Today, Other Magazines reads the Economist, Time, the New York Times Magazine, Reason, and Granta to find out what's worth your time.
Should you be worried about the slumping dollar? The Economist cover sees all the signs of a "nasty crash" looming for the American currency and explains the ramifications.—B.F.
Best Politics Piece
An article in the December issue of Reason argues that Democrats should emulate Moorfield Storey, a libertarian lawyer who died in 1929, and reclaim their reputations as socially tolerant, tough-on-government libertarians. Storey's positions are as right now as they were then: "[H]e led opposition to a costly and unnecessary war, he stood against collectivism and racism, and he championed individual rights in every sphere of life."—D.S.
Best International Piece
An article in the December issue of Reason uncovers the "tyrannical roots" of China's international adoption program, namely the country's "one-child" law that has resulted in millions of unwanted girls. The situation has been rewarding for American families looking to adopt overseas, but "it will be a true victory for liberty when such heartwarming stories stop appearing on newsstands and bookshelves."—D.S.
Best Business Piece
"Lured by immense patient populations ailing from both chronic and infectious diseases," large pharmaceutical companies are favoring China as a testing ground for new drugs, Time notes. Some worry about intellectual property protection and tainted products, but others consider these doubts old-fashioned.—E.G.
Best Science Piece
The New York Times Magazine enters the unlikely fray between stray-cat lovers and birders. Birders fret that cats are contributing to the decimation of wild bird populations, and cat lovers, well, really like cats. Stakes have been raised to absurd levels by both sides seeking to protect "their" wildlife.—J.M.
Best Health Piece
Time reports on the debate surrounding sensory processing disorder, an ailment frequently treated by occupational therapists but still unrecognized by the DSM-IV. The disorder is characterized by "difficulty handling information that comes in through the senses" and is distinct from ADHD and autism, which often include similar symptoms.—E.G.
Granta publishes an excerpt from Gomorrah, undercover journalist Roberto Saviano's upcoming book about the Neapolitan mafia.—M.S.
Best Historical Perspective
The New York Times Magazine notices that the Library of Congress will unveil a 500-year-old map believed to be the first printed appearance of the word America and ponders the term's history and meaning in a fascinating tale of collective mythology, skewed history, "giants, cannibals, and sexually insatiable females."—J.M.
Best Christmas Piece
A column in Reason's December issue humorously identifies a new aspect of the war on Christmas—"pop culture's war on secularists"—observing that even nonreligious Americans have a deep affection for the Christmas holiday. Atheists, the writer argues, should embrace our modern, inclusive definitions of the holiday and fill their stockings "with atheist junk that's as gloriously profane as the junk blessed by Jesus."—D.S.
Best Photo Spread
Granta presents a series of color photographs taken by Joel Sternfield during the 1970s that prove "in thirty years, though styles of clothing may have changed, little else is significantly different; we can still feel the energy of the street, as well as the familiar sense of communal desperation."—M.S.
Best Vice Piece
The Economist assesses a publicity war in California between a band of five Native American tribes looking to expand their casinos in exchange for paying more state taxes and their opponents, including the "No on the Unfair Gambling Deals" group, who say the new deal is unfair.—B.F.
In an interview with Time, romance novelist Nora Roberts says of her books, "They're not just about naked pirates, although what's wrong with a naked pirate now and again?"—E.G.