Other Magazines

Law of Rules

New Republic, April 30
The cover story laments the ascendancy of rules-based justice (Bureaucratic Legalism) over the more organic, informal system that prevailed for centuries (Hidden Law). Adultery used to be governed by Hidden Law: Publicly, it was wrong, but you could commit it as long as you kept it out of sight, and if your spouse pretended not to know. Now, elaborate no-tolerance schemes are in place, and their inherent excesses lead to the suspension of school children who pretend their fingers are guns or threaten to “kill” peers who make fun of them on the playground. A piece blasts the press for its coverage of President Bush’s environmental record so far. It gives him no credit for the tough decisions he makes (regulating diesel fuel, for instance), and it oversells his shortcomings. A painful article depicts the final days (perhaps) of Sen. Strom Thurmond. Carted around glassy-eyed by his staff, he seems utterly unaware of what his job is, but Republicans are desperate to keep up appearances because without him, they lose their majority.—J.D.

New York Times Magazine, April 22 The high-concept cover story explores our trying love affair with technology. On the one hand, the computer is fundamentally changing the world we know, and soon enough, our earrings will be wired to alert our bracelets when our stock price hits 200. On the other hand, our houses—now single wireless networks—will crash, and average Joes won’t have a clue how to fix them. Plus, who really needs eyeglasses that translate Japanese? But we’re going to get them anyway. A piece uses the super-cool argot of the experimental rock scene to describe a super-cool band, Sigur Ros, from a super-cool city, Reykjavik, Iceland. An article profiles the talented but malcontent New York Knicks. Here’s the dish: Coach Jeff Van Gundy is a hypercritical jerk who doesn’t know how to get the best from his players. Marcus Camby is immature and lonely in stardom. Charlie Ward and Allan Houston run a prayer group and dabble in anti-Semitism.—J.D.

Time, April 23
The cover package cites film and rock stars as the most effective champions of yoga, though persuasive testimonials come from a breast cancer survivor, a cardiac surgeon, and famed doctor Dean Ornish. So why does skepticism persist? “[T]he belief that what we have been able to prove so far is all that is true.” An exclusive interview reveals that former USS Greeneville Cmdr. Scott Waddle has reversed his view of the presence of the 16 civilians on board: “Having them in the control room at least interfered with our concentration.”—A.F.

Newsweek, April 23 If you think flying is hell now, claims the cover package, it’s only downhill from here, with air traffic expected to increase more than 50 percent over the next decade. Fingering bureaucrats, airlines, and airports, Newsweek offers suggestions to ease the crunch. An article reports that some states offer subsidized insurance programs for even moderate-income seniors, and more than 50 drug companies sponsor prescription-assistance programs. Other ways to cut drug costs: comparison-shop on the Web, mail-order in bulk, and switch to a generic. As Quebec plays host to heads of state from 34 nations this week, in town to discuss a hemispheric free-trade zone, the city’s gearing up for anti-globalization protesters. Taking cues from the “Battle of Seattle,” a chain-link fence encircles the old city, and 6,000 police will be on hand.—A.F.

U.S. News & World Report, April 23 A humanoid robot graces the cover, which claims that scientists are studying kids—nature’s own “learning machines”—for clues on how to make robots develop humanlike intelligence. Though more scientists see conscious robots as inevitable, we’re “probably” decades from worrying about more than running out of batteries. An article describes how some states are allowing the severely disabled to live at home by giving individuals the money traditionally spent on their care in institutions, group homes, or work training. One study found self-determination saved New Hampshire up to 15 percent. A portrait of the state of the blues in the Mississippi Delta says the tradition is far from dead. Though the best time to visit is festival time, travelers can find live blues and fried-raccoon, sweet-potato casserole at juke joints any time of year.—A.F.

The New Yorker, April 23 and 30 A long Ted Turner profile describes how the straight shooter has mellowed out (some). Once a hard-drinking, womanizing “jackass,” whose business daring turned an outdoor sign company into a cable empire, now Turner gives his money to charity and meditates publicly about getting divorced from Jane Fonda and getting fired (characteristically, he insists on saying he was “fired,” not “restructured”). The best parts: the sprinkling of glowing tributes from Gerald Levin, the Time Warner CEO who gave Turner the ax. A piece explores the pleasures of Bunnyranch, a legal whorehouse in Carson City, Nev. Owner Dennis Hof, who styles himself “America’s Pimpmaster General,” says his work as a procurer is similar to his old job selling timeshares. He hates it when his girls have too much fun on the job, because then she “can achieve her goals without the company achieving its goals.” Best rule of the house: no “dirty hustling” or getting a jump on colleagues by flashing nipple to the clients who are choosing from among the night’s prostitutes.— J.D.

The Nation, April 30 The cover story focuses on a less-publicized problem with the Florida election. In an effort to wipe all convicted felons off the voter rolls (Florida is one of 14 states that does not restore voting rights to felons once they finish their sentences), the GOP state election machinery employed a loose methodology that misidentified many legitimate voters as felons or deceased. The purging of the registration lists fell disproportionately on blacks, who make up 15 percent of the state population but 54 percent of the prison population.—J.D.