Henry Farrell (GWU) and Melissa Schwartzberg (Columbia): Norms, Minorities, and Collective Choice Online. The borders of our minds: In the conflict between Macedonia and Greece, both sides are debating a non-existent issue. A review of Megan Basham's Beside Every Successful Man. Straight vs. Narrow: "Why the fuck do we have to keep protesting this shit?" Confessions of a lassies' man: Robert Burns’s lust for women was legendary, but does he deserve to be branded a misogynist and a scoundrel? Todd Gitlin on the rebirth of the USA. Script and scribble: Our days of mastering penmanship seem long behind us. Harlem's man with the plan: Obama's the first president in 50 years to prioritize fighting poverty — meet the man who showed him how. More on The Reagan I Knew by WFB. A review of Tim Reiterman’s Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. A review of Literature, Life, and Modernity by Richard Eldridge. Motivating minds: People procrastinate when asked to think in the abstract. One track mind: Laurie Taylor hopes he’s not a running joke. From The Globalist, an article on Vaclav Klaus, Philosopher-King. From Power Line, on President Bush: An assessment. Is there a second act for George W. Bush? Here are the five things we'll miss most about Bush (and more on Bush's forgotten scandals). A look at top 10 George W. Bush YouTube moments.
A new issue of Econ Journal Watch is out. From First of the Month, Amiri Baraka on how we are already in the future. An interview with Edwin Burrows, author of Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War. A review of Human Rights at the UN: The Political History of Universal Justice by Roger Normand. Politicians have a reputation for being big talkers, but sometimes the most interesting statements are the ones they aren’t trying to make. John Sutherland on how the demands of publishing are conflicting with scholarship on Shakespeare. Douglas W. Kmiec on his experience as a Catholic who supported Obama. An interview with Nancy Polikoff, author of Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage. A review of The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them by Donald F. Kettl. A review of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara. The Little Unions That Couldn’t: Card check is worth fighting for — except for the "card check" part. Cambridge on the Potomac: For Harvard, "change" means a return to power. It wasn't Katrina that destroyed the Bush presidency; it was downhill from the moment Bush tried to destroy Social Security — he knows it, and Barack Obama should, too. The historian as cartoonist: An article on drawing George W. Bush.
From Bookforum, Jay Cantor reviews John Updike's Early Stories, 1953-1975. From The New Yorker, a series of remembering John Updike. Here is the entry on John Updike's life and work from The Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors. From New York, here are Updike's unpublished thoughts on the Great Depression and Barack Obama. From The Boston Globe, more on Updike. From The Observer, how one book ignited a culture war: How Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses has shaped our society. The 200th anniversary of his birth arrives with many cities waging "the Poe Wars" and the publication of tributes, stories in his honor and new editions of his work. Here are invaluable tips for would-be authors from the no-nonsense book How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. From Ovi, an essay on Pierre Joseph Proudhon: Pioneer of the civil society. A list of the 10 worst products for men ever created. An excerpt from TV by Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television by Lynn Spigel (and a review at Bookforum). An excerpt from Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes by Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver. From OJR, from buy-out to boss: A case study in post-newspaper blogging.
From New Humanist, in 2005 Russian artist Anna Alchuk was publicly vilified and put on trial for her involvement in the Caution:Religion! exhibition — three years later she drowned herself; visiting Israel just weeks before the current Gaza conflict, Sally Feldman found that rising religious bigotry is one of the biggest barriers to peace; thirty years after the revolution consumerism and political apathy dominate Iran, but a new generation may change that; Theodore Dalrymple on why being faith-less is no excuse for rewriting history; here are the Bad Faith Awards 2008. From Edge, does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith? From America, a look at why a little unbelief is not always a bad thing; and a review of Sense of the Faithful: How American Catholics Live Their Faith by Jerome P. Baggett. For decades, it was the scourge of the environmental movement, but now the greens are going nuclear. A warming climate is freeing up the country’s resources in previously frozen expanses of land and sea, and Greenlanders are bestirring themselves to seek independence from Denmark. Safe, but also sorry: Security expert Bruce Schneier talks about privacy and property in the information state. The academic and the almost-absurd coexist in "pleasantly mad" fashion at an Oxford symposium that takes a keen interest in aspects of food overlooked by mainstream culture.
The Nation sponsors a forum on "Gandhi, King and the Power of Nonviolence: Alternatives to Force in the 21st Century". The Successories President: The posterized secret of Obama's success? Class is the new black: Debra J. Dickerson on how she had to look beyond race and learn to love equality. A review of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill (and an excerpt). Simon Schama on the great hope, Barack Obama. The American Character: Bucking scholarly trends, Simon Schama argues it has a bright future. The moral ambiguity of Everest: Amid the ongoing "torch" drama, a timely book delves into the summit's dark side. A book that changes everything: A review of Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David Levine. A structural crisis of the system: An interview with Istvan Meszaros. From The Journal of Markets & Morality, a review of Catholicism and Religious Freedom: Contemporary Reflections on Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Liberty. Ezra Klein on what it means to be pro-Israel. What does it mean, in 2009, to be a political or judicial conservative? From PopMatters, the Ultimate Fighting Championship owes its rise to prominence to America’s most recent guilty pleasure: reality TV; and Americans can't afford to spend like they used to, but is frugal living ever really going to become trendy?
