Economist, Sept. 23 Iraq could be caught in a dangerous Catch-22. The country will not be safe until it has a proper political system in place, says the cover story—”[U]ntil a general election takes place, nobody will be seen to have the moral authority to impose the necessary peace”—but another story says the present violence could prevent Iraqis from voting. The insurgents “vary in aims and ideology” and are “loosely organized,” making it difficult to control them. Allawi and the Iraqi people are optimistic they can increase security, and the election will occur; the United Nations, however, “sounds unconvinced.” … An article highlights the candidates’ different answers to key questions about Iraq: “How is the war going?” (Bush: good; Kerry: bad); “Is Iraq part of the war on terror?” (Bush: yes; Kerry: no); and “Should America pull out?” (Bush: Not until Iraq is ready; Kerry: Yes, next summer)… Another piece predicts that if Kerry can focus his campaign on how Bush has mismanaged the war, he could emerge victorious.—J.H.P.
New Republic, Oct. 4 The cover story predicts that Bush v. Gore will wreak havoc in 2004. The Supreme Court’s ruling will force the judicial system to resolve questions better left to state legislatures. Even worse, since the decision was so vague, state and district courts will interpret Bush v. Gore in countless different ways. The nightmare scenario: Disputes in congressional and local elections lead to “dozens or even hundreds of cases filed on the Wednesday morning after the election.”… Another piece criticizes President Bush’s handling of the North Korean threat. … After 9/11, Bush enunciated bold ideals for dealing with rogue states, but his words and actions toward North Korea have been “rather dovish.”… John Kerry wins praise for his speech at NYU this week. He succeeded in “differentiating the war in Iraq from the war on terrorism” and aggressively attacked “the gap between Bush’s stump-speech rhetoric and the reality in Iraq.”—D.K.
New York Times Magazine, Sept. 26
The magazine arrives late to the blogger bonanza. Though the cover story provides short profiles of some of the big names in the blogosphere, like Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette and Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo, it hits on many points already covered in the recent deluge of pieces, tied to the CBS controversy, on how bloggers have revolutionized political coverage. It does dip into the conflicted feelings of bloggers—”[Marshall] can’t decide between loving the big media … and hating it”—as well as what the future holds, beyond blogging. When’s Cox’s hopes for a TV career didn’t pan out, “she had to consider, What if Wonkette was as good as it gets?” … From whence we came: NASA spends $75 million a year studying the origin of life, says another piece. Scientists hope the Stardust Mission will provide clues. In January 2006, “a very special package” consisting of comet debris collected by a spacecraft’s “aerogel impact collector” should plummet into our atmosphere and parachute to earth.—J.H.P.
The New Yorker, Sept. 27 The most interesting article in the “style” issue is a profile of presidential tailor Georges de Paris. De Paris, whose suits run from $2,500 to $4,500, has clothed U.S. presidents since Lyndon Johnson, and “generally prefers Republican Presidents to Democrats.” The article offers a bevy of sartorial advice: Wear blue shirts with brown suits, wear a particular suit only once every two weeks, and clean it only once a year.… A profile of Teresa Heinz Kerry, not part of the style section, offers insight into her “saucy” nature. Women “applaud her defiance in breaking the mold of First lady-like self-effacement,” despite her tendency to shoot off like a loose cannon. But the piece takes a fiery remark out of context. Quoted as calling her detractors “scumbags,” Heinz Kerry actually said, “There is a lot of scumbags everywhere,” when asked, during a television interview, “Do you think some of the nobility has gone out of public service?” (Read Julia Turner’s “Assessment” of Teresa Heinz Kerry.)—J.H.P.
Weekly Standard, Sept. 27 In another ode to bloggers, an article reports down to the smallest detail the role they played in the CBS memo controversy. “Part of what makes bloggers well-suited for the role of fact-checking is that there are so many of them.” The piece says the vast number of blogs makes for “a buzzing marketplace of ideas.” … Another piece examines Howard Wolfson’s role running the Kerry campaign’s “Operation Fortunate Son,” which aims “to paint President Bush as a spoiled ‘child of privilege.’ ” Will it work? Republicans don’t think so. One consultant says, “I think Howard’s a very talented communications guy who’s unfortunately trapped in a very dumb campaign strategy.”… Andrew Ferguson offers a tongue-in-cheek assessment of Kitty Kelley. Pointing out her penchant for phrases like “their ruling fell back in his lap like a bowl of rich cream,” Ferguson asks, “Is it surprising that a writer so often accused of sleaziness has become obsessed with dry cleaning?” (Read an”Assessment” of Kitty Kelley and ”Juicy Bits” from her book in Slate.)—J.H.P.
Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 27
The insurgent surge: Life in Iraq is much more violent than the Bush administration lets on, says this Time article that examines how insurgents affect Iraq’s political landscape. The article points to the National Intelligence Estimate, which says there is a “1-in-3” chance that civil war will break out. Time research indicates that “the most active and violent elements of the insurgency now come under the sway of al-Zarqawi and his allies.” The insurgency and anti-American sentiment are fueled by the high number of accidental deaths, says U.S. News. A report from the Iraq’s health ministry shows that 1,811 Iraqis have died in the last three months, including 20 in a recent airstrike in Fallujah. The article focuses on the contentious nature of such airstrikes: One unnamed U.S. official calls them “the dumbest possible thing anybody could ever dream up.” The military stands by its strategy, though, countering that “the strikes have been effective and have minimized American casualties.”
Rather truthful: Time’s cover story explores how our news has become politicized to such a degree that there’s a “Red Truth” and a “Blue Truth” for every issue, including the recent, much publicized Killian memo controversy. Today, “[t]he traditional heralds compete with the authors and bloggers and filmmakers and cable barkers and radio rabble-rousers who appeal to those who tailor the news to fit their political niche.” Is Dan Rather guilty of letting partisan views affect his reporting? The cover story and a sidebar about Rather’s gaffe raise the possibility, noting his reputation for a “transparently liberal” political bias, but disappointingly, never arrive at an answer. The cover story touches on how bloggers’ watchful gaze brought questions of the documents’ authenticity into the public eye. In another piece, blogger Andrew Sullivan praises his Web cohorts for “ratcheting up the standards of the professionals, adding new voices, new perspectives, and new facts every minute.”
Your mental and physical health: Newsweek emphasizes the mind/body connection in a series of articles that looks at how depression, forgiveness, loneliness, and stress impact health. “Patients who are depressed at the time of bypass surgery are more than twice as likely to die in the next five years as patients without clinical depression, although their disease is of comparable severity,” says one article. Another cites statistics proving that emotional stress can hamper fertility. U.S. News devotes its entire cover to infertility. More than $1 billion was spent on in-vitro fertilization last year, says one article that delves into the emotional and physical toll that infertility treatments can have on a couple. Surprisingly, though, “studies have found that despite the considerable strain, the divorce rate in couples is lower than in married couples with children.” An accompanying article reports on embryo-adoption agencies; another looks at how egg freezing might help thwart infertility in the future. (Read Alex Mar’s article in Slate on egg freezing.)—J.H.P.