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  • Hillary’s Iowa Challenge

    Hillary Clinton's advisers worry that a poor Iowa finish could hurt the candidate's once-commanding nationwide lead.
  • Politics: In Reagan’s Name

    The 2008 presidential candidates are obsessed with who's more like Ronald Reagan, who's a better hunter and who's more religious. Can't anyone be their own man (or woman)?
  • More Mitt Malarkey

    Romney repeats misleading claims about McCain's stand on immigration and his own record on taxes.
  • Bhutto and Democracy

    As Pakistan threatens to fall into chaos, the martyred Benazir Bhutto may become in death what she never achieved in life
  • Archivist Challenges Cheney

    A National Archives official reveals what the veep wanted to keep classified--and how he tried to challenge the rules
  • Hillary’s Hidden Hand

    The former First Lady says her years in the White House give her unmatched experience. A Clinton biographer assesses her powerful behind-the-scenes role.
  • A (Dollar) Sign of the Times: It’s Not Easy Being Green

    In late June, with no local currency in my pocket and a case of jet lag that only a doppio espresso could cure, I stumbled into a familiar London storefront. I whipped out my Starbucks card, which still had about $8 left on it. But when the barista rang up my coffee and newspaper, his smile crinkled into a frown. "I'm afraid you're all out," he said. "That'll be another 40 pence. Cheers!" I had just been punked by the weak dollar.In 1971, Treasury Secretary John Connally told foreign counterparts that the dollar is "our currency, but your problem." Well, 2007 may have been the year the slumping dollar became our problem, too. Thanks to several macroeconomic factors—a slowing economy, the Federal Reserve's accommodative interest-rate policy and a lack of confidence in the U.S. financial system due to the subprime debacle—2007 was a bad year for the greenback. The dollar last summer hit a 27-year low against the British pound and a 31-year nadir against the Canadian dollar. The trade...
  • Twice Touched by Fire, This Californian is Still Dreamin’

    It's been two months since devastating wildfires swept through southern California, and while more than 2,200 San Diego families lost their homes, the crisis—for now—is over. The fires that chased and terrified us last fall are now just something my wife, daughter and I mention as we sit beside the Christmas tree counting our blessings. But while all is seemingly calm and bright in our home this holiday week, inside me, uneasiness still stirs. Not only because so many people, including good friends, have sadly lost everything, and not only because the threat of a future fire still looms. But also because, for the first time in 25 years, I've actually begun to question my decision to live in this place I've so often called paradise.Surviving two hellish wildfires in four years will do that to you. It gave us pause to ponder our attachment to home, and what that means. My decision to move here seemed like a good one at the time: I was an Iowa boy with images of golden, endless...
  • How to Prevent a Tragedy

    Tucked away in rural Southwest Virginia, remote Blacksburg is an unlikely spot for the worst school shooting in U.S. history. Nevertheless, an April 16 rampage by a mentally disturbed student, Seung-Hui Cho, left 32 people dead. In the wake of that tragedy, Virginia Tech has begun to make changes in its campus security, student-privacy policies and mental-health services. But it's not the only one. Here's what some institutions around the country are doing: ...
  • I Flew Halfway Around The World—For This?

    Breakfast was excellent." Along with six other reporters, I spent more than a week in February traveling overseas with Vice President Dick Cheney, and through the first eight days those were just about the only words he spoke to us. (OK, he took one question during a quick press conference with Australia's prime minister. But that was it.) We'd been promised access to Cheney during a trip to shore up relations with top allies in the War on Terror. Mostly, though, the promise was empty. On day four, I used the stopwatch on my iPod to time how long I actually saw Cheney: 41 seconds here; 38 seconds there. I'd flown 27 hours, crammed into a middle seat on Air Force Two, for this?The last few days, though, made it worthwhile. Cheney's aides told us we'd make surprise visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan. We flew to Baghram Air Force Base, where Cheney met briefly with troops, but a snowstorm prevented us from taking off for Kabul. He and his top aides quickly found beds for the night, but...
  • An Airport Bathroom That Will Live in Infamy

    NEWSWEEK's Hilary Shenfeld went to the scene of Sen. Larry Craig's undoing with one mission: to get inside. How she did it—and what she saw:The hardest part was actually finding the bathroom. There are 86 public lavatories in the Lindbergh terminal of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, and every employee I asked sent me to a different one. I finally found it: across from the food court, in the shadow of a giant statue of Snoopy and Woodstock. There was no sign on the door, nothing that read "Larry Craig was here." I waited until late to go inside, figuring that foot traffic would die down and I could minimize the awkward stares. Around 11 p.m. I stopped a friendly-looking guy and persuaded him to escort me (sorry—bad pun) inside. It's pretty big in there: a tiled cavern with nine stalls along the left wall. Craig's was the second from the back. I was only in the bathroom for a couple of minutes, but the entire time I was thinking, Eww. I scoped out the stalls, jotted down some notes,...
  • A Price Tag For Mistakes

