From TLS, a review of Mozart: The first biography by Franz Xaver Niemetschek; and A Life in Letters by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The rest is silence: A review of Sibelius by Andrew Barnett.  More on The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross. Is country music inherently conservative? Peter La Chapelle investigates. An article on Joe Strummer, the punk that died as a hippie. Brown is the new gold: He sings, he dances, he's in a new movie — why 18-year-old Chris Brown may be pop music's last great hope. The end of Big Music? Radiohead’s online album release is bad news for the major record labels. The segmented society: People have been writing about the fragmentation of American music for decades — but year after year, the segmentation builds.

Ming Wan (George Mason): Engaging China: The Political Economy and Geopolitical Approaches of the United States, Japan and the European Union Li. Narangoa (ANU): Nationalism and Globalization on the Inner Mongolia Frontier: The Commercialization of a Tamed Ethnicity. From NYRB, Dai Qing on the thirsty dragon at the Olympics. Macau’s Golden Curse: The rot at the core of Macau’s gambling boom poses headaches for Beijing, and gambling fever proves dangerous for high-rolling communist officials, but if the mainland clamps down it could hurt the casino boom. A review of Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century by Giovanni Arrighi. The world watched in horror as images of the September crackdown leaked out of Burma — now it's time to start picking up the pieces and talking to the junta leaders. The silence of the monasteries: The junta has stopped the protests — the big question now is where have all the monks gone? Few would have thought that a painting would have the power to shake the foundations of modern-day temple life in Thailand. But before painter Anupong Chanthorn started working on his masterpiece, "Bhikku Sandan Ka" (Monks With Traits of a Crow), he spent time seeking meaningful messages in Buddhist texts.

From nthposition, an article on The Theocratic Age; or, The last days of the American Republic. The cancer from within: Retired Air Force Col. David Antoon investigates the evangelical Christian takeover of the military, where proselytizing has become institutionalized and religious ideology threatens to supersede the values of the Constitution. The Anti-Crusader: Mikey Weinstein fights those who push evangelical Christianity in the military—and draws decidedly unchristian responses. What it does on its own — strategic bombing — isn't suited to modern warfare; what it does well — its tactical support missions — could be better managed by the Army and Navy: It's time to break up the Air Force. I Want You... Badly: A complete guide to Uncle Sam's recruiting incentives.

Research finds that college students’ choice of social networking sites — including Facebook, MySpace and Xanga — is related to their race, ethnicity and parents’ education. Is Facebook the next Google? The social networking site tries to become an ad-sales behemoth. Yes, Google is trying to take over the world: Next step — take out Ma Bell. Boing Boing TV: A new Web video endeavor about nothing. The new online star system: This is the year that Web video got really smart — and addictive. Here’s what’s worth a click. All the right notes: A jokey guitar ballad gains a cult following on the Internet. The wireless disconnect: A negative, paranoid attitude is displacing the optimistic ethos the internet once promised.

From Colorlines, a special issue on race and cops. Forty acres and a gap in wealth: We can’t afford to wait any longer to address the causes of persistent poverty among most black families. Blackface has been kept in a box labeled Things We Don't Talk About ever since the Civil Rights era — here's why it still matters to American culture.  A majority of black Americans blame individual failings — not racial prejudice — for the lack of economic progress by lower-income African Americans, according to a survey (and more on one race, divisible). According to a recent nationwide survey, more than a third of black respondents said that their community is now so diverse that it can no longer can be thought of as a single race. How race is lived in America: Gerald Boyd was the Jackie Robinson of the New York Times. He dreamed of going all the way to the top. He got close. Then he took a tragic fall. A review of One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life — A Story of Race and Family Secrets by Bliss Broyard. From Cracked, a look at the 9 most racist Disney characters.

