A new issue of Church and State is out. Michael Rich (Elon): A Snitch, Not a Hero: Philosophical Lessons of Loyalty and Disloyalty in the World of Criminal Informants. An Open Letter from El Diario: Ciudad Juarez's daily newspaper explains Mexico's conflict, beseeches the United States to change its policy, and mourns the deaths of its own. Earth’s oceans are in trouble, but the 2010 Census of Marine Life — the first ever attempt to document all that lives in the sea — will kick-start the recovery effort. In the popular imagination, gifted ones are a breed apart, capable of insights or artistic creations that no amount of training and effort could produce in ordinary folk — you either have it at birth or you don't. How male oil rig staff learned to lose their machismo. From First Things, Joe Carter writes in defense of disgust. The Town That Went Mad: Pont St. Esprit is a small town in southern France — in 1951 it became famous as the site of one of the most mysterious medical outbreaks of modern times. Confederate flag activates racist mindset: White college students exposed to images of a Confederate flag judged a black person more harshly and expressed less willingness to vote for Barack Obama in 2008. A lost civilization may have existed beneath the Persian Gulf (and more). Human beings are little meaning machines who cannot help but create and then leave meanings on everything that pertains to a human world.

J. David Velleman (NYU): There are No "Reasons for Acting". Wesley Buckwalter (CUNY) and Stephen Stich (Rutgers): Gender and Philosophical Intuition (and more at Philosophy TV) From the inaugural issue of Logos and Episteme, Susan Haack (Miami): Belief in Naturalism: An Epistemologist's Philosophy of Mind. From Thought and Practice, Jennifer Lisa Vest (UCF): Perverse and Necessary Dialogues in African Philosophy; and Barry Hallen (Morehouse): “Ethnophilosophy” Redefined? From the inaugural issue of Philosophical News, Michele Marsonet (Genoa): Metaphysics and Naturalism; Angelo Campodonico (Genoa): Human Nature, Desire for Recognition, Freedom; and a review of Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem by Mark Balaguer. From Synthesis Philosophica, a special issue on John Dewey. An interview with Scott Soames on books on the philosophy of language. A review of Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy by Stephen D. Hales. A review of Seeing Wittgenstein Anew. A review of The End of Comparative Philosophy and the Task of Comparative Thinking by Steven Burik. From Philosophy TV, Ben Bradley and Dale Dorsey debate well-being, subjectivism, and hedonism. Pedro Blas Gonzalez on a life-affirming reconstruction in the discipline of philosophy: What could be the defining characteristics of such a task? A review of A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny. From On the Human, do people actually believe in objective moral truths? Joshua Knobe investigates.

Christian Aspalter (BNU-HKBU): Different Worlds of Welfare Capitalism: Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and Singapore. A look at how trivial decisions will impact your happiness. From TPM, here are your nominees for the 2010 Golden Duke Awards. You can tell a lot from the names of cars. How much disturbance can a system withstand? With roots in ecology and complexity science, resilience theory can turn crises into catalysts for innovation. Over long haul, money doesn’t buy happiness: "Easterlin Paradox" revisited. A review of Capital Offense: How Washington's Wise Men Turned America's Future Over to Wall Street by Michael Hirsh. Walter Donway previews the Atlas Shrugged movie. The Intellectual Value of Caring: Sure, feeling can cloud thinking, but it can also inspire it. Groupon Clipping: What’s the right price for the hot new thing? From NYRB, a review of 
Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint by John Cornwell. A new look at classic 19th-century Victorian novels reveals an understanding of behavior that largely mirrors the findings of modern psychological research. From The Awl, Maria Bustillos on Wikileaks and the dangers of hubris. Jamais Cascio on "neodicy", an articulation of futurology as a philosophical approach, not simply a tool for business or political strategy. We really do believe we’ve got more free will than the other guy.

