• steinbrenner-newsweek-cover

    George and Me: A Steinbrenner Reminiscence

    Twenty years ago to the day, I had my first dip into the turbulent waters that were George Steinbrenner’s mind. We at NEWSWEEK were doing a cover story on the infamous and famous owner of the New York Yankees—the “George” who no more needed a last name than a king of England.
  • Reactions to College Board's SAT Score Choice

    No. 2 pencils ready? Today's question: will the College Board's new Score Choice policy for the SAT, which lets students hide bad scores in their College Board records from universities, (a) lower anxiety for high-school students; (b) raise anxiety for some when they discover that a loophole allows admissions offices to override the policy; or (c) infuriate some colleges? The answer is all of the above—and the already pressurized universe of students, colleges and helicopter parents is in turmoil over it.Until now, students who took the SAT more than once had to send all scores to admissions committees. Score Choice abolishes that, effective for high-school seniors applying next September. Announced by the College Board earlier this year with the goal of "reducing student stress," Score Choice permits students to send only their best overall score from a given test date. So students can take tests repeatedly with no apparent penalty. Indeed, according to guidance counselors, many...
  • Mine’s Bigger Than Yours

    In a battle of egos on the high seas, size counts. Three Americans go at it to see who can build the ultimate sailing yacht.
  • Baseball: Behind Aaron's Nod to Bonds

    Hank Aaron's video tribute to Barry Bonds was the final act in an elaborately choreographed production by the San Francisco Giants. And it was a tribute to the adage "It never hurts to ask.""I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball's career home-run leader," Aaron said in a surprise taped message played on the big video scoreboard at AT&T Park seconds after Bonds hit No. 756. Aaron, whose record of surpassing Babe Ruth stood for 33 years, offered his "best wishes to Barry and his family," and then rather cryptically added, "My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams." The last comment, of course, could be read as Aaron's hope that some other ballplayer will one day pass Bonds, whose home-run chase has been tarnished by questions about performance-enhancing substances. Aaron has hardly embraced Bonds as worthy of baseball immortality.But earlier...
  • The Most Self-Indulgent Sailboat Ever Made

    The sultans would've loved Tom Perkins and he would've felt right at home with them, at least until he decided to kick some sand in their faces when they didn't appreciate his sense of humor. It was early last summer in Istanbul. On the left bank of the Bosphorus, before the marbled splendor of the Ciragan Imperial Palace, the government of Turkey was sponsoring a feast. Ciragan was the last palace built in Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire for royal family members. It was a historic location, with a commanding view of the strait that separates Europe from Asia, and the site drew awe from any vessel passing by. On this resplendent evening, all the trappings to sate a sultan's appetite were present, though it's a good bet that Suleiman the Magnificent never saw such an ornate fountain of molten chocolate. The lamb dolma, the grilled sea bass, the chicken galantine, the baklava—washed down with Doluca reds—were to honor an American and his spectacular new sailboat built entirely in...
  • Kim Ng

    Walking around major League Baseball's recent winter meetings in Florida, Kim Ng might just as well have been one of the boys. While she may be the most prominent woman in the 30 executive offices of baseball's various teams, her colleagues no longer notice the novelty. They just know the 38-year-old assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers knows her baseball stuff--from negotiating player salaries in the back rooms to assessing talent on the field. Last year she interviewed for the top Dodgers job, but finished as a runner-up. The opportunity to run a baseball team doesn't happen often--GM vacancies are rare. But when the next one occurs, or perhaps the one after that, she's in the best position to become the first female GM in a major U.S. sport--as well as an Asian-American pioneer. "What impresses me about Kim is she's able to work in an environment where she's basically the only one," says Omar Minaya, general manager of the New York Mets and the game's first...
  • Hewlett-Packard: Sailing Into Big News

