A new issue of Latin American Journal of Economics is out. Nora Lustig (Tulane), Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva (Colegio de Mexico), and Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez (UNDP): The Decline in Inequality in Latin America: How Much, Since When and Why. Nora Lustig (Tulane) and Darryl McLeod (Fordham): Inequality and Poverty Under Latin America’s New Left Regimes. Brazil's economic rise is forcing it to deal with a problem it long regarded as the sole concern of rich countries like the United States: the need to secure its borders and slow down a flood of drugs, illegal immigrants and other contraband. Something extraordinary is happening in Peru. Ecuador’s plan falters: The Yasuni initiative seemed to break a deadlock: it proposed the world should compensate Ecuador for not extracting oil from a biodiverse national park — but the money is not rolling in (and more). The first half of 2012 has been mixed for Latin America. Cocaine Incorporated: How the world’s most powerful drug traffickers run their billion-dollar business.


Jack M. Balkin (Yale) and Sanford Levinson (Texas): The Dangerous Thirteenth Amendment. From Acculturated, a symposium on the relationship between conservatism and pop culture. Mark Schmitt on how Obama's skills on the campaign trail explain his haplessness in the White House. A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary $21 trillion of wealth offshore — as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together. Craig Venter wants to solve the world's energy crisis. Why aren't we talking about the one thing mass murderers have in common? Erika Christakis on the overwhelming maleness of mass homicide. From The Weekly Standard, capitalism’s brave new world: We have seen the future, and it microtasks; and civil society reconsidered: Gertrude Himmelfarb on how little platoons are just the beginning. Calling all hipsters: Hipster Olympiad kicking off in Berlin. Bankers Gone Wild: James Surowiecki on how financial regulations take the wrong approach.


From TAC, a review of If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement by David B. Frisk. The introduction to Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right by Michelle M. Nickerson. Joseph Bottum on conservatism, North Dakota style. He’s on the warpath against the right — what’s gotten into David Frum? Russell Jacoby on dreaming of a world without intellectuals: Confronted by social upheaval, conservative scholars tend to blame other scholars — that's a dangerous game. From Salon, what killed social conservatism? Technological progress has made it impossible for conservatives to obscure the truth about Americans' sex lives; and why do conservatives hate freedom? The conservative idea of “freedom” is a very peculiar one, which excludes virtually every kind of liberty that ordinary Americans take for granted. Ayn Rand and Jim Crow have driven the American right into moral bankruptcy; two conservatives argue that there's no comeback in sight until they repudiate both.


Marc Champagne (York): What About Suicide Bombers? A Terse Response to a Terse Objection. Shiny objects are people, too: Why the Romney campaign’s distinction between “economic” and “social” issues is false. America's last prisoner of war: Three years ago, Bowe Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan and into the hands of the Taliban — now he’s a crucial pawn in negotiations to end the war. A review of The Roots of Radicalism: Tradition, the Public Sphere, and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements by Craig Calhoun. Nadeem Fayaz on Pierre Bourdieu and the Distinctive Body. CUP features some of the photographs from Picturing Algeria, taken during the years of 1957-1960 when Pierre Bourdieu was working there as a university lecturer. An ancient sex curse discovered on ancient tablet in Cyprus. Call Me, Maybe: Dan Renken on cooperation and coercion in the music of Carly Rae Jepsen.


Robin L. West (Georgetown): A Marriage is a Marriage is a Marriage: The Limits of Perry v. Brown. Jeffrey A. Parness and Zachary Townsend (NIU): Procreative Sex and Same Sex Parents. Vivian Eulalia Hamilton (William and Mary): The Age of Marital Capacity: Reconsidering Civil Recognition of Adolescent Marriage. George W. Dent Jr. (Case Western): To Promote Marriage and the Natural Family. Is marriage constitutional? If the Supreme Court took seriously the language, history, and structure of the First Amendment, it would declare laws authorizing same-sex marriages unconstitutional — and void every other existing marriage law too. An interview with Elizabeth Brake, author of Minimizing Marriage: Marriage, Morality, and the Law. Defenders of the status quo: Imagine there’s no marriage. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.


Christopher Morehart (GSU): What If the Aztec Empire Never Existed? The Prerequisites of Empire and the Politics of Plausible Alternative Histories. Nietzsche is dead: The battle for Nietzsche's legacy began when Count Hary Kessler met Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche. Reclaiming travel: Beginning with "Gilgamesh", our impulse to wander was forged in mythic significance — the culture of tourism has changed all that. Jack Gilchrist, star of Romney’s “My Hands Didn’t Build This” ad received millions in government loans and contracts (and more and more). The Wall Street Journal's Gordon Crovitz jumped on the "you didn't build that" distortion and gets everything wrong (and more and more). People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons: People undertaking strategic analysis or some type of strategic planning to develop ideas and strategies for a new potential business could not be further from the truth — this is part of the textbook fantasy that business schools have taught us to believe.


Brian D. Earp (Yale): The Extinction of Masculine Generics. Martin W. Lewis on the Altaic family controversy. Unknown language found stamped in ancient clay tablet: Women's names listed on a 2700-year-old clay tablet are in a language never seen before — perhaps a sign that they were forced from their homeland. Esperanto's advocates envisioned nothing less than a revolution of human language, but the universal language has a different strength: it flourishes in local contexts and committed communities. Why computers still can’t translate languages automatically: We need to teach machines to understand the meaning of words — that’s really hard. Linguistic and biological diversity overlap — but why? From TLS, Tom Shippey on the myth of English as a global language: A review essay. Nicholas Ostler on the progress of the spoken word from 3000 BC to today, how two languages disappear every month, and the 50,000-word novel written without using the letter “e”.

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