From Vanity Fair, a death in the family: Having volunteered for Iraq, Mark Daily was killed in January by an I.E.D. Dismayed to learn that his pro-war articles helped persuade Daily to enlist, Christopher Hitchens measures his words against a family's grief and a young man's sacrifice; and the People vs. the Profiteers: Americans working in Iraq for Halliburton spin-off KBR have been outraged by the massive fraud they saw there. Dozens are suing the giant military contractor, on the taxpayers' behalf. Whose side is the Justice Department on? Regrets only? Kanan Makiya spent years in exile advocating the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The war he supported brought about an Iraq he never imagined. From military disaster to moral high ground: In a democracy, says Tony Judt, war should always be the last resort—“to jaw-jaw,” as Winston Churchill reminded Dwight D. Eisenhower, “is always better than to war-war”. An excerpt from Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War by Howard Kurtz.
From Eurozine, how we mistook normality for paradise: The dearth of toilet paper may not have been the sole reason for the collapse of communism, but it's an apt metaphor for a regime unable to fulfill its subjects' basic needs. From Political Affairs, is there such a thing as a “total state” or “totalitarianism”? Where does the term come from? How did it develop over time? What were and are its social purposes? The new totalitarians: An article on Burma and the rebirth of a terrible idea. Gerry Coulter (Bishop’s): Murray Bookchin: A Political Philosopher Among the Ruins of the Transpolitical. From Communalism, Janet Biehl on Bookchin’s break with anarchism. From ZNet, here's a brief review of the work of Noam Chomsky. Why we act: A review of Loyal to the Sky: Notes from an Activist by Marisa Handler and The Everyday Activist by Michael Norton. A rough guide to radical thought: A review of Ideas for Action by Cynthia Kaufman.
A rare book in the field of classics that opens with a legal disclaimer: A review of Ancient Herbs by Marina Heilmeyer. On the trail of Super Tuscans, discover the sensual pleasures of Italy's booming Maremma region. A review of Eating for England: The Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table by Nigel Slater and Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking by Kate Colquhoun (and more). Appetite for destruction: A review of The Axis of Evil Cookbook by Gill Partington. The Breakfast Liberation Front: The food industry processes the life out of our flakes and puffs, then sponsors studies boasting of their health benefits. Isn't it time to rebel against breakfast cereal supremacy? Some like it hot: How boomers' failing taste buds are shaping the future of American food. A jug of whine, a waste of breath, and thou: A Slate food writer loses his appetite and misses the point.
From The Chronicle, the lure of the campaign trail: Scholars who counsel candidates wield power but face risks; and in her college and law-school years, and later in her positions on higher education, Hillary Rodham Clinton has demonstrated a belief in "principled compromise”. There's nothing more astonishing than this: Why on Earth should Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton be the front-runner for the presidency? How to stop Hillary: Six strategies for her Democratic rivals. Promised real power as Bill Clinton's vice president, Al Gore found he had a rival for that role: the First Lady: An excerpt from For Love of Politics—Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years by Sally Bedell Smith.
From Asia Times, surprise new Russian Prime Minister Victor Zubkov may himself have a few surprises in store. Blame Yeltsin: A look at the historical roots of Vladimir Putin's power play. Man of the Hour Year Decade: As President Vladimir Putin extends his authority, the Russians don't seem to mind. The Tsar’s Opponent: Garry Kasparov takes aim at the power of Vladimir Putin (and more and an interview). From Wired, did Russia stage the father of all bombs hoax? A review of Military and Society in Post-Soviet Russia. From The Walrus, a Russian tragedy: Once soulful and historic, the Russian village is dying. Will the state survive? Russia's sexy nationalism: Mother Russia wants some sexual healing.
From New York, a cover story on the Rise of Mailerism: Norman Mailer’s God, not surprisingly, is a great artist, who created mankind and all the plants and other animals, and could reincarnate them according to his whim. But he was not all-powerful. Because there was the Devil—and the Devil had technology. And lately, the Devil seems to be winning. A light in the darkness: A review of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad by John Stape. From PopMatters, an article on Allen Ginsberg and the politics of ecstasy. The whole truth: Ted Hughes was one of the most original and powerful visionary poets of the 20th century. Here's a three-part serialisation of his Letters. Shaper of the canon Edmund Wilson gets his place in it.
Jason Del Gandio (Temple): Bush's S20 and the Re-routing of American Order. A review of Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charlie Savage. More and more on The Terror Presidency by Jack Goldsmith. From Pericles to Petraeus? Dick Howard on the longer-term implications of Bush’s politics. An interview with Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (and more and more and more and more). A review of Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President by Stephen F. Hayes (and more). From Slate, a Bush cabinet quiz: Can you tell one seat-warmer from another? A look at how President Bush is leaving some problems to successors. Backing away from Bush: The conservative pundits who once celebrated the president as the embodiment of Republican ideals now want you to believe that the administration has been hijacked by a band of false conservatives.
Eva Brann (St. John’s): Question: Are Human Beings Ultimately Affective? David Barash on how biology makes us want to retaliate for aggression even if we can't direct the retaliation at our aggressor. Science searches for the origin of kindness: A review of The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness by Lee Alan Dugatkin; Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved by Frans de Waal; and The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War by David Livingstone Smith. Patience, fairness and the human condition: Apes are patient, but only people are fair. That may help explain why people came out on top. Research suggests how emotionally charged events leave their mark on memory. Why do we conform to society? A pair of brain regions work together to assess the threat of punishment and override our selfish tendencies.
This Is Not a Bob Dylan Movie: Todd Haynes is known for films that are daring and arty and don’t always make sense. Inside the making of his weirdest, most audacious work yet. Gonna change my way of thinking: Great books spurred Bob Dylan to reject a "passion for dumbness”. It's that untraditionally framed reverence for tradition that makes Dylan apt reading for first-year humanities students. Return to Margaritaville: The possibility of meeting Jimmy Buffett prompts a longtime Parrothead to examine just why his idol's music moves him so. A review of I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon. A review of Re-make/Re-model: Art, Pop, Fashion and the Making of Roxy Music, 1952-1972 by Michael Bracewell. A review of Clapton: The Autobiography. Everyone's heard Pink Floyd's “Another Brick in the Wall” — but the story of how a handful of children got to sing on the track recalls an era of starkly different schooling values from those held today. Here are the 7 most gruesome rock 'n' roll legends (and whether they’re true).
From Le Monde diplomatique, the American Century only began 60 years ago. But it seems already to be over, with the disaster of Iraq forcing some of the United States’ ruling elites to realise that its hegemony has been severely weakened. But nobody seems to know what to do next, or even how to behave, and more on the politics of absolute power. Calling Miss Manners: If rising powers don't improve their diplomatic skills, world politics is going to start looking like a bad episode of reality television. Are diplomats necessary? A review of Independent Diplomat: Dispatches from an Unaccountable Elite by Carne Ross. Diplomacy is not all beer and skittles but the book Undiplomatic Activities can give that impression (and more). When the world goes to hell, policymakers often turn to ICG president Gareth Evans for solutions. An interview on his take on the Bush administration and our collective responsibility for crises in Burma, Iraq, and possibly Iran.