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  • Women in Combat

    The author of a new book contends that women shouldn't be in the front lines.
  • Blackwater Says Guards Were Betrayed by Iraqi Forces on 2004 Mission

        WASHINGTON — Heavier guns and sturdier trucks would not have saved a team of Blackwater USA guards brutally killed in March 2004 after being lured by corrupt Iraqi forces into a well-planned ambush, the embattled private security contractor contends in a report to Congress.    This conclusion sharply contradicts the findings of a congressional investigation led by House Democrats and a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of the four slain guards. Blackwater is cast in both as an incompetent, penny-pinching outfit that sent an undermanned and poorly equipped detail through Fallujah, a known insurgent stronghold 40 miles west of Baghdad.    In the 10-page report, obtained by The Associated Press and delivered Tuesday to lawmakers, Blackwater says Democrats and the lawyer for the families have teamed up against the company for political gain.    While calling the deaths "a tragic event," Blackwater says the incident was unavoidable and the guards — former Navy SEALs and...
  • N.Y. Might Ban Display of Noose

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Following a rash of cases involving nooses, the state Legislature Monday moved toward making it a felony to display the symbol of lynchings in the Old South in a threatening manner."We won't tolerate this," said Sen. Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who sponsored the measure that passed Monday in the Senate. "There is no place for racism and intimidation in America."The bill also covers etching, drawing or painting the symbol. He said that, as in the case of Nazi symbols and burning crosses, an intent to threaten or harass would be part of an anti-noose law.The Democrat-led Assembly may convene Tuesday and could consider the measure then.Skelos said the recent "rash of incidents clearly demonstrates the need for tough new penalties."Monday's Senate vote came as New York City police said a black high school teacher in Brooklyn had been targeted with a letter containing racial slurs and a string tied into a noose.The teacher told police she received the letter...
  • Image Is Everything

    An online exhibit showcases the best and worst of American campaign commercials
  • A Rat Pack Son of a Gun

    The last surviving member of the Rat Pack, Bishop was the stone-faced comic in Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin's rowdy bunch of crooners. He died at his California home after a long illness. Regis Philbin, who broke into TV as his sidekick on "The Joey Bishop Show," shared this memory:In the 1960s, Joey was the fill-in for Johnny Carson on the "Tonight Show." But it's easy to go in and pinch-hit for someone: you just sit in the chair and do what's been done. The pressure starts when it's your own show—and Joey felt it when "The Joey Bishop Show" launched in 1967. It was his big shot in a fierce late-night talk-show market. So every day before taping, we'd walk around Hollywood, talking through jokes and trying to relax. Joey would smoke a few cigarettes and drink a cup of coffee. It was an upper for him to leave the studio in a polo shirt with the collar popped and people calling his name. It also calmed him. He'd know he was doing a good job when people yelled his famous line. "Joey!...
  • A Hil Spoof? It Wouldn’t Be Prudent.

    Hillary Clinton's rivals aren't the only ones feeling pressure from her big lead in the polls. Comics are also scrambling—to figure out how to do a good impression of her. On "Saturday Night Live," star Amy Poehler has yet to nail her Hillary. Poehler's performance during last month's season premiere—the first time she delivered a full-fledged speech as the senator—fell flat.Other skilled impressionists say Hillary's lack of a distinctive accent (her husband's), facial tic (Dubya's squint) or memorable phrase ("Wouldn't be prudent") has made her tricky to capture. "There aren't a lot of sharp angles to Hillary," says former "SNL" star Ana Gasteyer, who played her prior to Poehler. Teresa Barnwell, a professional Hillary look-alike since 1993, doesn't even try to imitate her voice, focusing instead on a perfect haircut, a black pantsuit and an eerie physical similarity. "She doesn't give me a lot to mimic," says Barnwell. Political impressionist Jim Morris, who does a killer (Bill)...
  • Resurrecting an Old Soul

