From CQ Politics, more on the increasing relevance of the Center of American Progress. Economic advisers to President-elect Barack Obama marched into the spotlight last week — who knew that there would be so many of them? Lessons from 40 years of education "reform": Let's abolish local school districts and finally adopt national standards. Once a quixotic slogan, the idea of actually dismantling every nuclear weapon is attracting mainstream policy thinkers. Matthew Yglesias on how to repair our relationship with Europe. A review of Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme by Calvin Trillin. Michael Phillips and Keith Sutherland. All the presidents' books: Barack Obama isn't the first American president to cause tremors in the literary world. Figures of Subjective Destiny: Alain Badiou on Samuel Beckett, and 35 propositions from Logiques des mondes. From Metapsychology, a review of Radical Alterity by Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume; a review of Forgiveness: How Religion Endangers Morality by R. A. Sharpe; a review of Happiness: A Revolution in Economics by Bruno S. Frey; and a review of America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction by Brian Alexander. Some might call it prostitution; Melissa Beech calls it a "mutually beneficial arrangement" that pays for her killer wardrobe. Why are Christians having better sex than the rest of us?  

From The American Conservative, a special issue on the legacy of George W. Bush. From The Economist, a special report on Russia. From The National, the situation in Afghanistan is not as bad as you've heard, it's worse — Nir Rosen reports; and angry young men: A review of The China Fantasy: Why Capitalism Will Not Bring Democracy to China by James Mann and Chinese Cyber Nationalism: Evolution, Characteristics, and Implications by Xu Wu. From In Character, a special issue on forgiveness, including essays by Theodore Dalrymple and Michael Dirda. From NYRB, a review of Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947–1963 by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff (and more from Bookforum); and Orhan Pamuk on his Turkish library. Amazon Warriors: Thanks to the Internet, everyone's a book critic. The ideas of the pioneering anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss still inform contemporary understandings of the human mind and its cultures, says Dan Sperber. Why piracy pays: An interview with Peter Lesson, author of The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates. Why don't we hang pirates anymore? Bret Stephens wants to know. Noam Chomsky on the election, economy, war, and peace. Jeffrey Leonard on the $30 billion rebate: Why car buyers, not car companies, should get a bailout.

From The National Interest, Daniel Drezner on oil dependence as virtue: It turns out, a world without oil dependence is a world that doesn’t need an American superpower; a review of books on the Arab center; Jacob Heilbrunn on Reflections from the Right: A review of books; a review of Will Terrorists Go Nuclear? by Brian Michael Jenkins; and terrorists are getting creative — what can we do about it? "Our culture is better": An interview with Geert Wilders, champion of freedom or anti-Islamic provocateur? Do conflicts cause poverty, or vice-versa? Democratic doubt: What happens when political freedom unleashes epic violence? An interview with James M. McPherson, author of Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. Left Turn Ahead: William Appleman Williams and Gabriel Kolko impart vital lessons for the Right. Michael Dirda reviews The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God, and Evil by Steven Nadler. A review of The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism by Edward Feser. Next year In Birobidzhan: An article on Stalin’s Siberian Zion. The next thing in student loans: Investors pay your bills — you give them a share of your future. A review of Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England by Bruce Redford. More and more and more on Stop Me If You’ve Heard This by Jim Holt.

From Dissent, a symposium on The First 100 Days; and the world's warden: Crime, punishment, and politics in the United States. From Radical Middle, an article on making the U.S. justice system less mechanistic and more compassionate. Sympathy for the Devil: Crime stats say L.A.'s streets are safer than ever, so why are gang hoods still so bloody? What is life really like for the police who tackle serious crime? Louis Theroux found out. From TNR, better than a bailout: Here's how to rescue Detroit without forcing them into bankruptcy; an the Great Detroit Paradox: How much of the blame should fall on the unions? From Triple Canopy, the gift of eternal life: A filmmaker visits the Holy Land Experience theme park, where Christ is crucified twice a day; specters of a young Earth: The dinosaurs at Kentucky’s Creation Museum are stalking evolution, reason, and the American city; and currents in logic made ancient, for OS 9 — an artist project bringing together the fragments of Heraclitus and the calculus of truth tables. The ghost of cotton: How vanished plantations still shape American voting. A review of Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton (and more and more; and more from Bookforum). Google’s Gatekeepers: Nicole Wong and her colleagues decide what the world can see on YouTube — are they also determining the limits of free speech?