New Republic, June 18
The cover story (by Slate’s “Moneybox” columnist, Rob Walker) concludes that departing General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s reputation is “overvalued.” Although Welch is “easily the most lionized corporate hero alive,” it helps that his tenure as CEO coincided with the bull market that began in the early 1980s and with the mainstreaming of business leaders. In fact, GE’s success is due to its long tradition of management excellence and use of “confusing but apparently legal gimmicks” to generate eerily consistent quarterly results. … A piece wonders why unions failed to organize against Patrick Pizzella’s appointment as an assistant secretary of labor. Now responsible for protecting workers’ rights, Pizzella spent four years as a lobbyist on behalf of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, “a notorious haven for foreign-owned sweatshops.”… A dispatch contrasts the well-stocked stores and well-fed people of northern Iraq with privations in the rest of the country. The difference: In the north, local Kurdish authorities—not Saddam Hussein—control revenues from U.N.-approved oil sales.—J.T.
New York Times Magazine, June 10
A piece profiles Thomas Middelhoff, chief executive of the VC firm Bertelsmann, who built his reputation on risky bets. Some, like his huge early investment in America Online, paid off (and convinced Middelhoff to dump his power suits for Internet casual wear). Then he bought a majority stake in Napster, the online music exchange being sued over copyright infringement. The big question, can this Über-exec fend off lawsuits and competitors and pilot the embattled company to profit? … An article assesses Sen. Joe Lieberman’s chances to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2004. Lieberman is moderate in both political conviction and temperament. But it’s that even-keeled attitude that could hurt him: Sometimes Lieberman sounds less like a passionate stumper and more like Mr. Rogers. Do Dems want a candidate, some party loyalists ask, who “likes to mix it up politically, [but] doesn’t really have the stomach for combat”?—B.C.
Time, June 11 The cover package welcomes readers to “Amexica,” referring to the southern border of the United States as “the front door—where our economic, cultural and political future is being forged.” Among the United States’ daily legal imports from Mexico: 1 million barrels of crude oil, $51 million in auto parts, and 800,000 people. … The Mexican exodus has emptied one typical village of most of its adult males and halved its population. Some expats have pooled their cash to build roads, clinics, and schools back home. … An article offers life- and sanity-saving tips for parents traveling alone with children.—A.F.
Newsweek, June 4 The “AIDS at 20” special report asks if vaccine designer Seth Berkley can find cure for AIDS; reminds that in 1986 William F. Buckley Jr. called for people with AIDS to be tattooed on their forearms and buttocks; and credits AIDS activists with the advent of patient activism. … A Newsweek reporter recounts his “symbolic” four-hour kidnapping last week by a militant group of Palestinians called the Fatah Hawks. The reporter was to be held until “the Western media took notice,” but an Arafat aide insisted that the real aim was to humiliate the Palestinian Authority.— A.F.
U.S. News & World Report, June 4 The cover charts how Las Vegas has transformed itself from the capital of sin to “Anywhere, U.S.A.” today. Gaining 5,000 to 7,000 new residents per month, this city of 1.5 million is America’s fastest-growing metro area and has lost much of its seediness in the process. Yet Sin City still has a dark side: The surrounding county has almost 70 percent of Nevada’s population, in a state that leads the nation in suicide, high-school dropout, and teen pregnancy rates. … An article explains how a Rutgers University study debunked the theory that low-income neighborhood residents don’t get the same good deals on groceries as suburbanites.—A.F.
The New Yorker, June 11 A piece details the fall of Inside.com. Co-founder Kurt Andersen envisioned a “must-read online site for members of the cultural elite,” complete with juicy media scoops and thousands of paying subscribers. But Inside hemorrhaged cash until millionaire media magnate Steven Brill took over. The low point for Inside-ers: Staffers staged a puppet show to cope with their new boss. … A review of a Molière biography pegs the 17th-century playwright as the father of the TV sitcom. Picture this: A member of a bourgeois family—call him Cliff Huxtable—brings home a new enthusiasm (weightlifting, a new diet, a home repair project). But the rest of the family soon manages to convince Cliff that his new passion is ridiculous. This basic sitcom storyline descends from the playwright; as the author writes, “Molière’s comedy of temporary obsession is ours.”—B.C.