An interview with Matthew Rothschild, author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression. A review of Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption by Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau. The Warrantless Debate Over Wiretapping: Philip Bobbitt on how there are many instances in which warrantless surveillance has been held to be permissible under the Fourth Amendment. Take Al Qaeda to Court: The United States does not need a new and untested detention system for terrorists. Amitai Etzioni on why terrorists are neither criminals nor soldiers. A review of The Al Qaeda Reader, ed. Raymond Ibrahim.

Wake up to reality — and sense: Four excerpts from Andrew Anthony's The Fallout: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence; Anthony is in a fury, but it is a neocon myth that the left has compromised its principles in its opposition to the war on terror; where we went wrong: Andrew Anthony is right: liberals have indeed failed. Just not in the way he thinks; guilt-ridden liberals need to start standing up for their ideals and values rather than falling out among themselves; but it's not worth the risk of intervening in the wretched response to Andrew Anthony's bookl and chill, Andrew: September 11 changed the world but only as much as you already wanted it to be changed. 

A review of The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization by Diana West. Political theory was uppermost at a recent AEI conference — it is, after all, a public-policy think tank. The question before the house: "Darwinism and Conservatism: Friends or Foes?"  An article on the paranoid style of movement conservatism. The man who has them nailed: Al Gore understands what a radical nihilist George W. Bush is.  There Is No Political Center, There Are No Centrists: "Centrism" is the creation of an inaccurate self-serving metaphor which marginalizes the progressive cause, and it is time to bury it. Are today's progressives yesterday's liberals? Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg debate.


From Sign and Sight, the time for philosophising is over": Philosopher Ernst Tugendhat on Heidegger, his students' trauma and the rest. A review of The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Volume 1 and Ethics and Politics: Selected Essays, Volume 2 by Alasdair MacIntyre. A review of Knowledge and Inquiry: Essays on the Pragmatism of Isaac Levi. A review of IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen. Enjoyable nonsense? Historical determinist theories provide a wonderful narrative, but are they any more than entertaining holiday reading?

The Enthusiast: Harvard biologist David Sinclair claims he can extend life span and treat diseases of aging. A review of The Evolving Brain: The Known and the Unknown by R. Grant Steen. A review of The Primacy of the Subjective: Foundations for a Unified Theory of Mind and Language by Nicholas Georgalis. He may be right. On the mystery of human consciousness: Philosophers and natural scientists regularly dismiss consciousness as irrelevant. However, even its critics agree that consciousness is less a problem than a mystery. One way into the mystery is through an understanding of autism. Research finds the area responsible for self-control in the human brain. A review of Philosophical Counselling and the Unconscious.

From Orion, Unplugged Schools: Education can ameliorate, or exacerbate, society's ills. Which will it be? A review of A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of America's Best High Schools by Alec Klein. When loving parents choose segregation: Schools and well-intentioned administrators can try to integrate all they want, but such efforts aren’t just being undermined by the courts. The real obstacle is much closer to home. A review of Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School To Remember by Michael Tisserand. Notes on a scandal: Restless Virgins: Love, Sex, and Survival at a New England Prep School, a book on Milton Academy, offers shocking insight into teens and sex.


How speaking — and misspeaking — provides a window into our mental activity: A review of Um...: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean by Michael Erard. The sign language of an isolated village sheds light on how the mind works: A review of Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind by Margalit Fox. A review of The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot. A review of The Book of General Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson.

New take on Puff The Magic Dragon: Children's book offers a new, drug-free take on the dragon made popular in the song by Peter, Paul and Mary. English folk songs are a cultural treasure comparable to Shakespeare – so why are they so under-appreciated? A review of The Folk Handbook.  A review of Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business: Why So Much Music You Hear Sucks by Hank Bordowitz. Music's New Mating Ritual: As genres are fused, cryptically named hybrids emerge; the story behind "gypsy punk"

The Shape of Thighs to Come: Those ripped six-pack abs? Over, guys. Ditto the bowling-ball breasts and jutting derrieres women have been acquiring. Fashion has declared them cliche, and if history is any guide, clothes make the mannequin. An article on Michael Vick and the Cult of the Spoiled Athlete. Designated Villain: Has George Steinbrenner taken the fun out of losing? A so-called sport that is elitist, sexist and racist, and fences off swathes of beautiful countryside for the privileged few. Can Richard Tomkins get over his golfing prejudices and join the club? 


