Analysis

Sarah Palin Charging $100K for Iowa Speech?

  Politico's Jonathan Martin has a good story today about an Iowa conservative group's efforts to lure Sarah Palin to a fundraising dinner in Des Moines next month. The Iowa Family Policy Center, according to J-Mart, is trying to come up with Palin's reported $100,000 speaker's fee in hopes of getting the former governor to headline its Nov. 21 banquet—which just so happens to be the same night Vice President Joe Biden will be in town to headline the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. But wait a minute: Paying a White House hopeful to come to Iowa? Seriously? Has anyone ever had to do that? Needless to say, the very prospect has other Iowa Republicans up in arms. "If somebody tells me they want me to pay an appearance fee, it tells me they're not very serious about running for president," Ed Failor Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief and an influential GOP insider, tells Politico. "I found it really, really odd."But hang on: did Palin actually ask the...

New Justice Case - Terror Leader Returns from the Dead

The U.S. may be intensifying its Predator missile campaign against Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, as Declassified reported this morning.But a new Justice Department criminal case announced today raises a more fundamental question: are the missile strikes as effective as U.S. government officials would like to believe? Consider the case of Ilyas Kashmiri, the alleged operational chief of a  Qaeda-linked terror group in Pakistan and a central figure in the new Justice case. Just last month, on Sept. 7, Kashmiri (considered one of the most dangerous terrorists in Pakistan) was reported in the U.S. media to have been killed by an American missile, supposedly making him latest “big fish” casualty in the Predator campaign targeting Qaeda commanders in that country.But much like Mark Twain, the reports of Kashmiri’s death now appear to have been greatly exaggerated.Today’s Justice Department case alleges that two Chicago men—including a former Pakistani military officer—were...

U.S. Increases Drone Use in Pakistan

At the same time that the Pakistani government is stepping up military operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the border region of Waziristan, clandestine U.S. counterterrorism efforts inside Pakistan, particularly the use of missiles borne by U.S.-operated drone aircraft like CIA-run Predators to attack targets associated with Al Qaeda and its affiliates, are expected to continue and possibly intensify. Because these operations are considered covert and thus subject to government classification rules, U.S. government agencies have never given a public accounting of when, where, and why the missiles have been used. But as their use has grown more frequent, debate has been growing over both the effectiveness and morality of the use of the robot aircraft to engage in what some critics have described as "targeted killing" by remote control. The CIA started using drone aircraft more than 10 years ago to try to track Osama bin Laden and his cohort through the wilds of...

Why Private Schools are Missing the Best Kids

Hypothetically, let’s say you ran a fancy private elementary school. Like other private schools in the region, you’re competing to put out the brightest kids. And one of the ways you engineer this is through your admissions process – you try to select the kids who will get the most out of what your school has to offer. Kids who can handle the intellectual challenge, and who don’t disrupt the class. So, if you’re like other private schools, you bring the five-year-old applicants in for some intellectual assessment, and you also set up some games and playrooms for them so that you can watch them for an hour or two – to monitor their behavior. You’re looking for kids who get upset, withdraw, can’t wait for their turn, dominate other kids, can’t sit still, don’t pay attention to the instructions, et cetera. Then you admit the kids who looked best.This seems innocuous. It’s common practice.However, according to an ongoing study in Germany, what you might have done is just reject some...

Questions for Emotional Intelligence's Daniel Goleman

First off, we want to thank Daniel Goleman for taking the time to join us here at NurtureShock. We hope the conversation over the next few days leads to a new understanding of emotional intelligence (EI) and Dan's work. We also would like to clarify two points made by Dan yesterday, just to avoid confusion. Dan began his response by refuting an allegation made by some – that he has said emotional intelligence accounts for 80% of one's career success. Instead, Dan said his point has been that, if IQ reportedly only accounts for 20% of success, that leaves 80% unaccounted for – and some part of that may be due to EI.We note that we have never attributed such a statement to Dan, so his point was not a critique of our reporting. Instead, it was just a general point of clarification – for us, and our readers. Secondly, Dan wrote that we argue that emotional intelligence and executive function are in competition as psychological concepts. However, we did not say that: it was Pamela...

