Other Magazines

It’s Clinton vs. Dean

The big battle for the netroots.

New Republic, Aug, 7 Editor Martin Peretz cheers the Bush administration for facilitating the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The hawkish editorial concedes that “Israel’s life is not in peril. It can cope. But it will not resign itself to cope with unending terrorism. That is not a way to live.” Peretz argues that rocket-lobbing, self-contained terrorist armies pose a new kind of international threat. Hezbollah started a war, he insists, and despite the oft-cited accusation of disproportional response, wars have never been about keeping casualties “Even-Steven” An article examines the intraparty rift between Howard Dean’s left-wing DNC and the well-funded centrist political machine that is Hillary Clinton. Attempting to fracture Dean’s monopoly on netroots support, Clinton found an ally in blogger Peter Daou and washed her hands of fellow centrist Joe Lieberman. The author notes that her “strategy of dividing and conquering the blogosphere will be abetted by the near impossibility of Web-based Dean loyalists uniting around a single candidate in 2007.”—N.R.  

Economist, July 29 An article pronounces the welfare-to-work movement a smashing success. The glut of starving kids, underemployed parents, and contrite bureaucrats predicted in the wake of Clinton-era workfare never materialized, according to the piece, thanks to a strong economy, better earned-income tax credits, and a welfare-system overhaul. More single mothers are working and fewer families are on welfare, but the working poor are poor nonetheless. The piece recommends better educational opportunities for the poor and learning disabled, more training for skilled work, and a push to change the culture that spawns welfare reliance. The Doha round of the G8 talks ended badly this week—the cover package encourages negotiators to return to the table ready to compromise on tariff reductions and farm subsidies or risk leaving emerging economies out in the cold. “In the long run, the lack of commitment to multilateral trade that sank the Doha round this week will also start to corrode the trading system as a whole.”— M.M.  

New York Review of Books, Aug. 10 Slate contributor Witold Rybczynski looks at three books about the modern shipping industry, revolutionized in 1956 when by Malcom P. McLean invented the shipping container. Understanding the rise of the container is essential to understanding the modern world: “Globalization is often described as involving the movement of information, people, and employment, but it is largely about the movement of goods, and the cheapest way to move products around the globe is in containers.” A diverse cast of writers, including John Ashbery, Larry McMurtry, and Gore Vidal, eulogizes Barbara Epstein, one of the magazine’s founding editors. Elizabeth Hardwick praises her as “a benign observer of human folly” while McMurtry remembers her “belief, common in the Fifties, that the highest possible aspiration was to somehow connect with literature, and then to live for it, in it, near it.”— B.C.

National Review, Aug. 7 Kate O’Beirne gauges Rudy Giuliani’s chances at transitioning from “America’s Mayor” to president. His leadership after Sept. 11 gained him the admiration of Republicans nationwide. Although he currently leads in many presidential polls and possesses nearly 100 percent name recognition, Giuliani needs to make the party base to forget that he’s a northeastern, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, second-cousin marrying, adulterer during primary season. Can he? Probably not. “One conservative strategist predicts that when Giuliani’s positions are better known, conservative primary voters will not only back other candidates but mobilize against him,” writes O’Beirne. An article harps on the GOP for not supporting conservative Stephen Laffey’s primary challenge against the liberal Lincoln Chafee, whose positions have been more in line with Democrats than Republicans: “The party will be there for you when you really need it, even if you’re not there when it needs you.”— Z.K.

New York, Aug. 7 An article traces the intersecting paths of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s fall from grace and his primary challenger Ned Lamont’s rise to election favorite. Lieberman comes off as exhausted and uneasy after receiving scorn from Democrats for his support of the Iraq war and his decision to run as an independent if he loses the primary. Lamont is criticized as possibly naive, “but he’s still managed to come off as the grassroots, anti-Establishment candidate.” Still, the “election may not be about Lamont at all. In the Quinnipiac poll, 63 percent of those who planned to vote for him said their motivation was to oust Lieberman.” Is Dallas Mavericks owner and Internet billionaire Mark Cuban the next Ted Turner? An article says yes and points to a list of similarities: “hip to technology but no quaffer of the Kool-Aid … instinctively contrarian, possessed of a gambler’s taste for risk and an outsider’s disdain for the Old Guard’s shibboleths.”— B.C.

Smithsonian, August 2006 A piece follows David Hockney, the British painter of lonely swimming pools and California landscapes, through his traveling portrait exhibition. “I’ve never thought of myself as a portraitist,” the painter says. The author begs to differ—Hockney’s study of art history informs his command of the modern canvas, according to the piece. “Hockney’s immersion in the art of the past can be evident even in his depiction of a single face.” Families of Vietnam-era soldiers who were labeled missing in action are seeking answers through archeology. Scientists traveled to Laos to excavate the site where Air Force Capt. Michael J. “Bat” Masterson’s A-1 Skyraider went down. They hoped to return his remains to his family and close the case. The mission was fraught with challenges, from rocky terrain to a dubious local government. Dog tags and other circumstantial evidence recovered at the site were enough to end Masterson’s MIA status, but his wife remains unconvinced that his grave has been found.— M.M.

