Crispin Thurlow (Bern) and Jamie Moshin (Michigan): What the F#@$: Policing and Performing the Unmentionable in the News. From Three Percent, are we living in a backward world? Chad W. Post on reader selection and market acceleration and on the structural inequality of comp titles. Esther Franke on the meaning of Michelle: First black First Lady as outsider within and agent of change. Which Michelle Obama will we get when she leaves the White House? The “mom in chief” charmed late-night hosts and hula-hooped with kids, but she wasn’t her full self in public. The introduction to Ernst Kantorowicz: A Life by Robert E. Lerner. Andrew Scull on his book Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine.

The Left’s divisions will be on display at the inauguration. Elijah Cummings: “If the public knew what Congress knows” they would boycott the inauguration too. How performing at Trump’s inauguration — or not — became a political statement.

Carlos Lozada reviews Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied his Critics and Created a Legacy that Will Prevail by Jonathan Chait and A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama by Michael D'Antonio (and more). Mike Konczal on the austerity of the Obama years. David Leonhardt on the most successful Democrat since F.D.R. Obama hoped to be a transformational president — he failed: He got a lot done, but still left us living in Ronald Reagan's America. Obama's hidden legacy: Behind the headlines, he rebuilt American policies in ways the Trump team will have hard time undoing — and may not even want to. Trump is not Obama's legacy — he's the legacy of anti-Obamaism.

Ashley Deeks (Virginia): The Obama Administration, International Law, and Executive Minimalism. Obama hoped to transform the world — it transformed him: The president entered office with a vision for a cosmopolitan foreign policy; then he encountered drones, Syria and a growing wave of illiberalism. Obama and the limits of "fact-based" foreign policy: How America's best and brightest once again steered the country to failure. Barney Frank says Obama should change our approach to the world: After he leaves office, he'll be one of the only voices of reason and experience about America's role as the world's policeman. Obama leaves behind a mixed record on technology and surveillance.

From n+1, Aziz Rana on decolonizing Obama: What happened to the third-world Left? Obama's legacy as a historian: Historians discuss and debate the president's use of the bully pulpit as a history lectern. Obama out: As a great orator leaves office, we have reached peak speech. Where does Obama rank in American oratory? Rembert Browne on how Barack Obama is not cool. Ai-jen Poo on how Obama should become Organizer-in-Chief: After he leaves office, he should use his life of experience to help the organizations that serve people who are overlooked.

Obama shouldn’t go quietly: Trump presents an unprecedented threat to American values — Obama should stand up for them.

Alexander Anievas (UConn) and Kerem Nisancioglu (SOAS): Why Europe? Anti-Eurocentric Theory, History, and the Rise of Capitalism. The case against the collapse of capitalism: Martin Wolf reviews How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System by Wolfgang Streeck (and more and more); and on capitalism and democracy: The strain is showing (“To maintain legitimacy, economic policy must seek to promote the interests of the many not the few”). Labor and capital in the global economy: Kimberly Clausing on how three decades of technological change, globalization, and government policy made workers more at the mercy of concentrated capital.

Brad DeLong on missing the economic big picture: While it is important that we determine the best way to manage the global trade system, doing so cannot substitute for the much larger challenge of managing market capitalism itself. Led by a class of omnipotent central bankers, experts have gained extraordinary political power — will a populist backlash shatter their technocratic dream? While lack of sufficient national identity may play a role in the dislike of the meritocrats, there is a much simpler explanation: They have done a horrible job.

From Wonkblog, Max Ehrenfreund on what it would take to really rethink capitalism: Economists at the World Economic Forum in Davos are concerned that global economic progress has left some behind; and on the most awkward thing to talk about at a forum for global elites. Mark Thoma on what the Davos crowd needs to understand. CEOs: Worried about nationalism, less worried about their ability to make money.

John P. Jackson (William and Mary): Cross-cultural Research, Evolutionary Psychology, and Racialism: Problems and Prospects. Quayshawn Spencer (Penn): In Defense of the Actual Metaphysics of Race. Constructing race: Richard Marshall interviews Ron Mallon on the philosophy of race and social construction. Philip Cohen (Maryland): How Troubling is Our Inheritance: A Review of Genetics and Race in the Social Sciences. Who decides who counts as Native American? Four years ago, the Nooksack in Washington State announced that they were expelling hundreds of members, setting off a bitter debate over tribal identity.

In intelligence briefings, Trump prefers “as little as possible”. Trump national security team gets a slow start. Learning curve as Rick Perry pursues a job he initially misunderstood: Mr. Perry had believed that, as energy secretary, he would be a global ambassador for oil and gas — in reality, he would be overseeing nuclear weapons. Trump’s team weighs retooling State to focus on terror: The shift could mean less focus on climate change and more focus on promoting the use of the term “radical Islam”. Trump’s team is shaping up to be dangerously incoherent — and it could have disastrous consequences with Russia and China.

Daniel Nexon on the many faces of Trump foreign policy. Trump will make America great again by parading the military through the streets: Military parades haven’t been a big part of American history, but they were characteristic of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Trump’s tweets can be a distraction, but do they signal a real threat to international institutions? The Republican roots and grave risks of Donald Trump’s hostility to NATO: The president-elect joins a long minority tradition within the GOP of opposition to European alliances, and it could lead to global conflict. Are you not alarmed? Donald Trump may push us into another war.

