Kara Mitchell (Colorado): English Is Not All That Matters in the Education of Secondary Multilingual Learners and Their Teachers. How we talk American: Simon Winchester on the making of the five-thousand-page, five-volume book, known formally as the Dictionary of American Regional English and colloquially just as DARE. A review of The Language Wars: A History of Proper English by Henry Hitchings (and more; and Hitchings debunks common myths about English, recommends the smartest writing about words, and says apostrophes are “orthographic squiggles” not worth fighting for). A look at how the hashtag is ruining the English language. Anatoly Liberman on the oddest English spellings, part 20. A look at 7 ridiculous origins of everyday words. A look at how English literature has come to dominate the world. Oh, to be bilingual in the Anglosphere: The dominance of English as the global language is a mixed blessing, as native speakers often lose the brain benefits of a second language. English has been the dominant global language for a century, but is it the language of the future? Nicholas Ostler on his book The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel.
A new issue of the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research is out. Uh-oh: Archaeologists working at the site of La Corona in Guatemala have discovered a 1,300-year-old-year Maya text that provides only the second known reference to the so-called "end date" of the Maya calendar, December 21, 2012. The other foreign-policy woman: U.N. ambassador Susan Rice plays hardball as hard as Hillary — can she succeed her? Today, we can see the tragedy of the commons transpiring in the Eurosystem, where the ECB and the 17 national central banks share a common pool of money demand. Paul Krugman and Richard Layard on a manifesto for economic sense. What's so sexy about nice? Rachel Dratch on her problem with nice guys. Katherine Eban on the truth about the Fast and Furious scandal: The ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels — how the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust. Richard Falk on how, in a globalized world, human identity should serve as the moral trump card in relation to conflict situations.
Lewis A. Grossman (American): The Origins of American Health Libertarianism. Obama and health care: Jeff Madrick reviews Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform by Paul Starr, Inside National Health Reform by John E. McDonough, and Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States by Richard Kirsch. The 2012 elections are now primarily a fight over whether health insurance is a right or a privilege, which is to say, a fight for decency. There are some who argue that this year's presidential election isn't especially important, but it's important that Americans understand that there are now four justices on the Supreme Court who effectively want to overturn the 20th century (and more by Harold Pollack on the damage done). Ezra Klein on the political genius of John Roberts, who is playing the long game. A review of All Judges Are Political — Except When They are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law by Keith J. Bybee. Health scare: Dahlia Lithwick on how, going forward, the question may well be whether the real beauty of originalism lies in restraining out-of-control jurists — or in how handily it destroys liberals.
Lewis D. Solomon (GWU): God and the Possible Nuclear Annihilation of Israel. From Azure, Adi Schwartz on the destruction of the Arab world's Jewry; Assaf Sagiv on the Jews' oldest enemies; and Daniel Gordis on the shape and meaning of Biblical history: The story of the rise and fall of the Hebrew commonwealth is well known — but have we paid attention to the bigger picture? Steven Cook on why it's so tough to write about Israel. Melissa Fich on the politics of semantics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Is liberal Zionism a contradiction in terms? Why Peter Beinart didn’t predict the liberal response to The Crisis of Zionism. Nick Cohen on how the Left turned against the Jews. A review of Israel and the European Left by Colin Shindler. Arie Dubnov and Hanan Harif on roads not taken on the journey to the Jewish state. Dimi Reider on the Knesset vs. democracy. The upgrading of Ariel College to full university status is a big victory for right-wing political pressure. An interview with Menachem Mautner, author of Law and the Culture of Israel. Should Israel have gone with Yiddish? Hebrew is more universal tongue of Jews. Israelis are divided over changing the anthem, “Hatikva”.
A new issue of Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image is out. From the Independent Review, Robert H. Nelson (Maryland): Economics and Environmentalism: Belief Systems at Odds; and a review of Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism by Alan S. Kahan. Abandoning the Constitution: All is not well within the administrative state — it seems that all modern bureaucratic governments are faced with the paradox of being less able to govern, the more completely they try to administer the social and economic details of life in society. Constitutionalists vs. Confederates: When the Justices hand down their ruling, it will be a decisive moment in a debate stretching back to the Articles of Confederation and the nation's founding. American Nietzsche: Corey Robin on Justice Scalia, Diva of Disdain. The real standard-bearer of Republican discourse in the past decade, he has turned juvenile, impish, and wounded — in short, he is Big Baby. Bill Berkowitz on HeavenUp, a Christian competitor for Facebook. Playing to win at Latin tag: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto is only fleetingly charmed by traditional shout-lines.
