From Tablet, Adam Kirsch on Soviet Russia's short-lived Jewish renaissance. Spreading Europe's poison: Blaming the USSR for the second world war is not only absurd — it boosts the heirs of the Nazis' wartime collaborators. Stalinism as bad as Nazism?: Europe’s memory war rages on. Gal Beckerman reviews The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes. A review of Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from the Revolution to the Death of Stalin by David King. Postmodern Stalinism: Revisionist histories help revive his reputation in Russia. Hoxha on Stalin: Two of Europe's most malignant egos converge in the Albanian dictator's fond memoir of the Soviet despot. Stalin, a hero for our time: The myth of Russia’s beautiful past has gripped the popular imagination, thanks to state propaganda. From History Today, haunted by Stalin: Catherine Merridale examines competing versions of Russia's troubled past in the light of present politics. Despite outward appearances, Russia remains dangerously close to a serious breakdown of authority, and President Dmitri Medvedev must act now to help struggling company towns. The Memory Trap: Why remembrance of past imperial glory holds back Russia today. A new two-volume history of Russia’s turbulent 20th century is being hailed inside and outside the country as a landmark contribution to the swirling debate over Russia’s past and national identity. Russia's growing authoritarianism has disrupted historians trying to discover the truth about the Soviet Union; Donald Rayfield bemoans the closing of the archives.

From The New Yorker, an interactive portfolio of portraits by Platon of world leaders, with commentary by the photographer. The first chapter from A Very Brief History of Eternity by Carlos Eire (and more and more). From, Slavoj Zizek on denial, the liberal utopia. Thirsty after that run?: Why not down a DMZ? Tariq Ramadan on how his compatriots' vote to ban minarets is fuelled by fear. Archbishop Mauro Piacenza says priests need Rambo-esque spiritual muscle. The Lehman Brothers of the Persian Gulf: Dubai assumes it's too big to fail — we'll see about that (and more and more). My night among the naked women: Nipple derbies aren’t tough to find in America, but novelist Daniel Wallace had never been to one before, even when he lived in a stripper house. From Commentary, David Phillips on the illegal-settlements myth: Jewish neighborhoods, towns, and cities in the West Bank may be controversial, but they do not transgress international law. Loneliness is contagious: People who feel isolated may spread mistrust of social connections. How black is he? Whether or not you agree with Obama's politics may influence how dark- or light-skinned you think he is. The remote Christmas Island seeks a boom without a bust. Does Jesus have cooties? Simcha Fisher investigates. James Surowiecki on why the Chinese don’t spend. Parents don't have a right to get on a jet with unruly children — in fact, they're stealing from the rest of us. Part-time paparazzi: "The veteran was right — this job has nothing to do with art". The irresistible itch: A review of Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters by Alexander Brown.

From Rolling Stone, an interview with Al Gore. Brian Appleyard exposed himself to any journalist’s worst nightmare — very thoughtful, intelligent people — and changed his mind about global warming. From Scientific American, here are seven answers to climate contrarian nonsense (and more and more and more). Ronald Bailey on the scientific tragedy of Climategate: Can climate change science recover from the damage done by leaked emails? Here’s the email you’d need to see to show that manmade global warming is a scam. Patent Lies: Who says saving the planet has to cost a fortune? Tyler Hamilton on why media tell climate story poorly. Four writers report on the climate changes they’ve experienced close to home. A review of Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water in the West by James Lawrence Powell. Is Europe really on track to meet its Kyoto goals? Global Warring: Don't militarize the climate debate. While all agree that the world is warming, large areas of conflict still exist; the FT asks experts for their thoughts and fears. From New Matilda, why can't we all just agree? As far as climate change is concerned, it remains unclear whether international law will be part of the solution or part of the problem (and whether government action is worse than global warming); and Aron Paul writes in defence of One World Government. We are proving ourselves to be arrogant fools: If we fail to act, we deserve everything coming our way. A look at how understanding the human mind might save the world from CO2. Hacking the Planet: Ready or not, here comes Earth 2.0.

Michael Moore as a sign of things to come for Obama: A prominent liberal breaks, in a big way, with the president over his Afghanistan policy. The Left fights itself: A review of The Left at War by Michael Berube (and more by Kevin Mattson). Bruce Reed on why Obama supporters ought to count their blessings. Obama lost, Obama found: Can he shed his brand, alienate the public, and by doing so become a great president? Jacob Weisberg on Obama's brilliant first year: By January, he will have accomplished more than any first-year president since FDR. Popularity contest: Has Obama gone too far? John Harris on 7 stories Barack Obama doesn't want told (and a response). If each liberal "special interest" group is actually just in it alone, what's the point of a common ideology? As an attempt to gain electoral advantage by demagogically short-circuiting open-ended public debate, the appeal to common sense deserves to be repudiated by all intellectually honest participants in American politics. Can populism be liberal? The GOP has owned it since Nixon — Democrats would have to return to the New Deal to recapture it. A populist Frankenstein: Mix Lou Dobbs’ brain, Sarah Palin’s sensual warmth, and Glenn Beck’s acting skills, and you’ve got one scary political monster (and more). Rightbloggers lament the persecution of Palin. An article on Matt Continetti defending Palin against her critics. The University of Alaska Southeast is now touting Professor Clive Thomas as a one-stop Palin expert, the first Palinologist. Sam Tanenhaus reviews Palin's Going Rogue  (and more). The Next Paris Hilton: Why Sarah Palin isn’t going away any time soon.