From FDL, a book salon on When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage by Lee Badgett. Girl-girl kissing is not new — what is new is the openness with which girls are sampling from among their own. Guy Hocquenghem's frank, candid and provocative text "The Screwball Asses" was one that took stock of the desiring-politics of the gay liberation movement; queer cruising zine collective B.T.F.A discover that it still has a fresh take on sexual possibilities and the normalising power of phallocratic roles. Move over, metrosexuals: Meet the straight bears befriending the gays. The problem with urban gay meccas: A review of Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism by Scott Herring. Queer politics are influential in LGBT liberation movements — should this be embraced or is it an obstacle to taking the fight forward? Jesse Bering on polyamory chic, gay jealousy and the evolution of a broken heart. The great (gay) surname debate: Portia de Rossi wants to adopt wife Ellen DeGeneres' last name — is it retro, refreshing or something else entirely? A chronology of gay comic book characters: Mainstream comics have had more than their fair share of homosexual subtext almost since their inception. Stuart Biegel on his book The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America's Public Schools. Forecasting adult sexual orientation: Is your child a "prehomosexual"? The Ivy League's big gay admission: Why kids are adopting a do ask, do tell policy to get into the ivory tower. Does "It Gets Better" make life better for gay teens? Understanding the suicide-prevention project and its critics (and more).

From the European Journal of American Studies, a special issue on immigration. Daniel Hopkins (Georgetown): Politicized Places: Explaining Where and When Immigrants Provoke Local Opposition. No longer a new name: Newcomers see less reason to Anglicize surnames and have a desire to retain their ethnic heritage in America. Braden Goyette on the real reason anti-immigrant sentiment is so dangerous. From The Social Contract, a special issue on the case for a moratorium on legal immigration; and a review of A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America by Aristide R. Zolberg. The Village Voice goes inside the brutal world of America's kidnapping capital, Phoenix. As Mexican drug cartels increasingly recruit American teens as runners, Sugar Land teen Elisabeth Mandala goes across the border and ends up dead. The law of large numbers: The role of Latinos in American society is growing inexorably, with big political implications for the future. More on Not Fit for Our Society: Immigration and Nativism in America by Peter Schrag. Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor. Really. We Mean It.: Economists are making the case politicians are afraid to: Immigration is great for the US. Immigration 101: Becoming a legal immigrant is more complicated than you might think. Basta Dobbs!: An interview with Roberto Lovato of CSI Desert: When migrants die, who IDs them? Invisible America: In immigrants’ rooms, a photographer documents a fragile stability. From The Nation, a special investigative report on Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite: While he railed against "illegals," undocumented immigrants tended to his estates and prize horses.

From UN Dispatch, a pedantic name dispute makes its way to the General Assembly; some quarters of the media love to beat up on the United Nations just for the sport of it — even after the alien ambassador story is proven false, you have articles parroting the falsities; and can the international community take the wind out of the sails of Al Qaeda propoganda? Four years after his ex-wife’s death, Prince Charles is looking less like a coldhearted anachronism and more like a future King, thanks in large part to the charitable work of his Prince of Wales Foundation. From corporate offices to Internet dating sites, Americans lean on personality tests to make their toughest decisions — but do the results really mean anything? Lots of Americans say they’re religious, but a new poll finds many of them don’t actually know that much about world religions — their own included. Paul Sullivan, in Clutch, and Sian Beilock, in Choke, examine why some of us routinely fail under pressure. The Big Idea: Carlos Lozada on how greed may not be good for the economy, but envy is worse. How to start a hedge fund: Financial regulatory reform cramping your style? Go rogue with’s step-by-step action plan. Carnivorous environmentalists can help fight invasive species by dining on Asian carp, but there’s no reason herbivores can’t join in the fun. India’s economic miracle is a perfect example of how appearances can be deceiving (and more).

