From The Atlantic Monthly, Andrew Sullivan on the erosion of American values and reputation by the detentions at Guantanamo Bay (and a slideshow). American barbarity: How do you justify the unspeakable? Simply invoke the threat of terrorism. The third branch of American government: More on Jack Goldsmith's The Terror Presidency. A review of Invitation to Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown by Frank Furedi. Kevin Drum reviews Fred Kaplan's Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power. Madeleine K. Albright on ten rules for the next president. Cruel to be kind: Why Washington should not reach out to Muslim moderates.
From Reset, dialogue or cold war: What stance should the Left adopt with regard to Islam and a multicultural society? Nadia Urbinati and Michael Walzer debate (and Charles Taylor chimes in, and more on Tariq Ramadan). Can rule by the people be reconciled with the sovereignty of Allah? Mainstream Islam stands where the churches stood in 1650 in terms of religious freedom. Where “soft Islam” is on the march: Indonesia has some worrying radicals but it seems to be following Turkey, with Islamists moderating as they get closer to power. From The National Interest, Jacob Heilbrunn on the case of Fouad Ajami. Mark Steyn and the thought police: Mclean's has become livelier and more provocative — too provocative, it seems, for some Canadians.
From Smithsonian, here's a brief history of the St. Bernard rescue dog: The canine's evolution from hospice hound to household companion. A look at why dogs are ill-disposed to humanity. The ruff guide to fame: Bandit has star potential, or so his owner believes; so why can't he earn his keep by landing a plum movie role? From Neatorama, a look back at The Year in Cats 2007. If zoos won't help to save the lives of animals, what are they for? One tiger, two tigers, 1,500 tigers: How they count tigers in the wild. The Next Great Hunt: The Great Hunt of the late 1800s nearly drove bison to extinction; now, a new kind of hunt may be the only way to save them. To mark National Bird Day, an article on the effects of captivity on exotic birds.
From TNR, so why have the Democrats struggled? Michelle Cottle, Eve Fairbanks, and Norman Ornstein debate. No matter who wins the Democratic election, the John Edwards campaign has set the domestic agenda for the entire field. Constitutional craving: At long last, Democrats are finally trying to reclaim the Constitution. Harold Meyerson on an old Democratic fault line: Beneath the profound novelties of this year's Democratic race lurk the same rifts that have characterized the party for 40 years. From TAP, an article on the Democrats' strategic challenge; and let's not kid ourselves: Most of America votes largely on the basis of personality — and every candidate fits a stereotype.
Giovanni Arrighi (JHU): Historical Perspectives on States, Markets and Capitalism, East and West. The first chapter from The Next Great Globalization: How Disadvantaged Nations Can Harness Their Financial Systems to Get Rich by Frederic S. Mishkin. More on Dani Rodrik's One Economics, Many Recipes. Martin Wolf on the challenges for the world’s divided economy. Emerging-market multinationals: Globalisation is creating a new class of companies; they should fight harder for it (and more). Financial forces run amok: Without regulation, the invisible hand of the market is robbing us blind. The unsettling zeitgeist of state capitalism: Jeffrey Garten points up a dangerous trend. From The Wilson Quarterly, Karol Boudreaux and Tyler Cowen on the micromagic of microcredit.
From Harper's, what do Putin, Bush and Hu have in common? They are the heads of the three most significant nations whose people live under "endemic surveillance". From Popular Mechanics, in the era of computer-controlled surveillance, your every move could be captured by cameras; proponents say it will keep us safe, but at what cost? A lab charts a new frontier into hi-tech surveillance and a very scary place. Surveillance 101: Big Brother goes to college. From Surveillance & Society, a review of books on surveillance cultures. Digital fingerprints are spawning new security enhancements, and allowing marketers and law enforcement agencies to track identities. A review of Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption by Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau.
Climate change and the biosphere: As Earth's climate warms, the effects are showing up in the planet's biological systems, from the lowliest soil microbes to the grandest coral reefs. The sixth extinction event is under way. Can humanity muster the leadership and international collaboration necessary to stop eating itself from the inside? A review of The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights On by Gabrielle Walker and David King. More on Break Through by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus. Denis Dutton of Arts & Letters Daily now also sponsors Climate Debate Daily, "intended to deepen our understanding of disputes over climate change and the human contribution to it". Here are five sites to help you sway climate change deniers still out there.
A review of Copernicus' Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began by Jack Repcheck. A review of The Canon: The Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier (and more). An excerpt from No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe by Matt Young. A review of Science and Soul by Charles Birch. A review of Chance or Purpose: Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith by Christoph Schonborn. The closing of the Christian mind: In the late fourth century political expediency led a ruthless Roman emperor to shut down debate within the Christian church. An interview with Christopher Hitchens on morality without God. A review of Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up by John Allen Paulos.
Libertarians in heaven: An article on Antonio Rosmini and Catholic (paleo?) libertarianism. Are libertarians "anarchists"? An essay by Murray Rothbard. The Gospel According to (Ron) Paul: The libertarian perspective can be reductive and silly, but it's also useful — and undervalued. From Taki's Top Drawer, Justin Raimondo on the Real American Right (and part 2 and part 3); and Facebook is home to numerous groups of highly intellectual and educated young people far to the right of what you would expect. John Dean on a footnote on a political classic: The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater. More Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. A review of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans by Ann Coulter.
From TLS, a review of The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece by James Davidson (and more). Scott Harrison left the Christian "sexual orientation therapy" movement when he realized he couldn't pray away the gay. From Cracked, a list of the top 25 men who look like old lesbians. A look at why 2007 may go down in history as the year of the transgendered person. An interview with Lisa Diamond on how the surprising fluidity of women's sexual orientation. A review of In Praise of the Whip: A Cultural History of Arousal by Niklaus Largier. More and more on Love and Sex with Robots by David Levy (and an interview). Field Guide to the Casanova: Are players socially skilled hedonists, or self-destructive psychopaths?