Why aren't US students rioting over crazy tuition hikes like college kids in Europe? An interview with Edward J. Carvalho and David B. Downing, authors of Academic Freedom in the Post 9/11 Era. The fruits of Californication: The Golden State's mix of public planning, spin-off innovation and private excellence has made it one of the global academy's powerhouses — but funding cuts threaten the University of California's pre-eminence and the precious balance of an interconnected system. The assault on ethnic studies is unwise and undemocratic. Boxing proves a hit for French sociologist: The experience of being a novice boxer in a gym in Chicago encouraged Loic Wacquant to punch out a book. The New UN University: It’s not exactly Model UN, but since November the United Nations has given colleges a new way to work with the organization. Stop defending the liberal arts: Mary Crane cares deeply about disciplines that feel under attack, but thinks they would be better served by focusing on improving them. Universities throughout the world are becoming part of a global community — is this "McDonaldisation" a negative phenomenon? Jonathan Fitzgerald on God, money, and power beneath the Empire State Building. The perils of unleashing students' skepticism: Doubt can become a Frankenstein that turns on its creator. Does pushing higher education for everyone actually make it tougher for poor students to enter the middle class?

Graeme D. Orr (Queensland): A Fetishised Gift: The Legal Status of Flags. From The Economist, a debate: How does inequality matter? Tiny houses are seen as an antidote to rampant consumerism — what a crock! Nudge on Trial: Cass Sunstein defends the White House against a Republican attack. From Improbable Research, Marcel D. Waldinger, the go-to man for restless genital insights, also has insights about men who are allergic to their own semen; and Ig Nobel Prize winner Paul Bosland has bred yet another surprising jalapeno pepper. State of the World: Will 2011 be the next 1989? It was 350 years ago that Oliver Cromwell was convicted of treason and posthumously beheaded — but who was this reluctant republican and could he be the greatest politician in British history? A review of Lying and Deception: Theory and Practice by Thomas L. Carson. On public investment, Republicans again show they aren't serious. From Dissent, Peter Dreier on Glenn Beck’s attack on Frances Fox Piven. From Papyrus to iPad: Nicholas Carr on the evolution of reading. Obama's impossible dilemma in Egypt: Should America support the country’s president or its people? Bernard-Henri Levy has been indicted and faces trial January 28th, in Paris, for "Crimes Against the Intellect". Few are aware of the Coast Guard’s contributions to the success of the World Maritime University. From Esquire, is James Frey the most important writer in America?

Did you ever wonder why there are so few fundamental differences between Obama and Bush? Michael Lind on the five worldviews that define American politics. Stealing the Constitution: Garrett Epps goes inside the right's campaign to hijack our country's founding text — and how to fight back. A review of Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and The Making of America by Benjamin L Carp. A review of Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House by Richard Wolffe. White Flight: President Obama’s path to a second term may rely on states shaped by the same social forces he embodies (and more). All politics is cultural: Cultural not economic vocabularies separate liberals and conservatives. Peter Feld on the political de-branding of America. There be dragons: The allure and danger of the Tea Party movement. The practice of politics: We talk about "change" as something systemic, when we actually just want the policy pendulum to swing back our way. A review of George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait by Dan P. McAdams. Stanley Fish reviews America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin. What we're dealing with: The forums at and emails from Tea Party Nation betray the group's fundamentally twisted nature. From FDL, a book salon on Too Much Crazy by Tom Tomorrow. Tea Partyers don't actually care about "liberty" — but will the fact that they don't even want to end the drug war end their love affair with the libertarian elite? Obama’s speech problem: The president, it turns out, is not a great communicator.