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  • BeliefWatch: Is 'Harry Potter' a Christian Story?

    Have you finished reading? What do you think? Is Harry Potter a Christian story after all? Harry has made news, ever since his arrival on the scene in 1998, for provoking the ire of some right-wing Christians who believe his magical powers and wizardly aspirations—not to mention his boarding school peopled with eccentric friends and demonic villains—promote occultism and Satan worship.These enemies of young Potter arm themselves with this quotation from Deuteronomy: "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead." Conservative Christian leaders continue to make public statements against the book. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, reiterated last week in a statement that he has "spoken out strongly against all of the Harry Potter products," and Chuck Colson,...
  • A Need for (Higher) Speed

    From heritage tours to farm-to-table dining, today's retirees (and soon-to-be-retirees) are reinventing the autumn years.
  • 'Bourne Ultimatum': Meth for Action Junkies

    How fast and furious is the third installment of the Bourne trilogy? Just in the first 15 minutes it charges from a chase in Moscow to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.; to Turin, Italy; Paris, London and New York City, barely pausing to catch its (or our) breath. The amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is on the run again, closing in on the secret of his identity, outsmarting and outmuscling vast teams of CIA hit men who use every weapon in their arsenal to stop him from discovering the truth about his past.For action junkies, "The Bourne Ultimatum" will be like a hit of pure meth. It's bravura filmmaking in the jittery, handheld, frenetically edited Paul Greengrass style. That visceral, vérité style caught many people by surprise in "The Bourne Supremacy." (They obviously hadn't seen his earlier film about the Irish Troubles, "Bloody Sunday.") But now, after his acclaimed, unnerving "United 93," we know what he can do, and it's momentarily disconcerting to realize that he...
  • Fair Play: A Nasty Week for the Sports World

    Since the news broke that the Chicago White Sox had thrown the 1919 World Series, has the sports world had a nastier week? Or should we forget even that qualification? The Black Sox scandal seriously damaged major-league baseball, but last week the NFL, the NBA and the Tour de France all took headline hits. The National Hockey League and Thoroughbred racing got off easy: brothers Eric and Jordan Staal (of the Hurricanes and Penguins, respectively) merely got arrested for disorderly conduct at a bachelor party, and at New York's Saratoga Race Course, only one horse, the 7-year-old Massoud, fell and had to be euthanized.The federal indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for his alleged involvement in a dogfighting ring was both the most horrific and least significant of last week's scandals. The indictment, which alleges that dogs were shot, hanged and electrocuted, could land Vick six years in prison and a $350,000 fine, which seems lenient if the allegations are true...
  • Film: When the Skinheads Ruled England

    Shane Meadows's raw, exuberant "This Is England" pops off the screen from the moment the opening credits roll—propelled by Toots & the Maytals—and never flags. The setting is the English Midlands in the summer of 1983. Thatcher is in power, the Falklands War is raging, unemployment is rampant, racial tensions are being exploited by the nativist National Front and skinheads are in style. All this is laid out through newsreels in an opening so strong you wonder if the movie can live up to it. No problem. Meadows's protagonist, 11-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), is a cocky, lonely, droopy-eyed working-class kid whose dad was killed in the Falklands. Picked on for his geeky clothes, he's taken under the wing of a group of skinheads led by the funny, lanky Woody (Joe Gilgun), and gets a makeover. With his shaved head, red suspenders and Doc Martens, Shaun gets a new lease on life. His mum is furious about the hair—but happy that he's found protectors.Writer-director Meadows knows...
  • My Turn: Let's Think Outside The Box of Bad Clichés

    As a professor of bioethics, I strive to teach my students that clear writing fosters clear thinking. But as I was grading a stack of blue books today, I discovered so many clichés that I couldn't help writing them down. Before I knew it, I had spent the afternoon not grading essays but cataloging the many trite or inaccurate phrases my students rely on to express themselves.When I grade written work by students, one of the phrases I hate most is "It goes without saying," in response to which I scribble on their essays, "Then why write it?" Another favorite of undergraduates is "It's not for me to say," to which I jot in their blue books, "Then why continue writing?"I also despise the phrase "Who can say?" to which I reply, "You! That's who! That's the point of writing an essay!"In teaching bioethics, I constantly hear about "playing God," as in "To allow couples to choose X is to play God." Undergraduates use the phrase constantly as a rhetorical hammer, as if saying it ends all...
  • Get Ready for 'High School Musical 2'