From Psychology Today, when to choose is to lose: In a world of plenty, wanting the best can bring out the worst in us; variety is the spice of life, but too much spice can leave your tongue on fire — Americans have too many things to choose from, and the result is a society of stressed-out and unsatisfied customers; and a look at how to be satisfied with your decisions. A review of A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives by Cordelia Fine. Denial makes the world go round: The ability to look the other way, while potentially destructive, is also critically important to forming and nourishing close relationships. Peter Singer on the high cost of feeling low.  A review of The Culture of Our Discontent: Beyond the Medical Model of Mental Illness by Meredith F. Small. An excerpt from Surviving America's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy by Bruce E. Levine.

A review of Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life by Harry Mount. After half a century of decline, when the teaching of Latin retreated to a few small brave frontier outposts — American prep schools, British public schools and the Vatican — is it back? Hello or hola? For speakers of both English and Spanish, quickly deciding which language to use can be tricky — there are plenty of cues. A review of Talking Proper: The Rise and Fall of Accent as a Social Symbol by Lynda Mugglestone. Plain English gets harder in global era: Jokes, sarcasm and idioms complicate language. From Cracked, here are 9 words that don't mean what you think.

From The Weekly Standard, Generation Vex: P.J. O'Rourke on the (really) long goodbye of the Baby Boomers; and William Kristol on the Not-So-Great Generation: The boomers will be best remembered for their self-glorification.  Hard to say "goodbye": Andrew Sullivan argues that electing a post-boomer president will turn the page on the culture wars — but it will take more than a generational shift to change politics. The youth vote, the culture wars, and Barack Obama: Young voters are particularly important in this election, not because they alone will pick the next president, but because of what their increasingly progressive attitudes suggest about the evolution of politics. An excerpt from The Second Civil War by Ronald Brownstein. An interview with Bruce Ledewitz, author of American Religious Democracy: Coming to Terms with the End of Secular Politics. A review of Praise from a Future Generation: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the First Generation Critics of the Warren Report by John Kelin. A review of America's Three Regimes: A New Political History by Morton Keller.

From TNR, Drew Westen on how the media marginalizes opposition to the Iraq war by parroting Republican talking points. The damage done: Anne Applebaum on how the war in Iraq has hurt America. An accident waiting to happen: The actual federal budget costs due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to be far in excess of what the numbers show. Things are looking up: Statistics indicate a brighter tomorrow afternoon in Iraq. Christopher Hitchens on something to give thanks for: Good news from Iraq. From Foreign Policy, here are five reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving: From Baghdad to Islamabad, doom and gloom dominate today’s headlines — and yet, a peek beneath the daily drumbeat reveals a world that may never have been better.  The opposite of Thanksgiving: The modern holiday would horrify the Puritans, who observed a tradition that was quiet, deeply religious, and concerned with betterment, not bounty.

From Fast Capitalism, Paul Taylor (Leeds): Pattern Recognition in Fast Capitalism: Calling Literary Time on the Theorists of Flux; Steve Redhead (Brighton): The Art of the Accident: Paul Virilio and Accelerated Modernity; Robert Babe (UWO): The Political Economy of Knowledge: Neglecting Political Economy in the Age of Fast Capitalism (as Before); and Joan Acker (Oregon): Talking About Gender, Race and Class: Bringing Capitalism Back In. From Borderlands, a special issue on Postcolonial Politics, including Mark Devenney (Brighton): Thinking the Postcolonial as Political; Suvendrini Perera (CUT): Scarred Geographies: War, Space, Postcolony; Lorenzo Veracini (ANU): Settler Colonialism and Decolonisation; Sudesh Mishra (Deakin): Heterographies and Other Assemblages; and Simone Drichel (Otago): Of Political Bottom Lines and Last Ethical Frontiers: The Politics and Ethics of "the Other". Bernadette A. Meyler (Cornell): The Limits of Group Rights: Religious Institutions and Religious Minorities in International Law. Gila Stopler (Ramat Gan): 1) Contextualizing Multiculturalism: A Three Dimensional Examination of Multicultural Claims; (2) The Liberal Bind: The Conflict between Women's Rights and Patriarchal Religion in the Liberal State; and (3) A Feminist Perspective on Natality Policies in Multicultural Societies.