Stories by Weston Kosova

  • You Just Got a Bargain on a Flat Screen TV. Don't Let the Salesman Scam You Into Buying Overpriced Cables

    Flat-screen televisions are a hot gift this year. Despite the awful economy, sales are up over last season, mostly because high-definition televisions, once prohibitively priced, are so much more affordable than they used to be. On Black Friday, thousands of shoppers drove away from big-box stores with their first HDTV in the back seat.Maybe you were one of those people. Or maybe an HDTV is on your shopping list. If so, congrats; use it in good health.No matter where you shopped, the helpful salesman probably told you that to get the clearest, cleanest high-definition picture out of your shiny new screen, you’ll want to run an HDMI cable from your cable box or DVD player to the TV.He’s right. HDMI—High Definition Multimedia Interface—is a great technology capable of carrying both the crisp digital HD picture and audio signal between devices in one cable. And since a lot of satellite and cable-television programming is now available in high def, you’ll see a big difference over old...
  • E-Books Are Cool, But They Have Drawbacks. For One Thing, They're Exactly Like Hitler.

    On Monday I wrote about the new Barnes & Noble e-book reader, called the Nook, and how it is part of a larger strategy by the bookseller to topple Amazon. Now the Nook is official, and hardwarewise, it certainly makes the Kindle seem even dowdier and less exciting than it already did, if that's even possible.No doubt Amazon will hit back with an even better Kindle next time around, and then Apple will weigh in with its rumored Nook'nKindle killer tablet in a few months─and so it goes. The good news is, all this competition will mean better (and cheaper) devices and e-books for all of us. If there was ever a doubt that e-books would eventually go mainstream, that's now been settled.Yet there are those who still have doubts about leaving paper behind. Some of the misgivings about e-books are easy to understand. The e-readers and a lot of the books themselves still cost too much; and most commercial e-books are shackled with stupid DRM restrictions that severely...
  • Barnes & Noble Wants to Crush Amazon's Kindle. And It Just Might Work.

    There is a lot of buzz that Barnes & Noble will release its anticipated e-reading device tomorrow. If the usual rumor sites are to be believed, it will have an e-ink screen, like Amazon's Kindle, and it will have built-in wireless so you can buy books over the air, like the Kindle. It may do the Kindle one better with a touchscreen, and possibly Wi-Fi, and maybe some limited way of sharing books with other e-readers.Maybe it will be better than the Kindle. Maybe it will be pretty much the same. Gizmodo posted some photos of the thing this week. It looks just fine. There is the customary hype over the device─you know, whether it's a "Kindle killer," etc. But the truth is, as long as it isn't a complete disaster, it doesn't really matter. Barnes & Noble is clearly out to get Amazon, but it's also clearly not counting on this device alone to do it. Instead, while the Kindle, and the Kindle 2, and the Kindle DX  have been getting all the...
  • Rupert Murdoch Says Google Is Stealing His Content. So Why Doesn't He Stop Them?

    The executives who run big, ailing news organizations—in particular Tom Curley of AP and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch—complain every chance they get that search engines—in particular Google—are stealing from them, because Google links to their stories but doesn't pay the AP or News Corp. to do so. The way the news bosses see it,  that is theft, plain and simple. They say Google is making tons of money by shamelessly lifting their content, and it's driving newspapers out of business. At a meeting of media executives going on this week in Beijing, Murdoch and Curley gave impassioned speeches, saying they're mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore. They warn that aggregators like Google had better start paying up, or else."We content creators have been too slow to react to the free exploitation of news by third parties without input or permission," Curley told the audience."The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price...
  • Why Health Advice on 'Oprah' Could Make You Sick

    Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!
  • Humor: D.C. Schools Court Malia and Sasha Obama

    After visiting the D.C. public school system and two prestigious private institutions, Michelle Obama chose the elite Sidwell Friends for her children. NEWSWEEK imagines how educators might have lobbied the future First Lady.
  • The Iraq War's Go-To Cliché

    Ever notice that when politicians talk about this conflict they can't get out of a sentence without uttering the phrase 'blood and treasure'? What it really means.
  • Imus: Race, Power and the Media