From The New York Times's The Stone, Gary Gutting on philosophy and faith and Dawkins' atheism. What's it like to be an atheist in Colorado Springs, home of the religious right? Closer look at rift between humanists reveals deeper divisions: Paul Kurtz, founder of the Center for Inquiry, resigned in a feud with its chief executive over the direction of the center and the future of humanism itself. Matthew Nisbet on the atheist netroots and what it means to live without religion. A review of The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture by Darrel W. Ray. Alastair Hannay on considering religion post-secularisation. Should you tell your four-year-old you believe we are all alone in a godless universe? Catie Wilkins on her atheist upbringing. Instead of embarking on the project of "saving God" by replacing him with the natural and human shaped world, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that it is we ourselves that need saving — just replacing God with Nature isn't enough. The Bright side: Is atheism going mainstream? We need to give up our belief in a supernatural Creator Agent God and live with the fully natural creativity of the universe as a newly evolved sense of God, awesome, and invited to stewardship — then we have one Magesterium, not two and the split between reason and faith is healed. What’s an atheist to think when thousands of believers (including prominent rabbis and priests) are praying for his survival and salvation — while others believe his cancer was divinely inspired, and hope that he burns in hell? Don’t silence Christian Voice — they’re a brilliant advertisement for atheism. A review of Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism by Thomas Holden.

From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on what procrastination tells us about ourselves? A look at why so many people can't make decisions. The Washington Post asks experts to rate the work of President Obama's outgoing economic team. From Wired, why do giraffes have such long necks? India wants to be a great power — so why are its Commonwealth Games such a mess? Lost libraries: Craig Fehrman on the strange afterlife of authors’ book collections. The Marmite effect: Habits formed early in life may affect the gains that consumers make from trade. What are species worth? Richard Conniff on putting a price on biodiversity. An interview with Janell Watson, editor of The Minnesota Review. When stewardesses were hot and jets were cool: Playboy founder and editor Hugh Hefner on the glory days of flying around the world in his private jet the Big Bunny. Urban Scrawl: Rome's graffiti pits artists against clean-up crew. Why would a city that’s banned shirtlessness, pushed back against souvenir vendors and fought a war against pigeons — all in the name of preserving the urban scenery — allow its most famous views to be obliterated by building-high billboards? Here are the winners of the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize — and Andre Geim becomes the first Nobel and Ig Nobel winner. Trouble in fishing waters: Gordon G. Chang on China’s military provocations. Ross Terrill on the case for selective failure: No one wishes for a total Chinese collapse, but certain setbacks should be welcomed. Who are the most influential Left-of-Centre European thinkers? Vote now.

Maebh O'Gorman (UCD): Global Warming: A Tragedy of the Commons. Donal R. Hamilton (UCD): The Greatest Tragedy of All: Regulating the Atmosphere in a Climate of Indecision. Leslie Thiele (Florida): Theorizing the Climate Crisis. From The New Yorker, as the world burns: Ryan Lizza on how Washington blew its chance on climate change (and more and more). Beyond Oil: Any hope that the Deepwater Horizon would mark a turning point in the fight for a climate bill quickly evaporated, but the spill still offers us a "teachable moment" on many critical issues. It’s already clear that the climate talks in December will go nowhere, so what do we do? George Monbiot wonders. In an otherwise depressing year for people concerned with global warming — with no legislation forthcoming from the US Congress, and in the aftermath of the failed talks in Copenhagen — the news from Ecuador offered rare cause for hope and celebration. Despite everything, David Suzuki is optimistic. From FDL, a book salon on The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear by Douglas Bevington. Edward B. Barbier on his book A Global Green New Deal: Rethinking the Economic Recovery. An interview with Mary Robinson on climate justice. From Exxon to BP and Beyond: Michael Barker on greasing the cogs of corporate environmentalism. David Roberts on how the right’s climate denialism is part of something much larger.

Wendy Nicole Duong (Denver): From Puccini’s Madam Butterfly to the Statue of the Awaiting Wife in North Vietnam: Where is Portia in the Vietnamese American Experience? Sangmi Lee (ASU): Searching for the Hmong People’s Ethnic Homeland and Multiple Dimensions of Transnational Longing. Old wars never die: An article on the unhappy fate of the Hmong. From Irrawaddy, a review of Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant by Benedict Rogers; an interview with James Ross of Human Rights Watch on efforts to bring Burma's generals to justice; and Burma’s despised despot is on track to face some earthly justice, if the divine variety doesn’t catch up with him first. Mechai Viravaidya on how Mr. Condom made Thailand a better place. The Buddhist Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University allows English-language speakers the opportunity to study with monks in Thailand. The New York Times profiles Lee Kuan Yew, the man who defined Singapore. From Inside Indonesia, a special issue on the killings of 1965-66; who’s to blame for Papua’s tragedy? A review of An Act of Free Choice: Decolonisation and the Right to Self-Determination in West Papua by Pieter Drooglever; and critics say it’s just a fad but some young upper middle-class Indonesians are rediscovering forgotten histories. Up until 2005, Indonesia seemed sure to succumb to a wave of Islamist terror, but, in the post-Suharto era, even political Islamists seem intent on democracy, tolerance and keeping the peace. An interview with Wulan Mei Lina on what it’s like to take sexy pictures in Indonesia. Southeast Asian nations seek a peaceful end to South China Sea disputes.

