Stories by Newsweek

  • By the Numbers: Paying Off the Debt

    As the U.S. announces a record deficit for 2010, a report from McKinsey Global looks at 45 credit crises since the Great Depression to see which countries have been the best or worst at quickly reducing their mountains of debt. 3: Years it took Ecuador to slash its debt-to-GDP ratio by almost 60 percent, the most successful belt-tightening episode on record (2000-03).3: Years it took Ukraine to slash its ratio by 84 percent, though it did so through high inflation rather than belt-tightening (1993-96).8: Years it took Indonesia to slash its ratio by 43 percent through massive default, the worst case of default deleveraging (2000-08).33: Years it took the U.K. to slash its ratio by 62 percent, the longest belt-tightening episode on record (1947-80).
  • Dan Choi Can't Be Reinstated to the Army Because He Was Never Kicked Out (But His Return to Drill Is Still Kind of a Big Deal)

    by Adam Weinstei Earlier today, the blogosphere was all aflutter over a rumor that the military might be dismantling its “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy from the inside. The fuel for this fire was provided by Lt. Dan Choi, a New York National Guardsman, West Point grad, Arabic linguist, Iraq vet, and openly gay man who has spent the past year lobbying publicly for an end to the policy barring gays and lesbians from service. Choi told a reporter Tuesday morning that he’d returned to drill last weekend with his National Guard unit, the First Battalion, 69th Infantry, as it prepares for an impending deployment. Which is kind of a big deal – just maybe not as big as the media made it out to be. “Outspoken gay activist called back to active duty,” USA Today breathlessly announced, ignoring the fact that active duty and National Guard drills aren’t at all the same thing. Another normally level-headed military-affairs reporter (who made the same “active duty” error) wrote that Choi’s...
  • Obama Considered Turning Underpants Bomber Over to Military Courts, Rejected the Option

    Since "underpants bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed Christmas Day bombing plot, his prosecution has become a political football, with the Obama administration opting to try him in civil courts and Republicans pushing for him to be turned over to the military. NEWSWEEK's Mark Hosenball reports that Obama and officials including Attorney General Eric Holder considered that path, but opted to stick with civil courts:...
  • Newsverse: Privates' Parts

    By Jerry Adler I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians. --Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
  • Justice Official Clears Bush Lawyers in Torture Memo Probe

    By Michael Isikoff and Daniel KlaidmanFor weeks, the right has heckled Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for his plans to try the alleged 9/11 conspirators in New York City and his handling of the Christmas bombing plot suspect. Now the left is going to be upset: an upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the “torture” memos of professional-misconduct allegations.For the full story, visit Declassified.
  • Leading Dems Want KSM Trial Moved From New York City

    Over on the Declassified blog, Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball run down the increasing momentum in the Democratic caucus for moving the trial of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed from New York City: ...
  • GDP Doesn't Solve Jobs Crisis

    By Nancy Cook The big economic headline from this morning is the unexpected increase in the gross domestic product, which rose to 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter from 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2009. That’s a big jump in this sour economy, but it’s premature to start celebrating just yet.The national unemployment rate stubbornly remains at 10 percent, with states such as California, Rhode Island, Michigan and South Carolina suffering from even higher local unemployment rates. If people lose their jobs or feel insecure about their futures, they spend less money or opt to save more cash. Either way, they’re not buying as much stuff. Increased consumer spending is one roadmap economists see as a way to pull Americans out of this recession. Most of the celebrated GDP growth this quarter (3.4 percent) instead came from businesses increasing their inventories. That’s nothing to scoff at, but it’s hard to tell if this economic growth will continue. “Certainly it’s better to have...
  • Will the iPad Keynote Put an End to Rumors About Steve Jobs's Health? (Probably Not.)

    By If an Apple a day keeps the doctor away, then Wednesday was an important test for Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and cofounder of Apple, who unveiled the company's tablet computer, the iPad, ending months of speculation.But buzz about Apple’s newest product could not eclipse renewed rumors surrounding Jobs's current health. Along with detailed descriptions of the iPad’s $499 entry-level price and potential to make print profitable, numerous bloggers and journalists made note of how thin, though energized, Jobs appeared at the San Francisco announcement.The intensely private Jobs, 53, has guarded his health status even more carefully than he did the secret of the iPad ever since his 2004 surgery for pancreatic cancer. Though he seemed to recover quickly, in 2008 his rapid weight loss sparked rumors. As word got out that he would send a replacement to deliver his 2009 keynote address, the famously private Jobs went so far as to send an open letter addressing the...
  • Obama's Message: Don't Mistake My Spockiness for Weakness

