Time, Jan. 26 The cover piece previews the 2008 presidential elections. With up to 20 possible candidates considering running and no incumbents, it will be "the most wide-open presidential race in generations." It will also be expensive: With so many contenders mobilizing, they'll have to raise even more money to be considered serious competitors. Some observers predict a race heavy on themes but light on policy solutions: "[V]oters ... insist on real substance, [but] they don't always get what they want," says Bruce Reed, a Slate contributor and the president of the Democratic Leadership Council. … Israeli settlements in the West Bank are obstacles to the peace process, says a piece. Most settlers live there "less out of any ideological fervor than because the housing is cheap," but some 70,000 of them consider the land theirs by birthright. That's why evacuation of the West Bank, like that of the Gaza Strip in 2005, could grow violent: "Olmert's biggest fear is Jews fighting Jews," says Gershom Gorenberg, an expert on settlements.— C.B.
Economist, Jan. 27 Despite the Bush administration's skeptical and plodding entry into the fray, America is quickly taking charge in the fight against global warming, according to the cover story. The unpopular Iraq war has sent the president grasping for safer ground, so he declared war against dirty energy during his State of the Union address. Bush's resolution and the crunchy new congressional leadership, promise to help nix oil-company tax cuts, lessen dependence on foreign oil, and cut carbon emissions. Grass-roots activists, farmers, evangelical Christians, and even red-state leaders are joining the cause. … A piece describes the situation on the ground in Guinea, where a general strike has shut down schools and government offices. A wealth of bauxite and diamonds is not translating into economic or political stability for the nation. Responsibility is being laid at the feet of President Lansana Conté, who has been accused of corruption. Critics are asking that he appoint a prime minister who can help form a unity government.— M.M.
New Republic, Feb. 5 Art critic Jed Perl vents his frustration with what he calls "laissez-faire aesthetics"—the belief among art collectors that "any experience that anyone can have with a work of art is equal to any other." Recent paintings by Lisa Yuskavage and John Currin are inconsistent in every way—except their evasion of meaning. Yet they still sell at "nosebleed prices." This new type of art isn't irreverent like Dadaism or Pop Art, though: "[Those] artists were mocking something. They had a target. … Laissez-faire aesthetics makes a mockery of nothing. Even irony is too much of an idea. It treats everything equally."… A piece dissects Sen. Barack Obama's appeal to whites. As Colin Powell's prospective presidential bid a decade ago suggested, whites like blacks who defy stereotypes, Peter Beinart writes. But Obama has it easier than Powell did, since racially loaded issues like welfare reform and crime—debates that could force him to alienate either whites or blacks—no longer define the national debate.— C.B.
New York Times Magazine, Jan. 28 The cover piece blasts "nutritionism," noting that as our dietary fads get more complicated, we get less healthy. Eating well is simple, the author argues: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." But since the 1980s, food industries like dairy and meat have benefited from an increased emphasis on nutrients that shifts the blame for health hazards away from the foods themselves. Instead of telling Americans to "reduce consumption of meat," a Senate Select Committee on Nutrition settled on a politically neutral alternative: "Choose meats, poultry and fish that will reduce saturated-fat intake."… A piece suggests Iranian support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be waning. In last month's elections, reformists won an estimated two-fifths of city-council seats; then, nearly half of the parliament's members signed a letter criticizing Ahmadinejad's economic policies. Many Iranians also fear his rhetoric on the Holocaust could seriously cost Iran: "[H]e doesn't think about the future or the consequences," says a man who voted for him. "He is a simple man."— C.B.
Washington Monthly, January and February The cover piece exhorts Democrats to seize the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" their new majority status grants them to introduce a public campaign-financing system. If Dems are serious about reforming Washington's "culture of corruption," they need to go after its roots: "Any system that uses corporate dollars to fund candidates' bids for office will, almost by definition, advantage the party that hews closest to corporate interests." But Democrats are reluctant to ask voters to foot the bill for campaigns—although some have suggested saddling lobbyists and political consultants with the fee—and some members of Congress fear it would advantage challengers over incumbents. … A piece examines how psychologists—a largely liberal group of professionals—came to support U.S. interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. Like any lobbying group, the American Psychological Association has policies it wants passed: The APA "has a vested interest in maintaining good relations with the Bush administration," said a former APA president.— C.B.
The New Yorker, Jan. 29
A piece examines the spate of assassinations targeting Russian dissidents. Thirteen journalists have been murdered in Russia since President Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999. But the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who reported on torture by pro-Russian squads in Chechnya, was particularly disturbing. The author calls her murder "at once unbelievable and utterly expected." Politkovskaya continued to report in spite of her family's entreaties: "We begged," her sister says. "My parents. Her editors. Her children. But she always answered the same way: 'How could I live with myself if I didn't write the truth?' "… A profile of Tiki Barber shows the former New York Giants running back preparing for his post-football existence. Barber seems ready to become a broadcaster in the mold of Jim Brown. But transcending his accomplishments on the field won't be easy: "Sometimes you get trapped in your own greatness," says former Giants running back Frank Gifford.— C.B.
Weekly Standard, Jan. 29 The cover piece blames the Duke University faculty for facilitating the "scandalous rush to judgment" in the lacrosse rape case. District Attorney Mike Nifong mishandled the case—he called the lacrosse players "hooligans" and appears to have suppressed some evidence—but the faculty "enabled Nifong," in the words of one dissenting professor. "He could say, 'I can go after these kids because these faculty agree with me.' " Duke's arts and sciences professors "went to town," dissecting the case from the perspective of "race, gender, class, and white male privilege"—themes the media picked up, too. … A piece examines the recent revelation that the State Department covered up Yasser Arafat's responsibility for the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan in 1973. After the murders, the United States publicly blamed Black September, a Palestinian terrorist organization. But documents released under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that Fatah, a wing of Arafat's PLO, ordered the hit.—C.B.
Newsweek, Jan. 29 The cover piece chronicles the time Shawn Hornbeck spent in the captivity of Michael Devlin, who was arrested last week for kidnapping Hornbeck and Ben Ownby. In retrospect, Devlin's neighbors recall signs of foul play: loud music, cries of pain, shouting. But none of it seemed worth reporting, and Hornbeck never complained. Child kidnappers "know how to create a paralyzing sense of fear so even when the captor is not present, the child feels he is omnipresent," says a psychology professor from Saint Louis University. … Attacks on aid workers in the Darfur region of Sudan could jeopardize the international aid effort, a piece reports. If violence against relief organizations like Doctors Without Borders continues, "the humanitarian community cannot indefinitely assure the survival of the population in Darfur," the United Nations announced this week. The Khartoum government has pledged support but, according to some NGOs, frequently denies work visas and travel permits.— C.B.
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