    Back in the day, Stax Records was the South's answer to Detroit's Motown Records. The Memphis soul label's artists—a roster that included Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes—were less polished and their sound was grittier. But that didn't stop them from topping the charts and helping introduce civil-rights-era America to a more authentic slice of urban culture. Stax even generated an African-American answer to Woodstock: Wattstax, the 1972 festival held in the Watts ghetto of Los Angeles.Now, 50 years after its birth and some 30 years after it went belly up, Stax is back. Concord Records has resurrected the label, and its first release by a major new artist in decades, Angie Stone's "The Art of Love and War," just hit stores. "I finally feel comfortable, like I'm in a place where people get it," says Stone, a throaty crooner who's been on at least five different record labels in the last seven years. Her old labels "all said they got it, but they always wanted to put a twist on the songs...
  • Get Me Out of This Place

    Princeton student Callie Lefevre landed in Beirut last summer itching to study Arabic and prepared for "a totally wonderful experience." What she got instead was the second Lebanon war, with Israeli fighter planes dropping bombs near her campus, forcing an emergency evacuation through Syria. She got out with the help of a company called International SOS, which bundles evacuation insurance with overseas medical and security solutions. The Beirut crisis helped International SOS land 25 new clients as colleges rushed to sign up, says Laura Angelone, its director of scholastic programs. With more students passing on Paris and choosing to study abroad in locales where conflict, natural disaster and political strife are more commonplace, anxious schools are increasingly turning to a handful of risk-management companies that specialize in extricating kids from dangerous situations. Most colleges foot the bill themselves—about a dollar per day—in exchange for a menu of services that range...
  • Vigil for an Israeli Lion

    In the mass-media age, major news stories captivate us for a brief moment, then vanish just as quickly, often without a resolution. In this new feature, we revisit those stories and bring you the final chapter—or at least the next one. This week: Ariel Sharon.
  • Mind the (Income) Gap

    In "The Conscience of a Liberal," economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman investigates why income inequality has risen so sharply over the last 30 years, and he points to a culprit: "movement conserva tives," a cadre of anti tax, small-govern ment activists who dominate Republican politics, defending policies that serve the wealthy at the ex pense of the middle class. He spoke with newsweek's Daniel Gross. ...
  • A Decline in Bloodshed

    The Bush administration is starving for good news out of Iraq, and it may finally have some: new U.S. government statistics showing that violent attacks of all kinds are down to levels not seen since 2005. But until recently, the administration appears to have resisted acknowledging a key element of the new data, because it flies in the face of President George W. Bush's ongoing rhetorical confrontation with Iran's clerical regime. According to three senior U.S. officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, the decline in Iraq violence also includes a decrease in the number of attacks attributable to insurgents backed or armed by Iran. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell confirmed to NEWSWEEK that "there has indeed been a drop" in such attacks, but he added that "it's not entirely clear what the reason for that is."Overall trends show a significant drop in violence over the last several months, according to previously unpublished military statistics...
  • 'How Do You Fund a War, But Not the Casualties?’

    The secretary of Veterans Affairs presides over the U.S. government's second largest Cabinet department, after Defense. It is a politically sensitive job, especially of late, with new studies showing that the Bush administration has vastly underestimated the cost of providing health care to the more than 750,000 soldiers who have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But three months ago, former secretary James Nicholson resigned abruptly after a difficult tenure to "get back into the business world"—and tension among vets is rising because the White House still hasn't nominated a replacement. "I wish I could tell you what's going on," says David Gorman, executive director of Disabled American Veterans. "I think the administration thinks this is the least of their priorities."Some veterans advocates say the VA is in such disarray that the White House has been unable to find a top-notch candidate willing to take the job, much less go through a confirmation hearing. ...
  • Haditha Unraveled

    In a report obtained by NEWSWEEK, the affair's investigator casts doubt on the prosecution's case.
  • Communist Party Eyes Candidates

    BEIJING — Delegates to a pivotal Communist Party congress whittled down a list of candidates for senior committee assignments on Saturday, a prelude to selecting China's new leadership.The state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that a 237-member panel led by President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders approved a final list of candidates after more than two days of consultations with the 2,200 rank-and-file delegates to the congress.On Sunday, the months of politicking over senior posts will near its end when the delegates vote for a Central Committee that will in turn select the new leadership lineup to run the country.Names on the list and even the final number of candidates were not released to the public. The Central Committee currently has 198 members.Though Hu is all but certain to be given a second five-year term as party chief, whether he can maneuver allies into top spots will determine how free a hand he will have in decision-making.Xinhua said that once chosen, the new...
  • Oral Roberts Shaken by Scandal