    The State Department is still mulling how to rein in private security firms like Blackwater USA, whose employees dominated headlines in September when they shot dead 17 Iraqi civilians. But in 2008 a series of lawsuits currently working through the U.S. court system could have more impact. In all the cases, Iraqi victims represented by American lawyers are seeking restitution for abuses allegedly committed by contractors. While U.S. law shields military members from such suits, a judge in one case last month against CACI International Inc. left open the possibility that private contractors would not enjoy the same immunity. Peter Singer, an expert on private contractors at the Brookings Institution, says the possibility of a huge payout is already making companies review their practices. "Liability is the one thing they fear more than accountability," he says.The suit against CACI, brought by 256 former inmates at Abu Ghraib, is a test case. Susan Burke, the lead attorney for the...
  • The Man In The Middle

    It's been a long year for Tony Blair. After stepping down as Britain's prime minister in June, under fire for his Iraq policy, he took on what many consider the hardest job in the Mideast: representative of the Quartet—the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations—to the Palestinians. He spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Kevin Peraino. ...
  • Lost In the Obama Era

    Jesse Jackson can still get a crowd going—when he can find one. He appeared at a Los Angeles restaurant this fall, primed to discuss school dropout rates and home foreclosures. But only eight people showed up, mostly reporters. It's no longer Reverend Jackson's day in the sun, or any other black leader's whose name isn't Barack Obama. So where does that leave the leaders to whom black America has long turned in times of crisis—Jackson, and the Revs. Andrew Young and Al Sharpton? At times they can seem like jealous, cranky old men, as in December when Young suggested Bill Clinton was "every bit as black as Barack." Or when Jackson said Obama was "acting white'' by skipping a giant rally for the Jena Six.But it's not just jealousy. They are also frustrated by mainstream voters' eager embrace of an African-American raised without a traditional African-American experience—who's not, in other words, an "angry black man." Reared in Hawaii by white grandparents, Obama didn't have a family...
  • The 1,440-Minute Cycle

    Is there a dirtier phrase in politics than "the media"? Some days it's hard to see why you hate us—"you" being liberals, conservatives, candidates and all other carbon-based life forms. There's as much good journalism getting done now as, say, 40 years ago. But other days, I get it. Take Nov. 20, 2007. At 9 a.m., Barack Obama launched a comprehensive education plan at a Manchester, N.H., high school; an hour later he told students that he "got into drinking," "experimented with drugs" and "wasted a lot of time" as a teenager. Obama had already written about his wayward youth. But the press perked up. "That's going to be the story of the day," said one reporter. By noon, OBAMA ON PAST SUBSTANCE ABUSE was atop the Drudge Report. Education, to say the least, was not.This is the first presidential election to move at the speed of the Internet. After years of dismissing bloggers as peanut galleryists in pajamas, every major media outlet is requiring reporters to provide a daily play-by...
  • In This Life, Or The Next

    Autocrats worry about Buddha power. In much of Southeast Asia, monks occupy the loftiest of moral high ground. According to the Buddhist concept of reincarnation, misdeeds in past lives affect problems in the current one. Do something bad in this life and you'll probably come back as a "sentient being" in your next one—but not necessarily a human. During Burma's bloody crackdown in September, some soldiers tried to "defrock" monks prior to detaining them, in a bid to soften their own karmic crimes. In 1988, I saw a Burmese soldier trying to give alms to Buddhist monks, who refused him by turning their begging bowls upside down. The guy seemed upset. He didn't want to be reincarnated as a toad, I suppose.Authorities in Beijing, who've been criticized for supporting the Burmese junta, have reason to be queasy about monk-led protests both at home and abroad. Opposition to the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1951 erupted first in Buddhist monasteries. Resentment still simmers. On Nov. 19...
  • The ‘U.S. Americans’ Have Spoken

    Size doesn't always matter. In the Internet age, a minute or two of footage can reach millions and change lives. Here are 2007's best in "microculture": viral videos, podcasts, blogs, advertisements.
  • Hit-And-Run Accusations

    Eighteen months ago, federal authorities released a court document justifying a raid at the home of Jason Grimsley, an Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs. The affidavit named a number of Grimsley's alleged cohorts in baseball's extensive steroid subculture. But in the public version, the names were blacked out. Months later the Los Angeles Times claimed to reveal six of the deleted names, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. The two star pitchers (and workout buddies) vehemently denied steroid use, and—in an unusual move—the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco declared publicly that the Times got some of the names wrong.Having watched with wariness how the Feds' laudable investigation of a cabal of fitness quacks had morphed into a seemingly obsessive crusade to take down superstar athletes—including Barry Bonds—I wondered whether the San Francisco investigation had degenerated into a drive-by character assassination of...
  • Tape Ate My Homework

