Legal Affairs, January and February 2005 An investigative piece uncovers molestation and incest within the Amish society. Given the Amish’s reputation as a “gentle people” who are generally law-abiding citizens, they are largely left alone by government officials. “But can a community govern itself by Jesus’s teaching of mercy alone?” The article provides specific examples of how the community handles allegations of rape and sexual abuse, and ultimately concludes that “the state’s duty to push past barriers thrown up by parents and the community can’t hinge on the religion they practice.”… Judge Alex Kozinski exposes quandaries in judicial ethics. Because of large caseloads, judges have a tendency to pay more attention to big cases. He also touches on judges’ “temptation to decide cases so as to please those in the political process who have the power to appoint, retain, and promote judges.”
Mother Jones, January and February 2005 Democrats need a party-wide revival if they want to win in 2008, says one cover story. While Republicans rallied around their party and the ideals associated with it, Democrats more often than not were “loyal to a particular cause from gay rights to global warming.” Suggestions for how to get back on track include utilizing the aid of local Democrats to persuade undecided voters, rather than relying on transplanted urbanites with no ties to the community. “In a word, it could act a great deal more like the people’s party of old, and less like a traveling circus that folds its tents after the first Tuesday in November.”… A companion cover story says that Democrats should fear not—volunteers and grass-roots campaigns did make progress. In 2008, “at least we will not be starting from scratch. There was a rising. It was defeated, but it was not a figment of a utopian’s imagination.”
New York Times Magazine, Dec. 26 The magazine does a twist on the typical year in review by remembering the lives of about 30 influential individuals who passed away in 2004. The list is an unusual mix of scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, writers, actors, and others. Some are renowned, like Marlon Brando and Richard Avedon, but many are more obscure than this year’s usual suspects, like Ronald Reagan, who’s not on the list—Dr. Katharina Dalton, the physician famous for coining PMS, and prominent philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser. The essays celebrate each person’s professional legacy, but many writers add a personal touch, commenting on what the individual meant to them. Times columnist Maureen Dowd humorously, and poignantly, recounts her memories of Washington Star columnist Mary McGrory. When Dowd was 25, she thought McGrory invited her over for brunch: “When Mary pointed me toward the blender and told me to make a daiquiri for Teddy Kennedy, I realized I was not there as a guest.”
Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 A look back: Time dubs George W. Bush “Person of the Year” for the second time in five years, calling him “an American revolutionary.” The article distinguishes Bush from “ordinary politicians” by remarking on his firm resolve, his intense focus, and his unwavering commitment to his decisions. It adds that Bush’s strength as a leader ultimately made him victorious in the election: “By taking a hard line on divisive issues, he made character—not his record—the issue.” The magazine rounds out its coverage of Bush with an article about the president’s closest adviser, Karl Rove, as well as an interview with President Bush and a separate interview with his parents. … The magazine cites about 20 additional “People Who Mattered,” which includes the horse Smarty Jones, Martha Stewart, Eliot Spitzer, Viktor Yushchenko, Ariel Sharon, Gavin Newsom, Ilyad Allawi, Hu Jintao, John Kerry, Nancy Reagan, and Ron Reagan Jr.
A look forward: Rather than assess 2004, Newsweek devotes its issue to up-and-comers who could dominate 2005, citing Illinois Senator-elect Barack Obama as the real one to watch. Given our red vs. blue divisions, “[T]he son of a black economist from Kenya and a white teacher from Kansas might be uniquely qualified to nudge the country toward the color purple.” The article offers background on Obama’s upbringing and early career, and says he believes that the greatest achievement of his career is the passage of a state bill requiring that police record on video all suspect questioning. … Other individuals on the “Who’s Next?” list include actress Michelle Monaghan, who makes her leading role debut next year in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer; she’ll also co-star with George Clooney in Syriana; Andrea Jung, the CEO of Avon cosmetics who’s responsible for the company’s comeback; and Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who may make a bid for the White House in 2008.
A look at yourself: U.S. News offers the equivalent of a condensed self-help book, bringing readers advice on how to make 2005 a better, healthier, happier, and more productive year. It champions much of the usual—exercise, quit smoking, get organized—but also advocates more unfamiliar, albeit unlikely, strategies, such as quitting your job, taking up philosophy, or moving to Bismarck, N.D., since it’s renowned for being a low-stress small city. It also encourages people to seek out new music, offering Amazon.com-like recommendations for those in a “musical rut”: Apparently, people who like Frank Sinatra might also enjoy Magnetic Fields, and people who like George Clinton should turn to OutKast. Make sex a priority, too, though the magazine says it’s not how much you’re having, but how good it is, that’s important. Another tidbit: Tie the knot. According to a study that came out last week, “married people are healthier physically and psychologically than their single counterparts.”
Weekly Standard, Dec. 27 Immigrants make up one-eighth of Holland’s population. The cover story examines this phenomenon, and more specifically what to do about Holland’s “Islam crisis,” given the country’s high number of Muslim immigrants and growing tension between Muslims and the Dutch in light of Theo Van Gogh’s murder last month. Unfortunately, “the problem is not ‘radicalism’ or ‘marginalization’ or ‘fundamentalism’ but Islam—that Islam and decmocracy don’t coexist well.” In the first half of this year, 13,000 people left the Netherlands to live elsewhere. While this could be an anomaly, “it could also be the beginning of something resembling the American suburban phenomen of “white flight,” occurring at the level of an entire country.”… In response to Rumsfeld’s comment, “You go to war with the Army you have,” a piece advocates increasing American troops so that they can successfully defeat insurgents in Iraq and protect the United States from Iran and North Korea.
Economist, Dec. 16 The magazine waxes poetic, publishing a 4,274-word rhyming rundown of the year’s events from the war in Iraq, the U.S. presidential election, and Arafat’s death, to more mundane occurrences like Howard Dean’s scream and the revelation of “Janet Jackson’s tit.” (They had to rhyme “Democrats in fits” with something.)… Another article advocates amending the U.S. Constitution to allow immigrants to seek America’s highest office, given Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desire to run. “There are plenty of good reasons to mock the idea of President Arnold Schwarzenegger. His birthplace is not one of them.”… A piece on President Bush’s religious beliefs points out that he’s hardly the first president to make his faith an integral part of his presidency —Carter and Clinton did, too. Bush employs religion in five ways: “as a literary device”; “as consolation”; “as history”; “arguing for his faith-based policies”; and “to talk about providence.”
New Republic, Dec. 27 The cover story on Dr. Phil exposes the hypocrisy of his approach to therapy. Since Dr. Phil’s solutions to his whack-job guests’ problems often lie in footing the bill so that they can receive some lavish treatment at a plush rehab center, for example, all he’s really advocating is the need for everyone to have a “rich, well-connected fairy godfather to swoop in, reorder our lives, and keep us in line.”… Cass Sunstein reviews A Court Divided by Mark Tushnet and offers his own insight on the matter. According to Sunstein “two drastically different approaches to constitutional law” have divided the Rehnquist Court. He compares the ruling style of O’Connor and Kennedy, who err on the side of caution with that of Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist, who are more aggressive—they’re “eager to insist on the supremacy of their own view of the Constitution, whatever the precedents say.”