Melissa Thomas (SAIS): What Do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure? Andrew Rose (UC-Berkeley): Well-Being in the Small and in the Large. That empty-nest feeling: The World Bank, founded to fight poverty, is searching for the right role in places that need its help less and less. A new issue of the IMF's Finance and Development is out, on the March of the Cities, including essays on The Urban Revolution; Urban Poverty; Governance; and what is the biggest challenge in managing large cities? World-Wide Slum Growth: An excerpt from Planet of Slums by Mike Davis. Condom Nations: Where is sex safer: sub-Saharan Africa or Scandinavia? According to the world’s largest sex survey, whether you have unprotected sex isn’t a matter of being male or female, gay or straight. When it comes to risky bedroom behavior, what matters most may be where you live. An article on condoms and their place in history

From Eurozine, does a civil-war mentality exist in Hungary? A roundtable interview. An essay on Vaclav Havel as an authentic humanist and cultural hero for our times (and part 2 and part 3). Czechs with few mates: The heirs of Vaclav Havel deserve more respect in Europe for supporting democrats abroad. French told to try smiling for once: The grumpy Gallic image is getting a makeover as the nation starts to lose tourists. A review of Testimony: France in the Twenty-first Century by Nicolas Sarkozy. Personal trivia, it seems, tells us quite a lot about France's leader: A review of L'Aube le soir ou la nuit by Yasmina Reza. Time to call it a day for Belgium: Sometimes it is right for a country to recognise that its job is done. Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the UN. Proposals for laws that target the country's immigrants have been condemned as unjust and racist. Has Switzerland become Europe's heart of darkness

From Commentary, Max Boot on How Not to Get Out of Iraq. Immanuel Wallerstein on the Vietnam analogy. Robert Kaplan on how the Vietnam analogy looms ever larger in the debate over Iraq, but the U.S. military has memories of that conflict that the public doesn't. The Former-Insurgent Counterinsurgency: In a Sunni stronghold just south of Baghdad, the U.S. military has been persuading militants to switch sides. But it’s not at all clear that the enemy’s new enemy is really a friend; and the American military has a new strategy for fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia — American soldiers are now working with Sunni counterinsurgents. David Petraeus describes the Iraq War as a war of figurative inches. Before Congress, he's likely to emphasize these smaller achievement instead of the bigger picture — which is unquestionably bleak. Hubris v. Humility: What Dostoevsky can tell us about Iraq.  Waiting for the general (and a miracle): America agonises over the pitfalls of staying in Iraq—and of leaving.

From TAC, One-Child Foreign Policy: Declining birth rates will result in smaller armies, but fewer wars won’t necessarily mean a safer world; and can we win the ideological war? America has ideals; bin Laden has goals. A Values-Based Foreign Policy in a Dangerous World: An interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter; and Jean Bethke Elshtain on defending American values at home and abroad. A review of Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy by Amitai Etzioni. The Other Path of Neoconservatism: A review of Francis Fukuyama's America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. A review of World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism by Norman Podhoretz (and more and more). Is America on course to fall like Rome? Comptroller General of the United States David M. Walker wants to know.  Bet on America: Forget the doom and gloom. In 50 years, the US will still be No. 1.

Daniel Greenwood (Utah): Should Corporations Have First Amendment Rights? The Border Boondoggle: Once again, companies are cashing on perceived threats to America.  You will not believe how low the War Profiteers have gone: In Iraq, private contractors are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up. Companies Behaving Badly: The sad story of a U.S. Firm's Colombia mine. In search of the good company: The debate about the social responsibilities of companies is heating up again. Take My Company, Please! The desperate corporations that will do anything to unload unwanted subsidiaries. Past rites: How companies can benefit from looking backwards as well as forwards. From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on Profits of Doom: When Wall Street needs bad news. Oh! What a lovely crunch: Rumours of the death of research have been exaggerated. 

From TLS, Richard Dawkins reviews God is Not Great: The case against religion by Christopher Hitchens. A review of Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to the God Delusion by John Cornwell. An excerpt from In God We Doubt: Confessions of an Angry Agnostic by John Humphrys. A review of God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape by Peggy Levitt. Jerry Falwell was right: A review of God's Judgments: Interpreting History and the Christian Faith by Steven J. Keillor. Memories of a massacre 150 years ago, which saw militia butcher 120 settlers, still colour America's view of Mormons. Onward, Secular Soldiers: Memo to candidates: There are more atheists, agnostics and skeptics out there than you think. How about sending us some love?

