From TNR, William Galston on Harvey Mansfield and Obama's Freedom Agenda. Obama’s Chicago Tactics: It took an efficient political machine to win the presidency, but top-down governing isn’t working in Washington. A review of Inside Obama's Brain by Sasha Abramsky (and more). Steven Pearlstein on why it's past time for President Obama to show some leadership. 18 Million Jobs by 2012: Robert Pollin on how Obama can save his presidency. The Art of the Possible: Eight meaningful things Obama could do right now — without getting caught in congressional gridlock. Elvin Lim on why bad news for Dems in 2010 could be good news for the president. Does Brown have a bright side? The lesson of Massachusetts isn’t to split the difference — it’s to lead (and a look at where Scott Brown is coming from). Excessive bipartisanship and other matters: The last thing Washington needs is more harmony between the two parties. Why partisan bickering works: Tunku Varadarajan on the benefits of partisanship. Representative bodies should not be brainy places — democracy means keeping government simple enough so that ordinary citizens can continue to run it. A stalled Washington makes for head-scratching; it’s not clear how the engine of government will rev up again. How to fix the Senate? The Washington Post asked former politicians and others to name one idea that might get Congress moving. A review of Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U. S. Senate by Frances E. Lee. What if senators represented people by income or race, not by state? Legalized Bodysnatching: Redistricting — a.k.a. gerrymandering — is a political inevitability. The first chapter from Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy by R. Michael Alvarez and Thad E. Hall.

Stephen Haggard (UCSD) and Marcus Noland (PIIE): Repression and Punishment in North Korea: Survey Evidence of Prison Camp Experiences. From Asia Times, Pepe Escobar on North Korea, the last frontier of the Cold War. Kim Kyong-Hui, Kim Jong-Il's only sister, appears to be wielding more power in North Korea after making a comeback to the frontline of the regime last year. As North Korea's Dear Leader celebrates his birthday, it's worth asking what plans the US has for Pyongyang once he's gone — turns out, Washington doesn't have much. North Korea is calling for a new peace treaty with the US — what is really going on here? As the North looks to China to save it from collapse, Beijing is playing the North Korean card against the US. If it wasn’t for the sheer misery of most of its luckless inhabitants, wouldn’t the world be a duller place without North Korea? The comic books that brainwash North Koreans: Mighty Wing, Pyongyang's equivalent of Mickey Mouse, is a honeybee that confronts a swarm of capitalist wasps. BR Myers collects rare slides of North Korean propaganda posters, which illustrate the eerie mythology the government wants its impoverished people to believe. A review of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by BR Myers (and more and more and more) and Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (and more and more and more and more and more) and The Hidden People of North Korea: Everyday Life in the Hermit Kingdom by Ralph Hassig and Kongdan Oh (and more and more and more) Frogs in a Well: An article on literary life in North Korea. Matchmaking services connecting North Korean women and South Korean men are helping ease the transition to a new life for some defectors.

Raymond Geuss (Cambridge): Goals, Origins, Disciplines. From The Point, Raymond Geuss on a world without why; and Jonny Thakkar on the Examined Life: What is popular philosophy? Julian Baggini takes a celluloid stroll with Astra Taylor's Examined Life. What is the meaning of life? Four philosophers accept a challenge and attempt to answer the age old question. The Meaning of Life: An interview with A C Grayling (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4). For those who lack a natural fondness for abstractions, philosophy is a discipline best experienced in bite-sized pieces. The first chapter from Existentialism for Dummies by Christopher Panza and Gregory Gale. A review of Pocket Pantheon: Figures of Postwar Philosophy by Alain Badiou. An excerpt from Turning On the Mind: French Philosophers on Television by Tamara Chaplin. The gig may be up now, but who can say that BHL isn’t exactly the type of philosopher that late capitalism deserves? “Cows too can easily be made into ideas”: An interview with Roger Scruton. Christopher Shea on armchair philosophy: is it sexist? From TPM, women debate the absence of women in debate. The problem of pluralism: How broad can a World Congress of Philosophy get before it loses its focus? A review of Not Exactly: In Praise of Vagueness by Kees van Deemter (and more and more). So what if philosophers can do tricks with Plato that are far beyond the understanding of the rest of us? A review of Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein (and more). Ted Cohen's Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters is now available for free download at the University of Chicago Press website. Sometimes, evil is its own reward: A review of Supervillains and Philosophy.

From Collegium, a special issue on Universalism in International Law and Political Philosophy, including Hauke Brunkhorst (Flensburg): Democracy under Pressure: The Destiny of the Idea of an Egalitarian Society in the World Society; Andreas Follesdal (Oslo): International Judicial Human Rights Review: Effective, Legitimate or Both?; Heikki Patomaki (Helsinki): Rethinking Global Parliament: Beyond the Indeterminacy of International Law; David Kennedy (Harvard): One, Two, Three, Many International Legal Orders: Legal Pluralism and the Cosmopolitan Dream. A review of Cosmopolitanism: A Philosophy for Global Ethics by Stan van Hooft. From Ethics & Global Politics, a symposium on James Bohman's Democracy Across Borders. Michael Walzer is a left internationalist, but definitely not a world citizen. A review of The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham (and more and more). Ernesto Garzon Valdes (Mainz): Dignity, Human Rights, and Democracy. A review of Relativism and Human Rights: A Theory of Pluralistic Universalism by Claudio Corradetti. How rights move: An essay on losing and acquiring rights in the international domain. Hell on Earth: The West still turns a blind eye to the world's most brutal and systematic abuse of human rights. With A Problem from Hell, Samantha Power changed the way we talk about liberalism and human rights. It's time for a much more critical history of human rights. Freedom is the goal rather than the ground of human rights, but freedom also depends on others; achieving the conditions for freedom is humanity's overriding moral obligation. Crying for freedom: A disturbing decline in global liberty prompts some hard thinking about what is needed for democracy to prevail. Christopher Hitchens on how Amnesty International has lost sight of its original purpose.

The advantages of being helpless: Human brains are slow to develop — a secret, perhaps, of our success. A review of The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life by Alison Gopnik. A review of NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (and more). The Killer Instinct: Sally Thomas on raising boys. Research suggests "fatherless" children are not necessarily at a disadvantage or that men provide a different, indispensable set of parenting skills than women and that children raised by lesbian parents fare just as well, or not, as kids raised by heterosexual parents. Children are more anxious and depressed than ever before (and more on Wii and ennui) No Brakes: An article on risk and the adolescent brain. Are you raising a douchebag? Your indulgent parenting is spawning a generation of entitled hipster brats. Dear Type-A Parent: Congratulations! Your application has been rejected. A review of We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication by Judith Warner (and more and more and more). From Psychology Today, an article on how to create a juvenile delinquent with materials easily available at home; emotional extortion: How adolescents can manipulate parents; and parent, not patsy: Are you giving in to your child's tantrum? Mr. Rogers lied to us: Sorry, but you're actually not that special. A look at the top 5 toys for spoiled children. An article on the growing backlash against overparenting. An interview with Gever Tulley, author of Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do). Godly discipline turned deadly: A controversial child "training" practice comes under fire — this time from Christians themselves. Framing Childhood: Has the curating of digital photos come to define modern parenting?