What's new in Wired, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 15 2002 12:42 PM

Spiritual Science

Wired

Wired, December 2002 Gregg Easterbrook's cover story sees a new reconciliation between the old sparring partners of religion and science. Cosmologists and biologists are realizing that they can't explain what caused the Big Bang or why the laws of the universe seem impossibly fine-tuned to support life. More and more, there's room for the miraculous in science. A piece profiles the Vatican's in-house astrophysicist. Father George Coyne is a real scientist who answers real scientific questions about the evolution of galaxies and formation of stars. "Nothing we learn about the universe threatens our faith," he says. "It only enriches it." An article tells the strange story of a scientist whose double-blind, peer-reviewed research proved that prayer heals. Bizarrely, she ended up dying of the same rare form of brain cancer that afflicted the subjects of her study. It now turns out her methodology wasn't as sound as she had claimed.— J.F.

Economist

Economist, Nov. 15 The cover package has high hopes for Iraqi weapons inspections. This time around, inspectors will have tough new powers they didn't have four years ago, including the right to interview any Iraqi they want, and the ability to stop air and traffic flow around suspicious sites. There will be no more waiting at the front gates while anthrax is trucked out the back. A series of articles documents France's identity problem. The nation still hasn't come to grips with its diminished status in the world. Now, the French are beginning to wonder whether their quasi-socialist economic model is setting them back. A piece chalks up the GOP's Election Day success to heavy white turnout. In California, where the Republicans didn't even pull off any big wins, white turnout was up 12 points and black turnout was down 9.— J.F.

New Republic

New Republic, Nov. 25 The cover story suggests that Nancy Pelosi is the wrong person at the wrong time for the Democrats. Pelosi thinks the lesson of the election is that Democrats should have come out strongly against war in Iraq. She couldn't be more wrong. The editors propose (as Slate's Chris Suellentrop did) that the Democrats follow the example of the House Republicans, who put their ideological leader, Tom DeLay, in the No. 2 slot, and installed the mild-mannered Dennis Hastert as speaker. A piece juggles the possible consequences of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il's recent, surprising flirtation with capitalism. Kim Jong-il has been opening up the domestic economy, in the hopes of stimulating growth and holding on to power. If he fails, he's toast. But couldn't a prosperous North Korea be his downfall, too?—K.T.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, Nov. 17
The cover article explains why some critics are challenging mandatory-arrest policies for domestic abuse. Often arrest makes men more violent, not less—and since many women return to abusive husbands and boyfriends, that's something their advocates should worry about. A piece charts the evolution of the U.N. Security Council to its current, tricky role: having to rein in the United States while still keeping it on board. If the recent passage of the Iraq resolution is an indication, Washington is ultimately willing to compromise. A piece says Ritalin use is up among preschoolers, and the NIH has decided to do something about it: It's financing a controlled study of Ritalin's effects on 3- to 5-year-olds, which, depending on the results, may end up legitimizing the use of the drug by preschool-age kids.—K.T.

Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report

Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report, Nov.18
Both Newsweek and Time front coverage of the GOP's big wins on Election Day and hand the credit to President Bush and chief adviser Karl Rove. (The cover of U.S. News looks at the mysteries of menopause.) Time's cover story looks at the meticulous planning that led to last week's Republican gains—plotting that began in earnest the second Bush won the presidency in 2000. The wins attest to the extraordinary relationship between Bush and Rove, who is shaping up to be one of the most influential White House advisers in history. Newsweek's cover story credits Bush and Co.'s victory to an unprecedented mix of grass-roots politics, congressional policy–making, and global diplomacy. Yet Bush took very few chances. The White House secretly tested the favorability of potential Senate candidates before recruiting them. A U.S. News piece finds Democrats in disarray. As 2004 looms, some Dems already are trashing potential White House contenders like John Edwards and John Kerry as "would-be has-beens." A Time article says poll results show Sen. Paul Wellstone's politically charged memorial service backfired for Democrats not just in Minnesota, but nationally.

The New Yorker

The U.S. News cover story is billed as a complete guide to menopause, one of the most pressing health issues facing women today. Despite decades of research, no one can say for sure why women go through menopause. A Newsweek piece says the United States intended last week's Predator strike that killed a car full of al-Qaida operatives in Yemen as a message that terrorists are not safe anywhere "from the long reach of Uncle Sam." A Time article examines another pressing issue of the week: Why did Winona do it? Experts say even she might not know, since doctors still can't explain the impulse behind kleptomania.— H.B.

The New Yorker, Nov. 18
A "Talk of the Town"piece says the real casualty of last week's elections was the environment. With Republicans in control again, the Bush administration is on an unfettered path to rollback 30 years of work to protect the nation's air, water, and wilderness. An article by Nicholas Lemann examines the specifics of possible war in Iraq—and maybe North Korea. The Bush administration has been privately consulting with Clinton officials who contemplated a full-scale war against North Korea to rid it of nuclear weapons. The Clinton plan assumed there would be "at least tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of casualties." A piece by David Remnick looks at the possibility of Islamic democracy in Turkey. Can individuals accept Islam as a religion but also enjoy the benefits of a secular state?— H.B.

The Nation

The Nation, Nov. 25
The magazine pens a prescription to cure Democratic woes: "an aggressive agenda of reform measures—issues that may well be unwinnable today but that convey a forward-looking sense of what you get if you vote Democratic." A trio of articles calls for a shift leftward in the party and the ouster of its leaders. The Democrats' first test will be if they have the spine to filibuster the worst parts of Bush's agenda. A piece asks why the media became so indignant when Clinton lied about his sex life, but now is giving Bush a free ride when he lies about national policy. Bush has lied outright about Iraq's nuclear and missile-delivery capabilities, and the media refuse to call him on it.— J.F.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, Nov. 18
An article contends that Democrats are still plagued by the Clintonian "seemliness issue." The party's sly replacement of Robert Torricelli on the New Jersey ballot and its politicization of the Wellstone funeral left voters with a bad taste in their mouths. Nothing gets the Republican base fired up like when the other party seems to lack decency. A piece by John DiIulio says Republicans would be wise to interpret the midterm elections as a mandate for centrist government. The editorial says the U.N. inspections resolution is drawing us into a quagmire. Saddam will jerk inspectors around for a couple of months, granting just enough access to ensure the United States can't make a strong case that inspections failed. Two months from now, the authors ask, will we be willing to go to war over a couple of inspectors being turned away from a suspicious chemical factory?— J.F.

Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy, November/December 2002 The cover package looks at a handful of dominant 20th-century political ideas that have supposedly been relegated to history's dustbin. James Fallows says the military-industrial complex is just as threatening as it was when Eisenhower coined the term. Military brass is still too close to defense contractors, and useless equipment is still being purchased without careful consideration. An article offers high praise for President Bush's recent report on American national security strategy. Compared with the final NSS report of the Clinton administration, Bush's is surprisingly more multilateral, more Wilsonian, and more proactive. It's "the most important reformulation of U.S. grand strategy in over half a century." A survey of trans-Atlantic attitudes shows Americans and Europeans closer than you might expect on issues like the United Nations, globalization, and Iraq. But a very real trans-Atlantic gulf exists over Israel, defense spending, and the perceived severity of terrorist threats.— J.F.

Holly Bailey is a writer in Washington, D.C.

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.

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