New Republic, April 2
The cover package blames the fiscal crises in Florida and Texas on recent tax cuts and suggests that the Bush tax plan could bankrupt the whole country. Florida and Texas each had fast-growing economies, huge projected surpluses, and governors named Bush. Their Republican legislatures slashed tax rates, but now economic reality has set in, and they are being forced to reduce vital services such as prenatal care and AIDS treatment. … A piece explains how it came to pass that urban African-Americans are the primary supporters of President Bush’s faith-based initiative and suburban white evangelicals are its primary opponents. The director of the program, maverick political scientist John DiIulio, has allied himself with black ministers and expressed animosity toward “Bible-thumping.” Now Bush will have to choose between DiIulio and the Christian conservatives who developed the faith-based idea in the first place.—J.D.
Economist, March 24 The cover editorial worries that the world is headed for its first global recession. America and Japan, the two biggest economies in the world (they account for 46 percent of global output), have never been in major trouble at the same time before. Worst-case scenario: A world recession makes emerging economies turn back to protectionism and reverses the course of globalization. … A piece argues that foot-and-mouth disease has been good for the Tory Party in England. Tony Blair and his Labor Party have never been popular among farmers (Blair exacerbated the problem by proposing to ban hunting dogs), and their less-than-deft handling of the outbreak has energized the agricultural sections. … An article reports that new research shows that autistic children have longer ring fingers than other kids. The discovery could support the “extreme male brain” theory of autism, which holds that its hallmark problems with communication and empathy are exaggerations of normal male traits, because a longer ring finger indicates that a fetus was exposed to more testosterone in utero.—J.D.
New York TimesMagazine, March 25
The cover package highlights the “art-world trend that is turning everyone and his cousin into a director.” The cover story profiles Julian Schnabel, a renowned-painter-turned-director whose second movie, Before Night Falls, is up for a Best Actor Oscar. The key to mastering more than one ruthless field in the arts: a larger-than-life personality with an ego to match, plus a deaf ear toward criticism. … A piece serves as an exit interview for a U.S. peace negotiator who scuttled between the Arabs and Israelis for the last 12 years. The insider take on why talks failed: A “brick wall called Yasir Arafat,” who yielded little of what he could offer or rejected solutions altogether. The negotiator, who is himself Jewish, says Barak isn’t without blame, and he also speculates that Clinton pardoned Marc Rich because he wanted to appease the Israeli leader in some way.— M.C.
Harper’s, April 2001 David Foster Wallace writes an elaborate exploration of the social, historical, psychological, and political underpinnings of Modern English language usage. Punctuated by his chatty and discursive footnotes, the essay critiques a new approach to authority in the long war between liberal language Descriptivists and conservative Prescriptivists (Wallace calls the latter SNOOTS). … A profile of much-maligned SUVs explains why, against all reason, they are some of the most popular cars in America. They represent a backlash against the tame, sexless minivan, proclaiming, “I’m rich, dangerous, and single.”— S.G.
Ms., April-May 2001 A profile of Winona LaDuke, Ralph Nader’s running mate, tells why the feminist, Indian single-mother’s participation in Election 2000 was not universally lauded by women’s rights activists. Her absence from Ralph’s side during much of the campaign caused confusion and anger among many feminists and Green Party members. Torn by complex political and family responsibilities, she maybe should have told Ralph no this time. … An article on the myth of Silicon Valley’s meritocracy describes women entrepreneurs’ experience of the dot-com glass ceiling. A mere 6 percent of the 1,738 Net companies getting venture financing in 2000 had women CEOs. Venture capital is seen as a slingshot to multibillion-dollar Web success, and women execs still feel locked out.— S.G.
