Matthew Philips

Stories by Matthew Philips

  • BELIEFWATCH School Veil

    There's a new fashion on college campuses, but it's not one you'll find at Abercrombie any time soon. It's the higab, the traditional Muslim headscarf that denotes modesty and reverence to God, and it's being worn by increasing numbers of young Muslim American women. By most accounts, they are the American-born children of the estimated 4 million Muslims who immigrated to the United States over the last 40 years. The irony: many of those parents abandoned their Islamic cultural identities to assimilate into American society. "We're seeing more young women wearing the higab whose mothers don't wear it," says Hadia Mubarak, former president of the Muslim Students Association. Mubarak says that young Muslim Americans who grew up here are not facing the kinds of identity crises their parents did. "These kids are comfortable in their American identity because that's the only culture they've known, so it's easier for them to embrace the outward manifestations of Islam."Spurred by a desire...
  • Another Recall for Generic Drugmaker

    Unlike the e-coli-tainted spinach that sickened 200 people and caused three deaths this fall, this week’s metal-tainted acetaminophen outbreak appears to have harmed no one. Even so, the Perrigo Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of generic over-the-counter drugs, isn’t taking any chances. At a cost of a reported $2.9 million, the company has voluntarily recalled 11 million bottles of the generic painkiller it makes for such retailers as Wal-Mart, CVS, and Dollar General. Perrigo is cautioning that the pills could contain fragments of metal after trace amounts were found in some of its 500-milligram caplets.According to the Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov), the problem came to light last week after Perrigo quality control measures revealed issues with manufacturing equipment. After sweeping 70 million pills with metal detectors, Perrigo inspectors found 200 caplets that contained pieces of metal ranging from 1-millimeter “microdots,” to 8-millimeter pieces of wire....
  • OK, Sister, Drop That Sandwich!

    Walking around downtown Orlando, Fla., feels like strolling through "The Truman Show" 's fictional town of Seahaven. But spotless sidewalks, a tidy business district, lush parks and lakes belie a real city with real problems, in particular a burgeoning homeless population that local officials are struggling to control. After a law banning begging outright was struck down by the courts, the city tried regulating panhandlers by issuing them ID cards, then by confining them to three- by 15-foot "panhandling zones" painted on sidewalks. But it wasn't enough, so this summer Orlando tried a supply-side solution, cracking down on churches and activists who had been feeding large groups of homeless people in downtown parks. Now it's not just the panhandlers who risk getting arrested, it's the people trying to help them.Advocates say anti-feeding ordinances are the latest in a series of municipal efforts to legislate against homelessness. A report this year by the National Coalition for the...
  • Visions Of Hell

    Worlds collided last month in Brooklyn. In a dark neighborhood of warehouses called DUMBO, in a theater usually reserved for edgy bands and performance artists, real actors performed, straight up and without irony, "Hell House," an evangelical Christian version of a haunted house. With a demon as their guide, visitors walked through a series of live tableaux, each one depicting a different way to stray from God. In one, a young woman commits suicide after being raped. In another, a gay man gets AIDS. At the end, audience members stand before Satan, who is horned and jubilant ("You think sin has no consequence!" he exults)--and finally before Jesus Christ himself, who calls on them to repent and be saved. On a recent night, audience members looked stricken as they listened to this appeal. When invited to join the Lord in prayer, all remained silent.Around Halloween, hundreds of Hell Houses are staged in churches across the country, but this is the first time a secular theater group...
  • Keystone Combat

    Pennsylvania’s junior senator, Republican Rick Santorum, is fighting for his political life. After narrowing the lead of Democratic challenger, state treasurer Bob Casey, to single-digits in August, Santorum was hopeful that a post-Labor Day boost would carry him to a third term. But polls now show Casey's lead back near double digits. And a judge’s recent decision to disqualify the Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli from the race didn’t help Santorum, who had hoped the third-party candidate would siphon liberal votes away from the moderate Casey. If Santorum goes down, President Bush will lose one of his most consistent and conservative allies in the Senate. Since 2001, he’s voted in support of the president 97 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly.For his part, Casey seems to be biding his time, sitting on the lead he’s had since entering the race last year at the behest of Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, following his failed...
  • Cali who?