From Critical Inquiry, Nancy Fraser on Abnormal Justice; Slavoj Zizek on Tolerance as am Ideological Category; an interview with Alain Badiou; and Danny Postel interviews Tzvetan Todorov (and part 2 and part 3). Arthur Danto reviews Richard Rorty's Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers. From Bookforum, After The Last Intellectual: Twenty years ago, Russell Jacoby’s The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe mourned the death of the freelance thinker and examined its fresh corpse. But did we misread Jacoby’s autopsy? AC Grayling is worried terrorism threats will be exploited to grind down the West's secular, liberal tradition, and an excerpt from Towards The Light. Did post-Enlightenment philosophers reject the idea of original sin and the view that life is a quest for redemption from it? The introduction to Philosophical Myths of the Fall by Stephen Mulhall. A land where God is absent: A review of A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. 

Francisco J. Gomes (LBS), Laurence J. Kotlikoff (BU) and Luis M. Viceira (Harvard): The Excess Burden of Government Indecision. From The Nation, Robin Blackburn reviews Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction by Thomas K. McCraw. The preface to Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism by Jorg Guido Hulsmann. A Master of Theory and Practice: A profile of Harvard macroeconomist Robert Barro.  From Campus Progress, Know Your Right-Wing Speakers: Bryan Caplan: the George Mason economist favors free market biases over legitimate democracy, and has more ears in Washington than you might think. How to work and play a little better: A review of Discover Your Inner Economist by Tyler Cowen. 

From Open Letters Monthly, a review of Present at the Future: From Evolution to Nanotechnology, Candid and Controversial Conversations on Science and Nature by Ira Flatow. A review of The Evolving Brain: The Known and the Unknown by R. Grant Steen. A review of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf.  An article on the growing therapeutic science of deep-brain stimulation (DBS). A review of The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker. Holy @&%*! Author Steven Pinker thinks we're hardwired to curse. Are humans the only species to have moral feelings? An interview with Frans de Waal. When trying to understand someone's intentions, non-human primates expect others to act rationally by performing the most appropriate action allowed by the environment, according to a new study. Humane league: How to do fewer, better animal experiments.

A new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out. From TLS, fifty years after the publication of Ian Watt's seminal work, The Rise of the Novel, a look back to the review of this "penetrating study of the intellectual and social conditions which produced a new literary form". From The Believer, an interview with Pankaj Mishra, author of An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World and Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond. The ability to see and not to see: A review of A Writer's People: Ways of Looking and Feeling by V S Naipaul (and an interview). From Sign and Sight, the impertinent muse: Ina Hartwig meets Ann Cotten, the Austrian star of Germany's poetry jet set. William Gibson's Spook Country is threatening to completely overhaul the way literary criticism is conducted.

From PopMatters, a review of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler and Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love by Patrice Hannon. Austen Appeal: A look at why young women can’t get enough of Jane. The perfect age for reading: Are there some books you can only enjoy when you're young? A review of Why We Read What We Read: A Delightfully Opinionated Journey Through Bestselling Books by Lisa Adams and John Heath. Not a license to print money: A review of The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade by James Raven. The great book giveaway: Why are published authors giving their books away for free online? An article on the ethics of handling and manhandling a book. A Publisher by Any Other Name: Quick, name you favorite book. Now, quick, name who published it. Gotcha, didn't I? 

From Reason, To Destroy You is No Loss: An article on the endurance of Cambodian pop culture. Mixing Music and Politics in Africa: Senegalese singer and songwriter Nuru Kane is carrying his sound, and his message, to the West. An interview with Thomas Wheelock, author of Land of the Flying Masks: Art & Culture in Burkina Faso. Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll in a Failing State: Lebanon's underground music scene sees its own demise in the fading promise of the "Cedar Revolution". The pen is mightier: For Iraqis, using violence to bring change is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. Yet exiled poet Nabeel Yasin believes culture can conquer all.  An article on the poetry of Guantanamo. A review of Poems From Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak. Shall I Compare Thee to an Evil Tyrant?

From National Journal, After Gonzales: At the top of the To Do list for the next attorney general will be seven challenges, including repairing a battered Justice Department, reducing political interference with the department's decisions, establishing credibility with the public, and patching up relations with Congress. From Slate, a serialization of Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography (and an interview with author Andrew Helfer). How Bush betrays Reagan: Bush idolizes the Great Communicator. But Reagan's successes came because he didn't follow his conservative ideology. George Bush, meet John Major. A review of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper (and three excerpts).

Andrew Gelman and Delia Baldessarri (Columbia): Partisans Without Constraint: Political Polarization and Trends in American Public Opinion. Andrew Gelman and Cexun Jeffrey Cai (Columbia): Should the Democrats Move to the Left on Economic Policy? From Financial Times, Barney Frank believes a new deal with business is the best way to achieve equality. Jonathan Chait on how economic crackpots devoured American politics. An article on how California conservatives are down, but they're far from out. A splash of primary colour: Republican Joel Neuberg has run for president in every election since 1992 yet remains largely unknown to California’s voters. A review of Living Blue in the Red States. John Judis on why 2008 will be a great election for Democrats in the Senate. A review of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics by Matt Bai. 

