Esquire, November 2002 An article describes a rare noninvasive procedure that can prevent a major coronary event by killing away the part of your heart that’s giving you problems. You’re actually kept awake for your own minor heart attack. … An article tells the story of the world’s youngest college graduate and his father who pushed and pushed. The boy genius was eventually taken from his father’s custody and returned to a normal life. Now grown up, he’s just a regular guy who has made amends with an abusive father. … A piece profiles Kyle Turley, the New Orleans Saints lineman who got in trouble for tossing an opponent’s helmet after he tried to injure the Saints quarterback. On the field, Turley’s a monster; off the field, he’s a clean-living surfer-dude sweetheart.— J.F.
New Republic, Nov. 4 The cover article celebrates the British trash that’s flooding our shores. From Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? to Maxim to Ozzy Osbourne, Britain’s cultural exports are increasingly crass and lowbrow—and we’re all the better for it. … “TRB” turns conventional wisdom on its head with the suggestion that Iraq might actually be helping the Democrats in midterm elections. While Americans in general favor war by a small margin, those who say it’s their primary voting issue mostly oppose it. If the Dems lose, it won’t be for dovishness, but for failing to deliver a strong message on the economy, which is supposed to be their issue! … A piece explains how the North Korean nukes story broke—a USA Today reporter and a Washington trade analyst both were tipped off about Pyongyang’s confession on Oct. 16—and why it’s making things hard for the White House.—K.T.
Economist, Oct. 26 The coverarticle takes a slap at the “lurch and muddle” approach of the European Union. The EU moves in big steps and then leaves the details to be sorted out once a new policy is already in effect. It’s a bad model that’s left a mess in the wake of currency unification. Hopefully a new EU constitution will change things. … An essay by development guru Jeffrey Sachs says America is neglecting its global responsibilities and that the United Nations should be empowered to step in and fill the void. The United Nations has the expertise and hands-on experience to direct the global development agenda, but it will still need the backing of the United States. … An obituary eulogizes Allen Walker Read, the etymologist who spent his career tracking down the origins of the word OK. Read’s contentious finding: The phrase was born as an abbreviation for “Oll Korrect” in a satirical 1839 newspaper article about bad spelling.— J.F.
New York Review of Books, Nov. 7
Joseph Lelyveld discusses U.S. treatment of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners at Guantanamo. It’s possible that most of them are low-level and harmless, although the Bush administration has openly admitted it plans to keep them on ice indefinitely. No one’s preparing whatever judicial process will deal with these people. How does this approach square with both the letter and the spirit of international law? … Anthony Lewis critiques the Bush administration’s conflicted policy on Iraq, calling it a symptom of Bush’s desire not to play by any set of rules—flouting Geneva Convention guidelines at Guantanamo; refusing to submit to International Criminal Court rulings; vowing to hold any American citizen branded an “enemy combatant” in military prison for as long as he wants to, etc. … The third volume of Robert Caro’s massive LBJ bio gets qualified praise. Caro describes Johnson as ruthlessly ambitious, even when Johnson’s selflessly humanitarian deeds contradict that characterization.—S.G.
New York Times Magazine, Oct. 27
In the cover piece, Michael Lewis defends the stock market boom: The 1990s saw a surge in productivity and the creation of many new businesses and technologies. So what if in the end investors got burned? What’s bad for investors is often good for the economy. (One wonders why the Times billed this piece as a follow-up to last week’s Paul Krugman lament about the end of middle-class America. The authors have vastly different concerns, but the contrast isn’t particularly clarifying.) … A piece finds a lesson in the limits of reconciliation in the rebuilding of Mostar’s Old Bridge in Bosnia: Europeans can help Croats and Muslims reconstruct the bridge that once connected their neighborhoods, but they can’t make them use it. … A chilling piece about Hady Hassan Omar—arrested in Arkansas on Sept. 12, 2001, and held for 73 days without charges—examines the tradeoffs between security and freedoms.— K.T.
