Economist, May 19 The cover article examines the roots of America’s distrust of China and its implications for the future. Most concerns stem from a combination of perceived threats, including China being “a violator of rights to intellectual property and all-round trade scoff-law.” However, the article deems most of these concerns largely unfounded—“China is a scapegoat for broader economic anxieties.” Most troubling is that the trade issue is distracting Congress from dealing with the real challenge facing the two nations, “avoiding war and conflict.”… A piece analyzes Hillary Clinton’s front-runner status for the presidential election and weighs her chances of capturing the White House. Clinton, one of the most polarizing figures in American politics, enters the race “with more political baggage than any senior Democrat who is not named Kennedy.” However, the article concludes that “any betting man would still have to go with her,” given her political savvy and international-affairs skills.—P.F.
Time, May 28 The cover piece asks if former Vice President Al Gore will run for president in 2008, despite his claims that he has “fallen out of love with politics.” The answer is: maybe, “if at some point in the next five months or so the leader [for the nomination] stumbles and the party has one of its periodic crises of faith.” Gore’s loss to Bush in 2000 was a “hard blow,” but it did allow Gore to achieve a “new state of grace” by focusing on environmental issues. Now Gore must take his heightened visibility and renewed credibility and “decide once and for all whether to take a final shot at reaching his life’s dream.”… A profile of Serena Williams, tennis’s “most compelling personality,” declares “[t]hat Serena swagger is back.” After being written off by many in tennis as “too injury prone and disinterested”—she guest-starred on ER and Law & Order: SVU—the player’s focus is renewed and she “can now ponder the preposterous. A Grand Slam.”— P.F.
New York, May 21
In a profile of Judith Giuliani, formerly Judith Nathan, Lloyd Grove illustrates the difficulties of running for first lady when you’re the third wife. The woman Rudy calls a “thunderbolt” is auditioning for “a vast and contradictory role: romantic partner of America’s Mayor, wholesome third wife, definer of gender roles, and emblem of respectable femininity for an entire nation.” Judi has gained a reputation among some staffers for requiring pampering: One loyalist was overheard saying that on chartered jets, “we need two seats for Judith—one for her and one for her Gucci bag.”… A piece examines the massive marketing success of infomercials. Ajit Khubani, CEO of Telebrands, has “built an empire on guarantees of perfect vegetable slices and freedom from dust.” His talent, the author writes, “lies in identifying a certain sweet spot of angst: the unsolved everyday inconveniences … recognizable when shown on television, yet not so incapacitating that people have already figured out how to solve them.”— C.B.
New York Times Magazine, May 20 The annual architecture issue is devoted to green design—or “eco-tecture”—and is filled with case studies and architect profiles. The lead article asks why European architects and builders are so much more environmentally sensitive than their U.S. counterparts. Regulations and eco-minded clients seem to be the answer. Can we catch up? Possibly. According to the dean of Columbia’s architecture school, “Today’s students are an entirely different species. …. They’re all interested in a radical ecological point of view.”… Another feature revisits the Brazilian city of Curitiba, long a beacon of city planning for its pedestrian-only zones, abundant parkland, and tremendously successful bus and recycling systems. As its large population is challenging the infrastructure, the city needs to find solutions to new problems and a new approach to governance: Curtiba’s master planning was originally put into effect by an autocratic government. “The city that has been called the most forward-looking in the Western Hemisphere is an outgrowth of an era that many Brazilians prefer not to look back on.”— B.W.
Weekly Standard, May 21 A piece wonders why American feminists seem so blasé about the subjection of Islamic women. “They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities … than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores.” The article attacks “hard-line feminists” who compare the treatment of U.S. women to that of women in Third World countries like Afghanistan and Uganda. “Muslim women could use moral, intellectual, and material support from the West to improve their situation.”… A piece follows fringe Republican presidential candidate John H. Cox—“someone who has absolutely no chance of winning”—on his campaign trail. Cox wasn’t even invited to participate in the May 3 GOP debate, so he settled for videotaping himself in his hotel room, answering questions from the debate in real time for posting later on YouTube. “His isn’t a performance for the ages, but it’s surprisingly good. … He is fluid and calm, optimistic without seeming Pollyannaish, critical without seeming a crank, at ease with all issues.”— C.L.
New Republic, May 15 The cover piece argues that Rudy Giuliani’s persistent popularity among Republican voters may signal a shift in priorities for the GOP. His stances on abortion and gay marriage would have killed his chances in previous elections, but voters now say they’re more concerned about Iraq and national security—issues on which the former mayor polls high. Giuliani is “challenging the notion that abortion and gay marriage are vote-determinative for everybody in the party,” says former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie. Other aspects of his conservatism, particularly his willingness to take economic risks, may also portend the party’s future, the author argues. … A piece slams Bush’s chief domestic policy adviser, Karl Zinsmeister, whom former colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute’s flagship magazine remember as an unpleasant manager. When one employee took a maternity leave, he reportedly told his business manager, “I am never going to hire another woman because they just get pregnant and leave.” The circumstances of his departure from AEI remain murky.— C.B.
The New Yorker, May 21 A profile finds Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cleaning up after the recent May Day immigration protests, during which police beat and fired on demonstrators. As the city becomes more predominantly Latino, the mayor is still figuring out how to support greater protection for immigrants without facing political consequences. This “central dilemma” was made clear last year when Villaraigosa joined protesters and subsequently dropped in the polls. Some California lawmakers also question the mayor’s loyalty: “He wants you when he needs you, and then it’s over,” said one legislator. … A piece follows the battle of words between former CIA director George Tenet and journalist Bob Woodward. It was Woodward who first reported Tenet’s now-infamous “slam dunk” comment. Now the reporter, whom Tenet calls a former friend, has panned Tenet’s new memoir as “unintentionally damning,” particularly over his failure to brief the president on pre-9/11 intelligence.— C.B.
Newsweek, May 21
An article in the magazine’s cover package on “rethinking gender”notes that increasing discussion, acceptance, and even pop-culture depictions of transgender people are “raising questions about just what makes us male or female.” Instead of gender being determined by “what’s between our legs,” many experts “increasingly see it as a complex interplay of biology, genes, hormones and culture.” As more people—including young children—start living as the opposite sex, athletic associations, schools, and other institutions are grappling with new issues. Smith College, a women’s school, now allows men to graduate as long as they started school as females. … A piece reports overzealous arresting in Iraq. The number of prison inmates has risen briskly, especially since the troop “surge.” Iraqi policemen and soldiers are allegedly the biggest offenders. But instead of keeping criminals off the street, overcrowded jails “have become breeding grounds for extremists” as “[s]ome … detainees are falling into a kind of legal limbo, held for weeks without a hearing.”—T.B.