Drugs, Murder, Race, and Harvard

Chanequa Campbell rose from Brooklyn's gritty Bed-Stuy neighborhood to the pinnacle of the ivy league. Then somebody died in her dorm.

Summers's Spin: WE DID IT!

Top White House economic aide Larry Summers gave a major policy speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics today, but it had more to do with public relations than economics. The central message: WE DID IT! In other words, the U.S. economy has stepped back from the "abyss" of a second Great Depression, and we can thank President Obama's economic policies for turning the tide. Summers's speech may mark the beginning of a major political struggle over who or what should get credit for an economic recovery, assuming that one gets underway later this year. Summers suggested that's what will happen, but Summers notwithstanding, it isn't necessarily clear that it will.One conspicuous hole in his argument is that most of Obama's policies─proposed regulatory reforms and spending under the economic "stimulus" package─haven't yet taken effect. Most of the administration's financial reforms are still congressional...

The Link Between Beauty and Grades

If you survived high school, or hope to, you probably made your peace with the fact that life is unfair: looks can compensate for a lack of brains and conscientiousness. Or to put it more bluntly, teachers give good-looking kids higher grades than homely ones, all other factors being equal, as numerous studies have found. The phenomenon is so well documented in science it even has a name: the attractiveness effect.Now sociologist Michael T. French of the University of Miami and his colleagues have discovered yet another reason for plain kids with less-than-winning personalities to feel that the deck is stacked against them. In a paper on "Effects of Physical Attractiveness, Personality and Grooming on Academic Performance in High School", to be published in the August issue of Labour Economics, they find that the three factors in their title indeed affect students' GPA in high school. (Attractiveness, personality and grooming might affect grades in K-8, as well as college, too, but...

Fact Check: When Did Obama Meet His Wife?

Did President Obama make a flub today when talking about when he met his wife, Michelle? Just before his speech to a university here in Moscow this afternoon, Obama mentioned his first meeting with the future First Lady in an offhand remark. “I don’t know if anybody else will meet their future wife or husband in class like I did, but I’m sure you’ll all going to have wonderful careers,” the president said. The thing is: Obama didn’t technically meet his wife at school. Although both are Harvard Law School grads, Michelle Obama got her degree in the spring of 1988 while her future husband didn’t actually start school there until later that fall. (He graduated in 1991). The Obamas officially met in Chicago in 1989, when the future president was a summer associate at the Sidley Austin law firm and Michelle was assigned as his mentor. Was what Obama said wrong? Technically no, considering Obama was still going to school when he met his wife. But for those keeping close watch on Obama...

Life Without Summer Camp

The economic downturn could be the best thing that ever happened to kids. The return of free play.

Breakfast Buffet, Monday, June 15

Laid Off? Start a Business: Over half of this year's Fortune 500 firms were started in a recession or bear market.An Interview with Paul Krugman: "The risk of long stagnation is really high." Krugman has become very Cassandra-like lately but he has a Nobel Prize so we more or less have to listen to him.Checkmate at the Yellowstone Club: The tale of the Montana ski resort for the ultra-wealthy is a familiar one -- reckless borrowing, the over-reaching of the rich, overpaying for property -- but the details are fascinating and well-told.The Fed Calls the Shots: Should people who buy boats and snowmobiles be eligible for cheaper financing from the Federal Reserve?

Author Michael Pollan on "Food Inc." and How to Eat Well

By Nicki GostinThe last few years have been interesting times for food and eating habits, as "slow food," locavores and farmer's markets have entered mainstream conversations about how we eat. This spring saw Michelle Obama planting the first garden on White House grounds since the era of President Roosevelt. One of the Pied Pipers leading the movement to eat more fresh, local fruits, vegetables and meats has been author Michael Pollan. In books such as In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan explains why junk food really is junky and why it's so important not to eat food that has ingredients that you can't even pronounce. Now Pollan appears in the new documentary Food Inc., a disturbing look at giant food companies in the United States, with a focus on the beef industry. NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin spoke with Pollan about whether the cost of food at farmer's markets is worth it, why Europeans eat better than Americans and the steps we can all take to...