Slavoj Zizek on Donald Trump’s topsy-turvy world. What Trump is throwing out the window: Jessica T. Mathews reviews The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies by Michael T. Flynn and Michael Ledeen; The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force by Eliot A. Cohen; and A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order by Richard Haass. Human Rights Watch portrays U.S. as major threat, citing Trump. As Trump era arrives, a sense of uncertainty grips the world.

In the 1930s many ignored Hitler — now, it’s global warming. The new Trump index: How much does one individual threaten the planet?

From Crooked Timber, Ronald Beiner on the political thought of Stephen K. Bannon. A "one-stop shop" for the alt-Right: The white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is setting up a headquarters in the Washington area. Inside the alt-Right's campaign to smear Trump protesters as anarchists: Viral photos of a sign urging violence against Melania Trump at an anti-Trump protest were planned by one of the organizers of the DeploraBall, Jack Posobiec. The alt-right eats its own: Neo-Nazi podcaster "Mike Enoch" quits after doxxers reveal his wife is Jewish. The alt-Right’s meltdown is just like any other message board drama. Hail Trump? White nationalists already losing faith in President-elect.

"It's time we started thinking of white supremacism as a dangerous, invasive trans-national movement, like jihadism, anarchism, or communism".

Martin Mendelski (Max Planck): The EU's Rule of Law Promotion in Post-Soviet Europe: What Explains the Divergence between Baltic States and EaP Countries? Nikos Skoutaris (East Anglia): The Paradox of the Europeanisation of Intrastate Conflicts. From NYRB, is Europe disintegrating? A review essay by Timothy Garton Ash. Lars Vogel (Jena) and Juan Rodriguez-Teruel (Valencia): Staying on Course in Turbulent Times: National Political Elites and the Crisis of European Integration. The failure of the euro: By creating a single currency without the institutions to sustain it, the E.U. wound up with low growth, high unemployment, and popular disaffection. The first chapter from The Euro and the Battle of Ideas by Markus K. Brunnermeier, Harold James and Jean-Pierre Landau.

Trump’s plans for European missile defense a mystery. Ulrich Kuhn on the sudden German nuke flirtation. Trump has bared his fangs to Merkel — he will do untold damage to Europe. Trump says Europe is in trouble — he has a point. 2017 will test the rise of Europe’s populist far-Right: A guide to what to look for in France, Germany and the Netherlands upcoming elections. The English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for: Emmanuel Macron is promising hope and change — for the entire continent. Long live populism: Thomas Piketty on how all is not lost, but it is urgent to act, if we wish to avoid putting the FN (Front National) in a position of power.

Alan Wald reviews Fire and Blood: The European Civil War, 1914-1945 by Enzo Traverso.

Ashley Carse (Vanderbilt): Infrastructure: How a Humble French Engineering Term Shaped the Modern World. Graham Hassall (Victoria): The International Legislature: The UN General Assembly and the Inter Parliamentary Union: Collaborators or Rivals? Chinese president Xi Jinping calls for world without nuclear weapons. Eric Levitz on Chelsea Manning and the false logic of harsh prison sentences. EPA pick Scott Pruitt confirms “climate change is not a hoax” just as news breaks that 2016 was hottest year ever. States are going after abortion as never before, constitution be damned. Jeet Heer on how Democrats should run a celebrity for president, too. At work: Madeleine Morley interviews Christine Murray, editor of Architectural Review.

From Reason, did the Libertarian Party blow it in 2016? The essentials of socialist writing: Socialist writing is less about the genius of the author and more about the community they’re speaking with. Democrats’ policies are more popular — but Republicans are more ideologically unified. Noah Smith on updating libertarianism for the 21st century. Todd Gitlin on the Right’s walls and the Left’s commons: Critical reflections on the long-running clash between Left and Right. Who is really politically correct, and how did a term with such a long history on the Left get co-opted by the Right? A new brain study sheds light on why it can be so hard to change someone’s political beliefs.

Die poor person, die: Erik Loomis on the philosophy of the new Gilded Age. Liberals and libertarians should unite to block Trump’s extremism — what’s more, a “liberaltarian” economic agenda can serve as an alternative to snake-oil populism. Requiem for a lightweight: Markos Moulitsas was once the face of American progressivism — that shouldn’t happen again. Can I go to great books camp? 20-something Republicans have clustered in reading groups sponsored by conservative foundations — liberals should imitate them. Damon Linker on how conservatives out-intellectualized progressives (and more). How the fear of death makes people more right-wing.

What does your party want? As allegiances shift, neither Republicans nor Democrats are really sure. Conservatives really are better looking, research says: Being attractive shapes many things in a person's life — including, apparently, their politics.

Yikai Wang (Oslo): The Political Economy of the Middle-Income Trap: Implications for Potential Growth. Rabah Arezki, Rick van der Ploeg, and Frederik Toscani on the shifting natural wealth of nations. Humanity has racked up a record $152 trillion of debt: The global economy is in uncharted waters — perhaps it will take novel measures to guide it back to familiar seas. Why do governments drown in debt, but politicians don't crack down on tax evasion? Josh Eisen and Richard Swift ring the alarm bells over the looting of the public purse. Henry Farrell (George Washington): Globalized Green Lanternism. Trump’s election adds growth, uncertainty to global forecast, IMF says.