Fast Chat: Dorthy Moxley

For 27 years, Moxley, now 70, never stopped working for "justice for Martha." She spoke to Suzanne Smalley.Do you feel any relief with Michael Skakel convicted and behind bars? ...

Finding Chandra

CNN and a local Washington, D.C., TV station were the first to report that a human skull had been found in a remote corner of Washington's Rock Creek Park. By that day in late May, most of the world had finally begun to forget about the curly-haired young intern from Modesto, Calif. But there's nothing like a well-placed skull to set off a feeding frenzy. Hundreds of journalists descended. The discovery of Chandra Levy's bones knocked coverage of a guilty verdict in the deadly 1963 Birmingham church bombing off the air. Levy's devastated parents found out that the pile of bones in the park was actually their daughter's from televised news reports because some producer could not wait for them to be called before airing the scoop.The scene at the park resembled the sidelines at a Little League game. Cameramen sat in lawn chairs chatting casually on mobile phones about the grim discovery while munching on pad thai less than 50 feet from the remains. Chinese takeout food boxes and pizza...

The Skeletons In Frist's Closet

Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist will almost certainly be elected majority leader when the senate votes on a successor to Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott next month. The choice is a happy one for President George W. Bush, who views Frist as an effective ally; Frist has even been discussed as a possible replacement for Vice President Dick Cheney on the ticket in 2004.There's no question about it: The heart surgeon's quick rise to power has turned plenty of heads inside the Beltway. But Frist may have a few skeletons in the closet of his own. HCA, the largest hospital chain in the country, is run by Frist's brother and was founded by his father. Frist himself owns millions in Columbia/HCA stock, kept in a blind trust. And even though Columbia/HCA had an obvious stake in the outcome of both the Congressional Medicare commission's work and the patients' bill of rights legislation, Frist didn't withdraw from either debate. In fact, the Tennessee senator took a leadership role in both instances....

Slow Burn

In 1991, Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, published "Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics" and joined the ranks of influential political pundits. Since then, he's weighed in on everything from what he called the media's "disgraceful" handling of the George W. Bush drunk-driving story to why Chandra Levy's affair with Gary Condit and subsequent disappearance was so widely covered.But even a seasoned vet like Sabato is intrigued by the way the latest political feeding frenzy has taken shape. He talked with NEWSWEEK's Suzanne Smalley about why it took so long for the mainstream media and most politicians to react to Sen. Trent Lott's controversial comments.NEWSWEEK: Why did it take so long for Trent Lott's birthday toast to Strom Thurmond to become a story?Larry J. Sabato: This one was slow in taking off because I honestly believe it took a couple of days for people to realize what Trent Lott had actually...

Shots In The Dark

Once again, a single shot, out of the darkness. Shortly after 8:30 on Saturday night, a 37-year-old man was gunned down outside a Ponderosa SteakHouse in Ashland, Va., 90 miles south of Washington. Hit in the abdomen, the underwent surgery. Law-enforcement authorities couldn't be sure the sniper had struck again, but within minutes police cruisers, SWAT teams and helicopters were flooding to the scene, setting up roadblocks. The cops were carrying out a rapid-response plan worked out at a series of meetings between area police chiefs. After a dozen shootings, the police have had plenty of practice.Five days had passed since the last shooting, the longest break since the sniper began his lethal work three weeks ago. The sniper had never before struck on a weekend; if this was in fact the same gunman, he chose a rural town far from the capital to extend his reign of terror. The experts wondered: was he toying with the media and the authorities, trying to confound and confuse?It has...

Image: The Founding Father's Face-Lift

You don't think wooden teeth and powdered wigs are hip? Neither does anyone else. That makes George Washington's handlers nervous about Americans' losing interest in the Father of Our Country. "Many people think he's a great man, but they also think he comes off as older, stiffer, humorless and a little sedentary in that portrait [on the dollar bill]," says Jim Rees, director of Mount Vernon. "If you push people hard enough in a focus group, they'll also say he looks a little boring." So the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the group that owns and operates George Washington's Virginia plantation, is set to spend $85 million in part to make our first president young and hip. While some money will go toward creating a new interactive learning center, other funds will pay for an age-regression technician, a plastic surgeon and a forensic scientist to create statues of Washington as a young man for the grounds of Mount Vernon. The association will loan a life mask made of Washington at...

