The question is: If there is an emergency, do we have a Plan B in our back pocket to solve it? Geoengineering is no longer unmentionable (and more). The effects of geoengineering could be worse than climate change, so we need to do our homework rather than assume it can stave off disaster. As carbon dioxide levels creep ever higher, scientists are working to put greenhouse gas in its place. We need a radical new approach to cutting greenhouse gases, and it might have arrived. The easiest way to fight global warming: Simply cleaning up soot could work wonders for the climate. Can condoms save us from climate change?: A study finds improved family planning is one of the most effective methods of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions we’ve got, but nobody dares comment on it — that is how abortion politics have skewed our political universe (and more). If Obama can't defeat the Republican headbangers, our planet is doomed. GEO-Politics: The gains of Copenhagen will be fleeting unless the world's nations create a Global Environmental Organization to enforce them. Poor countries’ economic development will contribute to climate change - but they are already its greatest victims. We are all Madoffs: Our relationship to the natural world is a Ponzi scheme. Can civilisation survive the unavoidable environmental catastrophe?: A review of Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Manifesto by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine. New Scientist on reasons to be optimistic for the future and a blueprint for a better world.
From Cato Unbound, Scott Sumner argues that almost everything economists and economic policymakers thought they knew about the role of monetary policy in the recent recession and financial collapse is wrong. Did Lehman have to die so global finance could live? Steven Pearlstein on why the Lehman Brothers failure may have saved us all (and more). Lehman’s lessons learned: One year later, what the collapse of the banking colossus has taught us. Martin Wolf, the Jeremiah who has the financial world's ear, on learning the wrong lessons from Lehman’s fall. One year after Lehman: It's business as usual again for Wall Street's casino capitalists. A review of Lawrence G. McDonald's A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers (and more and more; and more at Bookforum). Did the banks go crazy? Whatever economists might think, rationality and efficiency don't always go together. A short history of fast times on Wall Street: When it comes to trading stocks, abuse of inside market information and access has been a problem for over 100 years. The “financial tsunami” has left behind important questions about the way the market operates, the pursuit of profit and self-interest; Michael Sandel offers unexpected conclusions. Simon Johnson on what you need to know about the state of our financial system (and more). Why capitalism fails: Hyman Minsky, the man who saw the meltdown coming, had another troubling insight — it will happen again. These seven liberal financial experts are our best hope for truly fixing the economy.
From the inaugural issue of National Affairs (a successor to The Public Interest; and more), James Capretta on the new middle class contract; Steven Teles on the eternal return of compassionate conservatism; William Schambra on Obama and the policy approach; and Leon Kass is looking for an honest man. The first neoconservative: Christopher Hitchens, Damon Linker, Seth Lipsky, Reihan Salam, and James Q. Wilson remember Irving Kristol (and more). Here's everything you need to know about czars. Bruce Bartlett on why we can't cut spending: The votes aren't there. Everyone seems to agree that budget deficits are harmful — can they all be wrong? From Wired, here are 12 shocking ideas that could change the world, including emptying the prisons, embracing human cloning, and busting up big league sports. From Democracy, a series of articles on the race to innovate; how do you solve a problem like the Senate? A review of Why Not Parties?: Party Effects in the United States; and a review of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World by Michelle Goldberg. From Slate, why no more 9/11s? An interactive inquiry about why America hasn't been attacked again. A review of The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 by John Farmer. Peking over our shoulder: Noam Scheiber on how our Chinese shareholders get nosy. Thomas PM Barnett on how Obama should maneuver against the "Axis of Evil 2.0" at the United Nations.
