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Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
June 24 2008 5:35 PM

How To Speak Bubba

The Weekly Standard on wooing rural voters.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, June 30 The cover story describes the tactics of colorful Democratic strategist Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, who advises Democratic candidates on how to woo rural voters. The "Bard of the Bubbasphere" likes to "persuade the bubbas in language they relate to." A Saunders sound bite on gay marriage: "I'm pretty sure I ain't a queer. And I've never had queer thoughts, but I do have several queer buddies who called me and asked me to help. I think it's blasphemy to put this on the ballot and try to divide God's children for political gain. God loves them queers every bit that he loves the Republicans." A piece insists that Americans are safer since Bush's presidency. Refuting Obama's claim that the Iraq war has made "Al Qaeda's leadership stronger than ever," it argues that "when we look at what [the president] has actually done, it's pretty hard not to credit him with massively improving America's security, both at home and abroad." 

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, June 30 A piece profiles the swelling fortune and political clout of the third-richest man in the United States, Sheldon Adelson, whom "some conservatives have heralded … as their answer to George Soros." The owner of a multibillion-dollar casino empire and a Pioneer-level Bush contributor, Adelson is "fiercely opposed" to Palestinian statehood and is behind an aggressive publicity campaign to oust Israeli Prime Minister (and recent two-state solution advocate) Ehud Olmert from power. He also has the ear of the Chinese government, on which he relies to allow its citizens to travel to his casinos in Macao. Since his first casino opened there in 2004, "his personal wealth has multiplied more than fourteen times," and profits from his total holdings now earn him "roughly a million dollars an hour." An article looks at the phenomenon of itching and reveals the story of a woman so tormented by a phantom itch on her scalp that "she scratched through her skull during the night—and all the way into her brain."

Newsweek
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Newsweek, June 30 The cover story on Cindy McCain declares that the GOP candidate's wife has "thought of herself as a Navy wife whose husband was off on tour—albeit on Capitol Hill instead of somewhere in the North Atlantic." She also "has admitted that she has what she calls a 'grudge list' of people she believes have maligned her husband or her family." An article investigates the practice of Laura Day, "one of a small but expanding cadre of corporate psychic consultants" whose costly services are employed by financiers, businesses, and high-powered attorneys to help make decisions about everything from new hires to jury selections. According to the piece, "[h]elping to create a favorable climate for intuitionists are the number of politicians and corporate titans who talk openly these days about 'gut feeling,' intuition's more masculine-sounding counterpart." An op-ed looks at Obama's popularity with Europeans and warns that they should "be careful what they wish for" because the candidate's policies on trade and his position on withdrawing troops from Iraq may not be in their best interests.

New Republic

New Republic, July 9 A profile in the cover package on China reports on the activities of physician and "national hero" Jiang Yanyong, who exposed the Chinese government's cover-up of the SARS outbreak. In 2004 Jiang circulated a letter to prominent government officials urging it to acknowledge its role in the Tiananmen massacre and its continued thwarting of attempts to memorialize its victims. Soon afterward, Communist Party officials detained the "elderly doctor," subjecting him to daily interrogation sessions and demands to recant the claims of his letter. Seven weeks later, Jiang issued a measured apology for the letter, and he was eventually released: "The state had been unable to break Jiang, but it had succeeded in silencing him." An article holds China's one-child policy "partly responsible" for the "macho violence spurting forth through outlets like war games." The gender imbalance stemming from the policy has created "a new cadre of unstable young bachelors" that "promises to overhaul Chinese society in some potentially scary ways." A piece explains why Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's endorsement of Obama "allow[s] her to bolster the family brand in the minds of young voters and thus secure it a role in the party's future."

New York

New York, June 30 In the "Summer Issue," a feature details "the struggle for Central Park" among cyclists, joggers, and dog-walkers. It's like any other "New York neighborhood conflict, with the same kinds of seething antagonisms and the same immutable stereotypes … the old-timers (I was here first!), the colonizers (The park is ours!), and the new-money arrivistes (Who do you think you are?)." A piece considers the decline of presidential speechmaking as it reviews the rhetorical power of "our national oratorical superhero," Barack Obama. Since presidents began using speech writers, "speeches have become increasingly abstract and general, our policy talk less vivid and public." But Obama "refuses to strategically hide his intelligence," and "the signature project of his candidacy … seems to be the reuniting of presidential discourse with actual, visible thought." Now, though, at the Democratic convention, the candidate must answer claims that he offers nothing beyond pretty words: "He has to prove he's not a talker by talking better than he ever has before."

GQ

GQ, July 2008 An article explores the world of the U.S. military's Landstuhl hospital in Germany, which has "become the most high-traffic, semipermanent, extremely expensive transglobal ambulance system in history." When soldiers are injured in Iraq and they are "hurt badly enough to leave their units"—when they cannot be treated by field medics or surgical teams—they are transported to the German hospital. It's a transitional, otherworldly place where servicemen go when they "don't feel a real connection to their own injuries yet, still don't exactly know what happened to them, still feel more sorry for people they see across the plane from them than they do for themselves." A profile of Gene Robinson divulges that because of numerous death threats, during the consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, "the clergyman in the red stole who processed behind Robinson was no clergyman but an armed bodyguard" and that Robinson and his partner both wore bullet-proof vests.

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

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