Sky L. Ammann (Wisconsin): Clicking Your Way to the Polls: The Internet and Political Participation 1996-2008. Peter Calcagno (CofC) and Edward J. Lopez (SJSU): Divided We Vote. The first chapter from The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government by Christopher Hood. Rachel E. Barkow (NYU): Insulating Agencies: Avoiding Capture Through Institutional Design. From Democracy, a symposium on The Role of Government including articles by Rick Perlstein, Alan Wolfe, and Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer. A single cook, a specific recipe, quality control and uniform production — a visit to a real sausage factory suggests Congress could learn from the wurst. The Magic of Re-reinventing Government: Before the ideological war over entitlement reform begins, Congress should look to the ways technology can reduce the cost of government. From Applied Semiotics, a special issue on political discourse. An interview with Dietram Scheufele of the University of Wisconsin on political communication. Ten years after Bush v. Gore, a look at five unfinished election reforms. "Celebrating" the Tenth Anniversary of the 2000 Election Controversy: What the world can learn from the recent history of election dysfunction in the United States. Winning Faces: Biologically inspired vision algorithm predicts election results. What's so great about representative government? Stephen Mauzy wants to know. Why do voters tend to stick with whatever political party they join when they turn 18?

From LRC, forcing ourselves to vote: As fewer Canadians turn up at the polls, compulsory voting is a choice to consider; and a review of Harperland: The Politics of Control by Lawrence Martin. What defines white people in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver? Christian Lander holds forth (and more and more). Never mind the acclaim of Canadian writers abroad and this fall’s wealth of literary festivals and big book prizes — there’s a shocking disconnect between the international success of Canadian writing and how Canadian literature is viewed in our schools. The Lost Canadians: They should be living in Manitoba, but due to a map-maker’s error they’re living in Minnesota — the Americans of Angle Township. The real signal of Canada’s recovery from the inferiority complex will come when we don’t even notice what the Americans are saying about us. A review of Getting Back in the Game: A Foreign Policy Playbook for Canada by Paul Heinbecker and Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age by Edward Greenspon. Montreal is now home to a growing population of French newcomers, but what’s the allure of Quebec, and does it live up to expectations? A review of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking by Benjamin Perrin. Canadian Political Science Missing in Action: A practitioner wonders why the progressive side of the discipline has gone mute.

From ARPA, in search of intellectual history: A review essay on law, empire, pirates, and revolutions. From e-flux, could it be that contemporary art is neoliberalism in its most purified form? Neoliberalism and the Spirit of the 60s: Perhaps the Tea Party is a rejection of the neoliberal politics of anti-politics, the politics of tolerance? From First of the Month, Benj DeMott on Sean Wilentz, Lawrence Goodwyn and the burden of Southern history (and the future of an idea); and more on What Was the Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation (and more). The redistribution of hope: Optimism is on the move — with important consequences for both the hopeful and the hopeless. From World War II, Laurence Rees on Stalin the Puppetmaster. Dan Ariely tells Matthew Taylor why it's only by understanding our weaknesses that we can learn to anticipate and avoid mistakes. What does it means to be a libertarian in the digital age? Tim Lee is just the man to ask. While Christian novelists or poets are real enough, it is somewhat more problematic to speak of Christian, as opposed to pagan, literature (and a response). Overall people looking for romance online actually behave very much as they do in face to face dating and relationships. New Zealand proposes to turn its tiny Polynesian neighbour Niue into a retirement village for Australasian pensioners. Is the choice between lots of consumer comforts and lots of liberal democracy a false dichotomy?

Aside from the occasional drama backed by a superstar like Oprah Winfrey, the thoughtful Hollywood film about and by black people went out with the pager. Menthol madness: Why ban blacks' preferred cigarette? Black girls rock: With all the harsh criticism lobbed at black women over the past few weeks, it's time to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions. Negritude 2.0: An article on Jimi Hendrix, the Patron Saint of Alt-Blackness. An interview with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the new director of the Schomburg Center, the premier research center for African-American culture, on his famous great-grandfather, coming of age during the Rodney King beating and his plans for the Harlem library. The "do-it-yourself foreign aid" movement is an exciting opportunity for young people to bring help directly to children in poor countries, so where are the black humanitarians? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on the image of the black in Western art. FDNY's black firefighter problem: Meet the black candidates who aced the FDNY supposedly racist entrance exam — and still can't become firefighters. Siobhan Brooks on how black exotic dancers are undervalued and underpaid. Reverse passing: A report that biracial people are denying their white parents seems absurd — in this country, "black" has always been a mongrel affair — but checking a census box that says "black" doesn't mean you're denying your white ancestry — it's just how we roll in America. Blacks & Whites turned out to be one of the most controversial board games of all time.

