From Prospect, contemporary liberalism's insistence that morality is a mere matter of rights and obligations empties life of its ethical meaning; we need a return to the virtue ethics of the pre-moderns, and a renewed conception of the good life. From Economic Principals, a review of Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet by Ian F. McNeely and Lisa Wolverton. Metrosexual Healing: Can Barack Obama save the trans-Atlantic alliance? Dream Team: Monocle turns its attention to who they'd like to see in the Cabinet. From Texas Monthly, Leave It To Weaver: What John McCain’s former chief strategist thinks of his campaign. From TNR, more radical than Bush: Jonathan Cohn on the full horror of John McCain's economic agenda; and running against Sarah: From beauty queens to political veterans, Palin's former foes offer battle-worn advice. From Writ, an interview with Erwin Chemerinsky on judicial activism; and after Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears, is it time to alter statutory rape laws? From Jewcy, how long before a great new idea bears fruit? From Next American City, a new era for train travel: With high demand for passenger rail service, is it finally Amtrak’s moment to shine? Can reading stories and listening to music make people less destructive? An anthropologist believed the arts could diminish our desire to control the world.
From The Nation, a look at ten national security myths. Sara Robinson on ten conservative myths about national security. An excerpt from The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew J. Bacevich (and a review and more). Matthew Yglesias on Obama's foreign policy advantage. From TNR, put your invisible hands up! Irwin Stelzer on the surrender of free market capitalism; and Palin Comparison: Is the First Dude the new Hillary? From TED, Jonathan Haidt on the real difference between liberals and conservatives. A study finds more sensitive may mean more conservative. Do our political beliefs have a biological basis? What cognitive neuroscience is uncovering about the fascinating biology behind our most complex feelings — as it turns out, love really is blind. I like you because you're like me: A new theory of mating may explain the rise in disorders such as autism and Asperger's. From Scientific American, an article on the secrets of storytelling: Why we love a good yarn. Maya Jaggi reviews Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. From New Humanist, America’s Religious Right has devised a seductive new recruitment strategy; and Doug Ireland welcomes a passionate and practical approach to secularism. A review of Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It by Julia Duin.
From LRB, why it matters: Ellen Meiksins Wood reviews Hobbes and Republican Liberty by Quentin Skinner; and what’s in a number? Donald MacKenzie on the $300 trillion question. Like George W. Bush, McCain and Palin have to lie, because if they told the truth about their policies, they'd lose the election. Let’s call a lie a lie finally: Euphemism gets put on the shelf as politics grows more partisan. A review of Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade by Jagdish Bhagwati. A new issue of the Internet Review of Books is out, including a review of A Declaration of Energy Independence: How Freedom from Foreign Oil Can Improve National Security, Our Economy, and the Environment by Jay Hakes; a review of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead by Madeleine Kunin; and a review of The Return Of Ulysses: A Cultural History Of Homer's Odyssey by Edith Hall. A review of The Wooden Horse: The Liberation of the Western Mind from Odysseus to Socrates by Keld Zeruneith. More on Mary Lefkowitz's History Lesson: A Race Odyssey (and more and more). This season's most controversial book isn't an election-year expose or a celebrity tell-all — it's a historical novel. Laura Stokes reviews Out Backward by Ross Raisin. From Air & Space, a look at 10 aircraft that changed the world.
From The New Yorker, Louis Menand on Lionel Trilling and his discontents; and rich bitch: Jeffrey Toobin on the legal battle over trust funds for pets. Conservatives try a new tack on campuses: Donors are financing initiatives to restore what some see as the casualties of the culture wars of the ’80s and ’90s. When a new president inherits a mess: Here's a simple question, why on Earth would anyone want to be president right now? From Contingencies, the candidates face off on health care reform. The University of Chicago's Luigi Zingales on why Paulson is wrong. Sebastian Mallaby on a bad bank rescue. Eric Hovde on calling out the culprits who caused the crisis.The Operators: Drake Bennett goes behind a seductive Wall Street conspiracy theory. Fear of fairy tales: The glossy, sanitized new versions of fairy tales leave out what matters: the scary parts. A review of Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Barton Gellman (and more and more and an interview). From Open Source, an interview with Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values; and an interview with Philip Gourevitch, author of Standard Operating Procedure. Flying the unfriendly skies: What's it like to be a flight attendant these days? From The Nation, Eric Alterman on Israel at 60: The State of the State. More on Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley.
From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue on college teaching. From Nerve, here's a look at the 50 buzziest blog posts of all time. From NYRB, Steven Weinberg is without God. With the publication of Vanity Fair, The Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images, Christopher Hitchens charts the magazine’s omnivorous yet discriminating sensibility; and across the board — from "The Sopranos" and "Weeds" to "Bones" and the "C.S.I." franchise — television is eating the movies’ lunch. From The American Scholar, the censor in the mirror: It’s not only what the Chinese Propaganda Department does to artists, but what it makes artists do to their own work; and in a remote part of Chile, an evil German evangelist built a utopia whose members helped the Pinochet regime perform its foulest deeds; Bill Kovach asks twelve questions for the future of journalism; and in a speech given at Harvard 22 years ago and never before published, Leonard Bernstein offered a warning that remains timely. What if the impossible happens and Obama loses the election? Among Democrats, expect a rash of rage, depression, angst and finger-pointing at the media. The Politics of Schadenfreude: Why taking pleasure at the pain of political opponents can hurt everybody. From The Chronicle, online literacy is a lesser kind: Slow reading counterbalances Web skimming. More on Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe.