The Department of Justice says the Google Books deal won't fly. Will the Google Books juggernaut keep rolling, and should it? It may be too late if and when we find out. Google stands to be the single repository for millions of the world's books, but critics worry about monopoly and profit motives, and what it means for readers' privacy (and more on Google CEO Eric Schmidt). A debate: Is the Google Books settlement progressive or not? Google Books' archenemy the Open Book Alliance formally launches. Geoffrey Nunberg on why Google's Book Search is a disaster for scholars. What's worth downloading on Google Books? From FT, is the rise of the digital book a sign that the codex, in its paper-and-print form, is on its death bed, or merely adapting to the times? The Kindle Problem: Successful products need to offer great experience or great convenience — Amazon’s e-reader falls short on both. Everyone has an opinion on the Kindle vs. print, but what if you didn't have a choice? The printed word has always had an Achilles heel — factual mistakes; can the electronic reader help? Welcome to the library — say goodbye to the books. In the world of books, September is the cruellest month. Redactor Agonistes: Daniel Menaker on a list of mostly non-arithmetical observations about mainstream publishing. Book publishing is in trouble? You wouldn’t know it from the pile of new language books. Welcome to the Weird Books Room: Abebooks has done a great service to connoisseurs of the bizarre. How much harm does a bad book cover do?
From the latest issue of Modern Age, Ivan Kenneally (RIT): Reason, revelation, and American theocracy rightly understood; a review essay on American conservatism. From The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mark Lilla on taking the right seriously: Conservatism is a tradition, not a pathology (and responses). With respect to what: Leon Wieseltier on the latest Burke revival (and more). An interview with John Derbyshire, author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism (and more). A review essay: Traditionalists are at war with free-marketers, and the far right's resentment is deepening — is conservatism dead? From Commentary, Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson on the path to Republican revival. From The American Interest, Steven Teles on what Republicans can learn from the Age of Reagan. Charles R. Kesler on the conservative challenge: The Reagan Revolution vs. the Obama Revolution. A review of The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989 by Steven F. Hayward. A review of The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism by Michael Kimmage. More and more and more on Right Time, Right Place by Richard Brookhiser. Conor Friedersdorf is at the gates of the fourth estate: Making a career in culture as a conservative. Despite setbacks, David Frum beats on. A conservative sellout: Why shouldn’t the right put a price on its principles? Why your coach votes Republican: In politics, football's bosses usually run right.
From Time, a cover story: Is Glenn Beck bad for America? Beck is the future of literary fiction: A handful of right-wing bestsellers have recast mundane cultural dislocation into riveting epics of paranoia (and more). Cleon Skousen was a right-wing crank whom even conservatives despised — then Beck discovered him. Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh beware: There will soon be a bull detector for our TVs. John David Lewis on Obama’s atomic bomb and the ideological clarity of the Democratic agenda. Why the Obama haters are choking on their own sins — the ambivalent madness of (former) king GOP. Inside Sarah's Church: An excerpt from Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal (and more and more). A review of The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts by Wayne Allyn Root. From TAP, going to extremes: There is much to fear in the right's comfort with radicalism, but little to envy; the return of the repressed: It should come as no surprise that with the election of Barack Obama, the right has returned to a politics of racial resentment (and more); and stuff some white people don't like: The right's animosity toward Obama isn't about fascism or socialism — it's about racism (but so what?). From Taki's Mag, an article on the GOP as the White People Party. Gordon Baum, the chief executive officer of the Council of Conservative Citizens, can tell a good story. If any of you can tap your inner John Bircher, please share your crazed thoughts: What will be the right's next big Obama conspiracy theory?
From NYRB, perhaps it should come as no surprise that turning around the huge secret empire built by the National Security State is a hard, perhaps impossible, task; and David Cole on the torture memos and the case against the lawyers. From The Atlantic Monthly, Andrew Sullivan on how the best way to confront the crimes of the past is for the man who authorized torture to take full responsibility — an open letter to President George W. Bush. Me Talk Presidential One Day: An excerpt from Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor by Matt Latimer. Madison Weeps: How healthcare revealed the sickness of our political system. Why is reform so tough? Machiavelli would have counselled the president to tweak his "change" mantra. From Salon, uninsured like me: Diversity is healthcare reform's worst enemy — White America has never liked social insurance for people of color; and meet the knuckleheads of the U.S. Senate. The Gangs of D.C.: In the Senate, small states wield outsize power — is this what the Founders had in mind? Across the country, “Read the bill!” has become a rallying cry of the health care debate, but reading actual legislative text is often the least productive way to learn what’s actually in a bill. An interview with David Schleicher on why voters don't know much about politics. Parties once served a purpose, but they have degenerated into a system that discourages independent thought and undermines representative government. Politics can be a cruel mistress — but things change, and parties revive.
