From Mother Jones, Blackwater, Erik Prince's expanding global private army, is at your service—and the war in Iraq was just the beginning. A review of The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee. A look at how the desert metropolis Dubai is reinventing itself as an art center. Trade secrets: John B. Judis on the real problem with NAFTA. YouTube for Smart People: Big Think seeks to smarten up the Internet by getting up close and intellectual with the most creative thinkers alive. More and more on Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear by Dan Gardner and Panicology by Simon Briscoe and Hugh Aldersey-Williams. A review of Princesses and Pornstars: Sex, Power, Identity by Emily Maguire. A review of Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America by Richard Zoglin. A review of Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes by James Conway. An interview with Immanuel Wallerstein, author of European Universalism: The Rhetoric of Power. From The Root, an article on the perilous politics of hair. A review of The Language of Belonging by Ulrike Hanna Meinhof and Darius Galasinski. From Der Spiegel, a special report on the story of Curveball and how German intelligence helped justify the US invasion of Iraq.

From Democracy, a review of Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality by Martha C. Nussbaum; Ron Paul's America: Michael Tomasky reviews Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism by Bill Kauffman; Brave New World War: Genetic engineering will soon turn science fiction to fact; why we need a new global treaty to control it; and the future of progressive governance depends on the unglamorous, little-noticed world of regulation. Is the Internet eroding America's Puritanism — or making it worse? Gary Kamiya wants to know. A review of Randall Kennedy's Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal (and more from Bookforum). It Ain't No Joke: Hip-hop, like most other arts, intentionally pays humor less mind because, hey, it's not supposed to be taken seriously! But seriously. From IHE, an article on why professors should embrace Wikipedia. From Ord&Bild, an article on the rebirth of religion and enchanting materialism: Habermas, Onfray and Dawkins and the trivializing  of life's wonders. Every election cycle we bemoan the character-driven election coverage, but nothing seems to change. A review of Harper Lee's All Literature Is Gossip. Right at the end: Jeffrey Hart on how William F. Buckley had the courage to admit that the movement he started may be finished.

From TLS, a review of Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence; a review of The Dress of the People: Everyday fashion in eighteenth-century England by John Styles; and a review of books on jihad and radical Islam. A review of Beyond Practical Virtue: A Defense of Liberal Democracy Through Literature by Joel A. Johnson. A review of books on baseball. From Salon, is it coming to a soup kitchen near you? Here's how we'll know if the current recession is turning into something much worse. From The Nation, is this The Big One? Jeff Faux investigates; Robin Blackburn is for a social bailout: Let's reinvent progressive economic policy, starting with our own sovereign wealth fund to deal with urgent social needs; and who are they calling elitist, and why do conservatives continue to feel oppressed by the "liberal elite"? A review of Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths by Stefan Timmermans. Striking a blow for science: A review of Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics by Tom Rogers. Why blog? Reason No. 92: Book deal. More on Matt Bai's The Argument. Flat Earth Society: A look at the two-dimensional world of Thomas Friedman. From Popular Mechanics, here are 7 energy efficiency myths debunked. Martin Amis may not know much about Islam and 9/11, but he knows what he hates (and more; and more from the latest issue of Bookforum).

From Mittleweg, Harald Weilnbock on trauma melancholia and other (ab-)uses of trauma concepts in literary theory (and part 2 and part 3). George Soros on the false ideology at the heart of the financial crisis. A review of Ha-Joon Chang's Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. The 2.0 Decade? Readers come up with names for the era now winding down — Scott McLemee looks back on it all. Andre Glucksmann and Bernard-Henri Levy write an open letter to Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel on NATO. From The Hindu, roots, migration and exile: An interview with Jhumpa Lahiri on her new book, her voice as a writer and her continuing interest in issues of identity and immigration (and more and more; and migration, assimilation, and inebriation: Jhumpa Lahiri talks with Bookforum). Wiki Woman: Eve Fairbanks on the battle to define Hillary online. American voters are a contradictory bunch: They say they want social welfare, but don't want to pay for it; they claim they are left-leaning, but vote for center-right candidates. More on The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad by John Stape. From The New York Observer's First Annual Survey of Magazines, big, fat, glossy, but will they make it into the future? From GQ, an interview with Karl Rove. From Slate, Fixing It 2008: A series of articles on repairing some of the worst Bush administration screw-ups.

From The Atlantic Monthly, Ross Douthat on The Return of the Paranoid Style: How the Iraq War and George W. Bush sent the movie industry back to its favorite era—the 1970s (and more); meet Oleg Khintsagov, a small-time hustler in Russia who can get you dried fish, furs, Turkish chandeliers and weapons-grade uranium — he’s not the only one (and more); Calcutta has been renamed; now, with investment on the rise, tech companies moving in, and a growing middle class, can it be reborn? (and more); an English critic decries the decline of his language—and his civilization; Christopher Hitchens reviews Ezra Pound: Poet A Portrait of the Man & His Work Volume I: The Young Genius 1885–1920 by A. David Moody; and a review of Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler. Prophet and pastor: To Martin Marty, his former professor, congregant, and friend, Jeremiah Wright has been both. Gore and Edwards may have the most party clout, but there’s only one person Hillary will finally listen to — her name isn’t Bill. A review of Max Kozloff’s The Theatre of the Face: Portrait Photography Since 1900. Testing Horace Mann: How some extremely contemporary problems at one of the city's most prestigious schools—a Facebook scandal, a tell-all-novelist history teacher—were resolved through old-fashioned exertion of influence.

