New York Times Magazine, March 22 The cover story profiles Allonzo Trier, the 13-year-old basketball wunderkind from Seattle with moves like Pete Maravich. Trier, who already has his own clothing line, is widely regarded as one of the best middle-school players in the country. In this hypercompetitive climate, college coaches are scouting younger and younger talent, creatively circumventing NCAA recruiting rules by holding their own on-campus camps. “The culture demands lodestars, young sports luminaries like Allonzo Trier, to show what is possible with early attention, extreme effort and money,” the author writes. … Deborah Solomon sits down with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor, who won’t say whom she voted for in the presidential election, also refuses to share her views on Harriet Miers’ nomination to the court: “Her nomination was withdrawn before I had time to think anything,” she says. O’Connor resists the label of feminist, instead preferring to be called “a fair judge and a hard worker.”
Time, March 30 The cover story describes why AIG, dubbed “the company that could bankrupt the planet,” is “too big to fail.” Some think keeping AIG afloat could prevent the recession from getting worse. “Its failure, so the fear goes, would set off chains of others, rattling around the globe in short order.” The nation’s largest health and life insurer has already received four government bailouts, and its failure would spark a mass redemption of insurance policies and further reduce consumer lending. … An obituary mourns Natasha Richardson, who died Wednesday after a “seemingly unremarkable” skiing accident at the Mont Tremblant resort in Canada. Richardson, 45, did not have the “white-hot, almost alarming incandescence” or “girlish vulnerability” of her mother, Vanessa Redgrave. But the late Richardson had her own charms: “Her public presence was spikier, more knowing and skeptical.”
Economist, March 21 An editorial upbraids Pope Benedict XVI for his pronouncement—in Cameroon, of all places—that condoms make the AIDS epidemic worse. Studies have shown that condoms reduce the chance of contracting HIV by 90 percent. “Speaking in a continent where more than 20m people have died from AIDS and another 22.5m are infected with HIV, his statement sounded otherworldly at best, and crass and uncaring at worst.”… The Lone Star State is hardly immune to the global economic downturn, despite expectations, an article finds. Texas was faring well until Hurricane Ike tore through in September 2008, wreaking havoc and causing billions in damage. With the help of stimulus money, the state may survive the recession without dipping into its Economic Stabilization Fund, but the future could prove difficult: “Many now fear that Texas’s low-tax, low-spend model will need revision.”
Texas Monthly, April
The cover story reveals where Texans can find cheap but tasty eats during the recession, as one’s “stomach doesn’t know what a downturn is.”… A nostalgic reporter visits battlegrounds of the Texas Revolution. “We’ve always treated battlefields as shrines rather than historical sites. We’ve forgotten why they are important, how they are interconnected, and how they shape our destiny,” he writes. Though more men died in the Battle of Medina, south of San Antonio, than any other, the author found it had never been covered in his Texas history class. … A column warns that a voter-ID law currently moving through the Texas legislature would be detrimental for democracy and curb minority turnout by 3 percent. “What started out as a fear that hordes of illegal immigrants would descend on the polls … has now become voter suppression, pure and simple.”
GQ, April A reporter sits down with John Walker Lindh’s parents, who want the feds to reduce their son’s 20-year prison sentence. The terms of Lindh’s sentence prohibit his parents from revealing anything about his time in prison or his treatment while in U.S. custody abroad. Lindh’s mother still bemoans her son’s treatment by politicians and the press after his capture. “Everyone of prominence was tripping over themselves to score patriot points in any way possible and John was an easy target,” she said. … The cover story profiles Twilight star and ‘tween heartthrob Robert Pattinson. The best-selling vampire books are tales of the undead imbued with the moral sentiments of Mormon stay-at-home mom and author Stephenie Meyer: “The story fuses the bodice-ripping True Love Never Dies sensuality of the vampire mythos with the True Love Waits ethos of Bush-era abstinence education; it’s a heavy-breathing romance in which all physical affection represents a slippery slope to horrible undeath.”
Keith Gessen’s dispatch in The New Yorker on the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial in Moscow leaves one convinced of the innocence of the accused Chechens, who were acquitted.
A flattering profile of Larry Summers in the New Republic fails to convince the reader why the White House should “unshackle its economic oracle.”
Best Politics Piece
After reading Jeffrey Toobin’s take on Roland Burris, one understands why the new senator from Illinois accepted the seat despite the controversy swirling around his appointment.
Best Culture Piece
A profile of children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle in Newsweek finds darkness in A Very Hungry Caterpillar and his other works: “Despite the colorful hopefulness of his stories, they’re suffused with a sense of loneliness—that solitary caterpillar, making its way in the world.”
Best News for Cougars
According to an item in New York, older dads have children with lower IQs while older mothers actually have smarter progeny.