What's new in the Economist, Time, Reason, and more.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
May 9 2008 2:39 PM

Break a Leg Like a Girl

The New York Times Magazine on high-school female athletes' alarming injury rates.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, May 11 The cover story examines girls' frequent injuries in high-school sports. "Advocates for women's sports have had to keep a laser focus on … making sure they have equal access to high-school and college sports." But female athletes are more likely to have shin splints, stress fractures, chronic knee pain, concussions, and ACL tears than their male counterparts, perhaps because of changes that come with puberty. Many in the field have avoided addressing the girls' higher rate of injuries, worrying that they'll be seen as suggesting "women are too delicate to play certain games or to play them at a high level of intensity." A piece details the U.S. government's case against a former Vietnam war ally, Gen. Vang Pao of the Laotian Hmong people. With evidence collected through an anti-terrorism sting operation, the United States alleges Vang Pao sought an illegal weapons deal to arm his remaining followers against the Laotian government.

Economist

Economist, May 10 The cover story is an editorial calling for Hillary Clinton "to concede gracefully and throw the considerable weight of the Clintons behind their party's best hope," Barack Obama. The piece cautions that "there are severe problems with the details" of Obama's policy proposals, but "the upside of an Obama presidency remains greater than that of any other candidate." An article on the cyclone that has devastated Burma observes that the government's refusal of foreign aid "raises a dilemma … [of] how to rescue desperate people whose own government spurns outside assistance, and how to do so without providing a lifeline to an illegitimate and unpopular regime." But the havoc wreaked by the natural disaster and the government's poor response to it might lead some senior Burmese soldiers to question the notion that the military is the only "force [that] can hold the country together and run it competently."

Reason
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Reason, May 2008 The cover story eviscerates the tactics the White House is using to cover up the true cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Instead of including war-related costs in the annual defense budget, the DoD files requests for war money as emergency supplemental dollars, "which, conveniently for the administration, does not get counted in deficit projections." A column rails against the "raging decency epidemic" that's sweeping Hollywood. But "even as the floodtides of rectitude threaten to give us all a cleansing soak, the Culture War's most dogged mercenaries grow increasingly desperate to sound notes of alarm." Another column amusingly complains about the youth community service plans included in all three candidates' platforms. The writer notes that "the coming McCain-Obama contest holds great promise for those who hope to see the day when youth are expected to perform nearly free labor as a matter of federal policy." 

Washington Monthly

Washington Monthly, April 2008
In the cover story, a former factory inspector reveals how companies avoid disclosing their labor practices and how factories overseas resist complying with regulations. Though private monitors hired by companies can motivate factories to clean up their practices, they are often one step behind the workplaces they inspect—where forged timecards and threats keep workers from speaking to monitors. Companies can also choose private monitoring firms—who "specialize in performing as many brief, understaffed inspections as they can fit in a day in order to maximize their own profits"—to intentionally avoid knowledge of abuse. A piece considers the motivations of disgraced Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, tracing his path from underprivileged child in segregated Louisiana to Harvard Law idealist to corrupted government official. Jefferson today "bears little resemblance to the brave mother who stood up to a redneck sheriff," and his upcoming trial could bring unwanted media attention to a Democratic scandal in an election year.

Time

Time, May 19 The cover package dispenses with Clinton could-win-if scenarios and pre-emptively hands the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. Joe Klein's op-ed declares Hillary Clinton's loss could be tied to her campaign tactics, which "appeared very old and clichéd to Obama's legion of young supporters, who were the real game changers in this year of extraordinary turnouts." A post-mortem piece lists "five big mistakes" of Clinton's campaign—the primary being that she "misjudged the mood. … In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent's strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability—and the power of the strongest brand name in Democratic politics." A review of James Frey's first work of fiction marketed as such cautiously praises the book. The author "has a history of having a little too much fun with facts, among other controlled substances," but as a novelist, "he may finally have found a job where that's not a problem."

Must Read
New York goes underground with the city employees who repair and clean the subway tracks, exposing horrific working conditions.

Must Skip
Don't bother with Vanity Fair's Bobby Kennedy cover package, unless you're in the mood for a Camelot nostalgia fest.

Best Politics Piece
Washington Monthly explains why the scandal-ridden Rep. William Jefferson was re-elected to Congress after alleged bribe money was discovered in his freezer: "[H]is victory showed how much people in his district despised Washington. If he was a crook, well send him back with the crooks."

Best Culture Piece
The New Yorker explores the phenomenon of taste as it profiles a chef's attempt to save his tongue from cancer.

Latest to the Party
Reason interviewsThe Wire co-creator Ed Burns on how to solve inner-city crime. Didn't the media wind up their romance with the HBO series in March?

Morgan Smith, a former Slate intern, is a law student in Austin, Texas.

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