Millie Churcher (Sydney): Rethinking the Abortion Issue: The Problem of Normative Femininity and Hermeneutical Injustice. From Right Wing Watch, “are we comparing the pro-choice movement to the Nazi movement? Yes, absolutely.” It is long past time to end the use of Nazi and holocaust analogies regarding legal abortion and contraception in the United States. Some abortion opponents say emergency contraception pills may block fertilized eggs from implanting, but scientists say there is no evidence the pills work that way. Jon A. Shields on abortion and the limits of philosophy. Marco Rubio on why abortion is bad for America. From The Human Life Review, David R. Kenagy on a memo, medical records, and movement; and what's a pro-lifer to do? Christopher Bell wonders. Gordon O’Connor on the conservative stance on abortion you didn’t know about. In an unsigned, and little read Harvard Law Review article, a young Barack Obama considered the obscure question of whether fetuses could sue their mothers. From The Atlantic Cities, an article on the geography of abortion. States want more data on abortion patients, zealots want their hands on it — shame is the new anti-choice strategy.
From the Russell Sage Foundation, here are the papers from Rethinking Finance, a conference on the economic lessons from the financial crisis. The introduction to Governance of Global Financial Markets: The Law, the Economics, the Politics by Emilios Avgouleas. William Cohan on how we got the crash wrong: Leverage was not the problem — incentives were, and still are. Heist of the century: Wall Street's role in the financial crisis. Myths of the great financial meltdown: Five years after the U.S. economy teetered on collapse, here are five reasons why we need to stop pointing fingers and fix the problems that nearly sank us. Since the very public resignation of angry executive Greg Smith, in March, Goldman Sachs has faced new speculation about its future, and that of C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein. Yes, Jamie Dimon should lose his seat on the New York Fed board — but why stop there when America's financial regulation is such a mess? Justin Fox on the problem with the profit motive in finance. The creepy dudes of Wall Street: Are finance guys losing their mojo on the dating scene, too?
From the Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, a special issue on Empirical Evidence: Varieties of Sociological Argumentation. From NYRB, John Gray on the violent visions of Slavoj Zizek. From Phyllis Schlafly Reports, a look at the phony divide between fiscal and social issues; and a special issue on winning where it counts — in the courts. The Supreme Court's rightward shift: Even before the Obamacare decision, the Roberts court was on its way to becoming the most conservative in decades. Chris Hayes has arrived with “Up”. Can Mario Monti save Italy — and the euro? Impossible Germany: Thomas Sargent on Europe’s debt crisis. Vague, general or downright evasive policy prescriptions on some of the most important issues facing the country are becoming the rule for Mitt Romney. Bid to become liar-in-chief: Spin is normal in politics, but Mitt Romney is pioneering a cynical strategy of reducing fact and truth to pure partisanship. A look at how Arabic manuscripts show it used to snow in Iraq. A review of The Philosophy of Wine: A Case of Truth, Beauty, and Intoxication by Cain Todd.
Some of us still have shelves of it, some download it, others stream it online; Simon O'Hagan spends a week with each of the main ways of consuming music in 2012. Music snobbery and the case for pop: Pop music’s accessibility can produce a backlash from discerning listeners, but high sales figures should not necessarily be viewed as a sign of an artist’s aesthetic descent. Why do some child prodigies flame out when others soar? At 17, Conrad Tao knows he could go either way. Not quite white: A review of Jews, Race and Popular Music by Jon Stratton. Word on the suite: Superabundant, super-confident, flashy — hip-hop is channelling the spirit of rock music’s golden age. How headphones changed the world: A short philosophical history of personal music. If you barely know your Def Leppard from your Deep Purple, you won’t be surprised by the obvious point of this map: Scandinavia is the world capital of heavy metal music. A review of Exploring U2: Is This Rock ’n’ Roll? Why Chinese people play Western classical music: Hao Huang on transcultural roots of music philosophy. Love that new single? Mathematical equation predicts music’s hits and flops.
From Global Brief, a debate on the proposition "Advanced countries have a duty to help feed the Horn of Africa". Jeffrey Marlow weighs up the pros and cons of plans in South Sudan to abandon the decrepit colonial city of Juba and build a new capital from scratch. A review of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa by Jason K. Stearns. Stephen Ellis on rethinking Africa: 13 ways the continent is changing. Africa's newest country? In northeastern Mali, Tuareg and Islamist rebel groups have declared a new country of Azawad (and more). Why Mali is making headlines and why we should care (and more). In Kony's shadow: A review of The Night Wanderers: Uganda's Children and the Lord's Resistance Army by Wojciech Jagielski. Africa's richest man is cementing his place in history: Aliko Dangote has risen from a small-time trader to a household name in Nigeria on the back of its construction boom. Africa takes off: Sub-Saharan Africa is starting to shed its reputation as an economic laggard — the West should pay attention. Finding the perfect wave in Liberia: Its old war scars healed, the West African coast beckons surfers of all varieties.