    Like most NEWSWEEK writers, I'm a quick study. Somebody dies whom you know a little about, you take a couple of hours to eke out familiarity with solid fact, and you kick in the piece. But unlike most of my colleagues, I'm a slow learner when it comes to practicalities. I hope this year has finally taught me one thing: when it comes to the tools of your trade, get the best, no matter what the cost.This past summer I did an interview with Philip Roth; we sat in his agent's office, my Radio Shack cassette recorder on the table between us. We spoke for about 45 minutes, after which I brought the tape to a friend's summer house, and settled in to transcribe it. What I heard was the aural equivalent of a blizzard pelting your windshield, with the noise of the machine's innards grinding away in the foreground and, in the far distance, some voicelike noises. I must have spent six hours going over those 45 minutes of tape, reconstructing what Roth had said, and had to give up on some of his...
  • He’s Still A Bit Crushed

    Everyone knows the most memorable scene in the June finale of "The Sopranos." But a close second had to be the outrageous death of Tony Soprano's nemesis Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent), who was shot twice, then got his head smushed by an SUV. Vincent spoke with NEWSWEEK's Joshua Alston. ...
  • A Hungry Crowd Smells iPhone, and Pounces

    Technology writers are seldom subject to frenzied, Beatlemania-esque paroxysms of public attention. June 29, 2007, was the exception. I was in the wrong place—Apple's Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan—with the right device. The iPhone.Because I was one of four journalists who'd been given a pre-release iPhone for review, Fox News asked me to do an on-location interview. But as soon as I saw the swarming crowds of rabid fan boys and girls, it was clear that even a glimpse of the thing would set off a near riot. When the interview began, the crowd smelled iPhone, and ominously closed in. Suddenly a young man swooped behind us and made a grab—not for the iPhone, it turned out, but for the interviewer's microphone. He bolted with it, but was tackled by one of the Fox technicians, and the mike was recovered. (The interloper's point, it turned out, was to protest Fox News, not to swipe my prize; the whole sorry event wound up on YouTube.) Shaken but undaunted, we restarted. It got even...
  • What A Scrabulous Year!

    Most journalists who write about videogames compile a list of the year's best games. At NEWSWEEK's Level Up blog, written by yours truly, N'Gai Croal, I'd rather single out the year's most important games. Here's my top five:There's nothing new about Scrabble—which dates to the 1930s—nor was Facebook the first social network. But when you combine a game that most people know with a well-populated community of people with whom users have a real-world connection, the result is perhaps the ultimate time waster. Along with its various quizzes and list comparisons, Facebook is redefining interactive entertainment.No, it wasn't a shoot- 'em-up for the thinking gamer, as some claimed. (See entries Nos. 3 and 5, if that's your bag.) But its "saved films" feature, which allows us to record all of our play sessions to the hard drive for subsequent playback, is the equivalent of a TiVo for videogames. For multiplayer, we used it to revel in our pwnage; for single-player, we dropped the camera...
  • Alone, Afraid, In the Company of Men Dreaming of Death

    No journalist could turn down the offer: a face-to-face interview with would-be suicide bombers. A chance to learn how the insurgents recruit, train and deploy, to examine why the Taliban relies so heavily on this imprecise, indiscriminate tactic. The only problem was, I was scared that I wouldn't survive the meeting.Suicide bombings became the scourge of Afghanistan in 2007, as the Taliban, outnumbered and outgunned, turned to asymmetrical-warfare tactics to battle the 100,000 Coalition and Afghan security forces in the region. Afghanistan endured more than 140 suicide bombings in 2007, more than in the past five years combined, according to the Jamestown Foundation think tank. Those bombs have killed more than 300 people, many civilians.For my meeting, I traveled 100 miles by car and an hour on foot—through snow-covered paths—to reach a poor village in Ghazni province, south of Kabul, where my Taliban sources instructed me to go. I drank tea with village elders in a humble, mud...
  • The View From Both Sides

    On the campaign trail this year, no issue burned hotter than immigration—particularly on the Republican side, where each candidate seemed determined to prove that he would build a taller fence than the next guy. For all the bluster, though, it's largely been a one-sided conversation. Americans rarely hear a perspective from across the border in Mexico. Jorge Bustamante is a U.N. immigration expert and president of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a Tijuana university that specializes in border studies. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Monica Campbell about the issue—and how Americans get it wrong. ...
  • Meet the New Generation of War Veterans

    I grew up in an era when war veterans were the aging men at Memorial Day parades wearing triangular hats. It never crossed my mind that a vet might someday be a kid like me. If it had never crossed yours, either, this year probably changed all that. At my graduate school in New York, I can count at least five classmates who know an Iraq War veteran firsthand—and that's just one class, in one school. More than 1 million veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, lifting our collective profile by the sheer weight of our numbers.During the past year, veterans' issues were all over the media—and often the news was grim. In February the Walter Reed hospital scandal broke, with revelations about decrepit housing and substandard care. Next came a series of reports on Iraq War data: we learned that the Army suicide rate had reached a 26-year high in 2006; that there'd been 4,698 desertions during the 2007 fiscal year, an 80 percent increase since 2003; that the number of Iraq vets...
  • Hirsh: Will Israel Strike Iran?

    A unilateral military strike against Iran is much more likely following the latest intel report about Tehran's nuke program.
  • The Roots of Fear

    The evolutionary primacy of the brain's fear circuitry makes it more powerful than reasoning circuits.