    Allegations of misuse of school funds, improper political activities and an Imelda Marcos-style closet full of shoes have led to a lawsuit and investigation at the evangelical university.
  • Clift: The Limbo of Joe Lieberman

    Neither side fully trusts the 'Independent' senator as he straddles an awkward divide between his former party and his Republican friends.
  • CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

    The CW apologizes if anyone was ever offended by anything CW ever said. Pass the hanky, please. ...
  • Calif. Cockfighting Ring Busted

    SAN DIEGO — Authorities made what they called the largest cockfighting bust in U.S. history with the seizure of more than 5,000 roosters, hens and chicks from two training grounds, officials said Monday.Agents found 4,400 chickens Saturday at a 7-acre compound in the Otay Mesa industrial area of San Diego. More than 2,500 birds were seized at the same place six years ago in what was believed to be the nation's largest bust.Hundreds more chickens were found this time at a second training ground nearby, officials said.Other stings have resulted in more arrests but none have produced more birds, said John Goodwin, manager of animal fighting issues at The Humane Society of the United States, which deployed its own staff on the raid along with local and federal law enforcement agents."In terms of the number of animals seized, this is the biggest, hands down," he said.Fifty people were issued misdemeanor citations, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, and ordered to...
  • Clinton Edges Obama With $35m

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton ended September with more money in the bank than rival Barack Obama, holding $35 million cash on hand for the presidential primary contests to his $32 million.Both were far ahead of Republican money leader Rudy Giuliani, underscoring the financial disparity between the parties. Giuliani reported $11.6 million in the bank for the primaries.Clinton, who had trailed Obama in fundraising and in money in the bank at the end of June, edged past him with an aggressive third quarter of fundraising.Obama had not yet filed a detailed report of his third-quarter finances with the Federal Election Commission. The filing deadline was 11:59 p.m. EDT Monday.Clinton, who also has been raising money for the general election, had a total of $50 million in the bank, her campaign said Monday night. But $15 million of that cannot be used for the primaries.She reported raising $23.7 million for the primary and spending about $22 million. Obama appeared to...
  • Medtronic Suspends Sale of Heart Device

    WASHINGTON — Medtronic Inc. has suspended distribution of its Sprint Fidelis defibrillation leads after identifying five patient deaths in which a lead fracture may have been a contributing factor.A defibrillator monitors a patient's heartbeat; if it senses an abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers an electronic shock to reset the heart to a normal beat. A defibrillation system consists of a device implanted near the shoulder with one or more leads connecting the device to the heart.Medtronic said Monday it had discovered a "small chance of fractures in particular locations" on Sprint Fidelis models 6930, 6931, 6948 and 6949. The company is asking doctors to stop implanting the leads and return all unused leads to Medtronic.A fractured lead "can cause the defibrillator to deliver unnecessary shocks or not operate at all," said Daniel Schultz, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.The company is not recommending that patients with such...
  • Clapton’s Book on Rock Survival

    NEW YORK — Clapton is Good.The second "o" is critical. Back in the 1960s, when London graffiti proclaimed "Clapton is God," the brilliant British guitarist was descending into a personal hell. Eric Clapton traded a heroin addiction for alcoholism, suffered disastrous love affairs, contemplated suicide while armed with a bottle of vodka, a gram of blow and a shotgun.The guitar deity has long since surrendered to a higher power; at 62, Clapton has 20 years of sobriety, a happy marriage and three young daughters. It's a good time to consider an extraordinary life, as the rock Hall of Famer does with "Clapton: The Autobiography."Unlike many rock star efforts, this one includes no Zeppelin-esque tales of debauched groupies or ghostwritten revisions of musical and personal history. Clapton delivers a brutally honest and unsparing look at his life, near-death and recovery, interspersed with tales from an unparalleled music career.Clapton, sipping a bottle of water in an office at National...
  • Bombing Kills at Least 6 in India