Christine B. Williams and Girish J. “Jeff” Gulati (Bentley): Social Networks as Viral Campaigns: Facebook and the 2006 Midterm Elections. Richard Hansen on Law and Dis-Order: The imploding system for choosing the next president. From The New York Observer, a look at why conservatives love Rudy. Rudy and Barack are all wrong about how they can win in '08. Whose 9/11 Is It? Is the Clinton campaign trying to supplant Rudy Giuliani on the Sept. 11 pedestal? What Hillary Hides: The former first lady may offer more of the same: a penchant for secrecy and good-and-evil politics. Hillary's Prayer: For 15 years, Hillary Clinton has been part of a secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill. Is she triangulating—or living her faith. Inquisition 2008:  Presidential candidates are getting barraged by the media on questions about their prayers, their sins, and their beliefs on religious doctrine. A look at how Fred Thompson channels L. Ron Hubbard.

From Salon, Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction: Two former CIA officers say the president squelched top-secret intelligence, and a briefing by George Tenet, months before invading Iraq. From Foreign Affairs, did the Bush administration disregard military expertise before the Iraq war? Should military leaders have done more to protest in response? If Rumsfeld really wants people to read his book, here are just a few questions that he should answer. Challenging the Generals: America's junior officers are fighting the war on the ground in Iraq, and the experience is making a number of them lose faith in their superiors. The private soldiers who die for America: A review of Blackwater: the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill. A review of House To House: An Epic of Urban Warfare by David Bellavia. Shankar Vedantam on the insurgency's psychological component.

From New Left Review, Regis Debray on Socialism, a Life-Cycle: The ecosystem of socialism, seen through the material forms in which its principles were transmitted — books, newspapers, manifestos — and the parties, movements, schools and men who were its bearers; Robert Wade on A New Global Financial Architecture? As the world economy shows growing signs of vulnerability, what mechanisms exist for averting repeats of the Asian or Mexican crises?; and a review of Capitalism Unleashed: Finance, Globalization, and Welfare by Andrew Glyn. A review of Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich. From The Economist, rocky terrain ahead: How much will the credit crunch hurt the world economy? William Greider on Waiting for The Big One: Nobody knows if the current financial crisis could become the type of economic unraveling that makes history.

A review of Hopscotch and handbags: The Essential Guide to Being a Girl by Lucy Mangan (and more). A review of Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. A man who gets angry at work may well be admired for it but a woman who shows anger in the workplace is liable to be seen as "out of control" and incompetent, according to a new study. Stripper poles as new feminism? Some argue that the frat-house toy allows young women, sober or not, to flaunt their liberation. "Hi, Slut!" The first chapter from Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good by Wendy Shalit. A review of Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism by Janet Halley.

From Humanitas, James J. Dillon (SUWG): The Tears of Priam: Reflections on Troy and Teaching Ancient Texts; Quentin Taylor (RSU): John of Salisbury, the Policraticus, and Political Thought; Michael P. Berman (Brock): Locke the Hermenaut and the Mechanics of Understanding; William F. Byrne ( St. John’s): Burke’s Higher Romanticism: Politics and the Sublime; Mark T. Mitchell (PHC): Michael Polanyi, Alasdair MacIntyre, and the Role of Tradition; and George Bragues (Guelph): Richard Rorty’s Postmodern Case for Liberal Democracy: A Critique. From The Wilson Quarterly, Theo Anderson on One Hundred Years of Pragmatism: William James grappled with the great question of modern times: How is it possible to believe? A century later, his answers are still fresher and more relevant than most. From Philosophy Bites, does the end justify the means? An interview with Brad Hooker on consequentialism; and an interview with Simon Blackburn on moral relativism. 

For the first time, researchers have published the DNA sequence from both sets of chromosomes in a single person. That person is none other than pioneering genome researcher J. Craig Venter. One man's DNA shows we're less alike than we thought. In the Genome Race, the Sequel Is Personal: A newly decoded genome makes clear that the variation in the genetic programming carried by an individual is much greater than expected. An article on biology and belief: Foundations of faith?  If not religion, What? Science can’t talk with faith, but philosophy can. Alan Contreras argues for a shift in who does the debating in our continuing national argument. A survey finds that the least religious of all medical specialties is psychiatry. A review of The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism by Mark Edmundson. 

