From Dissent, a review of The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why by Jabari Asim and Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy; and Fire and Flood: What a difference class and race make, or did Brian Williams see the news? Bill Cosby may be right about African-Americans spending a lot on expensive sneakers—but he's wrong about why. A review of Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal by Randall Kennedy and Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past by Bruce Bartlett. The Prophet Reconsidered: 40 years after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., new studies emphasize his economic and social philosophy.

From Sign and Sight, the celebrated German theatre collective Rimini Protokoll gives centre stage to "experts on everyday life"; and a general who no longer wants to act: An interview with Gert Voss, one of the grand old men of German theatre. Expressionists at war: German images of the first world war continue to surprise.  A review of Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic by Paul Hockenos. From TLS, a review of Graham Robb's The Discovery of France. L'hyperpresident: The dangers for a president of trying to do too much. An article on Nicolas Sarkozy and what American candidates might learn from France's reality show (and more and more and more). An interview with Arielle Dombasle, wife of Bernard-Henri Levy, on the Sarkozy-Bruni affair and stripping at 50.

Andrew Bartlett (Kwantlen): Three Affirmations of the Being of God: Suggested by the Anthropological Idea of God. More on Mark Lilla’s The Stillborn God.  A review of Globalization and Grace by Max L. Stackhouse. From The New Humanist, politicised religion requires a militant response: It’s not peace in heaven that religion is after, but political power here on Earth. From Butterflies & Wheels, an article on the lessons of atheist dictatorships: The Vatican was very fond of fascism. From The Remnant, why is Cardinal Walter Kasper still in charge of anything at the Vatican, and who will finally declare “ecumenism” dead? From Taki's Top Drawer, an article on the Pope’s kitchen cabinet. Messing with the Mass: An article on the problem of priestly narcissism today.

An interview with David Mamet on Hillary, corruption, and our democracy’s saving grace. What Hillary's candidacy really shows is how few female politicians are groomed for a presidential run. Christopher Hitchens on the case against Hillary Clinton. Just as Bush failed to unite Washington, so Obama will have to accept that conflict, rather than unity, is the natural condition of politics. Obama may have rediscovered an old truth: Partisan politics do not mean a partisan people. Why some liberal academics and journalists are suspicious of Obama. Why conservatives' crush on Obama is doomed. The Republican crack-up: The Republican Party is in a mess; the answer is surprisingly simple. Why Ron Lost: A week with the freedom movement in New Hampshire comes to a bitter end.

Jeffrey Wagner (RIT): Plato’s Republic and liberal economic education for the twenty-first century. From The Economist, a review of Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell. What have economists learned in the last year? Tyler Cowen investigates. A rebel economist: Remembering Andrew Glyn. A review of The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics by Michael Shermer (and an excerpt); and a look at why people believe weird things about money. Running numbers: James Surowiecki on the uncertainty of unemployment statistics. A look at when taxpayers ignore less visible taxes.

From In These Times, the revolution will not be designed: As we look beyond housing solutions to urban poverty, good design is enjoying a second coming as the cure for what ails us. A new issue of Common Ground is out, on emerging ideas in design, including an essay on finding our happy place: Why “where we are” is “how we are” is “who we are”. Why Treasure Island is the super-green city of the future: A blighted island in San Francisco Bay could become the world’s hottest property, a showcase of sustainable design — with cities now consuming 75 percent of natural resources, it’s just in time. From Orion, an article on the nature of walls: Why we build them, how they fail us.

From CJR, secrets of the city: What The Wire reveals about urban journalism. The Wire and the real Baltimore: What the hit television drama tells us about the city Kurt Schmoke governed and America's war on drugs. From Boston Review, words behind bars: Do prisoners have a right to read what they want? Criminals with badges: Paul Craig Roberts on how the police create crimes. An exhausting new crime: What thieves are stealing from today's cars. From New York, a cover story on the criminal record: Once again, it was a down year for crime in New York — but that doesn't mean we're some sort of post-crime Utopia just quite yet. A review of Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh (and more and more).

From Atlantis Journal, David Fulton (Brunel): Hugo Williams, Self-Styled Anglo-American Poet; Josep M. Armengol (Stony Brook): Gendering Men: Re-Visions of Violence as a Test of Manhood in American Literature; and a review of Gender and Caste in the Anglophone-Indian Novels of Arundhati Roy and Githa Hariharan by Antonia Navarro-Tejero. A new issue of Words Without Borders is out. A review of The Maias: Episodes from Romantic Life by Jose Maria Eca de Queiros. A review of Death at Intervals by Jose Saramago. From TED, novelist Isabel Allende talks about writing, women, passion, feminism. An exhibition inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca's beloved country house sheds new light on the poet. Is Orhan Pamuk a prophet or a poseur? A debate.

From Archeology, an article on the top 10 discoveries of 2007; and this old thing? Copper Age fashion comes to life. Where it all started: A review of Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind by Colin Renfrew. From Discover, did a tsunami wipe out a cradle of Western civilization? Like the Indian Ocean disaster, this wave was a mass killer. An 800-year-old Aztec pyramid has been discovered in central Mexico City and could drastically revise the early history of the ancient empire. And then there was one: The discovery of a lone survivor of an unknown Indian tribe in Brazil set off accusations of murder and a struggle over ownership of one of the world's last great wilderness areas.

From The New Yorker, minority reports: After New Hampshire, a hint of racial politics. John Judis on a thorough takedown of the theory that racism sunk Obama in New Hampshire. Curb your enthusiasm: Why have Civil Rights leaders been so frosty toward Obama? As Obama rises, old guard civil rights leaders scowl. For a black person seeking power, there is an uncomfortable dance of identity and compromise, and for black voters, it means giving up something important as well. Why Obamamania? Because he runs as the Great White Hope. The significance of Barack Obama’s achievement: He might well be fashioning a positive change in the character of our nation. The Power and the Inspiration: To understand Hillary Clinton's "race problem", we must better understand the history of civil rights.