From Alternatives, Hans Agne (Stockholm): European Union Conditionality: Coercion or Voluntary Adaptation? There is one thing that could revive the EU, give it much enhanced global respectability, and make it an “interesting” place: Turkey’s admission as a full member. From The Economist, a Mediterranean maelstrom: Turkey’s fading hopes of joining the European Union would be hugely boosted by a Cyprus settlement; and history helps to explain why the Cyprus problem is so hard to solve. How the West lost Turkey: Is the West's increasingly loveless marriage with Turkey finally headed toward acrimonious divorce? Triumph of the Turks: Turkey is the surprising beneficiary of US misadventures in the Middle East (and more and more). When Islamist foreign policies hurt Muslims: Turkey's government and leader bash the West for transgressions while absolving anti-Western regimes of their sins. There's a term that has frequently been attached to Ankara's newfound diplomatic activism, one that Turkish policymakers are not fond of: "neo-Ottomanism". A little respect, please: There's a new Turkey, and Israel, the U.S. and Europe should get used to it. From The Tablet, Israel and Turkey are drifting apart, thanks to internal pressures on Ankara that are unlikely to change. What would happen if Israel and Turkey broke diplomatic relations altogether? A review of The Donme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks by Marc David Baer. A review of Rebel Land: Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples by Christopher de Bellaigue. Turkey and its generals: The latest episodes in various alleged conspiracies against the government. Despite frenzied stories of coup plots, the Turkish army is becoming less likely to intervene in politics.

From Tehran Bureau, Danny Postel on the specter haunting Iran — the specter of democracy. From The Smart Set, Jesse Smith on the national branding project better known as USPS stamps; and the post office is dying — the sooner the better. Going Postal: Georg Jensen on the imminent death of the United States Postal Service. For 400 years the delivery of letters has been integral to British life; as Royal Mail confronts an uncertain future, Susan Whyman charts the Post Office’s development and discovers, through the correspondence of ordinary people, just how much letter writing meant to them. Lisa Richmond on the dark side of online journals: Commercial publishers dominate online scholarly journal production. From New Geography, Steven Dale on the compelling case for the cable car. A day spent in Hell: Ethan Persoff gets motivated at Bush's first public appearance as motivational speaker. From TLS, a review essay on Arthur, Merlin and love magic; and a review of books on knitting. While international attention has been focused on earthquake-ravaged Haiti, a quiet, prolonged catastrophe is playing out in Mongolia. Wired profiles King of Cheez Ben Huh: The Internet’s meme maestro turns junk into gold. In the event of an emergency, please remain seated: It's time for a little more anarchy and a little less acquiescence. From Religion Dispatches, an article on Christopher Hitchens: Religious in spite of himself? From The Hindu, Sudha Umashanker on the fight for dignity in death. Teri Reynolds writes from an Oakland Emergency Department, testifying to the stark inequalities between public and private, insured and unprotected, that Democrat proposals will enshrine. What accounts for this urban legend that (fill in the blank) river and the Nile are the only two rivers that flow north?

Acclaimed authors Mary Gaitskill, Hari Kunzru, and Ed Park appear in a reading presented by Bookforum @ Housing Works' Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012, this Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 7:00 PM.

The first chapter from U.S. Presidents for Dummies by Marcus Stadelmann. A review of Presidents and Political Thought by David Siemers. From The Weekly Standard, an article on George Washington: The man, the myth, the legend. A review of The Political Philosophy of George Washington by Jeffry Morrison. The first chapter from Inventing the Job of President: Leadership Style from George Washington to Andrew Jackson by Fred Greenstein. A review of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush by John Yoo (and more and more). A review of The Presidential Pardon Power by Jeffrey Crouch. The first chapter from Presidential Party Building: Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush by Daniel Galvin. A review of In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect by Ronald Kessler. A review of Dream House: The White House as an American Home by Ulysses Grant Dietz and Sam Watters and The President’s House: A History by William Seale (and more). A pony in the West Wing: A history of presidential pets. All presidents are above average: In biographies for children, presidents are great even before they become president. Authors for President: Daniel Denvir on the curious history of political memoirs. From Nerve, a look at the top 43 sexiest U.S. presidents. An article onthe top 10 forgettable presidents. Presidents' Day, a patriotic holiday for most, is just an excuse for some wingnuts to ask God to kill Barack Obama. The study of decaying presidential popularity finds Barack Obama's large point decline in his first year fits into the pattern of all recent chief executives. The Unrealized Prince: Frank DeFilippo on Barack Obama, Niccolo Machiavelli, and how the latter can help the former's presidency.

From the latest issue of The Point, Jon Baskin reads Granta’s Chicago Issue, Or: Literature as Tourism; a review of Renzo Piano’s Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago; and a look at how the fall of 2009 saw something of an apotheosis for Chicago theater. From NYRB, Charles Rosen on Isaiah Berlin's civilized malice. Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason: Meet the fast-growing "patriot" group that's recruiting soldiers to resist the Obama administration. From Vice, an interview with Dolly Freed, author of Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money. The possibility of disinterested action: A review of Le desinteressement: Traite critique de l'homme economique by Jon Elster. A review of The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can’t Find Good Black Men by Jimi Izrael. From NYRB, an article on “Kibbutz”, a part of a continuing series of memoirs by Tony Judt. An article on the search for the Great Jewish Magazine: Is it even worth looking? In February, mailboxes across the country will receive the launch issue of The Jewish Review of Books, a new print journal (and an interview with editor Abraham Socher). It seems sometimes as if The Observer has been in a more or less permanent state of relaunch; despite being around since 1791, it now regularly lurches from crisis to crisis. Is your eco-label lying?: Sure, it says it's green, but what's that really mean? While those who stained America's honor with war crimes have escaped accountability for now, these American takfiris will eventually be judged by history with a clarity we cannot muster today.

From TED, aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary waxes on a fascinating fixture of human language: the metaphor. Anatoly Liberman on the dubious history of pun (pun among other pungent words). If God is dead, then f*ck is the most important word in English. Here are 6 slang terms with surprisingly badass origins. An excerpt from Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words by John Bemelmans Marciano. More and more on The Lexicographer's Dilemma by Jack Lynch. Sweet tooth fairies: Erin McKean on the rise of a language mashup. Mark Peters on the language of The Big Lebowski. The curious case of the evolving apostrophe: A new technique for analyzing early English texts is gradually revealing the history of the apostrophe. Take the question and exclamation marks often found together at the end of shock-transmitting sentences (“You won how much money at poker?!”) and merge them into a single typographical symbol, the “interrobang”. Do we need a new punctuation mark? Yes, an it’s called the SarcMark. How to invent a word: How hard can it be to break into the dictionary? Comedian Alex Horne recounts his long journey to linguistic immortality. A review of Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. A review of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H.W. Fowler. Is your English up to scratch? Six books that explain the rules and illuminate the idiosyncrasies of an ever-changing tongue. The Keypad Solution: Is text messaging reforming the spelling of English? Children who regularly use the abbreviated language of text messages are actually improving their ability to spell correctly, research suggests. Clive Thompson reviews Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World by Naomi Baron and Txtng: the gr8 db8 by David Crystal.