    It's springtime in St. George, Utah, and the hills are alive with the sound of "High School Musical." The production has invaded this small desert town to film a sequel, much to the delight of the students at Coral Cliffs Elementary School, located about a mile from the set. At recess, the kids swear that if they listen really hard, they can hear the movie's new songs echo on the horizon. "They filmed for two weeks on our baseball fields," says music teacher Stacie Bowden, who often uses songs from the TV movie in her choir class. "We had a lot of kids trying to get up there. It was crazy." Just as surreal, the film's stars—Zac, Ashley, Corbin, Vanessa; in the tween world, they're all one-name superstars—seem to be everywhere: at the movies, the go-kart track, even the bus stop, according to one sighting. "One day in PE," says Anje Olivas, a 9-year-old third grader, "I was doing the long jump. I looked up and I think I saw Zac Efron."Was it just her imagination? It's hard to say....
  • God and MP3s: The Audio Bible Craze

    When people speak of hearing God, they usually don't mean they can adjust the volume. But a wave of new audio Bibles with Hollywood talent, chintzy sound effects and overwrought musical scores is bringing God into the MP3 era—and they couldn't have more different, well, complexions. There's "The Bible Experience," a complete Bible recording featuring a divine roster of A-list black celebrities, including Forest Whitaker as Moses, Cuba Gooding Jr. as Judas, Blair Underwood as Jesus and Samuel L. Jackson as the Big Guy himself. (The New Testament half has already sold close to 400,000 copies in its eight months on the market.) The competition: "Word of Promise," another surround-sound Scripture set, starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus (again), Terence Stamp as God and a mostly white, thoroughly B-list cast. They're both on sale this fall. Just press play and pray.Of course, the publishing industry has long performed what amounts to a miracle of market renewal, making the Good Book a...
  • Race for Life: Triathlon Camp for Diabetics

    There was a time—say, the fourth grade—when I was sure my genetic destiny was to be an athlete. My father was a three-time All-American wrestler in college. My mother was a runner and a yoga teacher. At school, whenever teams were picked, I was among the first chosen, and, without exception, the first girl. But at 11 a different genetic fate revealed itself when I developed type 1 diabetes. The disease—which I and about 3 million others in this country have—develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin, which the body needs to turn glucose into energy. As a type 1, my life is a perpetual balancing act that requires me to check my blood glucose level several times a day. If it's too low, I feel shaky, tired and confused and must give myself sugar or risk passing out. Too high, and I feel listless and nauseated until I give myself more insulin. Over time, too many "highs," as I call them, can lead to the disease's nastiest complications—blindness, kidney failure and limb...
  • Excerpt: Krakauer's 'Under the Banner of Heaven'

    Balanced atop the highest spire of the Salt Lake Temple, gleaming in the Utah sun, a statue of the angel Moroni stands watch over downtown Salt Lake City with his golden trumpet raised. This massive granite edifice is the spiritual and temporal nexus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which presents itself as the world's only true religion. Temple Square is to Mormons what the Vatican is to Catholics, or the Kaaba in Mecca is to Muslims. At last count there were more than eleven million Saints the world over, and Mormonism is the fastest-growing faith in the Western Hemisphere. At present in the United States there are more Mormons than Presbyterians or Episcopalians. On the planet as a whole, there are now more Mormons than Jews. Mormonism is considered in some sober academic circles to be well on its way to becoming a major world religion—the first such faith to emerge since Islam.Next door to the temple, the 325 voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir swell...
  • Music: Stevie Wonder Back on Tour