Introducing Guest Columnist Daniel Goleman

Over the next four days, we will be hosting a guest columnist, Daniel Goleman - author of Emotional Intelligence. Goleman's first column will go up later today. We will answer him tomorrow. On Thursday, Goleman will respond to our post, and then we'll wrap things up on Friday.Goleman has written insightfully about the science of emotions and given this field the widespread attention it richly deserves. However, as readers of this blog have heard us say before, the theory behind emotional intelligence is one thing. Measurable emotional intelligence isn’t predictive of all the positive life outcomes that had been promised.Goleman has heard all these critiques before – we’re far from the first – and so we’re especially grateful that he’s willing to come sort out his ideas with us. We look forward to his thoughts. Here are three of our previous posts that touch on emotional intelligence.In Defense of the SATIs Emotional Intelligence Real?Is the Science of NurtureShock Just a Fad...

In Defense of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

By Ben Adler and Daniel Stone Finally, there's something that Hizbullah and the Republican National Committee can agree about. The reasons that President Obama should not have won the Nobel Peace Prize have been well established here and across the political spectrum. Of course, there are people who have saved more lives, if that's the measure of who should win the award. And by giving it to Obama now it raises the question: what if Obama actually does make monumental achievements in global peace as president? Or what if he does not? What if, say, he embroils the U.S. in a deadly quagmire in Afghanistan, or by exiting Afghanistan and Iraq prematurely leaves behind chaos and violence? Alas, as with National Magazine Awards, there are no retractions for Nobels that look undeserved in hindsight. But the immediate consensus that Obama is a ludicrously undeserving choice, and that his selection is pure political hackery on the part of the committee, is a little too sure of itself. Why...

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Surprise is Being Received

Click here for our photo tour of Obama's rise from Barry to Barack. (Photo credit: Gerald Herbert / AP) Barack Obama's big surprise win this morning produced more than a few "huhs?!?" heard 'round the world. Our personal favorite came from Lech Walesa, the 1983 Peace Prize winner and Poland’s president from 1990 to 1995, who told reporters in Warsaw: “Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast—he hasn’t had the time to do anything yet.” Of course, the head-scratching most relevant to this particular prize is happening in places like Jerusalem, Peshawar, and Harare. Here's what folks there have to say on the matter: Afghanistan/Pakistan: Not such a popular call here, naturally. A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai had kind words for Obama, noting that "his hard work and his new vision on global relations, his will and efforts for creating friendly and good relations at a global level and global peace make him the appropriate recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize." That, of course, is somewhat...

Nobel Prize No Cause for Celebration in the White House

America awoke this morning to the stunning news that President Obama had won one of the world’s most coveted distinctions, the Nobel Peace Prize. According to the Nobel committee’s citation, it was awarded for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” with particular emphasis on Obama’s “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.” It’s a remarkable justification for the award, given he’s made so little progress in achieving either goal. After all, he’s not been president for even 10 months yet.While presumably honorees grandly celebrate these kinds of awards (that is, when they are not being persecuted by oppressive regimes or being detained in their houses), it’s likely that the White House is eyeing the award with caution. It comes at a time when the president is weighing a possible escalation of the eight-year war in Afghanistan. Is this the international community’s way of telling Obama to proceed with...

Obama Not First Surprising Nobel Peace Prize Winner

  President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, only eight months into his term. It's a bold—and some might say strange—move to fete a president who's still in the beginning of his diplomatic career. After all, Arizona State didn't even think he was ready for an honorary degree. Who knows what else he has in store for the United States? One thing we do know: Obama is likely to order thousands more troops into a war zone within weeks. So the U.S. president may seem like a surprising choice for the award. This is the Nobel Peace Prize we're talking about, an honor designed to seek out and reward those whose contribution to the cause of harmony and peace on the face of this earth is both outstanding and unquestionable. Well, most of the time.  Although many past winners seem beyond dispute—Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa come to mind—some were controversial at the time, while others did things that undermined their reputation after...