    To research a book about Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins, and the 287-foot modern clipper ship he'd just launched, I headed off for the superyacht's maiden voyage across the Mediterranean. I hardly expected the trip to produce one of the biggest business stories of the year.One morning aboard the Maltese Falcon, over croissants and cappuccino, Perkins revealed off the record why he'd resigned from the Hewlett-Packard board a month earlier. He explained in detail (and showed me documents) that Patricia Dunn--then chairman--had authorized private investigators to spy on phone records of her own directors. Dunn wanted to know who was leaking details of boardroom discussions to the media. In addition to being a great drama between two strong-willed individuals, the story raised important questions about privacy expectations and corporate ethics. It also suggested possible lawbreaking--and indeed Dunn was eventually indicted by the state of California.Just after Labor Day,...
  • HP May Face Civil Charges

    The attorney general of California may file civil charges as early as next week against Hewlett-Packard, NEWSWEEK has learned. Those civil charges would likely demand damages of at least several million dollars, says a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the office’s plans; the official requested anonymity because of the ongoing nature of the investigations. It is possible as well that HP could settle any possible civil claims before the A.G. goes to court.The civil charges would be on top of the criminal charges the state filed Wednesday against HP’s former chairman, Patricia Dunn, and four others formerly associated with the company. All the charges stem from HP’s hacking of the personal phone records of HP directors, HP employees, journalists and others in an effort to discover who was leaking information to the press. The HP scandal erupted Sept. 5 when NEWSWEEK first disclosed a brewing controversy between Dunn and Tom Perkins, a director who resigned in protest over HP...
  • A Playbook for the HP Hearings

    Congress tomorrow becomes the momentary center of the vortex swirling around Hewlett-Packard. Many of the major players in the now three-week-old corporate spying scandal are scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The hearing, which is expected to last two days, will not only give elected representatives the chance to grandstand and to weigh in on matters of personal privacy, corporate ethics and the responsibility of the telecom industry to better safeguard its records. It may also provide further details about the drama that has shaken one of Silicon Valley’s—and America’s—iconic corporations.Let’s review how HP got to the point where Congress is joining an investigation that already involves criminal probes by the California attorney general and at least two U.S. attorneys, as well as inquiries by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FTC and FCC. The story, first reported Sept. 5 on NEWSWEEK.com, grew out of HP’s long-held obsession with...
  • HP Scandal: Is It Clear Sailing?

    California's attorney general, Bill Lockyer, says criminal indictments of Hewlett-Packard officials could come any day now in the wake of the spying scandal first disclosed by NEWSWEEK. But a source close to various state and federal investigations suggests Lockyer may be bluffing. That source, who requested anonymity because the inquiries are ongoing, says several HP officials, whom he declined to name, have "lawyered up." Their silence is at odds with HP's stated intention to cooperate with government inquiries into HP's spying on its own board of directors to find out who was leaking info to the press. By saying he already has enough evidence to indict officials--and perhaps the company itself--Lockyer may be trying to pressure HP officials into talking. An HP spokesman decline to comment.For his part Tom Perkins--the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former HP director who agitated to bring the boardroom furor to public light--seems content to retreat to the sidelines....
  • Hewlett-Packard Cheat Sheet

    The boardroom scandal at Hewlett-Packard continues to mesmerize government investigators and the American business community. After NEWSWEEK.com broke the news last week that HP’s chairwoman had spied on her own board of directors in an effort to find out who was leaking stories to the press, a platoon of prosecutors and agencies have announced inquiries that could lead to indictments, civil lawsuits, new statutes and updated regulations. The attorney general of California has been in the lead, with a source close to his office indicating criminal charges could be filed as early as this week. The story was on the front page of The Wall Street Journal for six straight days and dominated business coverage of other media as well.All of that is surely disheartening to HP, which Tuesday announced a shakeup designed to mend the company and steer it away from the scandal. Company chairwoman Patricia Dunn will leave her post in January; the current CEO, Mark Hurd, will then replace her as...
  • Hewlett-Packard Sets Emergency Board Meeting