From M/C Journal, a special issue on "coalition". Pseudo-scientists, pseudo-shamans and mass delusion: Jim Chaffee on contemporary US culture. Maurice Blanchot's journal Revue Internationale was an attempt at an engaged form of publishing in a world shaped by decolonization and bloc confrontation, yet its internationalist ambitions proved to be its downfall. Cosma Shalizi reviews The Calculus of Selfishness by Karl Sigmund. Most Anglo-Protestant Economies (APEs) do not pass the idealized Weberian test of financial probity and capitalist accountability, not even when compared with some PIGS — look at the recent record and compare some APEs and other up-and-coming animals with one of the PIGS: Spain (and part 2). From Catapult, what’s good about branding and where has it gone wrong? A look at how beautiful people really are more intelligent. Are you a Neutral Zonian? The mother of all geographical pull-down menus may well be that maintained by the CIA World Factbook, labeled “select a country or location”. From The New Yorker, a review essay on Mao and the Maoists. Luciano Floridi gets intimate with the machine language of love. Do other countries have a constitutional right to bear arms? Terry Castle, critical outlaw: Her astringent, self-revealing writings are Grade-A cultural commentary in disguise. A profile of Avinash Dixit, author of seminal work on monopolistic competition, trade, and development.

From Inside Catholic, a look at 12 myths every Catholic should be able to answer. Here are excerpts from Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times, Peter Seewald’s book-length interview with Pope Benedict XVI. A review of When Values Collide: The Catholic Church, Sexual Abuse, and the Challenges of Leadership by Joseph P. Chinnici. A look at how Christianity arguably the most persecuted religion in the world. Herding cats on Sola Scriptura: A Truly Reformed guy has to periodically engage in the Sisyphean labor of trying to herd all the Protestant cats back into the Calvinist bag. What would Jesus do? Conservatives claim Christ as one of their own, but in word and deed, the son of God was much more left-wing than the religious right likes to believe. Among the Evangelicals: Academics were slow to get around to studying this American subculture — better late than never. Save the date: Jesus is scheduled to make his second coming appearance on May 21, 2011 — are you Rapture Ready? Dealing with crazy Christians: When you want to say, "I'm a Christian, but not like them". Is just believing enough? Craig Groeschel explores the fine line between believing like a Christian, but living like an atheist. From Secular News Daily, Andrew Zak Williams on how to debate God's existence with a believer; and is religion a kind of racism? Yes and no. Is your life complete without a rock-climbing Jesus action figurine? We didn’t think so.

Robert C. Blitt (Tennessee): Russia’s "Orthodox" Foreign Policy: The Growing Influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in Shaping Russia’s Policies Abroad. From Dissent, the front line in Kyrgyzstan: Who does human rights? As memories of Soviet tests fade, Kazakhstan looks to nuclear future. The state of Russia: Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin are presiding over a system that can no longer change. Will Tajikistan become the next jihadi stronghold? Abubakar Siddique on how Central Asian militants are spoiling for combat. The US is anxious to broaden its influence in Central Asia and limit that of Russia — the result, however, are questionable alliances with some of the strangest despots in the world. A review of To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and Survival in the Soviet Union at War by Rebecca Manley. A review of Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier (and more and more and more and more). The Nazarbayev Conundrum: The West needs Kazakhstan for energy, security, and help in Central Asia, but how can it promote democracy when the autocratic president is holding all the cards? From the University of Minnesota Press blog, interviews with Alexander Vashchenko and Claude Clayton Smith, editors of The Way of Kinship: An Anthology of Native Siberian Literature. Martin Sixsmith on why Russia isn’t a democracy. The Tragic Death of the Aral Sea: Large swathes have ceded to what is now known as Aralkum desert — one of the most shocking man-made environmental calamities of the 21st century.