    Stevie Wonder, one of popular music's most iconic and beloved stars, is also one of its more reclusive. Despite his 25 Grammys and 70 million-plus records sold, Wonder has released only a handful of records in the last 20 years—his last studio album, 2005’s “A Time to Love,” was his first in 10 years. Wonder, 57, has given a few select performances worldwide in the intervening years, including the Live 8 show in 2005, and even an “American Idol” appearance, but hasn’t toured in more than a decade. That’s about to change. This week Wonder announced that he will be returning to the road.The tour, which kicks off Aug. 23 in San Diego and has been dubbed "A Wonder Summer's Night,” will take Wonder to small and mid-sized venues in 13 cities. In an interview with NEWSWEEK’s Jamie Reno, Wonder discussed the upcoming tour; the death last year of his mother, Lula Mae Hardaway; and some of the pivotal recordings of his career. Excerpts: ...
  • Six of the Worst Workout Habits

    Some of the most common exercise routines could be turning your gym sessions into wasted time. Here's how to make every minute count.
  • Star Jones on Gastric Bypass Surgery

    Remember when Star Jones thrived on excess? This was the woman, after all, who accepted wedding gifts from companies—clothing and merchandise—in exchange for plugging them on 'The View,' as if she needed the freebies. Now that she's returning to TV, 160 pounds lighter from (she finally admitted this week) a gastric bypass, she's got a new view: moderation. Take a recent breakfast. Jones orders a single scrambled egg with cheese. The waiter brings her two by mistake. "That's too much!" Star squeals, shoveling the extra egg away. Still, in many other ways, she's still the same Star. A few weeks before her new show on Court TV (it debuts Aug. 20) Jones spoke to NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh. Excerpts: ...
  • Music: Billy Bob Thornton's New Album

    Billy Bob Thornton has a résumé any man would envy—Academy Award-winning American screenwriter, actor, as well as occasional director, playwright and ex-husband of Angelina Jolie. Now add to that list ... rock star?The actor this week released his fourth solo album, "Beautiful Door," and is supporting it with a 26-city, five-week national tour. This fall Thornton, 51, appears on screen opposite Susan Sarandon as the coach from hell in "Mr. Woodcock" and, following the concert tour, heads to Texas to work again with "Monster's Ball" costar Halle Berry, this time in John Singleton's civil-rights drama "Tulia."Thornton recently spoke with NEWSWEEK's Steve Friess about his music, his ex-wife and his critics. Excerpts: ...
  • Ansen Looks at Bergman, Antonioni

    On the same day, two giants of the cinema gone. For anyone who grew up in the golden age of cinephilia—that remarkable period between the end of the 1950s and the mid ‘70s, when movies held pride of place at the white-hot center of the culture—the passing of Ingmar Bergman, 89, and Michelangelo Antonioni, 94, is the kind of double whammy that slams the door on an era.They will be remembered, however, for the doors of perception they opened. If you were a teenager raised on Hollywood movies, your first encounter with Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries” or “The Seventh Seal” was a life-altering expe­rience, a shocking immersion into Swedish angst, expressionistic dream sequences, daunting symbolism (clocks without hands!) and a brooding black-and-white existentialism that was a slap in the face to the Technicolor optimism of your child­hood fantasies. A few years later (in 1960, to be precise) came Antonioni’s rule-break­ing “L’Avventura,” a mystery without a so­lution, a despairing but...
  • Justice Roberts: What Do His Seizures Mean?

    A neurologist on the rapidly evolving study of seizures, how doctors treat episodes like those suffered by Chief Justice Roberts and whether it could affect his future work.
  • TV's 'Hot Ghetto Mess': Too Hot to Handle?

    In October 2005, Jam Donaldson found herself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. The charge: that Donaldson had caused a man—apparently an aspiring lothario—emotional distress by putting an unflattering, metrosexual, come-hither photo of him on her Web site, "Hot Ghetto Mess." He wanted $3,000 in damages. If all this sounds a little silly—well, perhaps we should tell you that the case was tried on "Judge Judy." She decided in Donaldson's favor. But Donaldson faces a more serious judgment this week, as "Hot Ghetto Mess" prepares to go from cult Web site to a mainstream TV show.No one has actually seen the TV version of "HGM" yet—its network, Black Entertainment Television, wouldn't screen it for NEWSWEEK—and BET's programming president Reginald Hudlin insists that the show is not a literal translation of the Web site, which is basically an expansive gallery of gold teeth, neon wigs and oversize thong models that could easily be called "Blacks Wear the Darnedest Things." Donaldson, who...
  • Talk Transcript: Islam in America