    Hewlett-Packard has scheduled an emergency board meeting this weekend, probably on Saturday, according to two sources close to the company.The session will focus on fallout from the news that HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn launched a probe into boardroom leaks to news organizations that included authorizing a team of independent electronic-security experts to spy on the records of phone calls made from directors’ personal accounts, including home phone records. A Hewlett-Packard spokesman declined to comment on whether a meeting had been scheduled.HP filed a document with the SEC before dawn Wednesday that confirmed it had hired an outside consultant to perform the data mining as part of a leak probe. HP also disclosed to the SEC that the California attorney general had begun an investigation into the probe and that the company had pledged its cooperation. On Thursday, HP also acknowledged that the company had also accessed the phone records of several reporters who cover the company. ...
  • Intrigue in High Places

    The confrontation at Hewlett-Packard started innocently enough. Last January, the online technology site CNET published an article about the long-term strategy at HP, the company ranked No. 11 in the Fortune 500. While the piece was upbeat, it quoted an anonymous HP source and contained information that only could have come from a director. HP’s chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, told another director she wanted to know who it was; she was fed up with ongoing leaks to the media going back to CEO Carly Fiorina’s tumultuous tenure that ended in early 2005. According to an internal HP e-mail, Dunn then took the extraordinary step of authorizing a team of independent electronic-security experts to spy on the January 2006 communications of the other 10 directors—not the records of calls (or e-mails) from HP itself, but the records of phone calls made from personal accounts. That meant calls from the directors’ home and their private cell phones.It was classic data-mining: Dunn’s consultants...
  • BOOKS: CAPITALIST TO NOVELIST

    It's not as if he needs the royalties--but doesn't everybody want to be a novelist? Tom Perkins, at 73, is a titan of American business, even if few recognize his name. More than 30 years ago he cofounded Kleiner Perkins, Silicon Valley's nonpareil venture-capital firm that bankrolled Google, Amazon and other legends. He's also the ex-HP board member recently brought back to help ax Carly Fiorina. Along the way, he's made himself very rich.Which is why a TV reality-show producer contacted him to star in a proposed "How to Marry a Billionaire!" The 2003 pitch letter offered him the "incredible opportunity" to have prospective brides compete for his affections. Who wouldn't want to be "pampered by the most attractive, sexy young women he will ever have laid eyes on"? Well, Perkins. He thought it was ridiculous.Instead, he outlined a sendup for romance novelist Danielle Steel to write. She was a family friend, and for a year or so in the late '90s he was Steel husband No. 5. She...
  • A GAME OF NUMBERS

    Some campus wags say that succeeding in college is a whole lot easier than enduring the process to get in. That's got to be an exaggeration, as anybody knows who's taken organic chemistry or tried to figure out what that economics professor might be saying in the lecture hall. But the hyperbole has a point. The maze of forms, policies and odd new nomenclature (quick, what do FAFSA, ACT and "fourth meal period" mean?)--combined with standardized tests, financial-aid worries, campus-tour schedules and those nettlesome relatives otherwise known as Mom and Dad--all these are enough to make any college-bound senior wonder, "Wait! Didn't Bill Gates not bother to graduate from Harvard?"The stresses are not merely the byproduct of high-school competition that would embarrass the characters of "Lord of the Flies." (No, budding English-lit majors, there won't be a quiz on that novel.) Nor were they created by magazine rankings, private counselors or nudging grandmas. Fact is, the numbers tell...
  • JUDGES: WHO'S FAIREST?

    A new Web site cheekily evaluates who's hot on the federal bench--and it's not talking about constitutional analysis. "The moment in American juris-prurience that you've all been waiting for is finally here," proclaims underneaththeirrobes.blogs.com, which nominates 12 women and nine men as "Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary." At the Supreme Court last Thursday, it was all the buzz among the law clerks during lunch. Maybe that's because Justice David Souter is on the list. One fan on the Web site cooed that Souter can offer "many an intimate night in his New Hampshire farmhouse" and admired his manly late-night jogging habit. Alex Kozinski, an appeals-court judge from California, is also on the list--by his own motion. Kozinski bragged he's the only federal judge to have appeared on the "Dating Game" twice. The women on the list include Kozinski's colleague Kim Wardlaw ("Heather Locklear in a black robe"), Irma Gonzalez of California ("a judicial J.Lo") and Kimba Wood of New...
  • ROAD TEST: ALBIN 30 CRUISER