    When President George W. Bush starts using fifty-cent words in press conferences, one has to wonder why, and on Wednesday, during his Rose Garden appearance, he used the word “caliphate” four times. The enemy, he said—by which he clearly meant the Islamic terrorist enemy—wants to “extend the caliphate,” “establish a caliphate,” and “spread their caliphate.” Caliphate? Really? Many people live long, fruitful lives without once using the word caliphate. Almost no one, with the exception of our president and some of his advisers, uses it as a pejorative.As NEWSWEEK reported last month, the president and the people who prep him are still clearly casting about for the right phrase to pin on America’s elusive enemy .  “Axis of evil” is outdated by now. “Islamist,” the preferred choice of scholars, has been deemed too jargony and academic. “Islamofascist” is a recent favorite, and in a speech last month the president used it as punctuation in a litany of other tags, notably “Islamic...
  • They're Seeing Red Over Greens

    Since 1990, Don Patterson has grown and sold nearly 50 million pounds of conventional fresh market spinach from his small farm in Cranbury, N.J. No one has ever reported getting sick from eating it, and he's never been cited by the FDA. But when Patterson harvests his 200-acre crop next week, chances are that no one will want it, and it could cost him sales of $500,000. "It's like losing six months of income," says Patterson.Hundreds of spinach farmers across the country are set to take big losses this fall because of the E. coli outbreak that's sickened 166 people and counting in 25 states, killing at least one. In tracing the outbreak to its origin, officials have narrowed their search to spinach farms in Salinas Valley, Calif., making this the 20th time in the past decade that E. coli has been found in produce from the region that meets 75 percent of the country's increasing demand for fresh spinach.Consumption has risen ten-fold since 1970, fueling what's become a $325 million-a...
  • Early Advantage?

    Cutting against a major trend in the college-admissions game, Harvard grabbed national headlines Tuesday by announcing it would eliminate its early-admissions program—big news from a school that fills two fifths of its class with early applicants. The decision sent ripples through the world of higher education, which over the last decade has seen an explosion in the popularity of early admissions. While some predicted an ensuing domino effect at other schools, a number of analysts aren’t so sure.A spokesperson for Princeton says the news will be a factor at the school’s next review process and adds that Princeton “could be comfortable in making a change.” Yale President Richard Levin says his institution would take a wait-and-see approach while continuing pre-existing efforts to attract low-income candidates. Lloyd Thacker, who three years ago founded the Education Conservancy, a nonprofit that advocates for college-admissions reform, believes a slew of other schools could follow...
  • MIDEAST RELATIONS: After His Son's Death, A New Life's Work

    Judea pearl, father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and former Pakistani diplomat Akbar Ahmed are among the winners of the inaugural Purpose Prize, an award created by think tank Civic Ventures to honor seniors who take on "society's biggest challenges." For the last two years, Pearl, 70, and Ahmed, 63, have done just that, engaging in a traveling dialogue where, in front of interfaith audiences around the world, the two men sit on a bare stage and discuss conflict in the Middle East and ways to improve Jewish-Muslim relations.For Pearl, the discussions carry a deeply personal undertone. While on assignment in Pakistan in 2002, his son was abducted by Islamic extremists, who later videotaped his brutal beheading. Transforming his grief into resolve, Pearl and his wife, Ruth--herself an Iraqi Jew--channeled their son's optimism and good will into the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which they run mostly from their son's childhood bedroom in their Encino, Calif., home,...
  • Tragedy and Opportunity

    Sitting at their kitchen table on a recent summer afternoon, Ruth and Judea Pearl think back to another day four and a half years ago when an FBI agent sat across from them with tears in her eyes. It was Feb. 21, 2002, and their only son, journalist Daniel Pearl, had been missing for 28 days, abducted by Islamic extremists while on assignment for The Wall Street Journal in Pakistan. After weeks of uncertainty and false reports, there was now terrible confirmation: a video of Danny being beheaded. Among his last words was the statement, “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”Those words marked the end of Daniel Pearl’s life and the start of a new one for his parents. Through the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which they run mostly out of Danny’s childhood bedroom in their home in Encino, Calif., the Pearls bring Muslim journalists from around the world to work as fellows in U.S. newsrooms and at Jewish papers. As a tribute to Danny’s musical talents—he was an accomplished...
  • Radical Exec

    In 2003, Duke Energy asked its former president, Paul Anderson, to come out of retirement to help lead the Fortune 500 company out of the post-Enron ditch that much of the energy industry had fallen into. Anderson had been gone since 1998, when he left Duke for Australia to run one of the world's largest mining companies, BHP Billiton. There, Anderson got to know Tim Flannery, a research scientist at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Though they made for strange bedfellows, the two forged a unique relationship based on a common belief: reducing carbon emissions is the major challenge facing mankind.Before stepping down in April as CEO, Anderson helped Duke regain its financial footing. Now, as chair of Duke, Anderson has begun turning his attention toward issues of climate change. To the surprise of environmentalists and energy industry insiders alike, Anderson's forward to Flannery's 2005 book, "The Weather Makers," made an impassioned call for immediate action, lest we face...