    Karima Berkani knows better than most the difficulties of trying to straddle two cultures. The 24-year-old daughter of an Algerian-born Muslim father and an American-born Roman Catholic mother, Berkani was raised in a bireligious household. Her parents taught her to believe in God, but left the faith of choice up to her. When she was 17, she chose Islam, and ever since she has been dealing with the question of how to live her life as a good Muslim in one of the nation’s most liberal, all-American towns. NEWSWEEK's Alexandra Gekas spoke with Berkani about her life in Madison, Wis., and her work as a political activist in Palestinian and anti-Iraq War movements. Excerpts: ...
  • Why Infertility Patients Are Donating Embryos

    After a successful series of infertility treatments, Kristen Cohen and her husband, Lee, had two sets of twin boys, now ages 6 and 2. They also had about a dozen embryos that they no longer needed but could not imagine going to waste. "We went through so much to create these embryos," says Kristen. "This was much more than blood, sweat and tears." The Cohens had also benefited firsthand from medical research; Lee, who has cystic fibrosis, has been helped by advanced treatments. So in 2006, when Kristen saw an article about the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, she contacted it and began the process of donating their embryos, which could be used to create new lines of embryonic stem cells. After five months of paperwork and counseling for the couple, the Cohen embryos were in the hands of researchers. "We know they might be destroyed without making a single stem-cell line," Kristen says. "I don't need to know that my embryo helped save patient X. It's the greater good."In the ongoing,...
  • BeliefWatch: Church-League Baseball

    In the Greater Nashua (N.H.) Men's Evangelical Softball League, it doesn't matter if a base runner is safe—so much as if he's saved. Church leagues have always made up a big part of American softball; the Amateur Softball Association counts 4,200 such teams nationwide, or more than 5 percent of the total. But the Greater Nashua MESL (motto: "We play to win others") and its counterparts in Massachusetts, Illinois and elsewhere take the usual church-league practices, like prayer at home plate before and after games, to a higher plane.Or, put another way: evangelical leagues are like church leagues, only more so. It starts with the rules. In the Cape Cod (Mass.) Evangelical Church Softball League, players become ineligible if they don't attend two Sunday services a month. In eastern Massachusetts, teams in the evangelical league are limited to three "unsaved" players each—and must turn in a roster specifically highlighting them as such before the start of the season, so that others in...
  • Rolling Credits On Ingmar Bergman

    There were times, while watching an Ingmar Bergman movie, when you’d think to yourself, it’s like they invented black and white photography just so this man could make films. Bergman and black and white were perfectly complimentary. This was a director who could examine the human condition and see in it innumerable shades—all of them gray. Without slighting his longtime cameraman, Sven Nykvist, it is still possible to say that no filmmaker was ever better than Bergman when it came to finding the right place to put his camera—and no one ever knew better how to wait for the right light for a shot. The results were easily a score or more of movies that were unremittingly painful to watch—indeed, they would have been too painful, had not the way they were shot put one painting-worthy image after another up on the screen. Bergman convinced us that the world was full of ignorance, pain and suffering. But the movies themselves, things of transcendent beauty, easily balanced his bleak view...
  • Talk Transcript: Islam in America

    NEWSWEEK's Lisa Miller joined us for a Live Talk on Wednesday, July 25, about the American-Muslim experience in a post-9/11 world.
  • Say What? Baby Boomers Become Truckdrivers

    When Daniel Cruz, 57, lost his job counseling HIV patients last year, he hoped to find a new job in the social services, where he had worked for more than two decades. But after several months of interviews, nothing came up. One afternoon, while hunting for jobs online, he saw an ad for a driving position with Schneider National Trucking, the nation's largest trucking carrier. He decided to apply, though he'd never been behind the wheel of anything larger than a minivan, and joined a growing number of baby boomers who are breaking free of office life to become truckdrivers on the open road. "I don't want to be sitting behind a desk anymore," Cruz says. "I did that for too many years."At Schneider, the number of drivers 50 and over has increased by 46 percent since 2005—they now make up one third of its driving staff of 15,000. Others are starting to follow Schneider's lead. At Watkins and Shepard Trucking of Helena, Mont., the number of drivers over 50 has steadily increased in the...
  • Saving My Cat: Why No Price Was Too High

