Other Magazines

Rethinking Sanctions

New Republic, June 4
The cover story explains the worldview of oilmen. For oilmen, American success depends on a healthy supply of energy, and they’re the only ones willing to make the hard choices to ensure that supply remains intact. True, the United States needs more energy production and therefore should drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as the Bush energy plan calls for. But the Bush plan also reflects the oilman’s recurring flaw: his “predisposition to ignore the need to manage demand via efficiency.” A piece announces the end of the honeymoon between Bush and the press. For months, Bushies coated right-wing initiatives with language designed to deflect the media scrutiny: Bush’s slate of judicial nominees, for example, was not conservative but ethnically “diverse.” But when Bush rolled out his energy plan, the press found the opportunity to portray him as a conservative, anti-environmental oilman too enticing to pass up.— B.C.

Economist, May 26
An article takes stock of the economic sanctions against Iraq and Iran. The United States hopes to loosen U.N. measures in order to allow Iraq to export more oil and import more goods (excepting weapons). But until Iraq can attain “massive investment to rebuild its industry, its power grids, and its schools”—unlikely under the U.S. plan—it will look less like an oil-rich nation and more like Ethiopia. The U.S. and Iran face a Catch-22: Iran won’t negotiate until the U.S. lifts sanctions, but the U.S., in light of repeated Iranian denouncements of Israel, has no plans to do so. A piece assesses President Bush’s tax cut. “Despite the slimmest of congressional majorities and widespread public apathy,” Bush pushed through the Senate the largest tax cut since the Reagan administration in just five months. But it’s a Pyrrhic victory: The plan further complicates the Byzantine tax code and likely won’t do much to spur long-term economic growth.— B.C.

New York Times Magazine, May 27 The cover story assesses the illegal sale of human kidneys. The standard transaction goes something like this: Fed up with long transplant waiting lists, a dialysis patient places a call to a shadowy organ dealer. After shelling out large sums of cash (often over $100,000), the patient flies to a country with lax medical laws and receives a kidney of an indigent peasant (who usually receives less than $10,000). The operation—which might take place in China, Turkey, or Iraq—is often performed by a competent doctor in a sterile hospital without compromising the health of the donor or the recipient. But there are horror stories, which the author recounts, of botched surgeries and unpaid donors. Still, one Jerusalem doctor admits, “It’s as safe as having a transplant in a U.S. hospital.” And far quicker.— B.C.

The New Yorker, May 28 A piece gauges GOP support for President Bush’s energy policy. The author interviews four Republican congressmen; all like the Bush plan—a long-term strategy to increase energy production—but three want to include more conservation-minded measures and immediate relief for consumers. Without such relief, the author warns, Bush “had better hope for cool weather this summer,” otherwise his support could melt away. An article enters the fantasy world of an Internet-based role-playing game. The makers of Ultima Online envisioned a medieval society where gamers could escape reality. But the cyberworld soon began to look a lot like the real one: rampant prostitution, soaring real estate prices, even an online version of “Megan’s law.”—B.C.

Time, May 28 The cover story hails cancer-fighting drugs like the FDA-approved Gleevec as “new hope for cancer.” The testimonials may carry more weight with readers than the tech talk does, but everyone will gulp at this stat: Staying on Gleevec for life could cost a patient as much as $30,000 per year, though the mag predicts insurance companies will probably pick up the tab now that Gleevec’s off the experimental list. An article delves into the lives of 12 school shooters, finding that the copycat/celebrity complex can be a motivating factor: One teen convict bragged to a classmate (on the day of shooting) that he’d be “all over the news.” An article calls for “[t]he browning of TV”—Hispanic actors playing Hispanic characters. A step in the right direction: Jennifer Lopez signed a deal with NBC to develop a sitcom based on her childhood.—A.F.

Newsweek, May 28 The cover package reveals that single moms head more than 7.5 million U.S. households, single dads over 2 million. The latest prediction: More than half of kids born in the 1990s will spend at least part of their childhood in a single-parent home. One reason: Today’s financially independent women don’t have to settle for “Mr. Almost Right” in order to raise a family. Dan Quayle explains why he’s still right for criticizing Murphy Brown in 1992: “A two-parent household, with a mother and a father, is still the best place to raise a child.” Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speaks out in an interview: “I realized [after the May 1 protest] that it is important to let the lower classes know that this government wants to serve them.”—A.F

U.S. News & World Report, May 28
The cover package claims that while the U.S. population has risen 20 percent since 1982, the time spent in traffic has risen 236 percent. An average driver spends the equivalent of nearly one workweek each year stuck on the roads. While the mag does offer quick fixes for congestion, it forgets to look under the hood of America’s car trouble: Mention of the oil crisis is saved for an editorial on Bush’s energy plan. An article on the shortage of prison workers describes how Kentucky’s corrections program has had success recruiting—it offers workers a free bunk in the prison. Author Iris Krasnow shares some wisdom about creating a happy marriage: “Once you realize that sustained happiness is not something you should expect from marriage, you can be very happy.”—A.F