U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Full of Hot Air

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided to pick a fight with Apple over climate change. This started after Apple quit the chamber this week and made it clear that it was doing so because it thinks the people running the chamber are a bunch of imbeciles when it comes to climate change. Yesterday, in an incredibly brazen move, the head of the chamber struck back, firing off a letter in which he criticized Apple and said the chamber really does care about climate change, and that Apple just didn't take the time to listen to its plans. (My colleague Daniel Stone blogged about the squabble earlier today here on Techtonic Shifts.) Money quote from chamber president Thomas Donohue in his letter to Apple: “It is unfortunate that your company didn’t take the time to understand the Chamber’s position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change." See, this is the new strategy from the climate-change obstructionists. Instead of saying...

Why Readers Have Sex: It's Better Than A Workout

After reading Jessica Bennett's article on why women have sex, it's clear that for everyone, men and women, our motivations go way beyond the need for love or the biological drive to reproduce. So we asked our readers to share some of their stories about sexual motivation. Over the weekend, we'll publish some of our favorites. Submit your stories to newsweek@tumblr.com or via our Tumblr page. Submission #2: I Often Feel Empty. I, personally, have sex for the emotional connection (love) and the release. I have had sex for a myriad of other reasons like placating my partner, just for the pleasure, confirmation that I am attractive, to get over an ex, as a crutch when in emotional pain, instead of a workout at the gym, and procreation. When having sex for reasons other than love/emotional bonding, I often feel empty, realize that I was really searching for a connection, and regret the entire thing. I look forward to reading more!

Tom DeLay Tangos, on 'Dancing With the Stars'

We seriously thought Tom DeLay was a goner. Despite all the magic of his debut routine on the premiere of Dancing With the Stars—all that booty shaking, the shameful lip syncing and, oh god, that knee slide—DeLay barely made it past George Hamilton’s D-list son and one-hit wonder Macy Gray in the elimination round last week. But scraping by is still a win when the name of the game is survival—and if there’s one thing DeLay knows a thing or two about, it’s scraping by.But enough talk. Let’s roll tape: the first shot of his segment last night was DeLay gleefully sashaying down the hallway, shaking his hips with a level of concentration we haven’t seen on screen since Baby struggled to find her sense of rhythm in hopes of storming Johnny’s Castle in Dirty Dancing. His partner, regret-plagued pro dancer Cheryl Burke, shoots him a look. “Are those your hips?” she asks. DeLay giggles like a schoolgirl—and randomly, the House Democrats’ poll numbers tick up slightly. As Gloria Estefan...

Suddenly, Disgraced Politicians Are Cool Again

Former GOP congressman Tom DeLay is back tonight for week two of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. Truth be told, we’re still not quite over the shock of DeLay’s debut—all that exaggerated booty shaking, it still haunts us. But it was awesome TV—so awesome, we almost forgot that DeLay is still awaiting trial on charges he broke campaign-finance laws in Texas. What’s interesting is that DeLay isn’t the only once disgraced politico enjoying an unlikely renaissance at the moment. Everywhere we look these days there’s a former lawmaker once written off for dead sneaking back into the public eye—and not always to bad reviews. Is America more forgiving these days? Or have we just gotten used to the drama? Here’s a look at three other scandal-ridden lawmakers who are once again getting buzz these days:Jim Traficant. Perhaps most famous for his unruly, ill-fitting rat's nest of a toupee, the flamboyant Ohio Democrat was kicked out of Congress in 2002 after being convicted on bribery and...

Why Not Ask the GOP to Play Nice?

