New York Times Magazine, June 25 The cover story follows London police in their efforts to prevent another 7/7 by stepping up their presence in highly segregated Muslim neighborhoods. Commissioner Ian Blair hopes to enhance surveillance and to encourage citizens to volunteer evidence. But the article suggests that this approach fails to confront the global politics motivating terrorist activity. The author criticizes the British government for resisting dialogue with nonviolent political dissidents while engaging with radical clerics such as Yusuf Qaradawi. … Insights from neuroscience are destigmatizing drug addiction by interpreting it as atrophy of the brain’s reward pathways, reports an article. New medications reduce cravings that users normally experience in the absence of the drug, while others prevent addicts from experiencing the high altogether. Boasts one drug developer: “It doesn’t appear to be happening because of will power, love, God, discipline, family support or anything else. It seems to be happening because the protocol resets a faulty mechanism in the brain.”—N.R.
New York, June 26
An article profiles the “Guantanamo Bay Bar Association,” a group of attorneys taking on the cases of some of the “most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth.” Little victories such as procuring books or Arabic magazines often are enough to convince the prisoners that their clients are actually working for them. … On a mission to create a kinder, gentler New York, the cover is dedicated to schooling New Yorkers on urban etiquette. The article offers up gentle reminders that gawking at women on the street, skateboarding on sidewalks, blasting your iPod, or clipping your fingernails on the subway are taboo. It also advises how to easy out of such awkward social situations as a one-night stand, hitting on someone at the gym, divvying up a restaurant check and explains what “let’s have lunch” really means.— Z.K.
Harper’s, July 2006 The cover story calls for antitrust action against Wal-Mart, arguing that the company not only dictates non-negotiable prices to manufacturers but also regulates content. For example, Wal-Mart recently refused to carry a new Coca-Cola product because it did not approve of the sweetener. Such micromanaging of suppliers “subverts the functioning of the free market,” the author claims: “To defend Wal-Mart for its low prices is to claim that the most perfect form of economic organization more closely resembles the Soviet Union in 1950 than twentieth-century America.” … Christopher de Bellaigue offers a portrait of Tehran as tensions rise over Iran’s nuclear program. The mood is remarkably calm, he writes, and Ahmadinejad enjoys popular support. “If there is an attack,” an Iranian tells de Bellaigue, “the Islamic Republic and its popularity will no longer be under discussion; the question will be the nation of Iran, and its survival, and Iranians will gather to protect it.”—C.B.
The New Yorker, June 26 South Dakota’s abortion ban, which does not make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother, is proving to be more extreme than many of the state’s residents are comfortable with. Abortion supporters in the state are attempting to put the law to a general vote in November to overturn it, but even pro-lifers are uncomfortable with the bill, largely because of the “ongoing dispute over the tactics of managing Americans’ ambivalence about abortion,” writes Cynthia Gorney. … Robert Mugabe’s term as president of Zimbabwe ends in 2008, and indications are that he will step down. There are hopes that the nation’s bleak situation could improve. Led by trade-union head Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change party “has mounted an unprecedented challenge to the dictatorship.”—D.S.
Weekly Standard, June 26 A cover story appraises the “netroots” movement in light of last week’s Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas. The author compares today’s left-wing bloggers to Eugene McCarthy’s followers, arguing that they share “an almost religious conception of their participation in a movement.” What they lack, he writes, is a unifying ideology: The netroots “is looking only for politicians who emote, who oppose, who rail against Bush, the GOP, and the war.” … A reporter chronicles his convention visit. At a Pundit Project Training seminar, bloggers learn how to behave around the MSM: “You’re like the new cool kids on the block,” says one trainer. “You should leverage that.”… An editorial calls for a strategy in Iraq that will “establish the inevitability of victory.” The article demands “clear-and-hold” tactics focused on providing security, not the current approach of “handing over battlespace” to Iraqi troops.—C.B.