    The new cover of NEWSWEEK is explicit in its diagnosis of the president's problems: it describes "The Inspiration Gap." For all the hand-wringing about how style matters more than substance, style is a critical element of democratic leadership. (George Washington was revered in his day not least because he was the tallest man on the scene.) My sense is that Obama realized his professorial demeanor was not getting the job done, so the president who spoke to Congress was the Obama who does not mind using irony and sarcasm in service of a point. "That's how budgeting works," he virtually muttered at a GOP caucus that was clearly unhappy his freeze was for 2011, not 2010. Promising more meetings with the Republicans, he added, in effect: I know you're looking forward to that.The sharper tone was at once playful and intense. The message: don't mistake my Spockiness for weakness. And the message should have been received.
  • Pelosi 'Way Short' on Votes

    By Daniel Stone and Eleanor Clift The House approving the Senate's health-care bill would be the easiest way to pass a reform package without stepping back to more partisan bickering. So says New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, our colleague Sarah Kliff, and a growing drumbeat of angry and despondent progressive voters. Sort out the particulars later, they say. For now, just grow some cojones, bite the bullet, and git ‘er done.Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that she didn’t have the votes to do that ... just yet. How close is she?A senior Democratic aide tells NEWSWEEK that Pelosi et al. are “way short.” No one on Capitol Hill will talk firm numbers, in part because numbers are never firm until the vote is called, but this aide says that far too many members say they feel queasy about some part of the Senate language and many would rather see it die than become law. ...
  • Intel Chief's Comments Infuriate Obama Officials

    As NEWSWEEK investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff just reported over on the Declassified blog, Director of National Intelligence Adm. Dennis Blair is in hot water after testifying today that the alleged Qaeda operative who tried to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day should have been questioned by a special interrogation unit that doesn't exist, rather than the FBI. One official called the testimony misinformed on many levels, and senior administration officials, furious at the flub, fear the statement could lend Republicans more opportunity to attack Obama for his handling of the Christmas Day attempt.Much more on this over at Declassified.
  • Napolitano Tells Newsweek Abdulmutallab Was Not on No-Fly List

    In an interview with NEWSWEEK's Mark Hosenball and Jerry Guo in this week's magazine, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledged that the name of the alleged would-be underpants airplane bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was absent from a U.S. "no fly" list. She said the process for deciding which suspects' names go on which U.S. government watch lists are currently being thoroughly reviewed by the Obama administration. You can read the interview here.
  • How Europe Is Killing Switzerland

    By Denis MacShane For the evangelists of globalization, Switzerland has long been the model country. Its -image as a diverse, harmonious nation with light regulations and political neutrality is a main reason the World Economic Forum holds its big annual meeting (which begins next week) in Davos. But the façade of Swiss exceptionalism is crumbling. Take one component of the Swiss mystique: banking secrecy. Discretion turned Geneva into a global financial capital, but that comparative advantage has collapsed under massive international pressure following the global economic meltdown. Meanwhile, Switzerland’s exemplary tolerance is also slipping. The Swiss overwhelmingly passed a xenophobic referendum in November, amending the Constitution to forbid the construction of minarets. Still another myth is the country’s purported freedom from the shackles of the EU, which Switzerland has refused to join. Yet most Swiss laws have now been brought into conformity with EU norms—a requirement...
  • What the White House Report on Underpants Attack Didn’t Spell Out

    A White House report on the foiled Christmas Day attempted airliner bombing provided only the sketchiest of details about what may have been the most politically sensitive of its findings: how the White House itself was repeatedly warned about the prospect of an attack on the U.S. homeland by Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen. ...
  • Copenhagen's Goal Likely to Fail, New Studies Show

    By Craig SimonsThe verdict on Copenhagen is in: guilty of failure. Every serious study of commitments made at the environmental summit shows it will fall short of its goal to cut carbon emissions sharply enough to hold off a 2-degree-Celsius rise in global temperatures. After the conference, the United Nations Environment Program found that the world had locked in less than half of the greenhouse-gas reductions needed to provide a 50-50 chance of preventing the temperature increase by 2050. A second study by MIT, Ventana Systems, and the U.S.-based Sustainability Institute calculated that Copenhagen's proposals will likely leave the world 3.9 degrees warmer by 2100. A third report from Germany's Potsdam Institute found that even if every Copenhagen proposal is fully funded, average global temperatures will be 3.2 degrees higher by century's end.The final tallies differed slightly since scientists made different assumptions about how quickly emissions will grow, or...