From Esquire, a list of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century; and a look at the 75 books every man should read. From The Times, here are 10 books not to read before you die. How to read a hundred books: It’s easy, once you know how to discover new authors. Reading Exercise: Devouring books as an extreme sport. From The Telegraph, a look at the 50 greatest villains in literature. Talking amongst your shelves: A novel way to organise your books is to use different titles to spell out new phrases. Laurie Taylor tries a bit of continental drift. From Law and Politics Book Review, a review of Honor Bound: Inside the Guantanamo Trials by Kyndra Miller Rotunda; a review of Power Play: The Bush Presidency and the Constitution by James P. Pfiffner; a review of The Preeminence of Politics: Executive Orders from Eisenhower to Clinton by Ricardo Jose Pereira Rodrigues; and a review of White Enough to Be American? Race Mixing, Indigenous People, and the Boundaries of State and Nation by Lauren L. Basson. What privileges do McCain and Palin receive because they're white? From PUP, the introduction to God and Race in American Politics: A Short History by Mark A. Noll; and the introduction to The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America by Susan Wise Bauer. More and more on The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank.
From National Journal, Jonathan Rauch on Bush's Legacy: Small ball after all? What Bush Meant: Ron Suskind on the lasting influence of the last eight years. From Culture11, an article on the wrong side of populism: How to walk the line between populism and identity politics. We’re witnessing the passing of more than a venerable firm — we’re seeing the death of a culture. From TAP, Robert Kuttner on the seven deadly sins of deregulation — and three necessary reforms. A look at the long history of the 2008 financial mess. How do we get out of this mess? Perhaps, it’s time to play offense. Joseph Stiglitz on why the financial crisis is the fruit of dishonesty on the part of financial institutions. Glenn Greenwald on the complete (though ever-changing) elite consensus over the financial collapse. The collapse of Lehman Brothers has got the mainstream media hitting the panic button and talking of systemic crisis — but the crisis isn't just spreading to the real economy, it began there. Tax the Speculators: Here's a fair plan to pay for economic recovery. Robert Shiller on the mortgages of the future (and an interview). Laughter in the dark: In general, the easiest way to locate the Humor section in any bookstore is to go through the front entrance of the bookstore and to the farthest point from the entrance. Mallika Sarabhai’s idea of socially conscious art is to use various media to comment on the times we live in.
A new issue of Triple Canopy is out. The late David Foster Wallace didn’t settle for satire; Scott McLemee says farewell to a wild talent. Obsessive, ironical, needy: David Foster Wallace’s voice was the voice in your head. From n+1, Benjamin Kunkel on DFW, 1962-2008, and Jared Roscoe on Wallace, teacher. Here's a list of DFW material on the web. Here's the latest issue of Jewish Literary Supplement. From Brevity, Leslie Miller on how writing is a piece of cake. Debtor's prison: Margaret Atwood looks at the history and meaning of being in hock. From CJR, the business press is missing the crooked heart of the credit crisis. From FP, an interview on why you shouldn’t panic about the financial crisis; and a look at the world’s biggest bailouts. From ProPublica, here's a history of US government bailouts (and more on the Mother of All Bailouts) From Mother Jones, will the government bailout work? Many economists skeptical of the bailout. William Greider on how the Paulson bailout plan is a historic swindle. More on The Numerati by Stephen Baker. From The Village Voice, a look at the strange history of final games in stadiums slated for demolition. What would Thomas Jefferson think of Sarah Palin? From The New Yorker, a review of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed; and freeing the elephants: Adam Gopnik on what Babar brought.
From The American Scholar, revisiting the gritty Roman neighborhood of his youth, a writer discovers a world of his own invention. More on The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 by Sean Wilentz. The conservative case for urbanism: Republicans may have an uneasy relationship to global warming, but some are finding reasons to embrace government projects close to environmentalists' hearts — like public transit. An interview with Howard Gardner, the man who outsmarted IQ. From Scotland's Sunday Herald, why the box rocks: 21 reasons to turn on the TV in the 21st century. Verging on absolute zero: We've gone to space, split the atom, and created devices small enough to travel through our blood — but it seems that in science, as in nature, there are some places we still can't reach. Research suggests that adolescents’ niche in school — their popularity, and how they understand and exploit it — offers important clues to their later psychological well-being. From Freethought Today, an article on the Christian soil of the Holocaust. It only gets darker after the lights go down: In movies, popular books and TV, the end of the world makes for an unsettling season. Sex sells: An Orlando producer cashes in on Florida's online porn industry. Heard the one about how many economists it takes to change a lightbulb? The belief that the market would take care of it has been shaken.
From Jewish Political Studies Review, Steven Bayme (AJC): American Jewry and the State of Israel: How Intense the Bonds of Peoplehood? The U-853 Mystery: Did the U-boat commander fail to receive the German order at wars end to cease attacks, or did he just want to record one more kill? Amy Gerstler reviews Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. The postmodern condition as a religious revival: A review essay on William Connolly’s Why I am Not a Secularist, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe, and Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief. A review of Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future by Duane Elgin; and are we heading towards perpetual adolescence? A review of The Sibling Society by Robert Bly. In the heart of the Deep South, Jackson Free Press has resurrected the alt-weekly tradition of maverick investigations and cultural provocation. An excerpt from One Party Country: The Republican Plan for Dominance in the 21st Century by Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten. The first chapter from The Household: Informal Order around the Hearth by Robert Ellickson. From TLS, second only to Byron: How Keats's most popular rival rescued him from the critics. An interview with Gregory S. Prince Jr., author of Teach Them to Challenge Authority: Educating for Healthy Societies.