    NEW DELHI (AP) — A bomb ripped through a packed movie theater in northern India on Sunday, killing at least six people and wounding at least 30 others, authorities said.The blast in Ludhiana, an industrial town in Punjab state, was the second apparent terror attack this week in northern India. Two people were killed days earlier in the bombing of a venerated Muslim shrine in the neighboring state of Rajasthan. A third person injured in the attack died Sunday.Sunday's attack occurred on one of the holiest days of the Muslim calendar, Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and came weeks before two major Hindu festivals, Dussehra and Diwali.The Shringar cinema was packed when the blast occurred around 8:50 p.m. in one of its three theaters. Some 600 people were taking in a recently released Bollywood romance, "Janan Janam Ke Saath," or "Together Through Several Lifetimes," the Press Trust of India news agency reported.India television broadcast scenes of...
  • Spelunkers Found Safe in Texas Cave

    AUSTIN, Texas — Three students rescued after spending 30 hours inside a cave they were exploring gave searchers a guide to find them: a trail of leaves they deliberately left behind."If someone is coming, it's a good way to find someone," said Jeff Brown, 20, one of the three University of Texas students rescued Sunday night.The two women and one man found in a 500-foot crawlspace about the diameter of a sewer pipe waited there knowing search teams would come rescue them, Austin fire department Lt. Matt Cox said."They did everything right," Cox said Sunday. "They came out safe and sound, and they're going to school tomorrow."The students emerged from Airman's Cave tired and hungry but with no injuries. They had left a trail of leaves during their exploration so crews could find them if they got into trouble, Cox said.The group went into Airman's Cave on Saturday morning and told friends to call for help if they weren't back by midnight, Cox said."They accounted for something like...
  • Warning to Students About Gambling

    BOSTON — Harrah's Entertainment pitched a proposed Rhode Island casino to college students as a place "to have fun when they're taking a break from studying."In Connecticut, home to two of the world's largest resort casinos, a 21-minimum age limit doesn't deter young people. And colleges in Missouri changed their health center intake forms to include a space for gambling issues, after counselors found the problem was prevalent but not being addressed.As Massachusetts debates a proposal by Gov. Deval Patrick to allow three full-scale casinos, professionals are warning that college students are more susceptible than others to gambling addictions, and that college administrations are not prepared to deal with the fallout."There is a steady flow of high school and college students that attempt to get into the casinos," said Marvin Steinberg, head of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.Patrick's plan would put poker, roulette, slot machines and the accompanying free drinks within...
  • Other NEWSWEEK Sites

    NEWSWEEK Media Kit Online NEWSWEEK's online media kit with information about the magazine and its sales staff. http://www.newsweekmediakit.com NEWSWEEK Education ProgramNEWSWEEK keeps students motivated in the classroom and the NEWSWEEK Education Program Web Site helps teachers build bridges to real-world issues. http://www.newsweekeducation.com NEWSWEEK RadioNEWSWEEK's weekly hourlong radio version, now available in podcast from. Visit the site at http://www.podcastbunker.com/Podcast/Podcast_Picks/Newsweek_On_Air
  • Building a Hurricane-Proof House

    Why do some houses withstand hurricanes better than others? Researchers at the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University hope to find out with a first-of-its-kind hurricane simulator, scheduled to be completed next summer. The "Wall of Wind" machine, composed of 24 massive fans, will be capable of generating category 5 winds of more than 155mph. It will allow scientists for the first time to study the effect of wind on full-size homes, which may ultimately lead to a home-safety rating similar to the one for vehicles. "People crash perfectly good cars into concrete walls," says Dr. Stephen Leatherman, the center's director. "That's exactly what we're going to be doing to houses." The project's financial backers, the state of Florida and the insurance industry, hope its findings will lead to less property damage and lower insurance premiums. Already, the FIU team has used a six-fan wind machine to test, among other things, the strength of cement...
  • Evangelicals: New Notions on Gays