    As he spoke, Don Imus had no inkling—none, he later told NEWSWEEK—that he had said anything that would cause him trouble. Wednesday, April 4, started and finished like any other day for the talk-show host. Enthroned in his high-backed chair in his New Jersey studio just outside New York City, Imus, cragged and cranky as ever, bullied and joked and cajoled his way through his volatile four-hour morning radio program, broadcast nationwide five days a week by CBS affiliates and simulcast on MSNBC. Always particular about his looks, Imus wore his hipster cowboy jacket with the collar flipped up, his studiously tousled hair grazing his shoulders.Imus's show that day was supposed to be the usual mix of the high-minded and the profane. Among the guests: Sen. Chris Dodd, an Imus favorite who had announced he was running for president on the show earlier this year. In a sports segment, talk turned to the NCAA women's basketball game between Rutgers University and Tennessee. "That's some...
  • The True Cost Of War

    For American soldiers stationed in Iraq, one of the few comforts of this war is how easily they can keep in touch with family back home. Many service members call their spouses and kids several times a week and e-mail daily, reassuring them that they are all right. Sgt. 1/c John Gary Brown knew his wife, Donna, worried every time he went up in the air. A Black Hawk helicopter crew chief and gunner with an Arkansas Army National Guard unit, Brown had experience calming the anxieties of his wife of 18 years. War had separated them before: Brown had flown missions over a similarly bleak landscape a decade and a half ago when he served in the gulf war.That didn't make it any easier for Donna, so Brown called and wrote her almost every day. The only phone available to him was two miles from his barracks. At first he made the trek on foot, then bought a bicycle from a soldier who was rotating out. In their conversations, he reassured his wife that most of the time he was making routine...
  • The Point of No Return

    Gary Ackerman is the last man you'd expect George W. Bush to turn to for advice. Just elected to his 13th term in the House, the New York Democrat thinks the president's handling of the Iraq war has been "totally inept." So Ackerman was a bit surprised when Bush invited him and other members of Congress to the White House last Wednesday morning, just hours after the long-awaited Baker-Hamilton report was released. The president told them he wanted to hear their thoughts and concerns about the war. Ackerman was skeptical. "In my experience, you usually went in, and Bush would do most of the talking," Ackerman says. Instead, the president made a few brief remarks and then went around the table letting people speak their minds.For more than an hour the lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, "ripped into" the administration's Iraq policy, Ackerman recalls. "It was like a group intervention. It was ... certainly the most pointed discussion I've ever had with any president." When they were...
  • How Low Can You Go?

    To those who worried our violent, sex-obsessed, celebrity-crazed culture had at last reached the very farthest depths of depravity, O. J. Simpson and Judith Regan come bearing news: we had so much farther to fall. The accused but unconvicted killer and the attention-hungry pulp publisher have teamed up to create a product so lacking in taste and decency that people are already lining up to buy it.Regan's imprint at HarperCollins, which has put out books about convicted wife-killer Scott Peterson and a memoir by porn star Jenna Jameson, is set to publish a "fictional" account by O.J. that details how he would have killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman if he did kill them, which he still insists he did not. The book, titled "If I Did It," will go along with a two-part "Fox television event" in which Regan--a former National Enquirer reporter--will interview O.J., who'll apparently spell out in gory detail precisely how he didn't commit the crime.Regan reportedly paid between $2...
  • But What Does It Mean?

    Welcome to the day after. The people have spoken. And so—at impressive length—have the anchors and spinners and “commentators.” So now you wonder: What Does It All Mean?  The morning newspapers—and the  Democrats themselves—maintain that the election represents "a decisive turning of the tide" for the Democrats and "a stunning reversal of fortune" for the president. In his press conference today, even President George Bush acknowledged that the GOP had received an Election Day "thumpin.'"But despite Bush's ouster of Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, we still don’t know if the power shift in Washington will be truly dramatic, or merely significant. Republicans no longer have a lock on Washington. That’s a big deal. But it will be a far bigger deal if the Democrats ultimately win the Senate. They might: the Virginia  race looks to be heading into the dreaded land of the recount. In other words, What It All Means is going to take a while to sort out. But while we’re waiting, we can...
  • 2008: GINGRICH AT THE GATE

