A profile of Jim DeMint, the loneliest wingnut in Washington. Filibuster 2.0: A look at how 41 senators control the country without actually filibustering. While pushing the president’s agenda through a nearly dysfunctional Senate, Harry Reid is trying to keep his job. The Great Unalignment: How long can a Democratic majority last in our fast-paced, high-tech political culture? Surveying the wreckage of “Yes, We Can” promise, Todd Purdum argues that it’s still far too early to count Obama out. The failing messenger: John Lloyd on the media's role in Obama's (un)popularity. Blame cable TV: Michael Lind on how hack party consultants came to replace real liberals and conservatives in the 24/7 media universe. An interview with Thomas Frank on how conservatives can get away with blaming Obama for the past decade of conservative failures. Theda Skocpol on how the original New Deal did not happen in the first year, but a prolonged set of struggles — so the Dems must step up to majority governance after the Massachusetts Mess (and more by Todd Gitlin). From Dissent, Eric Rauchway on New Deal denialism. Kevin Mattson reviews From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism by Joseph Lowndes. A review of The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South by Matthew Lassiter. From New Geography, Joel Kotkin on the War Against Suburbia: Political movements ignore suburbanites at their peril. Independents are not a "vast middle ground": How many damn times must this be said before this most basic of findings — first explicated at length almost 20 years ago — sinks into the heads of pundits? (and more)

Terry Flew (QUT): The Cultural Economy Moment? From The Awl, Katie Baker on why it's okay to feel "preemptively irritated". From New Scientist, an article on five emotions you never knew you had. David O’Neill on how Emily Dickinson’s legendary silence has produced a discordant chorus of speculation and mythmaking. Iran singled out Harvard professor Gene Sharp as a key inspiration for protesters' "velvet coup"; Sharp's manual on nonviolent protest shaped opposition movements in Czechoslovakia and inspired activists in Burma. A Teachable Turnpike Moment: Why it's a good thing the idiots on Jersey Shore are complete and utter idiots. How can MTV follow up Jersey Shore? Massholes. The effects of cattle production: A review of Revolution on the Range: The Rise of a New Ranch in the American West by Courtney White and Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World by Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G. Fraser. The madness of crowds: Mass delusions and hysterical outbreaks have repeatedly occurred in history, and there's no reason to believe they won't again. A review of The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge by Jean-Pierre Changeux. For the Society for Creative Anachronism, playing with swords is part of a lesson. Disputing taste: Carolyn Korsmeyer implores us to try a different flavour of thinking. From Page to Stage: Mark Chou on what emerges "in between" politics and art in George Packer’s Betrayed. A review of Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson.

From The New Yorker, what does the popularity of memoirs tell us about ourselves? A review of Ben Yagoda’s Memoir: A History (and more at Bookforum). It’s probably the case that there is an unconscious sexism afoot in our literary culture, which props up the work of men at the expense of equally worthy books by their female counterparts. The man who rediscovered Africa: How Chinua Achebe's novels captured the soul of a continent. Read 'em and weep: An article on the literary masters of misery who delight in desolation. The first woman to hold the Oxford chair in Poetry and the great-great-great-grand daughter of Charles Darwin, Ruth Padel knows a thing or two about survival. Austrian economics and literary criticism: The preface and first chapter from Literature and the Economics of Liberty: Spontaneous Order in Culture by Paul Cantor. From The Millions, Garth Risk Hallberg on the problem with prizes (or, who cares about the International Booker?). The Unstoppable Cult of Jane Eyre: Readers can't seem to get enough of their favorite Victorian heroine (and more). The first chapter from Jane Austen For Dummies by Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray. For the first time, The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov, the saga of the irrepressible Ostap Bender, a trickster and individualist at odds with the stultifying collective atmosphere, is available in English. Edgar Allan Poe is 200: All you need to know about the macabre master, from The Baltimore Sun (and more). As Martin Amis and Ian McEwan bring out new books, Alex Clark asks: have the headline-grabbing novelists lived up to their early promise? (and more)