    He is the nicest right-wing evangelical powerhouse you've never heard of. Jim Daly grew up the last of five children in what anyone would call a broken home. His mother died when he was 10 and he lived with, in turn, a stepfather, a foster family, his own alcoholic father and his divorced brother. He came to Jesus in high school, under the guidance of a football coach. His recent memoir, "Finding Home," has barely made a dent on the best-seller lists. Nevertheless, in 2005, Daly got the job of president and CEO of Focus on the Family, and although he denies this, it's clear that he was picked to be the yin to James Dobson's yang. While Dobson continues to threaten in the press, Daly chats amiably with a reporter about the fall weather. He sticks to the hard line on policy issues—gay marriage is bad for families, he says—but his presentation is all soft edges. "I'm sure there are wonderful gay parents out there; there's a poster child for everything." If one of his boys turned out to...
  • The American Way to Gain Wisdom

    In this country, we're firm believers in educating ourselves—we just wish it didn't take so long. But not to worry: self-help is on the way. David S. Kidder and Noah Oppenheim's "The Intellectual Devotional: American History" collapses Uncle Sam's story into 365 single-page passages to be read one a day for a year. "We're trying to give people confidence," says Oppenheim, a producer for NBC's "Today" show. "The War of 1812 can seem exotic at first." The Web site Dailylit, meanwhile, sends literature by the byte: free chunks of classic books that arrive daily in your IN box. "How do you eat an elephant?" says cofounder Susan Danziger. "One bite at a time."As a sales strategy, selling nibbles of wisdom is a proven winner. The first intellectual self-help books date to at least the mid-18th century, when Englishman Isaac Watts scored an Old and New World best seller with "The Improvement of the Mind." By the 1920s, less-educated adults routinely reached for the Little Blue Book series...
  • Rare Opportunity to Buy an Oscar

    Wanna buy an Oscar? Because of a rule established in 1950 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which allows the organization to buy back unwanted statues for $1 before the public gets a shot, the opportunity to purchase an actual Oscar is extremely rare. But in December, Sotheby's will be auctioning one off, and it's a doozy: the only Academy Award won by Orson Welles, which he earned for the screenplay to "Citizen Kane." And given its mysterious history, you might call this one the Rosebud of Oscars.Welles won the award in 1942, making it exempt from the Academy's rule. But in 1988, his daughter Beatrice informed the Academy that the original statue had been lost prior to Welles's death three years earlier. She asked for, and received, a replacement, under the condition that she could never sell it. But then in 1994, the original suddenly appeared on the auction market. The seller was a cinematographer friend of the late filmmaker, who claimed that Welles gave it to...
  • Obit: Photographer Alexandra Boulat

    In late December 1995, a raggedy, unwashed group of journalists waited for American troops to enter Tuzla, a rundown city in northwest Bosnia. The two-year civil war was over and peacekeeping forces had landed to keep it that way. But instead of tanks and armored cars, the first vehicle into town was a shining red Range Rover Discovery, waxed and wiped down, without a spot of mud despite several days of rain. It zipped over a newly built pontoon bridge, stopped on the other side, and out popped this incredible woman: slim and elegant, dressed all in black, with a fur hat, ski jacket, fitted pants, boots and a collection of intimidating cameras around her neck. It was Alexandra Boulat. Not only had she turned out better dressed than anyone else, she had beaten us to the story and come over the bridge just to prove it. Boulat-la. You made all the boys cry.
  • Dignity Index: How Low Can They Go?

    Disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis lost in court again. Now he's appealing—again. Enough. It's time to come clean about being dirty. Let Marion Jones show you the way. Score: 23Pundit Ann Coulter says she "wants Jews to be perfected," like Christians. Why a midrange score for clear anti-Semitism? Our rule: you're not allowed to win if you're trying to. Score: 52And this week's winner is ... Sen. Larry Craig, for not withdrawing from his Idaho Hall of Fame induction. How'd you like to be on the stage with this guy? Way to ruin their day. Score: 73
  • Cold Cereal on School Lunch Menus

