic dip. An article argues that Christianity is in the midst of a transformation as momentous as the Reformation: the ascendancy of the more supernatural, conservative Christianity of the Third World. There is a growing fissure between this Southern Christianity and the more liberal Northern brand that could define global politics in the coming century. But Europeans and Americans, so far unaffected by the shift in Christianity's base, are yet to take notice.— J.F. Mother Jones, October 2002 The cover story, by Brendan I. Koerner, details how a staggering array of companies wants to cash in on the billions of dollars Washington is shelling out for homeland security, from expected players like "old-line defense contractors" and tech-sector survivors such as Oracle to less likely contenders, like credit reporting agencies and architectural firms. Critics fear that if the Bush administration gets its wish and the Department of Homeland Security is exempted from safeguards like the Freedom of Information Act, companies doing business with the agency may run roughshod over individual privacy. A piece details the debate in Israel over refuseniks—soldiers who refuse to serve in the West Bank and occupied territories as a matter of conscience. Is the army an appropriate forum for civil disobedience, or are soldiers obligated to refuse immoral orders?— S.D.

New Republic

New Republic, Sept. 30 The cover story says Bill McBride is just getting started. McBride beat out Janet Reno in Florida's gubernatorial primary, after a negative ad campaign by Jeb Bush backfired. "If you think McBride makes Jeb Bush nervous now, wait until November," a McBride ad responded. Now Democrats around the country are cheering for him. If he can oust Jeb, he'll humiliate the president, exorcise the demons of the 2000 presidential race, and help out the Democratic nominee in 2004. A piece argues that President Bush's demand for authorization to strike unilaterally shows just how much confidence he has in winning over the United Nations after Saddam Hussein's inspections gambit this week. While Powell is plugging away at negotiations in New York, it looks like the hawks are back in charge in Washington.— K.T.

The Economist

Economist, Sept. 21 The cover article calls on the United Nations to press ahead with new resolutions on Iraq. Saddam's acquiescence to weapons inspections is a bluff; to call him on it, the outside world must maintain steady diplomatic and military pressure. The magazine endorses the more conservative Edmund Stoiber over Gerhard Schröder in the upcoming German elections, on the condition his coalition include a "robust contingent of liberals yapping at his side." In the final tally, the two candidates really don't differ that much: neither is willing to risk social strife to fix Germany's deeply sick economy. A piece points out that, despite all the talk of a common European foreign policy, the continent's three biggest powers are taking distinctly different approaches to Iraq. Ultimately though, all the EU nations will probably coalesce behind war, just because they're afraid of the consequences of defying the United States— J.F.

New York Times Magazine
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Newsweek
U.S. News & World Report

