From First Principles, a symposium on the cultural impact of Obama and the New Progressivism, on economics, on education and on technocracy. Don't write off America: It's fashionable to say the US is in terminal decline; don't bet on it — still less wish for it. Is the battle for same-sex marriage worth it? Here's William Rusher's final column. Neither moderate nor centrist: Peter Robinson on how Buckley, Gergen and Brooks finally realized Barack Obama's left leanings (and a response by Buckley). Alan Wolfe on conservatism in the Age of Wurzelbacher. Intellectuals at the gates: A review of Democracy Denied, 1905–1915: Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy by Charles Kurzman. A review of The 10000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending (and more and more). The end of alone: At our desk, on the road, or on a remote beach, the world is a tap away — it's so cool, and yet it's not. A review of Who Does This Language Belong To? by Avital Feuer. The future of reading: In Web age, library job gets update. Last year a single letter written by Albert Einstein changed hands for over $400,000, but could a printout of an email or an electronic file ever reach similar heights?  The art of the con, learning from Bernard Madoff: A skeptic's advice on how to avoid falling prey to con artists (and more from John Allen Paulos).


Daniel B. Klein (GMU) and Charlotta Stern (Stockholm): Groupthink in Academia: Majoritarian Departmental Politics and the Professional Pyramid. From FP, Nathan Brown on how Middle East peacemaking has failed — it’s time for Plan B; and from Tokyo to Riyadh, governments are pouring billions into their economies — find out who stands to gain the most and who's out of luck. Barrett Brown on Thomas Friedman’s five worst predictions. From Literary Review, a review of Hot Flushes, Cold Science: A History of the Modern Menopause by Louise Foxcroft; and a review of Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves by James Le Fanu. The long and winding road to an MA in Beatles songs: Liverpool Hope University launches UK's first master's course in fab four studies (and more and a quiz). Organic and local is so 2008: Our industrial food system is rotten to the core; heirloom arugula won't save us — here's what will. A look at how Mother Jones is testing the nonprofit model in a race to survive the recession. From The Atlantic, resisting the Kindle: Sven Birkerts comments on what we lose in the page-to-screen transfer; and in defense of the Kindle: Rare books librarian Matthew Battles contends that the Amazon Kindle will promote the culture of letters, not undermine it. Whatever happened to cinephilia? Does it still exist? Scott McLemee wants to know.


From TLS, the ultimate French intellectual: A review of Paul Valery by Michel Jarrety; a review of The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940; and what would Conor Cruise O'Brien, the prophetic analyst of Irish militancy, have made of recent events in Northern Ireland? The Czech novelist Milan Kundera is accused of informing on an anti-communist as a student; is there any truth in the charge? An excerpt from The Subversive Copy Editor Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) by Carol Fisher Saller. From OJR, a look at how the Web can help the WaPo (and other papers) write a new chapter about the world of books. Get off the bus: Amanda Michel on the future of pro-am journalism. America's Shame: When are we going to do something about global poverty? Peter Singer wants to know. Is pop culture bad? Queries like this tempt academics to make use of one of several ploys. A review of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America by Jeff Wiltse. Here are two excerpts from The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess by Andrei Codrescu. Agonies of the Twitterati: More on Elsewhere, U.S.A. by Dalton Conley (and more from Bookforum). If Harvard MBAs are all so clever, how come so many are now in disgrace?


From Dissent, should we still make things? A symposium with contributions by Marcellus Andrews, Dean Baker, Susan Helper and Jeff Madrick. Here's David Miller's introduction to Thinking Politically: Essays in Political Theory by Michael Walzer. The ICC's indictment of Sudan's president for war crimes may have done nothing other than ruin his holiday plans — but at least that's a start. The activist: An article on Alex de Waal, among the war criminals. From TPM, an index of reports produced by "idea factory" Office of Net Assessment over the past 20 years provides a window into the thinking and concerns at the highest levels of the Defense Department. The Terminator comes to Wall Street: How computer modeling worsened the financial crisis and what we ought to do about it. A review of Philosophy, Black Film, Film Noir by Dan Flory. More and more and more and more and more and more on Snark by David Denby. From NYRB, a review of Let's See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker by Peter Schjeldah. Abu Ghraib investigator Antonio Taguba talks to Salon about why he backs a commission to examine Bush torture policies. "I was Kim Jong Il's teacher": Few people have the chance to watch a shy young man grow into a ruthless dictator — and live to talk about it. Anchors away: A look at the strange resilience of the local TV personality. 


From Turbulence, a special issue on Present Tense, Future Conditional, including an interview with Felix Guattari: "There is no scope for futurology; history will decide". Back to the land: Why moving to the country will save us all. An interview with Tim Carney, author of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money. A look at what today’s veterans can learn from tales of the Trojan War. From The Politic, an interview with Stephen Skowronek, author of The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to Bill Clinton; an interview with Gary Sick, author of All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter With Iran. A review of The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas by Diane Perpich. From World Watch, unnatural increase?: An essay on reducing family size and birthrates; and our panarchic future: An excerpt from The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization by Thomas Homer-Dixon. A review of A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization by Kenneth Kiple. From EnlightenNext, a special issue on Constructing the New Man. From SciAm, a look at how renewable energy and storage solutions stack up; and does exercise really make you healthier? From Moment, an interview with Aaron David Miller, author of The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (and more from Bookforum). 


