New Republic, Feb. 2 The Democrats running for president shared a stage at a recent pro-choice rally, and a story hilariously susses out their new roles. So far, the playbill has Howard Dean as Bill Bradley (he's inherited a number of Bradley staffers and is "electrifying" voters in New England), and John Kerry (whose campaign is chock-a-block with former Gore-sters) playing Al. "When Gore decided not to run, a Kerry aide argued that it would hurt Dean the most because Dean needed an establishment foil to run against. Kerry is becoming that foil."… No one knows exactly how many people froze their keisters off while protesting war last weekend, and a piece explains why: The National Parks Service used to count using aerial photographs, but after a series of lawsuits, they grounded their helicopters. … An editorial joins the chorus intoning that exile for Saddam is a bad idea: The "acceptance of a post-Saddam dictator would rightly be seen by Iraqis struggling for freedom as yet another U.S. betrayal."— J.T.
Economist, Jan. 25 The cover story is reservedly optimistic about peace prospects in Israel. With a victory in Iraq under his belt, Bush will have the incentive to turn his attention to the Palestinian conflict and the leverage to make a solution work. … A collection of articles looks at the dilemmas of living in an "Internet society."… One piece argues that the Web is poised to turn America into more of an Athenian-style direct democracy. We're already accustomed to logging on and voting our opinions about the last episode of The Sopranos. We're coming to expect the same right to referenda on tax cuts and the like. … Another article claims the Internet may be more of a help to authoritarian regimes than a hindrance. Countries like China use filters to keep their populace from the Web sites they find objectionable, and at the same time they can keep an eye on who's Google-searching "death+to+communism."— J.F.
PC Gamer, February 2003 For the hawk too risk-averse or out-of-shape to enlist, the magazine previews 15 combat games to satisfy a war jones. … Black Hawk Down lets you re-enact the infamous Mogadishu firefight with a "true-to-the-movie feeling of total madness."… The politically fraught premise of Söldner: Secret Wars is that in the year 2010, the United States has lost its will to be world cop. In this war-torn world, you head a crack team of German mercenaries that sells its services to the highest bidder. In one mission, Japan hires you to blow up a Siberian nuclear reactor. … The graphics and gameplay in the U.S. Army's own commercially successful shoot-'em-up game, America's Army, benefit from the DOD's deep pockets. The new version, to be released in the spring, will introduce noncombatants into mission scenarios and will send you through "spotter school" to learn how to call in virtual airstrikes.— J.F.
New York Times Magazine, Jan. 26
Dubya's left nostril scores substantial attention on the cover (very small pores, our president has), and his "radical presidency" gets a detailed examination inside. The claim: Bush may be G.H.W.'s son, but politically, he's "Reagan Jr." He, too, strikes an emotional chord with moderate voters; is mistakenly written off as a bumbler by his critics; has confidence enough to hire smart advisers; and is committed to the aggressive use of American power. More critically, despite his narrow election, "Bush, like Reagan, seems to believe that presidents make their own mandates," which is why he may be as successful as Reagan in advancing a radically conservative agenda. (Though Washington Monthly pointed out recently that the Gipper's success on that front was limited.) … In a wry essay, Gordon Marino defends his days as a pushy sports dad. Though his antics included breaking a bat at the sight of a son's wild pitch, his kids turned out fine, and he makes the case that encouraging children to work hard at sports is the same as pushing them to study or practice the violin.— J.T.
Time, Jan. 27
The cover hawks a "special report" on Donald Rumsfeld and his plans for war. Critics in the military say Rummy's a quibbling micromanager. Supporters counter that he's a challenging visionary, pushing the armed forces to think creatively about how to win in Iraq. (Hence the griping from "hundreds of one-star generals," one Pentagon source implies.) So, what is this revolutionary plan? Rumsfeld advocates using fewer troops and more high-tech weapons and special-forces units. He also wants to accelerate the pace of the ground war, says Time: "U.S. tanks and other armored vehicles should race ahead of their supply lines toward Baghdad in days, if not hours, instead of maintaining a moderate pace to allow slower fuel trucks to keep up." Unanswered question: What would tanks do in Baghdad with no fuel? … A notebook piece juxtaposes Bush's recent criticism of Trent Lott with his decision to revive the presidential practice of sending a wreath to Jefferson Davis' grave on Memorial Day.— J.T.
Newsweek, Jan. 27 A cover package examines Bush's decision to wade into the muddy waters of affirmative action. One piece argues that he's just going to end up covered in muck: "Especially for Bush, affirmative action is a no-win issue," since his stance may put off minority voters who will be key to his re-election effort, and will please only conservative whites who already think Bush is the tops. … An update on Sony doesn't quite read like a pep squad cheer, but you can hear the faint rustle of pompoms. The piece describes the daunting array of problems facing the company that makes its money from the sales of both copyrighted material and digital gizmos that can violate those copyrights, but quotes executives who are still arguing that synergy is the answer. This month's Wired piece on the company was far less optimistic. … Choice morsel: A New Hampshire Democrat dismissing John Edwards as too Clintonesque: "Elvis lives!"— J.T.
The New Yorker, Jan. 27 A sharp piece on North Korea describes what the Bush administration knew and when. A CIA report circulated in June argued that North Korea is developing the capacity to produce weapons-grade uranium, and that Pakistan has been lending a hand by sharing its technological know-how in exchange for North Korean missiles. Bush's reluctance to engage Pyongyang may stem from his desire not to upset the United States' relationship with Pakistan. An unnamed intelligence official also argues that White House talk of a quick settlement with Kim Jong-il is only temporary: Bush and Cheney are "going to get this guy after Iraq. He's their version of Hitler."… An article on two recent free-speech debacles at Harvard reconstructs each in painstaking detail. The concern of all on campus, says Alan Dershowitz, runs counter to what students will find in the real world: "It's not a place where our adult students should be running to Mommy and Daddy Dean and saying, 'Please protect us from racist speech.' "— J.T.
Weekly Standard, Jan. 27 The cover story says Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist is an emblem of the GOP's new "modernized patrician class." Unlike the old guard of Gingrich, Armey, and Lott, Frist is a "country club Republican" bred with all the trappings of aristocracy. His upbringing raises contrasts: He's refined without being snobbish, conservative and yet compassionate, ambitious but also a do-gooder. … A piece introduces Rep. Eric Cantor, R.-Va., the only member of the House who's pro-life, pro-guns, and doesn't mix milk and meat. House Republicans hope that their lone Jew, recently made chief deputy to the majority whip, can help bring more Jews into the party fold. … An article scoffs at the public outcry over a Pentagon program to mine commercial and government databases for suspicious, terroristlike activities. Attacks on the program are always vague and unduly alarmist, says the article. They pretend 9/11 didn't happen and never propose an alternative means of keeping America safe.— J.F.