From The Monkey Cage, are Republicans more likely to have affairs and get divorces?; and a look at the wit and humor of political science: "The Hobbesian World of Democrats". This week in conservative taxonomy: "premods", "pomocons" and "prefab cons". From The Atlantic, an interview with pomocon James Poulos (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5). More with Poulos and the predicament of the individual. When will computers be smarter than us? Nick Bostrom investigates. Paint that pig: If you want to know what's wrong with the current state of America's political discourse, check out the Nico Pitney-Dana Milbank Smackdown. “You goin’ get him?”: The sociocultural significance of Donald Duck vs. Daffy Duck. David Roberts on why we overestimate the costs of climate change legislation. Capitalism in Wonderland: Why mainstream economists can't deal with the ecological crisis. The United States is experiencing what Japan did in the 1990s, but seven times faster. The appearance of a new economics journal seldom makes waves — the new Annual Review of Economics, edited by Kenneth Arrow, probably will. A review of The Evolution of God by Robert Wright (and more and more and more and more and more). What would your nugget of philosophy be? Four panellists give their views.

From The Economist, a review essay on the credit crunch. Robert Skidelsky reviews Fixing Global Finance by Martin Wolf. I, Toaster: British artist Thomas Thwaites inadvertently brings Leonard Read's classic essay "I, Pencil" to life. From Slate, here are six nonmilitary ways the president can influence Iran; and a look at how Obama is using the media to destroy and improve the traditional press conference. Carlin Romano on Obama, Philosopher-in-Chief. Politics of personal perfection: Let’s be honest — Barack Obama is better than you are. Rising Costs: Are Democrats sacrificing too much in order to pass health care reform? How to deal with a bad review: Tempting as it is, it's really not a good idea to attack your critics. A review of Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves. An article on the island of St. Helena, the world’s best-kept travel secret. An interview with Gary Shteyngart on the search for authenticity and the evolving task of travel writers. How to write a bad travel story: Sure, you could write a compelling story, but why, when you could just as easily write a snoozer? Researching her novel in five different London hotels made Monica Ali appreciate why they are such a rich source of stories and characters for writers (and from Bookforum, a review of Ali's In the Kitchen).

From Foreign Affairs, a review essay on how to succeed in Afghanistan; and which way is history marching? A review of The Legacy of George W. Bush's Foreign Policy: Moving beyond Neoconservatism by Ilan Peleg. How George Bush viewed the world — as witnessed by Timothy Garton Ash (and more). With the Iranian election, we've seen a privately owned technology becoming a vital part of the infrastructure supporting political activity — that's a problem. If the Iranian regime didn't fear women, it wouldn't bother to repress them. Will the cat above the precipice fall down?: Slavok Zizek on Iran. From Cardus, an article on religion and democracy: Habermas vs. Flores d'Arcais. Sweetness and Spite: RJ Stove on the forgotten pleasures of light verse. From Vanity Fair, an interview with Nancy Reagan. Despite its drawbacks, democracy is the right system for running a country — it just doesn't stack up as the best way of choosing a poetry professor. Letting Ordinary Joe loose on the nation: Radio producers think phone-in shows are democratic — in truth they’re stuffed with whiny, cliched invective. Dan Ariely on how we’re swayed by confidence more than expertise. From Sirens, herea are 5 reasons we still need feminism. The Susan Boyle Experience: What the wildly popular video clip was all about.

From NYRB, Michael Chabon on Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood (and from Bookforum, a review of Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen's Union). From Prospect, American authors enjoy the world’s best supported literary culture, but the latest generation seems hobbled by ease and self-congratulation. Real life isn't a gossip blog: Perez Hilton brings his Internet persona out on the town and gets clocked accordingly. A look at how celebrities stay famous regardless of talent. It Came from Wasilla: Todd Purdum on Sarah Palin. Forget the broader implications for the GOP — Mark Sanford's public breakdown was a human drama all its own (and more). The definitive guide to randy Republicans: Rating the greatest GOP sex scandals of the past 20 years. From The New York Times Magazine, a cover story on G.M., Detroit and the fall of the black middle class. A very intellectual bust up: Malcolm Gladwell vs Chris Anderson. Philip Ball debates science and religion with Sam Harris (and more). A review of Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? by Judith Butler. A review of Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich. The first chapter from Inventing Equal Opportunity by Frank Dobbin. Here's an appreciation of "Conan the Barbarian" — seriously.