Time, July 21 The cover story by managing editor and Nelson Mandela biographer Richard Stengel reflects on Mandela to mark his 90th birthday: "Mandela is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint, but he would be the first to admit that he is something far more pedestrian: a politician." Stengel also discusses Mandela's eight lessons of leadership, among them "Know your enemy—and learn about his favorite sport."… A feature zooms in on the plight of the Libertarian Party, paying special attention to presidential candidate Bob Barr, who "could conceivably Naderize John McCain in a few key states." The piece considers the success of Ron Paul and the party's effort to unite its divided supporters: "Convince the dope guys that the gun guys are O.K., and vice versa". … A short piece showcases "the world's first eco-club," London's Club Surya, and its energy-harnessing dance floor, which powers the club by using the principle of "piezoelectricity" and the stomping feet of its patrons.
Economist, July 12 The cover story previews this weekend's creation of the Union for the Mediterranean, an economic partnership that serves to unite the "youth and vigour of the southern Mediterranean [states] … with [the] rich, ageing north." With the new "Club Med," the members of the separate regions will "no longer need to glower across the table at each other," and while the creation of the Union "is hardly the rebirth of imperial Rome," it has the potential for ventures on "solar energy, anti-terrorism and the inevitable cultural exchanges."… An article examines the challenges currently facing American national parks: "The number of visitors to national parks and historic sites peaked in 1987. … Were it not for British and German tourists enjoying the weak dollar, the parks would be desolate." Some believe parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone could benefit from adopting elements of urban luxury and entertainment, but conservationists work hard to block such renovations.
New York Times Magazine, July 13 The cover story focuses on "behavior-modification and 'lifestyle' drugs specifically for pets." Like their owners, pets can suffer from obesity, loneliness, or separation anxiety—and now they too have pills to heal their ailments. The question is: "What can behavioral pharmacology teach us about animal minds and, ultimately, our own?"… A feature highlights the political weight of the Cuban voters in Miami. The group has preferred Republicans "since President John F. Kennedy was seen as having betrayed the cause following the Bay of Pigs disaster." But now, in the wake of Barack Obama's criticism of aspects of the American embargo on Cuba, the community is noticing a "red-to-blue" shift.
Radar, July/August 2008 The cover feature profiles Pamela Anderson as she preps for the debut of her new "observational documentary series." The author experiences firsthand the production of the show and begins to understand why the Pamela package works: "What makes Anderson different, [her manager says], is that 'she's in on the joke. She knows exactly what the Pamela Anderson deal is. She 100 percent gets it.' "… An article asks, "Who Killed the Movie Star?": "Since 2007 … virtually every star of note has tanked at the box office, sending a collective shiver down the industry's spine." Among the suspects named by the author are the tabloids (which have caused "a bitter, acidic, vengeful attitude to the stars"), the reliance on special effects, and the forces on the Web that manipulate buzz. … A feature traces the life of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, from her modeling days, through her surprisingly successful music career, to her role as première dame—focusing particularly on her notable litany of lovers.
Esquire, August 2008 The cover essay by Stephen Colbert lobbies for recognition of the plight of the white male: "Today's political landscape is now dominated by Black Men and White Women. … Sure, you can still find the occasional example of white men in power. A token 389 in Congress. A conciliatory seven or so on the Supreme Court. One in the White House."… A feature delves into the early life and mental-health history of Steven Kazmierczak, the grad student who killed five peers and then himself at Northern Illinois University in February. While his friends adamantly defend the notion that a sweet, quiet young man had suddenly snapped, the back story suggests that he hid a troubled, deeply disturbing personality long before his rampage.
Tom Wolfe's essay commemorating Clay Felker not only provides a superb portrait of a beloved editor, but also shares engaging tales about New York in its early days—the writers, their stories, the city they covered, and the revolution in magazines that it helped kick off.
The New York Times Magazine's analysis of Coldplay's MySpace page reaches a bit too far in deriving meaning about the band and their music from their Web site.
Time's commemoration of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday blends Mandela's valuable lessons of leadership with insider anecdotes and reflection on his achievements.
The New York Times Magazine's report on the connections between human mental health and animal mental health is a thorough and illuminating examination of the movement to medicate our pets.
It's a tie between the New York Times Magazine feature on Genaro García Luna's role in Mexico's bloody war between cops and drug traffickers, and Esquire's portrait of Steven Kazmierczak, whose shooting at Northern Illinois University was the fourth-deadliest college shooting in U.S. history.