    I recently paid $11,000 in veterinary bills for my cat, Fritz. I've been hesitant to tell friends about this expenditure, which I know seems extravagant. But after hearing a radio financial guru answer questions from two callers about tapping their 401(k) accounts for veterinary bills, I realized I am not alone.I knew about soaring human medical costs from the college course I teach on health-care policy. But I was not fully aware of how the same wonderful but costly technologies for prolonging human life are also revolutionizing veterinary care. American pet guardians spend more than $20 billion annually on health care for their furry pals. Our pets now have access to many of the same restorative medical treatments as do humans. Dogs with ticker problems may qualify for a $3,000 pacemaker. A guardian of a cat with renal failure may opt for a feline kidney transplant, at about $8,000.The question is, how far down the road of high-tech vet care would our pets want us to take them?...
  • Unknown Modern Master: Gerald Murphy

    A few months after moving to Paris in 1921, Gerald Murphy happened to walk by the gallery of the pioneer modern-art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who was holding a kind of clearance sale of cubist paintings by Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque. Murphy was the heir to the ritzy Mark Cross luggage company, and he and his wife, Sara, had come to France to escape the doldrums of life in the States under Prohibition and Warren Harding's "return to normalcy" after World War I. Young and rich, they'd planned to soak up culture and enjoy the good life. But that fortuitous gallery drop-in changed Gerald's life. "If that's painting," he told Sara, "that's the kind of painting I would like to do." He studied for six months with Natalia Goncharova, the Russian-revolutionary expat abstract painter and set designer, and then plunged in, exhibiting in the famous Salon des Indépendants of the early '20s. All told, he produced 14 pictures. Only seven survive. And for only the second time...
  • Blood, Sweat and Peers

    After 10 years as a clinical endocrinologist, Dr. Matthew Corcoran, founder of the Diabetes Training Camp, was frustrated. Having seen thousands of patients—as assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals and most recently as a physician in Lehigh Valley Hospital’s diabetes and endocrinology group—he wondered why more wasn’t being done to prevent the very complications he spent so much time trying to treat. So in March, the 39-year-old physician quit his job to focus full time on developing the camp—the first of its kind. This summer, 28 campers came from all over the country, ranging in age from 16 to 66. Some are competitive athletes looking to fine-tune their skills. Others just want to start an exercise program. All have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that occurs when, for unknown reasons, a person stops producing insulin, a hormone that turns glucose into energy. Next year, Corcoran plans to add a sports camp for adolescents. Eventually he’ll...
  • Music: Reviving the Black Banjo Tradition

    Up on stage at New York’s annual River to River summer music festival, a four-piece string band is tearing through the song “Sourwood Mountain.” The fiddle wails, the banjo frails and a few members of the audience actually stand up to do impromptu clog-style jigs. The tune, a traditional Southern mountain ditty, is a fitting crescendo to the band’s contagiously energetic set of old-timey songs—even the coolest of customers can’t resist the call-and-response: “hi-ho fiddle-um day!” If the music is exactly what you’d expect from a traditional string band specializing in obscure barnburning antebellum music, the band members themselves might not be: the Carolina Chocolate Drops are black, not one of its three core members is older than 30.“People ask us, ‘Are y’all from the mountains?’,” says fiddler Justin Robinson, a North Carolina native. “What they’re really asking is, ‘Why the hell are you playing this?’" His answer: "It’s a reclamation.” Robinson, fellow Carolinian Rhiannon...
  • Lohan's Alcohol-Detection Bracelet: A Dud?

    It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Lindsay Lohan left a voluntary 45-day stint in rehab earlier this month, she voluntarily donned an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet (sure to become de rigueur among Hollywood’s bad-girl set). At the time, her publicist declared, “She is wearing the bracelet so there are no questions about her sobriety if she chooses to go dancing or dining in a place where alcohol is served."Alas, there are a lot of new questions about the troubled actress’s sobriety. Lohan was arrested this week in Santa Monica, Calif., for suspicion of driving under the influence (again), driving with a suspended license and felony cocaine possession. All this comes less than two weeks after Lohan left Promises, an exclusive rehabilitation center in Malibu.So what happened to Lohan’s Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM)? NEWSWEEK’s Alexandra Gekas spoke with Don White, vice president of field operations at the anklet’s manufacturer, Alcohol Monitoring Systems of...
  • The Seven Worst Ways To Eat

