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  • My Turn: Gitmo North? Put It in Hardin, Montana

    In 2004, the state of Montana was faced with overcrowded prisons. With the endorsement of our then governor, Judy Martz, the Two Rivers Authority, the -economic--development arm of the town of Hardin, began building a prison. We had hoped Two Rivers Detention Center would create jobs, helping to stop the economic spiral that was crippling this town of 3,400. But after our current governor, Brian Schweitzer, was elected, he decided the prison wasn't needed, even though a month ago the state's own consultant disagreed. Three years after we broke ground, it's still empty.In January, when President Obama announced that he was going to close Guantánamo Bay, several folks in Hardin asked me a question: why not bring those prisoners here? I thought it was brilliant. Our city council voted unanimously to approve the measure.But when the news got out, it created an uproar. Montana's senators and congressional leaders refused to support the measure. But we also received many e-mails thanking...
  • Letters: The Capitalist Manifesto

    Fareed Zakaria reminds us that no economic system is perfect, so we cannot always expect a bump-free ride.Katherine Mancuso, Incline Village, Nev.The freeloading lemmings are marching toward the cliff and taking the rest of us with them. We need less government "taking care of us" and more support of private enterprise and capitalism to create wealth and jobs.Lyle Halstead, Ft. Wayne, Ind.The capitalist manifesto is quite simple. Make lots of money any way you can, from whomever you can, as fast as you can, while the getting is good.David G. McGrady, Muskegon, Mich.It always amazes me when writers purport to enlighten us on capitalism, then ignore the writings of Adam Smith, the author of the real capitalist manifesto, The Wealth of Nations. Smith made a very clear distinction between self-interest and greed. He thought greed to any degree was a threat to capitalism. His ideas are a far cry from what most writers argue, which is that greed is good, that taxes and regulations hurt...
  • Tracing the Travails of the Green Art Movement

    In the 1970s, around the time of the first Earth Day celebrations, artists such as Robert Smithson set out into the great American West with bulldozers, eager to redefine mankind's relationship with the natural world. They made massive marks on the landscape—digging giant holes, piling up mounds of soil, even dumping asphalt down hillsides in the desert—an art form akin to the great earthworks of ancient civilizations. Smithson, who died in a helicopter crash at the height of his career, became the beloved godfather of the genre known as land art; his 1970 masterpiece, Spiral Jetty, a 457-meter-long curlicue that stretches out into Utah's Great Salt Lake and now spends most of its days underwater, has become the movement's trademark.A new exhibit at London's Barbican Centre, Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009 (June 19 through Oct. 20), traces the developments among the avant-garde in perfecting the marriage of art and the environment since Smithson...
  • Meacham: Theocracies Are Doomed. Thank God.

    For years American conversation about Iraq has included a refrain about how we cannot expect to create a Jeffersonian democracy on the Euphrates. The admonition is true: if you think about it, America itself is not really a Jeffersonian democracy either (we are more of a Jacksonian one, which means there is a powerful central government with a cultural tilt toward states' rights). And yet Jefferson keeps coming to mind as the drama in Iran unfolds. The events there seem to be a chapter in the very Jeffersonian story of the death of theocracy, or rule by clerics, and the gradual separation of church and state. In one of the last letters of his life, in 1826, Jefferson said this of the Declaration of Independence: "May it be to the world what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves."However strong they may be...
  • Russsian Art Gets a Boost from Women Promoters

    When Dasha Zhukova, the glamorous girlfriend of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, opened her Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in a converted bus depot in Moscow last autumn, art connoisseurs scoffed. What did a 27-year-old socialite, born in Russia but raised mostly in Los Angeles, know about the international contemporary-art scene? As it turns out, quite a bit; Zhukova quickly won over critics with the quality of her exhibitions. The opening show featured the rarely displayed works of expat Russian conceptual artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, including the large-scale installation The Red Wagon (1992), which is made up of a series of platforms and ladders decorated with various socialist-realist murals and ramps that lead to nowhere. Next month, Zhukova will exhibit the English artist Antony Gormley's striking Domain Field, an installation of 287 sculptures made from body molds. Zhukova, who is also the editor of the British fashion magazine Pop, and her boyfriend are...
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    Kathryn Bigelow Talks About "The Hurt Locker"

    Just before dawn one July morning, Kathryn Bigelow was setting up a shot for The Hurt Locker in the Jordanian desert. The movie follows an Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb technician, one of the hundred or so soldiers in Iraq who dismantle roadside IEDs planted by insurgents. For the scene, the tech and two of his co--workers would detonate a bomb in the middle of the desert, and Bigelow wanted to shoot them from atop a high sand dune. This meant that the crew had to tote all their gear to the top of a hill in the brutal summer heat. "There were a lot of macho guys on the set, British SAS, not to mention all these young, studly actors, and all those guys were falling by the wayside," says Mark Boal, who wrote and co-produced The Hurt Locker. "I'm not walking this hill, no way in hell. I drive past one of the crew who's literally puking on the side of the road. People are dying on this hill. I drive up, and Kathryn is already at the top. She's beaten everyone up there." (Story...
  • Trent Reznor Hangs Up His Nails