Newsweek, June 26 An article all but absolves the Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a woman hired to dance at a team party. The piece depicts lacrosse players as eager to submit to lie-detector and DNA tests, and it portrays an unreliable accuser with a zig-zagging story and a history of rape accusations. The writers suggest that political ambition clouded prosecutor Mike Nifong’s judgment. “Indeed, the available evidence is so thin or contradictory that it seems fair to ask what Nifong could have been thinking when he confidently told reporters that there was ‘no doubt’ in his mind that the woman had been raped at the party held by the lacrosse team.”… A piece details the Taliban’s efforts to stop the education of Afghan girls by burning down schools and threatening to maim teachers and students. Local police and the Kabul government are blamed by some Afghans for failing to halt the violence. “Unable to win on the battlefield, the Taliban are trying to discredit the Kabul government by blocking its efforts to raise Afghanistan out of its long dark age.”— M.M.
Time, June 26
An excerpt from The One Percent Doctrine, a new book by journalist Ron Suskind, details an al-Qaida plot to poison New York subway passengers with hydrogen cyanide. Senior al-Qaida officials called off the attack about 45 days before it was to happen, according to Suskind, who details a blueprint for the mubtakkar poison-gas device. In a breakout, government wonks weigh in on how press exposés like Suskind’s book can create a national security threat. The author counters that he’s not revealing anything al-Qaida doesn’t know and, in fact, his book might teach Americans to recognize the materials of terror when they see them. … A special report details India’s nascent economic and social power. An article looks at Bombay, which embodies both the simmering economic landscape and the crumbling civic infrastructure that mark the nation’s transition. Investment banks, tech firms, and freelance gangsters make the city a moneymaking hub. Meanwhile, 81 percent of the country’s population lives on $2 per day or less. “That class divide is starkest in cities like Bombay, where million-dollar apartments overlook million-population slums.”— M.M.
Washington Post Magazine,June 18
After learning of his son’s death in Iraq in 2003, Brian Hart began pressuring Congress to provide soldiers with the armor that might have saved the young man’s life, according to the cover story. The Pentagon’s wish for “a short war,” its obsession with high-tech weaponry rather than “boots, bullets and beans,” and a sluggish bureaucracy have produced numerous supply delays. “And not one general has been fired over it,” Hart said. … A formerly deaf writer tells how surgery reintroduced him to the world of sound and, more important, to American Idol. Hearing only deepened his obsession with the show: “[Simon Cowell’s] descriptions painted verbal pictures that I wanted to understand, sort of like a blind man who asks a trusted friend to describe a photograph,” he writes.—C.B.
New Republic, June 26 An article reports on YearlyKos, where presidential hopeful Mark Warner wooed bloggers with ice-sculptures, thrill rides, and Blues Brothers impersonators. The author paints younger bloggers as extremely partisan and skeptical of Democratic Party special interests. The absence of Armando Llorens-Sar, a corporate lawyer whose DailyKos postings did not sit well with his firm, was keenly felt. Many of the bloggers in attendance chatted nervously about the “outing of Armando,” wondering could it happen to them. Read Slate’ s take on YearlyKos here. … Steven Pinker reviews a paper proposing that centuries as economic middlemen have genetically predisposed Ashkenazi Jews to higher intelligence and some congenital diseases. Pinker questions many of the premises but concedes that the hypothesis is plausible and testable. He fears that the study “could lower people’s resistance to more invidious comparisons” between ethnic groups but urges research to continue for the sake of genealogical insight, freedom of thought, and better medicine.—N.R.
Economist, June 17
The cover package focuses on America’s wealth disparity. Though polls suggest general national dissatisfaction with the economy, the article contends that Americans don’t blame the rich, whose incomes are ballooning, or the politicians who aren’t effecting change. While the rich get richer and the poor make small gains, “the broad middle of the middle class will see their incomes churned,” the piece finds. Americans see wealth inequality as a natural by-product of the American dream, the writer says, but that view might change if middle-income citizens don’t begin making strides. … A piece reports that a spike in the value of Zambia’s kwacha currency (due to upsurges in the copper trade, foreign investment, tourism, farming, and outside aid) has caused inflation to dip under 10 percent. Though President Levy Mwanawasa has contributed significantly to the economic turnaround, according to the writer, accusations of cronyism, political power grabs, and tribal disagreements threaten to upend the progress.—M.M.