Guru: All She Needs Is A Miracle

She officiated at Elizabeth Taylor's sixth wedding, counseled the Clintons at Camp David after the Gingrich revolution and befriended Oprah while hawking her New Age psych lit on America's talk show. Marianne Williamson--a 50-year-old college dropout and nightclub singer turned pop guru--became a household name teaching people to feel "entitled" to miracles. Hey, it worked for her.But Williamson's own sense of entitlement has angered her common-folk flock. While it's been only a year since Steven Tyler surprised the congregation with an Aerosmith-tinged gospel set list, it seems the good times are no longer rolling. The glam guru recently said she'll resign her position at Michigan's Renaissance Unity Church at the year-end. Williamson claims to want a change, but says she'll speak at the church on a freelance basis. "I'm not leaving because of something inside the church," she says. "There's a blessing to being more of a free agent." Some church members couldn't be happier. "She...

'They Never Did Come Back'

The main room of Engine 23's firehouse feels claustrophobic despite its substantial size. It is not the heat or the crying grandmothers who have turned out in their Sunday best to honor the company's six dead men that stifles us. It is not the tight space, made tighter by rows of grimy helmets and the false cheer of billowing flags. We can't see what entraps us, but it is filling the space, atom by atom."Firefighter Dan Marshall, Firefighter John Fischer, Capt. Thomas Moody," the dispatcher shouts, three of 343 men who will be addressed but not brought back. The names ricochet off the walls at today's ceremony marking the anniversary of their deaths even as a Catholic priest gives mass, trying his best to speak over the staccato rhythm coming from the intercom above. "If someone strikes your right cheek offer your left," the priest intones. "If someone takes your coat, offer your suit." No one seems to be listening. There is no escaping the pulse of the voice from above, the voice...

Merchandise: How To Be Tacky Like Us

First, Americans were obsessed with TV's gutter-mouthed Osbournes and gangland Sopranos. Now we want to become them. Make your home their home with Sopranos coaster sets or Osbournes throw pillows and afghans featuring our favorite has-been rocker's ghoulish mug. Even your meals can be enriched by these characters: come September, HBO's online store will be hawking Sopranos chef Artie Bucco's line of dry ziti, marinara sauce and prosciutto- or sun-dried-tomato-topped pizzas. For the kids, there are now Kelly and Jack school supplies and Ozzy lunchboxes stuffed with bubble gum. For the kid in you, there's a bleeping Ozzy talking doll ($25) and snow globes ($20). And this Halloween, look for $20 hot-pink wigs for Kelly wanna-bes, and Sopranos baseball jerseys ($68). Who was it that said not to believe everything you see on TV, anyway?

Media: The Times Are Tight

Every Sunday morning 1.7 million subscribers across the country snuggle up to The New York Times Book Review. Yet despite its entrenched status as a weekly must-read for the literati, the TBR has been plagued by the same plummeting ad revenue that has starved many publications in recent months. As a result, the skinnier TBR is now reviewing fewer books each week. "It is heartbreaking," said Patricia Eisemann, vice president of publicity for Scribner. "If the paper of record doesn't review you, it's tough." The weekly supplement is one of the few outlets left for comprehensive literary criticism.Reviews can end up running months later--when there's room--but the harm is often done by then. As with films, initial sales can make or break a title because cash-strapped publishers are quick to kill marketing dollars for books that fail to make a splash fast. "Our window [for media attention] is three weeks," says Eisemann.Editors at the TBR share the book industry's heartbreak. "We're...

Weird Science?