From Dissent, No Refuge Here: Iraqis flee, but where? Hope and Despair in Divided Iraq: When describing Iraq, the word "peace" is seldom used. Truth be told, the Americans have restored order to many parts of the county. But Iraq remains fractured, and where new schools are built today, bombs could explode tomorrow. The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Elegies From an Iraqi Notebook: An Iraqi reporter chronicles life, love and death in Diyala Province. A Knife Under the Collarbone: Most soldiers in Iraq battle faceless IEDs. But in Fallujah, the fighting was hand to hand.

From The New Yorker, in a city run by people who have spent their lives endlessly reenacting their election as class president, Karl Rove was un-dull: he was the fabulist, boundary violator, autodidact, mean boy, schemer. Karl Rove dreamed of creating a "permanent Republican majority." But the era of conservative values that emerged in the 1990s is coming to a close. Death Grip by How Rove directed federal assets for GOP gains: Bush adviser's effort to promote the president and his allies was unprecedented in its reach. John Judis on how political psychology explains Bush's ghastly success.

A review of The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington by Robert D. Novak (and more). What is confidentiality? In the Libby case, Norman Pearlstine had to decide: A review of Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War Over Anonymous Sources. A journalist meditates on the wonders of balance and explores how it works: A review of Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense by Scott McCredie. 


From The Washington Monthly, forget neocons and theocons. It’s the money-cons who really run Bush’s Republican Party: A review of The Big Con; and a review of See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation by Thomas Geoghegan. The 2008 election may be about Iraq and George W. Bush and the housing market. But the future of U.S. politics is going to be which party helps people have babies. And that's up for grabs. A review of The Politics of Heaven: America in Fearful Times by Earl Shorris. 

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, many of New Orleans’ poorest residents still have not returned home. Surveys show that most want to go back, but feel they cannot because of a lack of affordable housing or the risk of interrupting their children’s schooling. Is this what some in the city actually wanted? Suffering a Slow Recovery: Failed rebuilding after Katrina sets off a mental health crisis in the Gulf. Something needs to be done. Who will step up to the plate and try to ease the already exhausting burden of the families of sick children?

From Forward, an excerpt from Aleph-Bet: An Alphabet for the Perplexed by Joshua Cohen; and a review of Creator, Are You Still Listening? Israeli Poets on God and Prayer. A review of Jews and Power by Ruth R. Wisse. "Jew-It-Yourself": An article on the philosophy behind new sites. A review of A Plausible God: Secular Reflections on Liberal Jewish Theology by Mitchell Silver.


The introduction to Demanding Work: The Paradox of Job Quality in the Affluent Economy by Francis Green.  A review of Deporting Our Souls: Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy by Bill Ong Hing. A review of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain. A review of Foreigners: Three English lives by Caryl Phillips. 

Form Scientific American, Take Nutrition Claims with a Grain of Salt: Dietary studies sponsored by the food industry are often biased; can fat be fit? A well-publicized study and a spate of popular books raise questions about the ill effects of being overweight. Their conclusions are probably wrong; This is Your Brain on Food: Neuroimaging reveals a shared basis for chocoholia and drug addiction; and Eating Made Simple: How do you cope with a mountain of conflicting diet advice?  A review of Delizia! The Epic History of the Italians and their Food by John Dickie. A review of The Sushi Economy: Globalisation and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg.

When the lightbulb above your head is truly incendiary: A review of What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer. A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism by Michael J. Behe. What Visions in the Dark of Light: Lene Vestergaard Hau made headlines by slowing light to below highway speed. Now the ringmaster of light can stop it, extinguish it and revive it—and thereby give quantum information a new look.


From The New Yorker, Past Perfect: Retro opulence on Central Park West. Cultural observers weigh in on architectural changes in the Persian Gulf and how they may be reshaping the world: A review of Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism. Art and Anarchism Thrive Together: Realizing the Impossible looks at political expression from a global perspective. The artless branding of Frida Kahlo: The centennial of the artist's birth is being marked by exhibits, merchandise, and family dissension.

Just for the record: OK Hollywood, here are the dos and don'ts of the celebrity profile. His Kind of Town: Horton Foote, at 91, is still working as a writer in New York and Hollywood. But in his plays he returns, as always, to the small Texas community of his imagination. A review of I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski by Bill Green. Movies are supposed to be about getting lost in emotion. But one scientist has broken down the film industry to cold, hard facts. Dean Simonton has done a statistical study of thousands of movies to determine what makes them critical darlings or box-office hits. 

From OJR, how the New York Times can fight back and win: Rupert Murdoch has the Times in his sights. But a Web 2.0 strategy could help the Gray Lady regain her glowing countenance; and the Los Angeles Times tells its readers: "Shut up". A Times editorial attacks the concept of reader comments on news stories, declaring Google a greater threat "than Osama bin Laden". Thanks to the web, readers now run the show. But is this good for journalism?


