David J. Luban (Georgetown): On the Commander-in-Chief Power. From TNR, a review of The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration by Jack Goldsmith. The man behind the torture: David Cole reviews The Terror Presidency. A review of A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency by Glenn Greenwald. A review of Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charlie Savage; and The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country — and Why It Can Again by Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes. Great president, or the greatest president: A review of The Evangelical President: George Bush's Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World by Bill Sammon. More on Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream. George Bush wants another $50 billion for the Iraq war. Can the Democrats stand up to him this time? Markos Moulitsas wants to know. Mark Schmitt on the moral equivalent of optimism: If ever we needed a robust politics of national commitment and shared sacrifice, it is now.

A review of God's Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal and the Dream of Discovery by Douglas Hunter. A review of Savage Kingdom: Virginia and the Founding of English America by Benjamin Woolley. A review of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution by Woody Holton. From American Heritage, a look at the US constitution that failed; and an essay on the radicalism of the Gettysburg Address. A review of American Transcendentalism: A History by Philip F. Gura. From NYRB, a review of Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell; Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia by Janet Wallach; and Gertrude Bell: The Lady of Iraq by H.V.F. Winstone. A review of Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. From The Moscow Times, a review of The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia by Orlando Figes (and more). Blind optimism: As Hitler shouted his way up the political ranks in Germany, the Guardian and Observer misjudged the extent of his early influence. A review of The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson. A review of Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age by Matthew Brzezinski and Iron Curtain: From Stage to Cold War by Patrick Wright. From NYRB, a review of The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam by Tom Bissell.

Nick Trakakis (Monash): Meta-Philosophy of Religion: The Analytic-Continental Divide in Philosophy of Religion. From America (reg. req.), a review of The Voice, the Word, the Books: The Sacred Scripture of the Jews, Christians and Muslims by F. E. Peters; and a look at where East and West can meet. A review of The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong. A review of What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza. More on Head and Heart: American Christianities by Garry Wills. An interview with Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite. An article on the new face of global Mormonism: Tech-savvy missionary church thrives as far afield as Africa. It's not so long ago that Christianity dominated politics in Britain in the same way as Islam does elsewhere. Righteous Priorities: Not everyone who says "Lord, Lord"—or avoids slurs—will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The bad faith of the secular age: Charles Taylor's reflection on the religious roots of modern secularism is a radical contribution to the argument about belief. Say you love Santa: An article on pop culture's war on secularists. From TAC, can atheists form a movement around shared disbelief? Katha Pollitt on the atheist's dilemma. A look at the proper metaphor for God: God is propaganda.

From Borderlands, Jon Stratton (CUT): Separation Anxiety: Zionism, Colonialism, Messianism; and Anthony Burke (UNSW): Beyond Security in the Middle-East: An Ethics for (Co)Existence. Peace is possible: The Palestinian philosopher Sari Nusseibeh tells Ian Black that despite widespread pessimism surrounding talks in Annapolis a change of focus could go on to yield spectacular results. Making the inevitable happen: Everyone knows the outlines of the Middle East peace accord — what's missing is the political will to achieve it. Israel, the hope of the Muslim world: The state of Israel embodies the last, best chance for the Islamic world to come to terms with the modern world, precisely because it constitutes a humiliation to Muslims. From Al-Ahram, of hermeneutics and reform: In New York, Hala Halim attends a talk by Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid; and Coptic conundrum: Questions about a possible successor mar the 36th anniversary of Pope Shenouda III's consecration.

He's either a "a man of steel" or as slippery as a bar of soap - either way, John Howard has transformed his country's social and political landscape. And don't discount Australia's Prime Minister winning a fifth term in the forthcoming elections. In New York, Australians are like Texans: Liberal New Yorkers can’t understand why we keep electing John Howard. The ANZUS Treaty is usually read simply as a badge of Australia's subservience to the USA, but who's leading who? A review of The War on Democracy: Conservative Opinion in the Australian Press by Niall Lucy and Steve Mickler. A review of People in Glass Houses: An Insiders Story of Life In and Out of Hillsong by Tanya Levin. Aboriginal Lit: Carpentaria, Alexis Wright’s ambitious epic of Aboriginal life, has become a literary sensation in Australia, at a fraught political moment.  Most outsiders think that New Zealand's indigenous people are well integrated into a liberal state, but the arrest of an alleged terrorist cell has put the focus on the injustices suffered by the Maori.

