From Freezerbox, a look at how politicians play general, generals play politics (and part 2). Jeff Greenfield on how Obama can lessen the intensity of the opposition. Ivo Daalder and Philip Gordon on why talking to Iran is our best option. A review of Presidential Travel: The Journey From George Washington to George W. Bush by Richard Ellis. Michael Barone on why veeps now matter: The evolution of an office. Nice guys finish last: Why do we expect presidential candidates to be kind? Psychoanalysis may have little place in university psychology departments, but it is flourishing within the arts and humanities.  From McSweeney's, here's the latest of interviews with People Who Have Interesting or Unusual Jobs. We love independent filmmakers and musicians, and celebrate their maverick spirit, so why don't we want independent writers? Despite what the headlines say, US students fare well in international comparisons — it’s the schools serving the poor that demand our attention. A review of Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage by James Cuno. From Literary Review, a review of Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939 by Katie Roiphe. More and more on The Age of Reagan by Sean Wilentz.

From New Statesman, people often claim they want cooler and more factual newspapers, but that is nonsense — what they really like is a news story that winds them up. From Vanity Fair, here's the blow-by-blow from Bear Stearns insiders in what some believe was the greatest financial scandal in history. Spengler on how to stop the Great Crash of '08. From Dissent, show me the money: Labor and the bottom line of National Health Insurance; and can “consumer society” accurately describe the American polity? The Pentagon’s Doomsday Men: Why the Department of Defense needs a lesson in risk management. A look at how political freelancers use the Web to join the attack. Can't-Do Government: The next president will inherit what Hamilton called a "government ill executed". A new social contract: Democrats have a chance to enact a sweeping liberal agenda. Should we care so much about the purity of the motive with which the gift was made? Peter Singer investigates. From TNR, six simple reasons the border fence is terrible policy (and from The Economist, here are scenes from la frontera). Writers to reflect on the consequences unexpected, unnoticed, unrealized, good, bad or indifferent of really expensive fuel. From The Space Review, here's a skeptic’s guide to space exploration. Cutting the competition: Mutilating male members may mar men’s mischievous matings.

From The Weekly Standard, Christopher Hitchens reviews Safire's Political Dictionary by William Safire; and Andrew Ferguson is lost on the personasphere. Hannah Bloch reviews The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century by Steve Coll (and more and more).  A review of Iris Murdoch's Ethics: A Consideration of her Romantic Vision by Megan Laverty. A month of spam: no help for sex life, but it enlarges the inbox. Why dirty is funny: Judge Kozinski's raunch collection raises questions about obscenity and humor. A profile of Christian Lander, anthropologist of Stuff White People Like. From TED, are children's carseats necessary? Steven Levitt investigates. An interview with Karl Giberson, author of Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution. James Mann on the secret China history of George H. W. Bush. An interview with Sharon Weinberger and Nathan Hodge, authors of A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry (and more). Historian Niall Ferguson debates futurist author Peter Schwartz on the overall nature of human progress. Can the president ignore Congress? A new lawsuit with the potential to redefine the relationship between the branches of government. From The Village Voice, an article on Scientology's crushing defeat: A previously unpublished saga of an $8 million check.