Sen. Tom Udall will call on the Senate to exercise its constitutional right to adopt its rules of procedure by a simple majority vote. Let the Majority Rule: Why the filibuster is OK for Democrats but not for Republicans. Thomas Geoghegan on the case for busting the filibuster. The belief that the filibuster is okay, but minority parties should just use it less often and start acting nicer is the equivalent of the belief that the financial system was totally fine, there just needs to be less greed and more caution. Daniel Franklin on getting rid of the U.S. Senate, a dangerous (and undemocratic) institution (and more). From The Nation, Lawrence Lessig on how to get our democracy back: There will be no change until we change Congress. A study in paralysis: The fate of health-care reform is a test-case in how initiatives fail — is it also a sign of much deeper trouble in America’s political system? (and more) The curse of one-party government: Neither party, even if it holds a congressional majority, can by itself command a governing majority. Cenk Uygur on how bipartisanship hurts the country. Nice guys finish last: What Obama could learn from Bush about bipartisanship. Why Democrats and Republicans can't agree on what bipartisanship means. Steven Pearlstein on the myth of Washington bipartisanship and the art of true compromise. A review of No Middle Ground: How Informal Party Organizations Control Nominations and Polarize Legislatures by Seth E. Masket. A review of "Partisanship, Political Control, and Economic Assessments" by Alan Gerber and Gregory Huber. Why politics is stuck in the middle: Economists view politics through the ”median voter theorem”, which holds that candidates can’t stray far from the center if they want to be elected. America says it wants a third party — why not the Modern Whigs?
From Publishers Weekly, where have all the flowers gone? Gardeners aren't only eating their veggies, they're planting them, too. The real secret of the intelligence community is that these people aren’t Machiavellian geniuses; they’re bumbling shitheads, just like most government functionaries — or, for that matter, most people. From IEET, an article on Stefano Vaj and the complicated politics of Italian transhumanism (and a response). An interview with Peter Thiel: Utopian pessimist calls on radical tech to save economy. Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead: Why business professors, ethnomusicologists, sociologists, and (of all things) management theorists are suddenly taking the Grateful Dead very seriously. Tom Engelhardt on Fear Inc.: Hold onto your underwear — this is not a national emergency. From Vanity Fair, the most audacious burglary gang in recent Hollywood history — accused of stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and other stars — appears to be a bunch of club-hopping Valley kids, motivated by vanity and celebrity-worship; and long wary of the very idea of audiobooks, Christopher Hitchens has been seduced by the artistry of Martin Jarvis, who reads a canon that includes The Wind in the Willows, A Tale of Two Cities, and (acid test here) the novels of P. G. Wodehouse. From TNR, a review of Is Diss A System?: The Milt Gross Comic Reader (and from Bookforum, Karin L. Kross reviews Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean). From TNR, Abbas Milani on how Iran found its Nelson Mandela in Mir Hossein Mousavi. A look at how a $100 DIY shelter could help homeless Haitians.
Patriarchy and historical materialism: Why does the world have the pattern of patriarchy it currently possesses? Here's an interesting trend in South America: Increased female participation in the halls of power. A review of On Civic Friendship: Including Women in the State by Sibyl A. Schwarzenbach. A review of Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win by Anne E. Kornblut (and more and more). The Hillary Effect: Women secretaries of state are changing the gender makeup of the world's ambassadors — so why are we talking about it in the Style section? An excerpt from The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory by Catherine S. Ramirez. A review of The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change by Angela McRobbie. From Bitch, veiled threat: An article on the guerrilla graffiti of Princess Hijab. Exile from Grrrlville: What happened to all the angry, powerful women in '90s rock? (and an interview with Kathleen Hanna, three-dimensional role model) From grrrls to womyn: A review of Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music by Marisa Meltzer. A review of Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism by Alison Piepmeier. An interview with Jennifer Stuller, author of Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology. Female celebrities inevitably turn into role models for young women — what needs to change is our expectation that they be perfect. A review of Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter. Free markets, freed bodies: The fashion industry's beauty standards are horrifying; it's time to stop buying in — literally — to that culture. The shrinking woman: Mona Awad on how fad diets conquer our dignity, not our fat. A review of Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer. Who knew? Facial hair is, apparently, a feminist issue. Can dating books be feminist?
From Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi on Wall Street's Bailout Hustle: Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy — they're re-creating the conditions for another crash. How the Frisbee took flight: It began with two sweethearts tossing a tin lid in 1937 and ended up a testament to the American Dream. Don't touch that dial: Vaughan Bell on a history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook. A review of The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr by Ken Gormley (and more and more and more). Ken Starr, ivory tower elitist: Bill Clinton's tormentor is only the latest right-wing icon to find a home in academia. From Forbes, a special report on the Web Celeb 25. Celebrating Candomble in Bahia: Henry Louis Gates Jr. investigates the African roots of Brazil’s Carnival. The Holy See’s official newspaper, L’ Osservatore Romano, publishes what it called “a semiserious guide” to the top ten rock and pop albums of all time. From TNR, a review of Voting Rights — And Wrongs: The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections by Abigail Thernstrom; and Rochelle Gurstein on a rational plan for redistributing babies. From Le Monde, Alain Badiou on the courage of the present. A look at what Sen. Evan Bayh and Joe the Plumber have in common. Get politically engaged, get happy?: Political activists — even the angry ones, but not the daring ones — are happier than the average person. Slate introduces The Hive, seeking your best new ideas to solve the world's trickiest problems. The Boys from Brazil: Why American rodeos are taking on a Latin flair.
A review of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It by James Wesley Rawles. From ACME, James Lewis (Datum) and Ilan Kelman (CICER): Places, People and Perpetuity: Community Capacities in Ecologies of Catastrophe. A review of The End is Nigh: A History of Natural Disasters by Henrik Svensen. An interview with Susan Hough, author of Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction (and more and more). From the San Andreas fault to southern Ontario, signs of earthquakes — past and future — are everywhere. David Sirota on our addiction to disaster porn. What happens when disaster goes viral? A look at how disasters are not rare, so prepare. From Popular Mechanics, self reliance can get you through any disaster: Our complex world is more disaster-prone than ever — but there’s plenty we can do about it; an article on The New Homesteaders: Off-the-grid and self-reliant; a history of self-reliance timeline; an article on 4 people who faced disaster, and how they made it out alive; and here are 5 unexpected survival kit essentials. A look at 7 common survival tactics (that will get you killed). Read this in case of emergency: Can a book teach you how to survive? Legacy of the Stone-Age Mind: Research suggests we remember better when we’re in survival mode. Lisa Darms on how stories of survival and cruelty are often set on an island; the following books take the island as a narrative constraint, a limited setting that unleashes the authors' and characters' imaginations. Could you survive without money?: In Utah, a modern-day caveman has lived for the better part of a decade on zero dollars a day (and more). The New Do-It-Yourselfers: Today’s economy is forcing just about everyone to pinch pennies in increasingly creative ways. Rick Newman on 21 things we're learning to live without.