Bangalore, India. Beijing, China. Amman, Jordan. As the suspense-filled finale of "Signs" plays out, the family at the center of the movie learns from a terrified TV newscaster that elaborately designed crop circles have appeared over the course of a day in 274 cities across the globe.The film's audience is left to wonder how these complex and often hauntingly similar patterns could possibly crop up in such far-flung places all at once. How to explain this phenomenon, which has been documented many times over the last century?It's a question that has riveted Americans since long before "Signs" hit Main Street. The popular new flick may star Mel Gibson and boast the most skilled director of spooky cinema since Hitchcock, but its $150 million gross after just three weeks in theaters is at least partially due to the fact that no one quite knows what to make of crop circles, the eerie leitmotif at the heart of the movie.Colin Andrews, the scientific consultant on the film and the author...

Asbestos: Alarmingly High Levels

Bobby Stanlewicz's exposure to disease-causing chemicals didn't end when he left Ground Zero. The 35-year-old firefighter--who is suffering from respiratory disease--has learned that he's spent the past year working in a contaminated truck. The nonprofit New York Environmental Law and Justice Project recently tested some of the same engines that the New York Fire Department had approved as safe in February, and found asbestos concentrations as high as five times the 1 percent safety limit. "The OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] standard is that asbestos does not become carcinogenic until it is airborne," says the FDNY's Frank Gribbon. But that standard is not ideal. "This is a material that becomes hazardous if disturbed, which it almost surely will [be] in a fire truck full of foot traffic," said Dr. Stephen Levin of Mount Sinai's Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. "OSHA acknowledges that even with exposures that meet their standards, some people...

Books: American Psyche

Who knew that Teddy Roosevelt called Taft a "flub-dub with a streak of the second-rate and the common in him"? Or that there's a clearly marked urinal in Salem, Ore., noting that JFK was once a patron? Or that Grover Cleveland's nickname was Big Beefhead? If trivia is what you're looking for now that patriotism is chic, pick up a copy of the "USA Book of Lists." One of the few pop patriotic titles to be published before 9-11, its sales have more than doubled since Barnes & Noble began pushing the book as part of its Spirit of America promo last month. Publisher Anne Brooks sent the retailer a letter after the tragedy touting the title--she says she did so "without capitalizing too much on people's misery"--and her instinct was head-on. Warm and fuzzy books celebrating all things American are hot this Independence Day. "It's patriotism for the masses," says Edward Nawotka, a Publishers Weekly editor. Recent titles include "1001 Ways to Celebrate America." There's also a...

Will Mr. Finley Go To Washington?

Frank Capra couldn't have staged it better. When New York City firefighter Joe Finley announced his bid for the state's Second Congressional District, he made sure he was surrounded by props: his office, for one, Engine Company 16 Ladder 7, with its garage doors wide open; shiny red trucks, and his uniformed colleagues, undeniable heroes, all within the purview of the handful of cameras.The 46-year-old Finley, who is suffering from what he describes as smoke-induced asthma as a result of his work at Ground Zero and has been put on modified duty after 12 years as a firefighter, traveled far from his Long Island home and the district he is hoping to represent so that he could officially join the race in front of his former lower-Manhattan firehouse."I need to retire from the physical duties of firefighting," Finley, a Republican, said in his speech. "But I don't want to retire from working to protect my country." Finley is one of 164 New York City firefighters currently slated for a...

A Sad Ending To A Long Search

More than one year after she disappeared from her Washington apartment, skeletal remains identified as Chandra Levy's were found on Wednesday four miles from her home in a remote area of Washington's Rock Creek Park."This is no longer a missing persons case," said Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey. "This is a death investigation."Levy disappeared on or about May 1, 2001, as she prepared to return to California after completing a stint as an intern with the federal Bureau of Prisons. The disappearance triggered an avalanche of publicity after she was romantically linked to California Democrat Rep. Gary Condit.The remains--a human skull, bones and fragments of clothing--were found by a man walking his dog and searching for turtles. The Washington medical examiner made the positive identification some eight hours later, using dental records.The location of the remains led to immediate speculation that they were Levy's. The body parts were found just one mile north of the Klingle...