    This is National School Lunch Week, so be sure to ask your children what tasty cafeteria food they've been eating lately—and if they mention Trix or Cocoa Puffs, don't be too surprised. Even as legislators have banned soda from schools, some cafeterias have begun adding cold cereal to the traditional noontime repast of pizza, PB&J and pork rolls.The main company behind the cereal-for-lunch menus is Chartwells School Dining Services, a company serving nearly 550 districts nationwide. Margie Saidel, Chartwells' director of nutrition, defends the move, noting that most schools are using wholesome cereal like Rice Krispies, Cheerios or Raisin Bran—and the ones offering sugary brands like Trix, Cocoa Puffs or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, she says, are using low-sugar, whole-grain versions containing just two grams of sugar per serving. Alongside the vitamin-fortified cereal, students receive fresh fruit, yogurt or cheese, and low-fat milk. Together, these meals exceed government...
  • Update: Bernard Kerik Investigation

    The federal investigation of Bernard Kerik, former New York police commissioner and Rudy Giuliani sidekick, appears to be edging toward a denouement. But legal sources familiar with the inquiry, who asked for anonymity when discussing an ongoing investigation, say that news reports suggesting Kerik could face indictment as early as next month may be premature. Kerik has agreed with prosecutors to extend the statute of limitations for investigating his 2000 tax return until Nov. 15, and he could agree to extend it further. Over the next month, Kerik's lawyer, Kenneth Breen, expects to meet with federal prosecutors in New York and tax-division officials at Justice Department headquarters in Washington. The principal issue: does the evidence justify criminal tax charges, or could the case be resolved, like many other tax cases, with a civil settlement?The investigation into Kerik began in 2004 after ethics questions derailed his nomination as U.S. Homeland Security secretary. A few...
  • D.C. Angers Turkey Over Armenia

    The House Committee vote to label Turkey's mass killing of Armenians during World War I as a "genocide" followed one of the most intense, and unusual, battles on Capitol Hill in recent memory. The measure passed despite a lobbying blitz from the Turkish government, which hired an army of K Street lobbyists to fight it. The team included former House majority leader Dick Gephardt, who as a congressman had cosponsored genocide resolutions but switched sides in March when his firm signed a $1.2 million-a-year contract to represent the Turks. The flip-flop resulted in some awkward phone calls for Gephardt. "Dick, if memory serves me, didn't you used to support this?" New York Rep. Eliot Engel says he told Gephardt during a call urging him to oppose the measure. (Gephardt did not return calls seeking comment.) President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also made late appeals, fearing that the move would endanger diplomatic relations as well as Turkish defense...
  • The Editor's Desk

    Kathy Deveny is big enough to admit it: "I have been a closet Paris addict for years, and I can't read enough about these chicks--Paris, Britney, Lindsay Lohan," she says. "They're young, beautiful and do whatever the hell they want. I've always had a soft spot for good-time girls."And then came parenthood. Kathy, an assistant managing editor and the author, with Raina Kelley, of this week's cover story, is the mother of Jing Jing, a 6-year-old who, like many young girls, is fascinated by the Lindsay-Paris-Britney celebrity axis. "One morning I was mocking Lindsay and Jing Jing got upset," Kathy says. "I said in an offhand way that Lindsay, Paris and Britney are kind of bad girls. 'They are not ,' Jing Jing said. She was very indignant, took it very personally. All of a sudden I could imagine her teen-age rebellion, and it scared the hell out of me. I realized that I want her to someday have the beauty and independence of those girls, but still dress and behave the way I think she...
  • Conventional Wisdom: Changing Climate Edition

    The CW tips its hat to former New York governor George Pataki for not running for president. Here's hoping he starts a trend.Bush (equal) Visits his base of bonus-stuffed satraps on Wall Street. Gets cheered until he zaps exec pay. Jealous?Ari Fleischer (down) After bashing folks for speaking freely post-9/11, turns out the former prez press secretary outed CIA agent.Biden (down) Self-described bloviator swallows foot while tossing hat in the ring. Not very "articulate."Global warming (up) In Davos and D.C., finally getting respect as earth-shaking crisis. Will White House feel the heat?Viral marketing (down) Boston pops over silly electronic light-box promotion. One if by land, two if by Cartoon Network ...Molly Ivins (up) Irreverent and unsinkable Texas columnist had "Shrub's" number early on. She'll raise hell in heaven.
  • Anna Nicole's Tabloid Odyssey

