Today, Other Magazines reads the Economist, Time, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and Texas Monthly to find out what's worth your time—and what's not.
The New York Times Magazine cover story is a sobering crash course on upcoming global power shifts. The piece argues that "twenty-first century geopolitics will resemble nothing more than Orwell's 1984," with a Big Three of the United States, China, and the European Union competing for the loyalties and resources of the second world. Khanna's prescription for how America—an already failed empire, he says—can stay afloat includes the creation of a "diplomatic-industrial complex."—N.M.
Best Economics Article
In a cover package on the worldwide market downturn, the Economist argues that federal regulators are acting with "ill-judged panic" rather than "swift prudence." Spooked by the economic situation, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is trying to chase "the market's tail" with accelerated interest rate cuts. Although the cuts may very well boost the economy, the Fed is wrong to identify itself so closely with "short-term movements on Wall street."—J.L.
In Time, founding Slate EditorMichael Kinsley explains why a stimulus package is the wrong way to fix the ailing U.S. economy. In a country where people spend more than they have, Kinsley equates the recently proposed congressional stimulus package to curing a hangover by pouring yourself another cocktail.—A.J.
Best Campaign-Trail Tip
The New York Times Magazine offers some advice to presidential candidates promising a return to America's economic glory days: Snap out of it already. The new economy we've been promised is here, and the old solutions (tax cuts, easing regulations to boost manufacturing) just don't cut it anymore.—N.M.
Best Demographics Piece
A column in Time dispels the myth that Hispanic voters will not vote for an African-American candidate. The piece points out that numerous black public officials have been elected from districts that are heavily Hispanic. It also chides the media for adopting this thesis without considering that Latino voters may have simply preferred the alternative candidates.—A.J.
Most Damaging Political Article
The New Republic examines the charges of racism leveled against Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. The piece reviews articles published in Paul's newsletters and finds numerous examples of bigoted speech targeted at blacks, Jews, and gays. Paul's campaign claims the candidate did not author or approve all of the articles in the newsletters.—A.J.
Best Political Profile
Set upon the backdrop of his victory in the hypothetical 2018 Texas gubernatorial race, Texas Monthly profiles Rafael Anchía. The article uses the popular Texas state representative as a vehicle to ask the larger question in Texas politics: When will a Hispanic lead the lone star state? According to some demographic studies that show Hispanics becoming the majority in Texas by 2020, the answer may be sooner than we think, and Anchía is an example of up and coming Hispanic lawmakers who will lead the way.—A.J.
Best Health-Care Piece
A short Economist article argues that Bush's Medicare reform, Part D, "is hugely costly" and inefficient. The public is subsidizing "the marketing expenses of pharmaceutical companies" instead of cutting costs by providing insurance directly, and "some private firms have been caught manipulating the elderly into signing up for inappropriate plans." All told, Part D is bad news for senior citizens—and for the long-term health of Medicare.—J.L.
Best Science Piece
Time reports that Craig Venter, who is most famous for beating the government in the race to map the human genome, has taken his love of genetics one step further. Venter's most recent accomplishment: creating a completely new, man-made genome that has the potential to sustain life in single-celled organisms. Venter's discovery could, perhaps, lead to new drugs and vaccines, improved biofuels, and perhaps even a "zoo of man-made creatures!"—A.J.
Best Food Journalism
Texas Monthly asked 50 of the state's hottest chefs and restaurateurs about the trends that will define the state's culinary scene in the upcoming years. David Bull of the Dallas restaurant Bolla says, "Watch for healthy, high-end fast food. You will be able to get your seared ahi tuna salad on arugula through a pickup window."—A.J.
Most Unexpected Environmental Piece
The New Republic reports on the television show 24's attempts to go green. Despite difficulties presented by the eye-popping pyrotechnics and the extensive transportation costs of the traveling set, the show hopes to be carbon neutral by the time it films its series finale. The largest obstacle as of now is the writers' strike, which has halted production on the series with just eight episodes completed.—A.J.
Best Cinema Piece
Texas Monthly suggests that complex narratives and nuanced performances may be a thing of the past on the big screen. Propelled by the continued success of CGI action films such as 300, the piece singles out directors like Robert Rodriguez, Zack Snyder, or Guillermo del Toro as the movers and shakers in the Hollywood's future.—A.J.
Hollywood meets the Beltway to produce a bizarrely self-important media war that wages another battle in this week's New York Times Magazine. Sheryl Crow blames Karl Rove for spreading the story last spring that she believes toilet paper ought to be limited to one square per bathroom visit, but concedes that "I cannot tie him directly to that leak." Move over, Valerie Plame.—N.M.
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It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?