From Forbes, a look at America's biggest billionaire losers of 2008; and an article on billionaire bloggers. For a decade, Mexico has offered assistance to the poor on the condition that they visit clinics, attend workshops and keep their kids in school — can that system work in the US? Tough Shift: Guatemalan workers pick up the pieces after a US customs raid. It has to be one of the stranger stories in publishing history: Straight from YouTube to book. Veteran punk rocker Ian MacKaye on what has shocked him most during the Bush Era and why Obama gives him hope. George Carey reviews Neoconservatism: Why We Need It by Douglas Murray. Where have all the neocons gone? Having wrecked the Right, will neoconservatives revert to their left-wing origins or double down on the GOP? A review of Queer Inclusions by David Rayside and Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States by Miriam Smith. The only way to avoid future financial crises is to push for robust global regulatory oversight. Independent agencies are a supposedly apolitical "fourth branch" of government, but the Bush administration tried to politicize them by appointing ideologues to run them — here's how Democrats fought back. How much should plastic bags cost? Will a five-cent bag fee be enough to alter our behaviour, and is that even the right question?

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