Vanity Fair, January 2009 Maureen Dowd pens the cover story on Tina Fey, who "started as a writer and performer with a bad short haircut in Chicago improv" before "catapulting … into red-hot territory" with the creation of her NBC series 30 Rock and her uncanny impersonations of Sarah Palin. Fey, who "is a rules girl" with "a German work ethic," spills on her high school years and her marriage, which is "borderline boring—in a good way." She also reveals that a scar on her cheek was "the result of a violent cutting attack by a stranger when Fey was five."… A feature unveils a mother's undercover efforts to overturn her son's murder conviction. After the trial, Doreen Giuliano struck up a relationship with one of the jurors to see if she could catch him saying something incriminating on tape; "based on the evidence secretly gathered by his mother … [Giuliano's son] may very well be entitled to a new trial."
Newsweek, Dec. 8 In the cover story, Fareed Zakaria calls for a "grand strategy" from President-elect Barack Obama to realign U.S. foreign policy with the "ideals … of the world's major powers." Facing "competition for resources like oil, food, commodities and water; climate change; continued terrorist threats; and demographic shifts," the United States should strive to stay on good terms with other nations, particularly the rising world powers in the East, Zakaria argues. Obama, already a "global symbol," has a unique but narrow opportunity to influence the emerging new world order. … A feature explains "why even the very rich are cutting back on conspicuous consumption." The "luxury shame" that has led some of the wealthiest Americans to eschew showy spending is forcing high-end retailers to rebrand their merchandise to entice holiday shoppers. … Another article refutes the pervasive but ill-fitting comparisons of Michelle Obama to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
The New Yorker, Dec. 8 A feature follows a police commander in Pashmul, a dangerous region in southern Afghanistan inhabited by the Pashtun majority and policed by the Hazara ethnic minority under the guidance of NATO forces. "[D]eploying Hazaras in this region is a risky move," especially because the landscape of orchards and vineyards make Pashmul "ideal terrain for an insurgency." The Hazaras, though disciplined, "behaved more like a paramilitary group than like a professional police team" as they attempted a Taliban ambush. But they are more conscientious than their Pashtun predecessors in the police force. … A profile of Naomi Klein dubs the journalist and activist "the most visible and influential figure on the American left." In her latest book, The Shock Doctrine, Klein, "the descendant of embittered ex-Communists," argues that capitalism is "harmful to everyone except the richest of the rich."
Weekly Standard, Dec. 8 A feature delves into Columbia University's plans for expansion into neighboring Manhattanville, a controversial project that could only be accomplished in "the through-the-looking-glass world of New York eminent domain law." The university wants to construct a $7 billion development "of glittering glass high-rises." Columbia or public agencies own most of the property already, but to drive out the two remaining property owners, the state would need to invoke eminent domain on the university's behalf, citing "blighted" conditions in the area. Ironically, "Columbia is responsible for nearly all of the decrepitude in the Manhattanville neighborhood" but will most likely gain control of the private owners' "pristine" buildings. … An article pinpoints the "watery version of the Cyclops' island home, a place without law" off the Somali coast, where pirate attacks "have more than tripled—to 92—in the last year." The author argues for squelching piracy on the shore before terrorists join in the attacks.
New York, Dec. 8 The cover story finds Lehman Bros. CEO Richard Fuld with his head on the chopping block and wonders whether or not he deserves the blame for the company's demise. After Fuld's many years serving as "the face of the firm" while President Joe Gregory handled "day-to-day" issues, the board told Fuld to force Gregory out or cede his own position. As the company started going under, Gregory's successor, Herbert McDade, "was calling most of the shots," but now it's Fuld who "attends to details of the bankruptcy."… A feature shows how a family of undocumented Mexican immigrants lives in the "so-called sanctuary city" of New York. In tough economic times, "they serve as handy scapegoats when anxiety runs high" and struggle "to keep quiet … [in order] to stay to work another day."