New Republic, April 29
The cover piece makes a secular argument against research cloning. The manufacture of embryos for the sole purpose of exploitation would make us ruthlessly utilitarian about life itself. “The problem, one could almost say, is not what cloning does to the embryo, but what it does to us.”… A piece says John McCain should run in 2004, but as a Democrat. Only his moderate pro-life stance would bother the Dems, but odds are they would accept him—and should, since after Sept. 11, he’s the only candidate who could beat Bush. (Slate’s Chatterbox also found this argument persuasive.) … The editors say that the recent flap over African-American studies professor Cornel West’s departure from Harvard is an occasion for mourning, not for the decline of the public intellectual, but for West’s defection from scholarship to celebrity.— K.T.
New York Times Magazine, April 21 The cover piece asks how Florida became the new California, the center of all our lurid national crises. First there was Elián González; dimpled chad; Huffman Aviation, where two of the 9/11 hijackers trained as pilots; then anthrax. If the governor’s race in November pits incumbent Jeb Bush against Janet Reno, the country will be watching the Sunshine State again. … A piece describes how an art lover armed with medical tools proved the scholars wrong. Maurizio Seracini X-rayed Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi and discovered that though da Vinci did the sketch, he didn’t apply any of the paint. Now Seracini is on the trail of a real da Vinci, which could be behind a palace wall. … A piece describes how the author mourned a miscarriage in Japan. She also gets insight into the Japanese view of abortion: “There is public recognition and spiritual acknowledgment that a potential life has been lost … yet there is no shame over having performed the act.”—K.T. Wired, May 2002 The music issue. … The cover story profiles everyman “techno maestro” Moby. (The New York Times Mag put him on the cover of its music issue, too.) The guy who made electronica safe for the mainstream did so by incorporating “melodies, chord progressions, even entire songs into [the] beats, bass, and atmospherics” that make up most of the club genre. The end results sound “both underground and progressive.”… A piece introduces the “Lord of the Borrowers,” aka Dan Verner, a former electrician who provides a staggering amount of free media trades on the Net. Possessing “nearly 2,500 movie, video, and software titles” and more than 3,000 downloaded songs, he makes them available to other PC users employing Morpheus, BearShare, and other info-sharing network systems that arose from the ashes of Napster. When asked about the massive revenue losses his hobby means to movie studios and record labels, he replies, “I think I’m doing a public service.”— S.G.
The New Yorker, April 22 and 29
The money issue. … A piece looks back at former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt’s losing battle against the accounting industry—thanks to the industry’s friends in Washington. In 2000, when Levitt tried to make the companies separate their auditing and consulting services, Congress forced the SEC to back off. Levitt isn’t hopeful reform will ever happen. … A profile of executive coach Marshall Goldsmith explains his strategy for reforming obnoxious execs: Make no apologies or excuses; you can’t fix the past, only behave better now. This philosophy comes naturally to a man who favors quips like “Life is good.”… A piece describes the Wall Street heretic who counts on disaster. Most investors try to predict what will happen in the stock market, not Nassim Taleb. Maybe because he watched his home country blow up or because he’s the rare nonsmoker to get throat cancer, Taleb believes in the unexpected. So his trading philosophy is based on the possibility of random, catastrophic events throwing the market into a tailspin—and thus, making his fortune.— K.T.
Newsweek, April 22 The cover piece says 3 million to 4 million Americans have hepatitis C—and most of them don’t know it. Many people got hep C from blood transfusions before 1992. Now the biggest risk is from IV drug use and, possibly, tattooing. Researchers disagree on whether people with tattoos have a higher rate of infection, but Baywatch star Pamela Anderson thinks she got hep C when she and ex-hubby Tommy Lee were tattooed in Tahiti. … A piece says the tragic battle for the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank is already being mythologized by both sides. Twenty-three Israeli soldiers died, and Palestinians claim that as many as 500 residents were killed. But so far most reports are second-hand, and journalists only got into the camp for the first time on Friday. (Time also has a report on the camp.)— K.T. Time, April 22
The cover piece says that with drug companies turning out record numbers of new medicines, many Americans may be participating in risky clinical trials. Several bills in Congress would tighten federal regulation of research. Some scientists say stricter rules will hold up development of lifesaving drugs, but others say many of the new medicines are actually unnecessary. … A piece predicts the demise of America Online. AOL was supposed to make Time Warner richer, but instead the companies have lost two-thirds of their market value since the merger. With the dial-up market close to saturation, AOL now looks to “the promised land of broadband” for its salvation. But the risk of piracy online means few movie and music executives want to put their content on the Web.—K.T. The Nation, April 29 The cover article is a harsh condemnation of both Israel and America for their roles in the Middle East conflict. The piece dispels the myth that Yasser Arafat was offered a fair shake at Camp David and blames the United States for applying its narrow definition of terrorism only to non-state actors. … A piece by Wole Soyinka compares Israel to the Cyclops of the Odyssey. Lashing out blindly, heaving boulders at a faceless enemy, Israel will “either set off a tidal wave to drown the world or, more aptly, set it on fire.”… An article finds that Afghan women haven’t been able to cast off their burqas as fast as many Westerners had hoped. The much-touted ministry of women’s affairs has been marginalized, women still need permission from male relatives to get passports, and rape is a widespread problem.— J.F.
Weekly Standard, April 22 The cover article challenges American optimism that “the future will be better than the past—indeed, that it cannot be otherwise.” This utopian sanguinity underlies the entire biotechnology revolution and has to be tempered by honest debate about the direction we’re headed in. … On the one year anniversary of the Cincinnati riots, a piece condemns the city’s extortionist “race industry.” Firebrand riot apologists have urged a boycott of the city for its racial profiling and practice of “economic apartheid.” Meanwhile, arrests are down 10 percent and crime has risen 39 percent. … An article reports that congressional pork-barreling has increased 32 percent this year. Among the egregious budget earmarks: “$273,000 to fight the incursions of the ‘Goth’ subculture in a wealthy Kansas City suburb.”— J.F.