Harper’s, August 2006 A piece profiles the doomsaying Peak Oil movement. The author compares its adherents, who foresee an apocalyptic oil drought in the next few years, to 19th-century religious cultists like the Millerites, who prophesied doomsdays regularly. But unlike their predecessors, these believers “cannot be dismissed as madmen in sandwich boards.” Oil consumption still trends upward, and replacing oil with alternative energy sources—nuclear, hydroelectric, coal, wind and solar power—remains a distant scenario: “If oil doesn’t peak for thirty years, this might be a practical option,” the author writes. “If oil peaked yesterday, a fortified farm in the wilderness starts to look like a more viable solution.” An article investigates allegations of corruption in Iraq’s Interior Ministry. Bayan Jabr, who ran the ministry under the Coalition Provisional Authority, demanded kickbacks from contractors and oversaw the integration of Shiite militias—the “death squads” of the current sectarian violence—into the Iraqi police force. But when two American CPA employees pushed for Jabr’s ouster, CPA chief Paul Bremer fired them instead.— C.B.

New York Times Magazine, July 30
An article evaluates the Chicago Climate Exchange, a private market designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Set up by Richard Sandor, the CCX sets a cap on the level of emissions, which it then divides into shares and allots to its clients. Clients, which include American Electric Power, Ford, and IBM, can then either reduce their emissions to meet their allotment or trade for excess shares from other companies. But will it work? “It may be true that a market-based system is an indispensable means for combating global warming, but does it follow that an entrepreneur, no matter how well intentioned, can be trusted to design that system for the public good?” A column pegged to the ongoing violence in the Middle East contends that “the model of Islamist organizations that combine electoral politics with paramilitary tactics is fast becoming the calling card of the new wave of Arab democratization.” The marriage of militias and democratically elected parties epitomized by Hamas and Hezbollah has erased “the boundary between state and nonstate violence.”—B.C.

The New Yorker, July 31 An article offers a snapshot of Cuba on the brink of transition. Discussion of Fidel Castro’s successor is no longer taboo, as the supreme leader paves the way for his brother, Raul, to share power with a civilian triumvirate. Meanwhile, the United States has already assigned an American transition coordinator—“the Paul Bremer designate of Cuba”—to nudge the island toward democracy. But even some Cuban-Americans remain skeptical: “The fact is that it’s unlikely there’ll be a tabula rasa after Fidel dies,” one analyst says. “But this Administration has this line on transition that ‘if we push we can make it happen.’ “ An article reports from the front lines of the Wikipedia wars. Britannica-loving traditionalists face off against the advocates of über-democratic knowledge aggregator. But recent policing by the Web site’s bureaucracy has users wondering if Wikipedia has outgrown its idealistic origins: “Wikipedia has gone from a nearly perfect anarchy to an anarchy with gang rule,” argues one disaffected Wikipedian.— C.B.

Weekly Standard, July 31 This week’s issue is dedicated to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. William Kristol picks a fight with a couple of Washington Post columnists (including conservative George Will) for going wobbly on Hezbollah. An article criticizes American Jews for not supporting President Bush despite his steadfast support of Israel. Fred Barnes applauds Bush for supporting Israel’s right to deal with Hezbollah on its own terms. Another article warns that Hezbollah is not a two-bit operation but a force with a serious arsenal: “Hezbollah has inflicted more damage on Israel than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was able to inflict on Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.” Slate contributor Lee Smith files a dispatch from Syria that details the history of resistance movements, and their popularity, in the Arab world. “Of course, resistance is extremist discourse, and it is insatiable; it is a struggle against something that seems to threaten life itself, and so the only solution is to obliterate the other,” Smith writes.— Z.K.

Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report, July 31
Middle East conflict:
The newsmagazines ponder the destruction in Lebanon and Israel, how to quell the conflict, and America’s role in brokering a cease-fire. U.S. News reports that Iran and Syria have helped Hezbollah amass an arsenal of rockets and munitions with the capability of striking deeper and deeper into Israel. “Once limited to short-range attacks along the border, Hezbollah now possesses midrange rockets capable of hitting much of Israel.” According to experts, the militants are looking less like guerillas and more like well-equipped soldiers; one of Israel’s tactical goals is to destroy Hezbollah’s arsenal. A Newsweek piece reports on a claim by Lebanese forces that Israel is targeting their army bases and killing their soldiers—a paradox because Israel is attempting to enlist the Lebanese government’s help in cornering Hezbollah. “What sense could be made of this conflagration in which Israel, under merciless attack from Hizbullah rockets, demanded that the Lebanese Army take responsibility for disarming Hizbullah militias—then bombed the Army, too?” asks the piece. Israeli officials deny targeting Lebanese forces and say Hezbollah likely occupied the areas where Lebanese soldiers died. The United States is also catching heat for Lebanese casualties. “The Lebanese government—supported by Washington as a promising democracy—is crumbling beneath an Israeli military assault—also supported by Washington,”the piece contends. Speaking of Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has scheduled a trip to Israel, which a Time piece suggests is the first step toward arresting the violence. Other moves include engaging the Israelis and Palestinians in territorial talks, securing Israel from guerilla attacks, empowering Lebanon’s official government, negotiating with Iran, and stabilizing Iraq. Another Time article asks if Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is strong-arming his way into the history books and Newsweek follows President Bush as he handles one Middle East crisis after another.

Odds and ends: Time looks at how former Christian Coalition head and right-wing political guru Ralph Reed lost both the GOP primary for lieutenant governor in his home state of Georgia and his support core by turning into a “phony.”A Newsweek article revisits the age old question: Are men’s and women’s brains different? A new book says “yes.” And a U.S. News piece reports that robots are revamping the operating room.—M.M.