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  • 50 Influential Rabbis

    Compiled by Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman & CEO Michael Lynton, News Corporation Executive Vice President Gary Ginsberg and JTN Productions CEO Jay Sanderson
  • Fast Chat: North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan

    Future historians rummaging through the archives of the Washington Monthly might stumble upon a chilling article about a coming "financial conflagration … [E]very taxpayer in the country is on the line." The author was not some alarmist wacko, but a U.S. senator. And the year was not 2007, or even 2001. North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan expressed his fear of "exotic new derivatives called 'swaps' " way back in 1994. Five years later, when Congress passed legislation lowering the barriers between brokerages and banks, Dorgan told The New York Times, "I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this. " It's been 10 years, and Dorgan was dead-on. He spoke to Eric Adelson while visiting flood victims in his home state. ...
  • The Life of John Hope Franklin

    John Hope Franklin, 94Author and HistorianBorn into a world of segregation and a history of race written by whites, Franklin made himself into a great public intellectual— a bespoke black historian who put African-Americans on even ground in the national story. His research during Brown v. Board of Education helped desegregate the nation's schools, while his bestselling work "From Slavery to Freedom," now in its eighth edition, forever muscled aside racist portrayals of the black South. A graduate of Fisk and Harvard universities, he won enough honors for two lifetimes, including a Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in Durham, N.C., where he was a distinguished professor at Duke. David Levering-Lewis, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian whom Franklin mentored, shared these memories with NEWSWEEK's Tony Dokoupil:I heard about John long before I met him. As an undergraduate at Fisk, in fact, it was impossible not to hear about the great "John Hope," as he was universally known. At...
  • Today in Excellent Questions for Timothy Geithner

    "Just how much do you want to gut-punch Paul Krugman?"Daniel Drezner over at Foreign Policy wanted to throw this one into the queue for CFR's live blogospherically interactive interview with the Treasury secretary this morning. Sadly, though, he resisted the temptation.
  • The District: Episode Seven

    It's all about the Benjamins, baby -- now more than ever.  We join our hero this week as he realizes that promises are hard to keep, especially after signing a spending bill pizz-acked with earmarks. Yikes.  Some ugly rumors are ricocheting around the marble halls of our nation's capital: Could we possibly be forking over more cash to the banks and -- gasp! -- crafting a second stimulus package?!  Meanwhile, Team Barack starter Timothy Geithner is back for more as he struggles to get his economist friends to believe in his transformative power.  All this drama is set against an aural backdrop of ADHD, Sora An and Joe Echo -- click the player to tune in!
  • Let’s Talk About Sex

    Congress loves abstinence-only programs so much it has thrown big bucks at them. The public? It's got better ideas.
  • Alter: A New Era of National Service Begins

    An idea that began with Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps 76 years ago and extends through several presidents in both parties (including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) is about to get turbocharged.
  • "Stuffed" Takes On America's Fat Industry

    Sixty-four-ounce soft drinks. Monster Thickburgers. Unlimited refills. Americans are overstuffed, no doubt about it: two thirds of the nation is overweight and the number's ballooning as fast as our waistlines. Consumers blame food companies who bombard us with advertisements to eat, eat, eat; companies blame consumers who say they want healthier fare and yet continue to supersize. The truth? The responsibility lies all around, says Hank Cardello in his new book "Stuffed." A former exec at General Mills and Coca-Cola, Cardello had an epiphany about a decade ago (involving, naturally, a personal health scare). Now, he's at the forefront of obesity awareness and trying to get disparate interests—food CEOs and lobbyists on the one side, FDA watchdogs and nutritionists on the other—to come up with creative, profitable solutions to our public health crisis.That's easier said than done, as Cardello acknowledges. From pork-barrel farm bills that penalize non-corn vegetable crops to...
  • Color My World: Hues that Enhance Thinking

    Is your job to detect side-effects of a new experimental drug, scrutinize manufactured parts for defects or something else that requires close attention to detail? Then you might want to pick red chairs, curtains and carpet for your work space. Ditto if you're a student studying for a test: find a room with lots of red. Is your job to brainstorm new product designs, dream up ad campaigns and do something similarly creative? Paint the walls blue. And if you're a student who has to write a paper or poem for this weekend's homework, plan on doing it in a room with lots of blue....
  • More on Brain Voodoo

    I had no intention of revisiting the debate over the use of brain imaging in social neuroscience, which I blogged about last month. But that post brought such a tsumani of anger, dismay, invective and outrage that I felt an obligation to go back and dig more deeply into whether the charges in a paper by Ed Vul of MIT, Hal Pashler of UC San Diego and colleagues that is in press at Perspectives on Psychological Science were as meritless as many of the scientists I heard from claimed....
  • An 'Obama Effect' on Blacks' Test Scores?

