From FDL, a book salon on Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy by Sophia McClennen. Greg Braxton on Bill Maher, liberals’ profane Comic in Chief. Why most celebs are for Obama: It's no secret that popular culture is dominated by liberals — the reasons why might surprise you. Cornel West plans to vote for Obama in November and protest his policies in February. Ryan Teague Beckwith on Barack Obama, the first meme president. Daniel Shaviro on the moral and political philosophy of Mitt Romney. By not voting, or by voting for a third party candidate who will not win, Christians not only abandon 50% of their popular ability to stop violations of human dignity in the political sphere, but also implicitly grant evil a victory. Bruce Wilson on how almost 1.4 million pledge to vote for Jesus as write-in presidential candidate in 2012 election. John Heilemann on the waitress-mom war: In the swing states, women are the swingers. From the World Socialist Web Site, with just weeks to go before the US presidential election on November 6, the Nation magazine is ramping up its campaign for the reelection of Obama. Our political Pravda: With the election approaching, Americans are being spun like pinwheels, and media fact-checkers are struggling to keep up.

Gaia Bernstein (Seton Hall): Ordinary People and the Promotion of Progress. From Popular Mechanics, what happens when a super storm strikes New York? A lesson from ecological marxism: The specifics are up for debate, but it appears that governments are the best lever at our disposal to bypass the market imperatives that prevent us all from acting in the interests of humans and nature. Matthew M. Mesley reviews Sex Before Sexuality: A Premodern History by Kim M. Phillips and Barry Reay. John Petkovic on how Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is radical tip of wide range of political thought. Let’s jump off the fiscal cliff: Bank CEOs want you to think reducing the deficit requires avoiding the fiscal cliff — don’t believe them. Ron Rosenbaum on Lewis Lapham’s antidote to the age of BuzzFeed: With his erudite Quarterly, the legendary Harper’s editor aims for an antidote to digital-age ignorance. The preface from Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play by James C. Scott. Fade to light: One of the most terrifying aspects of Alzheimer's disease is that those afflicted can seldom tell us what it is like.

From io9, George Dvorsky on how to live forever by turning your brain into plastic. The marketplace in your brain: Neuroscientists have found brain cells that compute value — why are economists ignoring them? A review of The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning by Daniel Bor. You're far less in control of your brain than you think, study finds. The brain trust: Columbia’s Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative is probing the final frontier — the space between our ears. Mark Buchanan on how hacking the human brain can save civilization. Virtual brain technology to work: A powerful new approach to artificial intelligence is ready to improve many Google products. David Deutsch on how philosophy will be the key that unlocks artificial intelligence: AI is achievable, but it will take more than computer science and neuroscience to develop machines that think like people. Creative blocks: The very laws of physics imply that artificial intelligence must be possible — what's holding us up? (and a response by Ben Goertzel) Alexander Kruel on why he’s skeptical about risks from AI.

Pat Oglesby (CNR): Gangs, Ganjapreneurs, or Government: Marijuana Revenue Up for Grabs. From the forthcoming book The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court's Decision and Its Implications, Neil Siegel (Duke): More Law than Politics: The Chief, The “Mandate”, Legality, and Statesmanship. From The Atlantic Monthly, a special issue on Brave Thinkers 2012. From Radical Philosophy, what is Pussy Riot’s “idea”? Maria Chehonadskih wonders. Monopoly is theft: Christopher Ketcham on the antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game. Who is the real Mario Vargas Llosa? David T. Rowlands deplores his politics, yet cannot help admiring his fiction. When taxes are high, raising them hurts — when they’re low, not so much. Will Ohio State’s football team decide who wins the White House? Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier on how politically irrelevant events — like a college football game — can determine who wins an election. The Singularity is a progressive apocalypse: Nikola Danaylov interviews Cory Doctorow. Todd Harrison on why it’s a myth that market competition drives down weapons cost.

From In These Times, Peter Frase and Bhaskar Sunkara on the Welfare State of America: A manifesto on building social democracy in the age of austerity (and a response by Frances Fox Piven). Beyond the welfare state: Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson on Rawls’s radical vision for a better America. The rich and the rest: American inequality is a tale of two countries. J. Bradford DeLong on America, land of inequality. Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has posted a breakdown of the "47 percent" of Americans (actually, 46 percent) who don't pay federal income taxes. From Vanity Fair, William D. Cohan and Bethany McLean go inside Jamie Dimon’s post-London Whale rallying. The Randian and the Bailout: Bob Benmosche was perfectly happy to while away his retirement on his Croatian vineyard — but the image of AIG employees being beaten up for their bonuses was just too much to bear. William D. Cohan how to crash an economy and escape the scene. William Pesek on putting America’s bankers out of business now. The critic Wall Street loves to lunch with: Noreen Malone on Felix Salmon’s foppish war on the banks.

