From Britannica Blog, a forum on the Obama Presidency. How he ticks: Five of the most revealing moments of the Obama presidency. Why the tax fight is Obama’s pivotal moment. Peter Berkowitz on Obama and the state of progressivism, 2011. If progressivism rests on the twin pillars of egalitarianism and technocracy, a serious look at the behavior of movement leaders may indicate how a shift in emphasis from one to the other affects the movement as a whole. Culture before politics: In freeing creativity, progressives can once again capture and carry forward our national imagination. The progressive agenda scorecard: How much was achieved before the 2010 election? From The American Interest, how do we explain the puzzling weakness of liberal populism? Francis Fukuyama investigates. David M. Ricci on his book Why Conservatives Tell Stories and Liberals Don't: Rhetoric, Faith, and Vision on the American Right. One Nation Under God: Powerful new rhetoric on the religious right pits Obama and big government against "God’s America" and promises to galvanize Christians in 2012. Tea’d Off: Republicans who excused extremism in the name of victory have unleashed a monster, warns Christopher Hitchens. Walking Dead: With Republicans in charge of the House, will '90s-style subpoenas and scandals rise from the crypt? (and more and more) From Time, a cover story on Sarah Palin: What does she want? Read the label: The new political group No Labels shows why labels exist (and more) — and perhaps they should have followed the advice of its own name.

A new issue of The Global Spiral is out. Plagiarism, be it an art or a science, is all the rage in some circles these days. A review of Signals: Evolution, Learning, and Information by Brian Skyrms. From New York, a special issue on "The Year in Culture". Scanners gone wild: Europeans protest Google Street View; in the U.S., full-body airport X-rays set us off — are we objecting to the same thing? The experience of a unified mind and the possibility of an everlasting soul are connected — but there is scant evidence to support the existence of either. Field Guide to the Conspiracy Theorist: When does incredulity become paranoia? Radio personality and filmmaker Alex Jones believes an evil cabal of bankers rules the world. “Check your premises” is an injunction that runs as a subtheme through Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, and it is a phrase that seems to be growing more pertinent every day. Madame de Stael as a political thinker: Too often dismissed as a salonniere, she was a woman of multiple literary and political talents. Are we laying the groundwork for powerful new monopolies in the content and information business? An interview with Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch (and more). Manners make the mannequin: Is it moral to fake kindness? Looking for music manuscripts, scholar Craig A. Monson uncovered surprising stories of what went on inside convents. Using beauty as an advertising tool — does it always work?

Twelve great reasons to love a great country: An excerpt from The American Patriot’s Almanac by William Bennett and John T. E. Cribb. The Royal "We": Politicians make strong statements about what "the American people" think, but the electorate doesn't speak in one voice. American exceptionalism is an old idea and a new political battle (and a response). Does anyone else think there's something a little insecure about a country that requires its politicians to constantly declare how exceptional it is? Exceptionalism and the left: All countries are different, but does America differ from all of them, in a fundamental way? From The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead on the crisis of the American intellectual. A superpower in decline: Is the American Dream over? From TNR, American decline is the specter haunting our politics — this could be President Obama's undoing or it could provide him with the opportunity to revive his presidency; and back to normalcy: Is America really in decline? Paul Kennedy investigates. Why it’s time to worry: Can the United States go the way of Germany in the past — a great society undone by terrible social turmoil? A review of Bruce Ackerman’s The Decline and Fall of the American Republic (and more). An interview with Patrick Porter on books about the rise and fall of America. The Decline and Fall of the American Empire: Alfred W. McCoy on four scenarios for the end of the American century by 2025.

From Praxis, Sam Wren-Lewis (Liverpool): Towards a Complete Account of Psychological Happiness; and Bartlomiej Lenart (Alberta): Enlightened Self-Interest: In Search of the Ecological Self (A Synthesis of Stoicism and Ecosophy). A review of Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky (and more). From Obit, a look at when your birthday is a day of infamy. Is Iran's regime officially running — or merely helping — a pro-Nazi site? Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the leader of nonviolent protests in the West Bank — a potential Palestinian Gandhi — is in an Israeli jail. From The Objective Standard, an interview with Andrew Schiff on fishing nets, hut gluts, and other economic matters. When humans stampede: Edbert Hsu is studying why crowds get out of control and what can be done to control the chaos. From The Weekly Standard, Gov. Gary Johnson smoked marijuana from 2005 to 2008. Why do men cover their faces with hair? That depends on the man, and the era, and his age. A review of Seeds, Sex and Civilization: How the Hidden Life of Plants has Shaped our World by Peter Thompson. The Wounded Home Front: Robert Kaplan, a supporter of the Iraq War, reckons the costs of "small wars". The Coupon Rebellion: Bargain junkies are beating retailers at their own game (and more). On Nonproliferation: For world leaders, nuclear terrorism is an overriding common risk that can be confronted only with a common strategy — a global alliance.

John A. Humbach (Pace): Teens, Porn and Videogames: Time to Rethink Ginsberg? Ars Technica takes a look back at the evolution of Civilization, and how it captured our hearts, brains, and unblinking stares time and again. The Franchise: The inside story of how "Madden NFL" became a video game dynasty. Here is a brief history of video-game football. The video-game forum NeoGAF fosters real political discussion — no, really. Colin Nissan on a modern tale of heartbreak and video games. Mountains of men: An article on the mythology of the male body in video games. The Stigma of Gaming: People who convince themselves not to bother with videogames are missing out on some great stories. New Scientist asks the cognoscenti about the most ground-breaking video games of 2010. Social games that sway behavior: With the rise of social networks, game designers are finding new paths to desired outcomes. A look at how playing action games can hone ability to decide quickly, precisely. Purpose-driven life: Video games are worth loving, but loving them comes with shame. Paris's Museum of Arts and Trades lets you play just about every video game ever. Salman Rushdie says he turned to the world of video games for inspiration for his new book, Luka and the Fire of Life. On a hunt for what makes gamers keep gaming: Video game designers hope to harness some of the thousands of hours spent playing for tackling scientific problems and a host of other tasks. UC-Irvine is banking big on computer games as an emerging discipline. The many worlds of a video-game artist: A profile of Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s man behind Mario. A look at 9 video game Easter eggs that took years to find.