    Anna Nicole Smith, born Vickie Lynn Hogan, said she wanted to be Marilyn Monroe. She became instead a kind of bombshell circus freak, a star in the lewd carnival of American pop culture. Smith always seemed to be spilling out of her dress in front of a camera, or coming and going from a court of law, or both. Her apogee, or nadir, may have come last May, when, dressed in body-clinging black, she sashayed past the paparazzi up the marble steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to pursue her right to claim half the fortune of a billionaire husband she had married when she was 26 and he was 89. There was grittiness and pathos in her pursuit of celebrity; she was an underdog some cheered for. But her death last week of unexplained causes seemed more tawdry than sad. Her psyche did not appear all that complicated. In her guileless way, she explained that she loved photographers because they gave her the attention she had missed as a child. More interesting and revealing is the way the tabloid...
  • Turkey Eyes The Shia Crescent

    If you were a mullah in Tehran facing a new western "coalition of the willing," there's one country you would try to get on your side: next-door NATO neighbor, Turkey. And lately, the Iranians have been doing this quite well. The reason: Ankara and Tehran increasingly share a cause that unites them: Kurdish guerrillas operating in northern Iraq, and America's failure to do anything about them.It would be premature to speak of any entente. Yet Iran clearly seeks to lure Turkey away from its traditional moorings to the West, and the Kurds may be just the wedge they need. During visits to Ankara in recent months, Iranian officials and other state representatives--including Ali Larijani, head of the supreme National Security Council--have gone out of their way to stress the troubles created for both nations by the PKK terrorist movement. Despite myriad promises, U.S. troops in the region do nothing to prevent cross-border raids. Suggesting that Turkey should join with Iran and Syria to...
  • Stocks: Looking Abroad

    Want a piece of all that China-India-Brazil stock-market action you keep hearing about? Most financial advisers tell their clients to keep some of their money invested abroad. The strategy pays off in years like 2006, when big foreign-stock funds returned almost 25 percent to their investors, compared with the 12.75 percent that similar U.S. funds delivered. Pockets of world markets did even better, with funds holding Asian stocks (excluding Japan) up 37.8 percent, and Latin American stock funds up 27 percent. But buying in after a run-up can be the quickest way to a rout. Stick, for now, to big, diversified foreign-stock funds with tiny fees. Morningstar's favorites are the Fidelity Spartan International Index Fund and the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund. When you're ready to add more oomph (and willing to accept the attendant risk), consider two other highly rated funds: the T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock Fund and the Wisdom TreePacific ex-Japan Total Dividend...
  • Net Interest

    Creditcardclients.com/savings-agent Plug in your credit-card name and balance, and it will find a card with a cheaper rate. Michaelbluejay.com/electricity Get tough on your appliances! This Web site will show you where every kilowatt goes. Couponmom.com Load up on coupons, free samples and grocery-savings tips at this comprehensive site. Mymoneyblog.com Another blog by a young guy who's trying to get rich. This one is smart, and very specific about savings deals. Flyertalk.com/forums A great place to get the skinny on how to manage your airline miles
  • Insurance: Covered For Less

    You can refinance your house and your car--why not your life insurance? Rates on term policies have dropped significantly in recent years, thanks to longer life expectancies and better investment returns for insurers. And they'll drop 4 percent more this year, projects the Insurance Information Institute. First, figure out how much you really need. Industry calculators may tell you to buy coverage that's worth about 20 times your salary. That may be a tad high, but with insurance so cheap now it wouldn't hurt to bulk up your coverage a bit. To find a new plan, check online brokers like selectquote.com , intelliquote.com and accuquote.com . Compare rates with those offered by the two companies that don't use brokers: ameritasdirect.com and usaa.com . Buy a plan that lasts long enough to get your kids through college, and go with a reputable firm with a solid rating from Weiss Ratings, Moody's or A.M. Best. Finally, remember not to cancel your old plan until the new, improved one is...