From The University Bookman, Katherine Dalton on the "Time" of Elizabeth Madox Roberts; an essay on Newton Booth Tarkington, neglected Hoosier; an article on Robert Traver: Anatomy of a Fisherman; a review of Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, and Lies by Ginger Strand; a review of Say It One Time for the Broken Hearted: Country Soul in the American South by Barney Hoskyns; Donald Davidson and the South’s conservatism: An excerpt from Russell Kirk's The Politics of Prudence; a review of Contrary Country: A Chronicle of Vermont by Ralph Nading Hill; Gerald Russello in on Brooklyn’s side; and an interview with Christine Rosen on examining our technological assumptions. Is talk cheap? Thomas Sowell on Barack and Adolf. An article on the slow death of handwriting. From SciAm, a special section on the science of love. From The Futurist, two British researchers offer an ambitious plan to save the world from global warming; Reinventing morality: Evolutionary biology and neuroscience are adding to our understanding of a historically unscientific area (and an interview with Marc Hauser); a review of Imagining America in 2033: How the Country Put Itself Together after Bush by Herbert J. Gans; and a review of Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics — And Why It Matters by Peter A. Ubel.


From the latest issue of Democracy, Charles Kupchan and Adam Mount (Georgetown): The Autonomy Rule: The end of Western dominance means a new foreign policy principle is needed to advance international order; and Spencer Ackerman on why progressives should avoid claiming the surge in Iraq as a validation of their views, From YUP, an excerpt from The Unitary Executive: Presidential Power from Washington to Bush by Steven G. Calabresi and Christopher S. Yoo; and an excerpt from Between Virtue and Power: The Persistent Moral Dilemma of U.S. Foreign Policy by John Kane. A review of Irony in the Age of Empire: Comic Perspectives on Democracy and Freedom by Cynthia Willett. A review of America, Empire of Liberty: A New History by David Reynolds. From Bookforum, Matthew Yglesias reviews The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable by John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell and The Myth of American Exceptionalism by Godfrey Hodgson. From Yes!, a special issue on sustainable happiness, including a review of David Korten's Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth (and an excerpt). What does the phenomenon known as Barbie say about the world in which our children are growing up? A review of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately. 


From the latest issue of Bookforum, behind the carefully constructed persona of suburban squire, John Cheever waged a tumultuous battle against himself — a struggle that only found its way into his very last works of fiction (and more and more and more and more). From Democracy, Dalton Conley on why, in this time of global financial crisis, America needs a sovereign wealth fund of its own (and a review of Conley's Elsewhere U.S.A. at Bookforum); and a review of books on the financial crisis. Bonus reduced: When a good thing suddenly isn't. From Time, a look at the 10 most endangered newspapers in America. Canadian books under attack — sometimes by their authors. A review of Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss (and more and more and more). A look at the legend of FDR's first 100 days in office. If you drive west from Dallas, through the neo-modern lunarscape of a pod city called Las Colinas, you'll never find Benny Hinn. From UUWorld, an interview with Ted Sorensen, JFK's speechwriter; for almost 1,000 years, the Christian church emphasized paradise, not Crucifixion; Frederick Wooden is sticking with classics: "My reasons for reading Hawthorne, Melville, and Dante are hardly noble"; and in bookstores, spirituality is packaged as if it's a pep pill for overworked managers. A review of The Morality of Embryo Use by Louis Guenin.


A new issue of Catalyst is out. From Telos, Michael Marder (Toronto): In the Name of the Law: Schmitt and the Metonymic Abuses of Legitimacy; David Pan (UC-Irvine): World Order and the Decline of U.S. Power: Hard or Soft Landing?; and an essay on political divisions and the financial crisis. From The Atlantic Monthly, presiding over the debate, gently — too gently? — prodding the communion toward acceptance of gay clergy, is Rowan Williams, the brilliant and beleaguered archbishop of Canterbury (and an interview). Beyond anarchy at PM Press: Twenty-five years after launching AK Press, Ramsey Kanaan took his democracy elsewhere. A review of The Political Thought of Jacques Ranciere: Creating Equality by Todd May. A review of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it by Jim Wallis. Does Jacob Heilbrunn, the author of They Knew They Were Right, really think he has done nothing wrong? A review of Jonathan Gottschall's Literature, Science and a New Humanities. A review of The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising by Kenneth Roman (and more). From World Affairs, Mitchell Cohen on Moral Burdens: Iraq and the Ghosts of 1956; and Alan Wolfe on the demise of a species, liberal hawks. An interview with Adam Gopnik, author of Angels and Ages (and more). 


From The American Scholar, Amitai Etzioni and Radhika Bhat on second chances, social forgiveness, and the Internet: We need the means, both technological and legal, to replace measures once woven into the fabric of communities. Regulate, baby, regulate! Why the stimulus will be worthless if Obama doesn't bring transparency to Wall Street. The first issue of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Connection is out (and more). Stanley Fish on neoliberalism and higher education. From Variant, a review of Estates: An Intimate History by Lynsey Hanley and Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right and the Moral Panic over the City by Steve Macek; a review of Subversion: The Definitive History of Underground Cinema by Duncan Reekie; a review of Keri Smith's The Guerilla Art Kit and Learning to Love You More by Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July; and a review of Paul Mason's Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global. Alexandra Starr on defending the new generation of driven, sharp-elbowed female politicians. More and more on A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx by Elaine Showalter. From Le Monde, 20 years after his death, audience and academic interest in Samuel Beckett has not waned; and "Born in the USA" turns 25: The song’s real message has been forgotten.

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