Weekly Standard, Aug. 1 Fred Barnes describes the method by which President Bush chose John Roberts as his Supreme Court nominee, explaining that picking "another Souter" was a primary fear among Republicans. Justice David Souter, selected by the elder President Bush in 1990, has proved to be liberal in his decisions. This time around, the White House was explicit in asking the candidates about their political orientation. "I'm glad we had Souter-phobia," said one aide to the president. "If we hadn't asked these questions about judicial philosophy and the view of the court's role, the nominee wouldn't have been John Roberts."… Irwin Stelzer criticizes Tony Blair's reaction to the London bombings as a criminal concern and not an act of war. "So British policy remains," he laments. "Easy entry for potential terrorists; benefits for them while they are in the country; and relative safety from deportation and detention as enemy combatants."—L.W.
The New Yorker, Aug. 1
John Cassidy's profile of tax reformer Grover Norquist shows the path by which he has become the "ringleader, visionary, and enforcer" for conservatives. An admirer of Newt Gingrich and close to Karl Rove and Jack Abramoff, Norquist hosts a Wednesday morning gathering of congressmen, staffers, and lobbyists that has led one friend to christen him "the Grand Central Station of conservatives." Now facing allegations that his tax-reform group served as an intermediary for large sums of money from Indian tribes dealing with Abramoff, Norquist denies wrongdoing but is facing attacks from his own party. … Jonathan Rosen profiles Henry Roth, the author plagued by writer's block for decades after writing his now-classic immigrants' tale, Call It Sleep. Rosen explains, "The reasons for Roth's monumental block—which include but are not limited to Communism, Jewish self-loathing, incest, and depression—are ultimately as mysterious as the reasons for his art and are in some ways inseparable from them."—L.W.
Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Aug. 1 John Roberts: All three newsmagazines poke at President Bush's Supreme Court nominee to assess who he is and how he thinks. While some have focused on the fact that Roberts clerked for Justice William Rehnquist, Newsweek claims that Henry Friendly ("perhaps the greatest appeals-court judge of the 20th century" and "intellectually honest, almost brutally so") influenced Roberts much more. The piece also notes that Roberts is a P.G. Wodehouse fan, and that his wife Jane's membership in a "low-key" pro-life group is unlikely to influence how he votes on abortion. U.S. News plays up Roberts' conservatism a little more, suggesting that his "unswerving support for Bush administration policy may provide one of his toughest challenges on Capitol Hill."Time notes that Roberts is a rarity—an ambidextrous squash player. "I've played [squash] with a lot of people over the years, including Scalia," says a friend, "and John is the only one I know who can do that."
Terrorism:Newsweek reads much into the story of a man who survived the London bombings and escaped for a holiday—only to witness the Sharm al-Sheikh car bombings in Egypt. Claiming that the goal of this new wave of attacks is to make everyone to feel unsafe, the piece quotes a member of Britain's Royal Military College of Science as saying that the attacks are "purely nihilistic." … U.S. News devotes its cover to the Pentagon's updated approach to fighting terrorism, citing a soon-to-be-released report. The plan recognizes "extremist Sunni and Shia movements that exploit Islam for political ends"—and not just al-Qaida—as the "primary enemy," and targets about 24 groups. It also "lays out a detailed road map for prosecuting [the war on terror], and establishes a score card to determine where and whether progress is being made." …Time reports that some insurgents have allegedly infiltrated the Iraqi Police Service.
Odds and ends:Time's cover focuses on the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and examines the nuclear threat today. Michael Elliott writes, "It is the global terrorist threat that has made this the least predictable moment since the dawn of the nuclear age." Another piece explores the conflict between long-term residents of Danbury, Conn., and new immigrants from Ecuador over "ecuavolley," a form of volleyball. The Ecuadoreans have built "backyard courts all over town, some big enough to accommodate up to 150 fans and players," but the town's original residents say that that game encourages prostitution, drinking, and gambling. …Newsweek interviews director David Lynch, who is trying to raise $7 billion to fund his Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education. Lynch speaks out against war, emphasizes the need for "8000 peace-creating experts" who would function as a "factory" for peace, and wants to "train any U.S. child who wants to learn how to practice Transcendental Meditation."—B.B.
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself.
iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything
It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.