Newsweek, Oct. 28
The cover story is an excerpt of the soon-to-be-published diaries of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994. Even in death, Cobain continues to be one of rock’s most intriguing figures, yet fans are divided about the release of his private journals, which detail his struggles with drug addiction and depression. Ironically, Cobain rails against “the rape of his personal thoughts” throughout. … An article says the United States had advance warning of possible attacks against ships in Yemen days before a French tanker was bombed. The conclusion: America still lacks the resources to take on the threats it hears about, much less the ones it doesn’t. … The final days of Campaign 2002 have taken on an apocalyptic air, a piece says. With Congress closely divided and fund-raising rules set to expire, talk of issues has taken a backseat to relentless money-grubbing.— H.B. U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 28 The cover story excerpts former Washington Post reporter Rick Atkinson’s new book, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. The invasion of North Africa marked the rapid rise of Dwight Eisenhower, the man credited with transforming an Army unprepared and unsure of itself into an unrivaled force. The war is considered a pivotal one in American history—“the place where the United States began to act like a great power—militarily, diplomatically, strategically, (and) tactically.”… An article finds Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a closer than expected re-election race. Bush’s lead over Democrat Carl McBride is now in the single digits, and Republicans in the White House are scared of what this could mean for the 2004 presidential race. … A piece notes that Halloween has gone upscale. On the shelves this haunting season: a Pottery Barn trick-or-treat bag for the kids ($19), an Eddie Bauer Halloween fireplace cover ($55), and gourmet candy corn.— H.B.
Time, Oct. 28
The cover story profiles the rebirth of al-Qaida and warns of a coming wave of terrorism. Intelligence sources say there is clear evidence that al-Qaida camps are up and running in Pakistan, just across the border from Afghanistan. … An article profiles a retired Wisconsin computer technician who has launched an unofficial search for the anthrax killer. Over the last year, the man has worked on the case for up to eight hours a day, posting his findings on a Web site. … An article says the FBI is examining ink on the tarot card left behind by the Washington sniper and reviewing credit card receipts at gas stations near shooting sites for clues— H.B.
The New Yorker, Oct. 28
Part 2 of a piece by Slate contributor Jeffrey Goldberg says Hezbollah now runs terrorist camps in South America. The expansion is thanks to one man: Imad Mugniyah, who is thought to have the capabilities to strike American targets and has established links to al-Qaida. Meanwhile, authorities recently uncovered at least two Hezbollah cells in the United States. … A “Talk of the Town”piece weighs psychology of Saddam Hussein. A new book reveals the Iraqi dictator’s mother was severely depressed while pregnant with him and repeatedly tried to abort Saddam and to commit suicide—factors that may have lead to Saddam’s ruthless nature. … An article examines how doctors, who have little training in psychology, talk to terminally ill patients about death. Should they be positive about their conditions or should they be honest about a bad diagnosis? Doctors increasingly find themselves assuming a role once filled by “religious authorities.”— H.B.
Weekly Standard, Oct. 28
The cover story shadows Arnold Schwarzenegger as he shuttles around California promoting his brainchild, a ballot initiative to increase access to after-school programs. The muscle-bound actor-cum-Republican activist is proving that he can charm the press corps and perhaps even California voters. With a hired staff of skilled Pete Wilson vets, “Ahh-nuld” is positioning himself well for a 2006 bid for the governorship. … A pair of articles takes North Korea’s recent nuclear admission as an opportunity to pounce on the failures of Clintonian foreign policy. One article argues that the “softheaded” diplomacy of engagement gave North Korea the incentive to develop “bargaining chips” like nuclear weapons. The other says that real peace never emerges from a “process.”— J.F.
Harper’s, November 2002
The cover essay by Shelby Steele argues that we live in an age of white guilt that has sapped blacks of the possibility of individual identity. Blacks, Steel argues, have come to embrace a permanent group “protest identity” that “has absolutely no purpose than to collect the fruits of white guilt.” … An article on Iraqi sanctions claims the United States has fought aggressively and vindictively to prevent even humanitarian goods from entering the country. Guarded from public scrutiny behind the closed doors of the U.N. bureaucracy, the United States has withheld everything from medical supplies to water treatment equipment on the grounds that they could be co-opted for military use. … A “Readings” piece by a former prisoner describes the unimaginable horrors of life in North Korea’s concentration camps.—J.F.