From New Statesman, a special issue on God: What do we believe?, with contributions from Christopher HitchensRichard Dawkins, and many more. Terrorists, secessionists, angry neighbors, smoldering generals: Can Pakistan be governed? The G20 Wish List: Finding the gaps between what Obama wanted and what he actually got. What is Obama-ism? Boldness wrapped in caution rooted in an ambivalent relationship to the status quo. Joseph Stiglitz on Obama's ersatz capitalism (and an interview). From Skeptic, an article on creationism as a testable science. Alien Census: Can we estimate how much life is out there? Abandon all hope, ye who enter here: The flagging economy is bringing people's fears out of the woodwork, regardless of "industry". A review of The Cigarette Century: the Rise, Fall and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America by Allan M Brandt. Got Poetry? Memorizing poetry in this day and age may seem eccentric, not to say masochistic. Senator James Webb on why we must fix our prisons. The Swastika and the Cedar: Christopher Hitchens on Lebanon and Syria. From NYRB, an exchange on Google & books. An interview with Google's Vint Cerf on recession, recovery and innovation in hard times. From Australia's The Monthly, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the global financial crisis (and a response). Bettina Arndt hasn't been dubbed "man's best friend" for nothing.

From Telos, Fred Siegel on Taking Communism away from the Communists: The origins of modern American liberalism. From FT, what the French revolution can teach America: The problem with Obama's economic team is that, like the court of Louis XVI, it has inherited all the bad reflexes of the ancien regime; what we decided was old fashioned and in need of modernisation was, in fact, an effective check on an activity that for 100 years had been illegal, for good reason; dangers in a world of disillusionment: We are having to rethink the social contract without the narrative that sustained successful western societies for three decades: that the market knows more than the government; and a review of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. From Good, a look at how carbon trading hurts the poor. Out of date defense of conservatism: Herbert Gintis reviews Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton Friedman. From New Matilda, how many cartoonists does it take to change a government? From New York, with their studded new roster and retro-chic stadium, the Yankees are a throwback to another New York — the one that crashed last fall. Simon Critchley on cynicism we can believe in (and more of The Book of Dead Philosophers). What color is a superhero? More black people are obsessing over comic books than ever before.

From Forbes, a special report on "elitism"; and here are ten things Americans shouldn't be buying. From 3:AM Magazine, nihilism, punk and the International Necronautical Society: An interview with Simon Critchley. How Obama is using the science of change: It's more than a campaign slogan — inside the White House's plan to employ behavioral economics to promote its agenda. Here are 10 stories that could be April Fools but aren't, and a look at Silvio Berlusconi's top 10 gaffes and pranks. Reviewing the reviewers: An interview with Michele Lamont, author of How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment. Without permission or advance notice, FiledByAuthor has cataloged the information of about 1.8 million authors into individual pages. From Folio, why are successful magazines folding? When otherwise growing titles are forced to fold, something is very wrong. Should newspapers become not-for-profits? Probably not — still, the idea won't go away. Blogging journalism's downfall: Portfolio's Media Blogger Jeff Bercovici pessimistically prognosticates the future of his industry. From Foreign Policy, as the economic gloom deepens, many American politicians and commentators have invoked the recent history of Japan as a cautionary tale — but the comparison may be more misleading than helpful (and why we'll miss Japan when it's gone).

From TED, Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web of open, linked data (and more). A brief history of brevity (but more than 140 characters): Is Twitter nasty, brutish and way too short or part of a literate tradition of concision? All the dark secrets of university life are known to insiders who subscribe to AcademoList — Scott McLemee reports, you decide. Pitchforks and Pistols: The right’s distortions of the facts are not all harmless talk — for some, their disaffection has hardened into something dark and dangerous. An article on John Hope Franklin, scholar and witness. From Vanity Fair, drawing on his own Ivy League ties, former member and whistle-blower Alex Shoumatoff investigates the ultra-exclusive Bohemian Club, 2,500 of America’s richest, most conservative men, including Henry Kissinger, George H. W. Bush, and a passel of Bechtels, Basses, and Rockefellers (and more); and Rush Limbaugh's ever more outrageous attacks have everyone debating whether he’s the GOP’s de facto leader, while the party shapes its ideology to fit his needs. From VQR, Pat Joseph on the Ass’s Dilemma: Can man engineer the climate? A leading political scientist finds that intolerance of opposing political views is stronger among people with the strongest religious views. A review of Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life — For the Better by Jeanne Safer.