    George W. Bush has four years to go, but Republicans are already jockeying to succeed him. The first officially unofficial GOP hopeful for 2008? Newt Gingrich. The former House speaker has been plotting a comeback; now comes the obligatory political manifesto. In "Winning the Future," he lays out his top five priorities for the country. (No. 1: defeat terrorists.) He sets down easy-on-the-details plans to save Social Security, overhaul health care, promote English for immigrants and bring God back into public life. It's a campaign book if there ever was one, but Newt isn't printing bumper stickers just yet. "I'd be delighted if Cheney and Jeb Bush and Bill Frist want to read it," he told NEWSWEEK. Newt's aides aren't nearly so coy. According to one, Gingrich's book tour will include two notable stops: Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • WELFARE AS THEY KNOW IT

    For seven years, Jason DeParle, a senior writer for The New York Times, followed three welfare mothers, Angie Jobe, Jewell Reed and Opal Caples, as they struggled to make ends meet and keep their families together. "American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare" opens in 1991, just after the women, who are cousins, move from Chicago to Milwaukee in search of cheaper rent and more generous government checks. But Wisconsin begins experimenting with tough new welfare-to-work laws, and on the same day that Angie, Jewell and their four kids settle into their new apartment, candidate Bill Clinton promises to "end welfare as we know it."The battle over welfare has been detailed before--much of it by DeParle himself. And the bleakness of inner-city life is by now depressingly familiar. But in "American Dream," DeParle deftly intertwines the political and the personal to show how the decisions of distant officials affected the lives of people they would never...
  • WANTED: BETTER DONKEYS

    Get ready for the real fight. Yes, the campaign was bitter and nasty, but with George W. Bush returning to the White House for a second term, another epic battle is already underway--inside the Democratic Party. Let the recriminations begin: John Kerry was too liberal! He was too conservative! He should have been more pro-war! He should have been more antiwar! The losing side always goes through a period of wailing and teeth-gnashing after an election, as the various factions grab for power in anticipation of the next election. It will be especially intense after two narrow, bruising losses. Ultimately, all the soul-searching comes down to one all-important question (one that most normal people can't even bear to think about at the moment): who gets the nomination in 2008? In the age of the permanent campaign, politicians live and die by a single axiom--if you're not already running, it's probably too late. The list of candidates who are positioning themselves for the next go-round...
  • A CLEAN COUNT?

    It's just about impossible to stop Claude Hawkins from voting. The 24-year-old supply store clerk from Kansas City, Mo., was so enthusiastic about this year's election that he registered to vote three times, just to make sure his application wasn't lost. But when he showed up to vote in the state's Democratic primary last August, the poll worker told him he wasn't on the list. She offered to check with the board of elections. Instead, he decided to leave and go to the local union hall, where he'd voted in 2000. They couldn't find his name, either, even though the voter-registration card he presented listed his ward and precinct. He was given a list of all the local polling places. Hawkins went to the one closest to his house. Nope, wrong again. Finally, he trudged over to the last place he knew of in the area, a Methodist church. Sorry. When he explained the situation, a poll worker took pity on him and gave him a provisional ballot. Fill it out, he was told, and it would be counted...
  • At Last, The Two Shall Meet...Face To Face, Chin

    All Summer, You Watched George W. Bush And John Kerry Snipe And Sneer At Each Other From A Distance. Now, See Them Do It Live, On The Same Stage! The Upcoming Presidential Debates Could Push Kerry Over The Top--Or Seal The Deal For Bush. A Newsweek Guide To Verbal Combat.
  • The Incredible W

    Some days a guy can feel he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders. For George W. Bush it's every day. What with the menacing enemies he's got in Iraq, Afghanistan--France--not to mention a groggy economy and a nasty re-election fight, you'd think those jogging-scarred knees might just start to buckle. But to the millions of Americans who cringe at the thought of John Kerry sitting behind the big desk, Bush is a heroic hulk who's bravely kept the country safe from terrorists and tax hikes. What would chapter two look like? Take a look. Just don't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.The War at HomeHomeland security, no surprise, is the issue Bush hits hardest on the campaign trail. Since 9/11 he's nearly doubled the budget for defense and for Special Operations forces. He says he'll temporarily increase the size of the military by 30,000 soldiers--and at the same time bring some 60,000 troops now serving overseas back to U.S. bases. He's sticking with his...

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