New Republic, Oct. 2 Working mothers face off against their stay-at-home counterparts in a cover essay on the “Mommy Wars.” The two camps have entered into a “mutual pact of pity and condescension … crosscut with envy,” and new books lay out agendas for each. Caitlin Flanagan channels her mother’s absence to advocate a woman’s role in the home—a perspective that prompted Stephen Colbert to call her “a perfect woman.” Linda R. Hirshman’s book, Get to Work, is a feminist manifesto aimed “at the upper stratum of intelligent, educated, affluent women who cast aside their college degrees to kiss boo-boos and keep their rugrats entertained.”… The Lamont-Lieberman race is about to get even uglier, a piece reports, as Democratic campaign advisers David Sirota and Dan Gerstein enter the fray. The longtime rivals eagerly sling mud: Sirota is “practically giddy about the fact that any shots he takes against Gerstein will now have the added bonus of hitting Lieberman as well.”—C.B.
Economist, Sept. 23 The cover explores the “dark side of debt,” pegged to the meltdown of the hedge fund Amaranth Advisors, which lost $6 billion dollars this month on highly leveraged natural-gas futures. The magazine outlines the recent changes in the sector, showing how the rapid proliferation of hedge funds and private equity means that credit markets are both much more complex and less regulated than they were a few years ago—a volatile combination. But the magazine is leery of bringing too much regulation and oversight, reminding readers that the comparative freedom of hedge funds has allowed great financial success. … Bound inside this issue is a quarterly minimagazine on technology, which covers subjects ranging from the high-tech future of humdrum products like light bulbs and concrete, to meat grown in vats and smart computer systems that offer “augmented cognition.”—B.W.
New York, Sept. 25 Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey reveals that one of the first places he visited in his quest for a gay encounter was near an abandoned synagogue in Washington that served as a cruising ground for young, closeted future ruling elites. He sees his resignation as “penance and atonement” rather than a disgrace, hopes his humiliated ex-wife will one day get over it, and longs for “being in love, really in love—ordinary, boring, romantic love.”… Just winning isn’t enough for New York gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer, an article says. Spitzer wants to rout Republican John Faso so he can sweep into Albany with a mandate. But, according to one state senator, Spitzer should be careful what he wishes for: “If Spitzer wins and takes the perceived mandate and puts that on his shoulders as he walks into the swamp of the Legislature, he’ll drown.”— Z.K.
New York Times Magazine, Sept. 24 A cover piece by Michael Lewis tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless kid from Memphis who now plays left tackle for Ole Miss. At 16, Oher had an IQ of 80 and aptitude test scores in the sixth percentile. But the Briarcrest Christian School football coach saw Oher’s 344-pound physique and convinced the principal to admit him. When college scouts started paying regular visits, the coach “learned exactly what he had on his hands. Not just a big old lineman. Not some cement block, interchangeable with other cement blocks of similar dimensions. A future N.F.L. left tackle.”… A piece examines the practice of intersex surgery—operating on children with ambiguous genitalia. Cheryl Chase, born Brian Sullivan, grew up depressed after her parents had her clitoris removed at 18 months. Through her work with the Intersex Society, she aims to persuade parents of hermaphrodites that gender should not be “surgically reinforced.”—C.B.
Time, Sept. 25 Noting that recent orders have put U.S. ships on standby in the Persian Gulf, the cover piece weighs the likelihood of war against Iran. U.S. options remain limited: A ground war is out of the question, with troops overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan. An air assault couldn’t eliminate all of Iran’s 18 to 30 nuclear facilities, some of which are underground or disguised. And any U.S. attack would likely spur Iran to boost the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. For now, officials are sticking with “hard-nosed diplomacy,” hoping “to tie Iran up in a series of suspensions, delays and negotiations until a more pragmatic faction of leadership in Tehran gains the upper hand.”… Frank Wuterich, a Marine sergeant charged in the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha, sheds little light on the incident in his first press interview. He postponed dreams of producing music for what he thought would be a temporary military stint. Now a potential death sentence hangs over him: “I’m mystified by a lot of this,” he says.—C.B.
