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Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
April 21 2009 4:55 PM

Elitist Rage

New York on the plight of the privileged class.

New York

New York, April 27
The cover story listens to the "wail of the 1 percent"—Wall Street millionaires saying the financial crisis wasn't their fault. Many Wall Streeters who "grew up" in the housing bubble saw themselves as "fighter pilots of capitalism"—the people who earned seven figures and donated to charity, went to restaurants, bought art, and paid taxes to keep streets clean. Now they face a future where banking may become a boring, riskless profession. An article wonders whether New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has made himself the "prime agent of populist rage," is already the next governor. The financial crisis has enabled him to manipulate public sentiment in his favor "with well-timed leaks and subpoenas." Famously aggressive, Cuomo has learned to sit back and "feign uninterest" in the job while his primary opponent, sitting Gov. David Paterson, has been "racking up a string of unforced errors."

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, April 27 An article compares the Japanese manufacturing philosophy with that of America's dysfunctional automakers. Workers at a Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., make less than their Detroit counterparts but have no interest in unionizing. They work as a team with their superiors, are encouraged to move up in the company, and rotate between jobs to stave off the monotony of the assembly line. Detroit, mired in dysfunctional, outdated relationships with unions, has a lot of catching up to do. An article explains how Harvard's Lowell House came to possess 18 iron bells from a Russian monastery. After Stalin banned bell-ringing, an American philanthropist purchased them for "scrap metal prices." They were some of the few great Russian bells to escape the country. Bells "occupy a mysterious important position" in Russian church culture and are believed to have "voices" rather than musical tones.

Newsweek
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Newsweek, April 27 The cover story catches up with former New York Gov. (and Slate columnist) Eliot Spitzer, who is finding new channels of influence as an economic commentator. Spitzer doesn't deny that he's trying to refurbish his image but insists the makeover is not about running for office again. He has accepted the rules of the political game and settled into a routine of writing, walking his dogs, and catching up with friends. Much as he regrets his exile from Albany, he's not inclined to be introspective about his downfall. An article argues that conservative objections to Harold Koh, the "transnationalist" lawyer President Obama appointed to lead the State Department legal team, should be taken seriously. Taken to its logical conclusion, Koh's legal philosophy, which would require the United States to submit even to treaties we do not ratify, "could erode American democracy and sovereignty."

New Republic

New Republic, May 6 The cover story traces the contours of President Obama's political philosophy, concluding that he "has set out to synthesize the New Democratic faith in the utility of markets with the Old Democratic emphasis on reducing inequality." In many ways, Obama's ideas resemble Bill Clinton's—both believe government should harness private incentives and "steer, not row" the economy. But Obama's team, which includes many Clintonites, has learned past lessons about keeping government out of the market and "groped toward a form of liberal activism that is eminently saleable in this country." An article hunts, without much success, for the secretive Matt Drudge. Drudge, whose news-driving Web site charts 20 million hits per day, hasn't made a public appearance since June of last year. It's only known that he lives in Miami, frequently travels the world with his portable operation, and keeps in touch with top conservative pundits.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, April 27 An article scoffs at ubiquitous analysis of the "Republican brand," arguing that the party's problems cannot be reduced to aesthetics and marketing. The conservative crisis "demands that we revisit our core principles and apply them to formulate compelling solutions to a host of challenges to American prosperity and leadership." Republicans will never come back until they attempt to address "the needs and aspirations of the people whose votes they seek to win." The cover story follows a group of veterans, some missing limbs, who made a six-day bicycle trip between San Antonio and Dallas. The narrative is meandering, full of battlefield stories and leisurely conversations held on and off the road. One soldier with two amputated legs calls the author a "f---ing pussy" for only "hoping" to finish the ride, an insult that sparks an unexpected friendship. And Adam Baldwin of NBC's Chuck comes along and proves he's "not your typical celebrity."

David Sessions is a former Slate intern. He is currently a blogger at Politics Daily.

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