From Transcript, a special issue on Gaza. Stephen R. Alton (Texas Wesleyan): The Game is Afoot! The Significance of Gratuitous Transfers in the Sherlock Holmes Canon. What will future generations condemn us for? Kwame Anthony Appiah wonders (and an interview at Bookforum). Music on the brain: The emotions teeming inside the works of the Romantic composers may have neurological explanations, as a recent meeting explored. From The Public Eye, Kathryn Joyce on abortion as "black genocide": An old scare tactic re-emerges; and a review of The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Hass. Masturbation benefits women more than men, and yet they masturbate less; contemporary science has dispelled the outlandish historical myths about masturbation, and yet it has not managed to close this gap — why? A review of Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View by Stephen Breyer (and more and more and more and more). An interview with True Prep author Lisa Birnbach about her bestselling followup to The Official Preppy Handbook. A review of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by John Milton Cooper. From Asia Sentinel, beauty is as beauty does, or as it talks especially in beauty contests. Neil Irwin on why it doesn't feel like a recovery. An article on The Breakfast Club at 25: Where are Claire, Andy, Brian, John and Allison?

From Swedish Book Review, a special issue on crime fiction. America's Rebel Artist: Was Jack Kerouac a keeper of visions or a self-destructive individualist? Why We Love Fiction: Stories play a large part in our lives, not only as a pastime; more important is that fiction has helped humanity survive — even though science can explain the need of fiction, it cannot replace it. An excerpt from Bring on the Books for Everyone: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture by Jim Collins. Alberto Manguel reviews The Novel: An Alternative History: Beginnings to 1600 by Steven Moore (and more). Tom Wolfe and other writers used to tell us about the state of America, but now if you’re looking for great social novels you’d better turn to crime writers like Richard Price and Dennis Lehane. Get a real degree: Elif Batuman reviews The Programme Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing by Mark McGurl. The first chapter from Playing Gods: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Politics of Fiction by Andrew Feldherr. Fred Kaplano on how Howl changed the world (and more). Can fiction be trusted to tell the truth? Jose Rodrigues dos Santos discusses the complicated relationship between truth and fiction, in both journalism and novels. From The Paris Review, an interview with Michel Houellebecq. Modernism still matters: Writers such as T S Eliot and Samuel Beckett worked in synchrony with continental Europeans such as Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka, pushing against the limitations of art — why have English-language writers turned away from this challenge? A review of What Ever Happened to Modernism? by Gabriel Josipovici (and more and more and more). Walter Russell Mead on how science fiction is a genre that everyone should read. 666 is a tale of the Tribulation so bad, it's good: Eschatology is maybe the worst literary genre of all time, but it's still a guilty pleasure.

A new issue of Public Diplomacy is out. From the Claremont Review of Books, a review of books on George Washington (and more at The New Yorker). It is, perhaps, the logical sequel to a decade in which Americans were encouraged to use their homes as ATMs: the recent announcement that next month will see the debut of the first gold-dispensing ATMs in the United States. Killing Fields: A review of Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder and Stalin's Genocides: Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity by Norman M Naimark. No such thing as a private source of information: In these days of the internet, says Jonathan Wolff, it's impossible to hide your sources. What the Romans do for us: The head of MI5 is in good company when he admits to being inspired by the classical stories. Redeeming the Almanac: Molly McCarthy on learning to appreciate the iPhone of Early America. Inside Government TV interviews Bill Fletcher, Jr. about his book, co-authored with Fernando Gapasin, Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice. A review of Everything is Broken: The Untold Story of Disaster Under Burma's Military Regime by Emma Larkin (and more and more and more). The Vigilante: Italy’s Northern League party exploits a brutal crime for a dubious law. Here's a modest proposal for single black women in South Florida.