Betsy Masiello and Derek Slater (Google): Embracing an Innovation Stimulus Package. Benoit Dupont (Montreal): Skills and Trust: A Tour Inside the Hard Drives of Computer Hackers. Silicon Valley’s sought-after Y Combinator is where kids with start-up dreams can vie to become the next Dropbox, Airbnb, or OMGPOP. The internet has created a new industrial revolution: An excerpt from Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson. Justin Fox on why data will never replace thinking. Interstellar Hard Drive: Giles Turnbull on the search for storage beyond the cloud. The myth of technological progress: The history of technology holds some salutary lessons for anyone who blithely believes there is a high-tech fix for all our 21st-century problems. Failure is a feature: Ben Popper on how Google stays sharp gobbling up startups. Roberto Baldwin on 12 of the world’s most annoying technologies. Could the Internet ever “wake up”? Dan Falk wonders. Empowering “things” for our Internet of things: In much the same way that we now expect every child’s toy to talk, in the future, we will expect virtually everything we own to be connected to the Internet.

John H. Morgan (GTF): The Personal Meaning of Social Values in the Work of Abraham Maslow. Jack El-Hai on Joseph Jastrow, America’s first pop psychologist. Michael Barker interviews Kees Van Der Pijl on foundations of social change. From Liberty, Andrew Ferguson on the Intelligent Person's Guide to Presidential Politics. Mission accomplished for Big Oil: Greg Muttitt on how an American disaster paved the way for Big Oil’s rise — and possible fall — in Iraq. The problem with hook up culture, then, is not that people are friends with benefits — it’s that they’re not. Felix Salmon says CEOs’ deficit manifesto is “gross self-interest masquerading as public statesmanship”. A mapmaker takes on the world: Connie Brown's personalized maps are celebratory "portraits" painstakingly plotted on canvas. When Aaron Blaisdell is not organizing the biggest event in the Paleosphere, he can be found at UCLA where he applies his background in Biological Anthropology and Behavioral Neuroscience to study the relationship between associative and cognitive processes in animal models. Frederick Clarkson on Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Not so moderate.

A new issue of Griffith Review is out. Timothy M. Devinney (UTS) and Pat Auger (Melbourne): What Matters to Australians: Social, Economic and Political Values. Has any country ever been so kind? The measure of any country is its compassion, and Australians have shown we've got bucketloads of the stuff. The discovery of a swivel gun on a Darwin beach has resurrected claims that the Portuguese reached Australia in the 16th century — does the hypothesis stand analysis, or is it a tantalising myth? Australia creates world's first continental-scale mineral maps. James Rose on Australia’s immigration battle. Why Australia’s Security Council bid was a mistake: Starved of funds, Australia’s foreign affairs department has spread itself far too thinly since Kevin Rudd launched the bid, writes Danielle Cave. Tales of colonial blackbirding have led to renewed ties between Australian South Sea Islanders and Pacific communities. Myths, markets and moral panics: Tony Smith reviews Larrikins: A History by Melissa Bellanta. Coal-fired Australia, buffeted by climate change, enacts carbon tax. Sex Down Under: Zora Simic reviews The Sex Lives of Australians: A History by Frank Bongiorno.

A special alcohol consumption issue of the Annals of Improbable Research is now online. "We always hoped our daughter would not marry outside of our race": Diane Farr on confronting racism in surprising places. Angela Cirucci interviews Terence P. Moran, author of Introduction to The History of Communication: Evolutions and Revolutions. If massacres like Cromwell's avert suffering, perhaps they can be justified. Clelia Delbarre, Erdal Kaynar, and Marc Aymes review Ataturk: An Intellectual Biography by M. Sukru Hanioglu. Four decades after break-in, Watergate investigator James Hamilton talks about his role. Steven Levitt says that he has a “good indicator” that Aaron Edlin, Noah Kaplan, Nate Silver, and Andrew Gelman are “not so smart”. No habla espanol: Ruth Samuelson on how the new Latino media universe is young, political, and all-American. An excerpt from The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies by David Thomson. How history shaped Barack Obama’s view of national identity: Robin Lindley interviews Ian Reifowitz, author of Obama’s America: A Transformative Vision of our National Identity (and more).

From The Conversation, Clive Phillips on animal welfare: an urgent issue with a long, slow solution; and think humans are special? Like the animals we eat, we’re meat too. William A. Searcy reviews Calls Beyond Our Hearing: Unlocking the Secrets of Animal Voices by Holly Menino. Animal intelligence: Edward A. Wasserman and Leyre Castro on how we discover how smart animals really are. Wild justice: A bull burned at the stake, a swarm of locusts excommunicated — animal trials were once surprisingly common. A review The Primate Mind: Built to Connect with Other Minds, ed. Frans B. M. de Waal and Pier Francesco Ferrari. Do animals get depressed? Primates, rodents may show signs of sadness, study suggests. Can technology help us put an end to animal experimentation? Laura Kiesel on why environmentalists should care about pet euthanasia. What do animals think of their dead? Tuomas W. Manninen reviews The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. How do we judge nonhuman beings’ personhood? Jonathan Lyons investigates. Morgan Pettersson interviews Becky Crew, author of Zombie Tits, Astronaut Fish and Other Weird Animals.