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On the stand: a weekly roundup of the best magazine reads, Nov. 26

Rolling Stone

Dec. 8, 2011

Contributing editor Jeff Goodell eviscerates the dealings behind the now postponed Keystone XL pipeline. And that's putting it mildly. Goodell uncovers a myriad of ways in which paperwork for the pipeline plan was pushed to low-level U.S. government offices, many with little or no expertise in proper ecological assessments for a pipeline to stretch from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. According to the article, that was particularly the case with the U.S. State Department's draft report, stamped "inadequate" by the Environmental Protection Agency. And promises that the pipeline would create a gusher of new jobs proved exaggerated, according to the State Department itself. Also, any leak in the pipeline through Nebraska's Sand Hills region could have caused untold damage to the one of the state's most important agricultural aquifers, the article says. U.S. President Barack Obama may have kicked the can down the road by postponing the go-ahead until 2013, and some environmentalists may be declaring victory, but most believe that pipelines will keep coming so long as our insatiable demand for oil continues.

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December, 2011

"More Government, Please!" argues Thomas Frank in an essay that looks askance at such Republican abstractions as "job creators" and comes up with a real solution for putting people to work. The piece begins with a remark by Republican John Boehner that "job creators [that is to say, business owners] in America, basically, are on strike." It's attention-grabbing and supposed to mean that businesses want fewer taxes, less regulation and less government in general, and in return businesses may create more jobs. But in the 1930s, there was a program that immediately put people to work: the Works Progress Administration, now seen on both sides of the political aisle as a historical triumph of the United States pulling itself up by its bootstraps. As Frank acknowledges, it would be easier to get Congress these days to declare, say, a war on Greece than to get Washington to implement even a temporary national works program. But, he argues, most voters want jobs today, not the government handing "job creators" more concessions in the hope of maybe, possibly, if Americans are lucky, some promise of work tomorrow.


Fall, 2011

The fashion world is great at marking a career comeback. Turns of phrases and twists of logic are dropped liberally, like air kisses, seemingly conveying deep significance but simultaneously nothing. Take the lavish attention given to Carine Roitfeld. Since her ouster from French Vogue in January, after 10 years as editor, she's had a whirlwind tour of magazine spreads devoted to her and guest-editing gigs, all leading up to the release of Irreverent, a career-spanning monograph of her work as stylist, editor and muse to designers such as Tom Ford. But the heart of her interview here with writer Christopher Wallace is the fact that she says nothing all that specific. She's very French, but her passions are Russian (from her father's side). "I'm not a punk, but I'm always in a rebellion in my fashion. You can see I'm classique," Roitfeld adds. And: "The only thing I promote is sex. In a nice way… It's never dirty. It's always dreamy." As fashion types would say, there's fabulousness in all this. Yet even those outside the fashion world should appreciate it. In a world caught up with looking for answers, fashion pleasantly offers nothing but questions.

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About the Author

Guy Dixon is a feature writer for The Globe and Mail. More

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