A Shaky Case In Greenwich

Martha Moxley was only 15 when she was bludgeoned to death on the night of Oct. 30, 1975--and the unsolved murder, in the middle of a gated community that is home to some of America's wealthiest families, has hung like a dark shadow over Greenwich, Conn., for the past 27 years. Now the state is prosecuting her next-door neighbor at the time, Michael Skakel. The trial, in Norwalk, Conn., is attracting maximum media attention, partly because of the confluence of scandal and social privilege--Skakel is one of Ethel Kennedy's nephews--and partly because Moxley's mother has spent years in a quest for justice. So the stakes are high and the prosecution is under the gun--especially since so far, at least, the case looks like a ghastly mess.For starters, as a prosecution expert testified last week, there is no physical evidence linking Skakel to the crime. Worse, the case has always suffered from too many suspects--including Thomas Skakel, Michael's older brother, and Kenneth Littleton, the...

Fashion: Sprouse's New Scribbles

He has designed clothes for rock gods of all generations, including Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Axl Rose. He has hung out with Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry. He even produced hand-scrawled bags for Louis Vuitton that sold out in two months last year despite a $1,000 price tag. Now the punk icon and fashion designer Stephen Sprouse is bringing his New York City subway-inspired graffiti art to a Target store near you.Sprouse has designed what he calls a "pop, fun, MTV kind of red, white and blue" line of clothing, summer toys and sports gear in honor of Independence Day. Skateboards, air mattresses, inner tubes and Frisbees splashed with Sprouse's patriotic designs will be sold at rock-bottom prices. Boot-cut jeans, muscle T's and flip-flops screaming u.s.a. will all retail for less than $20. The line--which Sprouse has named Americaland in honor of the Minnesota heartland where he spent a month last summer at Target headquarters--hits stores this weekend and will be available only...

The Youngest Mule

Drug mules hide it everywhere--in clothes, luggage, body cavities and in their stomachs, packaged in condoms to protect themselves against a potentially lethal overdose of heroin or cocaine. Drugs have been found in shoes, wigs, plaster casts and colostomy bags, as well as in beer cans, Game Boys and shampoo bottles. In 1994 Customs inspectors in New York found five pounds of cocaine surgically implanted in a dog's gut. In 1997 authorities caught a disabled man carrying nearly six pounds of heroin in the padding of his wheelchair. Last month a 12-year-old Nigerian boy was detained in New York when one of the 87 condoms in his stomach began leaking. And last week a Customs inspector at John F. Kennedy airport in New York found more than a kilo of heroin in the lining of a suitcase--which would have been routine, except for the fact that its owner was only 5."That was a new low, even for drug traffickers," said Special Agent in Charge Joe Webber, who runs Customs operations in New...

Return Of The King

If Elvis were to come out of hiding sometime, the next few months would be a darned good time to do so.After all, this summer the King will be a hotter commodity than ever. As the country approaches the 25th anniversary of Presley's death on Aug. 16, Elvis will be inescapable. His infectious music and pouty mug will fill every corner of the culture. Record companies will offer up rare recordings on CD and publishers will put out many celebrative books, hoping not only to lure in nostalgic baby boomers but also to turn on their MTV-raised kids. And over the next six months, you'll also hear Presley's songs used to sell just about everything--even products completely unrelated to the singer.His longtime label, RCA Records, and its parent company, Bertelsmann Media Group, have been aggressively banging out licensing agreements with various partners. "The idea is to contemporize Elvis Presley," says Joe DiMuro, a strategic-marketing executive at BMG. "We know we're going to get the...

A HOOPS STAR'S LAST SHOT?

He was a biracial kid from the Lower East Side who made it big--very big--in the pros. And when injuries ended Jayson Williams's career as an $86 million power forward with the NBA's New Jersey Nets, he built a new career as an NBC Sports commentator on the strength of his incandescent smile and ready wit. Along the way, Williams acquired a well-deserved reputation as a party animal with a taste for alcohol, fast cars and guns. He also built a 30,000-square-foot mansion in the hunt country of western New Jersey that had a movie theater, a par-three golf course and a shooting range. It was there, in the waning hours of a boisterous outing with some buds from the Harlem Globetrotters, that he blundered into a fatal shooting incident that could send him to prison for years.The exact details are still sketchy nearly a month after the episode--but Williams, 34, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shotgun death of Costas (Gus) Christofi, a 55-year-old limo driver who had...