Newsweek, Sept. 25 A piece profiles Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel and his brother Ari—a Hollywood agent and the inspiration for Jeremy Piven’s character on Entourage—who funnels Hollywood donations to Rahm’s Red to Blue Program. The program, which singles out deserving candidates for funds, may be the Democrats’ ticket to retaking the House and represents a shift away from DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s “50-states” approach to fund raising. The GOP may still be $30 million richer, but Rahm’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “is now roughly even with its GOP counterpart—a position it hasn’t enjoyed for a decade.” … A piece claims Pope Benedict XVI had what seem to be good intentions when he made remarks that have roused the ire of Muslims. He “was right to raise the issue of how to confront and combat the religious extremism that gives rise to terror and violence,” the author argues. But his tactlessness signifies a clear break from the style of his predecessor.—C.B.
Weekly Standard, Sept. 25 An article on Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s primary victory suggests having the support of the RNC and similar organizations may cost the moderate Republican in the upcoming general election: “It will now be easier for Democrats to paint him as a facilitator of the ‘radical’ Bush agenda.”… Disregard the news that a majority of Republican candidates think having President Bush campaign for them is one way to end up unemployed, says Fred Barnes. “There are many more [House] members who want the president to come than he could ever satisfy,” says House Republican whip Roy Blunt.… Stephen Hayes explains why a recent Senate report claiming Saddam Hussein wasn’t in cahoots with al-Qaida is off the mark. Slate contributor Christopher Hitchens mocks the report’s logic in stating that a sojourn to Niger by Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican was just innocuous diplomatic mission.—Z.K.
The New Yorker, Sept. 25 In the style issue, a profile of Silvia Fendi Venturini discusses how she created one of the most iconic bags of the ‘90s: the Fendi baguette. The company has sold about 600,000 of the model at an average cost of $1,500. Because of the baguette and similar must-have bags, “waiting lists became a fundamental part of status-bag culture. They gave upper-middle-class women the sense of being part of an inner circle of bespoke fashion.”… A profile of Diane von Furstenberg examines the role of her creative director, Nathan Jenden, in her company. The author writes that von Furstenberg acts as Jenden’s muse: “Each season, he thinks about her and what she represents and comes up with clothes that embody that: always easy and comfortable, a little bit naughty, never prissy—which, in Jenden’s mind, makes the line quite European.”— D.S.
Economist, Sept. 16 The cover package probes the implications of globalization for the wealthiest countries. The U.N. Security Council roster will need updating, China’s rise may push Japan and India further toward the United States, and outsourcing will only increase—all “the problems of success.” The U.S. government must revamp its economic policy, as “the developing countries will not be prepared to go on financing America’s massive current-account deficit for much longer.”… Conservative Party leader David Cameron deserves much of the credit for Tony Blair’s downfall, a piece argues. But the main beneficiary will be Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is all but crowned, according to the piece. Still, Brown denies foreknowledge of the Labor rebellion: “Unfortunately for the chancellor, few, especially those close to Mr Blair, are inclined to believe his protestations of innocence.”—C.B.
New York Times Magazine, Sept. 17 A cover piece recounts one warden’s efforts to ease tensions between guards and prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. During his yearlong tenure, Col. Mike Bumgarner had one goal: to run a peaceful camp. But his concessions to detainees—he granted requests to dim the lights at night and refrain from blasting the national anthem during prayer—irked military intelligence units determined to withhold such “privileges” as incentive to talk. Dozens of hunger strikes and three suicides later, Bumgarner wondered if he had been too lenient: “We tried to improve their lives to the extent that we can—to the point that we may have gone overboard, not recognizing the real nature of who we’re dealing with.”… A profile of French director Michel Gondry exposes the roots of his creativity: hopeless romanticism. His work, which includes Björk music videos and the upcoming The Science of Sleep, depicts love through a childlike kaleidoscope: “When people want to criticize me, they call me puerile,” he says.—C.B.
New York, Sept. 18 Tepid Democrat Kurt Andersen is thrilled that the odds favor his party in November. However, Anderson’s elation doesn’t flow out of party loyalty but out of “a ferocious wish to see the Bush administration get a beatdown from voters across the country.”… It’s not good to be Bill Keller these days: The embattled New York Times executive editor has colleagues, critics, readers, and even the White House on his case, but according to an article, at least one employee has got his back: “[W]hen you’re sailing through a shit storm, it really helps if the captain is steady and strong. You know, our ship may be leaking, but we ain’t going to go under on his watch,” says Times’ reporter David Barstow. … An investigation tries to crack one of the city’s greatest mysteries: Who gets rent-controlled apartments in New York? Well, if you’re an ex-junkie carpenter from the former Czechoslovakia with a penchant for attacking refrigerators with ice picks, you just might be in luck.— Z.K.