From First Things, Harvey Mansfield on How to Understand Politics; Robert George on Law and Moral Purpose; Gilbert Meilaender on Conscience and Authority; Mary Ann Glendon on Plato as Statesman; Stanley Hauerwas on the virtues of Alasdair MacIntyre; a review of The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea by Remi Brague; a review of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham; and a review of Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Benedict XVI. From The Claremont Institute, an interview with Fr. James V. Schall on Pope Benedict and the defense of reason. A review of How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James L. Kugel; The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong; and The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. An interview with Richard Myers, co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. A review of A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State by Daryl Hart; and Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religion in the Public Square by Brendan Sweetman. More on A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. From Salon, an interview with John Haught, author of God and the New Atheism. An article on the pointless negativity of atheism. The "New Atheists" are responding to provocation, not mounting an arbitrary attack: On behalf of the New Atheists AC Grayling blasts back at Theodore Dalrymple.

From Discover, a list of the top 100 science stories of 2007; and an article on David Charbonneau, scientist of the year. Star power: As an astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a universal expert (and his top ten favorite facts about the universe). Happy Newton Day! December 25th is a date to celebrate not because it is the disputed birthday of the "son of God" but because it is the actual birthday of one of the world's greatest men.  A review of The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance by Fritjof Capra. A review of Science for Sale: The Perils, Rewards, and Delusions of Campus Capitalism by Daniel S. Greenberg. Chemistry sets without the chemistry: Safety concerns have dumbed down a staple gift that launched many an illustrious career. A look at how science cafes are tapping the nation's fascination with research and discoveries.

From Forward, the book Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East, an insider account of peacemaking, details a history of misguided diplomacy; and is the outline of a peace deal really all that clear? World donors have pledged $7.4 billion to help the Palestinians build their own state and revamp their economy, but the cash injection will only work if Palestinians and Israelis make painful political compromises. How Phat Conquered Palestine: Young Arabs are turning to hip-hop to express their feelings about conflicts in the Middle East. Copts & Brothers: A surprising dialogue between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's Coptic Christians suggests a new way of working with Islamist parties. An interview with former IAEA head Hans Blix: "The Middle East should become a WMD-free zone". Why Iran didn't cross the nuclear weapon road: Saddam Hussein's nuclear program, not Western pressure, may have been the deciding factor. A major reversal?: Immanuel Wallerstein on the NIE report on Iran. Love Thy Enemy: Is talk of a US-Iranian dialogue realistic?

From First Things, what is Anglicanism? Anglican archbishop of Uganda Henry Luke Orombi reports; and a look at why Nigeria matters. Power plans: A young tinkerer in Malawi builds a windmill and electrifies a nation. A review of Tribes of the Great Rift Valley by Elizabeth L. Gilbert.  From The Exile, an article on Dmitry Medvedev and the banker's murder. Anders Aslund on how the dilemma for Russia and its president is that a system so corrupt cannot be very stable (and more). Robert Skidelsky on Vladimir de Gaulle? An interview with Mikhail Gorbachev on autocracy, hints of a new Cold War — and that Louis Vuitton ad. Dreaming of a democratic Russia: Memories of a year in Moscow promoting a post-Soviet political process, an undertaking that now seems futile. From Asia Times, a review of India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha. Deuces High: A look at how the U.S. can bring an end to Myanmar's crackdown on democracy. From Ethics & International Affairs, an essay on American religious NGOs in North Korea: A paradoxical relationship. The Newest Mandarins: In China, the ancient classics have become nationalist icons — but what about the texts’ real meaning? Here's a map of Greater China, made in Taiwan. A review of To the End of Hell: One Woman's Struggle to Survive Cambodia's Khmer Rouge by Denise Affonco.

From Post-Autistic Economics Review, Frank Ackerman (Tufts): Economics for a Warming World; and an essay on climate change, global ethics and the market. From the Carnegie Council, a conversation on the ethics of climate change and the global economy. It’s too late for later: Delay is not an option in the battle against climate change. How significant is Bali’s climate deal? Here are some reactions. Was America the villain in Bali? George Monbiot on how the world was suckered by the US once again. It's up to Europe to save the world: The US, so keen on flexing its muscles in world politics under President George W. Bush, has ceded global leadership to the Europeans in tackling climate change. Gore's PR for the Planet: The global warming campaign will really begin in 2008 (and more by Elizabeth Kolbert). No penguins in my garden: Environmental campaigners should remember that people are more motivated to avoid losses than they are to acquire gains. The best thing women can do to ease global warming: "Stop admiring young men in Ferraris". A review of Character and Environment: A Virtue-Oriented Approach to Environmental Ethics by Ronald L. Sandler. An interview with the head of the International Energy Agency, Nobuo Tanaka: "Every human should have the same right to produce CO2". Kangaroo farts could fight global warming: Really, we couldn't make this shit up.