OK, Katie. I hear what you're saying. And in theory, I agree. The current law in Massachusetts─the one that prevents a sitting governor ───So what to do? Ask the GOP to play nice. As all good U.S. History 101 students know, it requires only a simple majority of votes to pass a bill in the Senate; the Democrats currently have 59. What Dems are afraid of, then, is a Republican filibuster, which takes 60 yeas to defeat. But there's no reason why the GOP has to automatically filibuster. What if Senate Democrats─or, even better, President Obama─went on TV and used the full power of the bully pulpit to pressure some of Kennedy's former Republican chums, the ones who used to work with him regularly on bipartisan legislation, to agree not to support a GOP filibuster if (and only if) exactly 59 Democrats voted to move forward. Oppose us on this, the Dems could say, and we'll make sure everyone knows that you gleefully seized on the death of an old friend as an opportunity to advance your...

The Fowl Language Heard 'Round the World'

Like Dan Brown before him, Fox 5 news anchor Ernie Anastos's way with words has been translated into  every language. Well, almost: in the gazillion multilingual Google results for the outburst, the famous phrase in question is mostly (hilariously) not translated. Does the fact that there's no Sanskrit for "chicken f--king" discredit the theory that Anastos was going for some well-known, folksy idiom?In Russia!... комплімент своєму колезі Ніку Грегорі, сказавши, що "тільки суворий чоловік може зробити м'який прогноз", а потім додав: "Keep f--king that chicken". ...In France! Au cours d'une lumière au cœur des échanges avec WNYW Fox 5 collègues, Anastos dit Weatherman Nick Grégoire à «garder f--king que le poulet". ...In Taiwan! 勵志、溫馨的國片「2分20秒」,導演薛少軒力捧泳技不錯、有陽光笑容的姪子薛宇庭當男主角,扮教練的黃.... 本日最夯. Ernie Anastos: "Keep f--king that ...In Sweden! Men tungan ville inte lyda och han råkade säga "keep f--king that chicken". Den kvinnlig nyhetspresentatören vid hans sida spärrar upp...

What You Need to Know About the Baucus Proposal

Sen. Max Baucus's health-care reform proposal, released yesterday, will likely dominate the reform conversation for the next few days. At 220 pages, the chairman's mark, as it is called, is an easier read than H.R. 3200, the House bill. Still, it's a lot to get through. So I've put together this cheat sheet:1.    Illegal immigrants: Baucus vowed to reexamine this issue following Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst last week. His bill goes further than the House's, which explicitly prohibits government subsidies for undocumented workers. Baucuscare will require a citizenship check for individuals wanting to purchase insurance through a health-insurance exchange, although parents in the country illegally who wish to buy insurance for lawfully present children will be permitted to do so. For more on the issue of illegals and insurance─and how denying them access will probably end up costing you more money─read Andrew Romano's insightful analysis.2.    Co-ops: As...

Book Review: Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'

Mark Twain’s A Double-Barreled Detective Story is a novella-length parody of whodunits. Much of the action takes place out West, in a mining camp where at one point a young man is visited by his uncle, who turns out to be none other than Sherlock Holmes. By the time Holmes appears, the implausible coincidences in the plot have begun tumbling over each other with such rapidity that the appearance of the English sleuth seems merely routine.  At any rate, it quickly becomes apparent that Twain has introduced Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation for the sole purpose of mocking the stories that recount Holmes’s exploits. And no one is more skeptical of Holmes than his nephew, who thinks to himself, “Anybody that knows him the way I do knows he can’t detect a crime except where he plans it all out beforehand and arranges the clues and hires some fellow to commit it according to instructions.”While reading Dan Brown’s new novel, The Lost Symbol, I had more than one occasion to reflect...