Seamus P. MacSuibhne (UC): What makes “a new mental illness”?: The cases of solastalgia and hubris syndrome. An article on how translators struggle to prove their academic bona fides. Eric Banks reviews Kermode's Concerning E.M. Forster (and more and more). What, if anything, do the philosophical and political uses of the term "pragmatism" have to do with one another? What makes a man take credit for a crime he didn’t commit? Peter Savodnik on the curious case of an American soldier who sent himself to a Russian prison. The stuff of nightmares: Sleep paralysis creates a very real waking nightmare — conjuring up images of aliens and evil entities — but it's all a trick of the mind. A review of The Sixties by Jenny Diski. From Cato Unbound, Timothy Sandefur on four problems with spontaneous order. Why we do the things we do: George Scialabba reviews The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err Is Human by Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan, and The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life by Len Fisher. Could a remote African people have gained esoteric knowledge about the sky without having telescopes? PINK: A shockingly butch cultural history of the world's prissiest colour. Devin McKinney on Supernatural Nonfiction: A list of exemplary books that treat the otherworldly — ghosts, monsters, other fantastic phenomena — as truth. Crunch Time: Alexandra Penney and others sell downturn tales. Movie Misquotations: Famous cinematic lines that weren’t actually spoken.

The latest issue of World Policy Journal is free, including a special section on water wars. A review of Water by Steven Solomon (and more). From the Brown Journal of World Affairs, a special section on innovations in global health (reg. req.). A review of Bioterror in the 21st Century: Emerging Threats in a New Global Environment by Daniel Gerstein. A Lloyd's of Haradheere: Or, how Somali pirates are imitating the West through adventure capitalism. The return to the Other: A review essay in search of new ontologies of international relations. Jack Goldstone (George Mason): The New Population Bomb: The Four Mega Trends That Will Change the World. Can we talk about overpopulation? As numbers soar, scholars revisit a thorny debate. It might be better for the environment to divvy up territories in Antarctica rather than abide by the toothless Antarctic Treaty. Is the Arctic the next "hot spot" of international relations or a region of cooperation? (and more) Laugh if you want world peace: Framing international conflicts as comedies could help to resolve them. From MSF, a look at the top ten humanitarian crises of 2009. From Conflict & Communication, Xiufang Li and Naren Chitty (Macquarie): Reframing National Image. From Public Diplomacy, an article on nation "branding": Propaganda or statecraft? From Good, here are five lesser-known countries that changed the world in 2009. What is it like living on the tiny south Atlantic island of St Helena, one of the most isolated settlements on the planet? Limbo World: They start by acting like real countries, then hope to become them. A menagerie of monikers: Most labels are misleading, sometimes grossly so.

From Communio, a special issue on natural law; and Peter Candler (Baylor): The Logic of Christian Humanism. Is every Pontiff a saint? With Pius XII (controversial) and John Paul II (not very) being fitted for halos, the question of a rush to canonization arises. The first chapter from John Paul II For Dummies. From the Catholic Social Science Review, a review of The Way of Life: John Paul II and the Challenge of Liberal Modernity by Carson Holloway; a review of Karol Wojtyla’s Philosophical Legacy; and a review of Ratzinger’s Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI by Tracey Rowland. Bernard-Henri Levy, writes in defense of Benedict XVI: It is time to put an end to the disingenuousness — the bias, in a word — and the disinformation (and more). John Allen reviews What Happened at Vatican II by John W. O’Malley. A review of John Allen’s The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church. As the flame of Catholic dissent dies out, where are the intellectual heirs to a generation of rebels? Mark Shea on the paradox of the neo-Catholic traditionalist. From CT, a review of Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC 1874-1908 by William Oddie (and a look at how GKC subverts the subversives). An interview on the possible beatification of G.K. Chesterton. The first chapter from The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture by Francis Eugene Cardinal George. Once you are already Catholic, the Church does in fact answer some questions you may need to ask. What it means to be Catholic: The first chapter from Catholicism For Dummies by John Trigilio and Kenneth Brighenti.