    On only the fourth day of his presidency, it’s obviously way too soon to assess whether Barack Obama’s effect on African-Americans will extend beyond providing hope and inspiration. Will he, for instance, goad black students to higher achievement, since he is living proof that working hard can pay off? One intriguing hint of what researchers led by Ray Friedman of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management calls the “Obama Effect” suggests that maybe, just maybe, Obama will do more for the scholastic achievement of African-Americans than anything since Brown v. Board of Education....
  • Childhood Obesity and School Exercise Programs: Not So Fast

    I hate to pour cold water on what seems like a surefire way to combat childhood obesity—namely, school-based health and exercise programs—so I’ll blame the Cochrane Collaboration for doing so. This non-profit group of scientists and physicians, based in England, regularly assesses the weight of the evidence on health and medical questions from whether St. John’s wort can alleviate depression (yes, sort of) to whether mouthwash can reduce bad breath (in some cases). Now the Cochrane team has weighed in on whether school programs can help kids lose weight and inspire them to ...
  • Sweden's Scores Plunge in International Tests

    In Sweden, forget stock prices: it's plunging test scores that are causing a national panic. Once 11th in the world in science rankings, Sweden's scores on international eighth-grade tests fell 42 points between 1995 and 2007—one of the worst declines among the 35 nations tested. Reading and math scores showed the same disturbing trend.Some experts say demographic shifts may be contributing to the plunge. Immigrants have increased from 9 percent of Sweden's population in 1990 to 12 percent currently, with many refugees coming from places like Somalia and Iraq. Families are moving away from schools where the newcomers are concentrated, and teachers aren't trained to deal with the increasingly segregated system.But others say a more plausible explanation is Sweden's lax education philosophy. Swedish children aren't graded on their work until the eighth grade, and there are few curriculum standards. Sweden's education minister, Jan Björklund, says this easygoing attitude is changing in...
  • White House Science Advisor

    That sigh of relief emanating from laboratories around the world is the sound of scientists reacting to reports that president-elect Obama will name physicist John Holdren his science adviser. Holdren has a resume longer than your arm (he is Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, President and Director of the Woods Hole Research Center, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and former president, and chairman of the board of American Association for the Advancement of Science), but what he will bring to the table is an unflinching commitment to evidence-based policy making....
  • Reactions to College Board's SAT Score Choice

    No. 2 pencils ready? Today's question: will the College Board's new Score Choice policy for the SAT, which lets students hide bad scores in their College Board records from universities, (a) lower anxiety for high-school students; (b) raise anxiety for some when they discover that a loophole allows admissions offices to override the policy; or (c) infuriate some colleges? The answer is all of the above—and the already pressurized universe of students, colleges and helicopter parents is in turmoil over it.Until now, students who took the SAT more than once had to send all scores to admissions committees. Score Choice abolishes that, effective for high-school seniors applying next September. Announced by the College Board earlier this year with the goal of "reducing student stress," Score Choice permits students to send only their best overall score from a given test date. So students can take tests repeatedly with no apparent penalty. Indeed, according to guidance counselors, many...
  • New HBO Sitcom Stars Australian Comic Chris Lilley

    Ja'mie King is a spoiled teen princess who calls her friends "skanks" and makes sure to tell poor people, as bluntly as she can, how much she pities them. Jonah Takalua, a monosyllabic Pacific Islander, is a delinquent who bullies his schoolmates, torments his teachers and draws sophomoric graffiti (penises, usually—he's not very good) on every open surface. Mr. G is an egomaniacal drama teacher who has seized control of the school's latest production, which he rechristened "Mr. G—The Musical." Together, they are the stars of the new HBO sitcom "Summer Heights High," a faux documentary in the cringe-comedy tradition of "The Office" set in an Australian high school. If Ja'mie (that's "Jeh-may"), Jonah and Mr. G look eerily similar, it's because they're played by the same actor: Aussie superstar Chris Lilley, a protean comic who is swiftly emerging as his country's Peter Sellers.Back home, Lilley, 33, is a bit of a cipher. Despite his ballooning fame, he's media shy and soft-spoken. ...
  • Women Leaders Share Trade Secrets

    After years in the trenches, these women have learned a few things about what it takes to succeed. Here, they share some savvy trade secrets.
  • Don't Believe What You Read, Redux

    In 2005, John P. A. Ioannidis of Greece’s University of Ioannina School of Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston shook up the world of science with his provocatively-titled, and frighteningly-well reasoned, paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” in PLoS Medicine. Now he’s back, no more sanguine about the state of biomedical science. Bottom line: when it comes to “the latest studies,” take what you read with a grain of salt....
  • Male Chauvinism = Big Paycheck?

    Brace yourself for a spate of stories about how “what you think may affect what you earn,” as the press release from the American Psychological Association puts it. Sounds innocuous. But the "what you think" refers to whether you believe that a woman's place is in the home. “A new study has found that men who believe in traditional roles for women earn more money than men who don’t,” APA continues. There you have it: if you want to rake it in, guys, adopt attitudes that value keeping the little lady barefoot and pregnant....