The U.S. News Rankings Roll On: Academic leaders seek alternatives, and participation in the survey drops, but no one expects the magazine's college guide to fade away. The Academy as a Community Greenhouse: The “ivory tower” analogy is outdated, and comparing colleges to businesses is shortsighted. A review of God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America by Hanna Rosin.Mr. Rodgers Goes to Dartmouth: A cautionary tale about a businessman who ventured back into the Ivory Tower. From Ralph, taking cat-naps four or five times a day helps to keep you in the pink, and the ivy-covered halls of academe, with their windy faculty meetings and frequent seminars, have long provided an ideal venue for this practice; and a letter on boredom and academia. Literary boredom: Why is academic writing so boring? Academics love a dull read.

From Humanitas, Bruce P. Frohnen on American Culture: A Story. From The New Criterion, "The literary life" at 25: On the state of the literary life a quarter-century after Joseph Epstein wrote on this subject for the inaugural issue. From Slate, On the Road Again: Friends and scholars recall the man behind the myth of Jack Kerouac (and more by Meghan O'Rourke and Walter Kirn). From The Believer, The Late Style of Thomas McGuane: The novelist’s language has become more direct, his terrain more realistic, and his comedy less over-the-top. Where will he go next? 

The (Re)Birth of the Classics: A review of Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic by Andrew Dalby; and Sailing From Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World by Colin Wells. A review of Penser sans concepts: fonction de l'epopee guerriere, by Florence Goyet, on how martial epics from three different cultures (the Homeric Iliad, the medieval French Chanson de Roland, and the medieval Japanese Hogen and Heiji monogatari) offer their audiences the intellectual tools to assess complex political situations. From The New Yorker, if you haven’t yet read the Divine Comedy—you know who you are—now is the time, because Robert and Jean Hollander have just completed a beautiful translation of the astonishing fourteenth-century poem.

Divine inspiration: The Italian writer Dante had a huge influence on British art, yet it took us 400 years to discover him. What’s so good about British architecture? Its champions claim it’s the best in the world but the reality is dull, corporate and profoundly uninspired. Britain's historic buildings — some of the jewels in our architectural crown - - are crumbling, not because of a lack of money, but because of a shortage of traditional skills.

From Foreign Policy, Robert Reich on How Capitalism is Killing Democracy. From The Economist, a review of Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang. A review of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein. The Wealth of Nations: Analysis of the connections among different types of economic activities explains why some countries succeed, and others fail, in diversifying their economies. "Occupy, resist, produce": Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis report on how Argentina's worker-run factories have nurtured a powerful social movement, while seamstress Matilda Adorno explains how a dispute over pay became a political struggle. 

From In These Times, an article on The Trial (And Errors) of Hugo Chavez. Crazy like a fox, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has strange ways and a purpose, too. A review of Hugo Chavez by Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka and Hugo! by Bart Jones (and more). From Monthly Review, an essay on Venezuela as a good example of the bad Left of Latin America. A wannabe Chávez short of oil: Rafael Correa tries his own version of "21st century socialism".

From Vanity Fair, Going After Gore: For the first time, Gore and his family talk about the effect of the press attacks on his campaign—and about his future plans—to the author, who finds that many in the media are re-assessing their 2000 coverage. From National Journal, the '08 campaign beat is a never-ending soft-news story, punctuated now and then by tiny bursts of hard news. Does it seem like there's a new Republican scandal in the news every single week? Well, that may be because there is. The Most Feared Man on the Hill? For gay blogger Mike Rogers, Craig's resignation is just the latest on his list.

From Time, A Time To Serve: In a changing society facing all manner of new challenges, volunteers are helping bind America together. Why the U.S. and the next President should make a new commitment to national service; and National Service? Puh-lease. Michael Kinsley thinks the call for compulsory national service is naive. What we really need is better free-market capitalism.   Good Intentions, Bad Idea: It's not easy to knock H.R. 1671 and S. 960, the House and Senate bills that would establish the U.S. Public Service Academy. Political Engagement 101: Research suggests that political engagement can be taught. Targeting Deliberative Democracy: A review of Diana C. Mutz's Hearing the Other Side and Andrew Perrin's Citizen Speak

A review of Activism, Inc: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns is Strangling Progressive Politics in America by Dana R Fisher. An interview with Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. To surprise and dissent: At Heathrow, a potent demonstration of the new tactics of protest (and more).  Passport, or carte blanche to raise hell? An increasing number of activists are blending tourism with aggressive advocacy abroad. In the process, they may be taking their liberty for granted. 

E.J. Dionne Jr. on The Liberal Moment: The American left has its greatest political opening since the 60s, and its greatest philosophical one since the 30s. Mutiny on the Manifesto: Spineless scalawags are sabotaging the most promising leftist doctrine in decades. Don't let them. The guilt-free liberal: It's hard to sympathise with former liberals who completely misrepresent liberalism. They need a broader outlook. What's left, right and wrong? Although the terms of political debate have shifted over the last 25 years, some core values have remained the same.