Today, Other Magazines reads through New York, Newsweek, The New Yorker, the Weekly Standard, the New Republic, and the Chronicle of Higher Education to find out what pieces are worth reading.
An article in The New Yorker introduces “Kim Jong Il’s guy in New Jersey.” Bobby Egan owns a barbecue restaurant in Hackensack, N.J. The De Niro look-alike is also—improbably—chairman of a trade group that has worked to improve ties between the United States and North Korea.—B.F.
Best Bush Critique
The New Republiccriticizes Bush’s newfound role of “phony budget hawk.” The piece observes that “Bush didn’t hesitate to sign off on bloated spending bills—including a $1.2 trillion Medicare prescription-drug benefit—when he thought it might help Republicans keep control of Congress.”—M.S.
Best Campaign Coverage
In the New Republic, Michael Crowley profiles the stagnating Obama campaign. Crowley asks whether the candidate’s recent “flashes of grumpiness”—like when Obama chided a group of people making noise next to the stage as he was making a speech—indicate he won’t be able to withstand the rigorous, and sometimes nasty, competition of a primary race.—M.S.
From New York’s Oct. 8 article on Giuliani’s success with social conservatives: “In political circles, the reaction to the notion that Giuliani—with his record of out-front social liberalism, soap-operatic personal life, and dabbling in transvestism—might actually become the GOP standard-bearer has long been McEnroe-esque: You cannot be serious!“—D.S.
Best International Story
Newsweek profiles Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s likely successor as chief of the armed forces—”the most powerful man in Pakistan.” The piece examines how Musharraf will struggle for power next to Kiyani, a successful former spy, in Pakistan’s militarized politics.—J.M.
A Weekly Standard article on the so-called Saffron Revolution includes a useful rundown on Burmese political history from World War II to the present.—J.L.
New York’s review of Bruce Springsteen’s 15th studio album, Magic, deftly debases critical myths and locates the Boss’ place in the rock music canon. As for the album, it is pleasantly acceptable, mirrors his back catalog, and is above all “a license to tour.”—D.S.
A New Yorker report from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia University forum does justice to the absurdity of inviting a sitting head of state to speak before a student body whose idea of a protest is to paint “No War” across a bikini top.—B.F.
Best Education Piece
The Chronicle of Higher Education investigates the University of Bari, possibly the most corrupt university in Italy, where nepotism is common: “at least six professors have been placed under house arrest pending investigations of hiring practices,” and some instructors allegedly planned “to sell exam questions and even academic degrees.”—G.H.
In its otherwise stale profile of Mitt Romney, Newsweek manages to find and interview the Italian foreign-exchange student who stayed with the Romney family when Mitt was 12. His best story: Apparently, Mitt’s father let the Italian smoke in the otherwise strictly Mormon house.—J.M.
Best Cocktail-Party Factoid
Newsweek notes that snack-food company Frito Lay’s efforts to make “healthier” snacks have turned it into the nation’s largest buyer of pumpkin.—J.M.
(Disclosure: Slate and Newsweek are owned by the Washington Post Co.)