From Foreign Policy, The Terrorism Index: More than 100 of America’s most respected foreign-policy experts see a world that is growing more dangerous, a national security strategy in disrepair, and a war in Iraq that is alarmingly off course; it’s not easy representing one of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Not only must you confront such problems as endemic poverty, entrenched corruption, and ethnic violence, but you have to defend your government from ferocious criticism in the media. To get the other side of the story, FPTV sat down with ambassadors from seven of the worst-performing countries on the 2007 Failed States Index.

From American Diplomacy, a review of Divide and Perish: The Geopolitics of the Middle East by Curtis F. Jones. From TNR, why the U.S. must act in Darfur—right now. Forgotten: Despite years of war and now the looming threat of famine, Somalia’s desperate situation is largely ignored by the international community. A review of Timbuktu: The Sahara's Fabled City of Gold by Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle. The age of Google Earth is troubling for someone born with the explorer gene: A review of Lost Oasis: In Search of Paradise by Robert Twigger. A review of Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World by Stephen O'Shea.

From Dissent, Globalization's Mad Scientist: A review of The Rebel Within: Joseph Stiglitz and the World Bank; and Globalization and Its Discontents and Making Globalization Work by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Jeffrey Sachs on Breaking the Poverty Trap: Targeted investments can trump a region's geographic disadvantages. Poor’s for thought: Physicists help map out an answer to the big question: why are poor countries poor


From The New Yorker, Beware Bailouts: James Surowiecki on the Fed and the market meltdown. Should central banks act as buyers of last resort? What would Bagehot do? Look out. This crunch is serious: What to expect as Wall Street's woes spill over onto Main Street. A review of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas. With the markets in turmoil, familiar questions arise about the bond-rating agencies. Counterfeit Nation: America’s reliance on dubious credit goes all the way back to the country’s founding. The Unforgivingness of Forgetfulness: Why did so many home buyers ignore recent lessons and start viewing real estate as such a certain and profitable bet? 

How civilisation has begun to look more vulnerable: A review of A New Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilisations by Clive Ponting and Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery. A review of Chris Mooney's Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming.  Gambling on tomorrow: Modelling the Earth's climate mathematically is hard already. Now a new difficulty is emerging (and more). Can ceramics make our air cleaner? A novel process makes fossil fuels burn cleaner. Though pricey, it's highly promising. There's just one catch. A review of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (and the book's webpage). 

Mark Lilla on The Politics of God: After centuries of strife, the West has learned to separate religion and politics — to establish the legitimacy of its leaders without referring to divine command. There is little reason to expect that the rest of the world — the Islamic world in particular — will follow. From Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens' book tour—for God Is Not Great—takes a few miraculous turns, including the P.R. boost from Jerry Falwell's demise, a chance encounter with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and surprising support for an attack on religion. A life worth living for: Santayana’s writings provide an answer to militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.


From The Washington Monthly, an introduction to A Different Kind of College Ranking; America's Best Community Colleges: Why they're better than some of the "best" four-year universities; Built to Teach: What your alma mater could learn from Cascadia Community College; Inside the Higher Ed Lobby: Welcome to One Dupont Circle, where good education-reform ideas go to die; and this year's national university and liberal arts college and community college rankings. Thousands of students are wasting their own and taxpayers' money on "Mickey Mouse" higher education courses.

He Didn’t Worship the Market: When Colorado Christian University notified Andrew Paquin, an assistant professor of global studies, that his contract would not be renewed, he knew that not being sufficiently guided by Christ wasn’t the problem. But it might have been that he wasn’t sufficiently capitalist. Why study war? Victor Davis Hanson on how military history teaches us about honor, sacrifice, and the inevitability of conflict. Guantanamo in Germany: In the name of the war on terror, our colleagues are being persecuted - for the crime of sociology. Higher education doesn't secularize students: An interview with Mark Regnerus, author of Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers. A review of The Battle Over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America by Bruce J. Dierenfield. A review of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard D. Kahlenberg.

From CT, a review of Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating Virtue in Early America by Ralph Frasca; a review of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate; and a review of From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority by Roger Lundin. A review of The House the Rockefellers Built: A Tale of Money, Taste, and Power in Twentieth-Century America by Robert F. Dalzell and Lee Baldwin Dalzell (and more). A review of Young J. Edgar: Hoover, the Red Scare, and the Assault on Civil Liberties by Kenneth D. Ackerman. From TLS, Anthony Holden reviews Conrad Black's Richard Milhous Nixon: The invincible quest.

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