New York Times Magazine, Sept. 22
The cover piece describes the man who has the president's ear: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The political philosopher Allan Bloom mentored him in college and planted the seeds of his worldview; now Wolfowitz is the head theorist of the "forward leaning," imperialist camp in Defense. He has pushed so hard for war with Iraq that his future now hangs in the balance as much as Saddam's. (Read Slate's take on Wolfowitz.) A piece explains how New York attorney Lynne Stewart went from defending young black and Latino men to defending Islamic radicals. Now that she's been accused of aiding one of her clients, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the legal left has abandoned her. A profile (by Slate's Emily Nussbaum) says Buffy creator Joss Whedon doesn't want to hear people say that he has "transcended genre." "I believe in genre," Whedon says. Buffy fans are awaiting the premiere of his new show, Firefly, part Western, part science fiction.—K.T. Time,Sept. 23 The cover story reports on the intelligence gathered from Omar al-Faruq, an al-Qaida operative in Indonesia who's been in U.S. custody for months but finally broke down on Sept. 9. Al-Qaida apparently received assistance from al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an alleged charity, and Jemaah Islamiah, a group of Southeast Asian militants. And the terrorist presence in Southeast Asia is growing as the Middle East becomes an ever less viable hiding place. A preview of the upcoming midterm elections says they're more important than most: Democrats' margin in the Senate is just one seat (the composition of the Senate has ramifications for what type of Supreme Court justices are nominated), Republicans control the House by only a six-member majority, and 36 governorships are up for grabs. A piece heralds the arrival of Roomba, a robot that vacuums. For years, we've been waiting for Jetson s-like robots that actually do cool stuff, and this might be the first one.— J.D. Newsweek, Sept. 23 The cover story calls President Bush's new approach to winning U.N. support on Iraq "one of the most masterful coups of his presidency." He neutralized moderate Republicans, dovish Democrats, and many foreign powers who urged restraint by painting violent conflict not as a U.S. attack but as the defense of a decade's worth of U.N. resolutions Saddam Hussein has ignored. Now Bush will probably get his war, but with much less grief from his allies. A related piece says the "history of America's relations with Saddam is one of the sorrier tales in American foreign policy." In the '80s, the Reagan administration, which was more concerned with Iran, allowed Hussein to buy biological weapon ingredients from American suppliers and looked the other way even though intelligence experts knew he was a "psychopath." The administration now worries that Saddam might go out in a blaze of glory by using some of his weapons of mass destruction.— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 23 Yet another "America's Best Colleges." As ever, the "Big Three" are the big three, with Princeton taking first place and Harvard and Yale tying for second. Five schools (Caltech, MIT, Stanford, Duke, and Penn) tie for fourth, and Dartmouth and Columbia round out the Top 10. The Top 5 public universities, in order: Berkeley, Virginia, UCLA, Michigan, and North Carolina. Amherst wins best liberal arts college, followed by Swarthmore, Williams, Wellesley, and Carleton and Pomona, which tie for fifth. The most diverse college in America is Rutgers-Newark; the least diverse is Yeshiva (1 percent Hispanic). A John Leo column takes universities (including highly ranked Stanford, Berkeley, and Williams) to task for fostering a political correctness that doesn't tolerate even the whiff of conservatism. Professors who want tenure must embrace "the expected package of campus isms—radical feminism, multiculturalism, postmodernism, identity politics, gender politics, and deconstruction."— J.D.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, Sept. 23 An article blames corporate scandal on plain old greed and stock options. Classical economists didn't approve of public companies because the managers didn't always have the best interests of the stockholders in mind: They wanted money for themselves, not necessarily a healthy company. To fix the problem, modern economists invented stock options, which supposedly tied CEO remuneration to company fortunes. Instead, corporate managers were encouraged to puff up the stock price in the short term, even at the long-term cost of cooking the books. ... A profile of professional bowling sensation Pete Weber, a.k.a. Pee Dee Dubya, says he's saving the almost-dead sport by infusing it with a pro-wrestling sensitivity. Given to highly rehearsed, crotch-centered taunts, Weber is the only bowling personality who makes the sports talk show circuit. Bowling itself is under new management (former Microsoft execs) that wants to lift it from tractor-pull level to NASCAR status.— J.D.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, Sept. 23 A piece finds the political and spiritual basis of the Western world, in many ways, returned to the state of the 1920s. The West is again keen on the idea of self-determination over imperialism. War is seen as an ultimate evil. America is indifferent to Europe, and Europe, with its "undertone of self-hatred and guilt," is in turn disdainful of America. Casual anti-Semitism abounds. We've forgotten the lessons of World War II. An article reminds us that Kosovo's Muslims still love America for saving them from Slobodan Milosevic. On the anniversary of Sept. 11, all of Kosovo's TV stations broadcast the Pentagon and ground zero commemorations live. An article describes how China's bold embrace of biotechnology is putting it on the path to a Huxleyean state. Chinese Marxists aren't as skeptical about technology as the West and have little aversion to eugenics. Chinese researchers have already allowed cloned embryos to develop further than anywhere else in the world. Harvesting "spare parts" is just over the horizon.— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, Sept. 30 An article rebuts the administration's eight principal arguments for war against Iraq. The author argues that there's no evidence of an al-Qaida link, containment and deterrence have worked so far, the costs of regime change are too high, regional allies will be hard to come by, and the eventual ouster of Saddam could destabilize the region. A piece by Arundhati Roy draws chilling comparisons between India and prewar Germany. In the state of Gujarat, the government condoned a pogrom that killed hundreds of Muslims. Elsewhere, Muslims are being treated like second-class citizens while the government turns its head. "Fascism's firm footprint has appeared in India," says Roy. "Let's mark the date."— J.F.

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

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.

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.