    Long known as one of rock's angriest men, the Nine Inch Nails frontman is engaged to be married and is planning to put his band on hiatus after a summer tour. He spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Seth Colter Walls about life after angst. ...
  • Iraq's City of Death

    Gaze over the road circling the Iraqi city of Najaf's compact center and it's clear that this spiritual capital of Shiite Islam is first and foremost a vast cemetery. Shiite forefather Imam Ali is said to have been buried here after his assassination in A.D. 661, and since then Shiites from Mesopotamia to Afghanistan have followed suit so Ali can vouch for their souls in heaven. Najaf's houses, shops and hotels rose on top of the graves—some still have crypts below or behind them—and the ayatollahs built their seminaries from the pilgrims' tithes. Last year about 40,000 people were laid to rest here, down from 50,000 in each of the two violent years before.In its disorienting enormity, the "Valley of Peace" conjures both robust collective permanence and humbling individual transience. Crumbling headstones, too close to walk between, wrap snugly around the city's plateau, forming an endless collection of tilted columns and pitted slabs spanning the desert—a mesmeric panorama of...
  • Rumsfeld the Warrior

    Donald Rumsfeld may be the most tarnished figure from the George W. Bush administration—his theories of warfare discredited, his swagger undercut, his managerial renown in tatters—so it's fair to ask if an 800-page biography is warranted. Bradley Graham, The Washington Post's former Pentagon reporter, gives the task a full-throttled go, with mixed results.Graham is most engaging in the early chapters of By His Own Rules, which reveal his subject as remarkably unevolved. Throughout his life—as a Princeton wrestler, Navy pilot, Illinois congressman, White House aide and corporate CEO, no less than as a two-time secretary of defense—Rumsfeld has been a self-promoter, intolerant of slights or dissent, and driven more by the love of a brawl than by any goal. Richard Nixon, who knew of what he spoke on such matters, once called him as a "ruthless bastard." That was a compliment.This is a man who refused to renew a commander's term in Iraq because he didn't sit next to Rumsfeld during a...
  • HBO's Penis Envy

    In "Impossible to Tell," former poet laureate Robert Pinsky refers to "the rude, full-scale joke, impossible to tell in writing." Hung, a new HBO dramedy, is that kind of rude, full-scale joke. It stars Thomas Jane as Ray Drecker, a high-school basketball coach with the luck of Job: his wife leaves him for a smug dermatologist. (Anne Heche plays said wife as such a brittle, overbearing person that it seems Ray caught a break, but in voice-over, he tells us this is a bad thing.) The lakefront home he grew up in burns down, and as he has no insurance, he ends up living in a tent on the lawn. Penniless and powerless, he colludes with Tanya (the invaluable Jane Adams), a woman he meets in a class on how to get rich by marketing yourself, to market the only thing he has left: his gigantic penis. Don't feel bad if you didn't anticipate this based on the title. It could have been about an art gallery. ...
  • Letters: Stephen Colbert, Guest Editor (Seriously)

    Too bad Stephen Colbert wasn't around for Vietnam. He might have made some sense of why we were there.Jack Dubose (Chief Master Sgt., USAF, Ret.), Conway, Ariz.The Colbert issue arrived on the one-year anniversary of my son's deployment to Iraq. Thank you for remembering. Others like me—parents, friends, relatives—have not forgotten. We worry, feel helpless, wait for phone calls or any kind of contact, but we do not forget.Cookie Nokes, Huntington Beach, Calif.I don't enjoy your guest editor's humor, nor do I watch his TV programs. It serves him well that he goes to Iraq, but I still don't find him funny.Gilda Taylor, Portland, Ore.I'm a 40-year-old woman headed to medical school, and to save money I decided to cancel my cable television. I knew the only part I'd miss is having Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to keep me sane each night. Thanks to NEWSWEEK for giving me my fix! It was a great issue—fun, interesting and for a great cause.Julie Coyle, South Bend, Ind.Thank you for...
  • Meacham: The Micawbers and Mrs. Roosevelt

    The numbers are, by and large, pretty good. In the Gallup poll, President Obama's job-approval rating in May averaged 65 percent, a figure that puts him in good company. Only three other presidents elected to their first terms—Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan—have scored higher, and Obama's average tops those of his most recent predecessors: the two Bushes and Clinton. But while 55 percent have a favorable view of his stewardship of the economy in general, there are two troubling figures that foreshadow political problems for the president and, more important, intractable problems for all of us: 48 percent disapprove of his handling of the federal budget deficit, and 51 percent are unhappy with his control of federal spending. (Or, as Republicans would say, his lack thereof.)Research by Bill McInturff and Peter Hart cited by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation puts the matter in even more telling perspective: 66 percent of registered voters say the deficit and debt pose a "very big...