Field Of Dreams

Todd Field’s story could be its own Hollywood script: First-time feature film director and little-known actor makes one of the year’s most critically acclaimed films for under $2 million, using his own cabin as a location and his son’s baseball teammates as extras. The movie is sold to Miramax at Sundance and despite being a relative nobody, the director manages to keep the notoriously scissor-happy studio from significantly editing or commercializing it.Oh, and the kicker: the little movie grosses over $30 million to date even though the story does not unfold in a forest haunted by a violent witch nor does it breathlessly probe sex, lies and videotape. Rather, the film is a searing slow dance through the stages of grief, it features characters who quote William Blake while playing poker, and its lead roles are played by a fiftysomething actress best-known for decades-old performances and a British character actor known for even less than that.So, you ask, how did “In the Bedroom”...

Escape From New York

Almost every morning, Larry Rosen and his 8-year-old son, Aaron, strolled into Cosi in lower Manhattan. The breakfast ritual was familiar. They ordered bran muffins. They talked about the Knicks. They talked about the Mets. They talked about Little League. The boy played. The dad coached. ...

Evidence Destroyed

Decades before Enron's employees and auditors plunged head-first into the document-shredding business, the practice had become a predictable response to scandal and subpoenas. Document destruction, though, is as old as civilization. During the Inquisition, the Vatican urged the destruction of books that presented ideas with which it disagreed for religious or philosophical reasons. The modern paper shredder was the inspiration of a German inventor aiming to protect the secrets of rival, small-time merchants he supplied. ...

Inside A New York City High School

Timing is everything. Just ask Anella Gubitosa, a social-studies teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in New York City. Gubitosa says she has been verbally and physically threatened by a student three times since Dec. 19. After the second incident, the student was expelled and sent to another high school. But when Martin Luther King officials allowed the 15-year-old back in on Monday to take her final exams, the student went after the teacher yet again. ...

Periscope

From the first moments of the September 11 horror through the weeks since, our reporters have been on scene in America and Afghanistan, filing reports to the magazine and NEWSWEEK.MSNBC.com. Here, some of our frontline correspondents tell what they saw--and felt--in covering the memorable moments of this heart-stopping story.On the morning of Sept. 12 the air was still thick with smoke, and as he cried, James McGinnis seemed to be choking on the sooty air. He was clutching a white bucket so I knew that he was part of the "bucket brigade," a group of volunteers who were clearing debris with empty white paint buckets, piece by tiny piece. But McGinnis wasn't just another volunteer. He was there looking for his brother, Thomas, 41, who had been on the 92d floor of the North Tower when the first plane hit."One guy just walked out with a hand in a box," McGinnis told me that morning. "There are bodies cut in half. We have to do all the digging by hand."McGinnis cried even harder as he...

The Victims Of Flight 587

When Navy Petty Officer Ruben Rodriguez, 32, set foot on dry land last Saturday after seven months at sea on board the USS Enterprise, all he could think of was getting home to the Dominican Republic to see the infant son he hardly knew. Seven-month-old Omar was born 11 days before Rodriguez shipped out on the Enterprise at the end of April. His two other sons, Ruben, 5, and Miguel Angel, 3, were aching for their father. Rodriguez's return home had been delayed by the war, and when he called his wife and sons from the ship, Miguel Angel didn't want to speak to him. "Don't call, don't call me," he told his father, "just come home."Rodriguez was returning from the most dangerous assignment of his nine-year Navy career. On the morning of Sept. 11, the USS Enterprise had been cruising back to port after a tour in the Middle East. When news of the attacks reached the ship, some crew members report they could "almost feel the ship turning around." The ship was abruptly sent to the Arabian...

