Economist, Dec. 3 The cover is devoted to a special report on Canada's January elections. A leader argues that, despite its virtues, the government is on the rocks right now. It has made little progress on necessary reforms, and economic growth has slowed. The magazine hopes that the minority Conservative Party will fare well in the coming elections but is pessimistic: Polls and the record show that only the moribund Liberal Party has nationwide appeal. The Conservatives enjoy support in the West, and Quebecois separatists are again gaining strength. … An article on President Bush's immigration plan praises his approach—better border enforcement combined with a guest-worker program—but emphasizes that the second prong is the important one. Much has been written about the political obstacles to the guest-worker plan, which critics have labeled "amnesty." But, though an overwhelming percentage of Americans want the U.S. to clamp down on illegal immigration, a recent study found that 72 percent of Republicans approved of a plan like Bush's.—B.W.
New Republic, Dec. 12 Extolling Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for ensuring that the "safety of Israel and its citizens is no longer up for grabs," an editorial applauds his jump from the Likud party: "Sharon's decision to leave the Likud has liberated him and the Israeli public from the blackmail of Jewish irreconcilables." Most significant is the interest in his new centrist party, Kadima, by such figures as the head of Israel's Islamic Movement, as this represents "a move of the center in bother spirit in substance."… Another article wonders whether Sharon's new party is just a passing fancy for Israeli voters, since centrist parties have notoriously brief shelf lives in Israeli politics. According to the latest polls, Kadima is ahead of the pack and will most like remain so because even if Sharon "fails to articulate a clear centrist message, he can allow his presence to convey the steadiness and maturity that Israeli votes crave in a time of uncertainty."— Z.K.
Nation, Dec. 19 Although Democrats lost the 2004 presidential race, an article reports progressives have a reason to think positive: the grass-roots campaign infrastructure established by 527 organizations such as America Coming Together and Democracy for America, upon which they can rejuvenate their faction. Rather than working on behalf of the Democratic Party, progressives should focus on building a true movement, the article says. Unlike political parties, a movement encompasses a "vision of political and social order more just, more human and more democratic."… On the heels of a report that George W. Bush "floated the idea of bombing Al Jazeera's international headquarters in Qatar," an article accuses the administration of launching a jihad against the channel. Tallying such offenses as detaining journalists in U.S. military prisons and bombing Al Jazeera's post in Afghanistan, the article chides the media for keeping mum: "The war against Al Jazeera and other embedded journalists has been conducted with far too little outcry."— Z.K.
New York, Dec. 5 On the heels of Nightline anchor Ted Koppel's retirement, an article reveals that Koppel did not go gentle into that good night. "[H]e's pissed," says a friend. Now Koppel is starting up a production group with longtime Nightline producer Tom Bettag; their next project maybe a show called The F-ing Media. … In light of the retirements of legendary anchors Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, and the death of Peter Jennings, an article assesses the chances of the upstarts who are vying to be the next "voice of God" behind the (not so influential anymore) network anchor desk. The article baptizes Anderson Cooper as the industry's gray white hope. ... An article chronicles the descent of Peter Braunstein, who is suspected of posing as a fireman to gain entry into a woman's home on Halloween night before assaulting her. Braunstein went from being a gainfully employed magazine writer and Ph.D. candidate to an emotionally unstable, obsessive, failed playwright on the lam.—Z.K.
New York Times Magazine, Dec. 4 An article about the clash between native Germans and a "Muslim parallel society" faults both sides for failing to protect young Muslim women. Concerned that their daughters are "too German," families marry them off at young ages to keep them inside the cultural bubble. After several young women were murdered in so-called honor killings for disobeying their families, Germans are wrestling with when to interfere out of respect for "the protection of basic human and civil rights for all citizens of all ethnic backgrounds."… Another article asks if "mental-health checkups" can help prevent suicides. One such checkup is TeenScreen, a controversial questionnaire developed by a psychiatrist to detect depression and substance abuse. Last year, 122,000 students took it. Some think that it amounts to government intrusion, and with as many as 30 percent of the test-takers requiring additional screening, limited school resources are also a concern. But, the article says,"[I]f schools don't try to find [suicidal teenagers], it's not clear who will."—T.B.
The New Yorker, Dec. 5 The cover story is pessimistic about the war in Iraq, saying military officials are "deeply frustrated" with President Bush's reluctance to hear criticism. They are concerned that after a withdrawal, Iraqi forces might "settle old scores" with airpower by bombing enemies. One expert hopes Iraqis will use airpower to keep secured areas safe. Otherwise, more civilian deaths could strengthen the insurgency. "Replacing boots on the ground with airpower didn't work in Vietnam, did it?" an airpower specialist asks in the article, questioning whether air strikes will successfully contain insurgents after a withdrawal. … An article looks at the just-concluded trial over the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pa., and finds that even some intelligent design proponents think that it does not belong in a classroom. "Don't teach intelligent design. There's no curriculum developed for it. Your teachers are likely to be hostile towards it," one I.D. enthusiast said recently.—T.B.
Time and Newsweek, Dec. 5
Health matters: Newsweek reports that children as young as 9 are being diagnosed with anorexia. Researchers cannot account for the increase in such early-onset cases, but they have made significant advances in discovering the cause and treating the illness: Environment and genetics both appear to play a role, and the best treatment for child anorexics seems to be a home-based model, where the child's family monitors food intake and habits. … Time assesses this year's medical advances and notes, "At the end of 2005, the world may not be an appreciably healthier place than it was at the end of 2004, but with new drugs rolling out, new techniques being tried and new initiatives being launched, our tools are better than ever. Now we must learn how to put them to good use." Another article offers up an index to these new drugs, techniques, and initiatives.
War and politics: A commentary by Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria attributes the current withdrawal chatter to partisan machinations. Noting that the situation in Iraq has been status quo for about a year or so (in some instances conditions have actually improved), Zakaria says that Democrats are "trying to draw blood" because of President Bush's low approval ratings. Zakaria suggests officials should think about "not the exit, but the strategy." … Another article notes that, "just as the debate over what to do about Iraq has reached a shrill climax on Capitol Hill, the Bush administration has, at long last, quietly developed a coordinated, coherent strategy on the ground." That strategy involves "U.S. forces trying to give more responsibility to their Iraqi counterparts." Another Time article chronicles the work of an Army platoon known as the Blue Soldiers in ridding Ramadi of al-Qaida terrorists. On the heels of what some are calling a "mini Tet offensive" launched by operatives, its brigade commander says, "We are not pulling out of here." … And, finally, a Newsweek article reveals that Democrats are recruiting Iraq war vets to run for office in order to shore up their credibility on national security.—Z.K.
Weekly Standard, Dec. 5 The cover story objects to the blanket ban on torture proposed by Sen. John McCain. "Torture is not always impermissible," the article says, suggesting that torture is "moral" under two scenarios: the "ticking time bomb"—when a suspect in custody has knowledge about a soon-to-happen attack—and the capture of a "slow-fuse high-level terrorist" who may have information about terrorist organizations. "[T]he moral preening and the phony arguments can stop now … in two very circumscribed circumstances, we must all be prepared to torture," the article says. … "Get out your sweaters," says an article warning that natural gas prices might leave consumers cold this winter. Calling House Republicans' decision not to push for gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge "near dementia," the article connects natural gas's downfall to price controls and concludes, "It is hard to imagine this country having any kind of industrial future without a revival of nuclear power."—T.B.