What's new in the Economist, the New York Times Magazine, and Texas Monthly.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Oct. 3 2008 5:51 PM

Depression 2.0?

Time compares the current financial troubles to the Great Depression.

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Time, Oct. 13 The cover story wonders "whether we're headed for a short, relatively mild recession like that of 2001—or a latter-day version of what the world went through in the 1930s: Depression 2.0." The obvious difference between then and now is that "Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has learned from history," repeatedly cutting the federal funds rate and pumping $1.1 trillion into the financial system over the past 13 months. "Some say you can't solve a problem by throwing money at it. But that's what the Fed and the Treasury are attempting." A feature reports on the battle for Colorado in the upcoming election. Despite the fact that "outside of Birkenstock-and-muesli enclaves like Boulder, Colorado is still culturally a frontier state," Democratic registrants are rising, and Barack Obama is leading John McCain in the polls.

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The Economist, Oct. 4 The cover story suggests that the global economic crisis is more dire than we think. "[M]any European banks look more vulnerable than their American counterparts do, and that's saying quite something." The editors recommend that governments coordinate a recovery strategy with one another "to stabilise and recapitalise banks—not just to stem panic but also to save money": "Even if, as the Europeans claim, the crisis was made in America, it now belongs to everyone." A feature examines the fence that's being constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border—"a barrier that is at once much too porous and rather too tight." While stronger border control is certainly changing patterns of illegal immigration, it's not necessarily "staunching the flow." The so-called "tortilla curtain" is "still floppy enough to allow people and drugs through." Plus, Mexicans "continue to 'find themselves' in the American labour force, fence or no fence."

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New York Times Magazine, Oct. 5 The cover story features Silicon Valley venture capitalists whose green-tech investments could change the way we consume energy. While the solutions to global warming and fuel prices "have been defined over the past year almost exclusively in terms of government action," many venture capitalists in Silicon Valley maintain that "the future still depend[s] on entrepreneurs and innovators and green-tech businesses getting 'traction.' " Saving the world is certainly a noble motive. But John Doerr—"arguably the world's most influential venture capitalist"—says, "We are ruthlessly single-minded about our job, which is to make a lot of money for our investors." An essay argues that with the arrival of The Sopranos, "TV became cinema—understated, baroque, potent, adult." The author wonders whether the actors of "supersized" television dramas are "now too small."

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Texas Monthly, October 2008 The cover story examines the daily workings of Matthew McConaughey and his new Venice Beach production company, j. k. livin. (It's named after the line from Dazed and Confused that put McConaughey on the map: "You just gotta keep livin', man, L-I-V-I-N.") McConaughey embodies the no-worries vibe of the brand, which includes a clothing line. Asked why he sticks with romantic comedies (his "fastball") instead of trying out a darker role in a film with an unhappy ending, McConaughey laughs: "We're just not unhappy people!" A piece features a roundtable of historians, critics, and filmmakers who weigh in on Oliver Stone's W—its political effect, its historical accuracy, and its influence on the November election. "I think the Bush movie is far harder for Stone to do well," says screenwriter Anne Rapp. "Bush has been spoofed and satirized from every angle."

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Rolling Stone, Oct. 14 The cover story attempts to tear down the "myth" of John McCain, taking his "maverick" trope and tenets of "country first" and "straight talk" head on: "Few politicians have so actively, or successfully, crafted their own myth of greatness. … But during the course of this year's campaign, the mask has slipped. … [This] is a story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition." A feature suggests that the problem with cable news "isn't the news cycle—it's the news vacuum, the hours and hours of air time that have to be filled as cheaply as possible." The diagnosis continues: "Conflict rules, and the usual result is a medium that's far less invested in reporting the news than in riding it like a wobbly-kneed birthday pony." The bright points? Newcomer Rachel Maddow, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and "statheads" Chuck Todd and John King.

Must Read
The New York Times Magazine's cover story showcases an informative, entertaining, comprehensive picture of the marriage between venture capitalism and green innovation.

Must Skip
The Weekly Standard's cover story on car seat legislation falls short in the relevance and intrigue columns. A seemingly evergreen feature, the piece feels oddly out of place during the heat of the election.

Best Politics Piece
TheNew Yorker's examination of Barack Obama's "Appalachia problem" compiles sound advice from three influential Democrats—Gov. Tim Kaine, Sen. Jim Webb, and Democratic "Bubba coordinator" David "Mudcat" Saunders—about how Obama can win votes in the state's rural southwest.

Best Culture Piece
New York's 40th-anniversary issue offers a package of insightful dialogues, photo portfolios, and reflective essays—none more prescient than Kurt Andersen's all-encompassing take on the city's last four decades.

Best Farewell
Newsweek's tribute to Paul Newman reminds us—without so much as saying it—that while many of 20th-century Hollywood's leading men are passing away, their gentlemanly standards are still worth living up to.

Daniel Riley is a former Slate intern.