From Rolling Stone, Nir Rosen on How We Lost the War We Won: A journey into Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Nobody appears to know who is actually in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Why October Surprises Work: It’s the subject no one wants to bring up: What effect could a terrorist attack have in the closing days of the U.S. election? (and more by Joseph Nye) From Guernica, an interview with Joseph Nye on how soft is smart; Anti-Drudge: Until his conscience overcame him, David Brock was conservatives' go-to hitman; and Robert Reich on deficit shackles. How did the world’s financial system get into such a mess? Tyler Cowen investigates. Devil is in bailout's details: Government's $250 billion cash injection sparks welter of issues. Christopher Buckley explains why he left National Review (and more), while Exiled Online punches Christopher Buckley (and again). What are those squiggly lines on CNN telling you? Sam Boyd investigates (and more). Every four years, the two parties and news media collude in the debate PR spectacle — it's time for citizens to reclaim control. Every Man a Derrida: A nation on the verge of self-deconstructing. An interview with BHL: "Everything matters to everybody". Christopher Caldwell on French culture’s existential angst. George Scialabba reviews The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal.

From The Atlantic Monthly, Andrew Sullivan on why he blogs; and Steven Pinker on why Washington’s crusade against swearing on the airwaves is f*cked up. Byron, Flashman, Steerforth: When it comes to men, Germaine Greer will take the classical ideal every time. From American Sexuality, an article on the Caveman Mystique: Finding an identity in pop-Darwinism; and an article on McCain v. Obama: Where do the candidates stand, sexually speaking? From Newsweek, the test for the next president is whether he can use the powers of government to act on behalf of Americans — that's a liberal idea; but America remains a center-right nation — a fact that a President Obama would forget at his peril (and responses by Paul Waldman and Andrew Gelman). From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on what Wall Street can’t admit; Steven Coll on why Obama isn't a socialist (and more); David Sedaris on undecided voters: "I can’t quite believe that they really exist. Are they professional actors? Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?" Christopher Hitchens on why the media should stop covering Palin until she gives a press conference. A review of Fear and Loating: Censorship in All Its Glory by Pamela Hayes-Bohanan. Michael Walzer on ten foreign policy changes if Obama is elected. High on the hog: Buy a Harley and ride a piece of American mythology.

From Gender and Language, a review of You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen; and a review of On Language and Sexual Politics by Deborah Cameron. A review of The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here by Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott. A review of The Decline of Men: How the American Male Is Tuning Out, Giving Up, and Flipping Off His Future by Guy Garcia. Winter is coming, the economy is in crisis, people are fearful: So why should we hope oil prices don’t fall too far? Why we can't imagine death: Why so many of us think our minds continue on after we die. From Diplomatic Courier, an article on saving (what's left of) the Aral Sea; an article on shaking hands with one dictator to oppose another; and an article on beauty pageants and tourism. Is it possible to live for a year without lying? A review of Public Intellectuals, Radical Democracy and Social Movements: A Book of Interviews by Carmel Borg and Peter Mayo. An excerpt from Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology by Kenneth Minogue. A suicide in the family: Two gripping memoirs explore the guilt and confusion left behind when a relative kills himself. A review of Loneliness as a Way of Life by Thomas Dumm.

From Slate, a dolphin or a lonely transvestite? A review of books on how best to talk about English in English. The Million Word March: What defines a word? Lexicographers and other experts don’t always agree. Lots of sesquipedalians out there: Here are 50 of your favourite words. James Woodall recalls an odd publishing kerfuffle involving Stephen Joyce (James Joyce's grandson), a biography of Nora Barnacle (James's wife) and a controversial epilogue. When an epoch began: How IBM, the census, and Emily Dickinson define an epoch. From Jewcy, was Karl Marx really Jewish? It is hard to think of a man who can surpass Aristotle’s achievements in the history and development of western thought. How to support our troops: An excerpt from In a Time of War: the Proud & Perilous Journey of West Point's Class of 2002 by Bill Murphy, Jr. An article on using the internet's history to develop clean energy's future. A review of Making People Illegal: What Globalization Means for Migration and Law by Catherine Dauvergne. From Asian Review of Books, a review of Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China by Philip Pan. Better living through chemistry: What's wrong with using drugs to improve the brain's performance? A review of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America by James Bamford.

From The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza on how Obama picked his running mate to help him govern; and Nicholas Lemann on Obama, McCain, and the future of foreign policy. For the anti-abortion movement, Sarah Palin is the real thing  — so why won’t she speak her mind? The rise of economic nationalism: The ingredients are in place, in the UK and elsewhere, for a return to atavistic "politics of the soil". A review of An Entrenched Legacy How the New Deal Constitutional Revolution Continues to Shape the Role of the Supreme Court by Patrick M. Garry. Robert Skidelsky on how we forgot everything Keynes taught us. Our robed rulers: A review of Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History by Keith E. Whittington. Here is the radical implication of this collapse: The next financial system, rebuilt by governments on the ruins of the old one, needs to be plain vanilla. Who is Matt Welch? Justin Raimondo investigates. Not in my back Yucca: What are our alternatives for storing radioactive waste? Scientists have found that premature ejaculation is not all in your head but genetically determined. A review of Rediscovering Jacob Riis: Exposure Journalism and Photography in Turn-of-the-Century New York by Bonnie Yochelson and Daniel Czitrom.