The removal of George W. Bush was not enough to cure what ails us. Thomas Edsall on how realignment was just an illusion. EJ Dionne on Obama's big mistake: Trying to bring the country together. Simon Schama on why Obama should play to populism. David Brooks on the populist addiction. Sam Tanenhaus on making sense of the new political anger. Right-wing flame war: Why are conservatives so freaked out by a blog called Little Green Footballs? Ben McGrath on the rise of Tea Party activism. Unify the new American tea party? An attempt to solidify the tea party movement with a convention is now looking like it could backfire. How to avoid another Waco: Keeping the peace in the 10-year standoff with the armed family compound of John Joe Gray. The Montana group Celebrating Conservatism demands local leaders boot Feds, form militia, protect guns. A very American coup: Coming soon to a hometown near you. A review of David Neiwert's The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Racialized the American Right. From HNN, a new symposium on Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, including an introduction by David Neiwert and contributions by Robert Paxton, Roger Griffin, Matthew Feldman, Chip Berlet and Michael Ledeen (and more). From Socialism and Democracy, a special issue (2008) on US fascism, including Steve Martinot (SFSU): The Question of Fascism in the United States; Jonathan Scott (BMCC): Why Fascism When They Have White Supremacy?; and Douglas Greene on The Bourgeois Origins of Fascist Repression: On Robert Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism. From Studies in Social Justice, Mark Neocleous (Brunel): The Fascist Moment: Security, Exclusion, Extermination. David Art on what to read on fascism. It is Facebook for the fascist set, and the typical profiles reveal expected tastes.

Why aren't we talking about the new accusations of murder at Gitmo? Dahlia Lithwick wants to know. Trevor Butterworth on what we can learn from Cicero: It's the arrangement of the words that counts — take note, Twitter users. Joscelyn Jurich on books in which a character strives for (and in many cases, experiences) the rousing, transformative jolt that is satori. Richard Hansen on how the Supreme Court killed campaign finance reformturning a corporation into a real live boy, the latest example of a Supreme Court that is increasingly solicitous to the interests of big business. Meatball surgery of the mind: A review of Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist by Paul R. Linde. A review of Secular Cycles by Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov. An anthropologist from Mars might note that many people in the Middle East feel about U.S. drone attacks the way Richard Cohen feels toward suicide bombers. A review of Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service by James McCommons. A review of The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger by Alec Wilkinson. How people work: Despite centuries of study, the mechanics of the human body still holds a number of surprises. An interview with Laura Miller, author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in NarniaMore and more and more on John Ortved's The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. A review of Seven Deadly Sins: A Very Partial List by Aviad Kleinberg. Counting counties: Wikipedia can make you feel old, rendering the skills of a lifetime obsolete.

Some scientists are convinced life is common in the universe, but intelligence rare; as for how long civilisations last — and stay detectable — few are willing to hazard a guess. An interview with Frank Drake, half a century listening for ET. Grand designs for interstellar travel: What would it take for humans to reach the stars within a lifetime? From The Space Review, an article on space fetishism, space activism’s obsession with technological and ideological saviors (and a response); instruments of God’s creation: Every field has its holy relics, imbued with almost holy significance — space is like that; Jeff Foust on the future of science and human spaceflight; to reach ever further: An article on a mission and a vision for NASA (and more on thinking a little differently at NASA); and why should humans go to Mars? While the aerospace community waits for February when President Obama will announce the 2011 budget, aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin agitates for a manned mission to Mars. Inside Astronaut Boot Camp: What does it take to prep humans for a trip to an asteroid or a martian moon? Why we should not return to the Moon: NASA recently slammed a probe into the Moon and found "abundant" water — but a return to the Moon is pointless. Learning to love the Moon: Emily Bazelon on how to appreciate astronomy. A review of Space Travel and Culture: From Apollo to Space Tourism. The first chapter from Space Exploration For Dummies by Cynthia Phillips and Shana Priwer. Secret Space Shuttles: When you’re 200 miles up, it’s easy to hide what you’re up to.

Imagine, if you will, the study of history without reading — how much a sense of the past could you possibly have? The first chapter from World History For Dummies by Peter Haugen. A review of The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium. An interview with Judith Herrin on books on Byzantium. A review of Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades by Jonathan Phillips. The introduction to Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present by Daniel Headrick. An interview with Simon Young on books on the Celts. A review of The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings by Robert Ferguson (and more and more). A review of The Virgin Warrior: The Life and Death of Joan of Arc by Larissa Juliet Taylor. A talk with Michael Haag, author of The Templars: The History and the Myth. A review of 1492: The Year the World Began by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. The European discovery of America opened possibilities for those with eyes to see; but Columbus was not one of them. A review of Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. A review of 1688: The First Modern Revolution by Steve Pincus (and more and more and more). The introduction to Before the Deluge: Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution by Michael Sonenscher. A review of Danton: The Gentle Giant of Terror by David Lawday. The first chapter from Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture by Mlada Bukovansky.