Other Magazines

The Cure

The Economist on fixing the U.S. health care system.

Economist, June 27 The cover story calls the U.S. health care system the most expensive in the world and one of the most inefficient, citing “uneven quality of care, inadequate coverage and soaring costs.” The uninsured show up at emergency clinics, forcing taxpayers to pay for expensive treatments that could have been avoided by simple preventive care. Entire regions have no competition between hospitals or health care providers. After decades of failed fixes, it looks like Americans are ready to face the problems. An article describes the internal conflicts roiling Iran’s government, particularly a sharp hostility between Ayatollah Khamenei and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and political rival. The public crackdown succeeded, but many Iranian liberals think that the election gave the country a rare chance to express itself. That, coupled with the end of the Islamic republic’s legitimacy, will long outlast the government’s disappointing reaction.

Time, July 6 The cover package reviews Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency and its lessons for President Obama. FDR recognized great opportunity in crisis and set about remaking American society in a way that outlived the economic reality he faced. But his erratic spending delayed recovery from the Depression it was designed to end. FDR wasn’t known for his spine or intellect, but his instincts got him through World War II. His presidency reminds us that working with “nasties”—Roosevelt was careful not to alienate Stalin, even when he saw where Moscow was headed—is the only way to contain even greater evil. An essay denounces the Obama administration’s financial regulation proposals. They all depend on the discretion of regulators, who are as subject to ups and downs as anyone else. The rules should be simple and insulated from the constant tinkering of financial experts.

New York Times Magazine, June 28 The cover story examines the “perverse paradox” that the auto industry, which helped establish a flourishing black middle class, is collapsing now that we have a black president. Black migration to Detroit soared during World War II, and the NAACP and the United Auto Workers joined forces to fight for equal employment rights at auto factories. An article profiles Stuart Murdoch, the creator and singer of Scottish indie pop group Belle and Sebastian. After a long sickness that isolated him from the Glasgow music scene and two upbeat albums that isolated many of his misery-loving original fans, Murdoch has a new project: a movie musical about a couple dealing with a similar illness. Now nearly recovered and a regular churchgoer, Murdoch dismisses his disenchanted fans: “The only thing worse than being miserable is sentimentalizing misery as a desired state.”

Esquire, July 2009 An article sends a New York-based magazine editor, who has never worked outside of journalism, to answer the question: “What the hell would I do if I lost my job?” In six weeks, he applies for 300 jobs, a number of which contact him for interviews. Awkwardness ensues—he’s asked to demonstrate his ability to sell jewelry to Upper East Side women—and he concludes that today’s job market “frightens and offends, exhausts and umoors, and reminds even arrogant men who already have jobs of the countless things they can never be.” An article frowns on Sacha Baron Cohen and AIG, warning that while we live in the golden age of grand pranks, “it’s also a great era for fraud, and the two are inextricably linked.” But as dirty as the thieves and pranksters are, we’re usually to blame for wanting to be played.

Texas Monthly, July 2009
The cover story profiles rocker Ted Nugent, who, after selling 30 million albums and carving out a significant niche in rock history, is now “most easily identified as a battlefield captain in the ongoing culture war.” A lifelong hunting enthusiast, Nugent’s views on gun rights are “beyond absolute.” He frequently admonishes President Obama to “suck on” the guns he carries at all times. Nugent campaigns vigorously for the NRA, which has welcomed almost 400,000 new members since Obama’s inauguration, and is an outspoken anti-drug activist. An article tells the unlikely story of Nathan Smith, a Los Angeles musician who, after randomly reading a book about lost American treasures, drove to Texas and discovered a famous Spanish shipwreck near Corpus Christi. After a dramatic court case over ownership of the lake where the ship rests, Smith now has permission to dig up the wreck.

Must Read
Wired’s July cover story on “Nike+,” the system that tracks your exercise through your shoes to an iPod, is a fascinating look at what statistics can tell you about yourself.

Must Skip
Columns on President Obama’s foreign policy thinking in New York and the Weekly Standard are equally dull and unenlightening.

Best Politics Piece
The Economist’s cover story on American health care is a succinct, readable overview of the situation with helpful numbers and graphs.

Best Culture Piece
Simultaneously light and weighty, the New York Times Magazine’s catch-up with Belle and Sebastian singer Stuart Murdoch is pleasant and long overdue.

Which Iran Piece?
Everybody says pretty much the same thing about Iran this week, but check out the Weekly Standard’s cover story for the most interesting, thorough overview.