The Gilded Age: Campaign contributions, a quickly revolving door, trips to Vegas, to Kona, to New Orleans — a look into the financial industry's cozy relationship with Congress. What would it cost to wipe out world poverty, guarantee universal health care, stabilise population growth and roll back the ravages of global warming? About $190 billion a year, or the equivalent of a third of U.S. annual military expenditure. The Hitler Comparison: Hard times, fear and misinformation are a dangerous mix, no matter who wins the election. A review of The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process by Christopher L . Eisgruber. From Forward, an article on Lieberman’s partisan switch: Political resurrection or downward spiral? From Adbusters, as videogames create better, more immersive models of reality: are we free to do anything we want in a virtual world, or are some things inherently wrong? The Heartbeat Job: A tie-breaking funeral attender, or the fourth branch of government? How does Iraq play into the economic crisis? Matthew Yglesias investigates. What future for NASA? America's space agency faces uncertain future on its 50th anniversary. From New York, an article on Nate Silver, the spreadsheet psychic. As commerce dominates, where will the radical and challenging approach to art take place, free from the pressures of the market?

From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue on food. The first chapter from Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee by Bee Wilson. A review of What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life by Avery Gilbert. From PUP, the introduction to Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System by Barry Eichengreen; and the introduction to The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World by Amar Bhide. A review of The Rise of Mutual Funds: An insider’s view by Matthew P. Fink. The introduction to Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-Mart Economy by Shane Hamilton. Is rational man extinct? Searching for Homo Economicus. What can Cameron do? Ross McKibbin on the Tories and the financial crisis. An interview with Damon Brown, author of Porn & Pong: How ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Tomb Raider’ and other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture. The first chapter from Thinking of Others: On the Talent for Metaphor by Ted Cohen. From NYRB, Harold Bloom reviews History of the Yiddish Language by Max Weinreich; and who killed Anna Politkovskaya? Amy Knight investigates. It’s no joke, humour is vital for alien understanding: Vicky Allan on messages in outer space.

From the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, a special issue on the biology of political behavior. Matthew Yglesias on the coming military spending surge: New Pentagon spending estimates for the next five years fly in the face of progressive priorities — the likely incoming majority shouldn't stand for it. A review of Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model Wives of Cezanne, Monet, and Rodin by Ruth Butler. Tim Wu falls in love with Mongolia. Shadows and Fog: After a past denunciation is unearthed from the files, Milan Kundera faces his own trial by media — is the jury rigged against him? (and more). From Rolling Stone, an article on the lost years and last days of David Foster Wallace. Baby, it’s going to be cold outside in book publishing: Fewer books, bigger deals — no room for debuts? A review of Allen Wood's Kantian Ethics. A review of Philosophy and Real Politics by Raymond Geuss. A review of Raymond Williams: A Warrior's Tale by Dai Smith. A review of A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq by Fernando Baez and Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry. From Splice Today, an article on Wikipedia as the 21st century's Freudian mother. Not dead, just resting: How discredited technologies can be unexpectedly resurrected. More on David Crystal’s Txtng: The Gr8 Db8.

From Radical Notes, an interview with Amiya Kumar Bagchi on capital and capitalists nannied by the states; and perhaps we need a Marxian to sort out the world's financial woes. Who killed Wall Street? Dani Rodrik wants to know. From PhD Comics, a chart on the economic meltdown: Should you be concerned? The responsible thing, right now, is to give the economy the help it needs — now is not the time to worry about the deficit. Joseph Stiglitz on how, in some ways, this is the biggest crisis in 80 years. An article on James Tobin's nice little earner: A levy on currency transactions could raise billions and act to calm markets in turmoil. From Rolling Stone, a cover story on Obama's Moment. From The Washington Monthly, contributing editors to consider the looming challenges that America is likely to face — in the economy, education, the courts, and other areas — during an Obama or McCain presidency. Talking Points Memo presents McCain & the Pundits: Tire swinging as an alternative political lifestyle. Thomas Frank on his friend Bill Ayers: Once wanted by the FBI, he's since become a model citizen. What's the matter with Thomas Frank? Now that the self-appointed clarion of conservative malfeasance has struck punditry gold, the ruling class awaits his next act. A review of The American Future: A History by Simon Schama (and more and more and more).

From The Atlantic Monthly, a map on the Arctic's radically changing geography; China is stunningly bad at managing its own reputation — here's why; Jeffrey Tayler on why France’s religious strife melts away in Marseille; Jeffrey Goldberg on why airport security in America is a sham; and an article on Michelle Rhee's plan to revolutionize D.C. schools (and an interview). From HNN, James Livingston on their Great Depression and ours (and part 2). From WSJ, an interview with Anna Schwartz: "Bernanke is fighting the last war". Here are initial reactions to the bailout plan from some leading economists. From Harper's, an interview with Eric Janszen on the economic collapse. Turning Japanese: Are we reliving Tokyo's economic nightmare? David Runciman on the problem with English football. From National Journal, a cover story on the hidden history of the American electorate. David Corn on the Right's final attack: Obama is a Black Muslim, anti-Christian socialist plotting with an evil Jewish billionaire. More racism, please: Race-baiting and anti-Muslim bigotry on the campaign trail are vile and loathsome — let's hope they never go away. From The New Yorker, Jane Mayer on how John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin. From Discover, a look at why Darwin would have loved botox; and here's 20 things you didn't know about genius.