Anthony P. McIntyre (UCD): Isn’t She Adorkable! Cuteness as Political Neutralization in the Star Text of Zooey Deschanel. Jack M. Balkin (Yale): The Last Days of Disco: Why the American Political System is Dysfunctional. Robert G. Kaiser on how Republicans lost their minds, Democrats lost their souls and Washington lost its appeal. In an essay in Harper's, political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. looks at the American left, missing most current events but getting some of the big picture right (and more and more and more). From TNR, "the world needs Russia. Russia does not need Putin": Adam Michnik on how Russia is not doomed to despotism at home and aggression abroad; it is no sphinx — it is a country full of conflicts and debates; Oleg Kashin on how Vladimir Putin's hilarious lies are a gift to Ukrainian nationalists; and ethnic Russians in the Baltics are actually persecuted — so why isn't Putin stepping in? Jim Sleeper on how Leon Wieseltier’s moral posturing on Crimea suggests he learned nothing from his moral posturing on Iraq. Heavenly bodies: Paul Koudounaris on relics of Catholic saints. The price of professional services: A look at the cost of canonisation. The Lord’s outsourced work: The Vatican introduces price controls on the saint-verifying business. When the Pope “drops the F-Bomb”: Zachary Sunderman on media, society, and the philosophy of language. Why we're so obsessed with “natural” childbirth: Jessica Grose reviews Lamaze: An International History by Paula A. Michaels. Families made us human: The evolution of human culture can be explained, not by the size of our brains, but by the quality of our relationships.

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