Economist, Jan. 19 Iran is ripe for revolution, according to a special report. Ruled by religious despots just itching to slap together a nuclear bomb, the "Iranian government is annoying," says the article, which also claims that it's time for the people to reclaim their land from extremist leaders and Dr. Strangelove. "Surely it will be the next country to see a magnificently nonviolent, colour-coded, do-it-yourself regime change?" The article details populist revolts from the past century on which Iran can model its uprising. … A piece finds that more stringent admission standards at the City University of New York have created a window into what American higher education could be for smart students without big bucks to shell out for school. … A story details China's efforts to engage economically in Africa. But China's murky human-rights record, coupled with widespread social and health problems in Africa, has other countries worried. "European governments are increasingly concerned at China's involvement, because it undermines their own efforts to tie trade and aid to human rights, and to help Africa overcome corruption."—M.M.
New Republic, Jan. 30 An article by Franklin Foer details Jack Abramoff's career as a twentysomething Hollywood producer who gained the ire of the anti-apartheid movement. His film, Red Scorpion, is the story of an anti-Communist rebel—modeled on Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi, darling of Reagan-era conservatives—and the Soviet-trained assassin who comes to sympathize with him. To finance the project, Abramoff enlisted the support of foreign investors—including South African ones, despite anti-apartheid trade embargoes. Abramoff angered Warner Bros. and the film bombed, but he went on to make a sequel. … An article by Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon addresses the ambiguity of anti-corruption laws as prosecutors hone in on Jack Abramoff's former associates. Currently, a federal statute from 1853 covers bribes and gratuities of public officials. The Anti-Racketeering Act of 1934 also can be invoked, if an official appears to have "defraud[ed] the public." The broadness of the laws means that prosecutors have much leeway, and defense lawyers say this leads to inconsistent prosecutions.— S.S.
New York, Jan. 23 The magazine profiles William F. Weld, the local boy who went on to become Massachusetts' engaging and sometimes tipsy governor, as he returns home to run for New York's gubernatorial seat. At a campaign stop, Weld charms upstate Republicans with his quick wit and saucy repartee, but the author predicts that even if Weld can survive a primary challenge from billionaire Tom Golisano, "A general-election victory is harder to see."… As the second-lowest-ranking Democrat on the judiciary committee, Sen. Charles Schumer's "forceful and effective" interrogation of Samuel Alito, which revealed his committee elders to be "befuddled, toothless gasbags," positions Schumer well on his path "from New York's favorite schlepper senator to national Democratic macher,"observes an article. His successful stewardship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and his acknowledgment that New Deal-style politics no longer cut it with the public should leave Democrats hoping "that his ascension continues."—Z.K.
New York Times Magazine, Jan. 22 The cover story explores animal-personality studies and features some unnerving anthropomorphic artwork. Dogs may not be the only animals who display sadness, jealousy, and other emotions previously believed to be human domain. Scientists claim to have observed curiosity, shyness, and lechery in animals such as octopuses and hyenas. The study of bestial temperament is moving away from behaviorism and toward the uncharted territory of animal psychology, enriching the study of human emotion in the process. … The son of a doctor who was demonized for performing abortions writes about the war zone that enveloped his father's practice during the mid-1990s heyday of anti-abortion extremism: The doctor received death threats, and a colleague was murdered for performing abortions. Though right-to-life killings have decreased, the author cautions that Roe v. Wade may still be under siege in light of the new, "seemingly more skeptical" Supreme Court.—M.M.
The New Yorker, Jan. 23 and 30 An article by Dan Baum follows a Peruvian winner of the green-card lottery from a copper mine in Lima to a bakery in upstate New York. Officially called the Diversity Visa Program, the lottery has its roots in an attempt to increase the number of white immigrants to America. The program brings the possibility of the "American Dream" to 50,000 randomly selected applicants each year. "That a carpet installer or pipe fitter in Ouagadougou or Yerevan who would otherwise have no hope of emigrating might suddenly be handed a green card is a notion as powerful as that of the orphan who becomes President."… An Israeli journalist for Ha'aretz reminisces on his six-year relationship with Ariel Sharon. After first visiting with Sharon in 1999 at his ranch in the western Negev, the author found his thinking "not analytical but intuitive" and dubbed him the "samurai of Zionism." Over the next six years, the author observed Sharon's political evolution first-hand in a series of long interviews.—S.S.
Weekly Standard, Jan. 23
A meditation on Catholicism's influence in America, on the cusp on Samuel Alito's probable confirmation to the Supreme Court, remarks that the recent church scandals involving priestly pederasty and other clerical crimes have had an inverse effect, noting "a connection between the rising rhetorical influence of Catholicism and the declining political influence of the Church." This can be chalked up to the fact that "A Catholic philosophical vocabulary is allowed to express a moral seriousness the nation needs, on the guarantee that the Catholic Church itself will not matter much politically."… William Kristol's editorial insists the administration not shy away from using military force should Iran's nuclear bellicosity continue. Iraq has not turned out to be the cakewalk the administration predicted, but "[o]ur adversaries cannot be allowed to believe that, because some of the intelligence on Iraq was bad, or because the insurgency in Iraq has been difficult, we will be at all intimidated from taking the necessary steps against the current regime in Tehran."–Z.K.
Time and Newsweek, Jan. 23 Boomers: A Newsweek piece uses the occasion of former President Clinton's upcoming birthday to examine the baby boomer generation at 60 and ask if it can accomplish a goal fellow boomer President Bush set when he said, "Our generation has a chance to show that we have grown up before we grow old." The article hypothesizes that the intellectual seeds of modern American liberalism and conservatism were sown on the hallowed grounds of Yale. The story pits alumni Clinton and Bush against each other in the battle for political and ideological supremacy. "Far from being monolithically 'liberal,' the boomer generation's political story is about two youth movements in competition—each inspired by 'freedom,' but by differing interpretations and strategies for protecting it."… Meanwhile, a Time story looks at aging boomers who are nursing drug addictions that began with experimentation in the free-wheeling 1960s and never ended: A study indicates that 1.7 million Americans over 50 were abusing drugs in 2001, a number that may grow to 4.4 million by 2020.
Bode Miller: The rugged visage of skiing superstar Bode Miller graces the covers of both newsweeklies. Reflecting on Miller's recent 60 Minutes interview in which he conceded he'd skied "wasted," Newsweek points out, "Bode opened his big mouth and gave this snowy carnival something it dearly needs: serious heat." More important, according to Time, Miller brings integrity to his sport. He competes to improve, not just to win, and shares his innovations with the rest of the field. "In a world where winners get endorsements and losers work for the ski patrol, Miller actually believes in that old Olympic canard that it's playing the game that counts."—M.M.