    It's not just what you eat that matters. How you dine can play a major role in your weight and digestive well-being.
  • Television: 'Better' Than a 'Mess'

    Black Entertainment Television’s controversial new show "We Got To Do Better" (formerly "Hot Ghetto Mess") attracted over 800,000 viewers when it debuted on Wednesday night, a healthier-than-expected audience presumably made up of car-crash gawkers who tuned in to see if the show was the racist, classist sideshow its critics have portrayed it as. The contretemps surrounding the show stemmed from a grass-roots Internet campaign concerned that a television show based on the "Hot Ghetto Mess" Web site, a collection of tawdry photos of blacks with gaudy hairstyles and outfits, would perpetuate negative stereotypes of blacks. The show is indeed a spectacle, but not quite in the way anyone was expecting. It wasn’t very controversial, funny or interesting.The show begins with its host, Charlie Murphy, welcoming viewers to "Hot Ghetto Mess." (BET apparently thought enough of the media blowback to officially change the name of the show, but not enough to reshoot Murphy’s prerecorded segments...
  • FitFlops: Do They Really Sex Up Your Legs?

    Forget the iPhone and Harry Potter. Turns out the slickest summer marketing hit may just be a pair of flip- flops.  They don’t look like much, but it’s what they promise—a tighter butt and trimmer legs—that’s hitting the buzz spot.The cushy-soled shoes, dubbed FitFlops, have been selling out faster than most stores can stock them. One mass e-mail blast from the developers was enough to move 4,000 pairs in three hours when the product launched in Britain in May. In a London shoe store—where the waiting list ran into the thousands—things got so heated one woman shoved another off a chair in a bid to get the last pair in stock. (“That was a bit extreme,” storeowner Anthony Stiefel told NEWSWEEK.) The FitFlop craze hit the U.S. a month later, with similar force. The first shipment sold out in weeks, the second in days. After a segment on “Good Morning America,” the shoe’s Web site promptly got 57,000 hits. America Online repeatedly listed the $45 FitFlops as one of its top search terms;...
  • Summer Pet Threats: Tips for Owners

    Most of us look forward to summer activities—rollerblading, biking, swimming, walking or just sitting in the shade. And for pet owners, it’s especially refreshing to get outdoors for some playtime with Fido. But there are some major health concerns to watch out for.Heat stroke is a common summer affliction for humans and can also hit pets, who, unlike humans, can’t cool down through perspiring. First and foremost, never leave your pet alone in a vehicle—even for a short period of time. Whether the windows are up or down or your car is in the shade or not, a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, according to the Humane Society, and in such high temperatures your pet will likely overheat, resulting in possible injury or death.Owners of outdoor cats should make sure they have access to clean, fresh water and plenty of shade. But veterinarian Greg Hammer, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says that while cats can certainly overheat, hyperthermia tends...
  • Talk Transcript: Islam in America

    NEWSWEEK's Lisa Miller joined us for a Live Talk on Wednesday, July 25, about the American-Muslim experience in a post-9/11 world.
  • Humor: McCain Puts Campaign Bus on eBay

    In what some political observers are calling an ominous sign for his cash-starved White House bid, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain today posted his campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, on the Internet auction site eBay. McCain denied that the move stemmed from money problems, stressing instead that he had decided to sell the bus so that it would no longer provide fodder for sarcastic headlines such as WHEELS COME OFF STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS or STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS: OUT OF GAS?“The Straight Talk Express was giving headline writers too much to work with,” Sen. McCain told reporters. “They won’t be able to do that anymore, now that I’m getting around from town to town on a Segway.”Davis Logsdon, dean of the journalism school at the University of Minnesota, said that the number of sarcastic headlines riffing on the name of McCain’s campaign had swelled to as many as 7,000 in the last two weeks alone. “Every morning, newspapers were running headlines like STRAIGHT...
  • TV Review: 'Damages' and 'Saving Grace'