Why I'm Not Yet Sold on Twitter as a Search Engine

  As people still struggle to explain exactly what Twitter is, one of the more compelling theories I've heard is that the service is actually a real-time search engine. The site's recent redesign certainly encourages that view, with search front and center of the new home page. But I've been testing that theory out, and so far, it doesn't hold up. My first toe in the Twitter-search water involved my feverish need to know what kind of sunglasses Don Draper was sporting on a recent episode of Mad Men. It didn't work out so well: two days (!) passed before the correct answer trickled in. The hive mind, evidently, doesn't wear shades. A second field experiment, to find super-recent reviews of a bar and a restaurant near my apartment, yielded mixed results. The bar itself was on Twitter, but a search for the restaurant just returned a handful of people's plans to sample its most popular offering. Not terribly useful. Worried that those queries were too idiosyncratic, I tried...

On Berlusconi Libel Suit, a Modest Suggestion

 Say what you will about him, but Silvio Berlusconi is a man of his word. This morning, the 72-year-old Italian prime minister's lawyer announced that Berlusconi is making good on his promise to pursue legal action against the myriad media outlets that have delighted in publishing photos and accounts of sexual antics that would make Jean-Claude Van Damme blush. Per Reuters, he is filing libel suits against newspapers in Italy, France, Spain, and Britain. The charges: Lawyers acting for Berlusconi had sued the French weekly Nouvel Observateur for a story headlined "Sex, Power and Lies" and Spain's El Pais for publishing photos of guests at the billionaire premier's Sardinian villa cavorting naked. In Italy they have sued La Repubblica, a tireless critic of the conservative leader, for repeating the Nouvel Observateur story and for defaming Berlusconi by repeating daily its "10 Questions" about his private life and political aspirations. [British papers, which could also face...

What The Coroner's Announcement Really Means

Michael Jackson’s death took a bizarre turn this afternoon when the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office announced it’d found the anesthetic propofol, usually used in general surgery, and two other sedatives to have caused the singer’s death in June. The drugs were no surprise—court testimony earlier this week established early on that Jackson was on myriad medications the day he died. The big shock came when the coroner announced that the death was being labeled a homicide. It's important to note that homicide indicates that Jackson was killed; it does not, necessarily, mean he was murdered (homicide with intent to kill); many previous medical homicide cases have involved euthanasia. The Los Angeles County DA has not yet announced murder or manslaughter charges against Jackson's physician, Conrad Murray, who admits to giving Jackson the drugs. Besides the fact that it made Jackson family whisperings of a conspiracy sound slightly less crazy, the homicide announcement left us...

Drugs Officially Killed Michael Jackson

—— is confirming that Michael Jackson's cause of death was a homicide via lethal overdose of propofol, a sedative hypnotic that is typically used for surgical sedation. An exceedingly unusual, not to mention horrific, way to die.  But with history as our guide, we can see that Jackson's murder and extensive substance abuse problems will barely taint his legacy, if at all. Warren Perry, author of and the curator of two major Elvis shows at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and the Grammy Museum says that unlike Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin, early death by substance overdose failed to compromise the legacy of Elvis Presley in the long run—nor temper the $55 million-per-year haul of estate. "Elvis was the all-American boy and his story encompasses great mythic patterns like the 'rags to riches' tale and the 'returning hero' motif. Every time he started his career again, he renewed his image as a hero," Perry says. "At times, it seems like Michael Jackson painted...

Who, Exactly, Is Outraged At Michelle Obama's Shorts?

  Michelle Obama wore shorts to visit the Grand Canyon. Have you heard? Everyone is up in arms—if by "everyone" you mean no one, or rather a large, shadow-y group of no ones.  According to the Today show, "some" are calling her fashion choice inappropriate—but the article quotes only those who support the look or, in the case of Washington Post fashion writer Robin Gihven, those who are "ambivalent" about bare legs for an August hiking trip in Arizona. The Examiner declares Obama beautiful, then bemoans the fact that "some members of the media and the public" are upset. Who are those members of the media and the public? We don't know—the article then goes on to endorse Obama and rebuke the nameless attackers. Even in the comments, readers overwhelmingly approved of Obama's choices, save for the few spare trolls that will always criticize a photographed celeb (the shorts are unflattering, etc). My experience from reading the NEWSWEEK comments shows that if there's...

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