What's new in the Economist, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Sept. 15 2006 5:45 PM

Thinking Globally

Why Japan and India might cozy up to the U.S.

The Economist.

Economist, Sept. 16 The cover package probes the implications of globalization for the wealthiest countries. The U.N. Security Council roster will need updating, China's rise may push Japan and India further toward the United States, and outsourcing will only increase—all "the problems of success." The U.S. government must revamp its economic policy, as "the developing countries will not be prepared to go on financing America's massive current-account deficit for much longer." Conservative Party leader David Cameron deserves much of the credit for Tony Blair's downfall, a piece argues. But the main beneficiary will be Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is all but crowned, according to the piece. Still, Brown denies foreknowledge of the Labor rebellion: "Unfortunately for the chancellor, few, especially those close to Mr Blair, are inclined to believe his protestations of innocence."—C.B.

New York TImes Magazine.
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New York Times Magazine, Sept. 17 A cover piece recounts one warden's efforts to ease tensions between guards and prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. During his yearlong tenure, Col. Mike Bumgarner had one goal: to run a peaceful camp. But his concessions to detainees—he granted requests to dim the lights at night and refrain from blasting the national anthem during prayer—irked military intelligence units determined to withhold such "privileges" as incentive to talk. Dozens of hunger strikes and three suicides later, Bumgarner wondered if he had been too lenient: "We tried to improve their lives to the extent that we can—to the point that we may have gone overboard, not recognizing the real nature of who we're dealing with." A profile of French director Michel Gondry exposes the roots of his creativity: hopeless romanticism. His work, which includes Björk music videos and the upcoming The Science of Sleep, depicts love through a childlike kaleidoscope: "When people want to criticize me, they call me puerile," he says.—C.B.

New York Magazine.

New York, Sept. 18 Tepid Democrat Kurt Andersen is thrilled that the odds favor his party in November. However, Anderson's elation doesn't flow out of party loyalty but out of "a ferocious wish to see the Bush administration get a beatdown from voters across the country." It's not good to be Bill Keller these days: The embattled New York Times executive editor has colleagues, critics, readers, and even the White House on his case, but according to an article, at least one employee has got his back: "[W]hen you're sailing through a shit storm, it really helps if the captain is steady and strong. You know, our ship may be leaking, but we ain't going to go under on his watch," says Times' reporter David Barstow. An investigation tries to crack one of the city's greatest mysteries: Who gets rent-controlled apartments in New York? Well, if you're an ex-junkie carpenter from the former Czechoslovakia with a penchant for attacking refrigerators with ice picks, you just might be in luck.— Z.K.

The New Yorker.

The New Yorker, Sept. 18 David Remnick profiles Bill Clinton and discovers that Clinton is consciously trying to form a post-presidential legacy through his diplomatic efforts and his work against AIDS and other diseases, possibly in an effort to overcome some of the negativity associated with his time in office. "Clinton evidently sees himself as an exemplary blend of idealist and political roughneck, someone who never stood down from the cheap attacks, impeachment included," Remnick concludes. Clinton also spends a lot of time supporting his wife and her possible presidential run. "The way he sees it, George W. Bush and the United States Supreme Court denied him the legacy he deserved. Perhaps the wife who supported his every triumph and lifted him up after every fall, the wife he humiliated and nearly lost in 1998, will be the one to provide it."— D.S.  

The Weekly Standard.

Weekly Standard, Sept. 18 An article reposted to the magazine's Web site pays tribute to those who serve as "goodwill ambassadors" at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pa. These volunteers, who are at the memorial site seven days a week, all year round, serve as curators, tour guides, groundskeepers, therapists, and spiritual counselors to those who make the pilgrimage out to western Pennsylvania. What motivates them to go out in cold weather just in case a visitor should happen by? Says one ambassador: "I guess if that was my family member that had died, I would want somebody to care enough to be here, to watch over them." An article reviews a speech on ethics given by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The speech surpised the author on two fronts: Khatami is quite the student of American history, but overall the speech lacked the anti-American smack talk many expected Khatami to deliver.—Z.K.

Time.

Time, Sept. 18 The new "Prosperity Theology" teaches not only that riches and piety are compatible, but that God wants Christians to be wealthy, the cover piece reports. Gone is the notion of poverty as a virtue: Rather than ask the question, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" many Christians are wondering, "Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?" Best-selling author and "megapastor" Rick Warren calls the theory "baloney": "It's creating a false idol. You don't measure your self-worth by your net worth." National security may no longer be the sure-fire campaign winner for Republicans it was in 2002 and 2004, according to a piece. Democrats have finally learned how to fight back, leveling an assault on the White House's handling of the Iraq war. Some Republicans, too, are distancing themselves from Bush. One GOP candidate's campaign literature reads: "America needs a better, smarter plan in Iraq." Meanwhile, Bush is scrambling to make sure perceptions of a failed war in Iraq don't bleed into his record in the war on terror.—C.B.

Newsweek.

Newsweek, Sept. 18 A cover piece investigates behind-the-scenes drama at Hewlett-Packard. After repeated leaks to the press about a board retreat and the company's long-term strategy, HP Chairman Patricia Dunn hired private investigators to spy on board members through "pretexting," or impersonating the directors to obtain their phone records. With no indication whether pretexting is illegal, it's unclear whether Dunn will be forgiven or forced to resign. A piece examines the online game World of Warcraft. With 7 million users and $300 million in profits, the game has become a society unto itself. "Warcraft is the new golf," one user says. "I actually closed a deal with a company I met through [World of Warcraft]." Real-world morality has begun to seep into the virtual realm—some players have even held funerals for fallen comrades. But the addictive aspect of "Warcrack" can hurt users; one girl reportedly died from exhaustion after bingeing for several days.—C.B.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

Zuzanna Kobrzynski is Slate's executive assistant.

Doree Shafrir is the executive editor at Buzzfeed.

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