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Free Migration

Economist, Nov. 2 The cover story argues that the world may have even more to gain from free migration than free trade. Everyone benefits when poor immigrants are able to provide unskilled labor in richer nations. What’s needed are new ways to select which immigrants will be allowed in. An article notes a growing boycott of Western goods in the Arab world. In some cases it’s a rejection of American foreign policy. In others, the boycott is less coherent: Sales of Procter & Gamble’s Ariel soap have taken a hit in Egypt because of claims that it’s named after the Israeli prime minister. In the end, it’s the Arabs who will suffer from the boycott by driving away foreign businesses. A piece suggests some problems with the early mail-in voting systems used in many states. Surprisingly, early voting doesn’t do much to increase turnout, and it can lead voters to miss big news right before Election Day, like the death of their candidate.— J.F.

New Republic, Nov. 11 The cover story says the United States is letting Pakistan and Egypt do its dirty work in the war on terrorism. We’re not just turning a blind eye to their methods—which include torture, farcically incompetent trials, and execution—we’re encouraging them. Does it help our image abroad if we’re propping up brutal regimes? A piece accuses Republicans of trying to keep blacks from voting. GOP candidates aren’t appealing to black voters so much as sowing distrust of white Democrats. NAACP members in Arkansas found this in leaflets left on their cars: “Send Mark Pryor a strong message by casting your vote for Senator Tim Hutchinson or just not voting in that particular race.” “TRB” says low voter turnout isn’t as big a problem as disproportionate turnout—namely, the overrepresentation of seniors. Simple reforms—same-day registration, making it easier to get absentee ballots, making Election Day a holiday—would make it easier for young people to vote.—K.T.

New York Times Magazine, Nov. 3 Entertainment issue: Frank Rich says Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) has grown up and gone from being “Public Cultural Enemy No. 1” to superstar and franchise. He’s straightforward and earnest, and he hopes his new semiautobiographical movie, 8 Mile, will inspire other kids for whom, growing up amid domestic strife and social isolation, music is a refuge. A.O. Scott explains why, while record labels and TV networks are struggling, movies continue to make outstanding profits. Moviegoing is an essentially modern activity, Scott argues, “at once collective and radically solitary.” A piece describes the dilemmas facing the writers of Friends: Should the finale be shocking or sentimental? Will the friends split up or keep hanging around Central Perk? Will Ross and Rachel be together in the end?— K.T.

Texas Monthly, November 2002
The cover story looks at Crawford, Texas, the 700-person burg where George W. Bush bought a ranch. Crawford has stalled somewhere between rural anonymity and roadside tourist mecca. Visitors are pouring in and buying trinkets, but the town still doesn’t have a grocery store. Skip Hollandsworth profiles Clara Harris, the Houston orthodontist who allegedly murdered her husband by running him over three times with her Mercedes. It gets weirder. The husband was having an affair with a female co-worker, who is accused of having an affair with yet another woman. Paul Burka eulogizes Texas liberalism. The only place in the state one can hear the L-word these days is GOP campaign commercials, which tar even moderate Democrats as “liberals.”—B.C.

Mother Jones, November 2002 The cover story looks at the trend toward privatization of municipal water services: Multinational water management companies promise to lower rates and improve service—and turn a tidy profit, too. But what was intended to be an “international showcase” for privatization has turned into a nightmare for Atlanta residents. Five “boil water” alerts this year alone, out-of-order fire hydrants, and violations of federal drinking water standards have the city threatening to terminate United Water’s contract if the problems aren’t fixed. A piece by Brendan I. Koerner looks at lie detectors. There’s no scientific evidence that they work (convicted spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames both passed polygraph tests with flying colors), and Congress banned compulsory tests in the private sector in 1988. Yet cops and federal employees are still routinely denied jobs and may even have their careers ruined on the basis of a single negative polygraph result.— S.D.

Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Newsweek, Nov. 4
Both Newsweek and U.S. News front the capture of suspected snipers John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo (Time’s cover looks at the battle over legalizing marijuana.) Newsweek’s cover story finds several apparent scoops. Records indicate that Muhammad had a distinguished stint in the Army, but his former sergeant says otherwise: During the Gulf War, Muhammad was arrested for setting fire to a tent filled with American soldiers; his records are mum on the incident. Last year, a friend of the suspects told the FBI of the pair’s post-9/11 plot to kill a police officer and bomb his funeral. FBI officials say they passed on the tip to the ATF, which didn’t follow up. Meanwhile, the FBI last week deposited $100,000 into the bank account of the card stolen by the snipers, hoping to catch the killers. But they were arrested before they could use the card. A Time story says FBI profilers went over President Bush’s remarks about the sniper attacks to make sure he didn’t “goad” the shooter. A sidebar to U.S. Newscover story profiles Aspen Hill, Md., where the shootings began and ended. Before the attacks, this “Anyburb, U.S.A.” community was best known as home to one of America’s first pet cemeteries and for the occasional grisly murder. Time’s cover story examines the pro-marijuana initiatives on several state and local ballots this year. (Click here for a Slate piece on one such initiative in Nevada.) A Time/CNN poll finds Americans not so conflicted about pot. They want it illegal, but not really enforced. A U.S. News piece says the once-dormant practice of cigarette smuggling is booming in the wake of increased taxes on tobacco products. A wall that braces the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s most sacred structures, is near collapse and needs to be fixed before the start of Ramadan, says a Newsweek story. But the wall has become the latest stumbling block in Israeli-Palestinian relations, as the two sides fight over how to fix the damage, what caused it, and who should repair it. A Time story says last week’s terror warning about the nation’s rail system was prompted when photos of American trains and rail crossings were found on the hard drive of a computer owned by a suspected al-Qaida operative.— H.B. The New Yorker, Nov. 4
An article by critic Anthony Lane examines the enduring phenomenon of James Bond films: “007 is the bastard son of Dorian Gray, blessed with a license to kill and a refusal to die.” Our envy of Bond’s eternal sexiness appears to be at the root of the 007 mania, transforming what was essentially a B-list movie franchise into an A-list event. Allied air attacks on Germany during World War II wiped out entire cities and left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions more homeless. Yet an article notes that Germany continues to treat its suffering and ruin from the war like a shameful family secret—never to be discussed beyond vague generalizations. As a result, the massacre has never played any “appreciable part” in discussions about the country’s past or future.— H.B.

Weekly Standard, Nov. 4 The cover article mocks the rampant psychoanalytic speculation about the sniper’s motivation that was preached as gospel on cable talk shows. The experts conjectured that the sniper was a young, white, American-bred loner. Of course, they got it all wrong and made fools of themselves in the process. Another piece rejects the science of psychological profiling altogether as hardly ever being useful. An article says we shouldn’t even think of confronting Iraq and North Korea until the defense budget is upped by another $100 billion. The magazine reprints an interview with Rawya Rashad Shawa, a leader of the anti-Arafat bloc in the Palestinian National Council. Shawa is supportive of democracy and critical of Palestinian corruption but still holds to traditional Palestinian positions on the conflict with Israel.— J.F.

The Nation, Nov. 11
An article calls for “regime change” in the Democratic Party. Since Daschle and Gephardt have rolled over in the face of Bush’s conservative agenda, the party would be better served by leaders with spine, like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chris Dodd. A piece slams the Washington Post op-ed page for its one-sided take on Iraq. Column-space goes to hawks while voices of moderation—especially those of foreigners and women—are all but absent. (The author, Michael Massing, is recycling an old complaint.) An article wonders whether Pat Buchanan’s new biweekly, the American Conservative, can really be sustained by his intra-conservative civil war. For Buchanan and his band of isolationist paleoconservatives, the conservative church must be purged of interventionist neocons. But will anyone jump on board?— J.F.