Atlantic Monthly, April 2001
The cover story notes the ascendance of “The Organization Kid.” Today’s college students are hard-working, optimistic, and extremely respectful of authority. The Organization Kid ethos is the product of today’s structured, play-date childhoods, more rigorous schooling, and intense parental involvement. What’s missing in these sunny youth? Rebelliousness, fun, and, most of all, a sense of virtue. These kids are highly accomplished but fundamentally self-involved: They lack the noble, crusading moralism that animated college students of the past. … The magazine publishes tape transcripts of White House conversations during the immediate aftermath of the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. The tapes, made by National Security Adviser Richard Allen, show Secretary of State Al “I’m in charge” Haig grasping for power and aides arguing over whether to impose a military alert. Some were worried because Soviet subs were a few minutes closer to the United States than usual.— D.P.
Weekly Standard, March 26
The editorial argues that President Bush’s best chance at a legacy is enacting his faith-based initiative, which would put “an end to decades of government hostility to religion.”… A piece chides evangelicals for opposing the faith-based proposal on the grounds that it limits religious autonomy. Although their criticisms reflect “healthy” concerns about government overreach, they need to understand that President Bush means to revolutionize secular America. … An article accuses pro-choice activists of distorting the truth about stem-cell research to win the abortion debate. Most of the scientific advances achieved with stem cells involve adult stem cells that have nothing to do with embryos or fetuses. … A piece delights in the new Democratic opposition to campaign-finance reform. They pretended to be behind it when Republicans who opposed it provided cover. Now it looks like it might pass, and Democrats are scared a soft money ban will destroy them financially.— J.D.
The New Yorker, March 26 An article documents the rise of McMansions, prefab castles catering to the nouveau riche. Successful businesspeople used to aspire to act like their “social superiors,” retiring from the brutish world of commerce to live lives of ease. Now they prize their workaholism, and they would rather pay a developer to spend time thinking about the luxurious details of their $5 million, 8,000-square-foot palaces for them. … A piece says that after a decade of wowing Middle-American audiences while drawing critical ire, Julia Roberts is finally the undisputed queen of Hollywood, “all peaks and no trough.” She has that Audrey Hepburn aura, but somehow she has achieved it with an anti-cosmopolitan, “just folks” back-story. … An article suggests that DNA technology will take the fun out of the hobby of genealogy. Traditional genealogy in the library helps create family mythologies. But genealogy in the lab breaks them down, because it can prove beyond a doubt that instead of an African king, you are, say, a Saxon farmer.— J.D.
Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report, March 26 Newsweek’s doom-and-gloom cover package on the U.S. economy offers damage-control tips for those running scared. Holding lots of company stock in your 401(k)? Consider this rejoinder: “You should never have owned much.”… Time’s cover package takes a different tack, admitting that the media may be to blame for the stock market paranoia. Their advice to recession-wary consumers? “Buy something. Buy two.”… U.S. News & World Report’s cover ventures down yet a different road in this week’s bear market trifecta: Wall Street vets think the market morass is nearing the end of its tenure—though the darkest days may be yet to come.
A Newsweek article elucidates the final hours and rescue effort of the USS Cole. A secret report on an FBI investigation closely links the bombing to Osama Bin Laden. … An article claims that big business contributors to President Bush’s campaign are sitting pretty as legislation (regarding things like workplace rules and bankruptcy) passes or fails exactly how they’d hoped. Newsweek alleges that Bush buddy Thomas Kuhn, a lobbyist for the electric utility industry, called White House aides to urge the president to back away from the emissions cap.
A Time article on comas allegorizes the battle of right-to-lifers and disability-rights activists versus bioethics professionals and the ACLU: A mother wants her brain-damaged son to stay alive; his wife wants the feeding tube removed. Both sides agree that if the accident victim had drawn up a legal document outlining his wishes for such circumstances, a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court might not become a reality. … A U.S. News piece claims U.S. House members don’t make enough dough to afford residences in their home state and in D.C., so some sleep in their offices, shower in the gym, and eat in the cafeteria. One Georgia rep predicts that if a raise doesn’t come soon, only the rich will represent.—A.F.