James Dow (Oakland): Is Religion an Evolutionary Adaptation? After Arthur C. Clarke, who are science fiction's visionaries? The extinct human species that was smarter than us: A review of Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence by Gary Lynch and Richard Granger. Research suggests satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from 3 to 13 minutes, contrary to popular fantasy. A review of Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida. A review of Blue & Gold and Black: Racial Integration of the US Naval Academy by Robert Schneller. Eric Foner reviews books on the Colfax Massacre. Jacob Hacker on why socialized medicine might be just what the doctor ordered. By mid-century, more than two-thirds of us will live in cities, but they remain poor, weak creatures — how to empower them? Carlin Romano reviews The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by Pico Iyer. A review of Propitious Esculent: the Potato in World History by John Reader. How the myth of food miles hurts the planet: Ethical shopping just got more complicated — the idea that only local produce is good is under attack. Andrew Anthony on how now America and Britain get blame for the Holocaust. From Slate, here's a history of the hangover.

From Commentary, Terry Teachout on how the great pianists of the 19th century forged a musical golden age; an article on Obama's war; Norman Podhoretz on Israel and the Palestinians: Has Bush reneged?; and a review of The Hebrew Republic: How Secular Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring Israel Peace at Last by Bernard Avishai. The first chapter from The Presidency in the Era of 24-Hour News by Jeffrey Cohen. The introduction to Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy by R. Michael Alvarez and Thad E. Hall. From Jewcy, here are six insane online games with political agendas.  Modeling the future: An interview with climatologist Stephen Schneider. From The Atlantic, John McCain's actions on behalf of Vicki Iseman barely differ from the earmarking he has spent a career railing against. From The New Yorker, mine is longer than yours: Michael Kinsley on mortality, the last boomer game; James Surowiecki on America’s problem with bankruptcy; an article on the perilous mission of Obama’s church; and Richard Brody on the tumultuous friendship of Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut. Why is the Bush administration talking market deregulation when everyone's worried about market survival? A review of Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives by Grover Norquist.

From The New Criterion, at the forest's edge: An article on Jose Ortega y Gasset and Sigmund Freud, and Roger Sandall writes on Professor Charles Taylor and the Crow Indians of the Yellowstone River Valley. Let's talk about figures: The eternal language of numbers is reborn as a form of communication that people all over the world can use—and, increasingly, must use. From Scientific American, radiation monitors at U.S. ports cannot reliably detect highly enriched uranium, which onshore terrorists could assemble into a nuclear bomb; and can people regenerate body parts? Progress on the road to regenerating major body parts, salamander-style, could transform the treatment of amputations and major wounds. It isn't often that we see "How to" prefacing the title of an academic study: A review of How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today by Simon Goldhill. The mayors of six European towns with Catholic shrines endeavour to serve two masters: the worldly needs of their constituents and the divine mission of the Church. More on A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. A review of books on Tibet. A building tells a million stories: Renzo Piano on 21st century architecture. Not long after the discovery of America, another Columbus was exploring more uncharted territory. The tipping plague: Suddenly everyone from the Starbucks barista to the dog walker has his hand out — blame the decline in shame.

From The Believer, an essay on fear, racism and the historically-troubling attitude of American pioneers; and what's the difference between a road movie and a movie that just happens to have roads in it? France is the world’s most sophisticated practitioner of counterterrorism, and the U.S. can learn from her experience. A review of The Globalization of Ethics: Religious and Secular Perspectives, ed. William M. Sullivan and Will Kymlicka. A review of Victor Hugo's Conversations with the Spirit World: A Literary Genius's Hidden Life by John Chambers. It’s not you, it’s your books: Among the bookish, even casual literary references can turn into romantic deal breakers. A review of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. A review of Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches by Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. From Scientific American, an article on the doping dilemma: Game theory helps to explain the pervasive abuse of drugs in cycling, baseball and other sports. Cass Sunstein on why Clarence Thomas is not "Mr. Constitution". Zbigniew Brzezinski on the smart way out of a foolish war. From Briarpatch, an article on The Boy Code & the modern man; a look at how feminism and porn get it on at the Feminist Porn Awards, and a review of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen.

Kathleen Dolan (Wisconsin): Is There a "Gender Affinity Effect" in American Politics? Information, Affect, and Candidate Sex in U.S. House Elections. From The Independent Review, Daniel Choi (II): Unprophetic Tocqueville: How Democracy in America Got the Modern World Completely Wrong; and Bruce L. Benson (FSU): The Evolution of Eminent Domain: Market Failure or an Effort to Limit Government Power and Government Failure?; and a review of James M. Buchanan's Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative: The Normative Vision of Classical Liberalism. A review of The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community by Stephen Marglin. From THES, a review of Sex, Culture, and Justice: The Limits of Choice by Clare Chambers; and a review of The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics by Robert Faulkner. The introduction to Status Signals: A Sociological Study of Market Competition by Joel M. Podolny. From Der Spiegel, a special report on Life in Baghdad since the Fall of Saddam. From The New York Observer, an article on How to Change Your Life in One Year! Completely. From Wired, a look at nine trends driving business in 2008. The unavoidable empty campaign promise: Candidates have always offered to fulfill unlikely wishes on the trail, and this year's no different. More on The New Rome.