Reason, April 2008 A book review investigates turn-of-the-century attitudes toward sex workers and finds "prostitution was better respected a century ago." Brothels were "a necessary evil, keeping husbands from defiling their wives with their prurient fantasies" and reduced sexual assaults by providing "an outlet for the lusts of men." Modern-day anti-sex-trade laws ignore the fact that women often choose prostitution voluntarily, and the notion that women need shielding from their own decisions "infantilizes [them] instead of promoting gender equality."… A column autopsies Ron Paul's bid for the GOP nomination, noting the number of his supporters who want to "scrap parts of [his] campaign platform." Paulites are "decidedly not a pack of conservative Republicans," yet much of his campaign message attempted to cast him as a mainstream GOPer. Says one disappointed supporter after watching a Paul border-security ad, "That looks like something Romney would run."
New York Times Magazine, March 16
Jeffery Rosen's cover story examines the Chamber of Commerce's influence on the Supreme Court and traces the evolution of the court's pro-corporate bias, which he says comes from both the right and the left. … An article explains the appeal of sharia, the Islamic system of law, and observes that "for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world." Calls in largely autocratic Muslim countries to return to sharia, which emphasizes that both people and governments "are subject to justice under the law," represent a desire for the state to be subject to a rule of law, not to "reverse feminism and control women." … A piece explores the lives of "transmen," who are born female but prefer to live as men, and the identity crisis they're causing at women's colleges. The schools are struggling to decide whether they can admit transmen as students.
Time, March 24 A short profile of Eliot Spitzer recounts he "always had a complex relationship with authority" and once, his "fierce, demanding" father made him cry during a game of Monopoly. … An op-ed makes the case for journalists to disclose their political inclinations, arguing that "[m]odern political journalism is based on the bogus concept of neutrality (that people can be steeped in campaigns yet not care who wins) and the legitimate ideal of fairness (that people can place intellectual integrity and rigor over their rooting interests)."… A piece revisits the West Bank after the Palestinian killing of eight in a Jerusalem seminary. The piece notes, "Just because fewer Palestinian terrorists are slipping into Israel from the Palestinian West Bank doesn't mean that they have stopped trying."
Economist, March 15 An article in a comprehensive special report on China reveals the Chinese economic boom in the Congo. The resource-hungry superpower is eager for the African nation's copper ore. Chinese firms have even invested $12 billion in rebuilding the country's infrastructure—in exchange for rights to a comparable amount of the mineral. China's doing the same thing in Canada, Latin America, and elsewhere in Africa: "Chinese firms are gobbling up oil, gas, coal and metals, or paying for the right to explore for them, or buying up firms that produce them."… On the eve of their dual mayoral elections, a briefing compares Paris and London, concluding that candidates in the two European capitals have adopted similar platforms "to make housing affordable, to lower CO 2 emissions, to discourage the use of cars, to green the city; and to burnish the image they want to project to the rest of the world."… A piece investigates a new pest-control method that could help rid farmers of the rodents by accounting for rats' genetic diversity. Some types of rats have timed their breeding cycles to that of the rice crops they prey on, while others have taken to nesting in trees.
The Nation, March 31 In a cover package on "The Costs of War," a piece argues that the government "treats its soldiers the way most corporations treat their workforce—as an invisible, disrespected, disposable means to an end that is contrary to workers' interests." It reveals a disturbing fact: The military will often cancel signing benefits (like bonuses, promises to pay for education, and post-service job placement) if a soldier must end a term of service early because of a combat injury. Their excuse: Such benefits were contingent upon "honorable discharge after completing the full term of service."… An op-ed notes that President Bush has become the first president in history to veto a piece of anti-torture legislation. The piece declares, "It is nothing less than that notion of human dignity that was the real object of Bush's veto." … As Katha Pollitt weighs in on the Spitzer scandal, she wonders if "nothing [has] changed since 1969, when poor Joan Kennedy faced reporters with Ted after Chappaquiddick?"
Vanity Fair alleges that the Bush administration sponsored a Fatah militia group in the hopes of undermining Hamas' influence there after winning control in the 2006 elections.
Best Repository of Anti-War Facts
The entire issue of the The Nation—but, in particular, this cheat sheet of political leaders' quotes about the war and this article, which contains a series of statistics about the cost of war.
Reason observes, "In 2001 the [FBI] was strongly criticized for allocating excessive man-hours to wiretapping the New Orleans brothel madam Jeanette Maier, both before and after the 9/11 attacks."
Flattest Humor Piece
The Weekly Standard reproduces a "memo" that describes how Barack Obama won Vermont, with the aid of liberal groups like the "Socialist Workers Party and Food Co-Op," the "Cast of 'The Vagina Monologues,' " and "Vermont Friends of Public Television."