    I grew up around sailboats. My father didn't like to run the engine unless it meant escaping mosquitoes in a dead calm on Long Island Sound. So my DNA recoiled a bit at the notion of trying out Albin Marine's new, 30-foot Family Cruiser--a vessel that can ignore the whims of the wind and roam the seas with only a tankful of fuel. It's a powerboat, after all. Sorry, Dad: the family and I loved it. The Albin 30 combines creature comforts with intelligent design. Albins were first designed decades ago for use in the rough North Sea. While their trawler-like properties render speed and sportiness impossible, the boats are sturdy and forgiving. And with a big, modern diesel, the Albin 30 can reach 24 knots or more--three times as fast as the dawdling trawlers of a prior generation. The 30's most distinctive feature is a separate aft cabin that can sleep two; along with the main cabin's three berths (the head and shower are there, too), that means comfortable cruising for a family. I wasn...
  • Books: The Boys Of Summer

    Out Of The ParkIt's only May, but many teams in the competition-starved majors are already out of it. Here's a way to compensate: read a baseball book. It's always been the most literary of sports and this season has produced fine volumes for the coffee table:One Hundred Years: New York Yankees ($50) It might pain us to say anything nice about the Microsoft of baseball. But this richly illustrated celebration of a century of success is a home run. Catch the essay by Robert Creamer on the legacy of Babe Ruth.For the Love of the Cubs ($16.95) Then there are the un-Yankees. The adorable Cubbies of Chicago last won a pennant during the Truman administration. This modest book, in A-Z verse, makes a virtue of the shortcomings.Classic Baseball ($35) From Yogi to Casey, Ted to Sandy, this is a collection of 160 photographs, some iconic, from the great Walter Iooss Jr. of Sports Illustrated.100 Years of the World Series ($19.95) A solid history, though the photos aren't as impressive as...
  • Baseball: The Other Shoe

    Major League Baseball may be reinstating Pete Rose, but it now faces another clemency conundrum: should "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, of "Black Sox" infamy, also be granted eligibility for the Hall of Fame? Jackson, who died 51 years ago, was banished along with seven other members of the Chicago White Sox for their role in fixing the 1919 World Series. But because Jackson was nonpareil at the plate--his lifetime batting average of .356 is third best ever--and because he tried to give back the money that gamblers turned over, supporters have argued he was treated too harshly. In 1999 two Hall of Famers--Bob Feller and the now deceased Ted Williams--petitioned Commissioner Bud Selig to take Jackson off baseball's "ineligible list," which in turn would allow him to get Hall consideration. Selig never acted, in part because he knew it would agitate a fresh round of questions on the similarly exiled Rose. Now that Rose is on his way back, it rekindles tbe Shoeless Joe case. Some baseball...
  • Must See: Genius On Display

    It's a no-brainer: one of the fall's best museum exhibitions opens this Friday, Nov. 15. "Einstein," at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, looks at both the theories and the private life of the iconic scientist. Tip Sheet got a sneak preview of the extensive exhibits, which include pages of Einstein's 1912 manuscript of his "Special Theory of Relativity," his 1939 letter to FDR that led to the Manhattan Project (and the president's response), his first report card, pages from the FBI's 1,427-page Einstein file, the 1952 letter from the Israeli government offering him the presidency and a letter to his first wife that begins "My dear kitten." His views against McCarthyism, anti-Semitism, segregation and nuclear arms are covered as well.There are wonderful interactive exhibits that explain Einstein's revolutionary theories on light, time, energy and gravity. But it's complicated stuff and deserves more than a 20-minute stroll through. For those who can't visit-...
  • The End Of Baseball Again