Atlantic, July/August The cover story turned out to be an unintentional obituary of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that questions the legend surrounding the face of the Iraqi insurgency: “He has developed a mythic aura of invulnerability. But he is not the terrorist mastermind that he is often claimed to be.” After failing to distinguish himself in Afghanistan and serving six years in a Jordanian prison, Zarqawi met Osama Bin Laden. According to a former Israeli intelligence official, “it was loathing at first sight.”… A piece chronicles the rise, reign, and fall of “Irhabi 007,” the Islamist hacker who helped turn a network of jihadist chat rooms into a virtual terrorist training camp that earned the admiration of al-Qaida brass. The article also charts the work of an Illinois-based computer programmer whose Web site helped law enforcement agencies track down Irhabi, who now awaits trial in London.—C.B.
New York Times Magazine, June 18 Altria (formerly Philip Morris) is calling its product addictive, throwing cash at anti-smoking campaigns, and begging the FDA for regulation, according to the cover piece. Behind this bizarre behavior is exec Steve Parrish, who has shifted the company away from denying smoking’s dangers. Some activists admire Parrish’s openness but are leery of his motives, one of which is earning “legitimacy” through regulation in order to up stock prices. … An emotionally or physically absent father can create daddy issues for women, according to an article, “from an inability to flirt to a general failure in knowing how to read the male animal.” The writer wonders why our culture stresses father figures for boys, but not for girls. “Perhaps there is something unaddressable about the very feeling of father hunger precisely because we tend to associate men, beginning with our fathers, with less emotional receptivity, so that the very notion of articulating our need for them seems futile.”— M.M.
New York, June 18 An article reveals the drama behind Charles Gibson’s ascension to ABC evening news anchor. After Peter Jennings’ death, Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas were tapped as co-anchors by executives who hoped they would draw in viewers from outside the denture demographic. Woodruff’s near-fatal injury in Iraq and Vargas’ pregnancy left ABC’s old war horses Gibson and Diane Sawyer campaigning for the seat. Charlie’s trump card? Threats of quitting. … It’s good to be Damon Dash, reveals a profile of the rapper-cum-clothing impresario-cum-media mogul. He’s got homes in California and New York, a $400,000 car, a cook, and a full-time photographer on staff. But he still has to deal with the little things in life that can wear a person down, such as broken friendships and, of course, Mondays, which are, according to Dash, “a motherf****r.” The cover is dedicated to ranking the city’s top 1,358 physicians. Read Slate’s take on the list here.—Z.K.
The New Yorker, June 19 This week, a story examines the security risks at New York Harbor, where the Mob remains an active presence. Today, that translates into a potentially huge security risk, writes William Finnegan. The government has established a “green lane” of trusted shippers who are expedited through Customs, and officials fear that port workers could be corrupted into allowing illegal cargo in. More ominous, Finnegan writes, is the fact that “such inside operators, not all of them traditional Mafiosi, may or may not know what they are expediting.”… D.T. Max writes that James Joyce’s grandson Stephen has taken protection of his grandfather’s legacy to an extreme. Stephen Joyce has rejected most requests to access the writer’s unpublished work or to quote extensively from his published works: “Most prickly literary estates are interested in suppressing unflattering or intrusive information, but no one combines tolltaker, brand enforcer, and arbiter of taste as relentlessly as Stephen does, and certainly not in such a personal way.”— D.S.
Weekly Standard, June 19 The cover story checks in with the 101st Airborne “Band of Brothers” (the division whose World War II exploits were made famous in Stephen Ambrose’s book and later in an HBO miniseries) serving in Iraq. These men, concludes the article, “would have made their famous World War II forerunners proud.”… William Kristol uses the snuffing out of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as an occasion to continue prodding the Bush administration to come up with a workable plan for Iraq: “[N]ow is the time to take our best shot at really improving the situation on the ground in Iraq. If this requires 90 percent of the president’s time, if it requires stressing the Pentagon and shaking up business as usual elsewhere in the administration—so be it.” For Stephen Hayes, Zarqawi’s demise provides an opportunity to underline the underreported fact that Saddam indeed had terrorist ties.— Z.K.