Peer Zumbansen (York): The Conundrum of Order: The Concept of Governance from an Interdisciplinary Perspective. Martin Kroh (GIER): The Formative Period of Party Identification: Parental Education in Childhood and Adolescence. Just how strong are political parties? Jonathan Bernstein investigates. Jason Reifler (Loyola) and Jeffrey Lazarus (Georgia State): Partisanship and Policy Priorities in the Distribution of Economic Stimulus Funds. Ben Woodson (Stony Brook): The Role of Congressional Polarization and Divided Government in the New Ideological Partisanship. The specter haunting the Senate: Michael Tomasky reviews Politics or Principle?: Filibustering in the United States Senate by Sarah A. Binder and Steven S. Smith and 
Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate by Gregory Koger. From FDL, a book salon on Congressional Ambivalence: The Political Burdens of Constitutional Authority by Jasmine Farrier. A review of The US Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie. In praise of Parliament: George Watson defends a much-maligned institution that is simply the best political idea mankind has had. Ezra Klein on Poli Sci 101: Presidential speeches don't matter, and lobbyists don't run DC. Steven F. Hayward on the irrelevance of modern political science: The problem with academic political science is its insistence on attempting to emulate the empiricism of economics (and more and more and more by John Sides). John Sides on what political scientists can offer journalists (and more and more) .

From Europe's Journal of Psychology, a special issue on humor, including Vassilis Saroglou, Christelle Lacour, and Marie-Eve Demeure (UCL): Bad Humor, Bad Marriage: Humor Styles in Divorced and Married Couples; Margaret Bassil and Shahe S. Kazarian (AUB) and Nicholas Kuiper and Jessica Sine (UWO): The Impact of Humor in North American versus Middle East Cultures; Julie Woodzicka (Washington and Lee) and Thomas Ford (WCU): A Framework for Thinking about the (not-so-funny) Effects of Sexist Humor; Kim Edwards and Rod Martin (UWO): Humor Creation Ability and Mental Health: Are Funny People more Psychologically Healthy?; and Bernard C. Beins and Shawn M. O’Toole (Ithaca): Searching for the Sense of Humor: Stereotypes of Ourselves and Others. From PopMatters, Shawn O'Rourke on the future of comic stores in the digital era. New research finds we trust experts who agree with our own opinions, suggesting that subjective feelings override scientific information. A review of How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom. Judy Bachrach on the joys of being called "an older woman". Psychologists link happiness with less small talk and more substantive conversation. What a law professor can learn from George Orwell: People today can't remember anything about politics or public life, but they can retrieve everything about someone's personal history.

After Iraq: America has had a bruising decade, but do not underestimate either the superpower or its president. The end of the American superpower: More so than its imperial wars, it is the gutting of the US economy that brought the eclipse of the American century. Economists are warning that the world's number one economy is on the brink of collapse. The Guns of August: Chalmers Johnson on lowering the flag on the American Century. America's century is over, but it will fight on: The structural problems of the US economy are too deepseated and intractable to be solved by regular doses of cheap money. America is suffering a power outage, and the rest of the world knows it. One and a half cheers for American decline: The future’s not ours — and that’s good news. Mortimer Zuckerman on the end of American optimism. Sandy Levinson on why we are better advised to look at Weimar Germany during the 1920s to understand our present political situation. A review of The Demise of America: The Coming Breakup of the United States and What Will Replace It by Don Durrett. Decline, but not inevitable decline: Conrad Black on how the U.S. is in deep but not irreversible trouble. A recent poll found that the majority of Americans believe the nation is in decline — that is debatable, but a shift under way from industry to polish is real. Wallowing in Decline: Americans have gone from gloating over their global influence to bemoaning the loss of it — they were wrong then, and they're wrong now. America, it seems, is always in decline: A review of Dismantling America by Thomas Sowell. A nation in decline? Doug Henwood interviews Michael D. Yates. Think America is in decline? Don't bet on it. A review of Why America is Not a New Rome by Vaclav Smil.

From NYRB, a review of works on The Wire; Paul Krugman and Robin Wells on the way out of the slump — a review essay; and the pirates are winning: A review of Somalia: The New Barbary? Piracy and Islam in the Horn of Africa by Martin N. Murphy and Warriors: Life and Death Among the Somalis by Gerald Hanley. In praise of inflation: James Surowiecki on why a little of what we fear might do us good. Nerve takes a look at the ten worst Saturday Night Live hosts of all time. Of Vikings, trolls and translation trouble: Barry Lynn on how he learned about church and state in Norway. A review of Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made National Lampoon Insanely Great by Rick Meyerowitz. Can Twitter lead people to the streets? There's "Room for Debate" at the New York Times. Elif Batuman on Kafka’s Last Trial: A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. From Obit magazine, death on high: Mountaineering accidents may be few, but they’re savage; and when grief becomes competitive: These days, those of note aren’t allowed to go quietly. A Romp Through Time: Tony Perrottet on a brief history of modern love's seminal moments. There are a lot of shoddy polls out there; some are frank about their shortcomings and some aren’t — here are some ideas for getting an accurate picture of what a poll can tell you.

A review of Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson. Will getting an e-reader change your life? Scott McLemee takes one step forward, two steps back. A review of Books as Weapons: Propaganda, Publishing, and the Battle for Global Markets by John B. Hench. Tim Carmody on 10 reading revolutions before e-books. Hard times for hardcovers: Jack Shafer on the fallen status of books. Every Reader a Reviewer: Barbara Hoffert on the online book conversation. Reading just for pleasure: While it is plainly true that one can read a book more or less closely (substitute a beach blanket and a daiquiri for a pencil and a desk), it is equally true that something of everything we read is retained, to be recalled, by chance more often than design, on some or another future occasion, a dinner conversation, a tutorial essay, or a game of Trivial Pursuit. A review of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David L. Ulin. What’s the point of reading so many books when I can barely remember what’s in them? The idealistic view of Great Ideas — slim paperback volumes of philosophy, polemic, essays, belles-lettres — is that the existence of the series demonstrates that Penguin has not abandoned Allen Lane's notion, now 75 years old, of making excellent literature attractive through good design and reasonable pricing. Is big back? A mini-boom in big books would seem to complicate our assumptions about the Incredible Shrinking Attention Span.