    There is something broken about an industry that can't find good work for actresses like Glenn Close and Holly Hunter. No one wants to hear another pious rant about the film business's allergy to women over the age of 40, because, for one thing, it's not entirely true, and for another, enough already. But even granting that such venality exists in Hollywood, Close and Hunter, who have one Oscar and eight nominations between them, are the kinds of talents who still should be getting by just fine. Close, now 60, is like a poor man's Meryl Streep, which may sound like an insult, but come on—we should all be so lucky. Like Streep, Close's career hasn't depended on sex appeal for decades, and she's blessed with a regal, imperious quality that never gets old. Hunter, meanwhile, is one of the most fearless actresses alive. The same woman who won an Oscar for a silent role in "The Piano" also starred in the Coen brothers' screwball classic "Raising Arizona" and David Cronenberg's freaky...
  • Quindlen: Hillary Should Make Barack Her Running Mate

    TO: HRCRE: VPWell, senator, with the "Sopranos"-influenced video gone viral, you managed to convince millions of Americans that you do have a sense of humor. With the continuing massaging of your position on Iraq, you've managed to convince a significant number of liberals that you have a sense of urgency about the war. And with the most recent poll results, you must have a sense of yourself as the front runner.Now it's time to show that you have a sense of history, a sense that this election is bigger than just one woman's ambitions. Make it your business to persuade Barack Obama to be your running mate.Conventional thinkers like to make this sound risky, pairing a woman and a black man on the ticket. But it's not as wild as it sounds. The calculus of choosing someone for the second spot is always, first and foremost, whether the choice hurts your chances. The answer here is no. Anyone who would be put off by Obama isn't going to vote for you in the first place.The second question...
  • BeliefWatch: Mormons & Politics

    As a rule, Mormons tend to be white, conservative and Republican—and as obedient to established authority as any group out there—but a close look reveals cracks in that glossy surface. There's Harry Reid, of course, the Mormon convert and vocal leader of the Senate Democrats. And there's Orrin Hatch, conservative, Republican and Mormon to the core—except that he supports embryonic-stem-cell research, an issue upon which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no official stance but which President George W. Bush opposes. Finally, there's Rocky Anderson, the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City. A lapsed Mormon—he grew up in an LDS family—Anderson has had to walk a fine line. In Salt Lake, the headquarters of the Latter-day Saints, he has had to be moderate enough attract 20 percent of the LDS vote to win and keep his job. Now, it seems, he's had enough of the high-wire act. This spring, Anderson began calling for the impeachment of President Bush, and more recently he...
  • Dating Sites Match Lovers Who Share Disease

    Dating is awkward for Sandra Liz Aquino, 41. She's divorced and beautiful, but she's also HIV-positive. So last month, she signed up with Prescription4Love.com, a dating Web site for people with sexually transmitted diseases and other health conditions. The site, which launched last year, is becoming a go-to spot online where singletons who also happen to have diseases from hepatitis to herpes to irritable bowel syndrome can find love and companionship without having to worry about the big reveal.P4L, which has 1,200 members, is one of a rapidly growing set of niche dating Web sites for people with disabilities and disease. The explosive success of online dating was followed by a proliferation of sites catering to people with HIV and STDs. Those were followed by sites like IrritatedBeingSingle.com, for people with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease, and C Is for Cupid, catering to romance seekers affected by cancer. P4L is one of the few sites that cater to people with a...
  • Green: Kids Can Be Super Natural!

    Today's parents understand by now the benefits of choosing organic or all-natural products when it comes to feeding their kids. But what about dressing them? Fibers like organic cotton, hemp and soybean are an ecofriendly answer to conventionally produced cotton, which, says Chip Giller, founder of the environmental-news Web sitegrist.org, is responsible for 25 percent of the world's insecticide use. Here are some companies that focus on Earth-friendly products for kids.Positively Organic sells stylish, colorful togs like T shirts and onesies that are made from cotton grown by an organic-farming community in India. Its infant and toddler varsity tees feature a variety of earthy prints like rabbits and butterflies ($24 to $26;  positively-organic.com). Happy Green Bee, started by one of the founders of Burt's Bees personal-care products, offers "gender free" organic-cotton clothing in bright, bold stripes (cardigan, $32; leggings, $18; happygreenbee.com). Hemp fiber is another...