From Scientific American, a cover story on Aliens Among Us: In pursuit of evidence that life arose on Earth more than once, scientists are searching for microbes that are radically different from all known organisms; an article on Bigfoot anatomy: Sasquatch is just a legend, right? According to the evidence, maybe not; a look at how human changes to the environment are accelerating evolution in many ecosystems; and an unauthorized autobiography of science: Explanations of how science works often differ from the actual process. Proof of Darwin's natural selection: Charles Darwin had no evidence to support his theory of natural selection; a couple fascinated with finches provided the proof. A review of On Deep History and the Brain by Daniel Lord and The Age of Everything: How Science Explores the Past by Mathew Hedman (and the introduction). A review of Longitude: The true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time by Dava Sobel.  Did a comet cause the Great Flood? The universal human myth may be the first example of disaster reporting. A look at how discovering planets just got easier. A look at how stars get their names (and, no, they’re not for sale!). The man who imagined wormholes and schooled Hawking: Kip Thorne revolutionized physics, fixed up Contact, and straddled the Cold War divide. Shadow world: How many dimensions space has could all be a matter of perspective. A review of Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You by Marcus Chown. A review of Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited.

From Newsweek, a cover story on The Future of Reading: Amazon's Jeff Bezos already built a better bookstore — now he believes he can improve upon one of humankind's most divine creations: the book itself. Increasingly, authors and publishers are tipping their hats to the power of book groups in helping to fuel sales. More and more on How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard. A review of In Search of Willie Morris: The Mercurial Life of a Legendary Writer and Editor by Larry L. King. From Harper's, among the reviewers: An article on John Updike and the book-review bugaboo. Faking it: A look at how Craigslist is becoming a workshop for aspiring writers. Typing in Neon: A look at one author’s determination to publish and be damned (maybe for eternity). An article on writing the book on self-help: A publisher's cautionary tale. Is the literary novel doomed? An article on the conflict between pop culture and literature. Why is Joseph Heller's famous "Catch" called "22"? And why does the postman always ring twice (in a book that has no postman)?: An excerpt from Why Not Catch-21? The Stories Behind the Titles by Gary Dexter.

From TED, Paul Rothemund on casting spells with DNA. A UN report says a ban on human reproductive cloning, coupled with restricted therapeutic research, is the global compromise most likely to succeed. A review of Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People by John Harris. A review of The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future. If you never aged, how long would you live? With a little luck, you could well make it to your 20,000th birthday. A review of The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever by David Friedman. 23AndMe will decode your DNA for $1,000: Welcome to the Age of Genomics. For as little as $1,000 and a saliva sample, customers of an infant industry will be able to learn what is known about how their biological code shapes who they are. A review of The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA by Edward Ball.

From The Mises Institute, swan song of the Old Right: An excerpt from Murray Rothbard's The Betrayal of the American Right. A review of The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History by Donald T. Critchlow. From National Review, an article on scapegoating the So-Cons: They’re not what’s killing the GOP. The right kind of hand up: Here are six principles for a sensitive and conservative approach to social policy. A review of In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas by Theodore Dalrymple. Defining deviancy down: The conservative movement made hay for 40 years claiming that liberals were "morally depraved" — let's look at the record. More on The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman (and an interview). From Jewcy, a look at how to raise an ideological warrior: "I want my kid to grow up utterly intolerant of creationism". From TAP, an article on the problem with youth activism: The institutionalization of activism on college campuses is a key culprit in the absence of visible youth movements in this country. From The Texas Observer, here are the confessions of an ex-protester. Walter Russell Mead on how today's anti-Americans, anti-Semites, and anti-Zionists have embraced a set of images and beliefs that haunted the European imagination for hundreds of years.

From Time, here's the Luxury A-Z Guide: The people, places and products that are now influencing the luxury business and inspiring savvy consumers around the world. A review of Taste: Acquiring What Money Can't Buy by Letitia Baldrige. A review of Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions by Edward Ugel. From Forbes, a review of: All the Money in the World: How the Forbes 400 Make — and Spend — Their Fortunes; and fifteen minutes of infamy: If everyone's entitled to their quarter-hour in the limelight, here's some tips of how to get there — or not? (and a look at twelve famous nobodies) Yours for the peeping: Living on display in a YouTube, Facebook, glass-apartment world can make people feel connected — or ogled. Tyranny of choice: To be able to choose your path in life, you must have a sense of what attracts you, of something calling you. The agony and the everyday: For 35 years Lucy Kellaway dreamed of becoming an agony aunt. Now, the FT’s management columnist analyses what our problems reveal about ourselves — and her. The self-help backlash gathers steam: A review of The Oprah PhenomenonCorrect behavior for the modern mobster: Among the papers of a newly arrested Mafia boss is a typewritten code of conduct, including a loyalty oath and "guidelines" for good manners.