'The Engine Flew Right By My Window'

The morning started like any other. Kevin McKeon, 39, getting ready to leave for work, stood in the kitchen of his house with his wife, Ilene, and their four-year-old daughter, Shannon. "I said 'give daddy a kiss,'" he recalls. As he headed toward the garage to get into his car, a huge explosion rocked his house. A jet engine and wing had fallen from the sky, causing a fire that engulfed his boat, the garage and eventually the kitchen. He was cut and bruised from the force of the blast. "The whole room blew apart.... Shannon got blown out through the patio doors," McKeon says. "Ilene was blown through into the living room." A 10-foot piece of the wing still sits in the basement of his house.The American Airlines flight from New York to the Dominican Republic with 255 people on board slammed into this residential area of Queens, N.Y., at 9:17 a.m., three minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport. The crash destroyed four houses and damaged more than a dozen...

'Scary Mary' Tells It Like It Is

While she served as inspector general of the Federal Aviation Administration, Mary Schiavo earned the nickname "Scary Mary" for her repeated warnings about flight safety. In 1996, Schiavo quit her post in protest, after she infuriated Congress and the Clinton administration by telling the public that she "wouldn't fly ValuJet." Her warning came even as her boss, former Transportation secretary Federico Pena, was telling a country shaken by the company's devastating Florida Everglades crash that the airline was safe. Today, Schiavo looks like a visionary. Still outspoken, Schiavo remains appalled by airport security in this country. This week, she spoke with NEWSWEEK's Suzanne Smalley.NEWSWEEK: Why hasn't the FAA done a better job of airport and airline security?Mary Schiavo: It's mainly money. Right from the inception of our federal aviation oversight agencies, literally from the '20s when they were just founded with the purpose of promoting the airlines. [FAA regulators] very...

The Sad Tale Of The Iron Workers

For all New Yorkers, the sight of their city's two tallest buildings plunging downward was unimaginable. In addition to the lives lost, a Big Apple icon vanished as well-a gaping hole in our storied postcards.But for the New York-area members of the iron workers' union, there is another cruelty to absorb: many of them built the Twin Towers with their bare hands-or are the progeny of those who did. Now they're on the front lines of the rescue effort, frantically pulling apart what's left of their pride and joy, hoping to find even one survivor."I worked on the razor gang from '70 to '71," says rescue volunteer and member of Local 40 Paul Gaulden, 57, of the Bronx, N.Y. "We put in outer joints so that if it swayed on a windy day it would only move 12 inches. I told my kids I built the tallest buildings in the world."When the Twin Towers were finished in 1973, they were the tallest. For the iron workers who did the job then, the two buildings were a source of particular pride. "For us,...

Absolute Intelligence

It was Friday, April 13, when Dan Fabulich received the call. It was a threatening phone message on his answering machine from someone who sounded like a drunk Darth Vader. But Fabulich was actually more delighted than afraid. The caller left these words: "When machines take over, it will be people like you who are easiest to track down."Because of the allusion to artificial intelligence, Fabulich, then a 21-year-old Yale senior, knew immediately that this wasn't a stalker-but a clue. The robot's message was just the latest element in a fantasy world that has been created to promote the coming summer movie "A.I.," an intricate maze of more than 30 Web sites. Although Fabulich had left his phone number on one of the sites, even he was surprised when the furious-sounding robot called his dorm room.The Yalie became so addicted to the "A.I." Internet puzzle that, along with thousands of others online, he spent an average of four hours a day in early April compulsively solving riddles...

Execution: The Grisly Play-By-Play

The language is dry and bureaucratic, as if the narrator, a Georgia-state-prison official named Willis Marable, were describing the best way to install a piece of office equipment. But the event is the execution of a convicted murderer named Ivon Ray Stanley on July 12, 1984--the somber and ultimately dreadful moment when the state uses its legal power to take a life. "The execution is now in progress," Marable says in his down-home drawl. "From my vantage point it seems that the inmate has relaxed somewhat... His fists are still clenched, but there is no movement from the condemned." Ivon Ray Stanley is dead. ...

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