From Post-Autistic Economics Review, Frederic Lordon (CNRS): High finance, a game of risk: Subprimes, ninja loans, derivatives and other financial fantasies. Niall Ferguson on evolutionary theory’s take on the credit crisis: — Bailing out institutions can thwart a necessary process. Benjamin Barber reviews Robert Reich's SupercapitalismMore on The Squandering of America by Robert Kuttner. Are we in a recession? Six experts assess the current state and forecast the future direction of the American economy. An article on why NAFTA was a very good thing. Workers of the new world unite! The US has one of the lowest rates of union membership in the industrialised world — how, then, to account for the sudden upsurge in labour militancy in the unlikely quarter of the television and film industries?

From Reason, the Grand Old Party is up for grabs — and here are three roads to a new Republican vision. The Republican presidential candidates have some really funny ideas about how the US economy works. Mitt Romney travels Iowa with his poll numbers down and seats going empty at his campaign events — what went wrong? From The Weekly Standard, Mormons, Muslims, and Multiculturalism: The deeply dispiriting Romney-Huckabee religion showdown. Huckabuchanan: Mike is a kinder, gentler Pat—at a moment when populism is more potent than ever. From HNN, think religion plays a bigger role in politics today? You're right — statistics prove it. Christopher Hitchens on why it's perfectly reasonable to reject a candidate because of his religious views. Let's have a presidential debate on science: Can any of the candidates lead America back to the head of the class in science and technology? A Who's Who of America's top scientists are launching a quixotic last-minute effort to force presidential candidates to detail the role science would play in their administrations. Planetary Politics: Suggested sci-fi reading for presidential contenders. Why isn’t Gore running? The White House is the place to battle global warming. The Counterpunch Campaign: How have the dynamics of the Democratic race changed so quickly? From Pericles to Obama: A look at how Thursday's Democratic debate added to a long and noble tradition of poltical putdowns. From Rolling Stone, Barack Obama has stormed the Democratic race for the nomination — can he and his supporters be stopped? The polarizing express: Is it Hillary Clinton who's too divisive, or is it the political process? Biblical justice: Why might the Bush clan be secretly rooting for Hillary Clinton’s presidential fortunes to improve?

From The American Scholar, who cares about executive supremacy? The scope of presidential power is the most urgent and the most ignored legal and political issue of our time. Restoring Habeas: Why old "enemy combatant" rules can't apply to a global battlefield. Whose prisoners are they, anyway? The Americans you've never heard of who are being held in Iraq. Foxes Only: Emily Bazelon on how not to investigate the destruction of the CIA tapes. Who gave the green light to "enhanced" interrogations? We all did. Torture, American style: A look at the surprising force behind torture: democracies. 5 myths on torture: Does torture work? Does everyone talk eventually? The debate rages on. Happy holidays; now, let's talk about fascism: Here are 2007's top 10 rights and liberties stories. The left should beware the rightwing wolf in civil liberties sheep's clothing: A my-rights culture must not overshadow the needs of those most urgently deserving of the protection of the state. Glenn Greenwald on the Lawless Surveillance State. From Vanity Fair, Big Brother Inc.: Meet John Aristotle Phillips, the data-mining genius who’s selling your private info to politicians. A review of The Revelations of George W. Bush by Volga X.

From New York, a  cover story on reasons to love New York. From The New Yorker, an article on the humbling of Eliot Spitzer: The Governor’s rocky rookie season. From Vanity Fair, David Margolick tries to make sense of New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s troubling, tantrum-filled year. From The New York Observer, Elliot Spitzer pits David Remnick against Graydon Carter in Conde Nast duel. From The New York Observer, an article on the Rudy Giuliani Conservatives: Members of the Manhattan Institute savor the former mayor’s national prominence. From  The Village Voice, frisk management: How the NYPD's blackly grim stop-and-frisk numbers got whitewashed. Property boom, literary slump: Manhattan used to be prime territory for writers — not any more, and no wonder.

From Boston Review, an article on Inventing Alexander Hamilton: The troubling embrace of the founder of American finance. A review of My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams. A review of A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson. The two Andrew Jacksons: Was Old Hickory a great president or an American Hitler? The Blue, the Gray, and the Bible: A review of The Civil War as a Theological Crisis by Mark A. Noll; and Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War by Harry S. Stout. From Humanities, an interview with Andrew Ferguson, author of Land of Lincoln; and an excerpt from The Making of John Ledyard: Empire and Ambition in the Life of an Early American Traveler by Edward Gray. More and more on American Transcendentalism by Philip F. Gura and The Tao of Emerson.