From Resurgence, Andy Christian considers whether art made from such found items helps to raise awareness of what we are doing to the Earth; and a review of The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability by James Gustave Speth. Obama’s Cheney dilemma: Cheney pushed for expanded presidential powers; now that he's leaving, what will come of his efforts? Rahm Emanuel is at the intersection of politics and policy — and a lot of incoming arrows. Which way to universal healthcare? Two leading reformers debate the role of private insurers. In this over-exposed age, what does it take to achieve lasting recognition? Social scientists deployed in war zones to engage with civilians and advise US military commanders are under fire from their peers. New books bemoan the rise of undeserved renown and argue that our obsession with instant celebrities heralds the end of civilisation. A review of Pat Robertson: An American Life by David John Marley. A review of Rich Like Them: My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America's Richest Neighborhoods by Ryan D'Agostino. An article on why the recession will be over sooner than you think. Darwin’s recessionary tip: Act like a beetle. A review of The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle Over Evolutionary Thought by Robert Richards.
From Bookforum, Keith Gessen on two books that survey the embattled intellectual legacies of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and Edward Said — and point up some surprising parallels in their careers (and a letter to the editor and a reply by Gessen). Modern Darwins: The father of evolution would be thrilled to see the science his theory has inspired. Science News interviews Charles Darwin; a look at how Darwin’s dangerous idea has adapted to modern biology; scientists sift through genetic data sets to better map twisting branches in the tree of life; investigating the genetic books of life reveals new details of "descent with modification"; and an article on dumb designs for sex: Evolutionary biology walks on the weird side. Hail to the reader in chief: Barack Obama. From Slate, a look at how Obama will write and rewrite his presidency; Bruce Reed on the principles and promise of Obamaism; and forget FDR and Lincoln: Obama is most like JFK. From Taki's Mag, a review of Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of Our Greatest President by Thomas Krannawitter; and Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution by Thomas DiLorenzo; and is social conservatism necessary? From Orion, an essay on the gospel of consumption and the better future we left behind. An interview with Wendell Berry on small farms, local wisdom, and the folly of greed.
A new issue of Plus Magazine: Living Mathematics is out. When art and math collide: An exhibit of mathematical art reveals the aesthetic side of math. Of the Algorithms, by the Algorithms, for the Algorithms: Can a bunch of mathematicians make government more representative? From Rolling Stone, Paul Krugman on what Obama must do (and a review of The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008). Pat Kane on Obama Notions: Between the Puritan and the booty-bumper. The Obama administration marks the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq, but it's less clear what it means for the larger "war on terror". Peter Beinart on the solvency doctrine: "The world deals the cards, and a President plays them as best he can". A review of The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation by Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman. Mission Accomplished: The "war on science" is over — now what? From Open Democracy, an article on climate change in 2009: the defining issue. From New Statesman, the right has dominated the UK online community so far, but a new Labour site is fighting back - - with help from Obama staffers; in a society of gross inequality, the aspirations of everyone are thwarted; and could David Bowie have caused the latest fad sweeping the UK, the credit crunch? A review of Art and Ethical Criticism.
A new issue of the Cato Institute's Regulation is out. Endorsements: How sports stars get inside your head. Scared yet: Jonathan Chait on The Wall Street Journal's punctuation fetish. Here are 5 great examples of in medias res. A new invention could soon change the face of shantytowns across the globe — called "Universal World House", the structures are light, cheap and made of paper. A review of Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Hegemony in the Middle East by Rashid Khalidi and A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East — from the Cold War to the War on Terror by Patrick Tyler. Bush talked a great deal about democracy during his eight years, but there are pitfalls with an all-Tocqueville, all-the-time approach. What about Obama's personality makes him so distrustful of ideology? The elephant in the room: McCain may be Obama's secret weapon. Amy Sullivan on Obama's other breakthrough: A big-city president. From Inside Higher Ed, an article on making wikis work for scholars. A dirty job: Nicholas Kristof visits a Camobodian garbage dump, where some families make their living scavenging through the toxic pile. For a small band of shrinks, intervening in catastrophic situations is an everyday event, but their experience at the edge has deep consequences for us all: It is altering our understanding of the true nature of human nature.
A new issue of The Commoner is out. From NYRB, Robert Darnton on Google & the future of books. From Monthly Review, a special issue on Cuba, including an essay on Why Cuba Still Matters; and an article on the Cuban Revolutionary Doctor, the ultimate weapon of solidarity. From Scientific American, an article on the efficient future of deep-space travel — electric rockets; a look at how meat contributes to global warming; an article on the origin of the ocean floor; and do naked singularities break the rules of physics? Escape from North Korea: Defection is daunting — so is starting a new, free life. A review of Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower. An interview with Tom Farer, author of Confronting Global Terrorism. Can international law bring peace to war-torn regions — or does it actually hinder the peace process? A review of The Globalisation of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit by Bruce Alexander. A review of Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy by Shane Hamilton. A review of Inside Greek U.: Fraternities, Sororities, and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Power, and Prestige by Alan D. DeSantis. Generation XXX: An article on sex and the teenage brain. An article on hardcopy calendars as the cockroach of print culture. Signs and portents: A brand-new ambulance on its trial run knocks a man down and kills him.