    Sixty years ago, "Memphis Bill" Terry had it right. "Baseball," said the manager and Hall of Fame first baseman of the old New York Giants, "must be a great game to survive the fools who run it. No business in the world has ever made more money with poorer management. It can survive anything." It has since endured gambling, drug scandals, AstroTurf, lawyers and the designated-hitter rule.But can baseball survive Bud Selig and Don Fehr? We'll see. Yes, it's that time in the season when a lad's fancy turns to labor negotiations and the timeless romance of collective bargaining. Why would fans want to watch Barry Bonds stand in against Randy Johnson on some warm, moonlit night--when instead they can listen to Commissioner Selig and union leader Fehr wax poetic about revenue sharing, luxury taxes, contraction and the pharmaceutical attributes of steroids?It's the owners against the players, the billionaires vs. the millionaires in the seriatim Thirty Years War over how to divvy up what...
  • Road Test: I Eat Suv's For Lunch!

    "Say, Len, are you sure that stop sign is supposed to bend over like that?" I gently ask my instructor as I lurch forward in this 16-ton, 40-foot-long Country Coach RV. It's probably nothing, Len tells me, but to be sure, we stop and get out to take a look. Sure enough, I'd scraped the sign by taking the corner too tight, etching a mark of Zorro on the side. I might've heard the collision, except for the 13,500-BTU air conditioners blowing, the washer-dryer running, the Bose home-theater system pumping and my passengers chortling at my enthusiastic use of the air horn. Who knew that anybody with a basic driver's license would be allowed on the interstate at the helm of a $347,520 equivalent of a Greyhound bus? RVs are all the rage, especially among boomers. Last year more than 250,000 were sold. There is little rental market for the behemoths, which tend to sell to RV veterans. The Intrigue is lavish and clever (it's got a camera on the back with a screen on the dash) and sleeps...
  • The 'Accidental President'

    As both campaigns and the entire country awaited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore, the vice president couldn't sit still. The vote would decide who'd win Election 2000. The process kept starting and stopping. Now, Gore needed to vent his emotions, with whatever degree of optimism he could muster.So on Tuesday afternoon, December 12, Gore decided to write an Op-Ed for The New York Times, on the assumption the Court would rule in his favor. "As I write this," the piece began, "I do not know what the Supreme Court will decide." Gore repeated the themes of the five-week post-election struggle: count all the votes "so that the will of the people" was honored; work "for the agenda that Senator [Joe] Lieberman and I put forward in the campaign," which "50 million Americans" supported; and appreciate that history and the "integrity" of the national government demanded he fight on after Election Day.Gore acknowledged that "no single institution had been capable of solving" the...
  • A Bush Feeler

    Who would lead the legal effort for George W. Bush? The campaign immediately thought of a man who combined political smarts and moral rectitude--Jack Danforth, the retired GOP senator and Episcopal priest.Two days after Election night, Danforth and his wife, Sally, were on their way to the Caribbean. Enjoying Margaritas by the turquoise sea in Cancun, the Danforths expected the week to themselves, far from the electoral struggle of friends back home. But before they finished a second drink at La Maroma, a hostess told Danforth he had a call. It was Don Evans, the Bush campaign chairman. "We want you to represent us in a federal challenge to the constitutionality of the manual recount in Florida," Evans said.Danforth had concerns about a strategy that revolved around federal court, a venue that Republicans had been sniping about for decades. But it wasn't some philosophical inconsistency that worried him--that his party would be seeking salvation from the one branch of government it...
  • Gore's Secret Plan

    Early on, much more than possible recounts, the issue of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County consumed the Gore campaign. If a lawsuit went his way, it would eliminate George W. Bush's lead. But how could Gore operatives efficiently collect enough horror stories to convince a judge that the ballot confused enough voters to turn the election?At 12:30 a.m. on the Friday after Election Day, the phone rang in the Tallahassee hotel room of Ron Klain, a top Gore aide. It was Al Gore, calling from Washington, D.C. Gore had not only been thinking about the problem, but he'd done something about it. He'd called Erin Brockovich. Not Julia Roberts, who played Erin Brockovich in the movie about a town's legal fight with a polluter--but the real Erin Brockovich. The vice president thought "she should come to Florida and lead our efforts to collect affidavits." Gore had figured it all out. "What Erin Brockovich's good at is going to real people and getting them to tell their stories," he...

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