A review of The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office by David Blumenthal and James A. Morone. Hendrik Hertzberg on Obama, the Republicans, and health care reform. Some opponents of the president's health care efforts liken it to totalitarian states but what was health care policy like under, say, the Nazis? A look at what Andre the Giant teaches us about the health care debate. How health care reform could combat crime: Nurse home visits for pregnant women could keep their children off the streets in years to come. A review of The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T. R. Reid. From The Objective Standard, an essay on moral health care vs. "universal health care"; and a look at how freedom to contract protects insurability. Patients without borders: Mary Cuddehe on the rise of Mexican medical tourism. The notion that tax dollars shouldn't pay for abortions is an international aberration, an example of American exceptionalism run amok. The Abortion Evangelist: LeRoy Carhart is determined to train as many late-term-abortion providers as possible — or the practice just might die with him. Getting personal: Tests for inherited health risks may soon cost nothing — but who will actually benefit from them? A review of Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America by Kathleen M. Brown; The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History by Katherine Ashenburg; and Clean: A Personal History of Hygiene and Purity by Virginia Smith. A review of So Clean: Lord Leverhulme, Soap and Civilization by Brian Lewis.
From Transforming Cultures, a special issue on Music and the Production of Place. From Open Letters Monthly, a special section on music. Silence is golden: How a pause can be the most devastating effect in music. A review of George Gershwin by Walter Rimler. A review of Some Liked It Hot: Jazz Women in Film and Television, 1928-1959 by Kristin A. McGee. A review of A Windfall of Musicians: Hitler's Emigres and Exiles in Southern California by Dorothy Lamb Crawford. More and more on Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician by Barry Seldes. A review of Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties. P.J. O'Rourke reviews books on Woodstock. A review of Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley. More on Greg Kot’s Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. Jay Diamond on the realization that there is indeed a new world order in music. Rock music and novel-writing are both forms of storytelling; songs are snapshots compared to the grand panorama of a novel but in the hands of the best lyricists they can be little narrative jewels. A review of Antithetical Arts: On the Ancient Quarrel between Literature and Music by Peter Kivy. Behold the Man: Friedrich Nietzsche, composer. A review of books on Joseph Haydn. Opera’s coolest soprano: Danielle de Niese isn’t above flexing her voice to the beat of Beyonce. Is the opera house the last safe place to practice the pursuit of style?
From Daedalus, Jason Puskar (Wisconsin): Risking Ralph Ellison. Is there a scientific way to measure how bad a fart smells? From InTheFray, a special issue on stories of beginnings. From Fast Company, a look at how Jane Fonda became the face of the aging adult social media world. Local LGBT papers are a vital part of our community, and they have played a major role in the development of that community — if only they were more inclusive. Could cannon balls from the early 19th century sink warships? An outrageous anti-Semitic article in a Swedish newspaper caused a diplomatic row with Israel, but what's really behind the sturm-und-drang? Incitement to murder: How Israel should fight the Swedish blood libel (and more). Why do so many self-help books sound the same? What's mine is yours: When should firms be required to share their intellectual property with rivals? From The New Yorker, Alexandra Jacobs on Zappos, the online shoe shopping utopia. Crossing the tan line: We work hard to cover our breasts and penises — and then summer comes along. With the internet dominated by free reference sites, what's the Encyclopaedia Britannica's appeal? A review of I Hate People!: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job by Jonathan Littman. David Weigel on how the far-right site WorldNetDaily is gaining influence in the Obama Era (and more and more and more on The Next Right vs. the current right).